Coping: Prepping for Over the River and Whatever

Near as we can figure it, the kids (both grown up and on the way) will be leaving the Denver area around oh-dark-thirty tomorrow, then driving east on the freeway to Salina, Kansas where they will turn right and head on-down to Texas.

Our guest quarters make-over was nearly done last night – the new bed is set up, those tile-topped side tables look fine after a coat of one-step stain and varnish.

The only fly in the ointment has been that new “such-a-deal” Sceptre 4K TV I told you about recently. The $329 one.

Well, yesterday I got around to setting it up and care to guess what? There is a break in the LCD so it looks like a spider web in the middle of the screen. No, not our doing.

This puts me in a bit of a bind because I really want the additional TV, so either this morning, or tomorrow, I will high-tail it down to the local Wally World to get the refund and pick out something else in the 4K range.

I called ahead, and while this morning looks like it could go quickly, a lot will depend on what time Old John from the local Septic pumping place will be out. If it’s after noon, that leaves me a clear critical path. If it’s this morning, then we will have both tanks ready for a small army, but about noon – or so – rain is forecast and that puts the kibosh on tossing the dead TV in the open bed of the pickup, you see.

Eventually, everything will work out, but I figure (after talking with a return clerk) that a return could take an hour this time of the year so yeah, going light on the coffee.

So back to point:

This over-the-river stuff.

I have been a huge fan for YEARS of Microsoft Streets and Trips. Unfortunately, for reasons known only unto God (or Bill Gates, if there’s a distinction in Washington State) Microsoft got out of that game.

I guess between all the functionality of Google Maps and the Google Earth product, it was going to simply be too crowded a space. End of Streets and Trips.

I was lucky enough to have two copies of Streets 2013 which seems to have been the end of the run.

But this morning – having 20 unscheduled seconds in the moving train wreck of holiday prepping – I decided to see what’s new and better and can live entirely on MY PC – not some online service.

Suddenly we’re into an interesting prepping area here. What will people do if we wake up come morning and enemies of America have hacked the cell systems around the country or taken out fiber gateways – which as you know is one of those recurring nightmares I have. Even went so far as to highlight the risk in my book Broken Web which you can pick up on Amazon.

We are a country that has become almost completely attached to our wireless devices.

I swear some mornings that you could hack the Cell phone systems and the online mappers and have of America would be living dazed and confused in the wrong city by the middle of next week.

Yes, I can hear it now: “Mommy, I don’t remember the trip to soccer practice being a 12-hundred mile trip before….. “

“Aw shut up you little ankle-biter, you’re lucky to be on parole according to your P.O….”

(If you don’t know a P.O. is a parole officer, you haven’t had kids in the Modern Era. But that’s a half-rack of discussion some of these days, but not this one…)

The kids (the 2+2 group coming to the Free Republic) all have mobile devices. But there is one more itsy-bitsy little trick.

Our road number changed and not everyone got the memo. This was 12-years back, maybe 14, some to study it.

Point is we live on Anderson County Road 4416.

The OLD name was Anderson County Road 441-B. The “harmonization” of county-wide street numbering was so that Emergency Services could get here if ever called. Even without the two-day response time (they had to send out survey parties previously) the response time was on the order of 20-minutes before and it’s down to something like 18-minutes now. Just long enough so the Fire Department, if called, would be “able to save the foundation.”

Imagine – and I know it’s a stretch – but what would happen if you had to get your family out of harms was and the GPS system didn’t just go to wide-ranging Selective Availability, but was completely turned off.

How would you navigate?

Not that it would be a huge issue: For personal evacuation planning, at least until losing another 30-pounds of lard, I think 15-miles a day would be hiking to capacity.

Unless the reason for going nomadic happened to be an Earthquake (two Super Moons to go) the streets would be be in place and you could follow railroad tracks if you’d studied those maps.

But follow me here: How far do you really think you could really hoof or bike-it in the event of an actual emergency and with no map?

At the uber-extreme, we have kids in Seattle and we’re in Texas. That is an 1,820 mile hike. And can it be done in winter should the occasion arise? Sure. But you’d need to work well south before heading east. Might be able to make it coming down through Eastern Oregon, then on down into Idaho and Salt Lake and there down to Arizona, but mighty exposed country, little if any cover over much of it. And lack of water, food, maps and such is what gets people killed.

If you ever want to read a chilling (literally and figuratively) book, I always found Louis L’Amour’s “Last of the Breed: A Novel ” a phenomenal on-the-ground adventure.

It’s like $5-bucks for Kindle and a very enjoyable read.

Won’t spoil the whole plot, but if you consider yourself an enterprising prepper sort, you don’t know kah-kah if you haven’t read this morning.

It involves a U.S. pilot being shot down, best I can recall, during the time of the Cold War. This was back around when Francis Gary Powers (who really was shot down in a U2 spy plane) was being dragged around the headlines.

