This essay is not about survival skills in their basic form. Rather, this is a gedankenexperiment about abandoning suburbia and getting us somewhere safely in the event of TEOTWAWKI. This is often called “Bugging Out” in the current parlance. Thus, I consider us not preppers but semi-preppers.
I’ve previously written in SurvivalBlog about our preparations for survival. Because of recent events, we are concerned about our extended family’s safety. I could kick myself for not purchasing the SurvivalBlog Archive USB stick that was offered back in January.
Because of the most recent events of the riots (the mainstream media would have you believe they are mostly “peaceful protests”) and the lawlessness occurring in cities and rural areas, we have concluded that we must take more aggressive actions to ensure our safety. Specifically, we must be prepared to abandon our home. Blocking of Interstates, roadways and central cities has led us to look at our bug out bags as needed — but not enough. The shootings and riots in Democrat-controlled cities is far beyond being too high. Those cities have a culture problem which besides shooting someone for any reason, includes graft and corruption; though I take little comfort in knowing some areas of the country are controlled by Republicans. We are no longer a Constitutional Republic. We are an oligarchy. Neither major political party should be proud.
What if we have to abandon our home?
Soooo… What if we have to abandon our home?
While I believe we are in for a financial collapse (we are presently creating more money than the Weimar Republic) I now believe the country is falling apart and our leaders are not going to take any action to control things. This is not normal for America. I really do miss the America that was always striving to improve — but now seems listless.
While I don’t feel these happenings are messages from the Lord, I do believe He gave us enough intelligence to stop procrastinating, which we have been doing, and get a shift on.
We’ve decided to be prepared to leave in a hurry by that I mean a few days loading, coordinating with family members, and so forth. So, how to do that?
We have two vehicles, one a SUV and the other a sedan. How to carry out of here what we feel we need to take with us?
All our children and grandchildren live in a southern city near the city center. We moved from a $90,000 home near Buffalo, New York to an area in The Carolinas to be near our children and grandchildren. We live near the outskirts of the city in a town…… suburbia. I’m 74 years old and my wife is 69 years old. I used to think we have a good retirement but it will be for naught as the country collapses financially and politically. God was abandoned by many of my generation (the Baby Boomers) but we have not abandoned Him, nor will we ever, nor will He abandon us.
We will never leave our children and grandchildren. They come with us, or we don’t leave.
- The equity in our house (it’s less than 8 years old, our mortgage rate is very low) is part of our diversifying our finances and represents a significant portion of our assets. In a dangerous situation, we will have to walk away from this–ABANDONMENT.
- We have too many assets that we need to take with us to fit in two cars.
- Bugging out with two backpacks strikes us as not enough, thus we will need several days to load up and leave. Which brings us to how to do that and what conveyance to use and what to take?
- Where to go? We have relatives 2-1/2 hours away in a rural area and friends over 3-1/2 hours in a really rural area and we asked and they are open to all of us living with them when things get really bad. But suppose we cannot get to their homes. Witness the Interstates and other roads being blocked. Will taking country roads suffice? My next article will cover how we intend to find other routes to our friends’ and relatives or not making it there, just stopping somewhere remote.
We cannot park a used recreational vehicle or trailer in our driveway, because of Homeowners Association (HOA) rules. But we can park a small utility trailer in our garage and leave one of our cars outside in the driveway.
Thus, we will be using a utility trailer. First, we needed a standard hitch and wiring for the SUV. We just had that installed. This cost just over $400, installed. One of our children also has a very large SUV with a standard trailer hitch and wiring.
Some Key Decisions (in no particular order):
- How much (by weight and volume) are we taking? We are going to purchase a utility trailer. We looked at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Tractor Supply and Northern Tool, the best ratings information is posted on Lowe’s website, some of it is not complimentary.
- What type of trailer and how to determine what load it can take and what our SUV can reasonably tow?
- Can we also put a cargo carrier on the sedan we have? If so, then is it worth doing?
- If the decision is made to abandon our homes, how much time will it take to coordinate with all family members, to load up and leave? More importantly, what will cause us to start the clock ticking for abandonment?
Issues and Rationale
A.) We walk around the house now and identify what should go with us. The list by room and garage keeps getting longer. An issue as simple as what food to take, what should we take that needs to be frozen? Will we need to sew? Do we need spices? A lot depends on our ability to get to our two primary locations. We have determined about 60% of the weight of what we will take and its size (volume). We are reworking this constantly on a spreadsheet – making the list smaller (you will change your mind!). I’m an engineer and found the easiest way to determine weight is to use a reliable bathroom scale and pick up the item and weigh it and myself, subtract my weight, then measure the volume. We put most of what we are carrying in large shoebox size plastic clear containers, labeled.
