Letter Re: Bugging Out West of the Mississippi

Dear Editor: Regarding “Bugging Out West of the Mississippi”, I had never seen the need for the advice in this article, after all, we do have a GPS. But after an extremely challenging trip recently from the Great River Eastward to the coast, we got tangled up trying to get through Indianapolis. Before the return trip I planned the route similar to the advice in the article. I am now in the process of putting together 3-ring binders with detailed maps on how to get through any large metropolis that is between us and any long distance destination. Thanks C.L. R.T.

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Observations and Lessons from the Oroville Dam Evacuation

I felt obliged to pass on some observations and potential lessons on the developing problems at the Oroville Dam here in northern California. For those who may not have heard, the Oroville Dam has had some major structural issues with the spillways, resulting in mandatory evacuations for as many as 180,000 people. It is an earth fill embankment dam on the Feather River east of the city of Oroville, California, in the United States. At 770 feet (230 m) high, it is the tallest dam in the U.S. and serves mainly for water supply, hydroelectricity generation, and flood control. It is supplied by the impoundment of the Feather River, and the Oroville Dam also manages an incredible amount of water; its full capacity measures 3,537,577 acre-feet, and it has a drainage area of 3,607 square miles. News media had been reporting on some erosion in the main spillway of the dam since Tuesday, the 7th of February, 2017. There was some video that can be found where big chunks of concrete are seen being thrown through the air by the water. Up until late afternoon on the 12th of February, all news media were still reporting that while there was … Continue reading

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Bugging Out West of the Mississippi- Part 2, by C.L.

In-Country Risks Contaminated Water The advantages of this trip west are due to large open areas with interspersed farms, ponds, and streams, relatively high visibility, and low population density. However, there are always the occasional natural and man-made risks to be wary of. Being largely farmland, most of the surface water is contaminated by pesticides and varying degrees of farm wastes, so have a variety of methods and containers to sterilize water in route. Removing most organic compounds and hydrophobic pesticides from water requires filtering through activated carbon or bio-char created from the gassification burning of wood above 1,652 Deg F (900 deg. C), not plain charcoal. Your local pet store carries ***activated carbon*** for use in aquarium filters. Distillation will remove most chemical contaminates as long as their boiling point is somewhat higher than water’s 212 Deg F (100 Deg C) while initial open, rapid boiling kills pathogens/bacteria and removes the lower temperature chemicals such as alcohols. Weather Of course the season of the year can present its own challenges, but I won’t detail winter conditions, since most are leaving them. However, if you fan out south in winter, remember these areas are not equipped for ice or snow … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Airport BOB

HJL, I have traveled extensively for the last 30 years and carry these items in addition to what you listed: Life straw. Clean water will be essential if you are stuck or have to walk home. Israeli battle dressing. It could be essential to saving yourself or someone else. Tourniquet: Can save yourself or someone else. Tactical pen. Mix it in with other pens in brief case. It’s not much but better than nothing on the airplane. Briefcase that converts to back pack. Brief cases are less conspicuous in the board room. Last year, I personally saw five young Middle Eastern men rush the gate agent at LAX to board in front of first class. The lone agent was so startled that they let them on. They were in the rear of the plane. Several frequent flyers and I developed a plan to eliminate the threat. They never moved during the flight to DFW. They would not have succeeded in taking over our flight. The danger is real, and we must stay ever vigilant. – J.H.

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Letter Re: Airport BOB

HJL, What a great list. I happily read this, as I travel frequently. I appreciated the list and agree with the items and responses already listed. I would just like to add a couple comments. LED lights are great, but living in Alaska, where at times we have 20 hours of darkness, I would add buying a head lamp. This is a basic $20 head lamp that slips in a pocket and is great for hands-free light. I also would add that I carry a packet of silver coins along with the cash. I have a length of paracord and duct tape, basic supplies that live in my bag, and a couple of heavy duty contractor garbage bags. These have a number of uses, including shelter. I would like to emphasis the importance of practical clothing. I may be traveling for work and need to be wearing dress clothes, but I am not going to travel in clothing that restricts my movements or puts me at an increased danger in an emergency. I’m going to wear durable, practical clothing, including hiking boots or running shoes, a belt, natural fibers that are more fire retardant, et cetera. If you are frequently … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Airport BOB

HJL, I’ve traveled for my company for the past 20 years, and 98% of what T.H. listed is what I had in my travel bag. Note it is what I “had”, as in past tense. I finally got out of the airports and traveling all over the country in 2015. There is the possibility of an odd trip or two, so I still have my carry-on bag handy at work. I find that I occasionally rob it from time to time. One thing T.H. listed that I never had was a whistle, and I feel that is a good idea. I found that the items changed over time especially after 9/11. Once, when stranded in Minneapolis, MN, I was able to contact a friend who lived there and spent the night in her basement. My missing item in the bag was a toothbrush, so the next morning as her husband drove me back to the airport we stopped off at a drug store and added a travel brush and paste to my bag. Another couple of items I always keep in my bag is a small compact umbrella and a light compressible rain coat. I’ve left the sunny south, where … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Airport BOB

Hugh, I used to be an airline pilot, so I’ve spent plenty of time in airports and hotels. Let your readers know, one inexpensive way to pick up an extra cell phone charger is to ask the front desk at the hotel. Previous guests accidentally leave their chargers, and the hotel stores them in a box. Most guests never return for them (I have left a couple myself), and the hotel either has to give them away or dispose of them. Just ask if you can run through their “box-o-chargers”; every hotel has one. – R from Texas

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Airport BOB, by T.H.

