Monthly Archives: July 2015

Mormon handcarts

Mormon handcarts for evacuations

Recently while checking up on friends and family on Facebook I ran across a picture of a family I know. They were participating in the sesquicentennial celebration of the pioneer trek the “Mormons” [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints] did when the early church migrated to Utah. The hand carts that they built and used for this trek were very sturdy and could carry a heavy load. The people were very sturdy too, both then and now.

Literally these people carried all of their worldly goods with them. They walked over one thousand miles rain or shine, pulling the handcarts for months on end. In this day and age how many of us could pull that off today? Not many I bet.

Every year our town has “Frontier Days” 9 days of rodeo and party. There are 4 parades during this time and the local LDS members [Mormons] always has handcarts in the parades. Very interesting to watch.

Hold that picture in your mind and follow me down this rabbit trail if you will. ; ]

I have seen what some people call their 72 hour kits. Some of them have weighed in at 70lbs and they think that they are going to bug out on foot when the SHTF. Or worse they don’t plan on walking at all so they have boxes of stuff in the car and then hit the long parking lot of the freeway out of town and use all of the gas in 10 miles of bumper to bumper traffic.

With this in mind another friend and his family built a Mormon handcart to base their bug out plans on. I think that he had a good idea. Following is a report on how large of a payload could be carried by the handcarts.

***The handcarts generally carried up to 250 pounds (110 kg) of supplies and luggage, though they were capable of handling loads as heavy as 500 pounds (230 kg). Carts used in the first year’s migration were made entirely of wood (“Iowa hickory or oak”); in later years a stronger design was substituted, which included metal elements.[10][11][12]
The handcart companies were organized using the handcarts and sleeping tents as the primary units. Five persons were assigned per handcart, with each individual limited to 17 pounds (7.7 kg) of clothing and bedding. Each round tent, supported by a center pole, housed 20 occupants and was supervised by a tent captain. Five tents were supervised by the captain of a hundred (or “sub-captain”). Provisions for each group of one hundred emigrants were carried in an ox wagon, and were distributed by the tent captains. Excerpted from ***

Don’t Hand Over Your Rights

Don’t Hand Over Your Rights

[used with permission of the author]

By Bradley Harrington

Published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on July 3, 2015.

“What is true of every member of the society, individually, is true of them all collectively; since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of the individuals.” – Thomas Jefferson, “Letter To James Madison,” 1789 –

Last year in this space, I said that July 4, 1776 was the day when “the Second Continental Congress ratified the most radical document ever penned in man’s history: The Declaration of Independence.” (WTE, “Where’s the character of 1776?”, Jul. 4, 2014.)

This year it remains for us to discuss: Just what was it, exactly, that made that document so radical?

Was it that fact that the people, not the rulers, were placed in charge? No, for the democracies of Ancient Greece had attempted that previously, and the results were not improvements on individual liberty.

In point of fact, it could be argued, as James Madison himself did in 1787, that “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” (“The Federalist No. 10.”)

The Founding Fathers were greatly worried about the implications of unlimited majority rule, as they saw it as a vehicle for the rise of “factions” and the suppression of the rights of individuals and minorities through the rule of the vote.

No, the essence of the American Revolution, ideologically, lay in understanding that in order for property rights to be protected, it was just as necessary to limit the ability of society as a whole to infringe upon them as it was to guarantee those protections from other individuals as well.

It was this belief that led to the creation of our republican form of government, and perhaps the philosopher Ayn Rand said it best when she remarked that:

“The most profoundly revolutionary achievement of the United States of America was the subordination of society to moral law. The principle of man’s individual rights represented the extension of morality into the social system – as a limitation on the power of the state, as man’s protection against the brute force of the collective, as the subordination of might to right.” (“Man’s Rights,” italics hers.)

In the American view of government, in other words, the power of “society” to control the lives and property of individuals is just as limited, and just as subject to, the standards controlling personal discourse. That “society,” as such, has no rights, above and beyond the individual rights of all of its members, and that the very purpose of society, indeed, lies in the peaceful organization of individuals and their property.

