Open Discussion of Aw Shit Lessons Learned

In a comment here:

“ossqss” said some experience points would be shared after a bit of sleep time. Well, I’m about done for today too, but have some experiences I could share… later. That got me thinking maybe a thread for that would be a good thing.

ossqss says:
6 April 2018 at 4:46 am

Thank you all for the feedback and coaching! It is appreciated and welcome. After dealing with Irma last year, I had to think about gaps in my planning. On the same subject, I would offer some experience based observation on disaster recovery.

I will do so tomorrow as it is very late here, but here is a sampler. Ridgid 18v cordless tools and batteries and compatible accessory products (most with lifetime warranty, in particular the batteries), inverters, and multiple size generators for different tasks. It is quite eye opening what a Hurricane can teach you and your neighborhood about needs!

So I’m figuring there’s more than just the two of us with some hard won lessons learned.

Well, here’s a place to put your story of things you’ve learned about what to do when it all goes sideways and pear shaped.

I will start off with one semi-funny bit that is unlikely to ever be useful again:

When I was about 17, I was driving a VW fastback out in the middle of nowhere (and before cell phones). My engine started running really crappy and I pulled over. Waiting about 1/2 hour, nobody came by. I figured I had about a hour to sundown.

That engine had two cylinders out each side and two valve covers. (Boxer engine). Each side with its own carburetor. I pulled out my standard tool kit for the old VW air cooled engines ( 10 mm & 13 mm wrenches, screwdriver) and popped off the valve covers (held on with a big wire “bale”). On the drivers side, one valve push rod was poking out past the rocker arm, bent. Not going to run with the valves not opening… What to do…

After a bit of a think, I thought ‘why not make that side just air springs?’ Close ALL the valves. In truth, at the time I didn’t have the words “air springs” as a concept. I just thought “Not going to open that valve. What happens if both are left closed? Um, that cylinder doesn’t fire and I have an unbalanced 3 cylinder engine. What if I close the valves on both on that side? Oh, a balanced 2 cylinder engine with 2 just compressing and expanding the same bit of air in them. Ummmm would the spark set off bits of it that got sucked in past the valves? Better cut off the gas to that side and pull the spark plug wires off”… Later at the library I learned what “air springs” were and that I’d made them. You don’t need the words for a thing to make the thing. Just the idea.

Two 13 mm nuts later the rocker arm was off. I took out all the push rods (4 of them) and put the valve cover back on. Up top, I removed the gas line from that carb and ran a spare sheet metal screw into the end of it to seal it. (I think I took it from the rear trunk hatch…). Back in the car, it started right up and ran fine, if horribly under-powered (an 800 cc engine at that point). Loaded up my tools and drove home.

The lessons learned:

1) Don’t give up. THINK. What can I make with what I’ve got? I made a 2 cylinder engine out of a 4.

2) Carry tools. It’s a lot easier to be creative if you have tools.

3) I would have been much happier with some hot coffee and a sleeping bag in the car (in case I failed w/ the engine.)

4) Going out in the boonies all alone and not telling anyone can be suddenly exciting, and not always in a good way.

5) SIMPLE mechanical designs are better in an Aw Shit. You have a hope of fixing them. (Forgotten in the modern age).

6) Keep “cleaning materials” in the car at all times. Paper towels at a minimum. Soap or hand cleaner if possible. Water too. Driving home an oily mess makes for an unpleasant drive (but better than stuck for a long cold night.)

7) Yes, it’s summer. Put your shoes (not just flip-flops), socks, and coat in the car anyway. Night can be cold. (This I thought of while working on the engine and not knowing if I was going to succeed).

8) That little known / little used shortcut comes with a risk. Well traveled roads have “helpers”.

9) It’s a really really good thing to know how your stuff works inside. Can’t change what you don’t understand. Well, not in a very good way very fast. It is much easier to redesign how something works if you know the present design.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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118 Responses to Open Discussion of Aw Shit Lessons Learned

  1. jim2 says:

    I’ve never had a major Aw Shit moment! The worst is no electricity for 3 days in an urban area, most of which wasn’t affected, so had all external infrastructure intact. Got through that with a Coleman stove, flashlights, Coleman lantern, fireplace, blankets, and an inverter.

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    Still, a good list of basics needed when the power is gone. Cooking stove & fuel, lighting, heat, blankets / bedding / sleeping bag, inverter power for incidentals (cell phone / communication).

    What did you plug the inverter into? Your car? So transportation & electrical source.

  3. jim2 says:

    Yes, we have a truck and a car. And used a long construction-type extension cord to get power into the house. Was able to run TV and radio. At that time, didn’t have any cell phones.

    Probably, the best defense against non-apocalyptic events is to live in a region where tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes are relatively rare. Fire can also be a significant threat in some areas but that threat can be mitigated to some extent depending on where it is and the prevailing legal environment.

  4. jim2 says:

    We also had candles and may have used them for things like bathrooms. Now we have some nice glass kerosene lamps. We have an old steel kerosene lamp from my childhood. The problem I have is getting cheap kerosene around here. I haven’t been able to find a kerosene pump and am loathe to pay 10 bucks for a gallon.

  5. ossqss says:

    As a follow up to my prior thoughts on DR on the prior blog post.

    I have lived in Florida since 1986. I love it here, but always am concerned about hurricanes. I have studied them for decades out of fear and preparation. I have done my job in protecting my house by using appropriate protection systems for wall my openings (large missile impact windows, Clear XL 10 panels, and corrugated aluminum panels, reinforced wind rated garage doors). I first used plywood on most opening, but soon realized the downfall of wood in such applications. I have a brick house, so reinstallation was always a major problem with no fastening system in play aside from tapcons each time. Lesson learned, get something permanent in place right off the bat. Second lesson learned, if you board up all your windows, you make a dark dungeon that nobody feels comfortable in during storms.

    That said, I subsequently moved to a permanent anchor system for the opening which could easily be reused for installation of the now clear and aluminum panels for the wall openings. That included a 30 foot back porch span. I few years ago, I built a pool out back off of the porch. I also re-engineered the porch structure to reduce the vertical supports down to 2. That was a pain as I had to place 2 large footers and a spanning Micro laminate beam to achieve the lesser number of support beams. Interestingly enough, the large footers were needed, not to support the roof over the span, but to hold it down in a wind event like a hurricane. Micro laminate beam lesson learned, measure twice and cut once.
    So, I now had a nice porch with a pool attached. I also had 30 feet of hurricane panels that now were all 4” too long. No problem right, I would cut them to size and adapt the appropriate “L” bracket system on the new concrete floor they had to anchor to since there was no exposed vertical concrete footer to anchor into now. Knowing we had a decade long plus lull in hurricane activity, there was not urgency. Well, after 3 years of procrastination, Irma decided to put Florida in her sights. I watched the modeling from 2 weeks out and could see some potential issues coming our way. A week out, urgency kicked in as preparation time was upon me. The porch area was my most vulnerable place as there were all sliding glass doors around it. The porch got done, but that took considerably longer than anticipated due to the existing drainage sloping that was an unnoticed factor at the time or procrastination. Fortunately, the rest of the house was able to be expedited as it was fully prepared for panel applications. Lesson learned, don’t wait until a project hits emergency status to complete it. It is always easier to do things without the pressure of consequence than under duress.

    Watching, with a somewhat educated eye, a large storm a week away with a huge wind field was perplexing to a degree. Not that I could not see the elements in place for the right hook that could be coming, but the lack of attention most of my neighborhood paid to the possible threat. I spoke up as to recommended preparations, as the storm center could be 200 miles away and we could still get whacked, and received smirks back until about 3 days before the visit. Then everyone was in emergency mode and I found myself cutting plywood and anchoring everyone else’s house in preparation, leaving little time for me to tend to my other duties in preparation. Lesson learned, never let your guard down or let your neighbor let their guard down.

    No aside from the basic preparation items, I wanted to expand on the generator and cordless tool item I had referenced. I do most of my remodel work when I decide on a project. I enclosed a garage in the mid 2000’s and had to make a move on some tools to do so. I had done a bit of research and found one particular feature that make my decision for me (after talking to many in the construction trades). That feature was a lifetime warranty on the tool and on the cordless tools batteries. That is right, the battery had a full lifetime warranty on it too! So I dove into the Ridgid 18v cordless world full force. Now part of my decision making was not just about the basic tool sets, it was about battery compatiblity. BTW, I have changed out my original battery set 4 times in the last 12 years at zero cost.

    So what could you use a Ridgid 18v battery for aside from your basic hand tools saws/drills etc.?
    – A variable speed (dual power/AC) fan that can run for a day on one battery (4 amp hour for reference)
    – A LED light (flashlight, area light, snake light etc.) that can run on one battery for a day and a Q-beam type powerful spot light.
    – A USB charger for mobile devices (do your own draw math with 4 ah) that fits on the top of the battery
    – A portable compressor with 125 psi capabilities.
    – A hand held 105 mph blower (good tool for stoking bonefires)
    – A radio/boombox
    – A wet dry 3 gal. vacuum
    – And more.
    Now, I understand that there are many other manufacturers that have many accessories, but none that I found provide a lifetime warranty on most of them. I have had flawless performance with all the tools I have purchased to date. Understand, the batteries that were provided with lifetime warranties, came with a tool. Batteries purchased alone, I believe will only get a 3 year warranty (got to read the box and warranty info). Some of the tool kits now days come with 4 batteries and some of the batteries are up to 6 amp hour size too.

    Ok, lets talk generators.

    In preparation for hurricane season I usually go over my 2 generators with a basic PM. I have a 10k and a 4k generator. Run time on the 10k is about a gallon an hour and the 4k is about 1/3-1/4 gal/hr. Load dependent.

    I got the 10k unit basically to do a back feed through a 50 amp outlet to power up my whole house 5 ton AC. Yes, you must trip the main breaker to off if you do something like this for safety reasons and also not to power your neighbors. You should have an auto switching solution in place to meet code for the record.
    The 4k unit I have had for many years and still proves to be bullet proof.

    Note that both of these units have an idle control and will lower their RPM’s when the load slackens, hence saving gas.

    Well after battening down all the neighbors’ hatches, and a day before impending DOOM of a cane, I discover the large generator was badly pulsing, due to varnish from the mixed gas (ethanol) that was used in it prior by others I loaned it too. You don’t want to use a generator that pulses on any type of equipment that voltage variations could damage. Like a fridge as an example. At this point, the large genny was basically abandoned until post cane teardown could be implemented. So we were down to the 4k unit and some quick calculations were in need.

    I have a few portable AC units that we have used for various things in the past. These are the ones on wheels that exhaust the heat through a tube in a window. The basic draw on these ranged from 9-8 amps at start up. My fridge and deep freezer was less, but essentially I found I could run the basic essentials for comfort and food preservation successfully by not starting everything at the same time. Startup draw can be double or more the running draw on some appliances. I have watched others smoke a genny (and equipment attached to it) by overloading it, even after being warned.

    I was actually happy not to use the big generator in this instance as once we lost power, I could get about 16 hours of runtime on 4 gallons of gas on the small unit with everything I needed attached. This of course was not operational during the 12 hours of storm time. During that time frame, we had to use alternative means of power for things.

    I used a 750 watt inverter and deep cycle battery during the storm for basic needs. OTA TV with rabbit ears. Yes rabbit ears work with digital capable TV’s and TV signals. The inverter also would power a fan, charge applicable batteries (PC , tablet) and allowed me to make coffee also. Coffee was essential to my survival as my spousal unit (wife) cannot be approached without it in the morning. Depending upon the load, an inverter and good battery can last a very long time. I provided a similar set up with a box fan only to some older friends in Punta Gorda after hurricane Charlie a while back and they told me it ran for almost 3 days.

    Some other tidbits on said subject.
    One thing we have always tried to do in our neighborhood is establish off line communications with each other. I use and distribute several family radios that I have to those who do not have them and could have special needs. We have some elderly that live here. We would also establish regular check in’s during the events which helped with anxiety for some. One other thing I noticed in this arena was that cell service was out well ahead of the storm. I am not sure if it was limited by proactively cutting off towers, allocating signal to emergency authorities or what, but it was gone. We did have our home internet and were able to use that well into the storm as most of the primary hubs have a 24 hr backup power component to them. One thing I would tell you is that having dedicated APC 1250 unit on my primary modem/router from the ISP gave us a good 6-7 hours of internet runtime once the power was out for good. I could not tell you what the draw was on it at the time.

    Well I think I have babbles a bit much and need to get back to work. I guess my lesson learned overall is to learn ahead of the lesson. If that makes sense 

    Please excuse any typo’s or grammar issues as I typed this while on a conference call quickly.

    Have a good day!

  6. jim2 says:

    ossqss – thanks for that! Re starting currents and genny: would a single breaker on the output prevent damage if a few devices started at the same time?

  7. E.M.Smith says:


    I had this problem with a 5 kW generator and a wall mounted AC. It eventually killed the AC compressor or controls. (Still blows, but not cold).

    The problem is the generator “idles down” to nearly nothing with, say, a 100 W lighting on it. Then the AC startup load kicks in instantly and you are depending on the rotating mass of the generator to stabilize volts and hertz while the mechanical linkage to the carburetor adjusts and the fuel / air mix reaches the combustion chamber and the fuel burns and… Lets just say there’s about a 3 to 4 second major sag in the power output.

    Brownout sags are hard on equipment. OK for incandescent bulbs, not so good for electronics and motors. After about a dozen of them the AC died…

    It was at that moment I decided on the eventual design of my future home system. A nice big battery box with a couple (few?) RV deep cycle batteries and an inverter, all charged from the generator. The inverter can respond inside a single cycle to more power demand. The batteries can keep it fed, and the generator can support the average demand with an average charging rate.

    Since in good times I use on average 1 kW, all I really need is a 1 kW generator. And having one already in my Honda, I sold the big generator to a friend who had none.

    Never did finish the battery box as we dumped Gov. Gray “Out” Davis and got stable power back.

    Still have the inverter, though. And the generator…

    Now: Would a breaker work?

    Work for what?

    For overloads, yes. Suddenly everything will be very dark as you trip the breaker and everything is cut off, while the generator drops to idle.

    For phased easy startup, no. Stuff will still all try to start when it feels like it or gets the current, and then the breaker will pop, and darkness comes, or not; and you will either be fine or have a volts / freq. sag.

    For Volts / Freq. sag on sudden load increase, no. The breaker is passive until an overload. It cares not about sags of volts or frequency. Putting a sudden 2 kW load on a 4 kW generator is not an overload, but it can cause a volts / freq. sag. (Or more accurately WILL cause it unless the generator is already running near 1/2 capacity so throttle open a lot and speed good).

