Letter Re: Pedal-Powered Bug Out Vehicle

Mr. Rawles,
I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. I read your novel on line years ago and it had a real impact on my thinking and my preparation efforts. I’ve been coming to your site since the second day it was on the net. I’m a former pilot in the Air National Guard and I’m a degreed electronic engineer and I presently work for a large avionics manufacturer. I’ve been giving this transportation issue (transportation availability after the Schumer hits the…) some thought and I found this very interesting web site:
As you can see this guy has invented a side by side recumbent bicycle that can not only go on the road but it can also go on railroad tracks. Both riders can pedal. As I looked at this vehicle I realized that it could be modified in a number of ways. It could be modified to add cargo racks. It could be modified to add a golf cart electric motor with deep cycle batteries for power. A canopy could be added on top to keep the sun off of the riders. Also attached to the canopy could be solar cells that could be used to recharge the deep cycle batteries. Solar cells have become more efficient and cheaper in recent years.
Anyway such a vehicle would be potentially an excellent recreational vehicle now, and then later an excellent bug-out vehicle.
Anyway here is an idea. Perhaps you could contact this guy and make a deal to sell his plans for this vehicle on your web site. Possibly pay him a royalty. Maybe you have an associate that would be interested in building this vehicle. I would be willing to help with the design of the electrical and electronic parts. I thought this, if done right, could potentially increase your revenue. I know I would be willing to buy a set of plans, or subcomponents to build a vehicle like this one.
Anyway its just an idea. Thanks for your time. Best of Luck, – S.W.

Odds ‘n Sods:

A little bird just told me that Oregon Freeze Dried’s shelves are just about empty, with no re-supply expected until June or July. The demand for long term storage food, spurred by the global spread of Asian Avian Flu has been tremendous.  If you want any freeze dried foods then order them soon, while there are still supplies in the pipeline. If you wait another month, you will probably be out of luck. We have four different advertisers that sell freeze dried foods. Please consider giving them your business, and be sure to mention SurvivalBlog when you do.

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If you own a cell phone or pager, be sure to take a look at: http://www.thealertsystem.com. This is a alert system that sends out e-mails to subscriber mobile devices for less than a dime a day. It was started as a project to keep the inventor’s like minded friends informed of the latest important news, and to coordinate any bug out/in. Since then, at considerable expense this project has been scaled up to handle thousands of subscribers.

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New Home Sales Plummet in February:
I expect this trend to accelerate. Since so many houses have been bought “on spec” in the past two years (up to 35% of home sales in some markets), a down turn in the market will make speculative home investors nervous, prompting them to jettison them, creating a progressive down-ratcheting effect.

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I was recently asked by a SurvivalBlog reader about my favorite news sources. Of course judiciously applying the appropriate bias/Schumer filter (since there is no such thing as unbiased journalism), they are:

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Houston Residents are Fed Up with Hurricane Katrina Refugees:

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead  of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life." – Theodore Roosevelt

Note From JWR:

If you know of any potential advertisers for SurvivalBlog, please give them a call or drop them a line to encourage them. I need to find about 20 more advertisers if  I’m going to be able to put bread on the table when I quit my day job and take up writing SurvivalBlog full time. (Starting next month.) And needless to say, a few more "10 Cent Challenge" contributions would also be greatly appreciated.

Today we feature another entry in Round 3 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. This article is a first hand report about a Revolutionary War Veterans Association (RWVA) shoot in Ramseur, North Carolina.  The writer of the best contest entry will win a four day course certificate at Front Sight. The deadline for entries for Round 3 in the writing contest is March 31, 2006.

Letter Re: Swiss Fallout Shelters

Mr. Rawles,
I came across a website which I thought your readers may be interested in, especially if anyone is considering building a fallout shelter.
The Swiss, perhaps the torch bearers of civil defense and preparedness, have made available online a listing of what they call “Civil Protection Components.” Essentially they offer a list of parts approved for use in shelter construction that have been tested to meet or exceed their requirements for use in a shelter. These parts lists comprehensively cover building construction parts, sanitation, ventilation, electronics, generators and transmission equipment. On top of it all the Swiss have tested all parts for both shock resistance and EMP resistance. Company names and addresses for all of these recommended parts are included as well (seems to be mostly Swiss companies).
I thought this info would be a boon for your readers:
\Swiss Site
Kind Regards, – Brian A.

Odds ‘n Sods:

New mutations in parts of the avian flu virus might provide a possible route for the virus to enter the human population. From the journal Science:

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Silver has been spiking upward for the past few days ($10.65 per troy ounce, the last time I checked), but beware of an impending short-term correction. Every bull market has its pull-backs and profit taking. Buy on the dips!

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The French anarchists riot again. This time, we are told, the riots are about job security.  Job security? (I guess these are different than those U.S. anarchists, who would never consider working for “The Man.”)

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Dire warnings from The International Forecaster: “You can expect, under these circumstances, that oil will go to $120 a barrel or higher dependent on whether there is further disruption in the supply. The good news is globalization and free trade will be stone cold dead. After a year or two they’ll be a hyperinflationary blow off and a 1929-type collapse, only worse. You have to be only in gold and silver during the hyperinflation and in gold only when the depression hits. The dollar will no longer be a place of refuge. All this should start to unfold over the next two months.”


