Got Maps?

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In the age of GPS, there are two things that I have learned:

1. You can’t always trust GPS

-and-

2. Most people not only cannot read a map, they don’t even own any maps.

 

 

 

GPS is a great enabler, and I’m all for using whatever enablers you can get your hands on.  However, if your plan is to rely on it exclusively for your Bug Out, Mutual Assistance Group, or whatever other SHTF plan you have in place, you are setting yourself up for failure.  GPS reliability is limited by the laws of physics and subject to the whims of man; even a moderate solar flare can disrupt the Position, Navigation, and Timing signals from the satellites.  Add to this that the signals can also be spoofed (giving you bad data) or jammed (giving you no data) by a bad actor.  Further, you are relying on something that requires battery power…and you may not always have that available.

Get maps.  All kinds of maps.  And make sure you have the most up-to-date maps, in at least one format, that you can get.

I keep a few types of maps on hand in the GHB and at the BOL:

– Standard road maps of my state and of the immediately surrounding states.  You can easily pick these up at gas stations or truck stops.  Some states will provide them for free at visitor centers; check online as well with your state’s tourism department or Department of Transportation for free or discounted maps.  Another online resource is OmniMap, which has a vast selection of maps and atlases.

 

Commercially Produced Road Map
Free Map Provided by State Tourism/DOT

– Topographic maps of the area in which I live, the areas that I may have to travel through to reach my BOL, and the area around the BOL itself.  These can very exceptionally useful and I highly recommend that you obtain topographic maps that are relevant to your situation and know how to read and employ them in conjunction with a good compass.  The downside is that topo maps tend to get updated at odd intervals, so you may not be able to find ones of your area less than a few years old.  Get the latest you can get anyway!  For topo maps, I prefer to get mine from Trimble’s website myTopo.  While you can get US Geological Survey maps from other sources, including downloadable and printable versions directly from the USGS, myTopo allows you to order customized versions at a reasonable price.  This customizing includes the ability for you to select exactly the area you want; there is an old joke in the military that all battles will occur at the corners of four adjoining maps…with myTopo, you can have a single map incorporating areas of adjoining maps made.  Other options available include printing on waterproof paper, Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) lines, and hybrid topo/aerial imagery, to name a few.  If your planned area is in a popular hiking or fishing area such as national/state parks or the Appalachian Trail, you’ll usually be able to find more updated topo maps; good sources for these are sporting goods stores or websites local to that area or the government entity that oversees the park.

Topographic Map

– US/North America and world maps and a US/North American Atlas.  The idea behind having these is to be able to keep track of where other things in the world are happening.  This is especially useful if you are sitting in BOL, listening to shortwave radio.  If there is something going down in Pig’s Yell, Arkansas you can find that location in your atlas, mark it on your (hopefully laminated) wall map of the United States, and use that information according to your needs.

 


The other item you need to have and know how to use is a quality compass.  Do you need a tritium USGI lensatic compass?  No…but they’re nice to have.  However, the real deal can be pricey, usually in the $70+ range.  If you can afford one, get one. Or two.  Having said that, unless you are doing precision land navigation or calling in artillery fire, my opinion is that you really don’t need one these.  You can do just fine with a simple Suunto or a Silva compass; I own both of these brands and they are lightweight, durable (one of my Silva compasses is now about 30 years old, obtained back in my days as a Boy Scout, and it’s still going strong), and easy to use.  And really, don’t waste your money on the cheap knockoffs, you’ll just get burned in the long run.

USGI Lensatic Compass

 

Silva Brand Compass

 

Suunto Brand Compass

Other very useful items that I recommend:

– A map case, preferably one that allows you to make markings with a grease pencil (aka a “china marker”) or dry erase maker.  This not only protects your map, it also allows you to easily remove your markings and preventing any bad guys from having a handy dandy guide to where you’re going and what you’re doing.

– Grease pencils and/or dry erase markers.  Each have their pros and cons: grease pencils won’t dry up, but they aren’t conducive to making fine notations.  The reverse is true for dry erase markers.

Mechanical Grease Pencils
Map Case

Now that you’ve got your map(s) and compass, learn how to use them, then go out and put that knowledge to the test.  There is a plethora of instructional videos and books online, and stores like REI conduct classes from time to time, make use of these resources so that when the time comes you’re not lost in the woods!

 

Frank and Fern Bid Farewell – Rumblings From the Horizon

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Sadly, one the better preparedness blogs has closed down shop.  Thoughts from Frank and Fern announced that they were ending their operation to concentrate on getting projects on their homestead completed in anticipation of the world crumbling further.  They’ll be sadly missed by those of us that prep and/or homestead and I wish them the best of luck and God’s grace.

