13 Tricks to Get Safely Home Following an EMP

Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason February 5, 2018 10:40

13 Tricks to Get Safely Home Following an EMP

Imagine the scenario. You’re driving home when suddenly your car’s engine dies and the dashboard goes dark. Using the last of the steering response you pull in and brake to a halt, then try to restart. To your surprise, the ignition is totally dead – even the starter motor won’t turn over. None of the lights are going on and the radio is silent. Then you start to realize that every other car on the road has stopped  too…

A hostile state has detonated a pattern of nuclear weapons 300 miles above the USA, the country has been blanketed by a massive electromagnetic pulse, and all unshielded electronics are dead. This is the EMP attack people have been dreading – and now you have to get home.

The worst time for an EMP

This is the worst-case EMP scenario. If the attack comes when you’re at home, you’re in the best position to get through it. You already have access to everything you’ve prepared, and you can immediately start activating your emergency plans.

Unfortunately, this isn’t likely to happen. The point of an EMP attack is to cause maximum disruption, and the best way to do that is to push the button while everyone’s at work. Whatever most people are doing will crash to a stop, doing a lot more damage than if it happened while offices and factories were closed for the night. And of course there will be panic as people try to call home, find they can’t, then start wondering what to do.

What you really need to do is get home, but that isn’t always going to be simple. If you work a couple of miles away from your house it’s not too difficult – just walk – but what if you have a long commute? A distance that takes you an hour to drive can easily turn into a challenging multi-day hike. Worst of all, what if you’re hundreds of miles from home on a business trip when the EMP goes off? All you can do is be as prepared as possible in advance, so when it happens you have the tools and knowledge you need to get back to your loved ones as quickly as possible. Here’s how to do it.

Related: Where Not To Be During an EMP

Take preparedness with you

Some preppers fall into the trap of being prepared at home, but letting that slide when they travel. That’s dangerous. Most of us spend a lot of time away, and a crisis is as likely to happen during that time. Whether it’s the daily commute, a business strip or a vacation, you need to apply the same thinking as you do when you’re at home. That means having at least a basic get you home kit, and a plan for how you’re going to use it.

How much kit you can take with you depends on where you’re going and how you’re getting there. If you’re traveling by car you should at least be able to take a rucksack with the essentials, some emergency rations and a set of outdoor clothing. If the law allows it, at least one firearm should be in your kit – and if you can manage a pistol and a long gun, even better.

Flying makes life more complicated, but a decent pair of walking boots or shoes, a weatherproof coat and a compact sleeping bag will serve you well. Any other basics you can fit in your baggage, like a good knife and some paracord, will make things a lot easier.

Before you leave home, work out how you’re going to get back there if a crisis hits. If that crisis is an EMP, you’re probably going to have to do it on foot – nothing’s going to be flying, and only the oldest and least electronic vehicles will still be mobile. Old trucks are suddenly going to be worth their weight in gold. Make sure you have at least a basic map to let you plan a route home; don’t rely on being able to ask people what way to go.

Related: Affordable Vehicles That Can Survive an EMP

Act quickly

When the electronics fail, don’t join in the general confusion. You know this might happen and you’re prepared for it, so use the first vital few hours well. First, dig all the cash out of your pockets and spend the lot. Before too long, people will realize that with the financial system wiped out money isn’t good for anything, so use it while you can. Stock up on anything useful you can find – but don’t waste time shopping around. If you end up spending $300 on candy, fine; it’s energy that can keep you alive.

Next, start moving. Firstly, urban areas are going to become dangerous in a hurry. With law, order and sanitation all breaking down you don’t want to be there. Secondly, the sooner you start heading for home the sooner you’ll get there.

Make distance

How long it takes you to get home depends on how far away you were. If you just went to the grocery store you’ll be back in half an hour – but what if you were on a business trip to the other coast? Even at a good pace of 20 miles a day, a 500-mile trip is going to take nearly a month. Crossing the continent might take a year.

If you don’t have any other way to move, keep walking – but if you do see an alternative, take it. Even a bicycle will get you moving much faster, and in good conditions you might manage a couple of hundred miles a day. If rivers are flowing in the right direction, look for small boars – a row boat is still faster than walking, and it will give your legs a rest.

