Friday, August 24, 2012

Week Ten - Transportation


Check everybody's shoes in your family. Are they comfortable? In good shape? Do you and your family have a second pair of sturdy walking shoes or boots? If not, buy everyone a pair of good, comfortable, sturdy shoes or boots.

Blog Post:

The easiest way for a human to move from one place or another is walking. All you need is a pair of shoes, and you really don't need that. A pair of sandals will do in the spring, summer, and fall; add a pair of socks and you might just have winter covered.

The problem with walking, besides seeming to take forever to get somewhere, is you can't carry a lot of stuff. You are limited to how much you can carry.

How many plastic shopping bags can you carry in your hands?

Not many if the bags are full, and the plastic bags are fragile. Plus, you can only use the plastic bags once or twice before they rip and become useless.

To increase the amount of stuff you can carry, you can purchase a backpack. In the U.S. Army, soldiers carry anywhere from 40 to 120 pounds of supplies and equipment in her/his rucksack (backpack). Remember, these folks are trained, conditioned, and practise walking carrying this large of a load. Plus, their equipment is designed to carry most of this stuff.

As a note, 80 to 120 pounds is an abnormal load for a soldier. These heavy loads are usually carried for a short time and distance, extreme situations, or are limited to the elite forces. I have heard of rucksack frames bending/breaking and rucksacks tearing from carrying such heavy loads.

Now backpacks range in price from $10 for a very inexpensive school book bag to $250 for an extremely lightweight, high-tech, specialty backpack.

The designs also vary. Some are a big sack with shoulder straps, while others have internal and external pockets. Frames may be internal and external, too.

Just like it sounds, an internal frame is encased in the material of the backpack, (you can feel it, but you can't see it) and an external frame you can see and can, usually, easily remove from the backpack.

A frame allows you to carry a heavier load. This may or may not be a good thing. Remember, the heavier the load; the more energy it takes to walk.

If you want to move a lot of stuff you could put wheels on it.

There are a few ways of doing this. One way is to buy an used/old suitcase carrier. The one with wheels, You put your stuff on it and wheel it behind you. Another way is to use a wheeled suitcase. This works especially if you already have this type of suitcase. Be careful though, the wheels have a habit of falling off at the worst time possible.

Another way of "putting wheels on it" is a handcart.

To really increase how far you can travel and your speed; you can use a bicycle. The simple one-speed bicycle will easily double your range and speed. The one-speeds are simple and robust machines.

As you add gears, 3-speed, 10-speed, or 20-speed, the bicycle becomes more complicated. Cables and shifters must be maintained. This complex system of changing gears also increases initial cost, cost for repair parts, and add the number of repair parts you will need to have on hand.

If you have the money or skill, you can add a trailer to the bicycle. Most people use a bike trailer to carry their child on a trip. These child carriers can be modified to carry supplies.

If you are willing to walk beside your bicycle, you can carry huge loads. During the 1960s, the Vietnamese used bicycles to carry goods to market.

Motorcycles, just like bicycles, have severe limitations. They are difficult/miserable to ride in the cold and rain, and have severe limits on the weight and number of people it can carry.

Probably the most popular way of moving your stuff is the automobile. This includes cars, trucks and vans in all their variations.

You probably have one. If you are a typical US family, you probably have one for every driver in the house. If you are like me, you are in your car one to two hours a day. A lot can happen in those one to two hours.

Such as 40,000 to 50,000 people dying every year in automobile accidents, in the United States. In fact, automobiles are the number one predator of humans, but they have their uses.

An automobile will move a lot of supplies. They can carry many more people than a bicycle or motorcycle, and the auto can move much faster then walking or riding a bicycle.

Now, you are going to have to go back to your threat analysis because you are going to have to decide what type of/if an automobile is useful for your continued survival.

For me, I commute 70 miles a day from a 250 home subdivision in a medium sized town close to shopping. Parking at work is in a semi-secure lot that I can see from my office window. Work is in an area with low crime, but is surrounded by low-income areas close to the interstate highway. I wanted to be prepared for having to stay over at work, winter driving, earthquakes, and civil unrest.

So, I bought an economy car that I can use to store an extensive survival kit for work. My kit has been personalized for my situation.

If I stayed over at work, I wanted modest and comfortable sleeping clothes, blankets, a pillow, and toiletries to clean up in the morning. Yes, I have to admit; I have bunny slippers in my survival kit, just for fun though.

For winter driving, I carry a spare coat, gloves/mittens, scarf, winter boots with extra wool socks, a little food and water, matches, votive candles, a 13 ounce metal coffee can, two ice scrapers, and ex cetera.

The only thing that I did differently for earthquake preparedness was to avoid parking in a spot that the surrounding buildings could collapse on to, and I bought a backpack.

The backpack was a medium priced model, on sale. I wanted one that would be comfortable enough and big enough for a 50 mile/2 day hike home. I keep it empty because I plan to load the pack depending on the climate/situation.

I always have jumper cables, coarse sand (not cat litter because it turns into mud), warning triangles, local and state maps, and an empty fuel can in my car with $20 in one dollar bills, in the car.

The empty fuel can is in the trunk with the jumper cables, warning triangles, and sand. The jumper cables and warning triangles are in a bag together because I don't want to dig for them, if I help/need help to jump a car. The coarse sand is in a one gallon plastic jug. I learned last year; I will need a lot more sand. The maps are in the passenger area of the car with the twenty dollars.

For civil unrest, I keep a .357 revolver in the car. I have it unloaded and one loaded speed loader with an extra 6 loose rounds. The revolver and rounds are concealed in different parts of the car. If I know about civil unrest before I leave work, the plan is to load the revolver before leaving work with the loose rounds and quickly drive home.

If I don't know about the riots before leaving, I will drive very quickly. I know the above plan sucks, but it is the plan for now.

Except for the winter driving, I am more likely to have an accident/breakdown on my drive. During my research for this blog post, I found out that I do a poor job of preventive maintenance on our vehicles.

I think this is a very important item, preventive maintenance. If we can prevent the problem from happening, we are better prepared. I also believe that defensive driving will increase my chance of survival, so make sure you read all "70 Rules to Live By" and I'll ...

See you, Monday!


Make Your Own Tire Sandals

Boy Scout of America Troop 123 - How to Choose a Backpack

Backpack Tips

Mormon Handcart Plans

Meridian Magazine- Pulling Handcarts in Virginia

Bicycle Universe- How to Buy a Used Bicycle

Worksman Cycles

The Name Says It All

Mother Earth News - "Dime on the Dollar" Bicycle Trailer

Community Bike Cart Design

Instructables - Bicycle Cargo Trailer 220 lbs capacity $30 for Parts

Vietnam bicycle photo - hard life

Vietnam bicycle photo - A very strong boy

Defensive Driving: 70 Rules to Live By

Wikipedia - Automobile Safety

Vehicle Survival Kit

Instructables - Emergency Car Survival Kit

M4040 - How to Build a Decent Car Survival Kit

Monthly Auto Maintenance Keeps Auto Repair Bills Down