Getting Home Long Distance in the Event of An EMP/Solar Flare- Part 1, by B.M.

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.

The Nightmare

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.

The Scenario

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.)

Decision Time

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.

See Also:

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:

First Prize:

  1. 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.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. 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,
  4. 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),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. 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,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. 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,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (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.


  1. I have to travel through two major Metropolitan areas every other week for work. There is an alternate route, but that takes me through 4 bedroom communities to one of the big cities. I have thought and planned about this often. I look forward to the rest of your article.

  2. Thought about these things myself, I make a 400 mile round trip regularly.
    Itb used to worry me, not so much anymore, I know I can walk 15 to 20 miles a day with medium effort or swipe/buy/barter a bicycle and do 30+ a day or take it easy/

    I go through the east edge of Madison WI hwy 90/39/51

    Last time I got to wowwing I had forgot to replace all my supplies after attempting to repack my bags the friday before and realised it 100 miles into the trip/
    sometimes I also carry a collapsible cycle in the rear seat too.

    Need to finish reading your article.

    1. train is a big alternate
      Way to travel. Also locating a small
      Airport with private planes if you can fly. You can take a course on landing and take off for a lot less money then
      Going after a license.

      1. Horse wrote about being in the Madison, Wisconsin area–it is super safe and almost an amazing resource packed area. You would only want to be CAREFUL if the weather gets really wet and or cold for a long period. The area has great terrain for water and food.

  3. Maps – it’s too easy to just stop at an interstate rest stop and pick up one of their free maps next time you are passing through a state. Typically these cover the entire state in question. Another easy option is just getting a Rand-Mcnally spiral bound road atlas and keep it in your car in a ziploc type bag. They are relatively small, and easy to keep in your car. If the situation arises, you can easily remove all of the ‘unnecessary’ maps to lighten your load.

    1. Great advice! I love my road atlas map. I also pick up maps of every park i am near for future hiking or camping adventures.

      For 12 dollars you can get a laminated Topo map of your area in 18×24 from any number of online sites. I unlamented was 8.

  4. Before starting out on this trek, the most logical step would be to check in with your local safety forces. Outside of New Orleans, most safety forces have responded properly to disasters of one kind or another. Lets face it a cop or firefighter did not choose that profesion for its great pay, easy hours, or lack of danger. Most of these people are dedicated to serving. Though many are hardened by the job their basic instinct is to run towards the problem not away from it. Remember 911. This may not be the ultimate answer depending on the particular scenario, but its the logical place to start.

  5. Few things:

    1: you mentioned that there was “… Internet mapping site the quickest route home by walking” What site was that? I just did a google search and found this
    I’m sure there are many more.

    2: Good suggestions, such as carrying a gun and getting in shape. Live is prepping for the unexpected!

    3; You can get free road maps of most states by sending away to their department of transportation. If OPSEC is a concern, get a mailbox!

    5: Planning on delays, etc., what is a good distance to cover in a day? I’d hazard a guess at 20 miles a day. That means a 900 trip is 45 days. Increase your daily range to 25 miles and you knock that down to 36 days. That could mean the difference!

    6: you mentioned keeping your feet in shape. That is SO vital! Carry extra socks, foot powder, bandaids, etc. even a small blister will hobble you and lower your daily distance. And for Gosh sakes, get your shoes/boots broken in and comfy!


  6. Definitely good food for thought.
    Even being 50+ miles away from home can create many obstacles and unexpected problems that could occur from a natural or man-made disaster. Being 500+ miles away could be something that approaches the impossible.
    If I remember correctly, someone posted a similar sort of situation scenario earlier in the year, except it was based on having flown across country, and then end up stranded in a major metro area when an EMP or solar flare happens, without any means of transportation or much of anything else.
    Such situations at best would be very difficult to deal with. Not necessarily impossible to over-come, just depends on what the situation variables are, and how you can best adapt and manage the situation.
    It does provide plenty of food for thought.

  7. Psalm 144 King James Version (KJV)

    144 Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

    2 My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.

    3 Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!

    4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

    5 Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

    6 Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.

    7 Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children;

    8 Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

    9 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.

    10 It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword.

    11 Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:

    12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:

    13 That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets:

    14 That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets.

    15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.