How much weight can our SUV tow? The maximum trailer weight (and contents) for our SUV is 1,500 lbs, thus the constant removal of items from our spreadsheet. Our current math comes to 1,110 lbs for firearms, ammunition, long term food, water, small generator and several cans of gasoline. We obviously will be taking more with us. Adding 375 lbs for the trailer weight brings us to 1,485 lbs. We’d like to stay within these parameters although we are sure there is more usable weight since the manufacturers have a safety factor for this. The vehicle capacity weight is 900 lbs; one passenger will weigh 150 lbs, giving us an additional 750 lbs. Here, I need your help. The weight of the trailer on the hitch pushing down (tongue weight) is assumed to be 150 lbs. Do I discount this weight from the 750 lbs I calculate as excess to the maximum load in the SUV? I’ve checked online and called several utility trailer companies, retail outlets and I get different answers. I know precision isn’t really necessary but I may go over the manufacturer’s recommendations. Many on the Internet have stated they do, with no apparent problem.
B. ) What size and type of utility trailer? It has to be open, covered with a tarp (weight issue!). Looking at those sold by Lowe’s gives us a “Carry-On Trailer 5-ft x 8-ft Wire Mesh Utility Trailer with Ramp Gate” costing $870 +/- to include plywood flooring and sides, except the cost of registration and inspection. This trailer is single axle. The manufacturer recommends that 60% of the trailer weight be forward of the axle with 40% to the rear. Thus the care in weighing and sizing items in the trailer. This will fit in our garage where we can load without prying eyes. Since I’ve never pulled a trailer in our SUV, I want to follow as close as practical to the recommendations.
C.) Can we put a cargo carrier on our sedan if needed? The occupant and cargo capacity is 825 lbs. Discounting the 130 lb driver, we have 695 lbs of weight that we can take. The cost to purchase and install a cargo carrier with rails will be about $325. This can only be justified if we have a volume problem; I mean putting light bulky items in the sedan will drive the need for a cargo carrier if we stay within the 825 lb maximum.
D.) How much time will it take for us to load up the utility trailer and cars? It appears that we will need at least four days from the moment we all agree to leave. This may take longer. We have tried to take items in our garage as if we had the trailer and have seen how long it takes. Four days seems reasonable. We will not be able to fully “preload” the trailer, since in The South most of what we will be taking with us needs a controlled temperature. And I realize once we are on the road that will not be the case.
E.) What will start the clock ticking? Over the history of mankind, great civilizations have failed; we are not special in that regard. The largest single event will be financial collapse, but perhaps not in the way we may think. Banks and businesses will fail. Trucking and delivery companies fail. Stores will have fewer items for sale. The government will freeze all bank accounts, et. That’s a clue that we are toooooo late! As events move toward the Presidential Election I believe it’s going to get sporty. We have to coordinate with other family members to include face to face meetings. This will not be an instantaneous decision and will take several meetings.
My concern is that we may wait too long and all the roads will be clogged and we will lose the opportunity to leave. Thus we have to assume that about the time we decide to abandon our homes, the Interstate highway system will be clogged. This is where we have to prepare alternate egress routes, which I will describe in a subsequent article. Leaving too soon could create dissension in our family. The other issue is if we decide to abandon, where will the rest of the city and our neighbors be? We really have no milestone or definitive plan that will guide us as to when to leave except any major disruption to include what is discussed above and no water, no power, lack of gasoline, lack of food, et cetera. Even then our “leaders” will give us incorrect information. Read: They will lie. While I believe in most instances most people are civilized and decent, I’ve seen a crowd, mob, group, etc of people turn incredibly mean and nasty as they feed on each other.
F.) When I was in the Army I was tasked with training troops. The Army way was “Tell them what you’re going to tell them”, “Tell them”, now, “Tell them what you told them”; the idea was that at least 70 % of what was presented will be retained. Thus I’m somewhat repetitive. I do read a book at least three times as it’s surprising what I miss with just one reading,
After all of the aforementioned, I’m not providing just this information as an update or a blueprint as to what to do. Again, it is a gedankenexperiment. Please provide comments as to where our holes are within the parameters that I’ve discussed and where you think we are doing well.