Day 76 – Monday (early afternoon)

Two major issues. First, we are putting off leaving by a day. Next, we confirmed it, we are being watched and we can’t find them…but we have found two places that they have watched us from. We finalized our plan this morning…we have to leave, but we can’t be stupid and rush it.

During the day we are putting two teams out for SecFor. One will take the normal positions, another will roam in two teams of two each. The third team will be a RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) held in reserve in camp. They can rest a bit, eat, water up, and then replace the fixed position team, who then replaces the roaming team, The roaming team then comes in for RIT duty. We will rotate every three hours. At night we will use our standard 1 team on, 1 team RIT, 1 team sleeps. But, we leave tomorrow night.

We had wanted to get full practice run on moving during the night before we left but that isn’t going to happen. We just can’t risk being away from camp at night with the kids. But, Day Care says they will keep the kids up late tonight, longer naps this afternoon, sleep in later each morning, and more the next day in preparation for leaving. The first couple of nights will be tough on everyone I am sure.

Jim’s Logistics Section has been working overtime…and it is showing! The cooks made up this stuff called pemmican. It is made from dried venison from a deer we shot in the third day here along with some freeze dried berries from Bill’s food cache, as well as some nuts.  It tastes really good, real good! It is supposed to be full of energy and lasts forever. The Ops teams are going to use it for our “lunch” that we will be eating in the middle of the night. Actually, we will eat it whenever we are hungry. Eating smaller amounts throughout the night while we walk is WAY better that eating a single larger meal all at once.

The cooks also came up with this blend of rice, beans, and I’m not sure what. But it will be our meal right before we take off each evening (our breakfast). It has to be heated over a fire with boiling water. I am OK with that because we leave the area where the food was prepared pretty quickly. So anyone looking for the fire or smell of food will end up at an empty campsite. For our dinner (at daylight) when we are stopping for the day we will eat more traditional food that they have made up. Supposed to be all freeze dried stuff I think. They’ve guaranteed us it will good and filling. Once we’ve eaten we will move about another mile or so to get away from any unwanted attention that the cooking has drawn.

While we have this really good plan all made I am sure it will have to be modified in the field after we have figured out what works and what is too complicated or cumbersome. But, that is OK because we have all greed to be flexible, adaptable, and most of all…understanding.

We’ve had a couple issues come up in the Command Staff meetings;

1) the load the Ops Section folks will be required to carry. I volunteered that we would carry our fair share and then some since we are all in pretty decent shape. Jim said he, Lisa, and Susie had already talked about it with their folks. Everyone agreed that the Ops folks would only need to carry their personal load…not any camp load. They wanted us to be as light as possible and to be ready to do whatever we had to do without the burden of heavy packs or such. I started to debate them but they shut me down immediately. It is great to see them understanding what may be asked of us.

2) There is REAL concern about the kids (infants & toddlers). There are two main concerns…crying and walking. They said they have no solution for crying that is too loud that it can be heard. They are just going to try and deal with it as it occurs. As for the walking, they’ve decided that infants and toddlers will have to be carried. First, they can’t walk far or fast enough to keep up. Second, we are going to be walking at night and there is too much danger for them…stumbling, cactus, and things like snakes and scorpions, etc.

There was some brief conversation about changing the plan and walking during the day and resting at night. The minuses simply outweigh the benefits. We have the sun/heat to deal with…and then there is the ever present fear of being seen, found, ambushed, attacked, captured, injured, or killed. Day time travel just isn’t safe enough.

There are six people in the Day Care Unit, they will take turns carrying the different children. If needed the Medical Unit folks will come over and help. The Logistics folks will have their hands full with food, water, gear, etc. so they won’t be called on to help…normally.

Speaking of Logistics…they have the two large golf bag carts and Bill had a Gorilla cart that they will use as well. It is 4’ long, 2’ wide, 13” tires, and 1200lb payload capacity. They rigged up a harness system for it. It can be pulled by a person acting as a draft horse. It will carry the bulk water and some of the gear to go along with the purification. Each golf cart has two Condor 3-Day assault packs on it with a box on the bottom. The packs are attached to the frame kind of stacked one on top of the other. They look really good and it keeps everything well-organized. The box on the bottom looks like an old military surplus ammo can. The packs can be taken off the carts and carried if need be. One person will pull each cart, they will rotate pulling the carts. The Medical Unit said they could help with that as well.

Water…oh boy. That is our biggest issue. For pretty much a minimum we figure we need 30 – 35 gallons of water per day. And yes, that is a minimum. While some of the kids may not need to drink a gallon, some of the adults might need more, and then there is the water to use for cooking meals. As it is now, each adult and teenager will carry their own water in water bottles or CamelBaks. The water for the kids and the extra water will be in the Gorilla cart.

