February 8, 2017 at 4:53 pm #51189
At this point, it will only take a spark…
My current AO is fairly secure, but limited in resources, so for various reasons I have to egress to more populated and less secure regions. One thing I learned in the sandbox was you can mitigate some risks if you plan your trips and stick to the plan. I’ve learned to expect that things could go bad while in transit, and what would I do to evade and get to a secure POS or find a way back to home. While it is a nice thought to have something well armed and armored to transit in, that is neither feasible nor practical in most cases for my more mundane needs. We used to ride in convoys of 3 armored vehicles with well armed security when bumping around Iraq, but my buddy got around just fine driving a beat up toyota pickup with a Tec-9 pistol sitting beside him in the passenger seat. Being inconspicuous has its advantages.
Anyways, my first task upon arriving in my current location was to begin a reconnoiter regime whereby I familiarized myself with various routes to what would become often visited locations. GPS can be your friend right now to help you navigate to new locales, and with a little extra study time, to find alternate routes and peripheral support facilities along the way, such as convenience stores, secure recesses with basic resources, etc. Next was to locate individuals I could regularly associate with that might be able to provide a safe haven or at least a resupply or cache location. Turns out my network from employment alone was sufficient to provide me with a minimum of coverage. However, these are for locations away from home where I would be regularly visiting. For more exploratory travels, such as recreational and/or business, I had to come up with a suitable loadout that included plans lacking in acceptable defensive provisions at times. These trips also require a bit more planning to locate possible supply sources along the way, and alternative routes to/from locus.
All of this assumes that the bubble could go up at any time. It is a reliable assumption these days. Are you prepared today to sleep in your vehicle, or to abandon it, don your go bag, and have a place in mind to get to? Have you thought at all about how you are going to have to deal with people who are “losing it” or decided to go rogue and foresake the rule of law? People will react to SHTF, and you better have a plan on how to deal with them and the situations they are going to create when you are traveling and on your own.February 9, 2017 at 5:42 am #51200
Most of the area around me has cell although there are dead spots. Less people usually less coverage. But I love my iPad with cell and 4g, and some countries 5g. Apps for navigation on water. Asps for everything you can think of. But I still take paper. Specific areas topo maps are available. County highway maps. AAA maps. Maps of state forest and campgrounds. Facilities, no facilities, primitive areas. Some places I use a sat phone because it’s the only way to stay in touch. It always does Lat Lon and elevation.
Depending on which bubble goes down I’ll consider the options. There are always workarounds. You take the wrong vehicle. Forget things. Only plan on being gone for a couple hours. Long walk home. Got a huge blister. Wife needs a bike. Found a tree blocking the road. Landslide took out the road. It snowed and the road was buried under 2 feet of heavy wet snow. Windstorm turned the woods to splinters. I can think of a dozen more things. Improvise and use every inch of spare space in your vehicle all the time. Stuff it. That’s what the cops do around here. You should see their trunks.
Something big like war people will be driving like crazy to get home or hit the store up. That will be a very dangerous time. Accidents shut down the roads here constantly. A gasoline tanker went off the road and started leaking recently. A major artial had to be rerouted during rush hour. Get the satelite radio option. 6 hours in a vehicle. 14 hours on a plane. 30 car/truck pileup in fog. Gas pumps don’t take CCs. Car hijackings. Nothing unusual these days. It’s a world gone mad or trying to stay sane. Even presidents have problems.February 9, 2017 at 7:26 pm #51213
One thing that I focus on in the winter is always having cold weather stuff with me. Weather conditions can change quickly and should you find yourself needing to be outdoors longer than you thought, good quality clothes can make all the difference.
Tuesday night we got an inch or two of ice pellets followed by some freezing rain. The town as usual did a good job of clearing & treating the roads but somehow three of our four plow trucks ended up out of commission by the end of it. One was back up quickly enough but not the other two. Not a big deal being the sun came out and the temp went up to 42 degrees yesterday. Lots of melt on the roads as a result, and then the temp plummeted rapidly, getting down to temps where salt won’t easily melt the ensuing ice. Then it started snowing again last night and continues as I speak. At 8 degrees with ice from last night under the new snow, and only half the normal plowing capacity, it was touch and go maneuvering my way down the other side of the mountain this morning. It is very steep with sharp curves, and is the only way out of my valley short of maybe a 15 to 20 miles detour up the valley on a paved road or down the valley on a dirt road.
