Attempting to Implement a Real Bug Out Scenario

This guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.

with humor and slight loss of dignity. By Mama J

This is story of an experienced prepping family told to ready themselves for a possible five-minute evacuation during a forest fire in the summer of 2012. I type the word “experienced” with some humility and I am humbled by our mistakes. We flunked.
Having lived in a mountain state for most of my married adult life we have been prepping for any number of survival scenarios including the obvious blizzards, drought, pandemic flu, plague, EMP, war, and of course, attacks from Mutant Zombie Bikers (MZB‘s).

Of course we have fires and plenty of them.  We live at the base of some of the tallest peaks in the country surrounded by farmland.
Big fire before now was always “under control” or some percent contained.  Now, add super dry conditions, stupid humans, dry lightning storms and lots of wind. I have read horrifying stories about big fire but you never really appreciate the speed and flash devastation until you see it.

Huge pines exploding right below helicopters dumping sling shots of water that look like fairies peeing on a volcano. Smoke and ash.

You know when you can HEAR it, you are way too close.

We thought we had all the bases covered. Bug out bags, bug out vehicles, bug out bikes, cache of supplies at a friend’s house.  Flash drives of documents, cash, plans, maps, Plan A, B, and C. I had recently done a photo and spreadsheet inventory on all of our belongings. Including, firearms, ammo, preps, food and extra supplies. Updated our policies and we are insured to the hilt.

We tortured our children (and ourselves)  for years with middle of the night fire and evacuation drills. Ripped screens, smashed fingers, pajamas full of snow, boy fist fights in the middle of the night, tears over lost shoes and general mayhem.

Reverse drills to get home from school and work. We thought we had lovingly beat the family into evacuation submission.
Frightened screaming children are not something you want to deal with in an emergency if you can help it. Drill, talk to them, drill again. Encourage children to find ways to better your system. They really love planning the drills and waking their parents up at 2am.

The real fun begins… I wasn’t too worried about the fire until I noticed the number of big helicopters thu-umping over the farm. I say thumping because of the noise. Thu-ump thu-ump thu-ump. Right? Especially when they are so low you feel the vibration. They normally have big fire under control in a few days. It was so hot. Much hotter than we high altitude brats are used to.

We are used to very low humidity, but the air would suck the spit right out of you. No rain for months. The high winds were keeping the smoke cloud from looking like a big mean reason for you to leave on vacation.I was calm the first day I was told we “might” need to evacuate. I loaded the truck with everything it would hold. Left room for the kids and hooked up the camper to spend time away. Checked on neighbors, readied some livestock to load. Started irrigating, and set up sprinklers on the house. Watching the fire and waiting.

Being part of a cohesive community is a blessing. A neighboring farmer offered to back burn his hay fields and CRP land to prohibit the fire from reaching our properties. At great loss of income to himself. And possible fines because of an obvious burn ban in effect. He called the Sheriffs office to get Fire Department permission but was told someone would get back to him. No one did. Surprise? No. They were busy fighting a fire! Other neighbors with water trucks, backhoes and tractors were busy cutting fire breaks on other properties and ready to help at any moment. We are ready and waiting……

I think I am very cool and prepper chic. Queen of prepper world,. No one is as prepared as I am! Haha!

We slept with one eye open that night.

We woke to sound of more helicopters and sirens. We are still on standby. Husband plans to stay home but is called in for an injured employee at work. Son works only a few miles away, he goes into work also. So what?  If we need to leave I am ready. Radio says certain areas must be on standby to leave within five minutes. Ours was on the “get ready” list.

Looking out the window I notice a new fire on the mountain side parallel to our farm. It was truly frightening to see how fast it was spreading in all directions. The helicopters and are all over it. This one is going to be very bad if it is allowed to get out off-hand. In this area there are thousands of beetle kill pines that are bombs waiting to go off. Through the day the wind is increasing along with everyone’s anxiety.  Now, the fire crews are divided. There is no road or foot access to this area. Almost vertical rock faces and forest on BLM land. I am starting get nervous. I call the family to come home.

Then, I got the stupid phone calls…Not the stupid phone call that said we had to be ready to leave at any moment. The stupid phones calls that my family can’t get home because no one can get through the road blocks. They do not have proof of residency! What road blocks? Where did they come from?

This is not on my list. Not on any prepper list anywhere! I am not prepared for this.
I see something pathetic, wiggling on the ground. My prepper ego.