Move at the fastest pace you can keep up. If you have a hundred miles to go there’s no point in trying to sprint – you’ll have to slow down soon anyway, but before you do you’ll be wasting energy and risking injury. Set a pace you can keep up for as long as it takes, and if you pick up any minor injuries think about taking a rest day. It’s better to deal with them before they get bad enough to stop you.

If it takes you more than a couple of days to get home you’re probably going to need to pick up supplies, gear and transport along the way. Be careful when you do this. Other people will be competing for anything useful, and getting into a fight can stop you reaching home. So can an illness picked up from contaminated water – and many water sources will be contaminated.

Getting home after an EMP could be a serious challenge, especially if you’re a long way away. Making it is going to need preparedness, so when you’re organizing a trip make sure your plans take in the worst case scenario. If you’re ready for that, anything easier is a bonus.

Related: You Will Not Survive an EMP Strike Without This

The 13 Tips

  1. Be as prepared when you’re away as you are at home
  2. Always have at least basic equipment with you
  3. Before you leave home, plan how you’ll get back there in a crisis
  4. Always have a map
  5. Spend your money as soon as the power goes off
  6. Get moving
  7. Stay clear of urban areas
  8. Avoid crowds
  9. Use any transport you can
  10. Don’t push too hard
  11. Rest when needed
  12. Scavenge carefully
  13. Don’t take unnecessary risks

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Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason February 5, 2018 10:40
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40 Comments

  1. Rocky February 5, 15:39

    Get out of Dodge as fast as possible, grab the first bicycle you can get your hands on and move. Once out of town and into farm land either buy or steal a horse. No saddle really needed, you can make a rope bridle. When you find a river, depending on where you are going find a boat if possible. Water is the fastest and safest way to travel, nothing will be safe after the first week. Once across, find another horse, either way a lot of walking is going to be involved. Much danger as only 10% of Americans will be alive after one year. Meanwhile invaders from the South will be moving in for what’s left of the American pie.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 5, 17:52

      While a horse has advantages over a bicycle cross country, there is no way a horse can maintain a long pace that a bicycle can. Maintaining 30 miles a day on a bicycle even on trails that are not too rough is an easily accomplished task. Read real tales about riding back in the days when the horse was the main mode of travel. I just finished reading about Pershing’s expedition into Mexico. One of his cavalry troop covered 80 miles in 50 hours and the horses and men were exhausted. Those soldiers belonged to a cavalry troop. They were experienced riders who knew how to take care of their horses. Both the riders and horses were used to long, sustained marches. I will grant you that they might have been going cross country with no roads, but that is supposedly where horses outperform bicycles. I would say if you can get your hands on a sturdy bicycle, do so and stay with it. I’ll explain more below.

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    • Chris F. February 5, 18:22

      Buy or STEAL a horse?! If stealing is part of your grand plan then be advised that you will undoubtedly end up dead in a week or two. Homesteaders, farmers, and other country folks aren’t brain dead; they know that their own lives may well depend on keeping their horses, donkeys, and livestock closely guarded in a grid-down situation. Your current “plan” sounds like a dandy way to get shot by someone who has a lot of time and investment in his animals. What’s worse, a horse thief or a looter? They’ll all be treated the same. You need to think things through to come up with a real plan that doesn’t involve getting shot at or depriving others of life saving assets that they worked hard for.

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      • left coast chuck February 5, 19:17

        I agree, Chris. In addition, most folks are located in urban areas. You are going to have a tough time finding a horse in downtown Los Angeles. On the other hand, a bike shop owner might be happy to trade a cross-country bike and a trailer for cash.And there are way more bike shops in downtown LA than stables. A bike can be depended upon not to whinny at an inappropriate time and rubber tires are a lot quieter on pavement than steel shod horse’s hooves.

        A friend of my daughter thinks that she will be able to pick up a horse at the local stable which is not far from her house in an ETOW scenario. There are a couple of problems with that plan. First of all, that thought has also crossed the mind of some other folk. The fifteen or twenty horses boarded at the stable might not go very far. In addition, the owner of the stable might object to someone not the owner trying to appropriate the horse. And finally, the owner might have showed up and might object to a stranger trying to appropriate HIS or HER horse. I haven’t had the heart to point out the possible flaws in that plan. She presently is learning to ride a bicycle late in life and that might be a more appropriate substitute for a horse anyway.

