My One Month TEOTWAWKI Road Test – Part 2, by Maui Dan

(Continued for Part 1. This concludes the article.)

I was consistent with daily hikes using them for recon practice, making maps, taking notes of locations and observing any nearby people. Judging who I thought may be friends or foes. I did take note of two males in their 20’s who appeared fairly intoxicated early in the afternoon. I hiked for the benefits of physical exercise and enjoyed the quite beauty of the land.

There were several memorable hikes. The day time temperatures were now in the upper 80’s. I wore Timberline hiking boots and stripped down to shorts. Finally found some warm sunshine. Walking alone along Granite mountain, poking the brush, crevices and in the shadows with my walking stick before stepping or reaching in with a hand. Mostly because I read to do that.

One poke hit something soft that made a rattle. Startled, I immediately shifted my feet back and away from the noise. I kept all my pressure on that soft body with my walking stick. My heart was racing. I never saw the snake but hearing & feeling it was plenty. Again, more prayers of an isolated snake encounter.

This could have been life-threatening. At any time, a snake bite is a game changer. I’ve carried a snake bite kit with me for years just because, well because, I’m a Prepper. I am so thankful that I didn’t need it. Prior to leaving Montana, for the first time ever, I actually took my snake bite kit apart and applied it to my arm as a mock trial. My friend’s 12 year old son got a great giggle at how much of my skin was pulled up through the syringe. He also was the one who showed me how to set up my butane camping stove quicker.

I constructed my walking stick several years ago out of 1 1/4 inch PVC pipe, drilled a hole in the distal end cap and glued a short Philips screwdriver with the shaft protruding out. It acts as a probe, weapon, even a screw driver. I also have made several with a traditional rubber end cap for pavement and smooth surfaces.

I fill my walking stick with glow sticks, fishing line, lures and AAA batteries. It has a leather strap with add’l cordage for the handle and it’s wrapped in camo duct tape. The end cap, by the handle of course is not sealed to access my internal supplies. It’s inexpensive and a practical way to carry supplies.

I kept traveling South towards Phoenix, camping and applying for jobs. I had several unsuccessful phone interviews. I utilized several public libraries to fax resumes, charge my phone, laptop and batteries Check out your library, amazing resources, free or inexpensive with very helpful employees.

My funds & Spirit were being drained. I was eating my stores of Mountain House food and didn’t have any job offers. I was getting lonely and my funds were being spent.

Some Challenges

Desert camping is challenging in many ways. For me, first was water. I bought cases of bottled water and always had one or two in my truck. Luckily I had my vehicles and didn’t have to pack my water. I have two water filtering kits, a filtering straw and four bottles of purification tablets. I took special care to always camp by lakes.

Another challenge to desert camping is fire. One SurvivalBlog writer had given advice on using the TP cardboard centers stuffed with dryer lint to use as a fire starter. I expanded that idea, used a plastic container, ie: empty peanut butter jar. Filled it with paper, small dry tinder, matches and a lighter. I used several throughout the month as my fire starters. Aside from keeping my tinder dry the plastic containers have multiple uses. Easy and very inexpensive.

A final challenge for my desert camping was BMs. Easy enough to dig a hole and go. We all know toilet paper is extremely valuable and difficult to substitute. There are alternatives to TP. I used one of my solar hot water showers with diluted soap and sprayed cleaned. I also used a designated peri bottle w/diluted bentadine, air drying afterwards.

I made two other stops, at the Lost Dutchman and Apache Junction RV sites. City life again, electric and hot showers. I treated my self to another all you can eat buffet although my pants were looser that when I had left Montana.

Losing Weight

Aside from a few buffets, I ate one meal a day. I fasted every 3rd or 4th day for several reasons. First, I don’t have a medical condition that fasting would be harmful, ie: diabetes. Second, I used fasting as a method of detoxing. I drank water and juice while sweating in the desert. Third, fasting simulated a grid down situation of limited food. Being hungry alters your normal thinking and changes priorities. I lost a few pounds. Fourth, I saved money from not purchasing food and used less of my stored supplies. If you want to fast, common sense dictates you take up this idea with your family MD. You do have one, don’t you?

I had a pattern, once I set up a base camp I would explore the new areas on my Harley. Wonderful adventures, except for one time. The smoke from the California wildfires had blown in. My eyes were tearing and burning. I stopped at a four way and while turning right, my front tire dropped down four inches into a metal grated storm drain.

My 2008 Road King weighs 875 lb. It was slowly tipping over. I was strong enough to prevent it from hitting the ground but the bike had laid across my knee and shin. Immediately my leg started to swell. Within seconds there was a five inch diameter hematoma. Any movement was limited and very painful. It looked like an alien’s head growing out of my leg.

