My One Month TEOTWAWKI Road Test – Part 1, by Maui Dan

Backround: I’m a country boy who grew up in the farm land of Western Pennsylvania. I lived in the Amish region, observing their off-grid way of life. I was taught to take care of our animals, and that they would take care of us. Nearly everyone learned to hunt and had a knowledge of basic outdoor skills. I was a Boy Scout and learned “Be prepared.” I was a multi sport athlete in high school and  college where I made life-long friends. I have a career in physical therapy spanning 38 years, and achieved a 4th degree black belt. I’ve been a CPR/First Aid instructor, been a prepper since 1998, and a father of two. I’m now 60 years old a still a sinner saved only by His Mercy and Grace.

After years of serious prepping, saving and working multiple jobs I was able to relocate my family from Hawaii to rural Montana. Fifteen years later we were fairly comfortable. I purchased a log home on a remote wooded 20 acre mountain where deer and elk freely ranged. We had both a deep well and an artesian spring. We had like-minded neighbors, two horses  with tack, three goats, 25 chickens, 600 gallons of stored gas, 200 gallons of diesel, a home generator, two work trucks, gold & silver, a root cellar stocked with two years of supplies, 25 cords of firewood cut & stacked, ammo, various self defense weapons all on protected land. I felt pretty comfortable.

Early on a Monday morning there was a knock at the door and I was served divorce papers. My wife had already packed a truck. I watched her drive my two daughters down the gravel driveway separating our family forever. I fell on my knees, cried, threw up, beat my fists on the floor, cursed myself for not seeing this coming. I blamed myself for not preventing and preparing the most valuable items I ever had. Then I stood up.

Divorce changed everything. It is painful — as it should be. It’s not God’s plan. I didn’t talk, and didn’t listen. So please do, if you read no further than this, do as the Lord’s word says, “Don’t let the sun set on your anger.”

For the past several years I have been working as a traveling physical therapist. I’ve been on the road between Montana’s summers, when I get to be a dad and see my daughters. Then Arizona for the winter months and Hawaii as much as possible. A nomad? Gypsy? No, not even Mad Max. I’m a prepper. I have been since my youth and that won’t change with age or situations. This traveling, homeless lifestyle is quite different than living at a well stocked, fortified retreat. I’m always adapting, ever learning, constantly changing, praying and now always seeking the Lord’s wisdom.

I’m no longer a big fan of cold weather. Multi-joint arthritis, a knee replacement and surviving cancer kinda changed my cold tolerance. Men, get your farm land (PSA) checked. It’s an easy blood test. I thank the Lord for my arthritis doctor who would not accept my many “no thanks” responses. She saved my life. I was accurately diagnosed and treated just months before the cancer would have spread to my liver and pelvic bones.

My Recent Travels

This summer’s Montana physical therapy contract ended in October. I had no job, no home, had trusted friends who put me up in a spare room for a week here and there. I sold the 17 ft Toy Hauler RV that I’d used over the past two years. After praying, I packed up my 2007 Toyota with my preps, camping gear and a mountain bike.

I purchased and built a 4 ft x 8 ft trailer to haul my motorcycle. I had both truck and Harley maintenanced. For the Harley, I replaced the cam shaft, cam pressure plate, push rods, rollers, oil cooler, exhaust, belt and tires along with fluids. For the pickup; new 10 ply tires, front end was aligned, fluids, transmission, brakes and radiator flushed. I had enough savings and supplies to cover my expenses for about a month without any income. I wanted to test myself with a micro version of TEOTWAWKI.

In case of any accidents. I updated all of my worldly account information and forwarded all to my executive director. I revised my advanced directives and had it notarized. I included: credit union, checking and savings accounts, IRAs, 401s, recorded my safe combinations, made duplicate keys for locks, changed computer passwords and sign-on names. I purchased an additional three month supply of my cholesterol and blood pressure medications. How ’bout you? Got your “stuff” in order?

Now I felt ready, I left Montana heading south for the warmth of Arizona. My daughter’s next text said they got their first snow that night. He answered my prayer for the road conditions.