I agree that flying is a huge loss of rights, but I can’t afford not to fly.  I’m a college student getting ready to graduate, so I’m busy trying to find a job.  For an interview, I was flown to Dallas the same day they were setting records for snowfall.  As my flight had a connecting leg, home/Denver/Dallas, there was a distinct possibility of getting stuck in Denver and not being able to get to my interview hotel.  These flights were a great and so far safe/easy dry run.  All of this led me to really think about what would I need if something were to happen.  First, I have to define something happening:  I define something happening as a delayed or canceled flight, think 9/11, DC blizzards, Snowmageddon, et cetera, not necessarily a collapse but more of a large inconvenience.  I think that things will degrade worse before a collapse;  a cautious and minimal flying approach will continue to be employed.  If you think that a collapse will happen during your trip, then I wouldn’t travel.  That must be your informed, calculated call as you would be at a serious disadvantage. Making a BOB for the airport has some very non-beneficial considerations … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Jumper Cable Gauge

Hugh, The Prep Your Ride recommends 4-Gauge jumper cables, but I say 2 Gauge is the minimum, and the lower the better. The power is Current Squared over Resistance, so your 800 Amps / 14 V at your end might end up under 6V, under 300A at the car you are trying to jump. It is going over 10-20 feet so even what seems a trivial resistance causes lots of power loss even if the cables don’t heat up. At least a half dozen times, with one car racing the engine and the other failing to turn over, I swapped their thin cables for my longer 2 Gauge (Sportsman’s Guide but also on Amazon though I can’t find the exact ones), and the car with the dead battery started immediately. – T.Z.

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Prep Your Ride- Part 3, by J.U.

Situation: “Normal,” Everyday, Routine, and Your Vehicular Operations What is “normal,” everyday, or routine? Most people in America assume that these words mean orderly peacefulness, a lack of chaos and violence, and a Merry Christmas to all. They think that way because for so long that was “normal” in this country. Anyone who watches the news at all knows that these are things that can no longer be taken for granted; those sentiments do not represent the “realities on the ground” in our current state of affairs. Post “event,” what will become the new “normal” will likely be far different than what was “normal” five minutes before. You have to adapt quickly to the new reality or face some pretty serious consequences. Whether or not you subscribe to the belief that we are in a period of “gray slide” towards bad times, you will benefit from increasing your awareness of the situation around you. Situational Awareness can be divided into three macro-levels– strategic, operational, tactical. From the standpoint of your vehicular operations, the strategic level involves awareness of the larger situation. What are present conditions like nationally and regionally? Does the current state of affairs fit into a pattern, and … Continue reading

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Prep Your Ride- Part 2, by J.U.

3. A Generic Car-Emergency Kit: Most of these car emergency kits come with a basic tool set (that usually borders on worthless), but most have jumper cables, reflective triangles, a good bag to use to carry your own custom kit, and a cigarette lighter powered tire pump (which can prove useful if you’re not going to spring for the Powerpack or a unit of similar capability.) I bought my car-emergency kit for the bag and then built my own kit into that bag. The useless tools from the original kit make great presents for your brother-in-law. What To Put Into The Customized Car Emergency Bag: A Custom Tool Set: You need to replace the cheaply made “Made in China” tools with as reliable, last-a-lifetime tools as you can. Certainly inexpensive tools are better than none, but you have to understand that if you have to use tools to work on your car, it’ll probably be beside the road or in a dark parking lot. Oh, and it’ll be raining. Do you really want the added issue of pliers that are so cheap that they won’t grip properly or screwdrivers that snap under the torque of regular use? Buy Craftsman, DeWaltt, … Continue reading

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Prep Your Ride- Part 1, by J.U.

“The best gun is the one you have with you when you actually need it.” We’ve almost all heard or read that old saying at some point in our lives. It is such a common saying because we all recognize the simple truth inherent in those words. It doesn’t matter how many “tacti-cool” guns you have at home in the safe if you’re miles or just blocks from where you live when you suddenly need to defend your own or someone else’s life. The gear you have with you (or close at hand) is the stuff you’re going to war with when the next emergency, disaster, riot, civil disorder, or whatever craziness to happen kicks off. Our personal vehicles are absolutely central to our everyday lives. Nearly all of us spend a great deal of time in our vehicles. Our modern life as we know it would not be possible without them. While a reality-TV viewing audience would insist that the best way to spend money on a vehicle would be to “pimp their ride,” equipping it with flashy rims, a bounce-to-the-house hydraulic system, and a stereo that rattles the neighborhood, you can get the jump on any number of … Continue reading

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