    FWIW, I found that keeping a 1 kW load on the generator as ‘base load’ reduced the sag on AC kicking in. Just didn’t really need a full 1 kW of lights and TV cluster all the time…

    Since a single RV battery is about $130 and a 2 kW inverter was about $70 at COSTCO when I bought it, we’re talking a $200 solution to protect a $400 wall mount AC, your fridge, and let you buy a 1/2 or less sized generator. IMHO, well worth it. (Not all things need to be on the inverter, just those with rapid large pulse increases in demand. Lightbulbs, TVs, electronics and other small things are minor incremental demands)

  8. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting story and interesting points made. Especially as I’m looking to make a move to Florida.

    One of the bits I’ve got to learn is that whole hurricane protection dance… Living in hotels / park rentals all I had to worry about before was loading the suitcases in the car and pointing it out of town early enough…

    Good info on the battery driven tools. I have a inverter I’d attach to the car battery making the car a giant moving generator. Then I can just use regular plug-into-the-wall tools. Now I’ve only got one battery to worry about, the one in the car. Doesn’t let me loan things to friends, and the car must be close enough to the work site for a drop-cord, but I think it’s a strategy that will work. If that’s foolish for some reason, enlighten me.

    Per aged fuel:

    One thing I’d encourage anyone with a generator to learn: How to drain and replace the fuel in your generator and how to clean out “varnish” deposits in the fuel system. There’s some good solvents you can add to fresh gas to do that (at least that’s what they claim).

  9. ossqss says:

    To piggyback in the breaker response, most breakers are designed to trip when overheated from excessive draw. More current flowing through the wire than it was designed to handle. Just like a household breaker. One other comment relater to inverters. Be careful what you plug into them. Some things do not do well with square wave output. I killed a couple old battery chargers doing such.

  10. ossqss says:

    E.M. , the portability factor in the batteries, at least for me, outweighs simplicity. I have 9 batteries for my multitude of tools and accessories. I hate cords and having to deal with them. If I have a significant project with multiple tool needs, I have work stations set up complete and nothing to move or swap around. The batteries I have last very long and charge up very fast. All of them are Lithium Ion and have no issues with memory.

    On the hurricane front, the most difficult thing I had to deal with during last years storm was deterring many neighbors from evacuating too late. Many became panicked by news sources stating how strong the storm was as it was hugging the Cuban coast. The saving grace for Florida was that the storm came across Florida bay which is shallow. Lacking the TCHP of warm deeper water, the cane became half a cane with only the leading edge having significant T-storms in its bands. If you are going to evacuate, you go a day or more ahead, not 12 hours. If you try, you will most likely go through the cane in your car stuck on a road somewhere with the rest of the folks who made the same mistake.

  11. ossqss says:

    Here is some better detail on the tools I referenced. I hope the link works. Back to work for me. L8R

  12. jim2 says:

    This looks like it might be a good solution for compressor protection:

    “Surge, brownout and short cycle protection with 120, 208 and 240 VAC loads
    LED indicators provide real-time status updates for quick and easy troubleshootin”

  13. jim2 says:

    I, too, prefer corded tools. Yes, they are sometimes a pain in the ass. But OTOH, if you have power, you can use the tool whenever you want – and extension cords are cheap.

  14. Larry Ledwick says:

    Hmmm where to start:

    On battery operated tools, some (many) of them do not have the torque to do some heavy jobs, work fine for routine stuff but stall when doing jobs you wouldn’t think twice about with a cord powered tool.

    When I was regularly going out to Bonneville for the speed week races a couple years I built a small scaffold to get up off the surface of the salt to get a better angle on the cars (and to help get out of the low level mirage. I brought a 12v cordless 3/8 inch drill and a small 3/4 inch spade wood bit to bore 3/4 inch holes in some 1/2 inch plywood. The drill worked just fine for drilling normal 3/8 inch holes with a twist drill but that wood spade bit would stall the drill. I finally found a way to get it to bore a hole by holding the drill off the face of the plywood until it got up to full speed and then plunging it into the wood, repeatedly.

    The next year I brought a dirt cheap harbor freight corded 3/8 inch drill and a 1000w inverter off the car battery. That drill never broke a sweat on the spade bit.

    So the lesson learned is trial test your tools for the jobs you expect them to do. I had the same experience with air tools, some would easily do the job, and others would stall or would do the job with difficulty but required a great deal of air to get the job done.

    Likewise if you are used to doing things with an impact wrench make sure your tool box has a long 18″ 1/2 drive breaker bar for doing the same job when no compressed air is available. (as I have gotten older, I have become a fan of having a 3/4 drive rachet and breaker bar high torque jobs. Longer handles less spring wind up as you apply torque, and makes easy work of jobs that really stress a 1/2 breaker bar. Likewise make sure you have impact rated sockets for those tough jobs).

    Another lesson from Bonneville (EM has mentioned this too in his posts in the past), is that inverters and generators are most efficient at about 70% or so of their design output, so to get maximum fuel economy best to have several different sizes and use the one that will work in that range for a given job. Use the big horse only when you need it. It also gives you redundancy, in case one generator / inverter has a problem you have a backup.

    Toward that end it is also useful to get a watt meter like the Kill-o-watt meter and actually measure the start up and normal idle running load for key devices, so you can properly manage start up load and battery life.

    Many years ago I was experimenting with solar panels ( I bought some surplus panels and went on solar power only for about 6 months). I started off picking up a 12v battery and charging it on a standard wall charger then hooked up the solar panels to keep it topped up. In the process of doing that I monitored both solar panel voltage and current into the battery and was surprised to find the my highest charging current (wattage) did not come at near noon clear sky conditions but at near noon when there were large clouds near but not blocking the sun. The reflected illumination from a brilliant white cumulus cloud added to the direct illumination from the sun added a significant increase in charging current.

    Lesson learned :
    reflectors are your friend when dealing with limited solar panel voltage source. The cheapest way to increase your power capture potential with solar panels is the addition of cheap reflectors to increase the effective illumination of the panels.

    Using your auto alternator to charge batteries works but is not fuel efficient. It takes a lot more fuel to idle your engine in a car than it does to run a small generator set. The generator I use the most is a el-cheapo harbor freight 2 cycle generator that is rated at only 900 watts. It is very easy on fuel and I can buy 3 of them for the cost of a good honda generator which makes only slightly more power. The only downside is the noise level (which in some cases would be important).

    An idling quiet gen set like one of the good Honda or Wen generators is almost unnoticable with normal background noises, where the cheap generators let everyone withing blocks know you are running a generator.

    Second lesson learned is that the small 900 w generator has a 12V output but it is no where near capable of 900 watts out. Trying to use it directly to charge a 12V automotive battery immediatly trips the circuit breaker. Solution pick up an el-cheapo 120v automotive battery charger and run it off the 120 v side of the generator. 900 Watts out on 120V will service 58 amps of 13.8 V DC including losses in the charger, so with a small gen set like that you can slam a good healthy charge into a depleted battery.

    Regarding the dark dungeon effect of boarded up homes and storm shelters etc. many years ago I slapped together a low output night light for such situations.

    simple switch low voltage switch
    Simple project box
    battery holder for 2 C or D cells
    a resistor, and a small potentiometer
    1 Red led.

    As I recall the red LED had a turn on voltage of about 2.0 V, which is why you need two batteries in series. Adjust the potentiometer to the point the RED LED just turns on then add just a bit. This low level of illumination will be sufficient to avoid tripping on things once your eyes are fully dark adapted. You can’t read by it or any thing but provides enough light to stay oriented. The thing will light the LED for weeks at that low current draw.

    If you use rechargeable nicad cells you can recharge it during day light.
    Those cheap solar walk way lights work very well if you can put them out in the sun each day, and will provide noise free, fuel free environmental light for many hours into the night gradually dimming into the very early hours of the morning. Again like my comments above on solar panels a white card reflector will help charge them better under poor lighting conditions.

    Many of them automatically turn on when they detect dark, you can modify them so they can be turned off fully charged and only turn them on when you need extra light like an electronic rechargeable candle.

  15. Larry Ledwick says:

    On cleaning varnish out of an old generator etc. I had a friend years ago that worked in a shop that did small engine repair. They used a gallon of lacquer thinner, a couple teaspoons in the fuel tank, and pull the spark plug and a small squirt in the cylinder, and you can usually get the thing started even if it has stale fuel in the lines. Then let it run until it is at full operating temperature, and run the fuel tank dry if you just want to store it.

    He said almost all no start situations on those small engines could be resolved by a change of spark plug and that fuel treatment technique.
    Speaking of spark plugs one of the problems for small engines is fouled plugs. My technique has been, pull the plug and wash it with some clean solvent like lighter fluid, then a quick spray of starting fluid or spray carburetor cleaner (don’t forget eye protection). Let it dry completely then flame clean it with a propane torch to heat it up to full operation temperature and burn off any carbon etc. Let cool and then gap and clean the electrodes and try to put it back in service.

    (note fouled spark plugs may be failing due to carbon tracks on the insulator, so clean the insulator and try to remove all traces of oil or carbon on it)

    I had to do that last summer with that little 2 cycle generator I mentioned above. Took a couple tries to get it started and it labored for a little bit to burn through the oil laden fuel that had accumulated in the line but then once it had run for a couple minutes it cleaned up and was fat dumb and happy.

    Keep a pint can of lacquer thinner in your tool shed and you can take care of many of those problems your self.

  16. jim2 says:

    Build your own gen set, and put a flywheel on the power drive belt. Or, get a engine that has a shaft at both ends. Run the generator on one end and a flywheel on the other. This would help accommodate compressors and other larger motors kicking in.

  17. Larry Ledwick says:

    One of the challenges of setting up for an extended emergency, is how do you store water in large quantities on short notice? You don’t need to be running around town trying to find water containers while everyone is in a panic to buy plywood to board up windows etc.

    In the early 1980’s I had a piece of land well out east of Denver ( I was planning to build out there until I figured out it was a bad idea for several other reasons). In the process of setting up the land for future occupancy, I wanted to get some trees started, but out there bringing water to the land was a major obstacle. The solution I came up with was painfully simple and cheap and worked fantastically.

    I took some moving cardboard boxes about 16x16x16 inches and put a double trash bag liner in each box in the back of my pickup truck. I then filled the inner trash bag with water from the garden hose and tied off the bags resulting in a pickup bed full of water bladders in cardboard boxes each containing about 17 gallons per box ( ~ 140 pounds per box). I then closed the lids of the boxes and taped them and happily drove the 110 miles out to my land with about 350 gallons of water in the bed of the truck.

    I had no leaks and when I got there I simply opened the boxes one by one and ladled water out of the boxes until they were light enough to carry. I ended up moving water that way several times.

    You need to use a heavy duty trash bag that is not “perfumed” , 3 mil contractor cleanup bags work great. If you want the means to make up water bladders prior to the arrival of a hurricane or something similar with out spending a ton of money, just pick up some collapsed flat moving boxes and a box of trash bags and stick them in your storage. The beauty of this, is you will likely have use for these regardless if there is an emergency, quick cheap and useable for other things.

    If you want to go with a bit more formal solution, They also now make bathtub bladders to allow you to store a bathtub of water in a closed bladder.

    This two pack of two bladders gives you more than enough water for most emergencies.

    bath tub storage bladders

    If you put some plywood top panels over the top of the tub you can stack another layer of containers on top for a couple hundred gallons of stored potable water.

    One of the problems I had when I set up water storage in my house is how to easily fill the containers, since most water carriers are too big to fit in a sink (except a laundry sink) and once filled are heavy enough (56#) to difficult to handle.

    I have some of these which hold 7 gallons (56#) can just be moved by one person and are reasonably compact, but difficult to fill.

    7 gallon water cubes

    This jerry can type container is a bit easier to carry because of its shape but being taller is even more difficult to get under a faucet to fill.

    water plastic jerry can dispenser

    The solution which I finally settled on was to buy a crescent wrench and a stainless flexible hose used for hand held shower heads. They are kept together in the bathroom in a large plastic bag.

    Like this:
    stainless steel shower hose extension

    When I need to fill /re-fill my water cubes I put them in the tub pull the tops and just tilt them on their side to drain. Then stand them up and using the crescent wrench pull the normal shower head off, and screw on the extension hose, and stick it inside the cube fill opening and use the normal faucet controls to fill the water container with fresh water.

    You use existing plumbing and faucet so no need for an extra valve and in a situation where local water pressure is very low you could leave it on for an hour or two to fill the containers even at a trickle without having to constantly tend the filling since they are in a bathtub and any over flow will just go down the drain.

    The crescent wrench is also in a known special location and could be used to shut off the main natural gas or water valves if they have the typical ball valve with a wrench flat for turning.

    The easiest way to move the blue cube water containers is to use a simple two wheeler dolly and just wheel them to where ever you need them rather than lugging them through the house.

  18. Larry Ledwick says:

    Some idle observations
    3) I would have been much happier with some hot coffee and a sleeping bag in the car (in case I failed w/ the engine.)

    I always have a blanket and a few packages of instant hot chocolate in the car if nothing else.
    That and a roll of heavy duty aluminum foil can solve a huge number of simple problems.

    With the aluminum foil you can cook most anything on a hot engine manifold in about 45 minutes of driving.

    I used to wrap a hot dog in aluminum foil and drop it on the intake manifold, and when I got the next rest stop, I peeled off the foil stuck the hotdog in a bun and added some mustard and had an instant hot meal.

    Today I also carry a box of the foil pouch Lipton chicken noodle soup mix, all you need is a container and some water you can boil for a hot meal (spoon & fork are nice to have in the glove box)

    6) Keep “cleaning materials” in the car at all times. Paper towels at a minimum. Soap or hand cleaner if possible. Water too. Driving home an oily mess makes for an unpleasant drive (but better than stuck for a long cold night.)

    In an emergency if you have no hand cleaner, there are a couple expedient ways you can get your hands reasonably clean.

    As silly as it sounds a good hand cleaner is about a table spoon of motor oil. Rub it in well to emulsify all the grim and then wipe it off with the paper towel. (many handfulls of grass also get the job done reasonably well although not the most ecologically sound method)

    Always carry some grease rags in the car, in some situations they are better than paper towels.

    The motor oil method will leave your hands oily and you can do a final clean up with common hand lotion. Use it as a final cleaning material and wipe off. Almost as good as soap.

    If you want to carry some soap carry a small travel size bottle of shampoo or dish soap, being already liquid just a couple drops and some water and you can clean your hands.

    Best general cleaning product I ever put in my car – – a good industrial quality spray bottle full of just plain water.

    Really hot day need a quick refresh, set the spray bottle on fine mist and spray down your arms and face and then wipe with paper towels. If “car camping” can be used to take a sponge bath shower. You can effectively bath using only a few ounces of water with one of those fine mist spray bottles.

    An old piece of carpet or a large piece of cardboard box is nice as ground cloth if you need to kneel, or lay down on damp/wet ground to work on the car.