One of my first stops was the Grand Canyon. Looking in awe and amazement verifies there is a Creator. The temperature dropped down into single digits that night with a daytime high in the 20s. Yeah, the Arizona heat was freezing. Even using my sleeping bag and a cot tent, it was dangerously cold.

To some folks that’s Spring time weather, but my internal thermostat has changed. My past four winters have been in the 80s. So those cold conditions hurt. The cold was robbing me of sleep. I wore three layers of every piece of clothing I had, hats, shirts, pants, socks & gloves. I was out of my comfort zone within the first twenty four hours. I had thought that I was prepared.

When the sun rose that first morning, I broke out my BOB. I had packed and repacked it so many times over the years I kinda forgot what preps I had. I hadn’t actually used it in months. Mentally, I had reviewed various situations and the supplies I would need. But right now my hands were cold, stiff and surprisingly painful. My body was trembling from the night long cold. I was surprised at how dangerously uncomfortable I had become overnight.

Some Welcome Warmth

Fumbling past my knives and ropes, I found my camping stove, propane and coffee. What a treat, hot coffee and a warm stove were quite a lift. I immediately was feeling better.

I boiled more water and enjoyed a Mountain House scrambled egg and bacon feast. Great product, hot water poured into their pack. I only needed a spoon and my hunger. Little waste, quick and easy to pack in and out, it tasted great. I’m a big fan.

Over the next several days I continued South, camping, hiking, searching for warmer weather and a job. I stopped at Lake Mead for a few nights but the high elevation and cold temps continued to make situations difficult and uncomfortable. This was not what I’d plan for. But then it struck me: That this is why I prepped, to train and improve the ways I respond to the unexpected. I hadn’t expected the cold. I felt blessed that it hadn’t snowed, rained or really cut loose on me.

Over this cold restless week, I learned how vital sleep is. I was slower to respond, easily confused with simple tasks. The following nights were no exception. Irritability and confusion worsened so off to town I rode. I purchased a pack of 20 hand warmers and a second sleeping bag. I was very careful when I drove. I prayed hard, real hard.

As the sun rose and the temperatures followed, my hands and body would somewhat function. I would break camp. I learned how important work gloves are. Repeatedly performing outdoor tasks with cold hospital-sanitized hands had taken a toll. I had carelessly accumulated knuckle busting cuts on both hands which without any treatment, quickly worsened. I didn’t want to break out my first aid kit and use my supplies for minor injuries.

I have a first aid kit that would would make most Prepper’s proud. I have supplies for gunshot wounds, IV transfusions, an ambu bag with oxygen. I’m ready to set, splint and cast fractures but yet I didn’t address my minor injuries. I didn’t want to use my supplies of smaller band aids or open a bottle of antiseptic solution. Some health care provider!

I stopped at the Hoover dam and was truly amazed at this structure and what it represents. Thirty miles away I detoured to Las Vegas, six hours was enough over stimulation. If any type of disaster occurs that is one place I’d not want to be. I apologize to the folks who live and love it there. I did feast at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I ate all I could.

The Second Week

During the second week, I was camping in Sedona and Prescott, Arizona. Still in the higher elevation with temperature ranges of twenty to thirty degrees. Nights were almost bearable but camping had lost it’s glamour. The area is beautiful. Sedona is almost magical. But camping and living outdoors is difficult, everything takes longer and you are constantly exposed.

I stayed at a Granite Mountain RV site. Amazing what a hot shower can do to your soul after two weeks on the road living a Spartan life. Having electricity and taking a hot shower were rejuvenating.

On one on my mid-day hikes, I encountered a four inch thick black, hairy, tarantula. My first and only time ever that I was face to face, (er.. um.. not sure about the face to face part). I had never seen one in the wild. I’m certainly bigger and stronger than the spider was but it gave me a chill worse than any of the cold nights. I was really glad that I was sleeping off the ground on my cot tent. The thought of sleeping down at ground level with a tarantula shook my nerves. I’m praying this is my one and only tarantula encounter.

(To be concluded tomorrow, in Part 2.)




