I recently had to travel approximately 900 miles by vehicle, due to a family emergency. I was gone for ten days. The drive was easy and uneventful. It covered hundreds of miles of open, rural terrain, but I also traveled through two massive urban metropolises’ and multiple intermediate sized cities. That trip got me to thinking about what I’d face if the EMP/Solar Flare hit while I was that far away from home. I spent the better part of 13 hours each way observing the terrain and thinking about what I would do if it happened. Where would I stay? How much gear would I carry? What route would I take home? Where would I obtain my sustenance? You see these are contingencies that you cannot plan for, because you are unfamiliar with the terrain. Also, you cannot carry enough food for a minimum of a six- to eight-week walk.
Imagine the lack of communication, the lack of transportation, the daily grind of having enough food and water. Then, think about moving through towns where the populations are paranoid or lacking in supplies, the desperation of the people who are in the same situation that you are in, and the stress of being in unfamiliar territory. This is truly the nightmare scenario. You have prepped, trained, and educated yourself and your loved ones on what to do in case this happens, and now you are 900 miles away from your home, and away from your supplies. Most frighteningly, you are alone. What do you do?
Before Your Trip
First and foremost, as I have always said, preplanning is your best defense. Make sure your family is secure and able to function for a significant amount of time without you. When you don’t have to worry about the home front, you can travel with peace of mind. You can focus on the task at hand. Morale in this scenario is your greatest ally or your worst enemy. Fear can paralyze you and cause you to make irrational and desperate decisions. Preplanning can go a long way to alleviating fear.
Pack Appropriate for the Time of Year
The time of the year will dictate what you pack and how you handle your trip. Fortunately, I live in the Southeastern United States (U.S.), so the weather, while it does get somewhat cold in certain parts, remains mild for most of the year. Summers can be hot, but heat is manageable. However, cold is punishing and can kill; it kills without remorse. If you live in the northern parts of the U.S., it is imperative that you pack appropriately.
Before I left for my trip I queried on an Internet mapping site the quickest route home by walking. It carried me through multiple cities and towns but also through miles of rural and wilderness areas.
You are in a large urban metropolis in the United States and a significant distance from home (in excess of 800 miles), and you have been staying with relatives attending to personal family matters. After attending to your affairs, you pack your car, say your goodbyes, and you depart. It is Friday morning beginning a summer holiday weekend, and the traffic is heavy. You are hoping to get home in under 13 hours, so you can have a nice weekend with your family back home. You have planned your route and have a good idea where you’ll stop to fill up. Your expectation is for an uneventful trip.
After about an hour and a half of stop and go traffic, you have covered about 50 miles when your car goes dead. You notice that almost all the vehicles on the road are slowing significantly and then stopping. You observe several wrecks occurring in front of you. Having educated yourself on the signs of a Solar Flare and EMP, you recognize it quickly and are able to get your vehicle to the shoulder of the road.
At this point, you realize that home is over 850 miles away and your options are limited. What do you do?
It goes without saying that you have packed a get-home bag (GOB). This GOB should be much more thorough and significantly larger than one you would carry to return from your normal place of business. This is the first thing you need to ensure that you load into your vehicle. (I will outline the contents of my bag later on.)
For most, leaving your vehicle on the side of a highway 800 plus miles from home, is not an easy sell. Vehicles are expensive, as is towing and storage. In today’s modern world, your vehicle is your lifeline. However, you must make your decision based on your training, education, and best interest.
Next, should you return back to the extended family or set off for your home? Choose wisely and soberly, because this will be the most difficult and life-changing decision that you’ll make.
Possible Decision to Return to Local Family
While the family members I stayed with are good people, they are not preppers. They live in a massive metropolis, and they are not prepared for me to stay for any significant time. Besides, I have dependents at home who need me. So, aside from a short-term stay with my extended family, I needed to have plans in place to get home. I my humble opinion to walk back 50 miles is not worth it. There is little gain in it and to walk back into the storm of a massive metropolis is extremely risky at best. The decision to trek forward and homeward is made.
Possible Boat Departure
I was in south Florida, and I got to thinking that a possible boat trip across the Gulf of Mexico to a destination in the panhandle of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana would save weeks of walking (Miami to Pensacola is 675 miles). However, a boat trip has its own perils. First and foremost, you have to be lucky enough to find someone who is sailing out, at the right time and right place. Second, they have to be willing to take you along– trust, cost, and space considerations. Third, how good are their sailing skills, what are their real abilities?
Trust the People With Whom You Are Sailing
The final concern is, can you trust the people with whom you are sailing? Why are they willing to help you? The last thing you need is to wake up one morning and all guns are pointed in your direction. Also, there are hurricanes, tropical storms, rough seas, and in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, the possibility of pirates exists. This is a very viable option, but it will cost you.
You cannot show up with an award-winning smile and empty pockets and expect to be accommodated. This is where learned skills and abilities will prove very useful.
Barterable skills are invaluable. Brush up on your knot tying. Cash, in this situation, can be useful (if it is the beginning of TEOTWAWKI). Whiskey and cigarettes can also be useful bargaining items.
Traveling Without Car
Regardless, you will still be walking at the end of the day, because once you land you still have many miles over land to cover. Also, the ability to desalinate water would be highly beneficial. Moving up and down rivers can be very helpful, but this is unique to your locale.
If you have some type of a bicycle, this would be ideal. The amount of time you’d save would be monumental. If this is your situation, ensure that you have the proper equipment for your bike, including flat tire repair kit, bicycle pump, and panniers for equipment and gear. The collapsible Montague Paratrooper Mountain Bike is a good example of an appropriate bike that could fit in the back of your car.
Cycling As a Hobby
Keep up cycling as a hobby. If you don’t and you cycle for a long time in one day, your next day might be a rough one. One drawback to cycling is that you lose situational awareness. If you fail to keep your attention focused on the threats around, you can be easily ambushed. Be mindful of the threats around you, if this is the way you are going home.
Recently speaking to a friend of mine who works in the southwestern deserts of the United States, he says you can hear bicycles at night really well. So day time travel with a bike, according to him, would be safer.
See the Ambush Coming
During the day, you can see the ambush coming better. What does it take to string a cable line across a road and wait for the bike to come? When the bike is close enough, they pull taut on the cable and take out the cyclist. This is just food for thought.
While walking is the most time consuming and the most physical, taxing, and stressful, it might be your only option. Your physical fitness will be put to the ultimate test. Every skill you develop now will significantly reduce your hardships on the road, if walking is your only option. Your feet here are your primary concern. You must ensure that they stay healthy.
I mapped out a walking route to get home before I left on my trip and printed maps and directions. I studied a list of towns along the way home that I would have to walk through if necessary. The town data included information on their size, crime rates, demographics, major waterways in them, and major roads through them. Due to the uniqueness of my trip, I paid particular attention to the coastal route to ensure that I could attempt to make a waterborne trip if possible. These are all things that you need to consider.
Tomorrow, I will get into more details, including clothing, food, water, and much more.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part one of a three part entry for Round 77 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 77 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.