All six of the “kids” will have small packs. Since they are really too small and weak to carry much water, their packs will have some of the freeze dried food in it. The freeze dried stuff is super light compared to its mass. So it should be a burden that they can bear. The food will be distributed that a little from each of the packs will be used at each meal to ensure that each pack is equally lighter and no one kid has to carry a disproportionate share of the food.

But, here is the problem…we don’t have near enough food for even a week let along as much as the 3 months it might take to get to AZ. And that sucks! It is physically impossible for us to carry that much food, even it was all freeze dried. Too many people need too much food to be remotely practical to carry.

That being the case…we are planning a couple things;

1) we have a bunch of wire snares for rabbits and other small game. We will place the snares each morning once we’ve made camp. In the late afternoon we will check the snares for any usable meat that might have been trapped.

2) Mel and Paul have proven to be really, really good shots. Being on the same Ops Team (Bravo) makes it more convenient. Every few days we will send them out in the early morning and late evening to see what game they can bag for us. We have a pellet gun and a Ruger 10/22 that they will take with them for small game. If they can bag a deer or such, we may hold up for a day or two while the meat is prep’d and smoked. Each golf cart has a 5lb bag of salt in the metal ammo box that the packs sit on. I think I heard one of the cooks saying something about a bottle of smoke in one of them. Sweet! That would help with any potential gamey flavor.

3) We will scavenge any food along the way that we can. We won’t steal anything, but we will scavenge whatever nature has to offer.

4) Gold & silver!!!  All together we have a fair amount of gold and silver rounds (some 1oz, some 1/4oz) plus some junk silver that we found at Bill’s. We will use that whenever we can to buy/trade/barter for food if we find anyone that has it and is will to consider off-loading some.

Me…I am worried to death that we are going to run out of food. And I’ve seen what happens to people when they are starving…and it isn’t pretty. It can be downright terrifying. But, here comes Jim with his “We will trust in the Lord” speech again. OK, but I would rather trust in Albertsons or Sam’s Club.

But, I have already made the decision…our people aren’t going to starve. I am not responsible for everyone in this weird world…but I am responsible for this group…and they are not going to starve…Period! And that means up to and including…other may starve but we won’t.

Oh, let’s go back to the water issue. A gallon of water is a little over 8lbs. That is 250lbs of water per day our group needs. Once again…it is impossible for us to realistically carry more than just a little over a day’s worth of water. Maybe two days if we really had to strain ourselves. So we have to find water along the way…a lot of water and we have to find it every single day…day after day after day.

To mitigate that issue we are planning a couple things; 1) Jared, our scout, will pay particular attention to any water sources while he is scouting. He will range anywhere from 1 – 5 miles from the group, mostly out in front of us. If he finds a water source we will head for that water source for our camp for the day. Actually we would never camp right at a water source…it is a magnet for animals and other people. Both could cause us a problem. But, we will try and camp within 1/2 mile of any water source if possible. If it is not right to camp near it we will send out three logistics folks, one medical person, and an Ops team for security. They will take the Gorilla cart with them. The Gorilla cart carries two 15-gallon water barrels and two 5-gallon water jugs plus the Monolithic ceramic water filter system and its two 6-gallon buckets. They will fill the barrels with water straight out of the water source…not purified. They will then leave the water source and return to camp. Once safely back they will run the water through the purification system and fill-up individual water carriers. We have one 5-gallon jug for purified water that will be filled as well if there is enough water. The rest of the water will remain in the two 5-gallon jugs. That way if something happens they can grab the smaller of the water barrels (5-gal) and leave without the cart. If there is time and it is safe, they will return and top-off any empty barrels from the water source.

As for Ops, we will drink from any water source we find along the way using our life straws. We are the only ones to have them and the Medical Unit has assured us that the units should be good for 300 – 400 gallons. I still have my MSR Sweetwater unit from the Tanners and we did find one MSR Sweetwater unit with Bill’s stuff…and 3 more replacement filters. My team will carry one and Ken’s team will carry the other. That way we can top off our water carriers on the fly…or if we get separated.

Logistics is also carrying a variety of water purification tabs and ClorFloc as well. I am not sure how much, Jim says it’s enough for our purposes. They also have a limited amount of powdered chorine used for swimming pools. Jim says it may come in useful. I hope so…every ounce of weight makes a difference…someone has to carry it or pull it.

This is more and more complicated every day! The security stuff is easy compared to the logistics. I pity groups that have no plan. Or, those who try to just make up some kind of system instead of using one that is proven. Lives are on the line!

Day 77 – Tuesday (mid-morning)


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