Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Montreal, Alergies, WWz and stuff

We heading to Montreal for the weekend on a little getaway. I've never done much up across the border and couldn't set up meeting any fellow bloggers so we walked.
A lot.
We put in about 30 miles over the weekend, it's an interesting city. 1.5 million people that seem to be very friendly, get along with each other and don't care about much. The crowds were very diverse and unlike the States, no one really cared who was what. There were also a lot of really nice old churches, something I really enjoy checking out.

 I'm a sucker for really nice stained glass. While none of this compared to the Florence, Italy churches, it was still nice to see.
On the way home we flew to Texas and then back up to Colorado Springs. That large 'cloud' is the Walsenburg area fire, 80,000 acres and 40,000 feet tall or so. My allergies had some relief while out of town, but were very debilitating once I landed and milled about for a few hours in the yard. I had to break down and see a doctor for some real medication and picked up some air purifiers for the house. I was able to sleep last night for a change, so the medication seems to be working.
The air purifiers, and I picked up 3 of them, are large and a little loud but they worked great last night when the smoke from the above pictured fire settled in. The wind blew it up fast and low, visibility in town was down to 1.5 miles but inside our house it was perfect.

While in Montreal we hit the cinema for some world war z action. Grocery store scene was pretty awesome, something I think about often if shtf happened. The movie was great, to us, I'll probably see it again this weekend to pick up on all the little things I missed. The popcorn isn't as good in Canada, but it's the small things that matter.

I have some work to do this week on my get home bag and load-out. I have a new thigh holster an g-code insert to piece together, either there isn't enough time or money. Isn't that how life works.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

3 photo day

This falls under: Things you better not do at work if you are in the Military. I made it large in case you don't want to click on it.
Things are flowering and killing my allergies (newly found), but they look nice anyhow.
Finally, another few days and it will be time to thin the plants out in the garden. I know, there is a big unused space, couldn't think of what to plant there and I wanted a working area.

and a thanks to Magpul for providing 40 round p-mags to Colorado residents before they hit the stores, before the capacity law goes into effect.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fathers Day

In true me style I decided to do something at random and ran up a small mountain in celebration of Fathers Day. Completing something that's challenging is a great way for me to remember my Dad, he had the best never give up attitude I've ever known.

It's a nice view, and it's already hot outside. It was very spur of the moment, I didn't even have my normal running attire on, but up I went. The trick with running up single track is to take small steps and use more of your toes instead the majority of your foot. This way you work your calf muscles, on the way down you work your quad muscles as you impact with long strides and try not to trip.

My new get home bag setup seems to be working out great, this is the first time I've hauled it anywhere. Between the pack and the hard box I have a lot of gear, but all suited up it's very comfortable. The latest addition was a hydration pack but it's much better than water bottles. I carry 3 purification systems; life straw, purification tablets and a charcoal in line filter. Most of my routes home follow the railroad tracks, and most track follow water.

The river in the pictures above is the Arkansas river and it's very dirty with all of the spring runoff, I don't have any coffee filters in my bag but I'll change that when I get home. I can use a shirt for a pre filter if necessary but it doesn't get all of the fine silt out.

Enjoy Fathers Day, do something exciting, challenging, fun.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Algeries and smoke, no thanks

Luckily I'm a few hours away from any fire, but the smoke still settles across everything at night. On my walk for coffee this morning I could smell the smoke but it should blow out in a few hours. I'm pumping my body full of histamine blockers, super. But I am doing fun stuff, how about running up the side of a hill...
and back down... guess what part is harder.

My friends house is still standing, so that's great news. After we bailed out with his family, they came in and bulldozed his front yard and set up a command post. I told him to send the S.O. an email asking that they give the chickens some more water.
The brown house in the middle is his, only a few tree's close to his backyard. This picture is from a few hours after we left, the winds didn't change direction and the fire was still creeping instead of jumping (in his area). Like I mentioned in the last post, it did creep enough to get the people on the other side of the street across his front yard.

