An Old Boy Scout’s Journey – Part 4, by Rocket J. Squirrel

(Continued from Part 3. This installment concludes the article.)


Fitness: I have managed to keep my body weight about the same as it was when I finished high school. I try to maintain my aerobic fitness. I have done a reasonably good job. The fitness routine includes running and I have commuted to work on my bicycle at various times over the years. Southern California roads were much friendlier to bicyclists compared to my new home. I need to be more consistent with my work-outs since I am not bicycling lately. Although my body weight is the same as when I was young, I am certain that my muscle mass has dropped. I need to get back to consistent strength training as well.

Vehicles: Our current vehicles are a 4-door sedan and an all-wheel-drive SUV. On my wish list is a Dodge 4X4 crew cab with a Cummins diesel engine. As Hank Williams Jr. sings, “I got a shotgun, a rifle and a 4-wheel drive, and a country boy can survive…” At this point, I just want to be a Country Boy. The diesel engine vehicle will give me fuel diversity.

We keep each vehicle stocked with various supplies: headlamp with extra batteries, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, Leatherman, assorted small tools, tire plug/repair kit, the larger cans of Fix-A-Flat, blanket, space blankets, cash, hats, bandanas, golf umbrellas, pocket-size copy of SAS Survival Guide, truck gun (unloaded, but with side saddles filled and a full grab-and-go), drinking water, rain jacket, DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer of appropriate states, FAA Sectional Charts (the maps that pilots use) covering the same area, Mainstay and SOS food bars, leather gloves waterproofed with SnoSeal, a 12VDC-to-120VAC inverter. Tire chains and a shovel are added during the winter or when planning travel over mountain passes. I carry a manual bicycle pump on long journeys – slow but effective. I keep a trigger lock which I apply to the truck gun before dropping the vehicle for service and remove the lock after service. At other times, locking of the vehicle is the firearm security. The firearm is always stored out of sight.

Should abandoning our home become a reality the SUV is equipped with roof racks and Class 3 hitch receiver. There is a Yakima roof-top cargo box to mount on the roof racks for carrying supplies. The to-do list includes purchasing a basket-style hitch cargo carrier in which four GI fuel cans 20 liter would be carried. I did a little research and decided to purchase new fuel cans, not surplus. New is more expensive than surplus, but I did not want to end up with a leaky fuel can. I purchased the cans at

There is a fuel transfer hand pump (sort of like a small bicycle pump but specifically designed for gasoline and with suction/discharge hoses) with which I could remove gasoline from the sedan and place in the fuel cans to provide extended range for the SUV. The specific fuel transfer hand pump I purchased doesn’t seem to be available any more. Make certain that any pump you purchase for this purpose is rated specifically for gasoline. I see similar pumps currently available on Amazon from Cole-Parmer and Koehler Enterprises.

If you ever transfer gasoline, treat the process like you would at the gasoline station: turn your engine off, no smoking or other sources of ignition, and have someone standing at the ready with a fire extinguisher. The fuel tanks on each vehicle are kept half full or better when possible. Just as with water, the fuel pumps at gasoline stations will not operate without electricity. The fuel transfer hand pump could also be used to transfer gasoline from an underground gasoline station storage tank if the electricity is out. I need to get a longer length of suction hose to reach down into the underground tanks. I also have two spare 12V fuel pumps from a prior vehicle which could be used for the same purpose. I need to get those fuel pumps set up with a 12 Volt DC cigarette lighter plug and suction/discharge hoses.

Sanitation: We have a Thetford Porta Potti. But if we are staying put in a grid-down situation, we can use the regular toilets for urination. Everyone would use the same toilet and just flush with a bucket of water once per day. There are several empty 5-gallon buckets in the garage which could serve this and other purposes. On the to-do list is to determine what will happen to the sewer system in my neighborhood during a power outage.

I am accustomed to Southern California where the sewer system would gravity flow to the ocean during a power outage. I am behind a levee now and need to figure out what happens to my sewer system when the power goes out. Does the sewer back up into my home eventually? There are several large ponds near our house and a significant river 2 miles away so we could collect water on foot. Our bicycles could be rigged to transport the filled 7-gallon water containers (58 pounds) while walking the bikes. We used to have a Burley bicycle trailer which could have been used for that purpose but that is in use by the grandkids.