I had no ice. I was solo camping in the desert wondering how to treat this? Not life threatening but by no means minor. I had my enough water so I soaked a towel, laid it on the soon to hatch alien and elevated my leg high above my heart. I was so thankful that I had packed my hammock to rest in.

The water evaporating cooled my leg. I swallowed 3 Tylenol and used a 6 inch ACE wrap for compression to limit further edema. RICE, (Rest, Ice, COMPRESSION and Elevation). Weeks later my leg is still stiff and sore but the alien has departed. The pain is a daily reminder to be ever so careful and take care of all injuries.

An Intruder

Every night I slept in my cot tent. Once, while out in the desert, I was awakened by the sound of footsteps. I could clearly hear them crunching the sand & gravel around me. I sleep with my Glock Model 30, two flashlights, wallet, truck & Harley keys. I lay quiet, very still, listening, discerning if man or beast?

A tent provides protection from the wind and rain. I was unprotected, wide awake with my heart racing. I was zippered shut in my sleeping bag. If I attempted to unzip the noise would be loud and unmistakable. I had my flashlights but didn’t want to put a spotlight on myself. What an easy target I would be. I couldn’t give away my one advantage, that I was awake and aware of their presence.

I pressed the Toyota’s remote key fob that locks and unlocks the doors. It also flashes on the lights. I had my hand on the zipper and as soon as the lights flashed I unzipped and rolled out. I heard footsteps running away. My Glock was in my right hand and a flashlight in my left. In a crouching position I pressed my light on then quickly off, moving a few feet to my left, listening for others.

My Glock had a round chambered and nine in the magazine. My finger was off the trigger. I moved for cover squatting behind a tree, I pressed my flashlight briefly on & quickly off again in the direction of the footsteps. I immediately moved to the other side of the tree and stood erect behind cover. No noise, no movement, no people. I inhaled a long deep breath. Best shot I never had to take.

I concluded that someone had walked around my campsite. Aside from the obvious noise that I heard, I’m certain because I place sticks, leaves and “markers” in specific traffic areas. They were disturbed. My truck, Harley and mountain bike were all locked. Although they did try to steal my mountain bike. Glad I’ve gotten into a habit of always locking things up, even when I’m out in a remote location. My next mountain bike ride was a sweet ride.

To summarize my month long self test. I could have gone completely off grid, not stayed at campsites with hot showers and electric. I could have by passed the buffets. I could have stayed safe and comfortable at my friends house in Montana, never testing myself. I could have done a lot of things but I did something.

I got out of my comfort zone, challenging and testing myself, my supplies and gear. I attempted to create and put myself in uncomfortable situations while I had time off between jobs. I’m not much of an expert in any one thing and I’m nobody special as I shared with you some of my flaws.

I write this article to share my mistakes and ideas. To encourage Survival Blog readers, challenge yourself, learn more skills, get your PSA checked, follow up with your MD for your health conditions, take better care of yourself, physically, mentally and spiritually, maintenance your vehicles and use what you prepared. This web site, JWR and other writers have helped me in many ways over the years. I just wanted to give some back.

Lessons Learned

PRAY, and then:
1. Immediately care for any minor injuries, cuts and bruises
They quickly get worse.
I have advanced first aid and rehab training but neglected treatments to myself.
Additions to my first aid kit are hundreds of single use antibiotic ointment packets, Bentadine swabs and hundreds of small and larger “knuckle” bandages
additional contact lenses, solution, glasses and hand sanitizer
2. I have done some positive training, mentally & physically.
I have developed some good habits and skill sets.
I need to learn more, read more, study more.
3. I took great care of my feet wearing boots, socks and shower slippers, (fungus in those hot public showers)
I neglected my hands
Additions; gloves for every occasion, exam gloves, rubber palmed gloves, leather driving gloves and wear them to prevent injuries
4. Have quick & easy ways to cook and make fires.
Have a variety of foods, spices and drinks
Focus on cleaning up and disposing of trash
Mountain House products were the best I used
poured boiling water in a package only needed a spoon
5. Don’t underestimate the affects of the weather.
6. Don’t overestimate your skill set or physical abilities.
7. Regularly use and replace supplies and equipment.
You can never have enough band aids. lighters, knives and flashlights
8. Hot coffee & tea were life savers.
The caffeine kick & the warmth were a big plus.
Peanut butter was a treat and needs no refrigeration
9. Vehicle maintenance is critical.
I am not mechanically blessed.
I had no mechanical problems due to being proactive.
10. Read and purchase more educational “How to” books.
11. Warm showers are therapeutic, hot showers are Heavenly
12. Most of my preps were focused towards two legged threats
Increase preps for the slithering and eight legged ones.
13. I always needed, fuel, propane, electric power, batteries, a lighter, a knife or a flashlight.