  8. If a person needed to travel a great distance from home on a frequent basis and had concerns about being stranded, perhaps something like this could be placed in the trunk before departing: https:


    With a little work, it might be made to look something like this, or even better:

  9. Concerning the bike; sure, someone can snare you with a cable across the road, but this wouldn’t likely happen early on in a TEOTWAWKI. There could, however, be groups of two or three who might try to unhorse you; most likely to get your bike. If you’re on foot, you’re just plain screwed if you’re seen. On the bike, you have the option of plowing through those meaning to do you harm. Chances are, they’ll bail before you hit them. If not, you’d be surprised how stable a bike can be when running over your enemy…

  10. Good article, I’ve thought about this as I travel to visit family that lives a thousand miles away. About once or twice a year. My Wife and I talk about it on the trip. One thing that might help is watch “Suspicious Observers ” on youtube. They will let you know if there is any “space weather” you may need to be aware of. It’s only 5 or 6 minutes but beware, VERY addictive ! After survivalblog it’s the second thing I watch every morning .

  11. Dear Sean……mindset is more important than nearly any other aspect of survival….if you start off with the mindset that you are not going to make it, you more than likely will not!! Proper mind set is not just a nice attitude to have, IT IS ESSENTIAL!

  12. I work all over my state so I always carry a get home bag in my truck and a folding bicycle. My plan is to ride at late night hours only so I carry a can of flat black spray paint and I will paint the entire bike black. I also carry a good quality NVD so that I can stop and check out the road ahead of me from time to time. I hope to move along quickly and quietly while most people are sleeping. I will do my sleeping during the day in a brush thicket or some other inconspicuous place. One thing a person should consider when planning your get home bag is to make sure that whatever electronic gadget you are packing is protected in some sort of a small Faraday cage. The chances of an EMP happening is probably close to zero but if it does the consequences of not prepping for it could cost you your life.

  13. I’ve often thought that being caught hundreds of miles from home, and having to walk, I’d rather avoid large cities and highways. I’m investigating the possibility of following rail roads on foot. You would probably avoid most people and have a cleared route through difficult terrain. If trains are still running you might even be able to catch a ride hobo style.

  14. If I had to work on a regular base that put me over 500 plus miles from my family I would have an EMP proof vehicle. A an extra battery and other components that make the vehicle run could be in a faraday cage.
    I like the idea of a older dodge truck, power wagon.
    There are old car and truck clubs and these vehicles are like new but still cheaper than a new truck at $50k

    And if you wanted a secondary transportation than an electric mountain bike would make short work of 500-800 miles.

    But I hope your maps show the radiation clouds from the nuclear power plants that will run out of cooling water and blow up. Bad news if you are downwind.

  15. 3-4 days after the “event”, I believe that all travel aids will be targets. Bikes especially. I keep a large wheel diameter “game” cart in my trunk to help “carry the load”, but expect to have to abandon it shortly after SHTF.
    I too travel several hundred miles from home regularly and my GHB weighs a ton. If I can average 12 miles per day I’ll be happy.
    Remember that after the first week you’ll need to avoid most people. You’re not going to be able to walk down the road.

  16. Knowing how to fly and land a small plane is a good skill set. In the situation your talking about and the distance your going to have to travel a small plane will carry you and your gear 300 to 500 on one fueling. Knowing how to get fuel without electricity from the sump is another good thing to know. I realize that you’ll probably have to steal it but that is between you and your God. You have to decide how bad things are or will get and the urgency to get back to your family

  17. So, what about the “FEMA Gulag” camps all over the country? Sorry, reserved for the gov-agents and families. What’s the best way to keep a gov-agent “subordinate”? Get it now?

  18. Sir: I appreciate your efforts and concerns, however reality is that traveling long distances can be planned and executed in a more advantageous fashion than described by your trip methodology.
    A few years back, I would take a trip quite regularly from eastern Colo to Tampa in an older minimal computer F250 4×4 4dr powerstroke diesel with aux fuel tanks, and a high pressure nitrogen supply as in tire woes or a need for an impact wrench. I would reach the destination with the original fuel load with plenty to spare. Not saying breakdowns could not occur, however, I carried spare starter, alternator, sensors, filters etc on board with the means to complete all non exotic repairs easily with tech bulletins/manuals on hard copy. A little plan ahead for the unexpected can minimize the bedwetting for most events.
    I don’t buy the drama that folks put up with just to display a victim badge. Thanks again.

Comments are closed.