Letter Re: Prepper Primer

Hello all! I’ve been a reader for a couple of years now, but really wish I had found this site a lot earlier. The prepper primer posts are, hands down, the best comprehensive posts for beginning preppers. They are not so technical that interest wanes, but they give a great overview of important aspects of survival in a SHTF scenario. I am going to have my teenage son read them. There is one item I would like to address, however, and that is the bit about the backroads of rural America. The true backroads are the unpaved and poorly marked county roads. They won’t be on any widely-published map. They can be complicated, so if you are not familiar with them, a map is essential or you WILL either get lost or waste a significant amount of gas. In my area, most of the roads are mapped on the county maps that are usually available at the county recorders office. If you have a rural destination in mind and are not familiar with the backroads, call the county now to order one for that and all surrounding counties. I also want to point out that using backroads can be dangerous from a couple of different perspectives. Here in rural Missouri, the natives are more likely to shoot first and ask questions later after the SHTF. Alternatively, they may be friendly to figure out if you have anything of worth and then rob you blind and/or leave you for dead. Of the two types, if you can get the first group to trust you, they will be upstanding and do right by you. Stay away from the second group entirely. The other big concern will be the condition of the roads themselves. During the rainy season, large parts of the backroads can be washed out, and bridges aren’t even passable (unless the idea of drowning is appealing to you). If it’s raining, you can pass an area where the water is just an inch or two, but by the time you realize you have to go back the way you came, it’s no longer passable. (Yep, spoken from experience.) Also, if there’s snow, just forget it. Hold up and wait. If you do choose the backroads, you need to go about 25mph. That gravel will chew up tires faster than a hungry dog will eat a bloody steak! While there may be a surplus of tires for the taking elsewhere, it still takes time and effort, and mounting and balancing can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. (I write this assuming you are traveling with a spare, full-sized tire.) If you have any kind of vehicle problems, try to stay off the backroads, if at all possible. It’s a safe bet that most of those junky vehicles you see along dirt roads have a living owner with a shotgun ready, so you’ll be walking back to the highway for spare parts. By the time you get back, your valuables (i.e. food) could be gone. I would really encourage you to weigh the risks verses advantages of using backroads, and to please just be prepared if you plan to do it, either right now or after TEOTWAWKI. Thanks for all the great information on this site, and keep up the good work. – B.M. (Because girls can do this stuff, too.)