I Had To Bug Out This Past Week

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  • Josh Smith

    Smith-Sights LLC
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    Aug 10, 2012
    403
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    Wabash IN
    Hi All,

    I thought I'd relate this to you all, as there are many here who are interested in survival/SHTF scenarios.

    Sunday the 5th at 1:00am it started snowing. We knew it would be coming in, but what we didn't count on was Wabash County being one of the hardest hit in Indiana.

    We debated leaving Saturday night, but April was hopeful it wouldn't be as bad as the weather folks were predicting.

    Well, come can-see, the forecast proved correct. We had already packed the night before, and Vance (my boy) and I started loading up the truck while April grabbed a few extra things. Nikki, our dog who is part Husky and all huntin' dog, broke trail for us, as she's always done for me in the past when hunting in snow, and as she'll continue to do. I've never seen a dog handle itself in snow like this one!

    I had planned for a power outage, and part of what we packed were a Sterno stove, a bunch of alcohol cans, and 10 gallons of water. I already had a lot of food in the Blazer. You know those huge ammo boxes that military fuses come in? One of those. Plenty of food, an iron skillet, and basic cookware were also in with that food. The Sterno stove usually resides in there, but we'd already lost water the week previous so the small percolator and Sterno stove were in the house.

    (And a note about this Sterno stove: I like it. No, it's not as hot as propane or butane. It takes longer to boil water. I do have a propane stove as well, but I mostly reserve it for camping. The Sterno stove can burn Sterno, of course, but I tend to go to the Dollar Tree and buy their cans of alcohol. They burn for two hours and only cost a buck apiece. If I run out of the canned heat of whatever sort I have on hand, I can throw coals from a fire into a tuna can and cook with those, or use whatever's available. I've heated water before using it, then replaced the can of alcohol with a long-burning candle to keep the water warm for bathing or whatever. It's just a very versatile, compact hobo-type stove that folds up and doesn't take up much space at all.)

    Our destination was my parents' house, which is also in the country, but has a fireplace. My current shop is also on that land.

    We arrived and unloaded.

    Well, it snowed about two inches per hour through the day and well into the night. Wabash received 16.5" of snow before it stopped.

    When the snow stopped, the temperatures plummeted and the wind started. We were at -15°F and winds gusting to over 35mph.

    I woke to us losing power.

    I got up and broke out the small percolator and the Sterno Stove while Dad kindled a blaze in the fireplace. I showed Mom and April how to cook on the Sterno stove by making coffee, and went back and crashed out again. I've been through this before, and the best thing I know to do when it's cold out and there's no heat is to sleep through it if I'm not immediately needed. As of right then, hot drinks and hot food were taking care of any morale issues. Water was taken care of as well; Mom and Dad have always camped and they had plenty of water. Between our 10 gallons (plus two or three canteens of mine) we were well-supplied. Water? Check. Food? Check. Coffee? Check.

    I woke up about five hours later; I'd not slept well the night before. The power was back on and the furnace had kicked on again.

    I checked the weather using my old Blackberry 8320 Curve. It's ancient but serves its purpose. There was a snow emergency out, so we were stuck there for Tuesday.

    Wednesday evening when we went from red to yellow, Dad took his Silverado (4.10, Positrac, 4x4) and I took my Blazer, and we went exploring. Got out to my home and found that the majority of the 1/5-mile-long driveway was knee deep to hip deep in most places. We were at -10°F and very little wind. We hiked through the snow and into the house. All had held up well but there was no water (frozen well) and there was no way to get a pregnant lady through the driveway.

    April had a OB-GYN appointment on Thursday, and so I took her. I also started calling around for someone who might have a truck capable of clearing the drive -- most couldn't. I finally found a man with a lifted Dodge Ram, and so we set up to meet this morning (Friday) at 8:30am so I could show him where this house is at.

    Well, we got here. Temps were considerably warmer and we'd had a wet snow overnight. Good packing snow that was also very slick. When I pulled over to the side of the road to let him by, the Blazer slid sideways into a ditch. I mean, I was stopped. I'd parked and was ready to kill the motor and get out, and it just slid. I've been stuck in the past in other 4x4s I've had, but I've always earned getting stuck! This way was just dumb!