The resumes and phone interviews came through. I accepted a full time position on Maui. I’m not planning at traveling any time soon but we all know how plans can change.

Mahalo, Maui Dan
God Bless us all with His wisdom.




29 Comments

  1. http://www.aiobjectives.com/2019/12/03/world-of-post-humanism-and-artificial-intelligence/

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    it is different from those conceived through humanism.
    and what is the future of research in humanism, and we explain different tools and
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    1. You have that right, Culian. The rates of death for men from prostate cancer is nearly equal to that of women from breast cancer. Let us take a cue from our womenfolk and encourage each other to get checked. I was, just yesterday, looking at some old photos of a friend who took me in when I was nearly homeless. He died of prostate cancer in 2004. May he rest in peace.

      Carry on

    2. There are some contrarian views on that. Look into the writings of Dr. Marc Micozzi, who says urologists (along with cardiologists and orthopedic surgeons) are the most dangerous medical specialists. Also look up Howard Frank Mosher, a writer who was treated with radiation for prostate cancer, but the radiation caused untreatable cancer which killed him 9 years later.

  2. Great article and thanks for taking the time to share. There is a green-eyed monster that sits in the waiting called,” Loneliness” it can be in the shadows waiting for a very long time to appear. It has cousins that are eagerly awaiting to join in to the conversation call, “fear and sadness.” I encourage others to develop relationships and you will kiss a lot of frogs, but those that you do make, try and hold on to them. Friendships are often neglected and kicked to the curb. Finding those friendships that you can neglect from distance or time and rekindle are priceless. The best thing to do is keep you attitude positive and keep looking for those that do the same thing. Surround yourself with those kind of kindred spirits. Happy Trials, Gaddy Girl

    1. Gaddy Girl, your last words “Happy Trials” were so appropriate for our friend from Maui. He chose those trials and expanded his comfort zone.

      I offer you my admiration, Maui Dan.

      Carry on

  3. I like the idea of a hollow walking stick to store items. I’m going to look into that. As for the visitor to your camp, they were up to no good for sure. You ALWAYS call out to a stranger’s camp from a distance, and ask to approach. You might want to check out a YouTube channel by the name of “Coyote Works.” He does lots of videos about starting campfires in the desert. Just my 2 cents.

  4. Life is about learning. I have spend thirty winters in Arizona and find the biggest pest is the two legged, upright variety. One trip I had footsteps (and footprints) outside of my tent in a remote area. Years later two men “visited” my camp three times for 1-water; 2-food; 3-firewood. Their fourth trip found me moved out. (My .357 was not enough comfort for a whole night in a sleeping bag alone and outnumbered).

    Camping in Alaska always seemed much safer than Arizona!

    Your other experiences and remedies fall under “standard operating procedures” and novices can learn from your writings.

    Thanks.

  5. Excellent article, honest and realistic
    The PSA check saved my life 3 years ago, men take heed
    I can’t count the number of times my peak 1 dual fuel stove and 70’s era army poncho saved me in cold, freezing downpours and snowstorms while hiking and hunting
    Thanks Dan for sharing the experience of walking with His Life.

  6. Suggest adding “O’Keeffe’s Working Hands” hand cream. Best product ever for cracked skin…and a must for survival/preparedness. No substitutes, IMHO.

    Good article!

  7. A thought experiment… Imagine now this scenario without the relief (and potential rescues) that came with the back-up options and fail safes. …and then advance your preps with the results in mind! It’s tough enough when there are good alternatives and options. Without these (or with far fewer of them), life becomes much more difficult.

    Congratulations also on the career opportunity in Maui! It would be interesting to hear more about prepared living from the standpoint of an island home.

  8. Unless someone has experienced how the lack of food changes how you think, how your brain is working, may be in for a big surprise. I lost my teeth so I had to eat what I could for months during the healing and even became bored with what I could eat, so I didn’t. The brain changes and thinking becomes strained and confused, mistakes are made.
    Darn good article. Thank you for some great insights.

  9. Maui Dan,

    I think you have at least one other survival skill set not directly mentioned in the article but that did come to light.

    You seem to have a pretty “portable” occupation. It would appear you can pick up and move to a lot of different places and find good employment with it.

    I bring this up perhaps for younger people looking to a career or maybe someone contemplating a new career. Some jobs are more portable and allow you to live almost anywhere than others.

