Article -Student stranded for 5 days near Grand Canyon grew desperate

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A Texas college student stranded for five days near the Grand Canyon says she was making farewell videos for her family as she grew desperate for help.

Arizona authorities say 24-year-old Amber VanHecke was well-equipped and did everything right after getting lost in a remote area during a solo road trip.

VanHecke said in a Facebook post that she was heading to a hiking trail but was led astray by her maps app and wound up in the middle of nowhere with an empty gas tank.

How ‘well-equpped’ are you if you’re relying on apps to figure out where you are and where you’re going?

It seems like more and more of these stories reference people placing their faith in their technology to guide them. Look, I love me some GPS as much as the next guy…but I always look at a real map beofre dumping myself into unfamiliar terrain. And I take a compass and a copy of that map with me. And I establish baselines to keep me within certain areas.

I’m also a little unclear…if she tried to chase down a truck, that means she knew where a traveled road was, right? So youldn’t you just head to the traveled road and walk it until more traffic came along? Clearly the road must have been within walking distance since she was able to see the truck on it. Lotsa details here are missing, but I’d be interested in more.

This is another of the very few cases of didn‘t stay with the car and things turned out well. However, the article seems to imply rescuers found the car first and then the girl.

Organization

Wrapping it up. Four sets of mags left.
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You know, a big part of being a survivalist is simply being he manager of your own personal warehouse. Sure we have to learn skills, read a lot of books, practice various tasks, etc., but we also have to be curator to a stockpile of gear. Think about it, you keep gear in your vehicle, in your home, at work, at a friends house, buried at some middle-of-nowhere cache, etc, etc. And all that gear has information about it that needs to be kept – where is it, what is it, how much of it is there, when does it expire, etc, etc. It can be a major pain in the ass.

Someone I used to know turned me on to a program called Evernote. It runs on your desktop machine as well as on your phone/pad. I’ve found it to be exceptionally useful..more so than a simple spreasheet (although the data can be imported/exported through spreadsheets). Right about now there’s a contingent of people mentally screaming “No! Government sees everything on the interweb! They’ll know to come to your house for your guns and food!”.

Not worried. If you’re really worried about it, do your inventory management on your mobile device while youre snagging McDonalds free wifi. Or just don’t put your name and address in any of the files.

I find evernote most useful for tracking inventory of Deep Sleep stuff. For example, if a vendor emails me a deal on magazines I can pop into Evernote, bring up my ‘Mag’ notebook (or just search for ‘magazines’) and view my list of what I have on hand. Then I can make an informed decision about whether I need to sell the other kidney and buy more mags.

Another useful thing about Evernote is the ability to selectively share some of the data. For example, lets say you and your brother are planning on riding out the apocalypse together. You can have one notebook that is shared between the two of you. Say the two of you want to stock up on radio equipment. You might have a notebook named ‘Radio Gear’. You give him access to it. Now when he’s at some hamfest in Iowa he can check and see a live version of the list of gear and know what does or does not need to be purchased. Handy. Excellent for avoiding those awkward moments of “I didn’t know if we had [name of item] so I picked up three cases of it. I wish I’d know we already had plenty.”

Having said that, spreadsheets are still amazingly useful…especially if your Excel skills are good enough to take advantage of tables and conditional formatting. Again, it’s going to knock some people’s tinfoil hats off, but Excel is great for keeping track of guns. I also use it to keep track of the long term food storage… having those spreadsheets accessible to me was quite handy when I was up at the Mormon cannery a few weeks back. I immediately knoew what I did and did not need, which means whatever money I spent was spent wisely.

There’s that old saying that the first step to wisdom is knowing what you do not know. If you don’t know what you have vs. what you need to get then you’re not using your resources wisely. You’ll wind up with a hundred AA-batteries and five MagLites that take D-batteries. You can’t be your own quartermaster without knowing what the heck you do and do not have.

Between Evernote and Excel, the savvy survivalist can manage his resources wisely and make the most of their purchasing power. If you’re just going along with a clipboard and legal pad you are definitely doing yourself a disservice.

 

Those 10/22 mags…redux

The bad news: no more of the Butler Creek Hot Lips magazines. :( All gone. Those of you who got some from me know you got a smoking deal, right?

The good news: same vendor just dropped a slew of the Butler Creek Steel Lips mags on me. Obviously they are a bit spendier than the Hot Lips, but very much worth it.

$110 gets you ten (10) of them, including Priority Mail shipping. Email me for a payable invoice. If you want, say, 25 or more, we can do a tiny bit better.

