Re-Thinking the Bug-Out Bags

Last week my old insurance company that refuses to insure us because of “high fire danger,” sent me a flyer on the The California Earthquake Authority and my potential need for Earthquake Insurance. Hahahahaha! No-thanks. The dynamics of what had once been an exercise in survivalist thinking regarding The Saint Andreas Big One has altered.
Conditions have changed radically now that we are out of the ‘burbs and no longer surrounded by Liberal Maniacs. Up here in Redneck Gun Totin’ Conservative Flyover Country the actual big danger is fire. All these old Gold Country 49er towns have burnt to the ground at least twice in their storied history, most more often than that – and there are ones that burnt down and never came back.
So I went sorting through the bug-out bags to see what needed changing. For one thing they’re too damn heavy, and the contents are all obscured by various packing bags, and half of the overnight-lost-in-the-woods-camping-stuff wound-up in my deer hunting day-pack. What’s with all the glow-sticks anyhow? And multiple fire-starter kits, and water purification systems? Yeh it’s looking a little ramshackle in here.
Meanwhile the little Motorola walkie-talkies (fortunately wrapped in plastic zip-loc bags) had both exploded their batteries and gone to the Big Signal in the Sky, and while the medical-Kits had some good dressings (but of mis-matched sizes), and there were plentiful band-aid stuff including some Quick-Clot for punctures – but one lacked a tourniquet for jugular issues.
Everything is now under review.

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Happy Thanksgiving

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The main storm had blown through in the night and another was forecast for the afternoon, so with chains in sack in the back, we hit the road to Tahoe. Forest Route 5 (Mormon Emigrant Trail/ Iron Mountain road) through Sly Park was closed at the end where it meets Highway 88 due to snow, so we took Highway 50 figuring if the snow was too deep and chains were required, the most help we might find would be on 50 anyhow.
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Fortunately no chains were required and with a little coaching from the Chain-Control guy holding a STOP-sign, I managed to find 4-Wheel Hi for the third time in ten years…
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We parked at the Heavenly Gondola and made our way to Base Camp Pizzeria for lunch – the same (popular) Menu as Wally’s in Cameron Park! The gondola was churning with skiers and we opted-out of that experience.
For the first time in many years there was snow on the lake-shore, and right outside our hotel door – so my wife made a snow angel.
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We had a light late-lunch and retired for the night, anticipating the big Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday – and it did not disappoint, with the best oysters I ever had – fresh and clean with not a speck of grit or brine, Alaskan crab legs, shrimp, Prime rib that melted in your mouth, a bit of turkey breast – it was a buffet of the absolute highest standard. And a bit of dessert.
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Black Friday dawned cold but clear, and with the anticipation of a massive crowd-scene at the resorts, we packed our bags and hit the road again, homeward bound. Once again there was only light traffic in our direction, but as we approached Strawberry and later Kyburz, the on-coming traffic was clearly stacking up, and at Apple Hill it was a dead-stop traffic-jam going in the Tahoe direction, mainly because Apple Hill is a Christmas tree-cutting destination and seasonal attraction. Good to be home!
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PS: Fidel Castro is dead! YEAH!!

Rendezvous Eleven – Getting there

The drive up to was surprisingly quick and relaxing, and I attribute that to taking back-country roads nearly the entire way or as much as I could. Fueled-up at 8:40 AM in Diamond Springs, and went up Pleasant Valley Road to the Sly Park cutoff where the Mormon Immigrant Trail leads out to Hwy 88 in the direction of Kirkwood.
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Only saw about four vehicles headed in the other direction. Being out of the freeway insanity-mix was a breath of fresh air, and the High Country always has unparalleled vistas to appreciate that cleanse the mind and soul. Rolling over Carson pass at 8,000 feet down past Silver Lake, Caples Lake, and Woods lake into Hope Valley on a beautiful fall morning was magical.
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The roll down into Nevada was easy and lead straight to Carson City, and then Reno. Somehow Nevada traffic was minimal and placid (Thursday after all), until I hit Reno and the metal-swarm began again. Oh well easy enough and I hit the Casino about 12:15 with plenty of time to unload and get ready to go to the class on Emergency Medical Range Training lead by multi-tour participant in the GWT, ex-Reno Motor-Office and Detective, experienced EMT and former Flight EMS Derek Cecil — who had many (darkly funny) stories to tell including his own…