Friday, January 15, 2010

Bugging Out ... and I Don't Mean Your Eyes in Surprise

I think the hardest part about prepping is that we really have no idea what we're prepping for, and as such, most people just don't know what to do, where to begin.

I'm reading The Zookeeper's Wife right now. It's a story set in Warsaw, Poland during WWII just before, during and after the Nazi occupation.

While I'm reading, it makes me think.

No one expects war.

How does one prepare for such a thing?

I have thought about it - probably too much. I'm too much of a war movie afficionado to not have considered how I would have responded, what I would do, if I found myself in a situation like the residents of Atlanta in 1864, or most of Europe in 1939, or Bosnia in the 1990s, or almost any one of the countries on the African continent on any given day.

I've talked with Deus Ex Machina about it. In the fall of 2008, when Venezuela (whose leaders aren't terribly happy with ours right now) allowed Russian bombers to land on their soil, I had unpleasant memories of the 80's flick, Red Dawn.

At that time, I was saying to Deus Ex Machina that as things get worse with regard to climate change and desert encroachment in China, we might want to be a little more careful about our borders. He scoffed.

Lately, I've been thinking that our debt to China might end badly for us, when they realize that we have something in great abundance, that they don't have so much of any more - land, lots of land (and the starry skies above) ... and water, lots of clean, drinkable, uncontaminated water ... and girls. This evening, Deus Ex Machina and I were chatting about China, and I was saying some disparaging remark about how China wasn't all that strong (trying to make myself feel better, right?).

He says, "China has the largest standing Army in the world" and added that it's not the best trained or most technical, but the largest, and my brain picked up the conversation from there and just went crazy thinking about the fact that they have 6 BILLION people and we have ... oh, 300 million.

Yeah .... There are probably things that are better left unsaid around people like me (*grin*).

Because it's possible that the boats will start landing on the west coast, just like I said two years ago or that the bombers will start doing more than training exercises.

But maybe I'm just being paranoid ... probably, I'm being paranoid.

Of course, invasion is one possibility, but not, necessarily the likeliest.

Maine sits on a fault line, and as we've seen in California, and recently, Haiti, fault lines do some funky things sometimes, especially when they decide to shift suddenly. It certainly makes a big mess. I found some FEMA seismic activity maps, which showed that Maine has a "moderate" risk. The categories were "none", "minor", "moderate", and "major." So, I'm thinking that "moderate" in this instance is pretty high.

In addition, I live two miles from the coastline. We don't get many hurricanes, and certainly nothing like what happens too often these days in the Gulf states, but nothing's impossible. Right, Yentl?

As part of my preparedness measures, I know that I should be preparing to leave my house, but I find the idea of leaving to be the hardest part. I've made mental lists of things I'd want to pack in my car, in the event that we need to bug-out:

sleeping bags, the tent, mess kits, food, water ....

But where do I go? If things are bad here, where I am, getting to anywhere where they'd be better is ... well, I live at the top of I-95, and if it's bad here, my guess is trying to go south on I-95, especially once we hit Boston, and further south New York City, would look something like trying to get out of New Orleans on HWY 190 going across Lake Pontchartrain in the wake of Hurricane Rita. My option is Canada, and I don't know anyone in Canada.

So, I don't have a B.O.B. I don't have a plan.

After years of reading about the end of life as we know it and working very hard to adapt my lifestyle and my home to what I believe we will need to survive a lower energy future, the thought that I might, actually, not be able to depend on this as my shelter is more frightening than almost any scenario I can conjure, and believe me, with all of the reading I do, I can get some pretty awful images playing havoc in my brain.

What's funny is that as I'm thinking I might have to leave here, I have people I know who think here is their bug-out destination. I think that's funny, in a sad sort of way, because if they're coming here, what are they doing where they are?

If I don't feel completely prepared with as much as I've done over the past four years, how impotent do those who've done nothing feel? How horrible has this economic disaster been for them?

Matt over at Kentucky Prepper warns that no one is coming to help us in the event of a disaster, and he's right. We should be as prepared as we can get, and I actually do know where I'd go if I had to leave. I just don't know how long I'd be able to stay there, considering it's public land ... and tent living in Maine in the winter is probably not the ideal.

On the bright side, it would give us an opportunity to really practice all of these survival skills we've been learning.

Now, I just have to remember to pack all of the survival books ...