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      • Wannabe February 5, 21:14

        I agree with Chris F. Don’t steal, it will get you killed or maimed. Even the article encourages you to take a bike it will get you there faster. Not if you are dead. Have a plan before hand, get necessary items and stick with your plan. Yea don’t be a looter, it’s a job that quickly gets you to retirement.

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  2. Farmer February 5, 16:00

    An interesting series of novels by A. American (pen name) is the “Going Home” series … the author does a good job of painting the picture of challenges that might be faced during an extended SHTF situation. There are 7 books in the series – an enjoyable and informative read.

    Reply to this comment
  3. John February 5, 16:37

    I watched the presentation and was ready to place my order when I noticed it was a digital copy. I would like to have a physical (in my hands) copy instead. Is that possible?
    Thanks, John

    Reply to this comment
  4. left coast chuck February 5, 18:32

    Now to comment on the main article. First, let me disabuse you of the notion that you can travel a couple hundred miles a day on a bicycle. I used to do long distance bicycle riding. I have ridden across Kansas from the western border to the eastern border three times. I have ridden the entire California Coast. I have ridden long tours in Wyoming. I used to do one day, 100 mile rides. In the PDRK there is a 100 mile ride somewhere in the state every weekend. So, when it comes to riding long distance, I’ve been there and done that.

    If you can average 15 miles an hour it will take you six hours and twenty minutes of riding at an average speed of 15 miles an hour NON-STOP. There are several 200 mile a day rides in the PDRK. They start before it is light and end after it is dark and are usually held around the time of year when the day is longest. They are done by highly experienced, well trained and disciplined bike riders. They have support stations with porta-potties at convenient intervals. They have food and water stations at convenient intervals. They have roving repair trucks to aid in fixing flats and other bike repairs to keep the riders on the road. All that is absolutely necessary to do 200 miles in a day. The rider only carries enough water to get from one rest stop to the next. He only carries enough tools to make very minor repairs. He only carries a couple of energy bars to stave off bonking before reaching a rest stop. He is stripped down to the bare essentials. Every bit of his gear is designed to be as light weight as possible and he has refined his gear to allow him to maximize his distance.

    The same with hiking. In 2001 I did a march around Mt. Fuji in Japan. We covered 350 km in 7 days. That averaged out to 50 km a day, 30 miles. We traveled under the same conditions as the long distance bike rider. Everything we needed along the way was provided. We started early in the morning and marched until dusk in the evening. We again carried only the bare minimum. I was in great shape and it was a killer.

    That’s why when I talk about covering 25 miles a day on a bicycle and 10 miles a day walking, I think in an EOTW situation, that is going to be a good day’s travel. You are going to need to attend to your personal needs yourself. You are going to have to forage for food. You are going to have to avoid people. All of that is time consuming and may take you far off course. A good day, when you have accumulated sufficient food and water the previous day and were you can stick to a direct course, will mean that you can cover 10 miles. You are going to have to be alert to danger. One of the reasons why I like to limit my day’s ride to 100 km (60) miles is because it allows a more leisurely pace. At 15 mph (average speed) on a bike you don’t have the luxury of looking around. Sure you can zip down a long hill at 30 or 40 mph but going up the long hill you are going to be lucky to do 10 mph and you will spend far more time at 10 mph than you will at 35 mph. At 40 mph on a bicycle you will be carefully watching the road in front of you to avoid small rocks and glass. You won’t be able to look 100 yards in front of you for the guy lying in the grass with his rifle trained on you. So any time someone talks about covering 100 miles or 20 miles a day in an EOTW situation, well, he should give his creds to support that statement. He should be able to tell you how many times he had done a one day century in the last couple of years (that’s a 100 mile bike ride). He should tell you how many week long hikes he has ever done and how many miles he covered in a week and how old he was when he did it. There is a difference between how soldiers estimate how far they have marched and how far they have really marched. I pointed out in an earlier post the the march cadence is 120 30-inch steps a minute which works out to 3.something miles an hour. When you are on patrol you aren’t marching along at 120 30-inch steps a minute so you aren’t covering 3.something miles an hour. If you are marching at that pace there is a good chance you are going to walk right smack dab into an ambush. If you can cover 1 mile an hour, that should be considered a good pace. If you are moving at night because you have to lay low during the day getting out of an urban area, it is going to take even longer.

