Labor-Day and Labors of Hercules

My old (almost 30-some years) street-riding, dual-sportin’, dirt-riding, Squid-Hunter buddy and his wife are is moving up here – two more refugees from the social and economic hellhole that is fast becoming the Land of BayAryans.
They found a place up the ridge along Pleasant Valley Road towards Pollock, on the edge of the National Forest. It’s in need of some work. The previous owner was a 70-something yr. old smoker who sold and moved in with his girlfriend.
(Cue stable-scene:) The 30-year old gold-tone wall-to-wall shag carpet in the house absolutely reeked of smoke, so like the Augean Stables and with a dumpster in the side yard, my buddy has been systematically hauling out the stinking crud, washing down the walls and windows, and scraping off the stinking late 70’s-period popcorn ceiling.
We went up to help since we had a minor load from the Ranch-work to also toss in the dumpster.
Standing on the pickup truck’s tailgate and with a foot up on the dumpster, the eye-watering old smoke-stench from the carpet and ceiling-crud almost made me fall over backwards. Luckily we are experiencing a cool-down, and the breezes up the mountain contain the fragrant balsam smell of sugar pines and fall colors and new beginnings. The smell of that revived me and I remained upright. Also some of the lumber I brought went into immediate use in a stair-repair. And we have a screen door that will fit in place of the old bent one with its stinking screen.
With ten gallons of primer/sealer on hand my friend is carving away a clean and habitable corner of the house in which to homestead while further repairs and cleaning takes place. Fortunately the garage of the house has survived without need for such treatment and provides a temporary secondary residence before winter closes in. They have a short escrow and will be up here in full by next weekend. Good luck and welcome to the neighborhood!

Bug-Out-Bag Revisited, viz Hunting

The Hunter Education class covered the issue of self-preservation and lost-hunter survival, so that brought to mind the Bug Out Bags and a need to re-visit their status, review the contents, and update their condition.
Also the bags seem to have grown overly heavy somehow. I want to figure out where and how the weight-gain has occurred. Since the whole purpose is to travel light and leave no footprint, how have I over-packed? I’m guessing it’s just me and my kitchen-sink approach.
Maybe I need to separate-out the 72-hour rescue-camping stuff from the rest. That means Shelter, Fire, and Water are one unit, and First-Aid is a separate entity. One area of Shelter is bedding, and maybe the cheap fluffy sleeping bag is heavy – for sure it takes up a lot of space. It’s not a four-season bag or anything like that either, and it doesn’t pack-down, so maybe some compression sacks are in order – and a smaller, more versatile unit.
“Two is one and one is none” is a great utilitarian philosophy, but it also begs the question of weight and sustainability. Three of everything adds up very quickly on the scale. This ain’t no Army with a deuce and a half to haul stuff. How much can you really carry, how much can SHE really carry, and how do we shrink the overall load? If we get separated, which is likely given two different houses – each needs what they need independent of the other – and we’re not even talking guns and ammo yet. So what is the minimum?
As far as First-Aid goes, snakebite up here is a real possibility and the main culprit is the Pacific Coast Rattler. Don’t even THINK to do the cut-and-suck thing, unless you’re over six-hours out from Medical – but especially not if you have anything “going on” in your mouth. But if you’re dealing with a chest-area gunshot wound you need TWO halo seals, one for entry and one exit. And tourniquet.
Finally for the hunt I need some binoculars, because the mounted scope makes a poor resolver of vision and identification issues and a spotting scope is a big-ass lug-item. I don’t know whether I’m gonna be snoozing in a blind or still-hunting, but definitely not reaching out across some canyon. Things here are vertical and close and bushy, so “canyon hopping” could mean a 1,000 foot descent followed by a 1,000 foot ascent – all in a 500-foot, as-the-crow flies distance. Down and Up. That’s not how I want this to proceed, not what I’m in shape-for, and also not how I figure it will work-out. I’m thinking a 70-yard shot from a blind at most. Probably a smelly-nasty blind with tattered windows too…

What Gun for Walkabout?