The fire has been moving North for the most part, but turned around yesterday burning back onto itself. 5% containment, ~400 homes and 2 people, that's the current count.

It's unfortunate that people don't evac when told, especially for a fire. I'm as stubborn as anyone, but come on. They made calls two times to a friend saying they were packing up and then leaving, in the second call the friend said he could hear the fire in the background. They died in their car, in their garage. Tragic loss of life, the garage door doesn't work when there isn't power. What could be in a home, my home or yours, that would keep you there that long even if you weren't prepared. We have two dogs and two people, how much longer than 3 minutes do we need to be out of the gate and on the road.

It's frustrating to hear about this kind of thing. I keep seeing interviews about people who left their animals in the house but have a car full of crap that will get stolen in the hotel parking lot. Criminals don't take time off, a lot of hard lessons being learned all over again.

Next year home insurance rates will go up again. $400 this year, from last years fires and hail storms. Just like healthcare, everything is averaged and spread around, but I suppose I shouldn't rant on that. I'll just say life isn't fair all the time and fair and equitable doesn't mean good for us.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The SHTF fire

The text fired across my screen: "anyone who can help evac, meet at Safeway @ 18:30"

This picture is on the way, hitting 80+mph as we sailed across town on a rescue mission. He is a group member, fellow employee and great friend and his brother lives 1/4 mile away from me, so we are all very close.

Obviously plenty of fuel for the fire. This area, Black Forest, is the only area away from the mountain that has a lot of tree's. I suppose at this point I can say that it did have a lot of tree's, not anymore. I took this picture and then we drove away a little bit. The structure in the lower right....
This picture has the same structure in it, we only moved 1/4 mile away in between the 2 pictures
This picture is from my friends driveway. He isn't in the tree's, he has defensible space, but there isn't much on the other side of his house to save. The fire was less than 1/4 mile away but it was moving slowly (in our direction anyhow), since the wind was blowing it North East.

I've been in a lot of situations before, including fighting forest fires. I feel, at times, I've lived several lifetimes of adventures. This was the first time our group had to react to something. Half of the group was working and couldn't get away but the core group was reacting. We had everything set for new living quarters but opted for the group bug out location.
Once we got everyone to safety, including the vehicles, I made sure to tell everyone there that it's just stuff and while it's going to suck and be painful if it's lost, the important stuff is out. Easier to say, but that's what it is, stuff.... even those old photo's and memories.

This morning I checked in with him, and he doesn't know if his house is still standing. He was in contact with a neighbor, across the street in the tree's that lost his house. There were bulldozers and air drops and hot sot crews, so we are holding out hope, I give it a 30% chance.

8000 acres, zero containment, 40+ structures lost.

I leave in the morning for some work about 2 hours away. We have to go the back way, another fire has the main road closed in that area, 3800 acres burned, zero containment. I'm leaving work early to get loaded up with all of my gear, more than usual.

When people laugh or give me crap, I'm going to show them one of those photo's and ask if they could be out of the house in 5 minutes and have everything they need. Do they have a group of people to call on that will not only take care of them once they evac, but be willing to drive into the danger to get them out.

People can make fun, call us crazy, but when SHTF for this family they were ready and so were we.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On fire... again...

The great thing about having a network of LMI's is that you can help each other. There is a huge fire on the North East side of town. A friend and group member is getting his stuff together for the evac phone call. His in-laws already have been evacuated, he is only a few miles away from the same spot.

We can't help him evac, they won't let anyone in the area. We can help with logistics, lodging, food, etc. Being displaced sucks, with 3  young children it's worse than sucks.

Hopefully they drop a fire ban. It doesn't help with idiots, but it's a start. No smoking outside your vehicle, no fire, nothing. But just like last year, who wants to warm up by a fire when it's 97 degrees out?

5 months at the gym

I love the solitude that running the mountain trails provides, the gym is certainly not a solitary environment but it's proven to be a welcome change. A year ago, had someone told me I would be in the gym instead of on the trails, I would have laughed. I love running that much and simply being able to tell people that I run 200+ miles a month... well considering the average American can't run 1 mile, it's pretty crazy.

