May 10, 2019 is the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad, where the golden spike was pounded in Promontory, Utah at the meeting of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads in their railroad building race.
Transportation and distribution of goods, even those items shipped from China to the U.S. west coast and carried as far as the Atlantic coast on rail, was a significant accomplishment those 15 decades ago. Since then, our train network has greatly expanded throughout the U.S., and we are still quite dependent upon it for goods today.
Though our trains are no longer run on coal, they are now dependent upon electronic systems, which may be EMP vulnerable. This is just one of the many reasons we, as preppers, store necessities and prepare to make our own. We know that even our trains are vulnerable, and without them life would drastically change. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2015 an estimated $623 Billion of goods  were transported by train within the United States, not including goods that merely passed through the U.S. from foreign countries with destinations to other foreign countries.
My branch of the Rawles family came out to California by covered wagon via the Donner Pass, 14 years before the golden spike was driven. Some of the manufactured family heirlooms that I inherited surely came out west via the transcontinental railroad. But according to family lore, the piano that our daughters still play (made circa 1900) came to California round The Horn, via a sailing ship. There were still sailing cargo ships in service up until about 1920.
May 10th is also the birthday of the late Col. Jeff Cooper  (born 1920, died September 25, 2006). He is often quoted in SurvivalBlog.
And May 10th is also the birthday of the late Janis Pinups (born 1925, died 15 June 2007). He was one of the last of the Forest Brothers  anti-communist resistance fighters. He came out of hiding, after five decades, to obtain a Latvian passport in 1994, after the collapse of eastern European communism. (He was never issued any communist government identity papers and by necessity lived as a nonexistent ghost during the entire Soviet occupation of Latvia.)
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
Today we present another entry for Round 82 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest . The more than $12,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator  from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses , excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper . These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees  in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product  from Sunflower Ammo,
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses .
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator  provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Front Sight Lifetime Diamond Membership , providing lifetime free training at any Front Sight Nevada course, with no limit on repeating classes. This prize is courtesy of a SurvivalBlog reader who prefers to be anonymous.
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4  Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit  from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord  (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
- An assortment of products along with a one hour consultation  on health and wellness from Pruitt’s Tree Resin (a $265 value).
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of  Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack , a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners , donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections , a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances .
Round 82 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail  us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.