Remember: Retail is for suckers.

Leftovers

Cleaning up around the shop and found half a case of the .22 magazines.
Guess I’ll open up the link again in case anyone needs more. I thought I’d got rid of all of them but apparently my housecleaning is so bad that a slew of .22 mags can wind up hiding from me for a month.

Dreams

For me, going to bed early is a guarantee that I’m going to have dreams. So is eating anything with tomato sauce (such as..oh…baked ziti) before bed. Last night…both. No surprise I woke up at 3am after a few weird dreams. The first was short and simple enough – I was living at my childhood house in Brooklyn when a blackout takes place. I wind up standing guard in front of my favorite Korean grocery store with a plate carrier and a pistol grip Mossberg 500. It’s fairly uneventful except for the shotgun being rather stiff in its action and me thinking I need to remember to take some oil to the stupid thing.

At that point I woke up, saw it was 3am, and resigned myself to another long night of unwanted dreams.

Next dream was a zombie spectacular. It may have been the zombie apocalypse but the threat was other people wanting what I had. In my dream I was being led around the house by some bad guy who felt he had a right to everything I owned…very Negan-esque. I was wondering if I might be able to find a gun or two hidden around the house that I could use. I wound up sneaking a NAA minigun when he wasn’t looking, and five shots to the face later, problem solved. After that it was a series of people wandering up to the door and demanding entry to my shattered yet habitable home. Of course, in this dream things don’t go as planned….magazines are missing or unloaded, the wrong ammo is present, and there was a maddening sequence where I was trying to load a SIG MPX magazine in a hurry from a box of mixed loose 9mm and .40 cartridges.

About the only part of the dream worth dwelling on, for me, was the NAA revolver. I already have a tiny last ditch .22….a Beretta 21A…but the NAA is a good deal smaller. (Although, ergonomically, it is a nightmare to handle with it’s virtually non-existent grip and having to watch your fingers with the cylinder gap.)

Ah, dreams…..sometimes we can learn things from them, sometimes not. In this case I’m learning that I really need to not eat right before bed.

Generator Day

Hmmm…it’s Generator Day here at Zeropolis. Drag the EU2000 out of its protective Hardigg case, set it up, run some high-draw appliance off it for a while to make sure eveything gets a workout, clean it up, and then back to storage for another month or two until the next Generator Day. The more I think about it, the more I think that this is going to be the year I finally get the stupid battery power supply done. It’s a remarkably simple plan brought to ruin by my unparalleled laziness. See, when the power goes out I have, really, only four power needs:

  • Freezer/refrigerator
  • Communications – running scanners, radios, internet, computer, etc.
  • Security – surveillance and associated systems
  • Lighting – It’d be nice to be able to not walk into the furniture

Now, except for the fridge/freezer issue, which is where the generator comes in, all the rest of that stuff can quite happily run on a DC battery supply.

The laptop runs on DC, as does the radios, scanners, and router. Same for the surveillance system. And the emergency LED lighting runs on DC as well. And since there is no need to have an inverter to turn the DC into AC, there isn’t the usual loss of energy accompanies such things. In short, if everything runs on DC I get more bang for my electrical buck than if I tried to run it on AC.

Ideally, what I’d like to set up is something where the batteries charge as needed off the house current, and when that fails they charge (albeit at a slower rate) off a couple of strategically placed solar panels. I then run the wires into a room where I plan on keeping all the critical systems. It doesn’t have to be a huge system…it just has to be big enough to run some fairly low-draw DC stuff for three or four days without a recharge.

Last time we had an outage here it lasted quite a while. I rather liked having cable TV and internet while the rest of the neighborhood was dark.

 

Link – Customs seizes $2 million worth of ‘counterfeit’ Glock mags

From Guns.com:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities in Savannah have held up a shipment of magazines from Asia they contend violate Glock’s trademark.

In a release from CBP, the agency advised they had impounded a shipment container headed to Tennessee at the Savannah Port of Entry containing 591 cartons of pistol magazines. Authorities determined the Glock trademark on the packaging was unauthorized and in violation of the registered trademark, which led to the shipment– valued at $2.1 million according to the MSRP– to be seized.

Guns, used cars and drugs, man: Know. Your. Dealer.

If you buy a knock off Glock mag you’re out, what?, $20? I am far more concerned about the Trijicon ACOG knockoffs the Chinese are pushing these days. You scrimp and save to buy a nice piece of gear and then you have to worry about weasels out there scamming you. That’s just bad karma right there.

