Minutes Mean Miles, by Jerry the Generator Guy

Most of us do not have the option of being able to live in our “bug out” location.  I have noticed that there are several common limiters for being able to quickly exit a locale;

  1. Time spent deciding on and gathering items to take.
  2. Time spent physically loading the vehicle(s).

This sort / load time issue is the same regardless of the quantity of stuff to be loaded. The same issues apply whether this is “the big one” or if the need is strictly for a local issue. The “prep” time, if done now, is a no dollar or low dollar activity.

As an example in the novel “Patriots” several hours were spent by Mike and Lisa Nelson in getting. They mentioned “We spent half a day…” and “ …should have done a practice load-up” [page 21-22 ]. Dan Fong and Tom Kennedy “took a lot longer… to pack up [than anticipated]” [ page 24 ].  The time required in these fictional instances are in my opinion reasonable and make the text more realistic. 

Several local people who were interviewed after a fire-forced evacuation stated that they spent a lot of time deciding just what to take or leave. They wished that they had made the decisions in advance.

Anyone’s thought process, in an emergency, probably isn’t working at full speed and clarity. An alternative method, which avoids random “grab and go”, that we plan to use is hereby offered.

The decision on what items will or will not be going should be made now.  These choices will be reviewed periodically.  Items that are selected to be taken are stored physically separated from other items.  Example: Which books go?  Answer: Books that are filed on certain shelves go. No sorting process will be necessary.  Every book on these specific shelves go  – Load All.  Repeat for tools, clothes,  ….  We will not spend any time looking at other candidates.  Result: The selection time at “go” is nearly zero.

Once the go / no-go decisions are discussed and agreed upon then you must do an actual load exercise.  This exercise is to determine if there is physical room in the vehicle to load as planned.  Expect to find areas where your plan doesn’t equal desire. You have the luxury of trying alternatives and selecting a revised load plan.  Result: The lost time at “go”, caused by load do-over, will be near zero.

I believe that this planning and verification method will result in at least two hour or more time reduction between the “go” decision and engine start. These avoided “get ready” hours mean that we are many miles already in route while others are getting started. Remember the traffic delays that were mentioned prior to Hurricane Katrina?  Those who left early had no or only minor travel delays. Avoid the hassle – do the plan and verify now.

We hope to see you at the “Troy Barter Faire”! (For those of you wondering what this means, see Chapter 14 in “Patriots”.)

JWR Adds: As I’ve noted in many of my writings, a “test load” is incredibly instructive. Any items that you’ll need at your retreat that won’t fit in your vehicles must be pre-positioned at your retreat. In many situations you may have only one, I say again, one trip Outta Dodge. There will be no going back for a second load!