Communications: We have 4 “weatherproof” Motorola MT351R FRS/GMRS two-way radios. I found them at Costco for about $80 per pair. Purchased separately were hands-free headsets for each. I took Mr. Rawles recommendation and purchased a 5-pack of Baofeng transceivers. Even though it is not legal to sell them anymore, I saw some still for sale on Amazon when I last checked in January 2020. There are several Grundig Mini World 100 short wave radio receivers with reel antennae.

Barter: Stored for barter are cash (Federal Reserve notes/fiat paper currency,) pre-1965 silver US coins (real money,) nickels, ammunition, a couple of cases of Jack Daniels, electronic scales and a mechanical dial caliper for measuring barter items (along with a book of coin specifications from Jim’s book list), matches, duct tape, electrical tape, paraffin, bar soap, shampoo, castile liquid soap, rat traps, mouse traps, candy. (I think the candy would likely be kept for personal consumption!)


Now that I have taken time to think about it, my time in the Boy Scouts certainly gave me the mindset to “be prepared.” Looking back, the trigger that started the acceleration of my journey to being more prepared was Chuck Missler’s Strategic Perspectives. I say “more” prepared because we are certainly more prepared now than 30 years ago. But there will still be future additions and adjustments to what has been implemented previously. There is more training to be accomplished. My journey certainly accelerated 25 years ago. I hope that my story is an encouragement to you.

My list of preparations is given to hopefully get you started. You could use my choices…or not. I tried to be budget conscious yet I did select higher priced items when I thought the reliability and functionality were worth the extra expense. My choices may not the best choice for everyone, but they are what I have implemented. Each of us needs to evaluate our specific situation and location and implement what is appropriate.

Now I must answer the question posed in the title. “Why I am so old?” One movie I enjoy very much is Despicable Me. There is a line where Gru is exasperated with Doctor Nefario and asks him, “Why are you so…old?” I have appropriated that line and now often ask my beautiful bride and my good friends, “Why am I so old?” My body doesn’t work as well as it used to. My body aches more often. The use of my electronic devices inflicts repetitive stress injuries. Healing in general takes longer. I have become a grumpy old man as I think about the deterioration of the USA observed in my lifetime.

On one level, I am “so old” simply because I have not died yet. The truest answer is that God is not done with me here on this earth yet. So I will continue, endeavoring to honor God, proclaim His gospel, serve my family, serve God’s church and His chosen people – Israel, and serve my country until that time when God calls me home. May the LORD bless you, and keep you, and cause His face to shine upon you as you do His will.


  1. Just a thought. Carrying gasoline in jerrycans at the rear of your vehicle is a disaster waiting to happen. A rear-end hit and there will be gasoline everywhere and the crunch of metal almost guarantees a spark. I was at an accident where it happened. Diesel fuel not as bad but still a concern. A properly installed auxiliary tank would be much safer

  2. Thanks Rocket Squirrel, lots of good nuggets in this four-part series.

    “I am “so old” simply because I have not died yet.” I’m going to remember that line, it will come in handy! 🙂

  3. Really enjoyed the article!

    Thank you for including reasoning for each item as well as your future plans/upgrades, has given me many things to consider with improving my situation.

    And I also loved the “I am “so old…” line 🙂

  4. Having spent months at a time on the worst Forest Service roads, I’ve found the most useful tools are a tire plugging kit, and a 12vdc electric air compressor. However, like anything else, it requires some practice to know how to plug a tire, so it might be good to have 2 spare tires.

    If we are bugging out from the city to a BOL, we may be forced drive in areas, or on roads that pose hazards to tires. For example, if the primary and alternates routes are unavailable, one might need to use Forest Service roads, or railway access roads to get through. Some of these roads are not maintained and are more or less trails that have many sharp rocks. Of course a top quality set of tires that have the highest weight ratings are less likely to be punctured. I prefer a actual truck tire over a passenger car, or light truck tire that is as narrow, and tall as can be installed. A fully loaded vehicle can make the likelihood of a puncture higher as well.

    The narrow tire on a heavily loaded vehicle can have exceptional traction, greater than a wide flotation tire, and actually has a more contact in a narrow footprint that does a wider tire when deflated to traverse areas with deep and soft sand. In mud, this tire digs in and makes contact with the ground below the mud. It also has less chance of making contact with sharp objects, and it’s side walls are considerably heavier in construction. When inflated to the maximum air pressure stated on the tire, the side wall of any tire is less vulnerable. I would look for a suitable tread pattern for your area in a tire with a D or E load rating if possible. Unfortunately, it may now be difficult to find a garage willing to install a tire of a size other than what the manufacturer of the vehicle states is appropriate for the vehicle. A tire that is several sizes larger than original equipment tires, does indeed increase the distance necessary to stop the vehicle.