Husband said not to bring the truck because there is a line of vehicles in both lanes. To go around is too far. What am I supposed to do? I have two girls with me under 9 yrs old. Looking around the yard,  my eyes spy the riding lawn mower. YES! Two hot cranky children in a lawn tractor-trailer, in a nest of towels, water bottles and umbrellas, to bring my husband proof of residency. Imagine grid locked trucks, cars, livestock trailers with stomping horses on a hot county road. Your personal vehicle is loaded to the hilt and hooked to a camper. What do you do, to get there quickly? Forget your pride and ride that lawnmower to save the day! Who cares if the girls are doing the parade princess wave at the folks we pass in vehicles. You are on a mission! Insert the witch on bicycle music from the Wizard of Oz.

Always have proof of residency in your vehicles and on your person! A current address on your license is helpful. Something NONE of us had. Car registration, insurance, electric bill, pay check stub. Now, most of us have this in our private vehicles, but my husband and son who were at different roadblocks, were in company trucks. Make sure your spouse, teens, parents, sisters, ,brothers, friends, anyone who will need to get to your home or retreat have some kind of proof. During an evacuation, the police, fire department, whomever is working the road block is protecting your property and your lives to the best of their ability. I was confused why they had our roads blocked when they hadn’t actually ordered us to leave. Don’t expect anything to be logical in a big emergency. I suppose it was to keep out the media, gawkers, and the hordes of stupid folks who are bound and determined to get in the way.

Looters dressed as firemen were reported caught in the evacuated areas. The boyfriend of a neighbor drove past the road block, through a ditch and a fence to get to her because they wouldn’t let him in.  Ah, true love.

Husband is now home and working to finish up his part of the plans. Now, I must journey to the “other”  roadblock to get my son, and the lawn mower is not going to get me there fast enough. The new rescue plan involved me almost killing myself on my (younger) sons Suzuki 250F motocross race bike and scaring the tar out of the Highway Patrolman. I think he had thoughts of pulling his side arm, as a sweaty slightly angry frustrated fully armed woman on a dirt bike shoves a 6 yr old report card in his face. (The only proof I could find for a older son who doesn’t live with us.)  I wouldn’t have blamed him, though I was glad when he didn’t. I wasn’t thinking clearly. How stupid of me. I would have been in a pickle indeed if he decided to cuff me and stick me in his car.
Home again, everyone where they should be. Hydrate. Re load motorcycle. Next note to self: Why did you buy that monster motorcycle for your child without riding it yourself first?

Our rescued son is hooking up trailers to his and his Fathers trucks.

Remember that you can not drive two cars at once. Decide what goes and what stays beforehand. Figure out who is pulling and driving what. That part of the plan can change everyday. Two of my sons (drivers) were out-of-town. You can not pull a horse trailer with a Mustang GT unless you plan ahead!

Husband is packing up firearms and ammo. We have a metal gun safe, but he is not leaving his arsenal if he doesn’t have to. He insists they go in his crew cab truck/with locking bed only and only under his supervision. I don’t see the logic in that, but I can’t talk him out of it and we must pick our battles. At this point I do not care just so long there is a shot of whiskey for me somewhere in the next hour or so.

Not enough gun cases! We had guns inherited from family without cases, etc. I saved all the gun boxes when we bought new ones, but they were shoved under the bed with cases of pickles and jelly shoved in front of those. He didn’t know where they were! He was wrapping rifles in blankets, secured with duct tape. Time consuming, not good.

Practice moving your arsenal! Quickly. It is not fun, ammo is heavy, but do it!

I would not advise putting all your firearms in the same vehicle if you can help it.  In case you lose one vehicle, you don’t lose all your firearms. Load your firearms (with ammo) with ones you need within reach. Plan it. When you have four people running in and out of the house, there is no rhyme or reason how the vehicle is loaded.

Make sure that every part of your evacuation plan is intact and functioning at all times.

For months before the fire I was complacent with an important part of our bug out plan. Our camper is our portable living/sleeping/storage unit and even if we must abandon it, we can pull the bikes off and have extra supplies away from home. Don’t put off repairs. Last fall I dropped the camper off at the mechanic ( a friend) to have the lights/brakes rewired, brakes replaced, hubs repacked and the axels flipped for higher clearance.

