I needed a road trip to clear my mind and consider my G.O.O.D. route while on a road trip. My Saturday journey was west on I-70 from Denver on a sunny fall day. Around 60 miles up the hill from Denver is the gateway into the Colorado Rockies which is the Eisenhower / Johnson Tunnels that cross under the Continental Divide into the Summit County. These tunnels help avoid the winding but beautiful Loveland Pass that is often closed due to snow and poor conditions in the winter. They send the Hazardous Material trucks over the pass when the road is in good condition. When the conditions are bad the Colorado DOT closes off the tunnel to regular passenger traffic and allows the Hazardous Material trucks through at intervals. Heading home several years ago to the Denver area from a Utah Canyon Lands visit we were heading east through the Johnson Tunnel we came upon a car engulfed in flames. Tunnels and fires are not a good mixture as most know. The owners were no more than 30 feet from the rear of the vehicle and the fuel tank. They were also between the car and oncoming traffic. The exit of the tunnel was only 300 yards from the entrance in front of them. In a dangerous situation it’s about situational awareness, escape route and common sense. The last is not so common anymore. The area these tunnels allow access to is a popular winter and summer recreation area for many of the Golden Horde in the Front Range Denver metro area. Denver is now a micro Los Angeles with gangs of all types and all the ills of any other major metro area. Interstate 70 is often jammed with traffic on any Friday, Saturday and Sunday of any week of the year with recreating families, working folks and many trucks. Often it’s a 90 miles of traffic jam coming from or returning to the Denver area. One small storm or accident and this trip can take more than four hours to complete. It would be my last route of choice if any occurrence was to take place in the Front Range. I have been told the civil defense officials have plans to close off this and other major routes into the mountains to all that are not residents in the mountains in the event of a biological or nuclear incident. I could just envision every weekend warrior would have their family loaded in the SUV with all the guns and supplies they could carry heading into the mountains with visions of surviving off the land. The subsequent shooting gallery and the short lived numbers of game animals would be decimated in short order. Maybe a trip east to the plains and river valleys of Colorado you would give you and your family a better chance of survival.
After descending from the tunnels into the crossroad town of Silverthorne my intended location of the journey was at the business of Cook’s Welding, now called Security Disaster Shelters. Owner Riley Cook is now active in the ultimate shelter business. His now completed shelter, cache unit and sample tunnel segment sits prominently in the yard of his fabrication shop. These are massive structures ready to be placed in excavations to be removed from sight or thought of the Golden Horde. The main shelter’s structure started as a reclaimed molasses tank and is at least 40 feet long and 10 feet in diameter. Two heavy entry hatches on either end protrude upward over ten feet over the top of the horizontal structure. Several air intakes are at each end of the vessel. A pseudo tree stump covers one intake to illustrate the stealth possibilities that could be employed in it’s final location. Each air intake has lever valves to be utilized as blast suppression. A German air filtration system is placed on the input of the intakes to remove biological and radioactive particulate. Intakes are also provided for a generator and separate battery storage pod. The intakes have traps that are slotted to provide contaminant drains in case a liquid is introduced down an intake. The living quarters provide several beds, a galley, dining area and ample storage above and below the false floor. It feels like a submarine inside but well light with a white interior and a well laid out living situation. This unit is impressive to say the least. It would be the ultimate retreat and a substantial investment for the ultra survivalist.
In addition to the shelter a separate vertical conical shaped structure stood in the yard. It’s a food stash that stood 16 feet tall with a robust hatch on top. This unit started out as a reclaimed concrete truck mixer drum. The ample size hatch had a ladder within it and many shelves to place your food and supplies. Lifting lugs are welded on it to handle and lower it into its secure location. Next to it was oval access tunnel segments to be bolted together to add horizontal and easy movement to alternate entries, the side entrance of the caches or additional shelters. A limited number of preparation minded could afford these elaborate facilities. It would not be impossible to construct smaller less expensive versions of these storage caches. All these structures intrigued me since in my past life I was a welder and tradesman.
Informative preparedness seminars were provided by a local Volunteers of America leader. The discussion of Community Emergency Response Training (C.E.R.T.) was presented. Along with this training and American Red Cross training the credentials provided could get you on either side of the yellow tape. To some extent that would be good to have the skills and training to help those in need and in the throes of disaster but it also puts you in the harm’s way. Your personal values and the situation would have to dictate the level of commitment a person would involve themselves at the time of crisis. We discussed the fact that some safety response individuals don’t show up during catastrophes ( e.g., Hurricane Katrina). They are taking care of themselves and their families
Enlightening discussions with some of the other attendees followed the seminar. The exposure the locals have in this active mountain town on a major route of the displaced and traveling Golden Horde was discussed. They are painfully aware of their exposure to this possibility. It was refreshing to be with like minded folks with the same concerns. I have all but given up talking to others from work and other aspects of life about preparedness issues. My family is aware but still live life as everything will remain the same. At this point of the game those that opened their eyes have and those that have not are in the “normalcy bias” as described by Porter Stansberry. It’s unfortunate so few have opened their eyes and ears to the coming storm. I hope the lord will have mercy on us all. I discussed food storage and supply needs with Bob Farris owner of Farris Survival LLC. He has a store in Englewood, Colorado for over seven years. Business has been good for him. When he started it was slow at the beginning. I visited his booth back in September at the Denver Preparedness Fair and it was also helpful. We talked about the Pharaoh’s dream that Joseph interpreted. We both concurred that we may be entering at least seven years of dearth. It unfortunate our current Pharaohs did not have a Joseph to gather corn and plenty while we have had it available to us. Ethanol maybe a curse to all mankind in the future and seem foolish in hindsight. It just seems questionable to be converting food stuffs into fuel. We have to be our own Joseph for our own tribes now. Sandy Tidell, an independent Consultant for THRIVE foods in Siverthorne had samples of a couple entries in crock pots. It was a big improvement over the rice and beans I have in my storage. I think some variety is essential in your food storage.
I’ve effectively resigned myself to sheltering in place south of Denver with my supplies and guns. I have provided supplies to family members at slightly more remote mountain locations to help them and give an alternate retreat location for other family members and possibly myself. I know this might be a fatal error to shelter in but I just don’t have the resources to buy a retreat location since my home will not sell in this economy. My neighbors are all struggling and have a spirit of apathy. I have offered my rototiller, heirloom seeds and fertilizer to a next door neighbor that has an open and large backyard. His wife was interested but he did not have the will to receive the offer. I’m not sure what more I could do but to set an example but with the danger of injuring my OPSEC.
It’s a precarious situation that we are all in. Living in a bedroom community between two major metropolitan areas is almost a worst case scenario short of living in the hood. This will be an area were the traveling groups will stop off at to resupply as they make their way back and forth to the cities. The town has the town police, county police and state police offices within it. I still don’t believe they will be able to quell the violence of TEOTWAWKI. They will be protecting their families and I don’t blame them. You just have to prepare the best you can for the worst and hope for the best. Do something every day no matter how insignificant or large. It will all add up to a better situation for you and your family. I wish the best for all.