    I personally think this is valuable. My skill set is a little specialized and places some limitations on where I can live particularly if I want to maximize my earnings. I am approaching retirement (or maybe a third career) in the not to distant future so while I won’t change it now I may in a few years.

  10. Dan, lots of good insights in this article. I like the hollow walking stick idea. Don’t stay too long in Hawaii and eat a plate lunch for me. 🙂

    I was in Hawaii when the movie The Perfect Storm came out. I was pretty shocked when the audience went completely nuts in that scene where the big wave knocks half the containers off that container ship. Then it hit me: their whole lives depend on container ships. Nobody back on the mainland blinked an eye during that scene. I can’t even imagine what TEOTWAWKI would be like on Oahu with a million people crammed into 600 square miles? (Only 144K on Maui.)

    1. St. Funogas… You make an excellent point about sensitivity to areas of vulnerability — islanders sensitive to the loss of shipping containers since they rely on these so completely. An extension of this is that we should all expand our awareness horizons — and look areas that are sensitive in addition to those about which we might not have the same level of awareness. Islanders know they depend on shipping containers. The rest of us do to (at least to an extent) even though we may not realize how much.

  11. Good reading and Arizona is (thankfully) my old stomping grounds. Prescott, Payson, and wickenberg visited many times.
    As for not eating and the mental effect, just look at the homeless population and you get an idea of some of the results. Coupled with the lack of sleep and it quickly turns grim.
    At least a rattle snake will generally warn you, a scorpion just stings you and it can be fatal and at a minimum very painful.

  12. I read your entire article and pondered before replying. One item stood head and shoulders above everything else. “Cholesterol / Statins”…. After being on them for 10 years, after open heart surgery…. I went cold turkey. That was 90 days ago. Today is the best I have felt in 10 years. A person can be the most well prepared Survivalist in the entire world, but the statins will do them in before the bad guys get there. A few things statins damage: Liver, heart, brain, muscles, hearing, eye sight, memory. I used to be one of those guys who said “I’m doing OK on Lipitor / Crestor”… But I was not and did not know it until I quit.

    Divorce and starting over will not kill you… It’s the Prescription meds you have to watch.

    Hobo

    1. Yes, I quit the meds too. Decades ago. $400 month in prescription drugs that did not prevent the next heart attack. I had perfect numbers, and was fit. There is far more to what causes heart disease than what the current medicine understands. They continue to attempt to lower cholesterol numbers and up the statin drugs dosages, with little or no improvement in results. I give them a ‘A’ for effort, yet we must use common sense as well. As time progress, the average life span of Americans is becoming lower. Modern medicine can work wonders at saving lives in emergencies, yet it is also proving not to extend our natural lives. We should ask why.

  13. Thanks for bringing to light about the DIVORCE factor. Though men are usually prepares and statistics show that women divorce men FOR GAIN, divorce today is akin to the SWAT team entering your home confiscating your guns/ammo and preps. A divorce will have you sell everything, to appease your EX “what ever you call her” attorney in cold cash to her cold hearted hands.

    I’ve written on this site before, but thanks JWR for allow men to share their destruction in their life long prepping, even through DIVORCE. Remember men, that men design everything (91% of patents go to men), building everything (not a single building or home has been build by a team of women), and fight all our wars (90% of the military is men and women are not allowed in [ground] combat)…. Women need to understand that God has ordained men as the “spirtual head of the family” and anything with two heads is a freak of nature.

    To secure your assets men, as I’m a CPA, place all your preps, property, 401Ks, and family heirlooms into a non revocable trust…. NEVER HAVE YOUR WIFE’s NAME on that trust. That will protect you from lawsuits and also divorce.

    In addition, I married a Chinese bride and imported her into this country as being fed up with American women [in courting]. Choose a bride from a foreign country where there are no women’s rights. You’ll be much happier men and secure in your preps.

    God bless!

  14. Dan, I commend you for your self-restraint.

    “I inhaled a long deep breath. Best shot I never had to take.”

    Law enforcement officers, according to one student of mine who is a deputy sheriff, now routinely practice tactical breathing every time they have an encounter with someone who is unknown to them. I wonder how many LEOs would also say, “I inhaled a long deep breath. Best shot I never had to take”.

    Carry on

  15. Very enjoyable and informative read.

    You know…I look at FAK’s all the time, and I get annoyed when I see them stuffed with bandaids and alcohol wipes, figuring they’re just putting in all the cheap crap to make money.

    I still kind of feel that way, but your blog gives me pause to think about it.

    As for the intruder, I wonder if that situation changed anything regarding your BOB? Did you incorporate some kind of alarm system?

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