I am going to share some history to clarify: Boys took camper hunting. Brought camper home. Didn’t tell Mom that they “kinda” bottomed out. Or, for a better term, high centered the camper.  What really happened was they ripped the trailer brake/light wiring out and (I think) slightly damaged the axel. Next spring Mom is driving her truck pulling said camper down from a 10,000 ft summit on a winding 8% grade and looses ALL trailer and truck brakes. Obviously, the trailer brakes were already gone and the truck brakes couldn’t handle it. The truck brakes were only 2 months old. I can tell you that this camper is loaded. Packed with supplies. Very heavy.

Husband is in the passenger seat asleep until I started screaming. It is a miracle that the poor man still has hearing in his left ear. I managed to get the truck/trailer pulled over into the runaway lane. Smoke pouring out of the truck rims and smells like…well horrible.  I refused to get back in the truck for an hour. I cried, pouted and wanted to call a tow truck. No cell service.

While I was waiting for my stomach to leave my upper esophagus, and changed my pants, I gifted myself with the horror of all the terrible things we had just avoided.  I have an incredible imagination. Truly the gift that keeps on giving.  Shame to waste it.

“Rolling smashed 1000 ft below where I am now standing.  My last moments on this earth looking up at the trails of  tediously hoarded bug out supplies strewn on the rocks. Fish antibiotics, ammo, Wiggy bags, MRE’s, my precious 50 rolls of eco toilet paper blowing in the wind.  Bags of dryer lint stuck in tree limbs. (No one would  ever know how long it took to save all that dryer lint.). Tiny projectile rechargeable batteries. Oh Lord, the shiny stainless Royal Berkey. Oh please, not that.

Propane tanks exploding would at least send a smoke signal to mark our location of devastation. God forbid we should be the cause of a bloody forest fire!

They could simply put the fire out and cover the wreckage with the multitude of  camo netting, tarps and call it good.  Zip tie a bunch of plastic flowers on the guard rail they installed later in our memory. Cheaper than the overtime for the Department of Transportation crew to remove our sorry carcasses, and all our junk. Way less embarrassing for the family.”

More history:

I should also mention that after the husband checks out the cooled truck brakes and declares them good enough to get us off the mountain, I slowly climb into the passenger seat. Husband walks over, re opens the door, standing there with a sincerely sympathetic look, and a slight smirk. . Damn his eyes, I know what he is thinking. He wants me to get back on the horse and drive this wreck down the hill!

Sometimes I want to hate him for being right. Here I go again, in first gear the whole way, white knuckle, with tears streaming down my face. Diesel engine grumbling like belly on a springtime bear. Husband is relaxed, toothpick hanging out of his mouth,arm casually rested out the window, enjoying the scenery at 5 miles per hour. A more patient man was never born.

As soon as we get to the town at the bottom of the mountain the axel fell apart and the tire fell off  the camper. When the truck lurched and I saw the tire bouncing across the road in the side view mirror, I was really mad and ready to pour a can of diesel over the whole thing. Light it up and dance like a maniac, giggling. At least I wasn’t crying anymore.

Oh, sorry. I get carried away.

Back to why it is important to keep your equipment and vehicles the best that they can be.  Right now.

The camper was still at the mechanic shop when it snowed the previous fall so I didn’t think about pestering the guy to get it back. I need to stop being so nice. Right? I am a paying customer after all. I am sure the camper got put on the back burner because he assumed I didn’t need it. Well. I still need it when it snows! Disasters are not fair weather friends. So spring comes and summer. We spend our recreation time in the high country so I was itching to get it back.

One week later….

I pulled it home and noticed the trailer brakes weren’t working as well as I thought they should. Call mechanic. I said,  “So hey buddy, how’d those brakes work for you when you test drove it.” Mechanic says, “I dunno, I didn’t try them, I figured you would adjust them when you got home.” What!? Do you know me? I am not a mentally stable person when it comes to trailers!!”  I also said. “I hope you’re not sitting down to supper because I will be back in 15 minutes.” I was. I made him go over everything he did, how he did it, and made sure it worked properly.

By the way, the boys that broke it, paid for it. Plus, a bottle of hair dye for Mom. Tinnitus testing for Dad.
Not only did I go over the camper when I got it home, I learned how to service the generator and bought extra parts. Went through the water, food, first aid, hygiene, clothes, and cleaning supplies. Ammo, gear, previously mentioned survival supplies which still remind of my near death experience.