I started at the gym in October with a trainer. I knew what goals I had in mind, and while it wasn't cheap, I needed the direction that only an expert can provide. There is so much crap information out there about proper training at a gym. Running is simple, you put on your 'sneakers' and just run, eventually figuring out you need real running shoes. Beyond that, you can be like me and get a running kilt and short-shorts.

In mid January my trainer moved and it was time to stop having my hand held. I had dropped a lot of fat and strengthened my core, and now it was time to move on up into the heavy weight area of the gym. I've done some bullshitting and bad workouts, but the majority of the time I give it my all, constantly tweaking my routines and changing thins up entirely so I don't stagnate.

I track what I do, I visit the gym an average of 4.5 times per week. I've only been hurt a few times from doing stupid things, but I just let that muscle group rest for a few days and I'm back at it. No different than knowing how many miles I ran each day, telling someone exactly how far it was on a selected route to this spot, that tree, said cliff, etc.

Bench press has gone up 110 pounds, deadlift has gone up 170 pounds, rear squat has gone up 155 pounds, bar curls have gone up 60 pounds, I can swim a mile, I can see my ab muscles. Some of these numbers are mind boggling to me but I've always had strong legs from running so it's sort of a natural progression to hit such big increases.

I still run some as well, and my times haven't changed on the selected routes. The big difference is running requires more carbohydrates, something I don't get a lot of, so I just airborne shuffle for 5-6 miles, no problem. In fact, this past Saturday I ran without my shirt on, something I'm proud to be able to do again, at 40 years old (and not have people gouge their eyes out). I can still bust out a half marathon, and it would still suck since it sucks to be slow all the time, but at least I can still do it.

Mind, body, soul, food, medical supplies, seeds, water, gear, training, knowledge. There is so much to work on, all the time, it's a wonder anything at all gets done. Being prepared for whatever isn't easy but at times, many time in fact, it can be really rewarding. Hopefully the more serious stuff is never needed, but in the meantime if you need heavy things moved about just let me know.

Monday, June 10, 2013

How long can a list of chores possibly get?

The back of junk mail envelopes are a fantastic space to make lists of things to get done. I work with and around computers all day, at home I like the old pen and paper. The list went all the way down the back of an envelope, and rolled onto the front side. How does this happen, it's not like I don't get things done during the week.

To make it harder on myself I pulled a muscle doing deadlifts the other night. Normal chores are harder when you can't bend over, so imagine my excitement knowing I had to spend about 6 hours in the gardens and yard. Being a sucker for pain I went for an hour long mountain run early Saturday morning. It was hot, and it's going to be hotter this week, perfect for endurance training in the hills.

The weeds are up, the lawn is done, the bushes are watered, the house is cleaned, etc. Everything is growing really nice, but for some reason the beets are an utter failure. I'm going to replant them and see how it goes, luckily they are a quick crop. I'm still amazed how much time I spend doing these kind of things, no wonder many people aren't into trying to be more self reliant.

I managed to finish a few books as well; dark grid, dark road, a new world: dissension, and a re-read of American sniper. I'm a fast reader, and am awaiting an order from Amazon with about 6 more books. We finally hit the theater and saw the latest Star Trek. There were a lot of great previews, how fast are those Zombies in World War Z.... yikes. Star Trek was good until the reactor scene, let's not redo everything that's been done before, in reverse.

I just watched the WWz trailer again... I hope the movie doesn't let me down.

Friday, June 7, 2013


I stopped in and talked with my favorite Arab's yesterday, having been out of touch for a few months, and of course I asked how the families were doing in Syria. I was surprised.
All I know is what I see in the media, so had formed assumptions that the uprising/rebels were what the people wanted and even needed.
Here is what I got for information, from my friends talking with their families.