    Carry a couple trash bags in the car all the time, they make useful expedient rain gear but cutting a head hole in them and wearing like a Mexican Serape or poncho.

    A good pair of work gloves can save you a lot of grief, I keep a pair of the mechanics gloves in my tool kit and have a brand new pair of leather work gloves stashed in the trunk next to the spare tire.

    I always have something I can carry water in, a standard soda pop bottle like a 20oz coke bottle works great as an expendable water bottle, seals tight and does not leak. In an emergency the 2 liter bottles can also be cut up to make a funnel out of them for pouring fuel and the bottom can make an expedient bowel.

    You can also sterilize water in them without burning fuel in the southern 2/3rds of the US during most of the warmer months using a process called SODIS

    Best done by pre-filtering the water to remove most solids, then expose the bottle to full sun light for long enough to allow both heat and UV in summer sun to disinfect the water. Higher water temperatures help the process so if possible create a situation where the bottled water can heat to high temperatures. At 86 deg F it takes about 5 hours of exposure to summer sun to make the water safe, at 113 deg F the process is nearly double the efficiency and at 122 deg F is 3 x more effective time wise.

  19. Larry Ledwick says:

    Having a few (3 or more) clean 2 liter soda bottles with tap water in them could provide you with basic fuel free solar disinfectant ability for a person or small group. One to drink from, one starting the SODIS process and the third already treated and ready to be opened when the first is used up.

    Add a little aluminum sheet or aluminum foil for reflectors and you could provide safe water for weeks if full sun summer weather.

    A small jug of Clorox to augment the process would make it even more reliable and less dependent on sun conditions.

    Not Clorox does not keep in a hot car trunk. Had a bottle in the trunk once it leaked when hot, and when I found it the newspapers that had absorbed the hot Clorox solution looked like they had been charred by fire. A small bottle that is fresh from the store would work for a few days or weeks but I would not recommend it for much longer in hot weather.

  20. ossqss says:

    Larry, I can assure you a pro grade cordless drill has as much torque as almost any 1/2″ drill now days. Hold on, or you will break a wrist. Additionally, they also make the 18v SDS plus rotary hammer drill. If your building houses, I understand some of the corded needs for volume on studs for example. If not, no cord needed. Just sayin, for me convenient mobility counts for most of my homeowner projects. Accessory use of the same power source battery makes it even better. I already made the investment, so I have to use it. The multi-tool jobmax power head is very usefull for light duty uses. Worth a look if you don’t need heavy drills, drivers or saws etc.. Same compatible batteries, much less expensive for just the tool heads for it.

  21. Alexander K says:

    Your story about roadside repairs on a VW bring to mind an experience I and two friends had in my Dad’s pre WWII 1-ton Dodge truck as teenagers in the 1950’s. This Dodge was a long wheelbase 1935 model, which had been fitted with 900 section aircraft tyres sporting very basic mudgrip lugs done by our local retread shop. Not long after Dad had purchased the Dodge, the diff blew and ‘his’ mechanic located one from a wrecked 1920-something Studebaker 6. The ruling criteria for the replacement diff was the ability to fit it into the Dodge diff housing. After some machining and the spending of precious cash, we got the Dodge back on the road. I soon discovered that top (fourth) gear was now slower than third, but Dad was not at all interested in such niceties, as long as it went.
    Anyway, one weekend the three of us were exploring a back-country road in the hills behind our town. We had had a great time exploring all sorts of old sheds on run-down farms, when, finally headed homeward, we had to ford a creek and in the middle of the crossing, the truck suddenly began vibrating, not just a little rumble but a ferocious shaking as the engine leapt up and down on it’s mounts. I threw the gearbox into neutral immediately, then very cautiously snicked it into first and let the clutch out very gently, only for the vicious shaking to begin again. Shaken, I threw the thing out of gear and we sat in the cab (with the creek running under us and all round us) and had a conference. One of my mates was an apprentice motor mechanic, and he reckoned that the universal that coupled the output from the gearbox to the driveshaft had failed, and volunteered to get underwater beneath the truck to check it out. He soon emerged, soaking wet in cold creek water, and told us the two of the three bolts holding the universal joint in place had disappeared and that the two halves of the universal were displaced by a full half-turn, which explained the terrifying vibration. We left the truck in the creek and looked on the banks for sticks that could be jammed in place in the universal to get us out of the water and when we had located what were after, spent a miserable hour taking turns diving under the truck and forcing the sticks into place. Eventually, I drove the truck out of the creek at a crawl then then slowly made for the nearest farm, where we begged a couple of bolts and borrowed spanners to fit them from the farmer.
    We eventually made it home very late in the evening, frozen, wet and tired.
    I have never left home without some basic tools, spare clothes and clean-up supplies in the sixty-odd years since!

  22. Larry Ledwick says:

    I think the lesson here is that consumer grade cordless != pro grade cordless.

    If folks just go down the shopping list and buy by price they might get a tool that does not meet their needs. I intentionally bought a 12 V battery cordless intending to be able to rig a 12v jumper to it if necessary off the car battery in a pinch, where on the 14V and 18V tools a 12v supply would not work.

    I have little regular day to day need for any drill now days, and such pro grade cordless tools specifically.

    I might use an electric drill 2x a year and 99% of those occasions I don’t need anywhere near the power of a 1/2 drill, a cheap 1/4 drill with adjustable trigger rpm is more than adequate.

    If I had a house near the beach in Florida and would need to board up a couple times a season the price benefit calculus would be very different. For my needs a simple 12 / 120 inverter off 12V DC and a cheap (expendable) corded drill is a better use of my money, and I can use the $100 or so I save for something else.

    It is very much like the difference between a high quality jobber grade Ingersol Rand air impact wrench and some piece of crap harbor freight air gun. The IR simply laughs at bolts and nuts that are almost impossible to remove with a 3/4 inch drive breaker bar, the Harbor freight air gun is darn near useless on anything over about 3/8 inch.

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    @Alexander K:

    Strange how that works… The reason I have “Preparedness Packs” in my cars now, always a roll of paper towels, a full tool box, and pick up a flat of water and bag of food on any run out of town… is entirely all those accumulated experiences…

    The longer you live / drive the more Aw Shits you experience and the more stuff becomes reasonable to pack…


    Remember that a “12 volt” lead acid battery is 6 cells of 2.2 VDC at rest, or 13.2 volts. Under charge, this rises to 18 VDC …. So if you want to jumper from a car AND run the motor, the 18 VDC kit is a fine match.


    Well, I’ve learned two things. First off, I ought not buy cheap battery driven. I tried a couple (cheap ones) and didn’t like them. Well, really, I liked one (WEN brand) but the battery died and it was an early non-replaceable one. I’ve coveted the battery stuff but not enough to make a move to it.

    Second: My place is small and I’ve got lots of drop cords. I don’t need things that reach all around my very small home anyway (no real prep for earthquakes… compared to hurricanes) BUT this is highly likely to be different in Florida when we get there. We also have about 320 out of 365 days as dry days. Laying a couple of daisy chained 110 VAC drop cords in the puddles in a place with 4 inches of rain in an hour frequent afternoons is a different kettle of fish…

    I think I’ll consider my first battery operated tool “shortly”. I’ve got some roofing to do and I think their may be a roofing nailer in my future. Dragging 50 foot of drop cord up from the ground and over a roofing job is likely “sub optimal”. So far I’ve only seen air driven or combustion driven, but then again, I wasn’t looking hard ;-)

    My major complaint has always been battery failure, but you’ve shown a way out of that via inspecting for lifetime warrantee…

  24. ossqss says:

    EM, Li-ion batterys are good for 600-800 charges and have no memory issues like NiCad’s had. Granted, if you fully cycled NiCad’s, they had more potential charge cycles, but most people didn’t, and it only takes one time to short the capacity of such battery. Think cordless phones from a decade ago or more. Good luck regardless!

    I would subcontract roofing. Not fun stuff (at least in Florida Sun). Just sayin….. plus you offload liability by doing such if a problem occurs post sale. Think about it…..

  25. ossqss says:

    Larry, my point was the same battery that made my drill work, made all of my other stuff work from fans to a cordless good wet/dry vacuum (which I use all the time) to a high intensity spot light. It made sense to me for many reasons. I still have my corded stuff, but just don’t need it unless I have a large amout of repetition involved. I would say when I cut a bunch of plywood for storm panels for the neighbors, I used my Lazer skill saw and pumped them out. That was an anomoly now days however.

    I use the sawzall very often in the yard to hit the trimming part of my responsibility and jigsaw for most all other short cuts. The Jobmax item that I did buy (with various attachable heads) also, works for most of the needs with lesser muscule. Right angle tools can be better for some situations.

    Let alone the toss a bunch of tools in the tool bag and then in the truck and not worry about the power need factor for remote applications at other locations. I should say I do have a 400 watt outlet built into the truck if it was needed just in case. Probably a square wave inverter outlet in the Toyota! Yikes…… for my chargers-

    My best to all. Gnight

  26. Larry Ledwick says:

    Lesson learned on my last car breakdown out at Bonneville.

    I was in the not very happy situation of needing to load a broken down Chevy Astro van onto a U-haul car trailer all by myself, with no power wench to help. I went down to the auto parts store (which happened to be the U-haul dealer in Wendover Utah and bought a couple 2 ton come alongs and some other things.

    In the end I finally got the van onto the trailer (took me most of the entire day inch by inch).

    As a result of that experience I enhanced my auto recovery gear I carry on long trips.

    When I got back I ordered two sets of double sheave climbing pullys similar to this:
    double sheave rescue pulley

    And a couple of these single sheave pulleys:
    single sheave rescue pulley

    I also ordered some 1/2 inch static rope similar to this.
    high strength static rope

    This is equipment similar to what we used in mountain rescue.
    A couple points, get true climbing rated static rope certified to at least 6000 pounds test for rescue type work (7/16 inch line) or preferably the 1/2 inch rated near 10,000 pounds test.

    Pulley systems can generate huge forces, don’t underestimate the loads!!

    a 2 ton cable come along will do a lot of work but it has a painfully short working pull between resets. The rope and pulleys allow you to connect to anchors you other wise could not reach.

    You will also need a working knowledge or rescue knots and accessory rigging gear like a prussic loop to allow you to bind the cable come along to the haul line and then release it and slide out for another pull.

    An example of a prussic loop to attach an adjustable mid point loop on a haul line.

    You will want 2 of the cable come alongs because when you get one of them stacked up chock-a-block (pulleys right up against each other) you will need to have a way to unload that come along and take the load off so you can reset your pull on the haul line.

    If you are not hands on familiar with rescue rope rigging you also need to pick up a reference book to show you the ropes (yes pun intended)

    (the best rescue rope book out there)
    On Rope

    Manual of U.S. Cave Rescue Techniques

    Any of the fire service rope rescue manuals

    Thanks to my time in the Navy and years in mountain rescue I was able to pull a 4000 pound van onto the U-Haul trailer through 4 inches of pea gravel in the dirt parking lot by my self using wholly in adequate equipment. It would have been much easier with some of the gear above.

    In a rescue rope hauling situation always evaluate where the rope ends are going to go if the rope breaks ( you don’t want to be there). Don’t be over whelmed with the task you only have to move the load 1 – 2 inches ( as many times as it takes to get it where you need it to be.

    If the ropes start talking to you listen they will tell you if they are over loaded and usually give you warning. Always double up if you can with two hauls, one pulling on the load and the second as a back up to catch the load if it parts the haul rope or breaks any of your gear.

    Be paranoid about using things like safety chocks to make sure you keep any progress you make if things break.

    Picket anchors are your friend, you can use most anything to make picket anchors

    traditional picket anchor

    picket anchors in flat ground

    The traditional picket system used 1″ nylon tubular webbing, which is very versital stuff. I have a whole bag of 1″ nylon tubular webbing loops and they make it much easier than rope to do lots of rigging tasks.

    Such as this (typical for climbing spec webbing is 4000 # test):

    1 inch nylon tubular webbing

    It is much lighter than and not as bulky as rope of equivalent strength. It can be used for an emergency hand line to get down a steep slope you cannot walk down unassisted and all sorts of other simple tasks. I keep a length of it in my go bag pack.

  27. Larry Ledwick says:

    I think I hit the max links limit – last post in moderation.

    [Reply: Yup. Fished it out. -EMS]

  28. Larry Ledwick says:

    ossqss – I understand completely.

    Timing is a big part of that choice, when I was buying that sort of gear 25 years ago, the modern high energy batteries did not exist and I did not have the money for the good stuff, so economy vs capability took precedence over my toy list ;)

    I already have dropped money for the inverters & generators etc. and built the system I use today piece by piece filling the most urgent need as I identified, over years rather than dropping the money for a complete package in a short period of time. Also stores like Home Depot and online sources like Amazon were only a dream I would have had to drive to a dozen stores just to find out what was available.

    If I was doing it again today, I would definitely look at the high end construction rechargeable stuff that is available today, but the first few battery operated cordless units I bought all let me down (batteries died very quickly would not hold a charge or simply quit working) when I needed them so I moved to the stuff I trusted and could afford at the time.

  29. Tim. says:

    Back in 1964 I bought my first car, a ten year old Bristol 401. 2 litre straight 6 with triple carbs. The petrol filler cap was recessed in a small box under the rear nearside wing, and the covering flap was released by a button inside the car. The small box had a drain hole to get rid of rain water but unfortunately it also had a blow back tube from the petrol tank. If the drain hole blocked (and it did), the blow back tube would efficiently siphon the collected water into the tank. The fuel pump would then fill the float chambers in the carbs with water and you spluttered to a stop in drenching rain.
    The first and only time this happened it involved lying under the rear of the car to drain the water from the tank. Of course I had to lie in a puddle and have water and petrol pour over me. Once that was done all three float chambers had to be cleared. I had the necessary tools but ever afterwards carried a skewer which was used regularly to keep the drain clear.

  30. Larry Ledwick says:

    Tim once when storm chasing I had a torrential down pour with 60 mph winds, completely fill the door of my drivers side door on my Jeep pickup with water because the drain slots in the bottom of the door had become clogged with dirt and leaf bits which had collected in the bottom of the door over the years.

    = = = = = = = = =
    Another really nice thing to have tossed somewhere in the boot/trunk is a funnel appropriate for getting gasoline into the tank. With the modern anti-siphon filler neck setups (and those damn “safety filler” necks on gasoline cans), you need to be a bit creative to pour gasoline into the tank in some situations.

    I once had to pour a full 5 gallon plastic Jerry can of gasoline into the fuel tank of my Chevy astro van with those “magic” safety nozzles on the cans just refused to work. The filler on the van is nearly waist high and placed on a vertical surface of the side of the body just behind the drivers side door – which means no relief space to tip the can up very much.