Except the twist is that the pilot has half Native American and thus, with that whole, expansive, other way of being, was uniquely qualified to walk out of central Russia. Route took him east through Siberia and then crossing the Bering to get home.

Hell of a read.

Thing is, there are a million and one survival tips and techniques in the book. L’Amour told me in an interview long ago that he’d actually walked most of the sites and territories in his books, save this one.

By walking the wagon ruts and getting out and talking to locals, well, to say his books are phenomenal resources in terms of “life back then” is an understatement. Most L’Amour books have tons of prepping advice in them.

And that’s the point.

The juxtaposition of a half-Native American walking out of Russia with only his basic gear (and while being pursued the whole way by a KGB goon) is one take on survival, escape, and evasion.

The other is “My cell service is too busy, I will get you the map in a second…

OK, off to call the Septic guys to see what time Old John will be out and then the day should fall either into place or completely apart.

I’m sure Ure familiar with how that goes… ‘specially around a Holiday….

Write when you get rich,

author avatar
George Ure
Amazon Author Page: UrbanSurvival Bio:

11 thoughts on “Coping: Prepping for Over the River and Whatever”

  1. My stint in business school 52 years ago taught me basic, map and architectural drafting. I can draw them so I certainly can read them. Every three years, I buy a new Rand-McNally Road Atlas. Yes indeed these are still published. Usually a bargain on ebay. The latest one replaces the old one in my driver’s seat back pocket. Corps of Engineers terrain maps are a good deal (do they still print those?) if you are leaving roads and going into the bush. If you don’t know how to use these, get appropriate Boy Scout or similar training books and learn ASAP. The independence of not needing devices is uplifting to the soul.

    • You should hold on to your old ones. My old one from the early 90’s shows towns and roads that the new ones do not. I have noticed that the mapping quality has degraded a lot. The old one was better for heading into Wyoming, for example.

  2. gu,i wrote earlier and have bought two/2 hisense tv….best i,ve ever had. got a 55 ” and50″.i,ve had samsung,vizio but these are better. 4 year warrenty and will come to your house based in atlanta cust ser..i can lead a horse to water but can,t get him to drink ,ha,ha.

  3. … and so what did you find that can live on your PC and not need cellular infrastructure?

    I’ve been looking for the same.

  4. No powered vehicle? Instead of walking you should be riding a bicycle with airless tires pulling a good pull behind trailer.

    If one travels out west in the northern latitudes in the summer one will see MANY bikers doing this and going coast to coast. San Francisco to NYC seems to be the most popular itinerary from what I have seen. In my experience about 1/2 of the people doing that are Europeans here for a grand North American adventure and they give themselves 3 months +- for doing the trek. I have run into a number of those types with their bikes and trailers in campgrounds throughout the west during the summer.

    With a decent bike /trailer combo an out of shape person should be able to do 50 miles per day easily (averaged), an in shape person 100 (averaged), and an experienced bike rider 120-150.

  5. George etal;

    Best wishes for really happy (easy on the pumkin pie with whipped cream) Thanksgiving!


    PS: Just how many meals can you get out of that dead bird?

  6. It’s simple, you download the maps you need onto your handheld. I have the entire country of Ecuador, with driving directions, on my phone at all times. Cost for the app was $5 or so. It’s why I sold my Garmin (at a handsome profit, no less). Ecuador maps for the Garmin were $30 or so. You can download google maps for an area, but the periodically expire and have to be downloaded again.

    I can go to any major city in the world, and navigate it like a local.

    Oh, you bought the cheapest phone with only 16gb of ram or less? And no GPS chip in the phone? If this were a video game, and you needed a map, it would be game over.

    And you are doing all your phone calls over wifi, aren’t you? Call anyone in the world for free if they have the matching app on their phone.

  7. “The Last of the Breed” is a great read one of those books you can’t put down or forget. I can also relate to septic hell, Rid X and empty tanks to start it off right.

  8. There were two, now there are none:
    Delorme with Rand McNally Street Atlas USA, and Microsoft Streets & Trips. MSST went away in 2013. Delorme was acquired by Garmin at about that same time. Garmin discontinued computer products (read: SA and support for PC-based receivers) in 2015, to concentrate on handhelds, GPS/SATphones, and smartphone apps. IIRC Navteq supplied maps to both (as well as to Garmin, Magellan, and TomTom.)

    If one has a NMEA device, they can buy maps from either Garmin or Magellan, or use OpenStreetMap’s freebies, which aren’t as good, but would probably prevent terminal lost-itis. I’ll just continue to use Street Atlas and not worry about the few thousandths of a percent of map data which becomes obsolete every year…

  9. WikiOffline is something I downloaded two years ago, I need to update it. Figured it would have some handy info on a stand-alone laptop if you can never access the internet again. 3GB+ download, expands to 17GB (few if any pictures?). Figure it is worth the space allocation. Very interested in knowing what you find out about stand-alone map applications.

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