Well, I did it, I up and bugged out. Why did I decide to hit the road in an old'ish trailer with as much as I could stuff in it? I did it for a number of reasons:
- To test out the whole bugging out (evacuating for the non-prepper people reading this) thing and see what I can do better with others. Then share my experiences to help others become better prepared.
- To get away from a heavily populated area that may struggle more than other areas due to the coronavirus and fallout from it.
- To help friends and family who aren't as preparedness-minded be in a better position to be more confident and prepared to face the adversity we are all experiencing.
- To get on a great road trip in case road trips are not something we do for a bit.
- And because dealing with a potential pandemic isn't bad enough!
So, in this episode on my Bug Out Vehicle, I speak about:
- My road trip/bug out experience which included:
- Flash flood
- Blizzard & whiteout
- Ice storm
- Power outage
- Unbreachable fog
- High winds
- Becoming lost on the Southside of Chicago with all of my stuff!
- I cover the four-step process for suspending mortgage payments due to the coronavirus
- How dumping social media "friends" who cross our boundaries is a good thing!
Packing My Bug Out Vehicle
Before I started my trip, I was up for twenty-seven hours straight driving and packing. That's it. Because to get to my stuff to going north out of town, doing my bug out, I drove to California and picked up a trailer the day before and drove back to Vegas. I drove to my dad's house in L.A. Then we drove up to the Southern Sierras where he has a little cabin and a trailer with a hole in the roof. And I picked it up there and then drove back to Vegas, got back to Vegas about 10 o'clock at night.
And I'm like, I don't trust this thing. You know, I'm in for a penny, in for a pound on this stuff, and it's kind of uncertain back there, especially when you been sitting home obsessing about the damn thing for since January 25th. So I get home and I just start loading my stuff. First I had to like reorganize everything 'cause I got OCD about organizing.
Once I'm on the road, that's like that whole pack in that whole getting ready thing. At that point, you're in commitment mode because whatever you have with you, that's all you got, folks. Well, I got a big ass bug out bag, man. I got a trailer and I had to get my pickup truck and I loaded for bear, man. So when I got I hit by that monsoon outside of Vegas and I pull over, I slept a good night's sleep, after twenty-something hours. It calmed me down.
Monsoon, Flash Flood, and Blizzard
What really made it not an easy task is that I actually got caught in like a winter monsoon. You know, you get the rain is about medium, then it goes up from that kind of rain up to that really hard rain. And then it kind of goes just past the really hard rain to where there's it's like a little bit too much rain for the wipers to do the work. (To the people that don't like to turn their windshield wipers on, why wouldn't you take advantage of it before? You can't because it's raining so hard, your windshield wipers can't keep up with it.) Well, that's what I hit leaving Vegas. And when I left Vegas, I was towing a 20 or 21 foot of a 2000 travel trailer. The bumper hits because it’s so loaded with my buckets of rice and much pepper crap as I could carry. I filled it in the back of the truck. I had two cats. I had my dog. That was an ordeal.
I had this monsoon hit me coming out of Vegas, 20 minutes from my house, maybe 30. I'm too far to go back because I can't see the road. And it's like, what do I do, man? So I go, OK. I go and I pull him behind this truck stop. That's just north of Vegas, as you get past the speedway and probably about 20 minutes passed. I pull in the street behind it. It's raining and oh mind you, I got a leak in the roof of the trailer in this one corner. It’s not a terrible leak. I think it's from the molding over in the corner. I got some of that flecked seal on it. It definitely needs some work or needs to get an out from underneath the thing called the sky that drops water on top of us, and leaks inside.
I wake up in the morning. I got to feed the dog, I feed the cats. I give them some water and all this stuff. And I'm like, all right, let me go get my truck. Get on the road. I'm pretty happy now because again, I've gotten on the road. Everything I have is that's it. I'm not going back. It is done. Whatever I got unless I could pick something up along the way by going into like zombie land. I'm stuck. Right. So I got it. That's it. I pull out. I open the door, of the trailer to look outside. That monsoon moved on somewhere and all that water from the monsoon was coming down the road I'm in.