  5. Electric Fuel Pump

    Another very useful tool is an electric fuel pump. Using a 5 gallon bucket, and all the hoses, power cord, tools and a small SLA (sealed lead acid) battery fits inside. An off/on switch is installed on the outside of the bucket so that fumes cannot be ignited by a spark from the switch. Do not use a lid as this will trap fumes inside the bucket. The fumes are far more dangerous that liquid gasoline. Empty the pump lines before placing them in the bucket for storage. Add a in line fuel filter to capture debris usually found in gas cans and tanks. Use the largest alligator type, or jumper cable clamps to attach to a battery instead of cigarette lighter plug. These plugs are not nearly as reliable as clamps. Use a 10 amp inline fuse near the positive clamp end. A low pressure 12vdc electric fuel pump is available at most parts stores. These may draw gasoline upward from in ground tanks only if that tank is nearly full. A high pressure in tank fuel pump designed for fuel injected vehicles would do a much better job of pump fuel from an in ground tank as no suction side hose is used. It operates much like a deep well pump.

    This fuel pump is a valuable tool for the prepper who stores fuel, and fuels up their rigs with that fuel to rotate it, or wishes to transfer fuel from one vehicle to another. It will also handle diesel. These tasks are necessary and made easier with this pump. It can also be used to remove water from the bottoms of vehicle fuel tanks, or any tank. Water will cause fuel tanks to rust, and make vehicles inoperable.
    Carry and use 90% isopropyl alcohol, or a one gallon can of denatured alcohol from a hardware store in the BOV in case the fuel is contaminated. Up to a 20% alcohol and gasoline mixture can be used without harming the motor, and will absorb water and suspend it in the feul and burn it.

    Modern in ground double wall tanks are less susceptible to water contamination if the sensors are monitored. However during the change in seasons, or during rapid and wide swings in temperature, unless the tank, or the vehicle tank is only partially full of fuel, water from humid air can and does collected on the sides of the tank (condensates) and collects at the bottom of the tank. You BOV fuel tank should always be kept full, especially if it is not in service daily.

    1. BR,

      It is the Boafeng UV5R. That is the most capable and violates some FCC rules. That is why I got lots and lots of these. They can even be made into a disposable and temporary low power repeater using any receiver, and cable that sends audio to activate the VOX function on the Boafeng. If one can build, or buy an external antenna, the wide range of frequencies it transmits on could be used in a WROL situation. One can also run one of these though a linear amplifier that boosts the power out. Most VHF linear amps will put out up to 25 watts, depending on the frequency range it was designed for, with only 1-2 watt input.

    2. [Baofeng] UV-5s: No law against possession, purchase, or use ( if properly licensed), but illegal to sell, or at least that’s my understanding. Disclaimer: I am not an attorney (nor do I play one on TV), and I offer no legal advice or counsel.

  6. We should all strive to be the Boy Scout that Rocket Squirrel is. I once traded a good survival knife for a mint condition 1950’s Explorer Scout Manual. A retired SF Master Sergeant with several college degrees, who was also a Scout Master, advised me that a survivalist with that knowledge and a basic understanding of tactics could do well in the field. It even includes sections on organization and signals (communications).

    The FRS/GMRS Motorolla brand radios are good choice for those without an Amateur Radio license. The FRS side of the radio transmits at no more than 0.5 watts on high. Use FRS, channels 1 to 14 for maximum security and shortest range. Use the GMRS channels 15 to 22 on the high power setting for up to 2 watts of power, and a maximum range. A GMRS channel can also be set to the lowest of three power settings, and transmit using only 0.5 watts. On all radios, turn off all the noises making features, and select the primary frequency, record it and an alternate frequency somewhere on the radio. A permanent marker might be used on some radios that have a high contrasting color relative to the black marker. Use a transparent tape to protect the information. Have a spare set of rechargeable AA batteries for these, or a spare batter pack for any radio. I often leave a radio on when I should have turned it off.

    If the Baofeng radios are not programmed, simply turn the radio on, press the orange VFO button, and using the key pad, enter one of the first 3 MURS radio frequencies that are Channel #1, 151.820, Ch#2 151.840, or Channel 151.940. Using paper and small print, record the primary and alternate frequency to be used, and either clear packing tape, or transparent tape of any kind to adhere and protect this information in the backside of the battery for future reference.