Filled the propane bottles. No, the propane guy would NOT explain to me how to refill small tanks from my big tank at home. Party pooper.

While I was at it, I checked all the bikes and stored some more extra parts. The tool box had some critical missing items. All this was a mere week before the fire.

Keep family out of your bug out supplies! Tape instruction notes on everything. Everyone needs to know what you know. My boys are terrible about not replacing what they use. Make a running list in the house so everyone can write down what they used and what is needed.
Ladies! Empower yourselves! YOU MUST learn how to operate your families equipment. Tears do not start generators. Cursing will not change tires. You need to know everything your husband knows.

And vise versa.

Gentlemen! You must learn where your wives store the stuff. You know. The stuff. You are the only one that  knows what important life saving stuff your wife has hidden from you. In the most obvious places.
Single folks! Remember all the above when you get married. You might not have the extra set of hands when you wish for it right now, but you know where you put everything ( I hope). You should know how your stuff works (More hope).

The most important lesson I learned in an evacuation situation.

Make peace with the fact that your house, and everything you own may not be there when you return.

Make sure your family does also. This is not as easy as it seems. I secretly fretted and worried about losing “stuff”, while trying to put on a confident face.

You know all the stuff that we have painstakingly searched for the last 30 years. Thousands of items that we have pu ton endless lists, sought out, saved for, purchased, and placed on this property for our families survival. My life’s work could disappear at any moment. We all realize this could happen. When it becomes your reality, it is a whole new ball game. It can affect your decision-making and your mental status.
Ok, I admit it.

One thing I refused to part with was our new boat. The last dying words of my ego. “Take the boat!“ In my defense it had 50 gallons of water and 78 gallons of fuel in it!

We were not asked to officially evacuate. We were on standby for two days. We left anyway because of the smoke. Our visiting niece was having troubles with it. We dropped the livestock and cats at the at a friends farm and declined their gracious invitation to stay the night.

We stayed at the cool lake away from fire. We sat together on a public lands picnic table, eating Mountain House dinners by lantern light, laughing and making fun of each other. Talking about how we could improve our REAL evacuation skills. I looked at each beautiful face around the table and stopped worrying about the belongings I left behind..

My husband slept in his truck with his guns and ammo. Our son dozed in his truck with the dogs guarding his Dad.

The little kids and I slept on the boat, where fire couldn’t reach us. I drifted off to sleep looking at the red glow on the horizon. I never slept better.

We returned home in two days. Our property was fine thanks to incredible amazing Neighbors, dedicated Firefighters and National Guard Helicopter Pilots. The same Firefighters who make $10.00 an hour. They sleep in parks on the ground and can’t buy health insurance.  If you see these brave civilians, buy them a coke or a meal. Shake their hands, and thank them for their sacrifice and hard work.

What we went through was minor and could have been much worse. No matter how well you prep or practice, something will come up to challenge you. Stay calm and keep your sense of humor. Be ready to improvise, adapt, and change your plans instantly.

One day after we returned home it rained for the first time in six months.

This contest will end on February 16 2013  – prizes include:

Well what are you waiting for – email your entries today. But please read the rules that are listed below first… thumbs up Attempting to Implement a Real Bug Out Scenario

my family survival

Comments

  1. Mystery Guest says:

    fantastic!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I just wanted to comment on all subjects because I read most of them. I just made a bug out bag with a list from your blog& I realized how unprepared I really am! The water shut off the other day! I didn’t have a lick of water to wet my mouth, my kids flushed the toilets already! I was caught off guard. We had to go to our inlaws for the day. What an eye opener. First thing I did was buy a case of water. I also filled a five gallon container full of water. But honestly I think its barely enough. My point was thanks for opening my eyes!

  3. Mama J! Ya made me cry! Glad you and your family are ok, what an experience and what great life lessons! Learned a lot from this one! Thanks!

  4. Excellent article.

    I enjoyed it immensely! I like a story I can visualize.

  5. all i can say is…WOW! what an ordeal. i need to tighten up our plans. the dw even asked me about tactical training for her last night.

  6. This is the BEST post!!! I have printed it off and am heeding your sage advice! I live in the mountains and work in the city. I have known about the roadblocks the state places in bad weather and forest fires, but have never encountered one. I just assumed they would let me by because I am a resident. Never thought they would require proof of residency! Both trucks now have this in the glove box! Thanks Mama J!!!!

  7. OH, GAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWD!!!!!

    Makes me so happy to be single, not intending to cart off more than I can fit in the canoe.