It’s not really The End Of The World as We Know It – at least not for anybody else anyhow. But just for YOU the skies are on fire and frogs rain-down from heaven as the flood-waters rise. The rental-house burnt-down and the bug-out bag was in it, along with your cash reserves. It happened when you were at work and getting a surprise pink-slip after only a week – there’s no severance. So, laid-off (again), when you came outside your 12-year old truck wouldn’t start. The tow-fee to move the truck home cost more than the value of the rusted-out Chevy, and besides your tools to fix it were in the house, now three-feet deep in wet-ash slurry. It’s just YOU now – you don’t have anybody else to defend. Your now ex-wife got fed-up and took the kids with her back to Singapore about a month ago when the other job-contract ended, and she used the last of your United-Miles. Your credit card got cut-up a the grocery store when the limit was reached, and the un-paid bill was burnt in the fire. You moved to this remote town after a long and nearly fruitless job-search, and it was the last place your dwindling funds could take you… Sucks to be you, Job.
The Red Cross gives you a sleeping bag, socks, a toothbrush, a disposable razor, and a fresh pair of socks. Somebody left a shopping-cart down at the corner. No feeling-sorry, after-all you get to “re-invent yourself,” and you can now “launch a new career!” You get to let You be You. So what you’re carrying is the single piece you take-with when you’re turned-out – what is it? A rifle might look odd and attract attention as you push your cart down the street. Somebody might recognize and want to steal that precious M1 Garand. And where do you go, with no family to go-to? Do you head south where the weather is warm for sleeping-out? Does TSA frisk and wand people on the Greyhound now? You can’t afford much ammo or the weight that it adds – what do you take, Job?

Bug-Out Bags Past & Present

I turned in the shower this morning, adjusting the bucket beneath my feet that collects body run-off gray water for the yard and plants, and something went *SprOOing!* HUH? Aw shit. It’s not my usual lower-back dork-up, it’s in a whole new spot on the right upper hip axis. I am reminded (again, dammit) that I am closer to 60 than 40, and that my bug-out bag’s role, conditions, and environment is changing. I’ve been doing a lot of squat and lift stuff with heavy rocks and feel great, my arms have never been stronger and more sinewy – but there’s always a tingle in the right knee when I turn direction or just get into bed. The Glucosamine-Chondroitin has a great placebo effect…
As a Brahmin-born BayAryan I was concerned in the past about The Earthquake being THE bug-out trigger event. Now that we live in Tinderland in the midst of a bone-dry drought, it’s Fire (and water) I’m worried about. But the bug-out bags are only getting heavier, and any much more and my wife won’t be able to carry hers.
As age and mobility issues arise, I realize that the two of us I can’t get very far with the whole “Gunny-Alternative REI ground-pounder” kind of backpacker shit. Maybe I need a bug-out vehicle rather than a hiking stick and a soon-to-be 90-lb Kelty pack – and that’s before I even pick up a rifle and ammo. One that can run the Rubicon Trail just over the hill? Some kind of spidery, rock-hopper rig that clings to granite and can make its own trail. Nothing with a rear-view camera to help drunk hipsters in city parking. Decisions, decisions…
We escaped to the hills from the clotted crowds of ugly city-suburban people, but maybe we didn’t get far enough. Anybody coming up here to escape the Upcoming Apoclypse/Maelstrom/Collapse will be in vehicles confined to a narrow asphalt ribbon, and maybe I should learn something about explosive so we locals can drop a couple of the freeway overpasses in order to impede the Hipster escape traffic. I understand from vague reports that there’s already a crew of guys like that in Arizona who are ready for the crowds streaming out of California on the southern freeway in the event of worse: .300 Win-Mag/.338 Lapua kinda stoppit-now sniper guys.
Also, while I was previously working on the Med-kit with a concentration on wound-issue stuff, but I now wonder if there’s a fire-bandage equivalent of QuikClot…? If not there should be.
UPDATE: Thanks for everybody’s feedback and comments, especially about the burn-gel impregnated bandages! Awesome!

Bent Corners

We got the curve without breaking it by layering it. The first attempt with half-inch MDF snapped in many places. Sawn-down to two 1/4-inch slivers, the pieces snuggled up against each other on the 45-degree corner bevel.

In other news, my tiny little bug-out-bag crank-it-up (& solar) emergency radio is about the size of a Sig P220. The coins are for size-comparison.

Duct-tape, QuickClot, and PolarPure

Got some of the remaining ingredients.
The Passport is out of date but has name-verification value.  The little radio is really pretty small, but cranks up to sufficient sound and has a LED flashlight so I don’t have to use my Surefire light (and batteries) for tasks. Our cell phones don’t charge from the USB but it’s not like I’m gonna be calling anyone – that’s not my first reaction really. Just not a phone-guy/conversationalist.
Got the 1st-aid kit from Midway.  Just basically wanted the red-pouch to build-out the contents – it makes it easy to find in the old backpack.  Need to add ACE bandages for compression…

Bug-Out-Bags & Earthquake Preparedness

The earthquake in Japan highlighted and concretized some thoughts and processes.
Our Japanese friends in Yokosuka are OK, but life is made difficult and worrisome for them.
The 12-foot swells that hit the Big Island did the most damage.  They tore up Keauhou Bay where we enjoyed a trip out to Captain Cook’s, and in Kealakekua Bay itself where we enjoyed a great snorkel and fish-watching, a house was washed off to sea and sank.  In Kona the world famous Kona Village Resort was totally trashed and is closed now indefinitely. It may never open again. Our friends up in the North of the Big Island are OK.