    That’s a lot of verbiage to discuss how fast and how far you can travel but it is a topic I feel is glossed over too easily by folks who haven’t given any real thought to the subject. Or the last time they went on a hike they thought they covered 30 miles in one day but it really was only 15 and they were 28 years old.

    In the movies cowboys rode incredible distances and never killed their horses. Any experienced horseman will tell you that horses are really fairly fragile and can easily be ridden to death. They just cannot keep up the pace that a human can. The Indians used to catch horses by running after them because a man can run longer than a horse can. Yeah, it is easier on the rider to ride up a hill on a horse and he can do it faster, but the toll on the horse is more significant. A horse beats walking, but a dirt bike or cross country bike is much better. A bicycle has been touted as the most energy efficient means of transportation to ever exist. Don’t give you your bike if you get a horse. Use the horse to haul your pack and you both will be able to get further down the road.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 5, 19:06

      One would think I disagree with the basic premise of this article, but the author, over all, is correct. Your biggest exposure is away from home. I have always considered, until the recent Thomas Fire that my biggest exposure was being away from home and have always kept more supplies in my car than I can carry on my back and would probably need. Hey, its easier to say, “Don’t need this. I’ll leave it.” than to say, “D _ _ n! Wish I had thought to put that in the car.” There are freeway jams that last as long as 8 hours. Wow, nothing like being stuck in a hot car for 8 hours. While the guys can stand behind the car door and relieve themselves, lady folks would just as soon not. So one of the items in the car that I wouldn’t carry is a sanitary jar. They are less than $10 and very light and can be used in a car by a lady. Even in a non-EOTW situation (That is until you are stuck on a freeway for eight hours after working all day, then you will think it is the end of the world.)

      Earthquakes are a known phenomenon here in the PDRK. Unlike storms that you have some advance warning of, earthquakes happen when they feel like. In earthquakes, roads get blocked, overpasses fall down, bridges fall down. An earthquake during evening rush hour (why do we call it that when nobody is rushing?) would tie up traffic until the following morning or later. You might not be able to get a hotel room. In the Thomas Fire the available hotel rooms in Ventura quickly filled up. That was an oversight on my part by the time I realized I might need a hotel room there were none to be had. There was only one direction out of town open, so I would have had to follow everyone else and try to find a hotel room at a jacked up price.

      If you are stuck on a highway in an emergency like a snow storm in Atlanta and have to spend the night in your car, you had better be prepared to spend the night otherwise you are likely to be a popsicle in the morning. At a minimum you will be absolutely miserable. I read a first person account of being stuck in a snow storm in Atlanta. People were spending the night sleeping on the floor of a 7-11 because it was warmer than their car and it had a working toilet. That was after walking a considerable distance from the highway through the snow so it was a miserable night on the floor of the 7-11 in wet clothing. The teller of the tale was relating how he passed that night. He walked out to his car in the parking lot, got his get home bag out of his car, walked back into his warm office and spent the night on the couch in the break room nice and snug in his emergency bivy bag. Even when the heat went off because the electric went off, he was still warm and more Importantly dry for the evening. While he still had cell phone coverage he phoned his wife and told her he was going to spend the night at the office. That’s the advantage of a good get home bag.

      Reply to this comment
      • Chris F. February 5, 20:38

        Small world Chuck! I watched the Thomas fire and later mudslides hour-by-hour in absolute horror since I grew up in a house on Miramar Avenue (my Dad separately lived in a duplex on Olive Mill Road for many years). Unless things have changed radically since my childhood I’d say that 99.9% of the locals there would have laughed at the idea of prepping before Thomas hit. It’s nonetheless a hell area to escape from in an emergency, really the only ways out are 101 are perhaps San Marcus Pass (bet that was jammed up to the max as well).

        I sure miss working off the boats at Santa Barbara and Channel Islands harbors, although I suppose the local fishing industries are mostly out of business at this point.

        Anyway, it’s very pleasant living on 200 acres with forests, pastures, and a large house in “the middle of nowhere” far, far away — for the same price as a small two bedroom condo in my old stomping grounds. A heck of a lot safer, too. Hardly any traffic at all, and the many predators that run around here on four legs instead of two.

