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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Economics and Investing:

A Bloodbath Looms Over Oil Markets. Oil prices have been stuck in a narrow range since OPEC announced its deal, and with an extreme number of long bets in the markets downward risk for oil is piling up.

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Free Markets at Home Are the Solution to Companies Moving Abroad

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Items from Mr. Econocobas:

US Wholesale Inflation Sees Biggest Monthly Gain in 4 Years

Fed Chair Yellen: ‘Unwise’ to Wait too Long to Hike Interest Rates – To be honest I’m not sure what to think. Fed President Bullard came out just this past Sunday and said no rate hikes are coming this year, and the market rallied. Now Yellen is saying this. The verbiage is different than prior Yellen “talk” of raising rates, almost like she is laying out an understanding that things could get out of control and fast. I don’t think the markets believe her as they rallied still today after her statement.

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SurvivalBlog and its editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for details.

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JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Books:

Survival Hacks: Over 200 Ways to Use Everyday Items for Wilderness Survival, by Creek Stewart

Desperate Sons: Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and the Secret Bands of Radicals Who Led the Colonies to War

The Seventh Plague: A Sigma Force Novel, by James Rollins

Movies:

Last of the Dogmen

The African Queen

Television:

Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Band Of Brothers

Music:

O Brother, Where Art Thou? Movie Soundtrack

Marty Robbins: All-Time Greatest Hits

Instructional Videos:

Bushcraft Dump Pouch (Make Your Own)

Canadian Prepper: After the Collapse: Surviving in Canada- (SHTF Canada- West Coast/BC)–Part of a video series

Online Sermon Videos:

Calvary Chapel Kaneohe in Hawaii (Pastor JD Farag. His ongoing Prophecy Update series that focuses on Israel and the End Times is excellent.)

John Piper

Podcasts:

Non-Perishable Food Storage and Copy-Canning (Ken Jensen)

MTNmeister Podcast #124 Thru Hiking Thru Winter with Shawn Forry

Gear:

Eureka Down Range Solo – 1 Person Tactical (TCOP) Tent

Military Modular Sleep System 4 Piece with Goretex Bivy Cover and Carry Sack

Rawles XL Voyager Knife. Note: This Limited Edition knife has sold out (wholesale) at Cold Steel. As the designer I may be biased, but I recommend that you get one before they sell out at the retail level and prices escalate. Also note that all of the profits at the wholesale level went to Christian charities. I didn’t profit a dime on this project.

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Odds ‘n Sods:

From NPR: Leaving Urban Areas For The Political Homogeneity Of Rural Towns

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Don’t forget the Shelley Idaho Emergency Preparedness Fair on February 18th if you live near Shelley, Idaho.

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Mike Williamson, SurvivalBlog’s Editor at Large suggested this for those who live in AW challenged states: Kalashnikov to make a Pump-Action AK Rifle

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The Christian Mercenary: When This Gets Ugly – B.B.

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Wondering how far apart Hollywood and the average American are? How about this: Here’s what happened to Joy Villa’s album sales the day after she wore Trump dress at Grammys – DSV

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Notes for Tuesday – February 14, 2017

February 14 is the birthday of Medal of Honor recipient Jack Lucas (born 1928, died June 5, 2008). During the Iwo Jima campaign, this 17-year-old won the Medal of Honor for unhesitatingly hurling himself over his comrades upon one grenade and for pulling another one under himself. One of the grenades exploded, and Lucas absorbed the entire blasting force of it with his own body. PFC Lucas was the youngest Marine ever to receive the Medal of Honor. (He was just 13 when he forged his mother’s signature to enlist.)

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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 a problem with the main spillway, and for the first time in the dam’s history the emergency spillway began overflowing by about 6:00 am this morning, that everything was going to be okay. However, by about 4:40 pm, there were mandatory evacuation orders beginning to be issued for Oroville and low lying areas downstream. There are a number of communities downstream on the Feather River water course: Oroville, Gridley, Live Oak, Yuba City, Marysville, Plumas Lakes, Nicolaus, Linda, Olivehurst, and Knight’s Landing.

