Day 78 – Wednesday

Day #2 on the road (first full day)…

Yea!!!!! It went perfectly…NOT! Well, not too bad. Bravo and Charlie didn’t do the leap frogging exactly right and the screening Ops team (Bravo) got a little too far from the group but other than that…no one got hurt and we didn’t get seen or followed. And now we are on the way!

I never did explain our route and why. That might help understand other decisions we made. OK, here goes…

Normally when I go to our property in AZ I head straight up I-25 to Socorro. Then head west on HWY 60 for 4 hours. Simple, easy, enough stops on the way for gas or snacks, and it isn’t boring. One huge drawback…wide open, lots of hills, no tree cover to speak of other than a single mountain area, and no water! Yeah, there are a few stock tanks along the way but the areas around them are wide open for miles in every direction for the most part. That is a recipe for disaster.

So we decided on the western route…Kinda like back-tracking to Tucson but a northerly route from Deming. So it is I-10 west to Deming. Then HWY-180 through Silver City, NM to Alpine, AZ. Then HWY 191 north to Springerville, AZ. Then head west on HWY 60 till we hit our turn just outside of Show Low, AZ.

Lot’s more water, higher altitude for cooler weather, trees for shade, cover for safety, and it is a way I’ve traveled before.

Next, change of plans for the first day. Well, wait a minute…we never really had an alternative plan for our first 24-hours other than the original plan. And that original plan got thrown out the window when we had to leave early. So I guess we just improvised… our improvisation plan was great!

We only traveled for 4 hours, then we pitched camp. Everyone needed to stop, it was weird how tired everyone got…and pretty stressed and…well, I am not sure exactly how to describe it. We just knew we needed to stop. Surprisingly the kids did the best of all…no complaining and the infants didn’t cry…not once.

One last minute issue did come up…the Kanes. A thorn in our side from the very beginning. Our original plan was to leave on person behind with them. That person would toss a pair of wire cutters and a hacksaw at them so they could cut themselves loose. That person would leave and head to us as fast as they could. We had already hid the promised food in one location, their weapons in another spot, and their water in a third spot. They were going to have a map that showed where the stuff was. None of it was going to be hard to find, just it would take them time to find it…we figure maybe 3 hours or so. That would allow for that much more separation between us and them as we continued to hike down our route. We made sure that they would hear us talking about the hike “north” which is not where we were headed at all. But, just in case they had any ideas of following us, or telling anyone else about us…a little mis-information would go a long way.

But, when we had to leave early they had to be dealt with. Leaving someone behind was out of the question…too dangerous. Leaving Kanes behind to be captured was also out of the question. They knew too much and it might be just as dangerous for them as well. So we decided to move them. Bravo team hooded them up, and walked them about a mile from Bill’s place. We were hoping for more but Ken said it was just too slow going for them with the hoods and all. They left them there and told them they were being set free and never to go back to camp or they would be shot on sight. They left the wire cutters and hacksaw and map about 100 yards way, they left the hoods on them and walked off. Last Ken saw of them there had gotten the hoods off and had just started to head to the wire cutters and map. He said the way they were stumbling around, falling, and yelling at each other. He figured it would take them an hour just to get to the wire cutters. We would be long gone for hours once they got free, got their gear, and got back to Bill’s…even if they were stupid enough to do that. And if they were, they just might run straight into the bad guys. Either way…we win!

Camp in Indian Springs Canyon was a little weird. Logistics did a great job of getting camp organized and the kids settled in. No one wanted to eat but the teenagers. Teenagers always want to eat.

It was just plain weird setting out the SecFor and getting the RIT in place. I mean we had done it back at Bill’s and we did it in the field during training…but here we were in real-life doing it. All of us are on edge. I just hope we can settle down enough that we don’t cause a problem while watching out for bad guys. And I am also worried a little about the adrenaline rush crash. If that hits, and isn’t managed properly, we could see some immobilized Ops folks. And that is not a good thing!

So let’s talk about Jim for a minute…so there we are back at Bill’s ready to get going, everyone packed, Ops in full battle dress, everyone ready to take that first step. And then Jim pipes up…”let’s have a prayer.” Of course all the Mormons in the group take off their hats, bow their heads, and fold their arms. The rest of us, heathens that we are, collectively rolled our eyes and then watched for bad guys. But, I give Jim credit…he gives a good prayer and truly believes. And I don’t mind having all the help we can get…divine or otherwise.

Truth be told…I’ve had a couple long conversations with Jim. That info comes later after I have had some time to sort some stuff out. For now, Jim in the religious guy. But, he might just be overdoing it just a bit. We get to our camp location for the night and he wants to have a prayer of thanks. OK, have at it Jim!  I see that folks are getting ready to eat…Morgan pipes up asking for someone to pray and bless the food. Them daggum Mormons!!!! They sure are a praying bunch. I get the feeling we are going to be doing a lot of praying on this journey…whether I want to or not.

Oh hey…some interesting information…Waif and Bear.

Bear is HUGE…and it is not all hair. She just kept eating and eating and eating while at Bill’s and boy did she fill out. She weighs a ton, but it is all muscle. And she is an additional security force. Once Day Care forms up during the day she is right there and will never leave them. At night she goes from one family to the next and lays next to each child for a while. The kids cuddle her, lay on her, pet her, and whatever…she loves it all. After a bit she heads to the next family and the next group of kids. During the night she sleeps with Kim and Daniel’s kids, the youngest of the group. She is friendly enough with everyone else, never turning down a scratch behind the ears or a shared plate of food. But, I think it is more like she tolerates us adults so she can be around the kids. That’s OK with me.

Waif has essentially been adopted by the Hurstons. He is like glue to Sherry Hurston. No idea why he is so enamored with her but he is. She is a cute kid, funny, and likeable…but most kids are. Here is the really weird part…he still hasn’t said a word to anyone, including Sherry. Kim and Daniel have checked pretty thoroughly. He is skinny from not eating right for a long time but otherwise he is healthy. He did have fleas when he first showed up but several baths in a row and a haircut (shave actually) cured the flea problem. He also gets a double dose of vitamins each day till he comes back to a normal weight.

Speaking of vitamins…we found three bottles of multi-vitamins in Bill’s cache. Each bottle had 400 tablets. So Kim (Medical Unit Leader) said we should have each person take a multi-vitamin every third day. While it wasn’t a “daily dose” it would help overall to keep us a little healthier. Maria and Annie both objected saying that our diet should supply us the vitamins and minerals that we needed each day. Kim agreed…if we were under normal circumstances…but we aren’t. We have added stress on us, more physical activity that each of us are used to, and our diet may not always be the best. So multi-vitamins it is!


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