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        • lcc February 5, 23:50

          Hi Chris: The freeway is still two-lane through that area. It has been widened on both ends of Montecito, but you know SBarbara, no freeway. Plus the property is so expensive Caltrans doesn’t want to buy it. I envy you but I am stuck here in the PDRK for a while longer. Chomping at the bit until I can get back to the United States of America.

          Reply to this comment
          • Chris F. February 6, 00:09

            Ha, I remember back in the days when there were several stoplights right splat-dab in the middle of 101 at the bottom of State Street, with the massive tree over by the train station. You’ll be back to the rest of the USA soon I’m sure since you clearly want to come back… now I am curious though, what does PDRK stand for assuming that it has *something* to do with the Pacific and *nothing* to do with North Korea? If I still had my “People’s Republic of Portland” t-shirt (yup, of course I did my stint in PDX for some years before eventually vacating far to the east well inside the semi-safe “fly over” zone) I’d probably already know what PDRK is. That said, I still have to ask… after all, it’s always good to be “in the know” even after losing ties to the old ‘hood. Good on you for your own unique Far Left Coast perspective, and I’m very glad to meet you via this forum Chuck.

            Reply to this comment
            • left coast chuck February 6, 02:09

              Peepuls Demokratik Republik of Kallyiforniya.

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              • Chris F. February 6, 02:58

                ROTFLOL! I should have known that one… gee whiz, if you ever make it back to bicycling in Kansas then you’ll have to veer off just a little bit to the south, dinner will be ready with lots of laughs waiting for you here in the Ozark mountains! Yup, we do California-style pizza on the grill upon request (spiced shredded raccoon meat that tastes exactly like pulled-pork carnitas is entirely optional). We’ve come a long, long way from Montecito “Baby” LOL — and in fact still miss the surf and the salt air, but have also discovered an equally amazing enjoyable world with the very comforting smell of wood smoke from the fireplace and wood stoves over here. Big smiles your way Chuck!

                Reply to this comment
                • left coast chuck February 6, 05:42

                  Thanks, Chris F. Yeah, I remember when there were stop lights on 101 in Santa Barbara. I remember when 101 went through Main Street in Santa Maria and every little town all the way to San Jose where the freeway either started or ended, depending on your direction.

                  The areas I am looking at are Wyoming and Idaho. Some long time friends have purchased land up in the panhandle of Idaho and their son has already build a home on his adjacent property. Haven’t considered areas in the midwest. Aside from the bike rides across Kansas, and driving to the rides, I haven’t explored that part of the country very much. Right now I am not able to travel much due to family obligations.

                  Reply to this comment
    • lcc February 5, 19:07

      That should be “Don’t give UP your bike.”

      Reply to this comment
  5. usaf February 5, 19:02

    good catch! when shtf no computer will work to run your disc!

    Reply to this comment
  6. Tom February 5, 19:23

    There was no button on the screen to push to purchase darkest days

    Reply to this comment
  7. Cry Havoc February 5, 23:34

    I work 15 miles from home. Carry a 25 pound get home bag ,9mm pistol and 9mm carbine ALWAYS. I think there will be a lot of confusion in the first 24-48 hours after an EMP. People will be expecting FEMA to come riding up on a white horse to save them. I have told my wife that if no one is shooting at me, it should take me about 5 hrs. In a tactical situation, moving quietly, at night…expect me in 3 or 4 days. An EMP, is truly a worst case scenario, and I pray it never happens. If it does, I’ll just have to take small bites of that excrement sandwich, until the problems are solved.

    Reply to this comment
    • lcc February 5, 23:55

      I think you are right about the confusion in the first couple of days. If you were just walking without any obstructions, yes, five hours is a good estimate for 15 miles. In an ETOW situation, three to four days is also a good estimate. Of course, you could possibly catch a ride with an old guy in a ’63 Chevy 3/4 ton who needs someone to really ride shotgun but I wouldn’t bet the $1000 chip on that.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Stormvet1st February 6, 00:39

    We are going on a cruise to Alaska in JUNE. we live in FL. sad thing is we cant bring a whole lot with us because of TSA, and the cruise lines. I hate it