30 Comments

  1. Sir, I deeply feel for your situation of going through the divorce. I can relate. My ex was almost a million dollar project. In hindsight she was like a stubborn mule. I never cheated, never hit her, never drank to excess, never did drugs I tried to love her and be supportive in the best ways I knew how. Always physically fit. I worked very hard for us to have a good future. She was always threatening divorce over trivial things. Later she confessed that she never really meant it, but she liked my groveling and I paid more attention to her. But in reality it built deep seated resentment towards her. I should have sent her packing the first time she threatened. I was almost killed in a mining accident, and went through several surgeries, lots of pain and a big lawsuit. She moved in with the neighbor when I needed her most. Modern marriage is not like it used to be. A man can get skinned alive by the divorce courts even though he was a good man, because the social engineers rewrote the laws to give incentive to woman to divorce. In the courts numerous states have even given the ok for men to pay for children that are the result of adultery and a fradulent female, proven by DNA testing. It is a huge risk for a man now days. Maybe if we get into TEOTWAWKI, women will, for the wrong reasons seek good men. But for now why any man would enslave himself to a female in this country is beyond me. God speed in your future endeavors and may you come out on top.

    1. What you write makes me sad 🙁 The only man I want by my side in an “end-world situation” is my hubby. I trust that he would take care of me and I him. He would/will/does come first because he is my protector and a good provider. I know other good women are out there. If you want I hope you find one 🙂

      1. I hope you and your man have a long and prosperous life together. But I have come to rely on the words of a wise man named Solomon. He said in Ecclesiastes 7: 28 ” one man in a thousand is good but who can find a good woman?”. I take this verse to be an admission that God himself messed up creating females that are physically beautiful but have caused so much hardship and destruction to so many men. Thus I have concluded that the people that wish to set up this global government are right and most of the human race needs to be exterminated. I look forward to the destruction and suffering spoken of in the book of Revelation.

  2. Hi, Dan, I’m enjoying your adventure story. I’ve lived and camped in the deserts of Arizona. It’s not the tarantulas you need to worry about. They aren’t poisonous, and are pretty shy, actually. But there are other things that will love to join you in your warm sleeping bag, such as snakes, scorpions, centipedes, and black widows, for starters. Also, be cautious of any water sources you use. Some desert water sources are contaminated with arsenic and cyanide, due to the silver and gold mining in the area.

  3. This is a glimpse into the realities of a TEOTWAWKI. We really felt for your hardships and heartache, appreciate your sharing, and look forward to the next installment! There are many lessons to be learned from this journey.

  4. I’m interested in not only hearing the “rest of the story” but more infill on what happened with the asset distribution related to the divorce and the property in Montana. Unless there was a high level of debt, then I would hope that selling off the property would have provided several years of livable finances and a good start for rebuilding your life. I’m sorry for all of it. What can be learned about relationships other than MGTOW?

  5. Hey Dan, my arthritic hands were aching just reading your story. Sending warm vibes your way…

    Your line about “I was out of my comfort zone within the first twenty four hours. I had thought that I was prepared” is probably going to be the most commonly heard phrase on Day 2 of TEOTWAWKI. So few of us test out our equipment and techniques ahead of time as you are doing. The best thing we could do for ourselves is to go throw the main breaker to our house for a week, hide all the car keys and cell phones (no driving to town for supplies or googling “my generator won’t start”) and see how we fare. Then we’ll have a much better idea of what we’re missing and where our priorities ought to be.

    Good luck with the tarantulas. I had one hiss at me while I was trying to pick him up, it really makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up! They’re actually fun once you get used to them though. Treat them kindly. 🙂

    Too bad we’re all anonymous here, you’d be welcome to spend a week at my retreat any day of the week. We’ve got a warm wood stove, good coffee, and fresh cinnamon rolls.

    1. Coffee and cinnamon rolls?

      Grumble, grumble, grumble…grabbing my car keys and heading to the bakery.

      (Yeah, I know. I should just make some. But I’ll save my preps.)

  6. Maui Dan,

    If this is old news to you, please forgive and disregard.

    As stated by another really research your cholesterol meds. I have known multiple people who have experienced, nearly debilitating muscle and joint pain directly attributable to cholesterol meds.