When I first saw this on the news today, I immediately called a friend from church that lives in the rural area east of Gridley and close to the Feather River in the flood zone evacuation map, to see what they were doing. This was at about 5:00 pm. They had been out walking and had not yet heard the mandatory evacuation news, and they were already about 15 minutes into a 60 minute mandatory evacuation. I told them that they could evacuate to our house, which is about a 40 minute drive in normal traffic. He said he would grab a few things, load his wife and kids, and head out immediately for our place. Our idea was that the more minutes that went by, the worse the traffic would be. We were right. My friend left about ten minutes after hanging up the phone and went by a slightly more circuitous route I told him about to avoid the bottleneck that I knew would be happening around the Yuba City/Marysville area. He arrived at our house in rural Placer County at about 6:50 pm. Even acting quickly and leaving less than thirty minutes after the evacuation order was announced, it still took him more than two times the normal travel time. At this point when I am writing this (about 10:30 pm), the news is reporting that it is now taking about three hours to travel one mile in the Yuba City/ Marysville bottleneck area.

We can also learn a few things from what my friend saw on his trip here. He got a jump on nearly everyone, by acting immediately and by having a plan on what he was going to take in an emergency. He also says he should have had a checklist, because he still forgot a few things. He encountered several crazy drivers, including one in a 4WD crew cab truck that was driving at over 100 MPH cutting in and out of traffic, obviously panicked although no true breach of the dam had yet occurred. This was just an average idiot. By 6:30 pm, evacuation orders were spreading, and as they went through one community with mandatory evacuation orders, they noted that no one was reacting to anything. The communication was not very effective either. Up until about 5:00 pm, there was little being said on either television or radio locally. He could find nothing on the radio news, until one mention on KFBK 1530 at about 6:30 pm began reporting on it. KFBK 1530 is the emergency broadcast station for the greater Sacramento Valley area. By about 7:00 pm, it was all over local news, and since the evacuation was affecting by some reports up to 180,000 people and other reports of 130,000 people, it was being covered on the national cable news to some degree. My daughter who was in Denver for business called us to check in per protocol after seeing it on Fox News. As my friend got south of Yuba City on Highway 99, he was going to cut across to the east at the community of Nicolaus. They are right next to the Feather River, with only the levee separating them from the river. As he drove through that small community, he saw no activity of people getting ready to evacuate. A little bit out of town he did see a couple of different rural property owners loading horses and household goods into trucks and trailers. Once on these rural back roads headed towards Lincoln, the traffic was minimal.

Ultimately, between 130,000 and 180,000 people from a dozen communities were affected by evacuation orders. By 9:00 PM, news was reporting 25-30 miles of bumper to bumper, nearly stopped traffic heading south toward Sacramento on Highway 99/70.

Fuel

Fuel was obviously a problem for many, who for some reason sit around with near empty tanks rather than keeping them filled, as we all know we should. Don’t be lazy about that. It could cost you. News reports show very long lines at all fuel stations. Fuel quickly ran out at many of them in the affected flood zone, as people tried to fill up for the evacuation. Interesting note: It is often said to carry cash for purchases in emergency situations, but something worth thinking about too is that several fuel stations evacuated their personnel; however, fuel could still be purchased at them at the card reader on the pump but only with credit or ATM cards. So, it’s better to cover that base, too.

Where To Go

Lodging in hotels/motels in nearby communities in the safe zone are reported as filled to capacity by 10:15 PM. Having a place to go is critical. Talk to people ahead of time, and have a plan so you don’t end up stuck on the side of the road with no fuel and no place to go if you had it. Many of the evacuation centers filled very quickly, and people were left hunting alternative shelters.

Livestock and Animals

The adjacent communities, especially up north toward Chico, really stepped up to help those with horses that were evacuated and needed boarding for them. Several adjacent county fairgrounds were opened. A lot of evacuation centers were opened pretty quickly, most by 7:30 PM or so, that could take evacuees with small animals. Plan for your pets and your livestock, and know how long it will take to load them and move them.

At this point in the evening (now about 10:40), the Department of Water Resources is reporting that the water level is now below 901 feet, the level of the emergency spillway, and water is no longer spilling. Now, they are working on a plan to address the failed concrete in the main spillway and get a plan of action together before the next storms begin arriving next Thursday on the 16th of February. North bound highway 99 has now been reopened to traffic. Marysville remains shut down to access at this time. At after 11:00 pm, we are finally getting some comprehensive reports from the various emergency services agencies. I am sure that there will be some questions about why the initial damage to the main spillway that initiated this event was not addressed by the Department of Water Resources when it was first documented about three years ago, when we were in official drought status. Go figure. No doubt a custodian someplace will be the one to lose their job over it; there is always a scapegoat.