    They are designed to work on a fuel filler that allows you to tip up the fuel can to a high angle and then press inward hard enough to release the safety valve. When pouring fuel into the filler on a Chevy Astro van the short neck on the modern safety nozzles and the shape of the plastic Jerry cans make it impossible to tilt the can up at a high angle, and press in (especially in the situation I was in where the car was parked on a shoulder of the road so the fuel filler was tilted downward – I was basically trying to pour the fuel up hill on that short nozzle.)

    In the old days when they let the consumer worry about safety, fuel cans came with nice long flexible hose attachments and air breathers on the Jerry can. It was easy to reach any fuel filler neck and pour the fuel even if the car was parked in an odd position or angle with obstructions near the fuel filler.

    The new cans have gotten rid of the air breather bleed on the can, and depend on that magic safety nozzle to bleed air back into the can as you pour. An altogether crappy design developed by someone who is a foot taller than me, 20 something years old who has no difficulty hoisting at 35# can of gasoline to the proper angle (in a perfectly flat parking lot on a car which has a conveniently low fuel filler neck), and has never tried to do it in the rain or while wearing a suit and dress shoes that he did not want to get a quart of gasoline poured into his socks.
    So fall back option. Find a wire or something to poke down the gasoline filler to push the little trap door out of the way and cut the top 2/3rds off of a 2 liter soda bottle to make a funnel. Wedge the soda bottle funnel in place as best I could and using duct tape to hold it in position (I needed both hands to hold the Jerry can), pull the magic spill proof nozzles off the Jerry can and toss them and simply pour the raw gasoline into the expedient funnel. It was a bit messy but I got almost all the gasoline in the tank (and a little bit on my shoes)

    So lesson learned if you buy some plastic fuel cans for emergency use actually try them out and make sure they will work on your car’s fuel filler neck before you need to do it in a rain storm at night a long walk from help.

  31. E.M.Smith says:

    I had a similar though much less dramatic experience with a fuel can and the Banana Boat in Florida. That filler is on the rear passenger side fender (wing) inside a flap door pointing mostly uoward and a little outward. The short snout on a (thankfully only 2 gallon) plastic cube of gasoline wanted to have the can at about a 45 degree angle to the car, while the filler neck wanted it at about 75 degrees. I cold ALMOST compress the interlock enough to get the fuel out…

    After about 30 minutes of trying I’d gotten about 1.5 gallons in and called it “good enough” to get to a gas station for a top up.

    Later that day I spent some “quality time” with the filler spout and some diagonal cutters. With a bit of work you can remove the bits that are the valve / interlock crap and be left with a simple, if short, spout that at least lets the gas flow…

    Since then I’ve gotten better at the modification (or the spouts have changed to make it easier) and last can I modified (about a year back) was more a disassembly than a chop up.

    Lesson Learned: Check new stuff for needed modifications and make them prior to the trip.

    BTW, you were calling this a safety feature. It isn’t. It is a vapor recovery feature. Some overly concerned fanatic in the California EPA did the math on how much unburned hydrocarbon comes from gas filling from cans. His (or her) “bright idea” is that vapor return in the spout so as gasoline goes in, the vapor is captured back in the can. To be transported to the gas station where the vapor recovery hose will suck it out when you refill the can.

    Of course, said idiot has never actually filled such a can and doesn’t know that the only way to do it properly is to hold the rubber bit back so you can see how full the can is while pumping in the gas with NO seal to the can, thus venting all that vapor to the air anyway…

    I’d been thinking of making a nozzle replacement that was a bit longer, or an extension to it, but haven’t had a car yet that needed one. Along the way I have added a nice funnel to my kit “just in case”…

  32. p.g.sharrow says:

    the only pour/valve spout that I have seen that actually works is on the new plastic can that I bought at the chainsaw place. $49.00! for a 5 gallon jug. 4inch spout on a swivel at the top of can connector with a push button valve on it’s back side. The spout is just long enough to open a car inter tank door and the button is at thumb position at can handle.. But near $50 !!! heavy plastic can is well made and the spout valve does not leak liquid or gas even in heat. …pg

  33. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, and apropos the storm chasing water issue:

    When I had my International Scout, one very wet week, I was driving on a major city street that went through a depressed underpass of the freeway. Said underpass had accumulated a lot of water. About 2 feet worth I’d guess. BUT, I had a 4 x 4 TRUCK! So I just ploughed through it at about 25 MPH putting a big bow wave in front of me.

    So much so that the “splash” gave me whiteout as the windshield was splattered with a lot of water.

    Unknown to me, the filler cap (located about 1/2 way between navel and shoulders) had a load of water wash over it. and I’d not closed the cap entirely tight… About 1/2 block further on I sputtered a lot and so stopped. Checking the float bowl (yes, it had a real glass float bowl) showed water almost filling it (up to the point where sloshing put some in the exit pipe).

    Well, about 5 minutes later I’d dumped the float bowl, hand primed the Diesel (most Diesels have a priming pump on them) and cranked the engine a few times to a sputtery start. Another 1/2 block down the way it started running nicely again as the water was cleared from the injection system.

    Lesson Learned: ALWAYS check the filler cap is TIGHTLY closed. It isn’t just to keep fumes in.

    Lesson Learned: SURE you have a big ‘ol 4 x 4 Truck and you know that road well enough to know the depth of water is only up to your axles. Drive slowly anyway. Whiteout in an underpass in a minor pond at 25 MPH is a bit distressing and sputtering to a halt more so.

    Lesson Learned: Those nifty anti-theft locking gas caps don’t always seal as well as the simple twist on kind. A replacement cap made for much more regular full sealing (after a very large rain storm caused additional sputter and empty bowl a few months later … I was parked where some roof of truck runoff was angled at the filler cap recess…)

  34. Larry Ledwick says:

    On the gas can filler problems I poked around on amazon and apparently the entrepreneurs have noticed the need. There are now some alternate filler kits and bits available on amazon, such as:

    By the way I have noticed that the newer fuel cans have a different cap thread than the older cans ( they used to all be the same). Apparently that change was made in about 2009 according to some notes in some of the alternate spout pages.

    I have ordered one of these to see if it fits my fuel cans, I have 2 older ones and two newer ones so need filler spout bits with the appropriate threads

    replacement filler spout pieces

    simple alternate long spout

    Lesson learned many years ago with the traditional metal Jerry cans that had the 1/4 turn lids from the WWII and Korean War vintage cans. Those cans, no matter how tight you cinched down the lids, would weep fuel if the can was sloshing while driving.

    Not a good thing if you had to carry a can inside the back of a station wagon etc. I found a way to make those gaskets seal which probably still will work on the modern cans as well.

    Take some liquid dish soap and with your finger spread a thin layer of the liquid soap on the gasket and seal surfaces and then let it dry a bit, then screw the cap on. (gasoline and soap = thickened gasoline), so it forms a fuel gel at the face of the gasket that keeps it from seeping fuel by capillary action.

  35. Tim. says:

    On the water V motor car theme I was once on a motor rally at night, acting as map reader. The car involved was a Jowett Javelin with a flat 4 engine. The spark plugs were set in deep wells on the low set engine block. In the dark we unexpectedly came over a small hump in the road and into a ford (water, not car) at about 30mph. The plug wells filled with water, and there we sat in the middle of a small river. Fortunately the car boasted a starting handle, and put into 1st gear we wound it out onto dry land where using handkerchiefs we could dry out the plug wells.

    Don’t ask me about my motorcycle adventures, I’ll go on all night.

  36. Larry Ledwick says:

    Sounds like the time I got a Rambler 6 sedan home (a little over a mile) with the starter and some starting fluid.

    For a time, after I got out of the Navy I lived down in a small town in south east Colorado named Rocky Ford (film location area for the Charles Bronson movie Mr. Majestyk La Junta and Rocky Ford are just a couple miles apart).

    I was running the machine shop in a small local barbwire production plant and lived in a rental house out several miles out side of town. One night, cruising home on the section roads about a mile from the house, the car started sputtering and died. (Dumb guy ran out of fuel). The road was nearly flat so I kicked it into neutral and started pushing. Got a hundred yards or so and the road had a slight dip and there I was stuck on a dark farm road in the middle of nowhere at about 1:00 am. I tried to push it up the hill but simply could not do it.

    Scratched my head for a bit, stuck the transmission in low and turned over the starter. It chugged a couple time and advanced. I realized I probably would kill the battery before I got very far so decided to try to figure out how to “help the engine crank”. I had a spray bottle of starting fluid in the back floor boards, Pulled the air cleaner top, sent a 3 second shot of starter fluid into the carburetor throat, slapped the air cleaner lid on jumped in the car put it in second gear (more distance per engine rev) and gave her a crank. She chugged along a bit farther and died, [ rinse and repeat as necessary until you run out of starting fluid ].

    Okay I am now about 200 yards from the house but out of starter fluid and the battery is beginning to get unhappy. Rummaged around in the trunk and found a bottle of window washer fluid with methanol in it. Said what the hell and did the same routine with the washer fluid. Enough alcohol vapors came off for an occasional cylinder to fire while cranking and get me up the tough parts, and about 2:00 in the morning I finally pushed the car off the road into my driveway.

    Next day I hiked down to a nearby farmers place and he let me pilfer a gallon of his non-road taxed fuel from his tank so I could get the car back into town to fill it up.

  37. jim2 says:

    At least one Rambler I know of had an air conditioner vent with a good bit of space behind it. A couple of screw would free it. Would hold several beers. A hiding spot and a cooler, all in one!

  38. ossqss says:

    Jim2, I just love the beer cooler hiding spot! Classic!

    I just had to replace a car as it got T-boned right on the rear axel and was totaled. Very little body damage, but the frame was toasted and the 15 feet of airbags were expensive to replace. The new used car I purchased (same model newer year with ecoboost engine) was not getting the mileage the other did or what one would expect in flat Florida. Come to find out it has a fridge/freezer under the back armrest that was in freeze mode the whole time. Once turned off, I picked up about 3 mpg. BTW, it holds about a 12 pack of 12 oz cans and does get intentionally used now that we know it is there ;-)

    Back to yard work for me. L8R

  39. Larry Ledwick says:

    Not exactly a lesson learned in the sense of most of the above comments but interesting and related.

    On twitter lately there has been an item that talks about how many millennials think the world is flat.

    Now at first you say to yourself this can’t be real there is some major flaw in this survey, how can people get out of grade school thinking the earth is flat?

    I have a friend that has a small store that caters to folks who are into personal preparedness. He has all sorts of interesting tid bits and on one section of the wall he has nice display of compasses and similar items like map scaling protractors and such. A couple months ago a young couple came in the store intrigued by the sign to see what the store sold and wondered around in awe for a while, when one of them asked the proprietor’s dad what an item was. He was pointing at a compass. Had never seen one did not know what it did. The sales guy managed to suppress his astonishment and patiently explained that it was to indicate direction and how the needle always pointed north. The young lady in the couple wanted to know where you put the batteries, in this cool new discovery. He told her it did not need batteries and depended on the earth’s magnetic field. At that point she figured they had transitioned into magic or this was some sort of con job as something that magically determined the directions must require batteries.

    We have a whole generation of folks who have never tried to fold a road map, and would not be able to read one if you handed it to them.

    In your preparedness gear do you have local maps? What would you do to find your way if your GPS died when you were in an unfamiliar area? Can you in broad terms figure out your location on earth using only celestial cues like where the sun rises, what time it reaches noon, how high it rises in the south at noon etc.

    I recently went looking for maps and have found that the small map store I used to use has gone out of business and most stores no longer carry maps except for tourist area shops and major road side service locations on major highways out side of the city.

    Go into a local 7-11 and odds are they will not have a single map in the store.

    I picked up a selection of good old fashioned paper maps and some road atlases while they are still available and down loaded all my local USGS 7.5 minute quad maps in PDF from the USGS.

    Start here: <—- use this to search for maps of areas of interest.

    You then can download the map for free from a link such as this:

    Oroville Ca Dam quad


    I also grabbed some screen shots of local google maps images and saved them on my hard drive so even if the internet and google maps is unreachable I still had a digital image of the area I live in. (this is fair use if solely for personal use)

    One of the major lessons of disaster recovery is that after a major hurricane or wild fire etc. has wiped out all the common land marks you depend on and street signs are destroyed or a mile or two from where they were installed, sometimes evacuees literally cannot find their own property.

    Do you have your home lat/long recorded someplace so after an emergency you can go back and stand on your own property even if it has been swept clean by a tidal wave, hurricane storm surge or other disaster?

  40. E.M.Smith says:


    AAA still hands out paper maps. I have at least 3 full sets for the USA. (About every decade I get new ones but don’t toss the old ones).

    My “set” is:

    National USA
    Western Regional, Eastern Regional, and the Texas chunk in the middle between them.
    California, Florida, and each state coast to coast between them. (The exact ‘between’ gets put in the car when I pick a route. I-10, I-20 -> I-40, I-40 all the way, I-70, I-80, I-90. I now also have “to Chicago” sets from Florida and California.).
    Others from other trips: Eastern seaboard. Pacific Coast and British Columbia. Etc.

    You can also buy nice “atlas” map sets at truck stops (or could last I looked). VERY detailed books about 11 x 17 inches and 1/4 inch plus thick of pages. Shows more minor streets than the State maps. I’ve got California (two books!), Texas (One THICK book), Florida, and a couple of others.

    For each major city I spend much time in, I’ve got the AAA City Maps.

    Then I’ve also got two large sized Global Atlases with each State in it, though out of date. Readers Digest from about 1960 for nostalgia, and Rand McNally from about 20 years back so still usable.

    On the checklist for ANY trip out of State is to do a map inventory and load the Map Bag with the right set. National, Regionals, and every State in between along with destination Cities. As I pass through a State, that map moves to the back of the sorted stack. Gives a nice feeling of progress.

    In each car, when at home, is the local State Map (that has major cities on it in poor resolution) and any major city I’m staying in then (so SF Bay Area or Orlando or Chicago or…)

    Sadly, only my Son can properly use a map and has a decent sense of direction. The Daughter passed the “where is home” test when about 9, and was OK at it when learning to drive at 16, but by 20 was all phone all the time… A skill unused and rejected evaporates.

    So, glad you brought it up, as “bring maps” are so ingrained in me I never thought to mention it.

    No big “lessons learned” story. Just Dad making sure I could read a map (Army Combat Engineering Corp. so big on maps and building stuff…) and not get lost. Then a few dozen “annoyances” in various cities and needing to buy a city map, and one or two “cross country” road icky “What’s my alternate route” stops in the rest area with a map…

  41. Larry Ledwick says:

    You can also buy nice “atlas” map sets at truck stops (or could last I looked).

    Yes I have one in each car and a couple older ones on the book case. It was those map atlases i was referring to in my comment –

    major road side service locations on major highways out side of the city.

    I have a 1921 atlas on the shelf also with WWI vintage country boundaries, and large atlas from Encyclopedia Britannica covering the whole world.

