Here is an article I wrote that details getting home when forced to abandon your vehicle on the road

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Mac Bolan, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. Mac Bolan

    Mac Bolan Monkey

    Driving distances to and from jobs have increased as companies moved to suburbs or further into rural areas. Daily commutes of 25, 30, or 40 miles each way are becoming typical. This presents a very serious problem if you should be at work and an event occurs that would necessitate you having to leave your vehicle behind and face a long walk home.

    It becomes more problematic if for some reason you have to avoid masses of rioters, martial law, or medical quarantine. An EMP, pandemic, or even an intense weather disaster like Katrina. Matthew or a tornado could force you having to look at the possibility of walking for days over land that you are unfamiliar with.

    The average person walks at about 2-3 miles per hour depending on their physical condition. Consequently, if you were facing a 40 mile hike, you are probably looking at a minimum of 3 days assuming you can cover 12 miles a day or so. During that time, you will need water and nutrition. The nutrition part can be covered simply enough by having a stock of protein bars in your GHB. Water becomes more of an issue because it is heavy to carry.

    Researchers claim a person needs about a gallon of water per day. Given a 3-day hike, you would need at least 3 gallons of water, which at over 8 pounds per gallon becomes near impossible to carry without creating a heavy burden.

    That leaves you with having to find water along the way or risk asking for help. Depending on the situation you may have to forgo dealing with people and find your own. Finding water can be made easier if you utilize simple satellite maps such as those found on Google Maps. These maps are also very beneficial in plotting a course to get you home safely by taking advantage of natural barriers such as trees, which would allow you maintain a stealth presence as you find your way home. An added bonus is that you can plot your course right now, from the comfort of your home. You can then put the printed maps in your BOB and feel confident in knowing where water is located anywhere along your path.

    The first step in this process is to access Google Maps and after typing in your location, placing your location at the edge of the map in the direction from your home you would travel….if you are plotting the map from your job and you work to the West, put your job location to the Western edge of the map. Next, re-size the map until your home is at the other edge of the map. If the distance is too great that the map is unreadable, make two or more maps as needed.

    In doing this, you will have a map of the entire area of travel. Hopefully you will see various lakes, farm ponds or rivers somewhere along your intended path. Google Maps are not very informative beyond showing roads and waterways but if you click on that little square at the bottom left that says “Earth” it will give you a satellite view of exactly the same area, complete with waterways, roads, buildings and wooded areas. This can be re-sized to zoom in or out, which is very beneficial for finding landmarks and water.

    Google Maps also has a feature that allows you to plot distances on the map. You simply place the cursor on the map and right click the mouse. A list will appear, and at the bottom will say “measure distance”. Move the mouse cursor to your starting location, click the left button and a small circle will appear with a short line. Hold the mouse button down and drag the line anywhere you want. You can change direction by clicking on the line which will create another small circle. Like before, hold the mouse button down and move the line wherever you want.

    As you create your lines on the map have it lead to various water sources and possible hiding spots shown on the map so you can refill your water supply and rest in safety. (I use a Sawyer Mini filter…others use a Berkey Sports Bottle, the choice is yours) You may also have to find safe cover to spend the night, which is easily accomplished by zooming in on the map and picking a nice hiding place such as a stand of trees. You should also find landmarks such as buildings, waterways, water towers etc…along your line of travel that you can use to show when and where you should change course.

    When your course is plotted all the way to your home, print out your map on as large paper as you can. Most libraries can print 11×15 which should work well. You now have a plotted course that takes you to water sources as well as reasonably safe route all the way home.

    Useful links and info on how-to Using a Map and Compass

    Orienting a map so it matches Magnetic North is a fairly simple process. Since we are dealing with shorter line of sight distances, declination is not a major factor, so let’s begin by orienting the map so it coincides with the compass.
    Follow this link to a very easy to understand set of directions using the lensatic compass.
    How to Orient a Map

    Once the map is oriented do not move it again.
    Now its just a matter of figuring the angles of the lines you have created and their relationship to North. These are your “bearings” and they determine the direction of travel.

    If you made note of landmarks on your line of travel its just a matter of sighting through the compass as shown in the video while reading the bearing you created pointing toward the landmark.