    Well, I suppose food for the mutts will take up most time loading…

    GB, I hope you’ve got it under control now and can sit back with that snit of spirits with a contented sigh rather than to stave off desperation.

  8. Thank you for writing this! DH and I were just discussing this kind of evacuation yesterday. And I hate to admit it, but we haven’t practiced anything. And we don’t have lists yet. So I can only imagine how ugly it could get. We learned from reading about your real life experience.

    Oh, and another thing. That proof of residency thing is something every person needs to understand. Until we get our BOL land, our plan includes joining a family member. But if we had to leave his place, our plan is to get across a river and into some wilderness area with our camp trailer. The more I read, the more I realize that we may not be able to go across the bridge without proof of residency on the other side. The only thing that would resolve this would be to bug out early, or to actually own land over there. Or have a prior arrangement and paperwork with a rancher friend on that side.

    In any case, all good things to think about and get done.

    Your notations about your DH moving his arsenal… I can see my DH being like that. And we need to resolve those issues now.

    Thanks again for the wisdom shared. There is nothing like real world events to make us all think.

  9. I read recently (in these pages, I think) that your never “really” prepared. I learned that in Sandy. Always more to do. I guess you did too.

    And I always lose stuff, even when it’s where it belongs. GREMLINS?

    • Well you can’t prepare 100% for EVERYTHING

      • Supposed to be you can’t prepeare 100% for everything but you can do your best for what you can. Plus having the knowledge to be ready for as much as you can trumps preps! You might be able to find or get some things but knowing how to do the best with what you have at the time is far better.

  10. Rod Zeigler says:

    There is absolutely NO substitute for experience. Great article outlining the pitfalls of a real bug-out. Gave me some things to think about.

  11. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Mama J,
    I needed that! Laughed til I cried.
    Girl, I think you would make a darn fine Marine. All I could think of was Heartbreak Ridge and Clint Eastwood saying adapt, improvise, overcome (or something like that).
    Thank you for reminding us to have a sense of humor. Have a great 2013!

    • Tactical G-Ma,
      Interesting that you should say I would make a great Marine. Thank you for the amazing compliment.
      I wasn’t in the Marines but my Dad was a Drill Sergeant at Camp Pendleton. He sounds alot like Clint Eastwood in the movie Heartbreak Ridge, his vocal cords probably look like sand paper.
      His voice is the voice in my head when I need to move my a**. The smart remarks are his when I do something stupid.
      He still has the same hair cut. High and Tight. My Mom jokes that he never has to have a haircut because his hair is too afraid to grow out of line.
      Thankfully, he was much nicer to his children than he was his recruits.
      I am glad you enjoyed the article. Happy New Year to you also.

  12. Wow, that was great!

  13. Oh that was good. I laughed & teared up, too. I am in no way even close to ready for evac, but got good ideas from this post. Thank you for great info & a wonderful story.

  14. Best thing I’ve read in a long time! Educational and entertaining. Thanks.

  15. georgeislearning says:

    I think I’ll reread this again. So much was happening I am pretty sure my mind couldn’t keep up.
    Thanks for what I think is a fantastic post!

  16. GoneWithTheWind says:

    I live in a national forest on the dry side of the mountain. Big forest fires every summer. My bugout plan in case of fire is: If there is some time and the fire isn’t close we will load our cars and motor home with things we value and haul them 15 miles to a safe location and put them in storage before the fire gets near us. If the fire is close or once it gets near we will drive away with only the necessities in our cars and we will stay gone until the fire is out.

    I have no intent to come back while there are still roadblocks and active firefighting. We will park the cars in town and hop in the motor home and take a vacation. We have insurance if the place burns down we will build again or maybe even move on. Not going to anguish over “stuff” or increase my blood pressure one bit. I have pictures, video, a list of belongings and a good homeowners insurance policy. It is likely we will be richer if the place burned to the ground then we are today living in it.

    I have by the way gone through this before. I left with my kids, a couple hundred $$ I had in the house and enough clothes for everyone for a couple of days. My nieghbor was up on his roof with his garden hose hoping to fight the fire to the death. Not me, we drove into town and had a good meal at a restaurant, spent the night at a friends house and went back the next day. The house didn’t burn down but it could have and it wouldn’t have bothered me.