    My mother was the first I encountered. She was prescribed them, took them a few months, started having severe pain, quit them and pain went away in a short time. Her HMO doctor then pressured her to take them again. Basically told her she was going to die if she did not. She did. Pain returned almost immediately. She quit them again after a short time but this time pain never went away. She has not taken them for over 15 years. She is 83. Failure to take them has not killed her but taking them for the brief time she did, IMO has greatly reduced her quality of life.

    There is significant research that backs up her experience, i.e. lots of people have had the very same experience. Sometimes the pain goes away after quitting the drugs. Sometimes it does not. Since learning of her story, I have since encountered many others who have went into pain upon starting statins and then had the pain go away when they quit taking them.

    I would also add that views of cholesterol in general in the medical community are evolving. Some view high cholesterol as being a problem only when associated with certain inflammatory markers, that require another blood test to see. In other words, the inflammation is the issue not the cholesterol. I have a friend with high cholesterol, without inflammatory markers. His physician does an ultrasound on his carotid artery to check for plaque every few years, but otherwise does nothing else. No drugs. He is fine so far. He is also quite fit and eats well.

    I am not a medical doctor and not qualified to give medical advice (insert further disclaimers) so I make no recommendation other than really research this subject for yourself thoroughly if you have not already. You speak a lot in your writing about joint and muscle pain, which is a given as we get older and certainly understandable in the environment you experienced. But it is well documented, despite the claims of drug companies, that statins can cause severe pain in some people. More people than they want to admit.

  7. The word “survivalist” applies to many threatening realities in life-including divorce, separation from your children and cancer. It seems like you made it through those dangerous rapids and forged ahead with your life. Your honesty, humility and lucid reflections are signs of strength.

    MGTOW can help bring you to calm waters.

    I too, am looking forward to your next installment!

  8. Reflecting back on my own divorce in 1989, and hearing all of my buddies comment on their divorce, We never see it coming, somehow we miss the signs, and there are always signs. Then one day get blindsided, we get served papers and can’t figure out why. Im an old guy now, and never take my wife, our life together, or our marriage for granted. I always keep my eye on the ball. I waited 25 years before getting married again. I think waiting to get married increases your odds of success. even if it means you have to wait into your 50’s and 60’s.. besides, waiting means you are more stable and solid in both wisdom and finances. In the mean time, embrace these times of hardship. You will reflect back on your experiences with great respect and reverence.

  9. Might I make some observations. Some people, male and female, have an “ideal” spouse or lifestyle in mind. After they get married they proceed to make it happen. When both spouses are on the same page it’ll probably work out. But, often they’re not, at least not in everything. I believe the problem comes when there isn’t respect for the differing viewpoint. Sometimes there’s criticism, demeaning and worse in the attempt to “make” the other spouse comply. We all have different giftings and talents and it’s wise to encourage our spouses to develop them, even if they’re not what you’re gifted in. I realize there are aggressive and controlling women, but there are also very controlling men. Both wreck havoc on marriages. I’m so sorry yours didn’t make it. We all need to be kind an show respect to one another.

  10. Please be aware women get hosed too! My ex husband took several months of my daughter’s SSI funds to pay his lawyer rather than for her care entitled by law for his time in the military! He took money from a 401K I had no information about it’s existence yet years after our divorce I was required to pay the early withdrawal penalties! He has to be forced into a parenting class by child welfare authorities because he saw “NO HARM IN SLEEPING NAKED WITH OUR TODDLER IN BED WITH HIM!

  11. Divorce is always painful but often needed. When DDs ex fell into the meth hole it was the right thing to do. Instead of working on it he violated the restraining order and went to prison for threatening to kill her and her entire family.

    DW hasn’t been real keen on where we live but lately she has been commenting that it’s a good thing we are not living in anyone’s target area.

  12. I was married the first time for only 2 years, no kids or property division when we divorced. It was 80% me. Sure my wife was very moody which she never showed when we dated. But they fact is I got bored with her and always liked dating new women. Sex was my weakness. This was very wrong but at that time I was not a Christian. My 2nd marriage was to a wonderful Christian girl who brought me into a life with Christ as my savior. We have been married for 34 years with 3 wonderful daughters and one newborn grandson. Very blessed. My advice is choose your marriage partner very carefully.