    For example…if the first leg of your trip calls for a bearing of 45 deg. Hold the compass level up to your eye as shown in the video.. and turn your body until a reading of 45 degrees appears in the sight glass. Without moving the compass, look through the sighting lens and line up the sighting wire while glancing down at the bearing. It sounds complicated but just watch the short video a few times and it will become easy.

    Keep doing this sighting, traveling and reaching your landmarks until you are close to home…then it becomes unnecessary.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
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  2. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Wonderful post. Good idea to use google earth satellite mode to find water sources. I am going to try this. I think google and their sat. maps are stalkerish but in this instance it is a good tool.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
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  3. Mac Bolan

    Mac Bolan Monkey

    I want to add...

    Once you print out your map with the lines drawn on it, you can calculate your bearings while sitting at home enjoying a cup of coffee. All you have to do is orient your map with a compass and be sure not to move it once done. Line up your compass North with the map North (Google Maps has a North pointing compass on the right.) and draw a line. That will serve as a good future reference in the field. Then using a simple protractor or your compass, line up the newly drawn North facing line with the compass and find your bearing by reading the angle of the line you created.

    upload_2016-10-18_9-52-49. A
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  4. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    Excellent post.

    Cruising the route by car once it's chosen is also a good idea, because it gives you the visual memory and a chance to find and list the water sources along the way. Also the best places to sleep, and the best bits of cover along the way.

    A good recon can also reveal shortcuts and hazards that may not be obvious from a map.

    Adding a four-way sillcock wrench or a mini vice-grip to the BOB will let you open the "tamperproof" water faucets you find along the way. Good places to look for faucets include behind unoccupied commercial buildings, plus convenience stores, malls, gas stations, post offices, and the like. Also around the perimeter of golf courses, and in the landscaped areas around subdivisions.

    BTW--if when in need you chance upon an unattended water faucet that actually has a lock on it, sorrow not. Just loosen the nut at base of the handle enough to spring yourself a convenient leak. Then tighten it when you're done.

    Volume and weight are import when packing a BOB, so packing a gallon (or larger) jug is usually out. I've found that a tough, light-weight, space-saving water bag is available for free in the form of a recycled ice bag. They have to be tough to not be cut by the ice they hold, so just save one and add it to your gear. Beats zip-locks and the fabled condom (ha!) by a mile.

    That's an especially handy trick in the bush where you may have to carry more water because the sources are far apart. Or to store/purify a batch for your camp. Add a lightweight nylon shoulder strap from a gym bag or similar for hands-free carrying.
    arleigh, chelloveck, oldman11 and 3 others like this.
  5. chimo

    chimo the few, the proud, the jarhead monkey crowd

    Might want to be careful with that. Google Earth shows a nice lake on a friend of mine's property...unfortunately that lake is a dried up swamp that is only wet after a good rain.

    Google Earth and Maps are a great reference...but you best verify what you see there before you stake your plans...or your life...on it.
    chelloveck, oldman11, 3cyl and 3 others like this.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yup. Google refreshes the data every several years. Confirm the date before over reliance on what shows up.
  7. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    This is where a real shovel pays off better than a toy trowel .
    skills of finding water (dousing) also come into play .

    I live in a fairly diverse community, so that 10 miles from home can be several days journey simply avoiding being caught out in the open, during an EMP disaster .
    Secondly the traffic from the freeways will result thousands of people looking for help along their way home 50 and 60 miles away, which will spill over into the communities they normally pass.
    Stores not to mention shelter accommodations will evaporate like helium in moments.

    I have been studying the drainage creeks all over town, that are usually over grown with foliage , likely safer to travel than open roads .

    Though it may take longer to get home, it's best getting home alive, than not at all.

    Anxiety will kill you faster than starvation.