So I’ve been assembling bug-out-backpacks for the both of us, with a third one for the job-car, and I want to take guns – I will be armed – but have few choices on exactly how to get around with ’em.
I’m surprised at how much can fit into such a small place.  So-far the backpacks each have:

  1. Multi-tool, whistle, stupid-stuff.
  2. Lightweight 50° sleeping bag AND an aluminized emergency bivvy sack.
  3. 3-day block of 3600-calorie food bars.
  4. Water-filter straw and water purification (iodine) crystals.
  5. Fire-steel and tinder.  Matches and compass.
  6. Wind-up AM/FM/NOAA radio with a LED flashlight, solar power, and cell phone charger.
  7. Medical mini-pack with bandages and QuickClot and Water Jel Burn Jel.
  8. Personal hygiene items and plastic bags.  3-pr Socks and change of clothing.

And more…

This is worst-case thinking, considering the highly likely event of an earthquake, followed by fire, and the whole shit is toast. This is for when there is no place to return-to. Maybe not even my parent’s house down the road… the first 72-hours make the difference. Perhaps I’ll go with “Open Carry Unloaded” which is (still) legal here rather than concealed which is not. I don’t want anybody to have any legal excuse to stop my progress or movement, to detain me anywhere – not when I’m going to get my wife.
And thinking of that, I may have to go get her on the back of the KTM because the roads are f*ked.
The roads WILL be filled with bad drivers, anxious and uncertain, sick with worry, and crazed of purpose and mind – and a better two-up bike would be (have been) my old XR650L – but I don’t have it anymore. With that one I don’t have to carry and add a dollop of oil to the gas tank.
Bouncing around on a dirtbike after an earthquake = crossing traffic medians, going the wrong way, dodging brainless cretins by every means available, crossing people’s lawns, and going over curbs – all that bouncing around means some retention is required – an open-top is an invitation to losing it. Two is one, one is zero.  The alternative is f*-it I’m carrying concealed – with no experience or preparation for that. Hmmm. No experience…
So I’m still looking around for a holster for the carry-purpose, since I don’t want to stuff it all (guns & ammo) into my backpack where I can’t easily get at it in a moment of dire need. Like when someone tries to stop me because they want THE BIKE for themselves. Nooooo. Not gonna give it up.
I’m also going through a simplification thought-process: do I standardize on one type? Like, just the Model-10’s – since my wife is a revolver and not a semi-auto kinda gal? Or can I (or somebody better than me) train her on the Sig de-cocker and its revolver like simplicity? She’s a dead-eye shot. I have two .38’s and three .45’s. and I’m not even thinking about a rifle. Yet. I think the Sigs would survive better in the rain. A plastic gun would survive better in the rain…Hmmm.

Shooter’s First-Aid

As I remarked in comments to a post at Stuff From Hsoi, some of the guys at my shooting club (one of them anyhow) came back from a class and want to spread the message of defensive medicine – gunshot first-aid so to speak. Given the advancing age of many club-members and starting to feel old myself, I’m more worried about access to defibrillators and such at the Range than errant shots.  Hsoi’s post is regarding his kids learning CPR and the life-saving value of that, and how it will help them grow:

The reasons for learning CPR and first aid are simple: because when a situation that requires those skills happens, the fastest person to respond is the person right there when it happens. In a case like CPR of course it has to be someone else. For first aid, the situation may be something you can perform on yourself and certainly no one can be closer to you than you nor respond faster to you than you.

Gunblogger-Rendezvous friend Derek (The Packing Rat) took the LMS Defense course, but it was a few years ago, and he also had more recent (compared to me anyhow) training to build-on.

I’m thinking of it especially in light of the recent disasters and the issue of preparedness.  There’s a ton of supplies and products available now, packed up and ready to go, from just your Basic First Aid Kit (BAK), to the fairly scary “Ventilated Operators Kit” (VOK) that have been developed and refined as a result of recent conflicts and disasters – but they require some training and expertise.
Seems like a good idea-thing, CPR and GSR (gun-shot-repair).