This was the achievement of July 4, 1776, and the importance of that accomplishment simply cannot be overemphasized in regard to its impact on personal liberty. Your individual rights are yours by right, not by anybody else’s permission – and, in the American view, the very purpose of government lies in the protection of those rights:

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” (“Declaration of Independence.”)

That is what makes the Declaration of Independence so radical and unlike any other social proposal in man’s history. And it is the animating idea, the driving force, that led to all the rest.

Today, however, you are hearing voices tell you that the rights of individuals must be “limited” to take the “needs of society” into account. Indeed, does hardly a day go by when some obtuse politician, from a Cheyenne City Council member on up to the President of the United States, doesn’t tell you so?

Such fools are completely ignorant of the facts of our American history; their voices are the utterances of would-be despots, totalitarians and dictators. And the greatest danger you face is that you will swallow their twaddle, thereby handing them a victory over your remaining liberties they would otherwise have to wrest from you by force.

Don’t do it! No form of exploitation can continue for long without the consent of the exploited, and the greatest weapons in your arsenal are a solid understanding of the proper role of government in your life – as well as a profound refusal to grant any wanna-be authoritarian the “right” to control the peaceful use of your property.

So, while you’re heating up the barbeque this Independence Day, perhaps you should pull out a copy of the Declaration and read it. For, when you have finished it, you will once again appreciate the heritage that created what used to be the greatest country on Earth – and, possibly, just maybe, come to understand the nature of the collectivist forces that have been at work to destroy it ever since.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming; he can be reached at

magnesium fire starter

Safety issues in using the magnesium fire starter that we carry. Actually this started out as the package insert of the fire starter and then we decided to do a post on it.

Fire starter www.PrepareSurviveThrive.US

Gather tinder in a pile next to where you intend to start your fire. Use the driest material available. You should have 5 times more tinder and kindling ready than you think you will need. Unless you have extra hands available and foraging for fire wood – gather 5 times more of that than you think you will need for the night. Lay your fire.
Pare a small pile of magnesium shavings – at least enough to cover a quarter. Use a sharp knife or other metal tool held at 90 degrees to the magnesium block. The magnesium shavings will burn extremely hot [over 3,000 degrees] and fast.
When ready strike the Ferro rod [flint] aiming the sparks toward the magnesium shavings.

To prevent serious injury and property damage: keep away from children, wear ANSI-approved safety goggles and heavy-duty work gloves during use, use as intended only, inspect before every use. Magnesium in solid form is safe do not pare shavings until ready to use. Clear ground of flammable material 5 feet around fire site. Do not leave fire unattended and be prepared to extinguish fire completely. Gather more fire wood than you think that you will need before you start the fire.

If there is more than just you in your party you can assign someone to gather more wood while you tend to camp chores such as starting the fire, setting up camp and cooking. When someone is back in camp who can tend the fire you can go out and get other things that you need done such as gather water for cleaning or [gasp, is he really going to talk about this part?] go to the toilet.

Keep in mind that fire is a dangerous servant who will destroy you if you drop your guard.



Over the last several months I have been noticing that there are more reports in the media about the rise in heroin overdoses in older Americans. None of the reports had any explanation on why this may be happening. For the most part it was just kind of interesting in passing to read of the phenomenon as part of my background is in substance abuse counseling. I have worked both inpatient and outpatient facilities.

Some of our discussions on this topic of the reported increase have included causes such as the down economy and general dis-stress in older populations leading to recreational use / escapism. That is one of the easiest conclusions to reach. Another possible explanation is the era that this age group was raised… the ‘Baby boomers’ being teens in the 1960 -70s and going back to their roots.
These speculations were logical and reasonable in general.

OH well, this does not affect me directly and I have other things to worry about like dealing with this website and other work. And besides that now that we have Obamacare there is hope & change coming to take care of all our troubles.