 

This departure is not unique; I’ve noticed an undercurrent gaining strength not just in the prepper community (I’ve been feeling it myself) but in the “general population” as well that bad things are coming sooner rather than later. While there are many that seem to be waking up to the possibilities of what may come and are beginning to prepare, there are many more that won’t, either because of normalcy bias or simply because they’re afraid of being labelled.  It’s not enough for just us to be ready…the more of our family, our friends, and our communities that are ready, the more ready we ourselves will be.  So reach out, talk to those you care about, especially those that are sitting on the fence, and encourage them to prepare now, while there still is time.

 

For those of you in the Southeastern area of the country, I encourage you to start building bonds with those around you over at the Southeastern Preppers’ Network.

A Little Bit on the Oregon Situation

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As most of you in the Patriot and Prepper communities are aware there is a situation unfolding in Oregon.

First, I’m going to say unequivocally that I do not support the “militia” that has decided to involve themselves in this action.  As noted over at Sipsey Street Irregulars what we’re seeing here is the manifestation of a “John Brown” complex.

Another thing is that the group contains among it some known valor thieves; This Ain’t Hell discusses these particular morons.

Something else to bear in mind that this “occupation” is not only not supported by organizations such the Three Percenters and Oath Keepers, it is being loudly denounced by them and they are distancing themselves as much as possible.

Bottom line: a group of idiots has chosen a hill to die on, and it’s the wrong friggin’ hill.  Don’t get sucked into the mess that they are creating.

And don’t even get me started on the convenient timing of this for the SCOAMF’s sudden desire for gun confiscation via Executive Order.

Addendum: For a pretty comprehensive view of what’s happening, along with historical background, check out this post over at The Conservative Treehouse.

Why do I still have a Facebook account?

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So, I got into a fight on social media today regarding the Second Amendment and all the bedwetting emoting of the left over gun ownership today.

An individual that I once served in uniform with and I had a rather profound and unpleasant disagreement (not the first) regarding a major national issue. I won’t go into the specifics, but I will acknowledge what many are thinking:  Bert, you’re making a target of yourself by being on social media!  I disagree, and yes, I’m keeping my FaceBook account.

No, it’s not in this name (a nom de plume…which may someday become a nom de guerre).  However, I only keep a presence on there because there are some friends and family that are on there and it’s the easiest way for them to keep in touch with me.  If not for that, I’d probably have abandoned the venue long ago…or not.  In fact, I very rarely post anything of a partisan nature there any more.

The fact of the matter is, the expectation is that if you are “normal,” then you will have a social media presence.  The more “normal” you are, the larger a presence you have: FaceBook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.  Many people of our mindset consider a presence on social media to be a liability, a tool with which The Powers That Be use to keep tabs on you.  They are right.  However, what must also be considered is that not being on social media is a red flag these days.  The trick is being aware of and careful about what you post.  Additionally, one must consider the intelligence value of social media…just because you aren’t posting the consistency of yesterday’s bowel movement or who you’re voting for (not that there’s much difference between the two) doesn’t mean that everyone else isn’t.  You can learn a lot and a keep a finger on the pulse of the sheep herd by watching what is being said or pushed on social media.

 

So use social media, but be mindful of what you post.  Keep those liberals in your friends list so you know what they are unthinkingly thinking.  It’s a very valuable intelligence tool and not being there may actual place a spotlight on those that are trying to remain “gray.”  Remember that a major component of blending in to the background is being a part of the background noise.

 

Mood Music

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As my late father lay dying of cancer, his pastor asked him what he was feeling emotionally.  Dad’s response was that he felt like there was a storm coming, and all he could do was wait for it to arrive.

Have you ever gotten a sense of foreboding?  It’s what I have now…a terrible sense of foreboding, in which I can hear the distant rumblings of thunder and smell the mixture of lightning ozone and cleansing rain.
I don’t know what’s coming, but have a feeling it’s not going to be good.
Stay alert in your watchtowers.
Since the Jimi video doesn’t want to play embedded, here’s John Mayer (with Jimi linked below):

 

Prepper? Live in the Southeastern portion of the United States?

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If so, then come in, the water’s fine!  The Southeastern Preppers Network is open for business!

Don’t worry, if you’re in Virginia, Kentucky, Texas, or any other state, you’re still welcome.  The goal over at Southeastern Preppers Network is to be sort of an umbrella organization for existing organizations in the Southeastern U.S. in order to promote coordination and ideas between groups and states.

Hope to see y’all there!
As a side note, as we start getting toward the end of summer and I have more available time I’ll start blogging a little more.