I haven't been on the road like six hours. I mean, I got 20 minutes down the road. Boom, monsoon. I pull over, wake up like four to six hours later, something like that. And what do I get? Flash flood outside my trailer doors. I'm thinking, OK, dude, this is how like some bad shit starts. Like, really, I've been sitting here and I'm doing my bug out and this is how I start. Maybe I should go back at this point. I'm like, no, man, I'm driving on.
I drive out of which we call out of Vegas. The next hour, I'm actually out on the road. So I get back on the road the next day and I drive a little bit of Arizona. I get up in Utah. Oh, man, it's gorgeous up there, right? And man, that was a long day. All this white shit started falling out of the sky. It started snowing, man. So it starts snowing on me going up into Utah. And I keep going. Keep going, keep going. Tell you what, it's like the monsoon of snow. Like I literally can't see anymore. And the road is getting crappy and I'm towing an overloaded trailer.
OK, here's the next one. This wasn't a disaster but was kind of an annoyance. So, I pull into a motel or hotel, or microtel, there's so many different -tels, whatever and I go down to the end and turn the corner of the hotel and boxes around the hotel. It's a dead-end like 20 feet down there that you really can't see before you go.
I was like, man, it's really coming down. It's cold. I didn't want to mess with it. Turning a generator on or turning on the heater in this thing and getting the propane and all that going in the middle of a storm in the trailer, it's loaded with crap and two cats and a dog.
So I'm like, yeah, I will go in and practice my best safety technique and get a room. Now I know in my book that was a huge risk. It is. So at that point, I looked at it. It was still early in this. I'm going to take a shot. I want to be careful in the room, as careful as I can be. I wipe stuff down and did all that. I got back. It was my last hotel room for probably quite a while. And I had Domino's Pizza and I said, well, I'm going in isolation when I get to where I'm going. I'm going in isolation for three weeks and next Monday will be the end of my three weeks.
I just couldn’t wait to feel that hot water bath. But I couldn't get the hot water to come out, to steady. You know why? Because it was running all over the damn floor. And it got my carpet wet. Oh, what a mess.
Ice Storm and Power Outage
So after the blizzard, the next day, I get up and head out. I go through Idaho and Wyoming. Very nice drive. Outside of Cheyenne, I didn't know you had to go up a big mountain. I'd never driven through there before. So what? Cool, no big deal. But when you're loaded down with a travel trailer full of crap and a truck that's an F-150, it can pull. It did. It didn't like it very much, but it did a good job, and I've given her rest for quite a while now. She has some blisters on her feet, I think.
I'm going up into Cheyenne, Wyoming. And some fog starts coming around, going up the mountain. And more fog comes. And there's this thing with the weather. I'm noticing it like a little would start up and then it's like, oh, Brian Duff's here. Let's go ahead and just turn it up a notch. And so the fog comes in, so everybody's driving like 20 miles an hour with their flashers on. And that went on and on and on and on. I get over the mountain fine. I'm like, oh, thank God. It wore me out, so I could pull in a gas station.
So I'm stopping to get gas and I'm fueling up and it's cold out, man, and this heavy, heavy fog comes in. That heavy fog turns into an ice storm. I'm there within 10 minutes and it was taking me five minutes or so to gas up by the time I take a step to go next to my truck. The ground is already slick and I'm like, oh shit, it’s coming, man. I'm like, OK. I'm not going up any hills with my truck loaded down with this stuff in an ice storm. I see this mechanic shop across the street and it's Saturday night going into Sunday. I don't know too many mechanic shops that are open on Sunday, so I think I should be safe before getting hassled to get on the road. So I go in there. I go to bed, climb into the trailer, go rack out.
I wake up in the morning. And it just this weird, quiet man, I'm like, what’s going on now. I look out the window and everywhere I can see the power is out. Now, what do you do in the power is out when you look out in the after monsoons and blizzards and all that and the power is out?
What's the first thing is a crazy prepper like me would think about? I'm like, oh, no. Now we got hit with an EMP. I'm like, are you kidding me? I'm stuck in a parking lot in Cheyenne. Not that there’s anything wrong with Cheyenne. I just would rather not be stuck in a parking lot in Cheyenne. So the first thing I did check was the cell phone and was still going on, so I thought OK.
All the ice brought down power lines. All the power's out. Luckily, I got gas that night because the power was out to the gas station. That stuff wasn't pumping. I end up going back to bed, slept for three hours, and finally, it started warming up enough to at least the blacktop on the road, started to melt in the ice, and I got back on the road. That was a sketch and a half. Oh, boy.