The point of my story is sometimes there are factors independent of each other that can pile up on you, in this case a combination of losing half our plowing capacity just as weather conditions lined up to create nasty conditions (ice under snow). And at the bottom of the mountain was a utility crew dealing with a downed tree.
Best to be prepared.February 10, 2017 at 1:52 pm #51223
Yes, good points. Prior to SHTF, that GPS and phone/tablet are valuable tools for recon. I use them to try to learn the area like the back of my hand, and having a good paper map will be of great help in the transition from pre-SHTF to in-the-mix mode. Not taking away from the paper maps, but I don’t see them get used much for over the road nav anymore. Plug and play seems to have relegated car maps to standby. Still essential, though.
After being in Alaska for a few years, I keep a duffle bag with 30+ lbs of cold weather gear in the rigs when the weather goes cold. I figure I am good down to -25 F with what I got comfortably, and at least 3 days of food and water, plus other aids for survival. I try not to do the kitchen sink routine as there’s always gonna be something else I could bring that I might need, and just stick to what I know I have to have to get by, and trust that I have enough intelligence and wisdom to make it work. I wish I could keep myself armed better, but with some of the places I have to go, that just isn’t a possibility. Then again, we didn’t have any weapons in our E&E training either.February 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm #51225
Paper maps are a must. I keep National and Vermont atlases in our vehicles and have a more extensive regional set in the house.February 10, 2017 at 3:03 pm #51227
For home, I keep low scale poster maps of the local area hung in my war room for planning purposes and general orientation. In the car, a couple of folded maps for backup seem to be most effective. In a pinch, I will get on google maps and screen shot specific areas of interest or trip routing and print those for a trip folder. I find that trip folders are pretty handy, as I can stuff them with all sorts of travel information and itineraries and reference info. Even printing street views of intersections or storefronts or mile markers can be added. I highly recommend having something like this for any sort of road trip away from your usual AO.
I will build a 3 ring binder this way, using sheet protectors and building up all sorts of map views, street views, step by step routing narratives, contact lists with names, addresses, phone numbers, pamphlets, brochures, etc. I’ve even done this for others coming to visit me, adding video files of driving down the road to various key waypoints for them to stay oriented with. I recommend everyone with a smartphone with a camera shoot video of common approaches from out of area to their locus. Maintain security on these files, but they can sure come in handy.February 10, 2017 at 7:13 pm #51228
Who needs paper maps when you’ve got GoogleMaps and the internet?!? [sarc/OFF]
I fully concur with paper maps. Heck, even under the best circumstances, including interstate highways, the internet is not always available, depending on carrier, device, and data plan. On a cross country road trip across I-40, north at Albuquerque up through Utah and Idaho, and back across Wyoming, Nebraska, and back down again, we encountered vast stretches where only phone service was available on agreements between our carrier and others – but without heavy data (i.e. no internet access, and therefore no weather,no maps, no “StreetView,” etc.).
I also agree with an occasionally updated full national road atlas, as well as even a few individual state maps for likely travel in the future. They could be invaluable, and in many vehicles could just fit down in a side door pocket, or in a vehicle emergency kit.
Speaking of vehicle emergency kits, in addition to a blanket, some water, etc., we also keep our ancient bag phone in ours. Though the old lead acid battery long ago died, it works just fine plugged into the 12v outlet. And it will still connect with 911 despite having no cell carrier affiliated with it (virtually all cell phones will connect to 911 with or without a chip). The really nice thing about the big bulky bag phone is that it’s a full 5 watt phone, giving far more power than a hand-held cell phone will these days. About once a year I do a test call to 911 and ask them to verify that it’s working fine for emergency purposes. They’ve repeatedly told me they don’t mind that. If you’ve still got that old dinosaur bag phone, or can even find one on eBay, it may be worth having in an emergency where you’re “out of range” or on the fringe of cell coverage.
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