  7. One thing to watch out for, is where you stop with your bugout vehicle. Someone up to no good may be watching you. Having your tires slashed during a bugout situation is not something to look forward to. During the recent protests, I saw several pictures of police puncturing tires of potential protest vehicles to disable them. Make sure you always have someone watch and secure your BOV. Have plenty of spare tires available, as well as internal patch kits, and if possible an inner tube with a valve stem that will fit your rim. While punctures through the tread can easily be plugged, small punctures through the sidewall will require an internal patch–or if possible, an innertube. Applying a patch will require tire irons (spoons), and the knowledge how to manually remove tires, and do the patching. Any large cut through the sidewall (knife, etc.) will render the tire useless.

  8. Rocket squirrel ,,,,,the newer dodge Cummings are dead in a EMP or CME or just a blown fuseable link ,
    we have a old 12 valve. 5.9. It will run with no alt or batt. Will do a rolling start , 1993 with mechanical pump ,,
    500k miles ,,,don’t think I would take a new electronic pump one out where I have taken the old one ,Im not able to walk long distance any longer ,with 11,000acres (just added 4,000) of ranch it can take some time to get found ,kids tell me to get a sat phone , no cell or web out there ,mighty peaceful,

    What I don’t understand is where do you think your going to go when you ‘bug out’ and unless you have preset supply how long do you think you will last ? You pretty much can not depend on hunting , and the last thing folks in the out land want is someone unknown to them just showing up ,even with some special skill odds are you won’t be welcome. I think bugging out is like stepping in a tiger trap ,
    We don’t call it the big lonesome for no reason ,how are you going to heat and cook ?sooner or later you going to make a wood fire , We can smell that at 5 miles. Even further see the smoke when things are right ,,,talk of bugging out just don’t add up ,
    Now folks that have taken the time and are know and come out and even help out at times just might be welcome , even allowed to spot supplies.
    DW needs help with a cow , I’d best go

    1. Oldhomesteader, I love how you speak truth and just say it like it is! Furthermore, I feel it is truth with zero animosity and a whole lot of kindness filled with critical thinking for the benefit of others.

      I have never thought about bugging out to someone else’s property, but will always remember to share your information, if ever I meet someone who thinks they will.

      I did not know fire smoke could be smelled from 5 miles away. That is likely to be life saving knowledge! SOP will be no using cookstove or any fire when known enemy is within 7-ish miles, just to be safe. I will need to store meals accordingly, as well as inform others ahead of time, to insure safety and reduce possible complaints.

      Please consider blessing your family by getting a sat phone. What if it isn’t about you? What if you are outback and DW needs you? You remind me of my dad, whom everyone loves, and we want you around for as long as possible.

      BTW, I assumed DW meant, dear wife, which melts my heart. You are wonderful.
      Take care and blessings on your week, Krissy

      1. Krissy,,,,indeed DW is my partner and love of my life , best friend

        When you get out and away in the back country and in clean air your nose cleans out and the smells come alive , and remember with no unnatural sound to dull your ears ,well the things you can hear ! Same for your eyes ,i like the urban world to like riding in a truck and seeing the world in a blur ,hard on the eyes

    2. Oldhomesteader is right. If the Schumer really hits you would be surprised how fast peoples smell and hearing capability will improve, especially if they are hungry. Initial OPSEC will require no fire and no noise. That leaves out chain saws, tractors, and no smell-producing cooking.

      1. Thanks to Covid, peoples sense of smell and taste are destroyed permanently. Good reason NOT to catch it! But, it will hide us from those that got infected, as they can’t smell us!

  9. Oldhomesteader and Krissy… TY so much for what both of you shared… I enjoy coming to visit SB for the truth, honesty, forthrightness, and concern for fellow man… I am so encouraged by the community existing here and the knowledge gained … may God bless each and every soul in this community and may His Holy Spirit continue to guide us into all truth

    1. “I am so encouraged by the community existing here and the knowledge gained … may God bless each and every soul in this community and may His Holy Spirit continue to guide us into all truth”

      I feel exactly the same way, RCB5472TN. I’m glad you put it into words.

  10. You lead off with fitness. Good on ya. If you lack the strength to heft a tote of water or a spare tire, you got trouble.

    I envy your being able to maintain your weight. I have twenty pounds to drop for me to reach eighteen year old weight.

    Keep up your good work.

    Carry on in grace

  11. You can throw the SAS survival guide out the window. Have practiced numerous things in the guide. They just don’t work in real life emergency situations.

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