    I was the map guy at the Office of Emergency Management and point of contact with the USGS if we needed maps of a disaster situation, so got to play with them quite often (not to mention their use in search and rescue)

    I recently bought a real large globe too (my old globe got lost somewhere during one of my moves). Real easy to find great circle routes on a globe with a piece of string, of course except for a few sail boat sailors, some Navy folks and pilots most people would go “Huh?” if you mentioned a great circle route.

    I also have a map bag filled with 7.5 minute USGS quads some dating back to publish dates in the late 1950’s and 1960’s, plus recent updates in the last 10 years or so for my local area. I showed one to one of my coworkers (late 20’s early 30’s age) and he had never seen one before and thought they were really cool. I gave him a 10 minute introduction to what a topo map was.

    I think the major point I was trying to make with the above, is that with loss of internet, the general public will be significantly geographically challenged to find their way around, especially if they are in a strange area.

    Anyone who has good maps (and good optics) will have a huge advantage over the milling crowds of refugees / evacuees. (small light weight binoculars would be very valuable if you were trying to get back home in a devastated environment)

    On the topic of optics, I found a fantastic pair of binoculars on Amazon a couple years ago.
    Expensive but they are the greatest thing since sliced bread for a consumer binocular. Great bright optics and built in compass (makes taking a bearing on a distant water tower or other land mark absolutely trivial) and also a ranging reticle to help you estimate distances and heights (with a little mental or calculator assisted math)

    marine binoculars with range finding reticle and illuminated compass visible in eyepiece

    Nikon spec page for Oceanpro binoculars

  42. E.M.Smith says:

    Your comment about sailors and pilots reminded me that in some box somewhere I have my San Francisco nautical charts from my live aboard days and my flight bag w/ “computer” (really specialized circular slide rule) and aviation maps. Often available free for out of date ones as things change often (flight exclusion zones) if you know some pilots. Nice topo like maps with landmarks noted (railroad, even abandoned ones, water towers, minor water features, old mines).

    I believe even with avionics and GPS, pilots are expected to have a current paper map with flight plotted on it. It’s how you do the ground flight prep and plan.

    Maybe ground school did stick with me… I feel I must look at a map and visualize my “flight” before departure on out of State runs…

    Dad had topo maps covering one whole wall of his real estate office. Sold homes and farms over the area and would point out water sources to buyers, among other things. At 12 years old I was reading local topo maps… Used one, and a soils map, in choosing our home. Minimal flood and quake risk… I really like topo maps…

    I’ve still got the 10 x 50 binocs I got for Christmas about 50 years ago… Somehow never found them necessary. Fun, yes. But unless you are scanning for details far away (people in bushes or license plates) I just never found the need. I generally know which way north is, and the terrain is clear too. Maybe it’s a California and open vistas thing… It was either open farms / desert and you just point the right way and go, or it was scrub and trees and you couldn’t see far enough to need binocs anyway… The one time I went deer hunting they were useful for scanning the savanna like foothills we were in… but I didn’t like it so it was a one time thing.

    Then again, I know my sense of direction is stronger than most. I pointed my boat at Port Sonoma from Sausalito and set a tack. Didn’t change it and we hit the outer channel markers some 1/2 day later… All by “eye ball” and which way was north by feel. It is far enough away you can’t see it,but you can see the coastline of the local bay and where the sun is. I just knew where to point the helm. Buddy dug out the map and compass and fretted for a couple of hours (it was overcast and with bay mists making visibility about 5 miles on a 30 mile run…). He eventually decided I was headed the right way… I like to think 3+ generations of sailors on Mums side had the survivors good at point to port :-0

    If you can tell me what I need binoculars for, I’m open to learning.. My experience has generally been that what magnification giveth, lens aberrations and focus taketh away…. And just careful eyeball use lets me see as much. Oh, and 10x wobbles enough to want a brace while 5 x or less isn’t adding enough to matter. 7 x 35 seems to be stable enough for some daytime benefit. I figure some 7 x 50 would be good for low light. My 10 x 50 have improved night vision, but the wobble really wants a brace…

  43. Larry Ledwick says:

    Those binoculars are 7×50 with excellent bright sharp high contrast optics – think of them as poor mans night vision, you can see things with them that you can’t quite make out in dusk or darkness as long as you have any sky light (clear skies and star light or moon lit clouds etc.).

    If you are trying to avoid hazards, best to be able to see them first. You can do a lot of RECON with optics without having to walk all over the place. Might just be a military thing, but I like to be able to see and identify things at long distance.

    In a major disaster “Oh Shit” situation trying to avoid hazards like dog packs or gangs scavenging and looting a destroyed neighborhood, or trying to judge a river crossing without walking all the way down into the drainage, optics are a big help. Being able to pull out details that are not really clear with the naked eye even read distant road signs or scan for critters to hunt, good optics can resolve all sorts of uncertain situations.

    In my case, when hunting, my Dad would always pause and glass the area every now and then and I simply learned that that is the way you cover an area on foot. Is that shape in the willows a moose or a bear, or just a dark slope of a hill side.

    Example – I went deer hunting with a friend up near Hotsulfur Springs Colorado many years ago. He was driving ( had never been to that hunting area before) and we got to our camping spot after dark. I knew in general where we were, but after driving for an hour or more on 4×4 forest roads we had no exact idea where we were just that we had found a nice place to pull off and set camp. Important because we wanted to be sure we were in the right game area.

    In the morning I tried to take some bearings on mountain tops I could see, and reconcile them with the map to plan out where we would go. Nothing made sense! Things that should have been south of us appeared to be south west of us etc. I finally, with binoculars picked out a bit of shore line of a distant lake, and after studying it for a while, was able to reconcile the shape of the shore line and location of nearby peaks with the map but the only way I could match that up with my compass was to assume the compass was giving bad readings. As the sun rose I got a double check on south and it confirmed the compass was wrong.

    I later found out that there is a magnetic anomaly near Elk Mountain summit north of Hotsulfur Springs. If you look on an aeronautical chart, it has a note that there is a magnetic disturbance of up to 47 degrees near the Elk Mountain summit.

    Without optics I would not have had a clue what was wrong and had no way to verify it short of sighting on the sun near noon and still would have been very uncertain of our true location.

  44. jim2 says:

    EM – The answer to this may be obvious to some, but I’m curious why you chose Florida for your next move? Is a boat included in that vision?

  45. jim2 says:

    Good info re road maps. We’ve never had smart phones, but have used a GPS device augmented with paper maps. Good to know they are available at truck stops. Our state and national atlas maps are a bit dated.

  46. jim2 says:

    Now that I’ve investigated, paper maps and atlases are available on-line, Amazon and other sites.

  47. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes I have bought a few maps and atlases on line, but I hate it. Maps are a graphic product and as such you need to be able to actually look at the real product you are interested in to understand what you are buying.

    Is the print too small to read in poor light?
    Is the paper flimsy and going to tear?
    Does the map have a clear key on it?
    Does it have any other features you like or dislike (list of elevations of mountains, rivers clearly labeled or do you have to follow the river across 3 states to figure out what its name is, does it have mile post numbers on the highways and exit numbers, does it list elevations of airports)?
    Does it fold in a stupid way that makes it not fit any pocket on any jacket or pack you have?
    Does it have sufficient detail to show small towns or only larger towns?

    You can buy maps at specialty stores like REI and I have gone in there and compared maps for the same area printed by 3-4 different vendors to see which one I like better for my purposes.

    Better than no map but I would rather open up the map and look at it before I bought it.

  48. jim2 says:

    Good points all around LL. Including binocs in the wild.

  49. E.M.Smith says:


    Yup. An issue arises that disrupts The Community and it reacts to fix it…

    When I set up a shop, a DNS server is part of it. Even at home. (I’ve only played with a mobile one but it is a good idea too…) It both increases your network speed (many DNS lookups stay local) and your privacy (any device in the house acesses a site, ONE DNS lookup happens, by your server, to the upstream DNS that you choose, it is then cached for a period you select that can be days. At that point DNS spoofs going forward for that IP will fail AND nobody sees repeated lookups.

    As soon as encrypted upstream is available to a linux DNS server (as production quality) I’m pointing my DNS server at it – and every device on my internal network gets encrypted DNS traffic externally as it passes though my DNS server… Oh, and ad blocking black list and IP block blocking (think China…) and…

    I figure about 3 months they will have the bugs out of it for the encrypted DNS and it will leave beta.

    I also liked this article that yours linked to:

    Cover setting up a local cluster mini ISP and mentions mesh. Stuff I love to play with…

    Since DNS services take nearly no computes, mine runs nicely on a n original Raspberry Pi single core 512 memory 700 MHz. You can run one in the background on a Linux laptop and not notice. Or on an OpenWRT like router.

    Oh, and one fun bit, it is possible, though discouraged, to point your DNS server directly at a root server. Last I looked there were only 13 of them and they serve the world. If a site is in them, it is golden quality on the lookup. NOBODY messes with them as ALL other DNS service comes from them, directly or indirectly. Highly guarded and security monitored.

    Since DNS is cached and distributed in a hierarchy, you are encouraged, as a leaf node, to use a 3rd tier or lower server, but as a server you can choose higher up. Just make sure your config is clean and you are not a pest. Personally, I think 2nd tier is fine and a good 3 rd tier too; but in some large corporate sites I’d have a root server as last on the list if all else failed. Having, say, Apple Computer go down for DNS issues is very disruptive, while representing about 20,000 client machines for cached lookups is a reasonable request of a root server.

  50. ossqss says:

    Quick drive by on maps. You can dowload multiple Google Maps for offline use on mobile devices (phone, tablet). The files are rather large, but fully up to date and work offline with the GPS.

  51. E.M.Smith says:

    Why Florida?

    First off, the Spousal Unit doesn’t “do” snow & cold. So nothing in the top 1/2 of the continent will cut it. Then States without Income Tax. In the South, that’s basically Texas & Florida (honorable mention for Tennessee where they only have income tax on capital gains, so sell your house before you move there ;-)

    We spent a few years pondering both. Texas has family (her side) and lots of rural areas that don’t cost much. Isn’t yet Californicated like Nevada and not liberal-ambiguous like Florida is becoming.

    I have friends in Florida. I’d worked contracts at Disney a couple of times and generally liked it.

    Season with the fact that in Grand Solar Minima the Gulf Stream slows and warmth backs up into Florida:
    so weather stays nice…

    Spend enough time in Texas to tire of their strange way do doing roads, the “Macho Truck” culture, and having 20 windows stickers mandated by the State to get your car declared accepted… and realize it’s a long long way from wherever you are to the beach… and almost as long to the grocery store…

    Then spend 1.5 years on contract again, but this time with spouse in attendance, no kids, and in a fun RV Park (not a fleabag hotel)… and both of you with gate passes to Disney World and the Spouse being a Disney fanatic…. and having beach time 50 miles east or west… and fishing in your “back yard”… and…

    Well, let’s just say “we had a blast”.

    Per boat: No, I’ll not be getting a boat. My Friend there has 2 smaller (paddle) boats for his lake so we can play / fish with them. His brother has a big boat and we went out on the Gulf side in it. Caught a shark and some catfish and had a load of fun. So why do I need a boat too? We’ll all be going together anyway when we go…

    We will be getting an Annual Pass to Disney World and the spouse will be spending many days there … and they have boats too ;-) Kinda sorta… ;-0

    Me? I’m fond of laying on the beach with a cooler and fishing pole. (Bait optional… if you catch something you have to deal with it… so why the pole? Drinking on the beach, you are a bum in some folks eyes. Add fishing pole, you are just a thirsty fisherman… Or at least it works that way at California lakes where the rangers take a dim view of a tailgate and a 12 pack but find a cooler and fishing pole Just Fine… )

    IF Florida let you drink on your boat, I’d be more interested. Seems they don’t allow it in their territorial waters (that for Spanish Empire historical reasons extend something like 12 miles into the Gulf…). Yeah, it is widely ignored, but still. Just not interested in getting “popped” for having a cool one while fishing. Only real downside I’ve found to Florida laws so far.

    In short: No income tax, warm and going to stay that way, and a recreational playground with Disney in large servings for her, watching things launch for me.


    Ah, I get it now. Different “use cases”.

    I don’t hunt. I might after month 6 of a serious collapse of society, but won’t need to ’till then and will likely trap instead of hunt.

    I won’t be going into / through unknown territory in the boonies. IF I do that, it’s weekend camping with friends. While highly unlikely, should an Aw Shit happen then, it’s either “shelter in place” in the very nice camp, or it’s “drive / walk out along the road you drove in”. If driving cross country, it will be “walk along the freeway to the next rest area or town” for most things, or in the case of TEOTWAYKI situation, just picking some dirt to live on. (Not going to hike from the Middle of Illinois to California or Florida if it’s TEOTWAYKI… then everyone copes where they are until things sort out the Bad Guys… )

    So for me, the only bit that looks really beneficial is the Night Watch point. My 10 x 50 are good for that if you rest your elbows on something… but I’ve never needed them (yet?).

    Basically I don’t spend much time wandering in the woods on foot anymore. It’s more “at home” or “on the Major road”. Only brief (hours) runs into The Woods some times, and then usually not too far off of the interstate.

    Also, after extensive trial of it, it seems my ability to know directions by “feel” and to orient off the terrain is built in and reliable. While I’ve used a compass, it’s more entertainment for me than necessary. ( I think that some folks do have a ‘magnetic sense’ but it needs training, that my Dad did when I was quite young). I quickly orient via sun, moon, and sky along with any landmarks I know or are on a map. I can close my eyes and move my head back and forth and “feel” north. (It was a bit disoriented when I went to Australia though ;-)

  52. Tim. says:

    I’ve been using Cloudflare’s DNS server for the last four days. Subjectively it is faster than the service I have via my broadband service and if only for that it is worth using.

  53. ossqss says:

    All you need to know about legal boating in Florida.

  54. ossqss says:

    BTW E.M., if you do get down here and want to catch, and not just fish, my good friend has been successfully catching for over 30 years.

    Have any of you ever used a VPN service for home use? I have been looking around as privacy seems to be in question with everything now days. I am just waiting to find out how much data is being sold by the primary IPS’s out there.

  55. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes EM different use cases redefine all the assumptions and subsequent decision trees.

    As you know, my primary planning base event is an EMP situation since it is pretty much a worst case scenario (very unlikely but very high impact if it does).

    In my area I have lots of apartment complexes mixed with high technology businesses, mostly occupied by millennial age kids and their young families. They are in almost all cases totally unprepared for any such emergency. No homes with yards suitable for gardens and few home owners who set up gardens even if they have yards, not many folks my age who think in terms of self sufficiency. If you pulled all their critical support infrastructure out from under them they would be almost completely helpless. I would expect many of them would become predatory to find things that they need if all the support systems disappeared for more than a week or two.