    If I had been in the danger zone of hurricane Sandy I would have done the same thing. Put my stuff in storage miles away and gone on vacation. Later call a nieghbor or relative to see if the house is still there and if there is damage call the insurance company and get them started on cutting my check. The only thing left to decide after that is should we go to Hawaii or take the motor home to visit all the national parks…

    • Great attitude to have!!! Too many people over history have died for “stuff” the only thing worth dying for is your family.
      My Dad went through this years ago , lost most things in a house fire and just replaced those things after the ins came through. Now a lot of the things we don’t want to lose like family pictures have copies at multiple locations in case of lose. The majority of people in our society today are more worried about their “stuff” and what other people will think of their “stuff” when in all reality they would be a lot better off without 75% of their “stuff”..

    • Gonewiththewind,
      That is the perfect attitude to have! That motorhome trip sounds really good right now.

  17. That was an informative and funny article. Well done! The proof of residence is something I had not thought about – but I am now.

  18. Thanks so much for writing this! Lots of great info and a great story. Also gets me to thinking about the weak links in my own preps…

  19. David Kersting says:

    Excellent description of what can happen if if you are an experienced prepper and have even had practice runs. Very glad you all made it out safe. At least you had already had your practices, just think of what may have happened had you not done those. A big eye opener to what may happen. I will add the documents and a thumb drive with necessary info. Thanks for that. Best message, however, is to not delay necessary repairs to your bug-out equipment.

  20. Momma J,

    Excellent article. I laughed my hiney off, not because the situation was funny, but I could see myself in the same frame of mind. I think mothers of sons (and maybe fathers too, or mothers with tom boys) can all see millions of disaster possibilities. Your wild imagination and mine are obviously sisters.

    My son keeps telling me he’s going to teach me to drive my 4×4 truck over wild areas, high rocks and creek beds, because I may need to do that sometime in an emergency. I’ve avoided it, just the thought makes me want to pee my pants, and I can already feel the crick in my neck from stress. I seriously sympathized with you when your brakes failed. I understood your tears down the rest of the mountain, I probably would have walked!

    Thanks so much – exactly the type of article we all need to think out our own plans.

  21. OMG, I am at work with tears coming down and nearly peed myself! I had to get up and close the office door.
    Mama J, I nominate you for the annual 2012 Bert Gummer Award! (If we don’t have that award, we need to. Just sayin’. :)
    Thank you for the education. I never knew I was prepping for MZBs!

  22. Momma J – you are a FANTASTIC writer! I felt like I was right there through the entire story :-)

    Thanks for the compadre laughs and sharing the hard knock lessons learned – I will heed them.

    Hope you get the time to write more.
    Wishing you peace and health in 2013.

  23. Mother Earth says:

    Momma J, this is without a doubt one of the best posts I’ve read. I learned alot and laughed will doing it. You are a very talented writer!

  24. WARLOCK SUNDANCE says:

    excellent post. A real winner here.

  25. Reminds me we need to practice our plan more. Our bugout would probably resemble a Benny Hill Show finale, or something out of Three Stooges.

    The lawn tractor and dirtbike parts need pics! Funny the way you told it, but smart spur of the moment plan adjustment, and problem solved. And the “Tears do not start generators.” quote, going to borrow that if you don’t mind. Really enjoyed reading this, thanks.

    Hope this isn’t a duplicate… Tor troubles…

  26. Love your writing style – it certainly conveyed the fast tempo, anxiety, and mental rhythms of dealing with what you had to go through. VERY entertaining while it got its point well driven home – and that equals a great article.

    I hope you write for a living, at least part time. There are places on the Internet virtually anyone can get paid to write – and you are well qualified. Or get started on that book you’ve been promising yourself you’d write… :)

  27. Southern Belle says:

    Mama J,

    Thank you so much for posting. Your article was informative and a real eye-opener for me. I guess we can never be 100% prepared but we can keep trying to get better. I will be sure to have some type of proof of residency for each family member. I am so glad everything worked out for your family. Thanks again for sharing.

    SB

  28. Mama J, hands down best article! Now, I have to get my thinking cap on to get my grow children through possible road blocks to our home. Anyone have a suggestion please post!

  29. I have never commented before, but had to with this story. O-M-G, I laughed until I cried! What an eye opening experience. MamaJ thank you so much for sharing! I learned soooo much! It’s amazing how small things can derail the best thought out plans.