Blessings to all. Stay safe, and be prepared. You never know what might happen. – Behind Enemy Lines in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia

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Letter Re: Sad and Silent

Dear Sad and Silent:

I have learned to speak in terms of resilience and not prep. I regularly engage in DIY projects because of the mental stimulation. I seek to know about all things, saying that I am a very curious fellow. Every fifth person laughs.

When I buy, I grab a little extra of nails, screws, oil, filters, et cetera. Commonly, I do household projects out of inventory, in terms of screws and nails, making sure to replace them. That does not mean it did not take three trips to the hardware store to finally get the stove installation parts right. Why is 15/16ths smaller than a ¾ fitting? My problem is that it seldom spontaneously occurs to me that I am wrong, scrounging electronic parts and tools in conjunction with what my Ham radio license teaches me.

Scrounging tools, dealing with metal cutting, and welding will eventually teach me. I’m yet to produce the first electronic gizmo or welded object, but I will. Gardening in GA clay is tough. Tree services have to pay to dump wood chips. Arrange a spot for one to dump on your property for free when convenient. Turn that with lime and/or gypsum into the soil. It is not as bad as you think; it’s only highly acidic.

You are not as alone as you think. Leaf covered water cubes, pallet tanks, or IBC totes adorn back yards. Hi-lift jacks hang on vehicles here and there. I am never the only one zeroing my latest acquisition at the range. When someone inevitably spots the pistol under my coat, they tell me about their favorite. Oh! And for the record, open carry is like having a “shoot me first” sign.

Yes, my wife makes fun of me rolling her eyes. She is also pleased when it is easy to plug the generator into the transfer switch and have lights and refrigeration (but not at the same time). Likewise, there was some potential event that came across the news that had the government saying it was important to have 30 days of food. It was a satisfying moment to be able to greet her raised eyebrow question with a confident nod. She was raised German, and those people shop nearly every day. Guess what she thinks of “one back” on the shelf much less 6, 12, or 18. I have won her over with my Sam’s TP, paper towel, paper plate, and napkin purchases. I load the dolly up every couple three months. – RV

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News From The American Redoubt:

Many folks living in North Idaho and Northwestern Montana are probably already familiar with a great old-fashioned military surplus store in Sandpoint, Idaho called Army Surplus 1. It was probably the inspiration for the fictional “Grogan’s War Surplus”, in the humorous books written by Patrick McManus. Their motto is: “We probably have it.” And in my experience, that is true. A great store with a 40 year history of fine customer service and a great selection. Stop by and check it out. – JWR

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We note with interest that Primary Weapons Systems (of Boise, Idaho) has greatly expanded their product line. Their fully ambidextrous AR-15 upper and lower receiver sets are a left-hander’s dream come true. And their PicMod rail system (A Picatinny rail that also accepts Key Mod attachments) is a great solution.

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Idaho custom knife maker Robert P. Martin—best known for his gorgeous pattern-forged welded damascus blades—has expanded his line. He now does custom knives in a wide range of materials including A-2, D-2, O-1, CPM 10V, CPM 3V, L-6, 15N20, 52-100, 51-60, 51-50 carbon steels as well as CPM S30V, CPM S60V, CPM S90V, CPM 154, CPM 440C, ATS-34. He even custom formulates steels in 20 pound batches in his own smelting forges. Check out his amazing work!

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Jon Kelly Designs (in Eureka, Montana) has added a few new designs. They also offer a 10% discount to active duty military and law enforcement. Visit their site and check out their amazing hand-made knives!

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Wyoming flood fighting efforts

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Economics and Investing:

EU Bureaucrats Escalate the War on Cash: Will Precious Metals Be in the Crosshairs? – DSV

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Are Gold Prices Finally Beginning To Crack?

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Artificial Intelligence To Reveal The Biggest Secret In Oil. No one really knows how much oil the countries around the world are storing, but a new satellite technology may soon bring those numbers to light.

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The most depressing chart showing US imports and exports in 2016 with top trading partners.

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SurvivalBlog and its editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for details.

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Odds ‘n Sods:

Video: Gun Control’s Racist History – D.B.

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11 Reasons You Should Drink A Tbsp Of Apple Cider Vinegar Every Day – DSV

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Sharp Rise Reported in Older Americans’ Use of Multiple Psychiatric Drugs – DSV

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Nearly 200K Remain Under Evacuation As Concerns Remain Over Oroville Dam Spillway. Note the mention of “gridlock”. Wait too long and you’re in trouble. – RFJ

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If you are thinking about building a large boat, but wondering how you launch it without a crane, then you might want to read this: Parbuckle and Launch

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