Letter Re: Investing in Tangibles Through an IRA

Hello James,
Given the abundant information about the state of the economy, what would you recommend we, (the consumer and fellow American) do when making a decision about Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) come April 15th? I am concerned about putting money away and into “paper currency” when maybe it would be better to just pay down debt. What would you advise to someone in my situation? I am not necessarily looking for information about the tax benefits, simply your view about what would be a wise move. -The Wanderer

JWR Replies: This is a bit repetitious to my previous recommendation, but I suppose it bears repeating: I recommend rolling over your existing IRA and/or 401(k) into a gold deposit IRA, through Swiss America.  I did so six years ago, and I’m glad that I did, since gold has nearly doubled since then.  The IRAs is in the form of U.S. Mint Gold Eagle bullion coins, held in vault storage by American Church Trust, in Texas. In a perfect world, we would be allowed to hold the coins in our personal possession and yet still have them qualify as an IRA–but sadly we live in world managed by bureaucrats and bean counters. The next best thing is a gold deposit IRA, through Swiss America.

Letter Re: Artesian Well Property in Wisconsin

Dear Jim:
I spotted this very usual property – http://www.wislakesguide.com/ click on feature of the month.

25 acres with ponds, but the real value is the five six inch artesian wells are licensed for 100,000 gallons a day. This could be a profitable survival business, that I am already somewhat familiar with from a prior job. The asking price is $2.2 million. Certainly with that water production potential (bottled water), not to mention fish farm and the acreage, that price seems within reason actually with that kind of capacity.

If you know someone interested have then email me. – Rourke (e-mail: rourke4m@yahoo.com)

Letter Re: Reader Recommendation for Mountain House Freeze Dried, Via Safecastle

As I know it’s important for you to have and increase your advertisers ads in order to support survivalblog and as a Survivalblog reader it’s also important to be able to trust your advertisers. I just wanted to drop you a message about Vic and SafeCastle LLC.
I placed a large order with Vic a couple of weeks back for some Mountain House cases and I should add that I’m always leery about spending what I consider a substantial investment with someone I’ve never done business with before. Vic responded to my original questions about the order nearly real time via email and was the type of person you enjoy dealing with for transactions. Today the freight truck dropped off my order on schedule and on time just as Vic had informed me they would. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND doing business with SafeCastle!

JWR Replies:  Thanks for yet another confirmation that SafeCastle is legitimate and trustworthy. (I’ve received similar e-mail from several other readers. Yours is one is just the latest.) OBTW, I just heard that SafeCastle’s current very low price special on Mountain House freeze dried foods in one gallon cans includes free shipping anywhere in the U.S.–even Alaska and Hawaii. (Wow!) The sale end in eight days, so don’t hesitate.

Odds ‘n Sods:

What the anti-gun mass media has wrought: http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/8188403/detail.html   As recently as the early 1950s, it was not unusual for residents of the large cities in the eastern U.S. to carry uncased rifles to or from shooting matches on public transportation. But now, the sight of a man with an air rifle causes a panicked evacuation? Ay, ay, ay…

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Walter J. Williams (of www.shadowstats.com) warns of the possibility of a “hyperinflationary depression.” Gee, this sounds like the storyline from a novel I read once.For an interview with Williams, see:

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Schools Told To Prep For Bird Flu Outbreaks:

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Cold War cache found inside the Brooklyn Bridge:

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U.S. chemical plants are still vulnerable to terrorists. See:
According to a recent report (http://www.hlswatch.com/2006/02/27/gao-issues-report-on-chemical-security/), security has not improved substantially since the Salon story was written, three years ago.

Note from JWR:

You’ve all probably heard about the Category 5 cyclone that recently struck Australia:
Perhaps one of our readers in Australia could let us know where to send donations. The folks in the affected region are in our prayers.

We are still in need of more advertisers so that we will be able to make ends meet when SurvivalBlog becomes my primary source of income, starting in April. If you know of any potential advertisers, please call or send them an e-mail, and encourage them to get a banner ad. These ads start at just $55 per month. That is dirt cheap advertising.

Letter from Michael Williamson Re: Accumulating Silver and Gold Bullion

Jim, I’ve been lucky on bullion recently and found some good info and a source.
I found local coin dealers at a gun show, who were selling “junk silver” coins at barely over spot price. The price was about the same as from the best mass dealer I could find, but in per coin price, not in $1,000 face bags with 715 troy ounces. I’ll be hitting them as funds and silver price permit. NWTBullion does offer the best price I’ve seen, and will deal in bags as small as $100 face value–72 troy ounces, and in small coin quantities. Each purchase is in a large cointube (sold for this purpose and similar to a medicine bottle) with date, silver weight (not counting the base metal alloy), and price paid per ounce. I can build up a good stock cheaply without trying to draw capital on a loan or credit card (Which would cost more than I’d earn in any reasonable scenario) and without the hassle.

Currently, the best bet for gold bullion on a budget seems to be British Sovereigns–10 coins at just under .25 oz comes to less than $1,400. This is far cheaper than the 5 coin or more minimum of 1 oz coins (Eagles, Maple Leaves, Krugerrands), which weighs in at over $2,900. Also, the markup on them is quite moderate. By judicious selling of silver and buying of gold, one can build a gold portfolio piecemeal for about what it would cost to buy a minimum chunk from a refining company up front. I plan to keep silver on hand because it’s easier to move and has greater volatility, but above the minimum level, it can be used as a resource for gold, antique firearms or other long-term investments.

While it’s not a huge market yet, old copper pennies (1981 or earlier) are still worth more than face value and will continue to climb. Copper isn’t getting any more common, and it’s in high demand. Canadian pennies were copper until 1996. JWR Adds: The spot price of copper just hit an all-time high.

Canadian “silver” coins were 80/20 silver/copper, unlike US 90/10, but still had mostly silver content until 1967. They became 50/50 for 1967 and 1968 (quarters and dimes only), and were then .99 nickel until 1999. Nickel is also an in-demand industrial metal, and these coins are readily available. It’s well worth pulling them from change, and they’ll always have face price, though the reason they’re now plated steel is because the nickel is going to be more valuable than face. – Mike