... and the magenesium firestarters ...

... and the solar flashlights and radio ...

... and some cooking utensils ...

... and our Mora Knives

... and the hide scraping tools ...

... the the quart jar of chocolate chips.


  1. Whoa, whoa, whoa! China does NOT have 6 billion people. Six billion is nearly everyone on the planet. China has a mere 6th of that, or so.

    If it's any consolation, my father went to West Point and is fond of pointing out that no foreign power in their right mind would think of invading a country where nearly every civilian is armed, even if (unlike Israel and Switzerland) we're mostly untrained. Seriously. I know some soon-to-be desperate nations outnumber us, but we spend more on our military than the rest of the world *combined,* or so I read not long ago. I think we have a ways to go before we need to worry about a land war on US soil.

    As for China, every time I read about the latest fiasco over there, I'm half convinced their government wants to reduce their population by whatever means present themselves. Gender-based abortions, melamine, minimal building codes, etc. Though they did finally shut off the adoption tap.

    Also fwiw, I don't have any real bug-out plans either, and I'm much closer than you are to cities that would be high value targets if there ever were an invasion, within the Boston-NY-Philly-DC corridor. I'm betting on this little property, and if it's a bad pick, I'm probably going down. I'd think Maine would be low priority during a land war. No offense.

  2. In your second paragraph, Kate, I think you make a very good argument for us to never allow the Second Amendment to be overturned - as I've heard rumor that some in our present Congress wish to do. We have the right to bear arms, and a lot of Americans exercise that right. It's not our military that will save us, if we ever do get invaded, because our military is spread hither and yon across the world, and in the event of an invasion, it's unlikely that we'll be able to get them all back over here fast enough.

    As for Maine being a low priority ... frankly, I'm banking on it ;). But I live in a coastal area, very close to a major port city and only a few hours from Boston ... so I worry that while the rest of my great State might be ignored, the sea port may not be.

  3. I've been thinking of you a lot while watching this Haiti coverage. And home. Because quite honestly if this quake had hit back home, well it would have been bigger to create the kind of damage as in AK they have building codes and houses are made to earthquake standards. But in January? Good lord. And the option would be the same as you--bug out to Canada. How many roads does ME have to CAN? AK has TWO roads to Canada and one is impassable in the winter. It would be total utter chaos---assuming you could even drive. There was an earthquake up there a few years ago that damaged some parts of the highway.
    All I know is that this disaster further solidifies my belief that "Oh XYZ natural disaster doesn't happen here..." is naive thinking.
    So much to digest!

  4. Ahh ... you've been thinking of "me" *blush* ;).

    I don't know that the houses here in Maine are built to earthquake standards, because it's usually a non-issue. Of course, tornadoes are - usually - a non-issue, too, but last year there was a micro-burst in a neighboring town that did quite a bit of damage (from which we were able to secure a winter's worth of firewood from downed trees).

    As for escape routes, a couple of years ago we had a fairly severe spring storm which caused a great deal of coastal flooding. They called it the Patriot's Day Storm. All of the "major" roads (and many of the secondary ones) going north from where I live were closed due to flooding.

    In such an event as that, we wouldn't be driving out, and we'd get our feet pretty wet trying to walk anywhere ;).

    In answer to your question, though, there are only two roads that go the length of Maine and end up in Canada, although there are a number of secondary highways and probably dozens of "tote" roads. The trick is knowing which road to take.

  5. I'm glad you remembered the most important thing - the chocolate chips! Yes, I read it all the way to the bottom.

  6. NOT the point, but you do so know someone in Canada, you "know" me in New Brunswick.

    And if the shit hits the fan? I'd much rather have your family, with your skill set, on my doorstep than most of the people I know in real life. So come on up, sister!

    More to the point, after Katrina (which didn't affect me personally) I also started considering routes out of here, if I had to evacuate to Central Canada. Like you, I have very few official options open to me. I have noticed, however, that hiking maps usually show many more secondary roads than road maps do.

  7. Can't forget the chocolate chips, right? :).

    Thanks, Irma. That is really nice of you :).

  8. like Irma says: you know people in Canada. You just haven't met them. I am living my own bug out plan. With room for family and more.

    China will implode. It cannot sustain the growth rate it requires for much longer. Watch for the move on Formosa.

    Any way, Preparation is it's own reward.