Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Meeting of the survivalists

My title sounds much more impressive than it really was.  I, the survivalist, met with another survivalist for the three day weekend.  I left the grandkids at home and hung out with the only person that I know personally who has similar interests and opinions as I do.  But boy do we differ! 

I had some work to do near east San Diego County so we met up at the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicle Recreation Area.  This is an OHV park of nearly 80,000 acres.  It’s huge.  First I want to say that I’ve never been to an OHV park and the environmental damage that is caused at these places in unimaginable.  Some of my coworkers have conducted work at some of these places and they say that if they don’t allow some areas to be destroyed then the OHVers will impact more places.  It’s better to concentrate them into one area.  And concentrated they were.  At one place, called Pumpkin Patch, there were about 200 people just hanging out there.  So much for seclusion and just getting away. 

My friend just bought a dune buggy kind of thing.  I’m not quite sure what to call it. – other than expensive.  With the accessories added, the thing cost about $25,000.  It was fun to drive it around on Saturday night and Sunday day and night, but that was enough.  It’s not something that is just running through my veins.  If I never got on another dune buggy to go riding in an OHV park again, it would make no difference to me.  Just not my thing, I guess.

I drove my truck, the personal one, not the work truck since I didn’t think it would look good for the marked work truck to be hanging out at the park all weekend.  Of course, I did have real reason to go down and I did work on Saturday but still, government workers have a bad enough reputation…  I had my normal stuff loaded into my truck.  I’m used to sleeping in it if needed but my friend’s trailer slept 8, so there was room for me in the trailer.  His trailer was nothing like my trailer.  My trailer is 15 years old, in good shape, and didn’t cost a lot used.  It has a couch that folds down into a bed, the kitchen table folds into a bed, and above the couch is a little fold down bunk.  His screams I have money and I’m not afraid to flaunt it. 

My friend makes somewhere between two and three times as much money as I make and has been single all his life.  That’s so different than my lifestyle which is one of supporting anywhere between 4 and 10 people, depending on the year and everyone’s circumstances.   So, he has money to spare.  Us, we just plant a bigger garden so we can eat well.  He should be really prepared in his survival gear.  I’m looking forward to the conversations about how he’s fortified his house, what he stores, etc.

I’ve said that he brought a trailer and dune buggy.  I failed to mention the dirt bike and the brand new truck.  Beautiful truck.  Dually, one-ton, diesel, four wheel drive, with every feature imaginable.  My truck, half ton, gas, eleven years old, four wheel drive, before tv or gps or I-pod hookup was imagined to be included in a vehicle – but I have a tape deck and a cd player.  That was very high tech back then!    My friend told me I needed to get a new vehicle because mine was old.  For what?  I was able to jump into my truck and drive for nine hours without worrying if it would make it.  I don’t need a new vehicle.  In the past six months my friend has spent over two years worth of my salary on “toys” and new vehicles. 

What about his survival plans?  Ok, so he’s got all this stuff, and sorry if it sounds a little jealous, I’m not.  Especially after this weekend. 

The trailer had a great kitchen.  It was equipped with a microwave, stove, refrigerator and freezer, and coffee maker.  What about the food?  He had to stop on the way to pick up food because there’s nothing stored in it to eat.  Everything was gourmet.  Nothing was ordinary food.  He also picked up lots of alcohol.  Now I know that many survival sites say that you need to give up all food, alcohol, and smoking vices prior to TEOTWAWKI, but I disagree.  I enjoy gourmet foods (not that I can afford to buy stuff), I enjoy alcohol (in moderation).  I’ve never smoked.  I’ve never used drugs.   If the situation came to pass and I never had the ability to drink alcohol again I’d survive without it just fine.  I do believe that we need to be in control of ourselves and too much alcohol will not allow that.  For three days, he brought three twelve packs of beer, two bottles of wine, and some whiskey.  In my three days I drank four bottles of beer and had a glass of wine for dinner Sunday night.  My friend drank just about everything else.  I asked about this and he said that he doesn’t normally do this.  I find that hard to believe.