Anyway, as far as the counterfeit Glock mags go, always use a little common sense…yo’re not going to buy brand new factory Glock mags for $8.99 ea. And you aren’t going to buy a genuine ACOG for $179.99.

Got an expensive piece of gear on your shopping list? Before you plunk down your money, go Google “how to detect counterfeit [name of item]”….ACOGs, Aimpoint, SureFire, etc, etc. Even stuff like Magpul gets cloned and sold ‘for the airsoft market’. Caveat emptor, kids.

More Mountain House

A few local folks were asing me about ordering up some Moutnain House stuff for them. Might as well try and get as many people on board as possible to knock the shipping costs down. It’ll be very similar to the last one…there’ll be a selection of #10 cans, you order what you want but your order has to be divisible by six cans since thats how many fit in a shipping box. Mix/match just so long as it totals 6,12,18,24, or whatever. Timeframe? Last one didn’t give people as much lead time as they wanted and as a result some folks missed out, so lets say…March 31. I’ll work up a list of whats available, for how much, etc, and get it posted sometime in the next few days.

Mag stuff

400 Butler Creek magazines later, I’m pretty much done with that little deal. My vendor shipped me one last case of 100 and then let me know that they are now officially “Out Of Stock”..at least, at the price they were at previously. I hope everyone who wanted some was able to get a bunch. If you missed out, hope is not lost…I’ve a few bundles of 12 left.

Speaking of mags, Friend Of The Blog(tm) Harry over at Self Sufficient Mountain Living has a post up about magzines for his M1A. His experiences with USA-brand magazines is pretty much the same as mine and everyone else – they’re a useful way to carry spare ammo in the butt of your pistol, but not very good at actually feeding the ammo into the gun. I usually go for the OEM mag, or a respected military contract version, but if you are careful…and vet thoroughly…you can often find an aftermarket version that is just as good (or in rare cases, better) than the factory mag. The easiest and most common example are aluminum GI contract mags for the AR platform. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with one of the big contractors who cranked out hundreds of thousands  of the things. Not always, though….sometimes a contractor will screw the pooch and put out a craptacular run of mags…but it’s usually a sure bet to buy contract mags.

Mec-Gar has a great reputation and actually is the ‘factory’ in ‘factory magazine’ for many handgun makers. They are pretty much the only source I’ll use for my HiPower mags other than Browning and military contract. I’ve posted about this at length elsewhere, but the point is still valid – save money elsewhere.

Article – F*** You Money

Years ago I was watching an interview with Joe Rogan and he mentioned that he was taking some jobs he normally wouldn’t because he was trying to build up a stash of “F*** You Money”. (And, for brevity’s sake, I’m just going to call it Screw You Money since I try to keep the harsh profanity to a minimum in the blog.)

He went on to explain that Screw You Money is the stash of money you have that gives you the freedom to not have to do something you don’t want to do. Imagine your boss is being a real jerk…you put up with it because you have a mortgage, a car payment, etc, etc. But, if you had, say, a million in cash in the bank and the boss starts riding you, you could just say “Screw you”, walk out, and have virtually zero negative impact on your life.

Here’s an article that sums it up very nicely.

F*** you money, as you may have guessed, is uncommitted cash sitting in your bank account which you can use to live on when you need to say “f*** you!” to an asshole boss, customer, or employer of any variety.

It’s really that simple. It’s the stash of cash you will have which will allow you to operate and live as a free human being rather than a slave. I’m not saying you will have to quit work and spend your days stroking your beard on the porch and reading philosophy (although you can do that if you wish), but it will give you the option to quite simply pack up your things and tell anybody you don’t like to get out of your face.

This is good for several obvious reasons.

If you carry this idea further, you could probably have a stash of “Screw You Guns”, or “Screw You Food”, etc, etc. A stash that lets you be completely indifferent to the situation involving the stashed items.

In the broader picture, who wouldn’t love to have the freedom to just drop what they are doing and walk away from a situation they don’t like? In some ways you don’t really need a stash as much as you need to minimize your obligations that force you stay in a situation you don’t like. For example, if you don’t have a house payment, don’t have a car payment, don’t have a student loan, and have a few months worth of money in the bank…well…then your Screw You Money stash doesn’t have to be that big. The less debt and obligations you have, the less you would need for your stash.

I’m a big fan of freedom so anything that enhances my freedom is going to get a thumbs up from me. Moral of the story: minimal debt, maximum cash and you have options that you may not have had otherwise.