How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Having Multiple Backup Plans Is Critical

So on our way back from our Farm last weekend, we ran into a rather interesting situation.

For those of you familiar with Washington State, there’s only a couple of major highways that go East-West through the Cascades.  I-90 and WA-2 are the main ones.  We generally take I-90 since it’s the easiest drive.  Not quite as fast as WA-2, but close enough.  And there’s more rest stops.  Lots more.  Very important with kids.

Anyhow, it’s anywhere from six to seven hours drive from point A to point B.  About half an hour out of the pass, we see a temporary sign on I-90 Eastbound saying that the highway is closed.

Fantastic.  This will eat up a bit of time.  But hey, I know exactly where to go, because I’m fairly familiar with the route in general.  No problem.

So we pull off at the exit as the signs direct, and I make the turn to get on the smaller highway that will take up about 15 miles farther West.  I figure that by then whatever has I-90 closed will be out of the picture.

Oh, and there are no detour signs or anything.  Just road closed signs.  Nice.  But hey, like I said, I know how to get where we need to go.

All is well, until a couple miles farther down the road the highway we’re on is closed too.  Aww crud.

Yet again, no more signs that tell us where to go other than “This road is closed.  Take that one over there.”

But I’ve never been down this road.  I know that it takes us way up north to Wenatchee.  I suspect that there’s a way to get back to I-90, but I don’t know for sure.

An hour or so later, and we finally make it back to I-90 on the other side of the closure.  Which was caused by a semi truck rolling due to high winds and catching fire.  Fantastic.

The main problem here, and lesson learned?

We had no detailed maps.  I can drive that route in my sleep.  And I know most of the alternate routes.  But I wasn’t ready to have to do two detours in quick successions.  I knew that I could get to WA-2 from there and switch to that other main route, but that would add another hour and a half to the trip. Winging it worked, but it was a gamble.

We had a GPS that helped, but having a paper map would have been much better.

Bottom line … having one backup plan just won’t cut it.

I’ll be examining our life a bit more to see where I need to add some more redundancy to our plans.  You should consider doing the same!

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4 Responses to Having Multiple Backup Plans Is Critical

  1. Hi Rudy,

    Welcome back. I missed your posts over the past few days. You are pretty high on my blog reading list.

    I always try to have a paper map with me wherever I drive in addition to the GPS. Occasionally, my phone battery will die and I don’t have a charging cable, especially if I am in someone else’s car. Of course, I have my charging cable in my car.

    Most of the time, I need a map when I travel. But, your point is places you drive the most are where you will most need a map.

  2. Yes, Rudy…I too missed your posts and like Jim, they are priority with me. This one caused me to consider my life without technology. We all talk the talk…and even walk the walk when it comes to storing those things we might need in the event of catastrophe, but are we really training ourselves as we should? (More difficult for those with children) Perhaps one 24 hour period per month, we should actually spend as if we do not have these modern conveniences/technology. It may well open our eyes to the small,but important things we have missed in prepping; like a paper map. Believe me, my vehicle now has a paper map. Thanks.

  3. This highlights not only the importance of redundant plans, but also knowledge as a prep. What I mean is this; ten years ago no average Joline would have considered a paper map backup to a GPS, the paper map was the plan and the GPS was an expensive but neat gadget. Joline would also have (presumably) known how to read a map, not just follow the line she was driving but understand all the assorted symbols, and read the road signs, again, not just “stop” and “yield” but understand the significance of highway mile markers, the difference between state/county/federal highways, etc. Knowing that there are limited east-west routes in Washington, even if one didn’t know exact routes, one could make an educated guess that two consecutive detours in the same direction mean it’s probably pretty far to the next passable road. If you have no idea where you are, a mile marker will tell you how far from a major city, a federal highway can be expected to have (any remaining) law enforcement, and a county highway would be most likely to take you past things local residents use, like water access and stores.

    Now consider. How many people under 25 have had to use paper maps enough in their lives to be really good at it? How many of us oldsters have let the skills slip? So how useful is the (maybe out of date if you rely on GPS now) paper map your family has trouble using? This applies to lots of areas we have let the computers take over. How many phone numbers do you let your phone remember for you? Does your body know when it’s morning or does your alarm clock? Can you cook or can you use microwave presets? These are crappy examples because technology has become so common place it’s hard to even realize what all it does for us. I agree with Debra, take a day a month or a long weekend and try unplugging yourself. You wouldn’t pack your BOB with items still in their packages from the store, instructions unread, un practiced in their use. Well, the entire world around you is also a prep, if you have the knowledge to use it.

    Sorry to be so long winded, Rudy’s post always make me want to have a loooong prepper conversation….

    • BE as long winded as you want!

      The nice thing about our trips out to the Farm, at least for now, we tend to stay away from most electronic devices, and there’s no internet at our place … have to walk down to my parent’s place for that.