Anyway, back to the food.  There wasn’t anything stored in his trailer.  No canned goods, no ramen noodles, Knorr side dishes, canned milk, beans, potatoes, nothing!   No salt or pepper!  I have several weeks worth of food in my trailer.  Actually, it’s probably enough to feed us for a couple of months although there isn’t a great variety after the couple of weeks worth of canned goods was used up.  Friend is convinced that he could hunt for his food.  Perhaps, but if he’s driving to get out of the city and heading to wherever he’d want to settle, he’s not going to have time to hunt for his food.  Also, I’m not sure that he realizes that if everyone started hunting for their food the deer and rabbit populations would collapse.  He didn’t have any fishing equipment in the trailer.  After all, there wasn’t any place to fish.  Under the seat of my pickup I have a small fishing pole and bait.  I have about over a weeks worth of food in my truck, and I wasn’t supposed to need it as my friend was supplying everything. 

I carry a sleeping bag and sleeping roll (the liner, which is all I need most of the time) in my truck at all times.  He didn’t have anything in his truck other than lots of movies.  His trailer didn’t have any sleeping bags.  He had the four full sized beds and blankets for each of them.  He’s just so convinced that he will have time to get his trailer and supply it with everything he will need that he doesn’t have anything prepared.

He ran out of propane although his tanks held 40 gallons.  The trailer contained both a gas generator and gas pump (to refuel the toys).  Those two tanks held a total of 45 gallons of gas.  He had about 15.  I carried an extra 15 gallons of gas in the back of my pickup, just in case I needed some extra to get me home.  His pickup was filled with fuel but he didn’t have any spare diesel to get home if something happened and he couldn’t fuel up at a gas station. 

I was surprised at how unarmed he was.  Considering he has so many weapons at home, he came with a .380 pistol.  He had one clip for it.  I had my shotgun and my .38 special, which he called a girly gun…whatever… He said that he was surprised that I didn’t carry more handguns since I have a CCW permit.  I suppose I could have carried more, but I had plenty of ammunition.  Being in the park the shotgun was probably not legal to have in the truck.  Oh well. 

We talked about a TEOTWAWKI situation.  He figured that he’d have plenty of time to get home from wherever he was and pack up.  I asked why he didn’t stay packed up.  No need he said.  If things got bad then depending on how or why would depend on what his bug-out plan would be.  As I said before he’s told me that he’s going to Montana or South Dakota.  No, his plans have changed.  Depending on the weather, he may head to some South American country.  What?  You think you can just drive through Mexico to someplace not yet determined driving your $75,000 pickup and $70,000 trailer carrying your toys and you will make it there, wherever there is, safely?  Get back into reality mister.  You won’t make it 100 miles south of the border.  Ok, maybe 250 miles, until you need to refuel.

He doesn’t plan on bugging in at his house.  It’s in a very high population area of Southern California.  I agree that it wouldn’t be the ideal place to be.  There was one time that I went from Major Surplus and Supply in Gardenia to Riverside and it took over three hours to travel the sixty miles.  This took me right by his house, which is less than a mile off the freeway.  In a TEOTWAWKI situation, he’d be stuck in traffic, especially if he had to pack everything up first!  Not at all wise planning.

He did have some really cool clothes.  Because he has a lot of money he has invested a lot of money into his wardrobe.  Yes, there are lots of designer things, but he’s got some very high quality articles of clothing.  I am lacking in specialized clothing.  When we went driving the dune buggy at night it was in the 40s (cold for me), the wind was blowing, plus being in the open vehicle brought the chill factor down.  I wasn’t cold.  I had SIX layers of clothes on, including some I borrowed from him.  Two shirts, vest, jacket, sweatshirt, windbreaker.  He had one shirt and one jacket/windbreaker.  This meant his mobility was much better than mine.  Wow, so he taught me something. 

Overall, I was disappointed in the weekend.  I was hoping to get some good tips about how I need to tweek my survival program.  Instead I learned that I could care less about riding in a dune buggy, my survivalist friend is just a dreamer with a lot of toys, and I need to buy a good windbreaker. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm struck by a couple of things about your friend. Seems like he is stuck in the mindset many have that they can buy their way out of trouble. I've never had enough money to try that kind of living so if something breaks, I have to fix it or go without. The heating furnace went out one winter, so the boys and I cut firewood and used the fireplace to heat the house. Not very efficient, but did the job until the furnace could be replaced. Skills are more important than money.

    The other thing that stands out is the lack of planning, which seems to come from a place that really in person's brain that doesn't believe TEOTWAWKI is really going to happen. That is unfortunate.