The majority of people in Syria support the government, and the government controls a majority of the country still. Some of the families live in "rebel" controlled areas, and since they are Christian they are resorting to wearing veils, headscarfs and traditional Muslim clothing. This is to prevent being beaten or raped.
**I was under the impression that life was better in the "rebel" controlled areas and that the majority wanted the Assad Government ousted.**
Out of the dozens of family members between the 3 combined families, spread out across the country, there isn't one single account of firsthand or even secondhand chemical weapon usage.
**What's all the news about the obvious use and everyone knows about it, especially when the Vice President was foaming at the mouth about it?**
Hezbollah is backing the government forces and if they prevail it will cause the country to be full of terrorists.
**We are backing the rebels and yet can't explain why, so you get support from whomever you can, including Russia.**
The majority people of Syria want help from everyone to oust Assad
**The people of Syria want to be left alone and had a good life until the uprising. People are leaving the country but who can blame them. We all know what happens when the UN or the US back an uprising in the Middle Each. is Egypt any better? Lybia? Afghanistan? Iraq? (well it's better in some aspects, much worse in others). I'd gtfo too.

I deleted my facebook, don't miss it. I wasn't super active on it but would still click it a few times each day. Now people can call me, I'm so old fashioned.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Before we got our group up and running, I had been reading prepper/survival type websites and message boards, for years. It seemed to me that the majority of groups could all be clones of other groups and of those group members.
Where was the diversity? Can people really not get along well with others unless those others are clone like?

If all you have is beans and rice, that will get old and tiresome, really fast. Does the same apply if your group members are all the same? The same being around the same age, religion, ethnicity, thinking, etc. Many message boards/blogs have people talking about how to find groups, how to make groups, who would be allowed in groups, etc. It seems people limit themselves to whatever they are... if you are a WASP, everyone in your group is probably a WASP. What happens when you have diversity...?

Our group is 100% Mormon, except for us two. During the planning for the group BBQ, here is a text conversation:

Me: BBQ for real, Sunday at 6, (address of BBQ). BYOB.
Member: BYOB?
Me: Yes, we have everything else covered, if you leave hungry it's your fault
Member: What kind of beef should we bring?
Me: Beef?
Member: Bring your own beef
Me: Beer
Member: Oh.

Not only had I never imaged that my view on Mormons would change from what I was told/taught growing up, but to be in a prepper group with about 20 of them never entered my mind. It also never entered my m ind that BYOB was anything but bring your own beer/booze. We learn from each other, the more diverse your group members, the more things you can learn and stereotypes you can break.

It's fun to break barriers and stereotypes, it's nice to see people open their eyes, and it's nice to have mine opened as well.
In all fairness the ward bishop did bring some beef, but he knew what BYOB meant.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A "BBQ group" BBQ!

Never, and I do mean never, in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that we would have had 20 children at our house. It was like a small invasion... of small people.

We decided instead of having a serious meeting each month, we would get together once in a while and just socialize and get to know each other. We volunteered for the first social event, since if there is one thing we can do well is host a BBQ.

20 children, 13 adults. This is what we prepare for, these are the people who are the future who deserve every opportunity we can give them. They are not ours, but they are family all the same and that makes us all push forward and drive on. Train harder, run longer, lift heavier, prep/store more, etc. None of us want anything to happen and we will head off whatever turmoil we can while being ready for a time that most of us feel will come.

In other news I watered the biggest tree in the yard with a simple siphon and our rain barrels. It's supposed to rain this week but the tree still got 50 gallons of good water. It helps that it's located at the end of the rain barrel overflow system. Once the garden plants get bigger I'll use this water on them, but since it's a bucket brigade they need a bigger root system than 1 week old.

That guys expression says it all, but he should have been focused on not landing on his head. Insanity Mud Run was a blast, we are getting a team together for one later this year. It's better to do an event like this with a team since it's not about the win. I did watch 8 people severely sprain or break an ankle on this finish line obstacle. Why do people flail about when they fall, that's never helpful.

The garden is booming, after one week. We have cucumbers, squash, lettuce, beets, onions, and potatoes popping up. Might be a banner crop.