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 6, 02:48

      That is another reason I don’t fly unless absolutely, positively there is no other way to get there. My bug out bag may not get us home from eastern Kansas to SoCal, but it will go a long ways, especially if I have our bikes with us.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Rod February 6, 01:16

    I live in the Great Plains and my job requires me to drive about 4 hours at times to get to the work site. I spend a lot of the time driving trying to figure out what I would do if an EMP hit, Right Now! There are a lot of horses out here, with an equal or greater number of armed farmers and ranchers who will have little sense of humor if you are caught trying to borrow one. They also know each others stock, so don’t try telling them it is yours when they were with Bill last week when he was riding it to gather in the cattle from summer pasture.Trading for one, or being honest about your situation might work in the right circumstances. This is one place where some gold or silver might come in handy. (yes, more than most of us can do but it is an option) Mules are another option, but I would suggest you have just a bit of experience first. They can go longer, are smarter, but take some special skills to work with. As to riding a horse without a saddle, don’t try it. At the very least use a padded saddle blanket. It is not to save your butt from blisters, but to save the horse’s back from unnecessary physical trauma. Bicycles are a good idea, and I have some, but without repair tools and supplies and the know-how to use them, a bike will get you just to your first flat. I am not saying don’t use any of the above conveyances, but think past the first level to everything that you will, and might, encounter as time goes on. No one says it, but if you are not at your home base when an EMP occurs, you will need a whole backpack of luck to get back there unscathed.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avery February 6, 02:20

      Keep that whole backpack in your vehicle Rod, it’s not that much room and the best plan instead of spending two or three days trying to acquire a horse, mule, or even bike out of freaked-out locals who’ll be battening down the hatches in a major emergency just like everyone else. A two or three day head-start on foot with a pack of basic supplies may be the best idea ever, assuming the other folks from wherever your job site is (people also far from home there on the Great Plains) will be held up for days trying to get the basics together to travel long distances with. Staying ahead of the pack of desperados (even honest ones) even on foot will always be a great idea… at least in my opinion. Bikes break, horses usually hate strangers and also often get stomach aches if deprived of their familiar foods, mules behave like mules since they’re mules, donkeys cry and will refuse to walk too far away from their familiar farmyard friends, and in the end your own two feet may prove to be the most reliable and timely option to take. Water will always be a problem one way or another (carrying even five days worth would empty most of the best-planned BOB) but at least you won’t have to worry about watering a dainty horse who doesn’t like being kidnapped by a stranger, an endlessly thirsty mule, or a very homesick donkey. Yes, I’ve thought endlessly about being suddenly caught many hours from home during a bad long-term emergency myself, a real nightmare scenario. Stash that backpack in your vehicle and plan on walking from there, it’s the most viable option that I’ve come up with so far — even if it takes weeks to get home. All the best of luck to you personally there on the High Plains… while we all know there are no easy answers to this “what will YOU do” question. No easy answer, and perhaps no right answer either in a really seriously bad nightmare. Do what you can with what you got, pack that big backpack is what I’ve already done!

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 6, 02:44

      There are a couple of things you can do to obviate flats. The first is to get extra thick tubes. They are called thorn-proof tubes. They really aren’t but the extra thickness really helps. The next thing is to put Slime in your tubes. Slime is a viscous fluid that seals small punctures. I have done a 60 mile ride with a spot of green (the color of the Slime) showing on the tread before I started out.. You will hear “riders” decrying thorn-proof tubes and Slime because theoretically it slows you down. You can’t accelerate as rapidly because your wheels weigh ten ounces more than w/o Slime and t-p tubes. Well, yeah, but nothing slows you down like sitting by the side of the road attaching a patch to your tube.

      The third thing to do is make sure you have Schrader valves on your tubes. Have the valve hole in the wheel drilled out for Schrader valves. They are less of a pain than presta valves. Of course, all the TdeF wannabes use presto valves because they are lighter. If you want to lose weight off your bike, don’t take that extra handful of chips or only take one scoop of ice cream instead of three. It’s cheaper than buying that titanium seat post that is 24 grams less than the aluminum one and more weight off the bike too.