  30. Mama J;
    What a truely wonderful article. :) I had not thought about proof of res. My husband drives a company truck everyday. His DL has our address on it. But the kids, hummmm. Guess I need to work on that. I know that most of these would happen here. Murphy is a full time resident in this house. Add a couple of clumsy people to that (youngest DD and I) and there are parts of Bugging Out/In that should make for a few more grey hairs on my head.
    Thank you again for a most wonderful and insightful article.
    Mel

  31. Encourager says:

    Mama J, excellent post! You are a great story teller. I was clenching my teeth re the no brakes. No wonder you had to change your pants!

    I need to provide both of my sons with a letter (would that be enough?) in case there is a roadblock to our home. They both now live on their own but in a SHTF situation, will head back here. I do have a bank statement for the youngest showing his name and address. I will tell him to save his old driver’s license also and keep it in his car. Don’t know what I can dig up for the older one other than mail from his old high school that keeps coming here. Think that would be enough?

  32. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Encourager and all. I think a letter from you with one of your electricity statements or a copy of your property tax assessment.
    But it could very easily be no one in. Could even be no one in / no one out. What then? Then their GHB/BOB will really become essential. Are there alternate routes that may be overlooked by the LE/NG? In a pandemic, it might be better that the younger folks stay far away and try to keep the children isolated. Again, you can’t plan for everything.

  33. Mama J, that was an amazing post!

  34. You guys made me tear up with your amazing positive feedback. For every post I read I became more emotional. My DH is sitting across from me drinking coffee asking “Why are you crying woman?”. I say “Cause my people love me.” Sniff sniff.
    What we need right here is a GROUP HUG!
    I am glad you enjoyed the comedy of errors and I am working on another article about the changes we have made. I hope to submit before this big bin of garden seeds takes over my life.
    As to the proof of residency issue. We updated everyones drivers licenses with the address to the farm. Even others in our group who are not family.

    I met with the Highway Patrol Officer (at the second road block) to thank him for not hauling my sorry carcass to jail and asked for a short interview. He says depending on the scenerio and the speed at which they would need to move vehicles that proof of residency should be in the following forms.
    Of course the Drivers License, State ID, paycheck stub, or a bill with name and address. People in your group could have a cell phone bill sent to the retreat address even though they probably pay it online. I didn’t ask if a letter would suffice, but I would not take that chance.
    You will need to pick up your children if they are with someone else (babysitter).
    An excellent way to insure entrance is to get to know your LEO’s and First Responders. That officer will remember me, probably forever. Giggling.
    Normally they would not take an old report card. The Officer used his judgement and let that slide. My son waited on the side of the road of over an hour for me to arrive, and was very polite.
    As Tactical G-Ma says they may not be letting anyone in or out depending on the circumstances. So, your people will need to gracefully turn around and go quickly to their next route. That they planned in advance, of course.

    • Encourager says:

      ~*~HUG~*~HUG~*~HUG~*~ !!!

      Thanks for that list. I think I got it covered. A bank statement to youngest son at our address (plus he will save his old driver’s license). Working on the oldest son…got to have him help me on that. Maybe he still has his old driver’s license.

  35. Hunker-Down says:

    You forgot; “busted in the boobs while biking”. hehe

    • HD,
      You always crack me up. Have mercy! I can’t believe you remembered that part.
      Yes, folks I had to slam on the brakes while riding the dirt bike and slammed my chest into the handbar. I nice big bruise on the right boob. Lasted about a month and had some pretty color changes.
      My jaw was sore for at least that long from gritting my teeth.

  36. My first assignment in the Army was in Berlin, Germany when it was still an occupied city. You kept your ID on you so that bad things didn’t happen between you and the authorities. It’s just a habit that has not gone away.

  37. What a throughly enjoyable article! Good job – well written and organized. Thanks for sharing – don’t let it be your last.

  38. This was a great article. I laughed & learned at the same time. Gotta go fix my bug out bags!

  39. Mama J,
    I almost busted a gut laughing. Nice to read the full story after getting a taste so many months ago. It was well worth the wait. I hope you’ve taken the lawnmower and the bike out for a spin since then.

    • Mexneck,
      I don’t know if you will see this, but I have taken the bike out again, because I really did like it. After I got used to it. No way I can ride it like my son can though. It is a 4 stroke and mine was a 2 stroke. I traded up afterwards. More bottom end power and quieter.
      I ride the lawnmower everyday. Right now it has snow chains on it. LOL.