    Having planned for a long hike is best, and if it turns out shorter, that's fine too.
    I keep breakfast bars and water filter and water bags handy in my EDC pack.
    I have never consumed a gallon of water a day , but more likely a quart per day at best .
    If walking is at a casual pace, and performed at night, during lowest heat, sweat is reduced and the need for water is reduced.
    I wear a 40 lb pack . but I anticipate that if there is an EMP I will dump all my electronics and replace that weight with heavier than water weight .
    I have street maps of mine and surrounding areas among as well ,not for EMP alone but for every day events traveling around town. They regularly need updated too because roads are constantly being improved .
    There is a product called plastic coat that can help preserve the paper maps from damage to some degree worth using on new maps . I don't think it good idea to mark any thing now, in the event some one your don't want finding your BOL should find the map.
    One should know their area.
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  8. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Don't forget your machete, and remember that moonlight hacking has some risks ---
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  9. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey Site Supporter++

    BTW - Google Earth Pro is now free and has additional tools you don't get in the regular version (drawing and measurement). I can't tell for sure, but it seems like the resolution is a little better than the standard version - could be the rendering engine is a little better? Use the license code GEPFREE when you install it, and it unfortunately only runs on Windwoes....
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  10. Mac Bolan

    Mac Bolan Monkey

    I just checked out Google Earth to see how old the images are. A structure that was built last October in my town was on there so at least the images are newer than one year in my neck of the woods.
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  11. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Consider getting your hands on a forestry service map... they show all water sources, trails, and roads... and are inexpensive...
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  12. Tempstar

    Tempstar Old and crochety Site Supporter+

    I say get out and do it. All the pre-planning in the world can't prepare you for actuality. And yes, I walked the 11.2 miles home from work while trying to avoid people and be stealthy without raising suspicion. Took 4 hours, so now I know what I don't need in my pack, to me just as important as what I do need.
  13. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I'd do it now but there are fences and restrictions from entering at present, no need to get my self in to trouble .
    I am well accustomed to walking; marsh and desert and mountains . that's why I prefer a staff to trekking poles .
    The beauty of this, is knowing where to get water and eatables ,if, when my reserves are exhausted.
    In the event I get home an it's lost, I have an alternative .
    oldman11 likes this.
  14. chimo

    chimo the few, the proud, the jarhead monkey crowd

    My wife and I each walk home from work with our get-home bags once or twice a year (her once, me twice). Roughly 14 miles for me, hers is 20 if she stays on the roads, closer to 23 if she follows the O&E towpath for much of the route (which is her preference). Obviously we do hers on a weekend and I go with her, just to be safe. Luckily we have rode a lot of the route many times on our bikes too, so she not only knows she can do it, she's also covering familiar ground for the most part.
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  15. 3cyl

    3cyl Monkey++

    Your county website should have a GIS map If you have not explored yours, you should
    By searching for Shipshewana I found the Co. Home
    They use Beacon Beacon
    You can do incredible things with GIS explore away
    Your County or Town may use a different GIS supplier, Mine does but you will find it on your Co. website
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
  16. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I also keep a small 4X scope in my pack for examining the way ahead .
    If things have gone wrong, even familiar territory can produce some anomalies.
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  17. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Topographic maps are also worth having. Unlike google maps, they indicate relative heights between contour levels which is useful when route planning, and making 'line of sight' estimations. Shaded topographic maps help acquiring the lay of the land much easier.

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  18. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Yes, topo maps tell me (and anyone who can read a real map - those numbers are declining) much more than anything that Google etc will make readily available.
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  19. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    If you have the time and a good printer ,using Google maps plot the surrounding area and create an actual visual of your area, and the area you anticipate having to pass.
    I did this years ago and now have to do it again because so much construction has changed the landscape.
    I am sure with significant storms, land scape has changed as well .
    One of the tools I plan to add is trash bags , in the event I must float across water or at east to use for shelter .
    I don't travel far usually but it would be ironic to happen to be at some distance and the main event begins.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  20. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Couple of things. Many golf courses and landscaping systems now use "recycled water' This from the local sewage system.

    Surface water can be so polluted as to be impossible to filter owing to AG chemicals. Something to keep in mind.

    A small 8x monocular is lightweight, small and can hang from your neck on a lanyard - just the thing to 'scout' ahead in urbanized areas. In these same areas solo=suicide is a good rule of thumb. A travel buddy can make sense if someone you know and trust is heading your way....-
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