    Well, when I started going over, I put it back into gear and managed to keep from taking out the roadside fence, but this grade was very steep and I couldn't climb out. Heck, the plow couldn't pull me out. I had to call a wrecker to lift me out.

    While waiting for the wrecker to come, I hopped in the Dodge and showed the man driving where NOT to go as the snow had covered some other ditches as well. He did get stuck once, but managed to rock free. He did tell me he'd been stuck like I stuck my Blazer at least five times that year. Well... he probably earned it.

    We finished plowing and I went to flush the water lines inside the house and make sure we even had water. It was 34°F out, so I figured we had, and we did.

    The wrecker came, lifted me out, and I forked over a Franklin. This blizzard was getting expensive! What I do isn't making me wealthy! Luckily, State Farm Insurance covers towing and roadside, so I took the receipt to them while April was packing our stuff and got the money right back.

    We made it home around 2pm today, or maybe a little after. We're all wiped. I'm trying to catch up on paperwork which I couldn't do at my parents' due to spotty internet and, more importantly, most of my records being electronically filed from this "home office" of mine. (The home office is also my man cave, also a walk-in closet. It has a desk, laptop and printer, and is filled with fishing poles, guns, and a breaker box. Just enough room to turn around, but barely. Room for one person.)

    That's what I get to do now: Catch up on paperwork; go back to reality.

    That's how we handled the worst winter storm in 20 years. Not a bad showing at all. It helps when you grow up tent camping, I think, and can stay comfortable. Entertainment is essential, too, as boredom takes its tole on morale. I like and appreciate my work, but I was doubly grateful I was able to walk to the shop.

    I never did get through all my OTR radio programs I have on that old Blackberry, nor did I get to read the issue of Backwoods that I bought.

    Regards,

    Josh
     

    Texas42

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    Nov 21, 2008
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    I'm a little curious as well. Why did you bug out? Seems like a snow storm is a good time to bug in.
     

    breakingcontact

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    Oct 16, 2012
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    Indianapolis
    I'm a little curious as well. Why did you bug out? Seems like a snow storm is a good time to bug in.

    From what i gathered power was going out and destination had fireplace (gas heat at home though?) Also very pregnant wife and wanting easier access to hospital.
     
    Last edited:

    Josh Smith

    Smith-Sights LLC
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    Aug 10, 2012
    403
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    Wabash IN
    I'm a little curious as well. Why did you bug out? Seems like a snow storm is a good time to bug in.

    I have a pregnant wife, 8 months along, who is high-risk and has gestational diabetes.

    She was my main concern. My parents' house is closer to the local US Highway and has a fireplace. Also, here, the well is above-ground in the barn and freezes if it gets to 0*F.

    We rent this house and were considering buying it, but it's set up wrong. I could install a wood stove to heat the place but the well would cost a lot to redo.

    The driveway is positioned all wrong so that it drifts shut. I called the guy who plows my parents' driveway. He has a full-sized Tahoe with a plow on it.

    He said there was no way he could plow as much snow as had blocked our driveway, and referred me to a feller who has a lifted Dodge Ram with a really good plow.

    Well, he danged near got stuck, and told me he'd been overheating his tranny this year even with the auxiliary cooler. He certainly did on our driveway.

    This is a beautiful place, especially in the summer. In the winter, it could be good too, as long as you didn't have to leave.

    April, being high risk, must have a C-section. She's been experiencing contractions which are not Braxton-Hicks, or she doesn't think they are. The doctor knows this, and he's prepared for our girl to come early.

    In theory, I can deliver a kid. In reality, with my wife, I very much doubt I could stop the bleeding which would likely be the result of a natural childbirth.

    The decision to leave centered around my wife's comfort and her health, and of course, the health of the baby. Had it just been me, I'd have stayed.

    Having dependents can hinder a person. Sometimes a person acting independently has a better chance at surviving. In this case, what I would have done had it just been me was at odds with the well-being of a high-risk woman in the final stages of a high-risk pregnancy. I made the best decision I could, after weighing the odds.

    Regards,

    Josh
     
    Last edited:

    breakingcontact

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    Oct 16, 2012
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    That makes sense. Access to the hospital with a pregnant wife is important.

    I would say should have left before the snow and wind hit but if you ran everytime they gave a forecast with heavy snow and wind up there thats all you would be doing all winter.

    Sounds like you prepared, had a plan and it turned out well and thats all that matters.
     

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