    I am also blessed with unobstructed views in almost all directions (rolling high plains) with just a few minutes of walking,

    This aerial shot shows the terrain just to the west of where I live:

    If you go to google maps and enter this lat long : 39.899, -105.191
    Then shift to the satellite view, and zoom out a bit, you can see several square miles of open ground short grass prairie in my area within easy walking distance of the homes and apartment complexes just off US 36 into Boulder, right now it has abundant wild life on the old Rocky Flats plant site refuge area and boulder county open space, and with the lakes like Stanley lake which is a popular summer boating and fishing lake and open ground would be a refugee magnet for folks fleeing the urban center of Denver if it became uninhabitable.

    I can see 20 miles north and on a clear day can see the white tent tops of DIA and the radar domes at Buckley AFB, which are some 25 miles away and the major buildings in down town Denver a short walk from where I live.

    If the core city urban area of Denver became unlivable, there would be an exodus out to more suburban neighborhoods and open terrain where people on the move could camp or even camp/homestead open ground tent cities.

    Since I live alone, have no family and essentially no connection to my neighbors (classic apartment house behavior where folks nod as they pass each other to collect mail but there is essentially zero social interaction) being able to glass the surrounding area would allow me to be aware of what is going on over an area of several square miles without ever getting far from home neighborhood.

    The local roads would also tend to channel and mass movement of refugees into this part of the metro area if they were looking for uninhabited open ground to set up camp.

  56. E.M.Smith says:


    Well, I *do* like to catch fish sometimes ;-)

    It was a bit of a disappointment to discover that the Florida catfish have a very muddy algae like flavor. Here, in cold water, they are very tasty. There, not so much.

    Seems like only the fresh water bass and perch like fish have decent flavor. But things from the ocean can be good (though a couple from the Gulf side also had that algae muddy flavor – again a catfish – hardhead?) So instead of dealing with that disappointment, and until I learned what to fish for and how to fish in the ocean side; I decided to go “beer fishing” instead ;-)

    So yeah, I need to find out how to do that whole ocean side fishing thing, or catch things that taste good in fresh water…

    I have used VPN from home, but just random free ones for practice setting them up. Some reviews:,2817,2403388,00.asp

    Seems like it’s a popular topic…


    Yeah, having a spouse and 2 dogs dependent on you changes what will be done rather drastically.

    The spouse has problems walking more than a mile, so if she is with me we are NOT hiking anywhere. It will be calling for help, having me walk to get help and return inside a day, or just camping in place at home. IF I’m on the road, the entire decision tree is:

    Can I get home? Yes – do it. No – camp here or best available.

    Big emphasis put on just “hiking out” to where I can catch something to home / spouse. Near zero put on rural survival hunting skills (ONLY in the case I’m far far away with zero hope of getting home). “We” are, and will be, pretty much always near a major urban center, or on the freeway between them. I will occasionally be off playing in the “wilderness” but typically never more than 200 miles (and mostly within 50 miles) of the home base. So a distance I could hike in 5 days to 3 weeks and always in a very clear direction along a largely main route. #1 job just to get to spouse.

    As I’m packing about 30 lbs of excess weight, all I really need is water and vitamin pills for a month. I’d not be happy, but I’ve fasted before. After the first couple of days the metabolism shifts and you stop being hungry. That’s about 300 miles for me (2 shifts / day of 5 miles each). That’s over 95% of all the time each year (and that’s usually really under 20 miles away). About 2 weeks / year I’m on the other side of the continent and the spouse would need to depend on others.

    Were there no spousal support issue, I’d have a full camp kit (tent et. al.) in the Subaru and it full of gas. In an Aw Shit I’d immediately proceed about 150 miles to a remote area on a lake I know and just live there. Then binoculars would be very useful for staying away from everyone else ;-) IFF it failed to go (EMP) I’d take 2 minutes to chuck it all in the Diesel and drive it instead …

  57. Larry Ledwick says:

    Which actually brings up one of the biggest dilemmas of planning for a major disaster. Do you stay in place, go to an official evacuation site, or a personal retreat location to ride out the emergency?

    The simple reality is, if you are at all prepared there is no way the average person can pack up and move even a small fraction of their essential supplies. Your stored goodies might as well be a ball and chain.

    The fantasy scene of a family loading up a couple cars and a school bus and “fighting their way” to a retreat, is completely ludicrous. In any sort of evacuation situation, unless you have air power with close air support capabilities you are not going to get past either official or local citizen road blocks or even large masses of unarmed refugees. Even armored columns get shot up when moving through built up areas controlled by small groups of people willing to fight to keep them out.

    I guess it is a legacy of watching too many western movies of the wagon train fighting off a band of Indians or something. Most certainly folks with military experience or reading of history would seriously entertain that idea. Your only options are to get out before it gets bad, abandon 99% of your stuff and go with what you can carry on foot once things get dicey or hole up and try to ride it out in place. Being stuck on the road miles from anything or anyone you know is the worst possible scenario.

    The logistics are simply over whelming for any rational planner.

    Although it is aimed at standard military warfare, a really interesting book that makes you realize that conflict is mostly constrained by logistics, is the book “How to Make War” By David Dunnigan, the original edition is probably the best value as it will demonstrate the issues and costs only about $4.00 on Amazon.

    How to Make War by David Dunnigan

    If you are limited to what you can carry on your back, or a push cart, you can only move about 100# of gear unless you are a top physical condition military age male, and even that is a challenge for more than a few miles.

    Some representative data points:
    Standard combat load of ammunition in the US military is 210 rounds of 5.56 ammo, (weight approx 5.64 pounds) the total weight of gear is about 85# or so. That amount of ammo might be sufficient for a single fire fight with a well armed opponent.
    The weight of 210 rounds of .22 LR is only about 1.58 pounds.

    Fact: any serious armed confrontation will quickly chew up all or most of your ammunition.

    Yes ammo is heavy and usage in a real honest to god fire fight is very high. Without the logistics train of the military, you would run out in a matter of an hour or so if you actually got into a shooting contest with folks who were motivated to prevent you from doing what you wanted to do.

    Bottom line, if you are not in a group of 10 – 20 individuals who know what they are doing and well supplied, getting into a direct armed confrontation is an almost 100% losing proposition. The best example I know of, is that of a guy who uses the web name of “Selco” who survived the almost medieval siege of Sarajevo in Bosnia for a year. Once full on street warfare set in, you moved only at night in very small groups of 1 or 2 and if you got into a shooting match with someone you mostly just fired a couple shots and broke contact. Ammo was a high value scarce commodity and was carefully rationed.

    In Vietnam the VC moved between 250# and 350# on bikes, loading them like pack mules and walking them down the Ho Chi Min trail. They ate about half the supplies that they moved.

    Most cars and small SUV’s can only carry 500-600 # of cargo plus passengers, figuring 4 passengers, that breaks down to something like 60 days of food for the passengers plus minimum other gear.

    In the case of food, as our host has mentioned often, you need about 45 pounds of food a month just to survive, plus about 25-30 gallons of safe water. Throw in body fat used up and you have about 60 days to live on 45 pounds of food. That means you cannot carry enough food or water on your back to last more than a few days even with modern high tech freeze dried foods.

    The only rational choices are stay in place in a location unlikely to be threatened with overwhelming force in the form of gangs or large refugee groups (a large enough crowd even if unarmed can swarm a small group), get out to a retreat location long before things really hit the fan, or just hunker down and cope with what you have on hand and can manufacture or trade for.

    The far more likely scenario is a situation like Venezuela where a built up area becomes very high risk especially after dark, but folks still more or less go about their business. Stay home after dark, try to make their property too expensive to try to raid, or so unobtrusive that it gets ignored by the folks trying to plunder an area.

    In real emergencies short of all out siege conditions like was the case in Sarajevo and mass genocide situations like in South Africa, you get tribal behavior where families, and friends form clans or work together as best they can to protect themselves and their trusted neighbors from outsiders.

    Defense of territory is one of the most deeply rooted drives in humans, (in all animals in fact), almost all animals defend their local territory against outsider threats. That terrain advantage works for you if you are in your home territory and against you if you are on the move.

    South Africa proves that solitary retreats are simply undefendable against a determined siege by a large group. Likewise high density high rise buildings are also a really bad place to be. Best option is to be a small fish (not a highly visible target) in a big pond of less dense neighborhoods or in a tight knit rural community.

    The good news is that sort of social breakdown is actually very very rare. Even in major riots, the primary destruction and violence is mostly concentrated in an area just a few blocks long and wide. Those concentrated destruction zones may be scattered over a larger area but unlike the disaster movies, a total breakdown and collapse of society over a wide area is not supported by history outside of total warfare situations.

  58. p.g.sharrow says:

    Larry is correct about defense in place. A strong neighborhood is the best protection against raiders. The American tradition of local militia had a real purpose. Protection against marauders and for firefighting. City people expect the government to protect them. Country expect to protect their neighbors. Know your neighbors and be on good terms with them.
    I have lived thru a number of difficult conditions. First rule, if you have a choice, shelter in place! At least as long as it takes to plan and prepare for the needed journey. Whether bad weather or other disaster, if you travel before things calm down, you will likely die in the attempt. The stress of fighting bad conditions will eat you up very quickly, hours! not weeks.
    Conserve resources, that includes body fat. Travel slow and steady. Do Not Exhaust Yourself!
    An old trapper/fisherman in the Alaskan wilderness cautioned me. that the need to get home immediately to the wife, killed more men then anything else.
    Protect your feet! good strong boots and heavy socks. Light socks, street shoes will cripple you very quickly.
    The best preparation for SHTF, is to be versatile and able to make do with what ever is at hand. Carry a good pocket knife and a way to make fire…pg

  59. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve had the dual experiences of Loma Prieta Quake and being in Jamaica New York at night in a nice (rental) car with fires in burn barrels and high racial tensions for God only knows what reason.

    My major “take away” from both was that people really just don’t descend rapidly into violence and chaos.

    Looking at Venezuela today, it’s been a couple of years now and we’ve had street riots a few times, but focused on the government stupids, not on each other.

    So yes, in “times of war” it’s crazy to think you can walk 200 miles to a place of safety without carrying 2000 lbs of ammo… BUT, in times of more typical natural disasters or even a loss of electrical power, you have about a week at least and up to months, IMHO, of regular social order. (After that, I don’t know what happens).

    So in Jamaica N.Y., I was the lone beacon of White Face In A Good Car driving through a slum of Poor Young Black Men in the streets. Faces turning to look at me with concern and unhappiness at best. My answer? Treat them honestly. I pulled over, rolled a window down and said “I’m lost and clearly I don’t belong here. Can you tell me how to get back on the freeway?” Looks of concern about “what’s this whitey looking to do in OUR hood?” turned into grins and a few snickers… then “Sure, man, two blocks down there, on the left get you back on the freeway”. I gave them “laughs at my expense” and they gave me help.

    Loma Prieta: We had a good 3 or 4 days of no power for most of the area. What happened? Folks just “pitched in”. Especially neighbors helping neighbors. I’m pretty sure that’s how it will be in just about any Aw Shit.

    So that means that I get to make a decision in any future Aw Shit: Is it going to be over inside our supplies lifetime?

    Yes: shelter in place and defend with what I think is more “armament” and ammo than any non-government agents inside 5 files (and looking unattractive as a target).

    No: bug out FAST before the grace period is over to a lake (water supply / fish) not owned by private parties. Set up camp as remote as possible and have hiding as the main strategy. In all cases, use social skills to avoid conflict at all times as much as possible.

    The one really dodgy case is when I’m 20 to 200 miles away. That’s a couple of days to weeks of steady walks. I know I’m able to do the walking (just did a test case) and I’d only be carrying minimal camp kit (space blanket like sleeping facilities, rain fly, minimal stove, bouillon cubes and water filter). All up about 15 lbs. None of it attractive to either officials or “neighborhood watch” folks. Now the other thing this depends on is that I *know* every area inside a 200 mile radius of home very very well. The land. The people. The roads. The weather is never really a challenge either (not Alaska but California – mostly 50 F to 90F year round). It is also a relatively affluent area for most of it. As long as I’m trudging down rural roads the risks are minimal and when entering the urban area I’d be more likely to get sympathy than grief here. (Remember, this would be in the first week of an Aw Shit when folks are still in the communal phase.)

    After about 2 weeks, when things start to get desperate, I’d need to have already completed any solo trudge home (if near but not home), or we’d need to have made our bug-out run if both were home and be using remote-hide strategy. We actually did test bug-out runs back when nuclear attack was a real potential. We had to be “on the road” inside 5 minutes to be ahead of the likely traffic. Scenario was a sub-launch on Moffett where we were just outside the blast radius damage area, and had 10 to 15 minutes to get outside the blast radius of the big ones inbound. We would get ‘behind the hill’ with a few minutes to spare on most runs. Since that worked, I’m pretty sure a “couple of days” to get there would work too.

    (Today, that bug out run could not beat the nukes. 30 years of “development” and the roads are too full many times of day with too many stoplights and “rural” is further away… But the nuclear risk is now near zero.)

    I’d suggest also looking at Puerto Rico as an example. MONTHS without services, yet the society has not gone into full on tribal warfare collapse.

    IF the urban areas descend into a Mad Max scenario; IMHO you either move into that culture and adapt to it or just hunker down and “hide and hope”. Try to look like you have nothing and need everything, but be prepared to “shoot and scoot” if needed.

    In all cases, attempting to conduct warfare as an “army of one” is crazy. Not going to work. At best you can be a wasp – sting and scoot. Persuade it’s a bad idea to follow. Skunk not a lunch…

    The really good new on that front is just that sooo many folks think “spray and pray” is a good idea that, IMHO, if you can avoid being in a firefight for the first few days of Mad Max, everyone else will be out of ammo… “Fire Discipline” is something few people know. I would not want a full auto rifle if you gave me one. At 600 rounds / minute, a 30 round magazine is empty in 30/600 or 1/20 of a minute. 3 SECONDS. Carefully placed, those rounds could drop about 20 folks over 1/2 hour. Being a sniper is better than being a gunslinger. (My favored gun has a scope on it…) Better still is to just not be seen as a target, or seen at all.

    But don’t minimize the power of social skills to get you through bad times and bad places. While it may be nice to have that revolver close to hand, it’s nicer to share a cup of coffee… (been there, done that…) and when hiking at midnight in the mountains to think… and you hear a rifle rack a round…, it’s better to sink to the ground and inform them you are not a threat (been there, done that… “No, I’m not a bear… mind if I come into your camp so you can see me?”)

    While I would not want to depend on those strategies and skills in week three, I’m comfortable that they work in at least the first week and probably the second too.

  60. Larry Ledwick says:

    Pretty much agree with that analysis EM – – –

    I think the one important issue that determines how the public at large will react, is the local cultural expectation that things will return to normal in some reasonable interval of time.