The rest of the trip was pretty good. I actually ran into an old army buddy. Shout out to Mike Glancy. I was passing through. So we did a quick link up and said hi and stayed like 20 feet away from each other and all that.
And then the last kind of little faux pas on the trip was, now, I don't know if I'm gonna blame it on Google Maps or Apple Maps, but probably user error. I got off the highway somewhere south of Chicago. I don't know, North Indiana, somewhere. And it was not the place to get off the highway. It reminded me of like going down to New Orleans or something like that and just not being in the right place, especially loaded down with a dog, two cats, and all the crap again.
So, yeah, that was a little pucker factor there for a minute. Just because I'm like, you know, I just don't want anything to go on and draw attention to myself because there was no place for anybody to drive other than like every lane on the street. There was no parking on the street. I'm like, where am I going to break down with this trailer? It just wasn't the best side of town. Oh God, just get me there.
So anyhow, folks, the moral of this story is always remember, even if we think we're organized, even if we think we have our stuff together (this just doesn't apply to bugging out, this applies to everything), we may have our own normalcy bias going on. I had it. I thought I was more set to pack, get my stuff and go then I was. And I've practiced that in the past. I've actually practiced loading up and doing this stuff. And you know what? There's nothing like the added stress of possible reality and danger to sometimes make us wake up a little bit, you know.
Deliberate Mindset and Situational Awareness
One of the things you've heard me talk about before is having a deliberate mindset. We need to go about our life possibly now with a more deliberate mindset. I don't like the word deliberate mindset because it makes it sound like so rigid and this and that, and that's not how we as humans necessarily have to operate. A lot of people call it hippie stuff and put it down. And I'll tell you, practicing to get mindful, working on staying in the moment, that's situational awareness, man. You just more fluidly elevate your level of awareness based on your own personal risk assessment and surroundings.
We have to think of ourselves now in this environment, we leave our houses as everything outside of our immediate control.
Expect the unexpected and plan for the impossible man, because you never know when you'll find yourself in a blizzard, a monsoon, a flash flood and all one day.
Social Media Cleanup
What I started doing today was when I get on Facebook and I see people that are calling other people sheep and putting down people and just not helping the situation to feel better, I just unfriended them.
I get it. We're all aware of the potential of what is going on. Most preppers are anyway. Most people in this niche understand and have certain viewpoints, whether you're conservative or liberal. We have certain viewpoints about personal liberties.
I hate unfriending people because I don't like siloing the inputs that I have into my life. I like my friends that are like that. And I like people like that because they balance me out if I'm, like, just crazy some other way. But it doesn't work when we're all shouting at each other. You don't always have to keep watching the people that keep bringing you down. You know what? You'll be happy cause next time, you know, you won't have to see that same stuff again.
Suspending Mortgage Payments
I was made aware the other day and I know people been talking about here and there, but just to let people know if you're struggling or you know, somebody that's struggling to pay the bills, pay the mortgage, right now there is a deferment plan. They're suspending loan payments for you. So I believe it has to be a federally backed loan or whatever. But you can go to your bank's website and check it out. From everything I've heard and seen, it's about four or five clicks. And you can be done in under five minutes, probably three minutes. And that's with reading everything pretty much. So I'd go look at it.
Basically, my understanding is it suspends your payments for 90 days. They'll re-evaluate it and see what the economy's like then. And then they will determine like, hey, is it another 90 days or where they go from there doesn't affect your credit. You don't get hit with late fees, all that kind of stuff. So if you haven't done so or if you know somebody that might benefit from that, please pass it on if you want to know more about it. I did a video on it over on the Mind for Survival Facebook page and go check that out and feel free to share that.
We get this information out because, you know, I think a lot of people are struggling right now. I saw a picture of it. I imagine a lot of you have pictures of the strip in Vegas. That's where I just bugged out from. And it's just empty. The thing that you have to remember is all those hotels, the thousands and thousands of rooms of hotels, have people that make that stuff run. They're not working now, man. They're out of work right now. I know it's a lot of you across the country.
Never forget, you’re just one prep away.
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Stay safe, secure and prepared,