Regardless of whether the stock market goes up for another year, or two, the economic reality of what congress has done to this once Great Nation financially will have to come home to roost.

For today, we still have time to prepare for (whatever) and it’s a useful exercise to think through your personal transportation requirements in advance.

For one, you won’t be traveling as much.  So, with car insurance for most of us running in the $500 to $1,000 per year range, the idea of taking money from your scant food and shelter budget in a Depression and using it to underwrite big insurance companies is less than appetizing.

In a real Depression – something 3 to 7 times greater in pain than the little Housing bubble blow-down of 2009 – we will be looking at the same kind of America that grandparents and great-grandparents endured.  A near total lack of jobs, hard to find food, and all the rest of it.

With no where in particular to “go to work” and with scammers and hoaxers trying to rip people off at every turn, we see the outline of a world where the working population will be ready to pack up and move anywhere in the country where there’s so much as a rumor of jobs being available.

What are the choices?  You’re not paying attention if that’s the first question,  The CORRECT thing to be asking is “What’s the cost per mile involved of each option?”  Far better question to be asked.

Feet: The things holding up your legs are likely out of shape.  Even if you put in half a mile a day on a treadmill, that’s not really walking.  When we get off the treadmill here at the ranch and begin to hike around the property, a lot of things come into focus while walking the property line (6,200 feet around the perimeter).

For one, real ground is irregular.  If you have never walked “wild land” you;’d be surprised how many things are out there that can cause you to trip and stumble.  Hell on ankles if you aren’t used to it.

Shoes:  Then there is the matter of shoes and socks.  The average “dress socks” are terrible.  I’ve gone to a good quality diabetic sock because they are much easier on the legs.  The tight-top dress crew socks aren’t very good and don’t offer much padding.  After this, inspect any sock for seams around the toe.  Most socks have them, being easier to make on a machine, but there is nothing worse than a blister at the end of the day on your toes from a seam that has been rubbing.

Now to the shoe itself:  The best walking shoes are likely the thickest “work book” that you can break-in without too much efforts.  Doc Martens are good. But, so are steel-toed lace-up boots like you can find places like Tractor Supply.  No, it ain’t Nordies, but they work and quite well.  Thick-sole tennis or walking/hiking shoes are good, too, but remember the objective from the prepping standpoint is “How many miles can I realistically put on these things before they’re no good?”

If you can’t find a shoe that you could walk the length of the country in – in the event of an actual emergency – then you likely don’t have a good shoe.  If you can put on your heavier than sports-weight walking shoes and make it from one coast to the other, then you’re onto something.

Destinations and Guidance:  Most preppers are wildly under-prepared for overland navigation in a “lights out” condition.  Sure, color hiking GPS is really nice and we all love them.  But, it is not until you can bit off a section, or two, of something like the Cascade Crest trail that you begin to see the risks of electronic navigation.

Let’s imagine that you have walked from Snoqualmie Pass and you’re going to the Stevens Pass area.  Beautiful trail.  But, there are lots of forks, divisions, and ways to take a wrong turn.  As a result, a single GPS is NOT a safe way to attack the problem.  Consider how well the GPS will work if you fall into a small river while crossing it.  Is the GPS waterproof?  And, should you be carrying an extra LifeStraw or more batteries?

In the Pacific Northwest, you’d be hard-put to find anything near Green Trail Maps, but that’s a regional.  For a little more national perspective, hit Trails.com.  Here, you can put in a state and find trails that might be good “warm-ups” for you.  One near us, the Tyler State Park Trail over here, looks like one will will have to put on our hiking list.

If you hit the link, you’ll see that this one is a 12-mile kick-ass bike trail in addition to all the other options.  I like the idea of walking a bike trail because not only can you hike, but you can also work on “E&E” (escape and evasion) while you’re at it.  You take to the bike trail, just like it was any other, but your goal is to circuit the trail without being seen, or at least having an evasion plan when you are.

See:  If the crap ever really hit the fan, there will be lots of reasons not to encounter “unknowns” and one of the best ways to do this is actually practicing walking without being detected.  Not recommended in big cities:  This is a rural thing.

Learn to read a “topo map” because when you are overlanding, the straightest line between two places may needlessly tire you out if you made a dumb choice with lots of elevation changes.

Distances of travel:  My wife and brother-in-law grew up in the Mormon high country of upland Arizona around Snowflake.  They knew people who could RUN from Snowflake to Holbrook, Arizona – a distance of just under 50-miles.  To give yourself a reality check some weekend (and I did it last weekend) get on a treadmill and walk at a leisurely pace (2.25 miles per hour, say) and stay on the beast for 2 complete hours.  At the end, you will have walked a lousy 4-1/2 miles.

If this isn’t too bad, and if you get up to where you can walk 3-miles an hour for 2 hours, then it’s time to put on a backpack and carry some water with you.  Remember, the reality of having to walk is that you will need to carrying capacity.

If you can’t carry 40-pounds for several hours of walking, start to make a personal inventory of things around the home that could be useful in a walk-out emergency.  Something like this, for example…

This is actually quite useful for carrying a load.  But, how many miles do you thick you could push or pull a heavy lawn cart?

If you don’t relish balancing a load across the wilds, something like the $120 Timber Ridge Folding Camping Wagon Cart Collapsible Sturdy Steel Frame Garden Beach Large Size is worth considering, but change hands often and don’t plan on lots of vertical change on your route.

This “carrying problem” doesn’t get enough play in the “wannabe prepper” sites, as we see it.  More details and mindset if useful.

In the airplane flying business, there’s a concept called “useful load.”  Take the total weight of the plane, then add oil, fuel, and then see what’s left.  Suddenly, an airplane that can a theoretical 1,200 pounds of capacity turns into 832 pounds of capacity at full fuel and oil…and it gets worse depending on density altitude. Toss in a slightly overweight 200-pounder at the controls and 120 pounds of luggage an laptops…and what do you have?  Hopefully, three light-weight friends doing keto.

This may seem a bit obtuse, but it is directly applicable to the “walking equation.”  Just like the airplane needs to carry fuel and oil, you need to carry some snacks and a lot of water.  Same as the plane has a carrying capacity, how much can you toss into a backpack and spin up on a treadmill and for how long?  Every try 40-pounds for four hours without a drill sergeant?

Even the density altitude analogy to flying holds.  Remember that Snowflake to Holbrook running story?  This whole area is around 5,000 feet elevation.

So if your “hike out” or “move to fallback” prepping plans involve elevation change, factor several more items into your survival equation:

First, when you move from low altitude (coastal) to high altitude (inland) your blood pressure is likely to go up.  If your prepping plans involve moving to a higher elevation, say more than 1,000 feet higher than present, you’ll want to visit the High Altitude Medicine website for an overview not only of spikes in Blood Pressure, but also impact on coronary artery disease and such.  Adjustment time to the elevation change can be a couple of weeks, or longer.  And if you’re hiking?  Density altitude is a real deal danger.  Sea level training is great, but working UP to mountains is best.

In our next episode, we’ll look at other ways of getting around, but in this “opener” I wanted you to get serious about about your personal readiness to walk in avoidance of trouble.  Five to 10 miles on a treadmill with a 30-40 pound pack may not seem like “prepping” but in a worst-case?  It’s a woefully inadequate warm-up.  But you may survive and thrive while other dive.

Write when you get rich,

george@ure.net

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