    In the Watts Riots, the Rodney King Riots, the East Coast blackout riots 1977 (and the prior one where there were no riots 1965) the public felt things would settle down in a few days. In the high stress environment of Watts and Rodney King and the blackout riots, the public was already primed to blow off some steam. The trigger event was simply an excuse to do that. Same happened in the Ferguson riots after Michael Brown was shot. Even with outside provocation it burned out the rage in just a short time.

    In the first New York blackout there was the exact opposite behavior the general public were feeling good (Vietnam had not divided the country yet, and times were good financially and they were feeling generous and there was no reserve of anger to fuel outrageous behavior.

    Blackout 1965 (prior to the stress full times of the late 1960’s group behavior was peaceful and orderly)

    Blackout 1977

    The message I think from these historical events is that the group behavior of the population at large depends very strongly on the local sense of order, expectation of return to normal, and general levels of stress. That means when the media have wound people up tight as a watch spring, that bi-stable behavior can flip over to destructive behavior such as store looting or just wanton destruction for the emotional release of it.

    In quiet times like the 1965 blackout on the east coast and during Loma Prieta, the prevailing mood of the public was not one of tension and violence but let’s get things back to normal and help each other out.

    So that “general mood evaluation” will have to be factored into decisions about move or stay, how long to hunker down or how much effort to engage in tribal bonding with neighbors and folks who just happened to get stranded in your area by circumstances takes place.

    Other factors of course is do you have local predatory groups already in place (ie the gang down the street that controls 3 city blocks like a medieval kingdom). If your local area is already seeded with groups like that which will take advantage of lack of law enforcement, you will see very different local behavior than in a peaceful suburban neighborhood who’s major crime concern is porch pirates stealing package deliveries.

  61. ossqss says:

    Interesting comments. I would offer that many of my long term neighbors and I, post Katrina, decided we would up our game on protection. I live on half mile long V shaped road adjacent to the interstate with a lake nearly the full length of the road behind the houses (think moat) and a lake across the street in the notch of the V. Upon some planning exercises, it was determined we could fully protect entry to our safe zone with some of our new high caliber, high capacity tools. Considering we all prepare for hurricane season and have a rolling stock of non-perishable food stuffs, it would take a great deal of pressure to force us out of our hood. That said, it is not out of the question.

    Now, if forced to bug out on foot (I do maintain a Yamaha Zuma for transport also, sold my Rhino which I miss tremendously), I would be taking my 10-22 takedown and 50 round flip clips at the very least. Why? I can carry a thousand rounds of that ammo vs a hundred for my Glock 30s 45 ACP, or Judge or Circuit Judge, or my 223, 357 etc. for the same weight. It is pretty much like my law enforcement friends tell me. It is not about the caliber, it is about your accuracy. A well sighted in 22LR with a good round can do quite well for most situations.

  62. E.M.Smith says:


    First gun I gave my Son was an “Air Force survival rifle”. .22 Hornet / .410 shotgun (can also shoot some large caliber here but not recommended… .45 Long Colt I think it might have been…)

    Single shot and does teach accuracy and discipline…

    I have a .22lr semi-auto that fits in the butt stock that lived in my car pack for many years; until the legal risk of having it became too high. Now it lives… ‘elsewhere’ ;-)

    I’m fully in agreement on the .22 LR. I can pick a walnut off a tree at about 100 feet with a scope (used to do it without the scope…) Bonus feature is that it can be very hard to know where the shots come from. I’ve got a bolt rifle and if you shoot CB caps / BB Caps from it, it has nearly no sound (think “squirrel in pot in urban area and nobody knows”…) while a .22 short is almost as quiet ( think “possums & raccoons Oh My what a dinner”) while the .22 LR is good for just about anything up to “deer sized thin skinned” if very well placed. (Remember a President was put in the hospital in touch-and-go by a badly placed round from a revolver of all things).

    That gun, and my lever gun with scope, are my preferred guns. The lever gun is in .357 Magnum and shoots .38 specials too. I have a Lee Loader for them and can reload with nothing more than a tail gate or big rock to sit on. It’s good up to “biggest feral pigs around here” and out to at least 100 yards. (Qualified for DCM with it with iron sites only…) With shot shells, useful for things like quail and pigeons. Yeah, I’m a bit of a minimalist ;-) Both are also very light weight.

    Neither one gives a flash at night (handgun loads expect to be fully burned in about 6 inches of barrel length) and with short case light loads make little noise. (Number of ‘case volume expansions’ of a light load .38 special is quite a lot… it’s actually a bit slower than from the revolver, but a LOT quieter… )

    When you are “hiding in the woods behind the back side of the far lake off the dirt road past the scrub” you do NOT want to be making a big noise every time you pot a squirrel… At most you want someone to think a deer was shot 5 miles further on…

  63. Larry Ledwick says:

    People greatly underestimate the .22LR. It has several advantages that often go unnoticed.
    Cost per round best you can buy.
    Available in good sized bulk packages and sold nearly everywhere.
    Effective out to 400 yards

    (note : High velocity .22 will drop around 20 feet at 400 yards from a 100 yard 0 so this requires lots of hold over or a special rig capable of lots of elevation correction. A Kentucky windage hold over of 3.5 times the height of a standing man at 400 yards. At that range wind becomes a critical issue requires almost zero wind conditions to get on target)

    You can carry a lot of it easily
    You can use it when accuracy and reach is not important and save the more expensive and capable ammo for the tasks it is best suited for.

    Great low cost practice round and highly useful for pest control
    Almost everyone who has a firearm has something to shoot it, so it will be in demand and valuable almost everywhere.

    Recall the ammo shortage where .22LR disappeared from store shelves for almost a year and a half before manufactures matched the demand and got stock levels up to normal.

  64. ossqss says:

    I really like holstering my Judge revolver when out at my property East of me. I usually load up with some PDX1(410 version) ammo followed by a couple colt longs. The PDX1 covered just about everything you might have to point at. I kept the Circuit Judge on the Rhino as backup for larger boars at a little distance. They both shoot the same ammo, but the rifle can hold 3″ shells vs. only 2 1/2″ in the revolver.

  65. E.M.Smith says:


    I really wanted one of them, and just about the time I was ready…

    There have been two model number designations for this firearm, the 4410 (no longer produced) and the 4510 (current). Both model numbers are essentially the same revolver, and any 4410 or 4510 will yield basically the same performance. It got its name “The Judge” in 2006 when Bob Morrison, Executive Vice President, learned that judges in high-crime areas of Miami, Florida were purchasing the revolver for personal defense in their courtrooms, and after Morrison investigated further, the model designation was changed from 4410 to 4510 to more accurately reflect the revolver’s versatility (.45 Colt + 410 shot → “4510”).] Taurus International reports that the Judge is their top-selling firearm.

    The rifling is shallower than normal, giving single-projectile loads less stabilization than they would receive in other handguns while reducing the rapid dispersion of the shot from shotshells. Taurus developed the shallow rifling after numerous experiments to find rifling that worked well with both types of ammunition.

    Though Taurus deliberately designed the Judge to fire shotshells, the Judge does not qualify as a “short-barreled shotgun” under the National Firearms Act of 1934 as its rifled barrel makes it a regular handgun. However, the Judge is considered a short-barreled shotgun under California state law, which has a broader definition of “short-barreled shotgun,” and the Judge is thus illegal to possess in that state.

    So there you go. HOWEVER, you can get a .45 Long Colt revolver and load your own shot shells for it and be just fine… Or buy commercially loaded .44 Magnum shot shells. Or… Sigh. So much stupid, so little mind…

    Gee a gun named for the fact that the major users of it were Judges for personal defense in the courtroom (where you do NOT want over penetrating rounds like .44 Magnum taking out people 4 rows deep behind the perp…) banned by The State … ’cause we all know just how horribly powerful that .410 shotgun shell is… (that can ALMOST take down a pheasant… but not quite, in my experience).

    But it is big and heavy and looks really really mean…

    It would be ideal on a farm, where running into the odd unwelcome rattle snake or rodent with attitude is common. Or even in Florida where the odd Python might be in your grill ( 2 x shot then the .45 comes ’round if you got a big one that isn’t getting the message…) But it just isn’t going to be the Street Gang Gun of Preference…. “Oh Boy, I’ve got 5 rounds! And that Uzi guy is just asking for a showdown! Lemme At Him!” is NOT going to happen…


    Interesting round, that:

    3 big disks and 12 BBs in one go…

  66. ossqss says:

    California really sucks with their ridiculous fascist mentality. I don’t know how normal people can tolerate it.

    BTW, this is the primary round I use in that revolver. Typically, anything within range is toast.

  67. Larry Ledwick says:

    Since we were talking about .22 LR above there is a new very interesting round out from CCI in .22 LR called their segmented round. It comes in both a high velocity load and a “quiet” low velocity load.

    Looks really impressive for pest control (of all types), and would make a small .22 LR pistol a very serious threat at close range.

    CCI segmented hollow point gel test

  68. ossqss says:

    That is interesting Larry. Thanks for that item.

    I was checking out this item my neighbor has and it is pretty cool and shoots very well, albeit not a 22 LR round (30 round 22 magnum), but cool none the less ;-)

  69. Larry Ledwick says:

    I have been a fan of the .22 WRM for 50 years, out of a rifle length barrel the FMJ round will penetrate 1/8 inch mild steel, making it almost equivalent to the 5.56 at close range.

    At 50 yards my bolt action will put a 5 shot group into the size of a nickle, so it is quite accurate too, much less effected by wind than the .22 LR because of its higher velocity.

    In the old .22 WRM High Standard derringer it is brutal, had a muzzle report that would make your ears ring for hours, very sharp and high pitched and in that short derringer it had a huge muzzle flash.

    I will have to look into that pistol.

  70. jim2 says:

    Interesting ammo and pistol. Thanks y’all.

  71. Larry Ledwick says:

    By the way that 1/8 inch mild steel penetration is at 100 yards.
    Personal experience when I bought the rifle I had trouble getting it on paper, the scope I had would not stay in place. On one effort to get it zeroed I kept hearing a Ping every time I fired but could not see any holes in the target through the spotting scope, I also could not see any dirt splash on the back stop. I finally walked down to the target and in the brand new target frame there was this nice cluster of .22 caliber holes in the 1/2 inch by 1/8 thick steel angle iron frame. Now I knew where I was hitting and quickly got it dialed in. (then I epoxied the scope to the mount at it has held zero for 50 years)

  72. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Larry, that was amusing :-) I did try the 22WRM one day back in the early 1960s. Too loud and expensive for my needs on the farm. Wound up with a Semi-Auto 22LR Mossberg w/scope. Wore a notch in the end of the barrel where it vibrated on the edge of the bulkhead of the crawler that I disked with. Always dead on. Shot so many rounds thru it that the sliding bolt mushroomed enough to became fully auto! Up to 15 rounds with one shot. Brrrraaaak! made a lot of dust at the ground squirrel targeted. Have had to reshape it twice in the last 50 years after 10s 0f thousands of rounds thru it….pg

  73. Larry Ledwick says:

    On the question of .22 LR ballistics I found this item a ballistics chart for the common .22 LR cartridges. It appears that the CCI stinger (which has the same velocity and bullet weight of the segmented HP I mentioned above is one of the best for long range work and energy delivered.

    It has the same Kinetic energy at the muzzle as the .380 ACP from Remington High Terminal Performance Ammunition 380 ACP 88 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point

    With a 50 yard zero it would come in 3.8 inches low at 100 yards, 15.2 low at 150 yards and 36.4 low at 200 yards. Those hold overs are manageable with Kentucky windage holds out to 150 yards and possible to 200 yards even with no sight adjustments. ( would probably sight it in at 75 yards if I intended to work at longer ranges for things like coyotes etc.

    source @

  74. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Larry; I really liked the CCI 22LR ammunition, the only manufacture that would always dependably cycle thru my Mossburg and never pick up dirt in my pocket…pg

  75. Larry Ledwick says:

    That has been my experience, it has been my standard I buy it if it is available settle for a couple others if it is not, but I don’t recall ever having a failure to fire with a CCI round.

  76. Larry Geiger says:

    “One of the challenges of setting up for an extended emergency, is how do you store water in large quantities on short notice?” Swimming pool and a good backpacker filter. Enough drinking water for months.

  77. E.M.Smith says:

    I got some used plastic barrels of 30 gal capacity. They were very cheap (some 30+ years ago) and smelled of orange juice. “Surplus” places are your friend.

    Later I put a plastic play pool in the yard for the kids. I’d also used one for an experiment in Talapia raising. For about $10 and a run to the cheapo cheapo store, then a few minutes with the hose, you get a LOT of water in a nice mini-pond. For closer to $100 you get one that takes a day to set up and you can soak in it when you are done ;-)

    Per CCI:

    Yeah, like them a lot. Federal & Winchester have always worked OK for me too. But the CCI is just a little bit more there, there.

    FWIW, I like a 100 yard zero. Then I just put the target on top of the site picture unless it is way out there and it’s pretty much a bang on. I’ve never felt the need to shoot at anything over 200 yards with a .22 so this is pretty much just point and shoot it. On top of the Vi out to 100, and on the dot in the V beyond. More or less. IIRC it was something like 2.x inches high at 50 yards… and just that shift of the site picture was sufficient.

  78. ossqss says:

    I have bathtubs with the rubber layover stoppers. The tub will probably drain overnight if you don’t enhance the stoppers (happened during the hurricane, but we never lost water pressure during that time anyhow). I have a pool, a well, a lake for flushing toilets on the septic system, and always stock up on bottled water at Sams club. $3 for 35 of the cheap 20oz bottles. Oh, and lots of beer along with the $4 gallon metal cans (multi-use)of cajun boiled peanuts from Sams too ;-)

    Now I am hungry again! Doh!

  79. ossqss says:

    Well we got some good rain today here and the gutters reminded me they were not clean. I despise cleaning gutters, so I immediately trotted off to the various sources for equipment built for convenience. I saw several attachments for cleaning gutters that were all fairly expensive or worthless. So, I immediately had one of those “no shit” moments and reviewed existing inventory to build something to achieve the goal. Here is the prototype. It worked pretty well, but I will extend the handle a bit to keep dryer. Lots of room for improvement, but it shares the same basic design.

  80. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks like you have the shutoff valve up at the top end? I’d have expected more of a U and nozzle up that end, and a shutoff valve at the hose attachment end… Then again, I’m not the one looking at your gutters ;-)

    Looks a lot sturdier than the flimsy crap in the stores, that’s for sure.

  81. E.M.Smith says:


    BTW, put a comment here:
    you might want to look at. About the joy and ease and low cost of propane canister stoves…

  82. ossqss says:

    The hose runs right through a piece of 1″ PVC. I told ya there is room for improvement. Next will be some schedule 40 with threads on both ends instead of a loose pipe and the shut off at the bottom. Since I am done, that will probably be a procrastination project until next year :-)

  83. ossqss says:

    Will check it out EM. Saw a 40k BTU 2 burner coleman propane for $99 on amazon I think. Something Chef version.