    On preps one had better test them out. I am surprised the author didn’t research temps in AZ at night that time of year. A rated down to zero sleeping bag and a surplus wool blanket would probably provided the needed comfort at night to avoid waking up freezing. Layering with the right stuff is what you want, not a bunch of cotton clothes, which you sweat in and then get you cool.

  13. There is … I almost want to call it stupidity over the 2nd Amendment when DIVORCE is far worse.

    You will give up your gun when they pry it from your cold dead fingers?

    But whether it is your wife of CPS you will let them take your kids? Without any real fight?

    Ask Alex Barron. Ask John Jacob Schmidt.

    Where is, ANYWHERE in the Redoubt states, or even in Utah any move to end no-fault divorce, or to declare some kind of covenant marriage where if the wife gets tired, SHE loses everything?

    1. Man you hit it out of the park with that comment!!! I agree!!! We are allowing state supreme courts to make men pay child support to women that committed adultery on them for kids that aren’t even their’s, proven by DNA testing!!!

  14. I just tonight, tossed a bunch of love letters from a woman I thought I would marry. That was over twenty-five years ago. I thought she was my ideal woman. The letters, I realize now, expressed more love and intimacy than she did in person.

    I actually did marry someone who does not fit my “ideal woman” picture. I refer to her as my sweet spouse in this blog. She is kind, fierce, and candid. Not always, mind you. We both find plenty of times where we call ourselves to account and apologize. Um, this evening being one of those incidents. Helps us stay married to each other, twenty years now.

    I’m grateful.

    Carry on

    1. Marital woes are just as destructive to preps…. The issues is women have fallen out of alignment with their spiritual calling from God…. “men are the spiritual head of the woman”. Let’s face it men are more logical and better decision makers. This all started with the Feminist Mystic by Gloria Steinem. The America housewife was the most revered woman in all human history, akin to Ruth and Ester in the Bible. However, women wanted to be men, equal to men, and now we have mass abortions, lawsuits, divorces, and mass sexual harassment by women liberating themselves from the marriage bed, to be fulfilled in a man’s role–family provider. How many women are supporting men in the homes as a stay-at-home husband…. Jobs/careers are always to provide for a family…. not harness a job to be equal to something you weren’t created to be equal too–MEN!

      Women need to stick their fannies in a 50 year marriage and shut up and stay there.

      Thanks JWR for the posting of divorce which has crippled more Preppers than any SWAT or legislative laws.

  15. Sure would like to thank ever one for all the feedback. I’ll be looking into the med changes. Didn’t intend this to be a focus about divorce, oh woe is me, its just one part of my story and one of my mistakes.

  16. Hey Dan,
    I concur on the cholesterol meds. I had a heart attack in 2012. Started off with a bunch of drugs, so many I can’t name them all. Within a month I was down to just 2, statin drugs for cholesterol and metroprolol for stress and blood pressure regulation. Stayed on the statins for about 2 years and, after a lot of research, quit them. No issues so far. Stayed on the metroproplol for another 2 years and phased them out over another year. The metroprolol kept my blood pressure too low (90/50) and my pulse too low (under 60 sometimes as low as 50). I felt sluggish most of the time. After phasing this out (that took almost a year), and now 2 years later, I take no meds, just a gaggle of vitamins and minerals. Checked my BP last night, 119/81. Now if I could just get my weight down. Workin’ on it.

    As for marriage: Been married to the same good woman for 48 years. We’ve had good times and bad, but we always worked out our differences. Our only regret is we were never blessed with children, so no grand kids. The good news is we have our nephews and their wives and children, and we are close to them. The are great young men and women. That is almost as good.

  17. When you get a chance apprise yourself of God’s remedies for medical issues — cayenne pepper is great for keeping veins clean, the walls stronger and much more for heart issues — it helps keep blood sugar under control as well — I have been taking it as a preventative many years now — the major concern is to eat half your meal — take the cayenne and eat the other half — no burning in stomach when taken like this — I personally take 2 with each meal but best to start with one — another proven way to lower cholesterol is red wine — it worked for me before I started the cayenne — not offering this as medical advice — just telling you what worked for me. God created us and He created everything we need to be healthy in a natural form.
    Enjoyed hearing of you travels,
    A fellow sinner saved by God’s grace!

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