      As for repair tools, all the tools you need can be contained in a seat bag that fastens to your saddle. You will need a good quality pump and patches too. On the ride across the U.S. most of the riders carry all the tools they need in a tool bag attached to the saddle. Of course, if you look at a flat tire and think, “What do I do now?” you are in trouble. That is just like if all you know about riding a horse is watching westerns in the movies, you are going to be in trouble trying to put a saddle on old Dobbins. Same with a mule. Yeah, you can grab hold of the bridle but then what?

      Get the book “The Zen of Bike Repair” if riding a bicycle seems to be in your plans. It is the bible of bike repair. Especially concentrate on the fixing a flat/tube section. To lessen the pain follow what I outlined above. Using t-p tubes and Slime I rode across Kansas three times w/o a flat. I have ridden a couple thousand miles around my home town w/o a flat and there is lots of broken glass on our streets and goats heads grow abundantly in SoCal. Put the biggest tires and tubes on your wheels you can fit. Stay away from the skinny tires. You are not doing the TdeF ride with a team of mechanics following you. Don’t buy a “racing” bike where you have to ride hunched over. You can’t scan the horizon and the lighter the bike, the more fragile it is. Steel is a good frame material for the bike you want. Next is aluminum. Stay away from anything carbon fiber or titanium. Steel can be welded by almost anyone who knows how to weld and aluminum can be repaired by a lot of welders. When you fall on a carbon fiber bike, it has to go back to the factory to check for hairline fractures. Good luck with that EOTW. I guess titanium can be welded but I don’t know. I suspect the garden variety welding shop wouldn’t know how to do it.

      In any event, bikes are going to be in big demand at the EOTW. I have hauled nine gallons of water in a trailer on my bike. that is 75 pounds plus the trailer weight. That’s more than I can carry on my back and still walk. I hauled the trailer across Kansas on one of those rides and I hauled the trailer from Eureka to SF on one of my coastal rides, including the climb from Leggett over the coastal mountains to Highway 1. If you have been in Kallyforniya during the summer and on Highway 1, you will see loaded bike riders riding from the Canadian border to the Mexican border on Highway 1/101. You can haul quite a load on a bike. For those of you old enough, remember the Ho Chi Minh Trail and how the North Vietnamese hauled weapons and supplies down that trail on bicycles? Yeah, they were special heavy duty bikes but they also carried a quite a load.

      Well, enough about bicycles.

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  10. Clergylady February 6, 05:11

    I keep a Bob and a box in each vehicle. Snowed in at work I had clean clothing and snacks and water. Snowed in the car till the roads reopened, I had snacks, meds, water, blankets et and was only mildly uncomfortable. When I slid off the road in a snowstorm, 5 miles from pavement, 2 miles from home and 12 hours from possibly being missed I had rock salt, kitty litter, carpet scraps and was just 30 minutes late for work.

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  11. Clergylady February 6, 05:21

    IF A SHTF situation happened Monday- Friday I’d be home and prepared. It it happened Saturday or Sunday I might well be 100 miles from home with my husband who has dimentia. Bug out bags or not it would be a nightmare. Half way home I’d have a large city to cross with no way around it. Desert country on top of that. Not good odds of getting home.

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    • Left Coast Chuck February 6, 05:33

      That scenario presents some questions that are difficult to address. Without knowing you personally, CL, I hesitate to discuss the situation because I don’t want to possibly offend you. I’ll just quit there before I put my foot further into my mouth.

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  12. DEE February 6, 14:41

    I really need to have a major discussion with my son/dil who work 120 miles away on weekends(nurses). They have family up where they work but they are the totally oblivious kind of city folk. If they can make it home they and we have our homesteads well prepared for a long term emergency

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    • left coast chuck February 6, 18:58

      Dee: If there are storage facilities on their way home from their weekend job, perhaps consider renting a small storage space and caching supplies there. 120 miles is a good 15 day walk and you just can’t carry enough supplies on your back for fifteen days. An interim alternative would be to have two collapsable luggage carts in the vehicle. It is a lot easier to pull a heavy load on a luggage cart than it is to carry it on your back. You can even pull a luggage cart down a dirt track. I would buy one with large wheels which can cross obstacles easier than 3 inch wheels. If you can, replace the wheels with larger wheels. One can buy fold up bikes which fit in a vehicle quite nicely. A lot of people think fold up bikes are toys but folks have used them to travel from coast to coast here in the U.S. I talked to a guy who had traveled from North Viet Nam to south on his fold up bike. He had an interesting comment. He said it was easier to get the bike fixed in a small village far from the big city than it was to get it fixed in Hanoi or Saigon (I know it is HCMC now. It will always be Saigon) In the country side they would say, “Yeah, I can make that.” In the big city they would say, “Oh, we have to order that part from the U.S.”