  84. E.M.Smith says:

    Stansport & Primus propane stoves are both good and usually a lot cheaper than Coleman. Don’t know what you would use a 20k BTU burner for… 20 gallons of beans? :-) I spend more time at simmer than full (don’t like burned bacon or eggs flambe..) The 10k BTU single burner boils a cup of water in under 50 SECONDS as it is whistling at 50… Don’t think I need coffee in 25 seconds…

    A 2 burner on sale (in the link) for $30… At 1/3 the Coleman, it is a heck of a deal.

  85. ossqss says:

    I checked them out EM, and for limited use, that is probably the best way to go.

    BTW, my neighbor has one of these and it works really well. Errrr, the stove! I am gonna look into it further. Saw one made with cinder blocks also. I found it educational ;-)

  86. Larry Ledwick says:

    stove – what stove – Oh there it is.

  87. ossqss says:

    Well, my search came to an end when I remembered I had a low profile turkey deep fryer burner I had forgotten about and found under my grill in the cabinet. Thanks for all your input, and I may still grab the $30 item as it is appealing and affordable. Next up, I was in my attic today and it is friggin hot up there. I wonder what I could cook there in the summer when it is much hotter!

    I did clock my west facing back doorknob, after being in direct sun for a while late in the day, last summer with my FLIR One phone attachment at 160 F and the ramp to it at 155 (red brick around the area also). Makes me wonder how to use that free enery better if needed. No stove needed maybe?

  88. Larry Ledwick says:

    If nothing else put our themo-cooker up there so it stays at full temp for 12+ hours.

    Likewise a low tech heat box in the yard would do the same thing, I measured a south facing brick wall with IR thermometer a couple summers ago and in the mid afternoon the bricks were near 150 deg F, Likewise we almost all have a solar hot box on the back window shelf of the car or the dash board. No assembly required.

  89. ossqss says:

    Ah yes, forgot about the car!

    BTW, don’t put any of those solar charging portable battery banks there for any length of time. Spoken from experience ;-)

  90. ossqss says:

    Ok, I was guilted into making a beta version, so here ya go! Cost me $6 for the four 3/4″ slip to hose adapters, and I splurged $5 on the milti angle adapter. I need to clean some brick on the top of the chimney, so that justified it. No ladders needed now as this can be 4′, 6′, or 10′.

  91. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks nice! Now just make one to send to me… 8-}

  92. ossqss says:

    Ha, no problem E.M.. parts are less than $20, but labor and shipping are about $2,500 with first class plane fare :-)

    BTW, on the aw shit subject. I sprung a leak in my 18 month old Trane air handler this week. Yep, their high end variable speed plastic and aluminum rust proof unit. Somebody needs to tell them the screws they use in that unit are ferrous metal and rust! Also not to put mounting screws that go right through the treated aluminum blades! It litterally looked like there was some transient voltage which basically dissolved the fins like electrolysis. Glad of the 10 year parts and labor warranty!

  93. ossqss says:

    Have a peek for yourselves. Unreal.

  94. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks to me like an electrolysis cell between iron and aluminum. Aluminum losing to the air more once charged. Iron, at 1.83, is slightly more electronegative than Aluminum at 1.61, so oxygen at 3.44 ought to mostly react with the Aluminum (thus all the corrosion of it) and then secondarily (probably as water solution worked on it) iron would get into the act.

    Folks often forget about the fact they are making a battery (electrolytic cell) any time they have two different metals touching. Just add condensation…

  95. ossqss says:

    Yeah Chief, I thought of at least hitting those screws with some cold galvanizing spray I use on tons of iron stuff (works well BTW, but can you use that in Cali?), or changing out to stainless, but thought,,,, warranty and they will figure it out.

  96. p.g.sharrow says:

    Hmm. curious corrosion of that “A” coil and in only 18months. Looks to be updraft air flow and severe atmosphere, Salt Air? you mention Leak, Refrigerant leak about 6inches down from the top? If that is the case you have a very wet system and the compressor is in bad shape as well…pg

  97. ossqss says:

    No PG, system is 18 months old all the way. No salt, not wet, and a good 5 ton multi-stage scroll compressor. Just corroded itself, and I believe electrolysis is the culpret. We shall see how it does over the next 18 months for certain. I will be all over it :-)

  98. p.g.sharrow says:

    well, I would check the electrical system for leaks to ground. That is way too much corrosion to be caused by a couple of steel screws in 18 months. By wet I mean internal, check at sight glass indicator for wet refrigerant. A wet compressor will run well until the winding’s fail. Something is driving that much corrosion. Could also be a problem in the low voltage pilot circuits to the thermostat. Get out a good multi-meter and check everything to ground. If I was your serviceman, that is what I would do…

  99. jim2 says:

    “Working in the HVAC industry in Florida, I have observed many condenser coils exposed to salt air and the damage it has caused. Bare aluminum fins can deteriorate rapidly depending on a number of factors including fin design, location of the equipment relative to the salt water, and maintenance. A typical indication of corrosive damage is visible in the disintegration of the fin, often resulting in flaking of the aluminum. ”

    Salt would also speed up galvanic corrosion.

  100. ossqss says:

    Jim2, I am 15 miles from the beach, so I don’t think a salt issue is in the mix with this issue. I appreciate all the feedback. Trane has acknowledged this is a manufacturing issue to my HVAC contractor. Will they fix it? Dunno, but they will need to soon if they have to replace coils every 18 months under P&L warranty. Have a good weekend all!

    Go Penguins! for any hockey fans out there ;>)

  101. jim2 says:

    ossqss – If you live in Florida, your air is saltier.

  102. jim2 says:

    Here’s another corrosion-related map. Even though you are 15 miles from the coast, I would bet there is enhanced salt content in the air around you. If nothing else, thunderstorms will suck up sea spray and disperse it over wide areas.

  103. jim2 says:

    Here is a corrosion algorithm. Looks like you are considered to be safe from salt.

  104. E.M.Smith says:


    I’ve looked at a lot of old cars (just fond of buying old Mercedes). Universally, those from anywhere near the ocean show corrosion issues far beyond cars from this (inland) side of the mountains. Any car from anywhere in Santa Cruz, for example, can show excess corrosion issues.

    I just bought a Subaru from a town on this side of the mountains, but about 6 miles from the San Francisco bay. It has rust spots at the roof to windshield line plus wiper arms, brake rotors and a few more places. All fixable, but never seen near me in a dry inland area.

    15 miles is not enough to remove salt from the air without mountains wringing out rain. When in Florida, cars showed salt issues, though minor ones, as far as 30 miles inland (and a few near Orlando).

    That said, I think the issue you have is not caused by salt, only speeded up once underway. Why? The localization. Salt ought to cause a more wide spread damage. That’s more focused on a line. Strongest at the top, fading downward, one edge.

    2 things come to mind:

    1) Electrolysis focused on the mount attachment. Where the iron screws attach. P.G.’s point about ground currents is important. Mix a “trivial” leakage voltage of 2 or 3 volts (well over the metal ionization volts) with a higher dampness on that condenser side, it can chew up a bi-metal junction pronto. Where my water main enters my house, the tap handle (big, round, heavy) had the bottom half dissolve due to dirt accumulating around it. It was at barely above ground level when the home was built, but 60 years of grass and leaves growing raises the soil level. So it became a sacrificial anode to the entire plumbing system and likely the electrical via wiring grounds in wet appliances (washers and such). Note that it was cast zinc, a metal widely used for this and with electronegativity almost exactly the same as aluminum at 1.65 V. The aluminum oxide layer usually is protective, but vibration and exact alloy could compromise that, plus once electrolysis statrts the surface destabilizes. Especially if there is a bias voltage the wrong way. (There are now small chargers that bias the metal to the protective volts without a sacrificial anode making a battery, but get the polarity backward, it eats your metal structure). A small bias volts “the wrong way” to ground can make your metal parts tasty to corrosion… And it would focus at the ground connection, your iron screws to grounded mounting bracket.

    2) Something in the condensation there. IF something tends to condense on that edge, or drip on it, you would get that “wide top narrow bottom” pattern as the reactant got used up in flowing downward. I’d watch for any tendency for liquids to “run that way”. It might be only during 100% humidity, or only after tropical storms blow in, so would be easily missed unless inspected in all conditions. Even just surface dust, entrained in condensation, can make a strong electrolyte. Think about “acid rain” as an extreme example. So major storms picking up salt spray for transport, or just roof runoff with fireplace ashes in it making alkaline water, or even just lime heavy water from a sprinkler hitting the unit and running to that corner.

    These two interact, too. So a wet electrolyte corner with the right leakage volts on it can also exist. An accidental electrolytic reaction cell.

    I’d inspect the inside of that top cover over that corrosion line for evidence of liquid seeping in.

  105. ossqss says:

    Thanks again guys. The corrosion on the dead coil was only where the screws went in and contacted the fins, and only those fins. There is a protective coating on them and that was definitly disturbed by the metal screws. That pic was just one of the several spots. There was no other corrosion on the coil anywhere else aside from the locations the screws touched the coil fins. I have return end filters so there was virtually no dust in the system. I checked for transient voltage and found none at the time of replacement install. There is one electromagnetic valve control that connects in that area, but I was unable to check for voltage when it was back in operation. It will be thoroughly inspected on the next PM.

    Have a great weekend all!

  106. E.M.Smith says:

    Does sound like electrolytic failure from bimetal junction of iron / aluminum with air exposure from loss of coating. Chromium, major constituent of stainless steel, is 1.66 electronegativity so almost the same as Aluminum, plus makes a very tough oxide layer.

    Whatever they do, I’d be tempted to replace any iron screws with SS screws… and coat the area with something approved… But that would depend on IF their repair comes with renewed warrantee…

  107. ossqss says:

    Here is a shot of another area that shows the isolation of the corrosion. I was tempted to remove and spray the cold galvanizing on all the screws, but did not want to jeopardize any warranty since it’s covered complete for 10 years. Maybe they will learn? Have a good one and off to happy hour!

  108. jim2 says:

    Chloride ion penetrates and degrades the protective oxide layer of metals.

  109. jim2 says:

    Chloride also acts as a conductor and facilitates galvanic (electrolytic) corrosion.

  110. Larry Ledwick says:

    The guys who race out at the Bonneville Salt Flats are in a constant struggle with salt driven corrosion and many of them use this stuff which supposedly chemically checks salt corrosion.

  111. jim2 says:

    LL – so what might that be? Water? :)

  112. jim2 says:

    Looks like it might be mostly water, with a surfactant, and a corrosion inhibitor – possible sodium silicate or disodium metasilicate. There are other salt corrosion inhibitors.

    Click to access da5b3137885363efcc09090ba9dae1229959.pdf

    Click to access SDS%20Salt-Away%20(USA)%206%20Pages.pdf

  113. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes the spray is mostly water as all such treatments are, you can buy the concentrate and dilute to your preferred concentration in a home depot spray bottle if you want to pay for a quart or gallon on the concentrate.

  114. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting story I was not familiar with regarding how America came to the aid of a devastated Russia in 1921-22 and fed 11 million people. It sets the stage for the modern tradition of America being there to help devastated countries after disasters, all started by Herbert Hoover.

    PBS The Great Famine video
    53 minute great experience episode.

    Has graphic images of the starving and dead from that famine.
    It provides some ground truth of what really happens when a society is undergoing mass starvation.

  115. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve read about various famines. They are pretty horrible.

    One particularly interests me. It is one of the oldest ever documented. During an extended drought in Egypt. There is a stele with inscriptions describing it. The numerous dead. The crazed. The most creepy part is the description of parents eating their own children. (It didn’t say if they had died of starvation first… so that’s unclear but implies they were done in…)

    When I was about 7, my Mum mixed up a single can of tuna and mayo and took me, the tuna, and a single slice of bread to the back yard. She then let me have ONE spoon of the tuna, and one bite of bread. Then said “Imagine if this (the bowl) was all you had to eat for a week.” and a bit more along the lines of needing to make it last. Being that way for months.

    That this was what they had gone through in the Great Depression and W.W.II in Liverpool England.

    My Dad, when courting, would send interesting coins to my Mum-to-be for her to save for him for after the war. Giant pennies. IIRC one was a sliver sixpence (whatever was the equivalent of a dime). When he next came back, he was bothered that she had spent the coins instead of saving them. What had it been spent on? ONE lump of coal (only to be used in the worst cold) and a bit of food.

    My Dad told me stories of the Great Depression. Made sure I understood to always have or be able to grow food. How, at about 12, he would be given ONE .22 LR shell and sent out in the snow of Iowa. He was to bring back a rabbit for dinner. He got to eat if he got a rabbit (and would be given another single .22 LR shell…) but dinner would be thin if there were no rabbit (and a different son would be given the shell.) Needless to say, my Dad was an excellent and very patient shot. He told me (taught me) about the hard time being in early spring. You had eaten all your winter stores, but the garden was not yet producing. He had a love of radishes. Why? They are the FIRST food of spring. In about 4 weeks you have radishes (and skinny green onion baby plants). I came to love the ‘relish tray’ made with baby roots (“thinnings”) largely due to the story presented with it first of spring harvest…

    So I learned about pacing your consumption so your stored food lasts not to the end of winter, but to the first harvests of spring radishes. How the turnip will overwinter in the ground and be sweeter for it, and that turnip greens are edible. So plan some overwintering roots to eat while waiting for the radishes… and eat your greens ( turnip, beet, etc. FWIW, Radish greens are edible – barely- but with a hairy kind of feeling to them)

    I had several years of that drummed into me. That’s what happens when your parents lived through the Great Depression on meager rations, at times on the farm, most of the time in town in Liverpool.

    For better or worse, that “training” has shaped much of how I plan for the world… No “movie” needed to “get it”, as it was ‘splained to me often and young… And I think it adds a special depth to when I have seen such movies. A visceral memory of the intensity in my Mother’s eyes as she said “Now imagine that’s ALL you get ALL week.”

    It is why I have interest in what plants are edible. What plant PARTS. (Why I’ve eaten green bean leaves, broccoli and cauliflower leaves, roasted squash seeds, mustard greens picked while fishing, even tried radish leaves and carrot leaves. To know, when times DO get bad, that when you pull those first thinnings, if you are really poorly off, don’t toss the tops.

    I now make a game of it, when driving around, to pick out what’s edible around me. Acorns (if washed to remove the tannins), dandelions in yards, all the parts of their gardens folk leave behind when harvesting the “traditional” parts, lupins (eventually making lupini beans), camelias in bloom (a rough form of tea and the flowers are tasty), wild oats and wild barley (foxtails) along the roadside. Bunches of pigweed or the “miners lettuce” I’d pick walking to school as a kid. And on and on.

    Well worth a download:

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