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  13. Clergylady February 7, 00:07

    Lol left c c. I don’t offend easily. I fill in on Sunday for a friend with cancer. I drive up there on Saturday, spend a night with a friend, and we come back home on Sunday afternoon.
    Husband’s condition is deteriorating so soon we will be home except for Dr. Visits and grocery shopping.
    Where I drive to each weekend is 100 miles one way. I do have bug out bags, a med bag, snacks, clothing and blankets with us.
    I suppose I could carry a fold up luggage cart. My husband couldn’t walk 100 miles and the harsh weather of summer or winter in high mountain desert at over 6,000 ft would be too hard.
    The steep long hills are too much for most folks traveling through on bicycles, they walk. A few on good bikes, in good shape, do ride most of the way.
    The trip would be along an interstate most of the way but an old road is available in spots. The terrain is too harsh, with deadends that would take long detours to get around. I wouldn’t advise anyone but a young person who knows the area to strikeout cross country.
    Few edible plants and no water for the most part.
    If I didn’t love this country, I’d be someplace a bit more hospitable. I love wild foods and medicines. There are certainly some here but most is far scattered. Trade, rather than go pick, was the way to obtain much of it. Early peoples were hunter, gatherer, farmers who stored foods and medicines and were on coast to coast trade routes.
    It’s cold, starting to snow, and I’m glad to be in a warmer home this evening.

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  14. Queen1 February 11, 20:30

    This isn’t a comment more a question. I’m handicapped, in a wheelchair, while we’ve stockpiled everything we need we . live on east coast an hour from DC and not far from another major east coast city here which will be crazy when the SHTF So my question is, aside from staying in my home and protecting ourselves is there anything else we can be doing? I don’t even know if my wheelchair will be affected by an EMP attack. I do have an old fashioned push model just in case though.

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    • Chris F. February 11, 21:45

      Wow, I have no idea what the “right” answer is or if there is one. That said… I’d invest in decorative wrought iron bars with interior-side expanded metal lining for all the doors and windows, then have enough plywood to install against the inner window frames tightly enough so it would be almost impossible to fit a crowbar in (while you couldn’t do that yourself, perhaps someone else in your house or a friend could do so at the first sign of large numbers of evacuees fleeing DC). Locking myself in would be my very last choice in the world, yet if wheelchair-bound I’d try hard to have my house look abandoned although still too difficult to bother with when other homes around you may be far easier targets (and empty assuming that your more mobile neighbors leave). Queen1, I’m very sorry to hear about your reality… but you have clearly have plenty of spunk — that may be your best asset along with appropriate preps and hardware. Hopefully others will chime in with any possibly useful suggestions. Good luck and very best wishes to you in dealing with such a tough situation. Perhaps you could connect with other chair-bound preppers to exchange better suggestions than what I pulled off the top of my head without truly understanding living life from a wheelchair?

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    • Rod February 13, 19:51

      Queen1, your post has been on my mind since I saw it this weekend. What WOULD someone in your position do should a Black Sky day happen? I kept coming back to one thing, you won’t be able to do it alone. You are going to need the help of others if you are going to make it through the coming crises. Cultivating friendships with like minded individuals is something you should be doing now. How do you do this? Many network through religious or hobby organizations. I have found many local like minded individuals through FB political discussions. Of course I have also found those that I will give wide berth through the same method. I am fortunate in the fact that I handle preps for my workplace and can evangelize preparedness through that. I know who is and isn’t like minded here at work and have networked to others through them. It is people like you who have the experience and maturity to recognize the looming threat that will have to be the seeds to guide the survivors through the coming trials so that our country has a chance to survive. Thank you for being prepared!!!!!!!

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  15. bbworks February 14, 13:24

    From that moment on, this informal group became known as “Earl Miller and Purity” (EMP). With much anticipation and musical momentum, a follow-up concert in November 2016 was performed by EMP.

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