Over the last few weeks we have also been discussing the situation in a neighboring state decriminalizing pot and how much the state is raking in on the taxes generated from the regulated sales. For good or ill our state is going to be following in that state’s foot prints and setting up a similar system. A few of the benefits of the state doing this is of course the added revenue which always pleases politicians. For the people there will be no need of back ally deals gone bad and hopefully ‘better’ quality weed.

One person that we know has been making use of the now legalized pot. Not for recreation, but for pain management. He reports that the pot does a good job relaxing him and decreasing the pain. Why would he do that, given that he is covered for medical treatment? WELL, that is the $64,000 question isn’t it.

There is a big push on in the medical profession [DEA] nationally to decrease the prescription and use of narcotic pain relievers. Think about this – someone who has chronic pain which they have trouble dealing with on prescription medications gets told by their doctors that they have to cut down on the pain meds [because the DEA says so] and the patient suffers more because of this. What are most people going to do?

What would YOU do in that situation?

Most people are going to do whatever they have to do to control that pain. If that means using pot, they will. If it means using heroin [a less pure form of morphine] they will. This leads us to the increase of heroin overdoses. There is little to no quality control programs in the manufacture and distribution of heroin and other street drugs. The dealers in order to make more profit will cut [dilute] the heroin, some more than others and sometimes with stuff that is harmful, so the user does not know batch to batch how much of the active product they are actually taking which leads to increased dosing and finely an over dose and death.

Practical application FRS/GMRS radios

Practical application FRS/GMRS radios

Many people plan on making use of the FRS/GMRS radios during an emergency situation. As long as you keep in mind the actual capabilities of the product and that the advertised capabilities are misleading at best, the FRS/GMRS radios do have a place. Albeit very limited use. If you need to talk just a few blocks and there are a lot of people in your area making use of the radios, stock FRS/GMRS work fine without walking all over most other people.

These radios have a cruddy, stubby fixed in place antenna. The up side is that you don’t have to fiddle with it, the down side is that you cannot put a better antenna on, nor can the existing antenna be tuned. The other issue is that the stock FRS/GMRS radios are limited to 0.5 watts….. that is one half of a watt.

Your local music / news radio station broadcasts around 50,000 watts. The antenna is very tall and really good. Point being that if their signal only goes 100 – 150 miles normally, how far do you really expect the stock FRS/GMRS signal to travel? In most cases in the real world it will not be the 20-38 miles they claim.

Finely getting to the point of this post ;]

In situations where regular communications are down and you have a group who you want to keep updated on local information in a SNAP [situation not as planned] time. You can use the Baofeng type of radios to A. monitor the FRS/GMRS chatter and B. with a GMRS license you are allowed to transmit at up to 50 watts of power. So during an emergency you can update your team on vital information. Just like your local music / news station.

If you have a large area of town to cover and several people to communicate with it would be helpful to have more than one communications hub to be able to hit everyone. This is a good idea in general as you should not have all your eggs in the one basket. One possible configuration would be the main hub in the center of your area of operation. Then another one at the four corners of the area. Set up properly the main hub would hit your whole area. If the main hub is down for whatever reason traffic can be handled by the other hubs. You may have to have each of the sub-hubs to broadcast the same info to be able to overlap to cover your whole AO.

Bartering bikes

We have a guy in the neighborhood that purchases used bicycles fixes them up and then sells them. With the price of gas and with the economy not being so good he has really started having trouble keeping bikes around. He said that people who are on fixed income or that don’t have much money are starting to come to him more often to get bikes as their only mode of transportation. He lives in the lower income section of town so he is right in the middle of the people who are having the most trouble.

On the other hand we had one bike that we weren’t using any more, along with 2 bikes that the grandkids had outgrown and 1 bike that needed work on that we did not know how to do. So the question was what do we do? Try and sell our bikes in a garage sale? Put an ad in the paper? And then after we sold them, if we could, we would have to find other bikes that the grandkids could ride now. That would mean looking through the paper for used bikes their size or coming up with the money for new bikes both of which take time.

The solution we came up with was taking all of them [total of 4] over to his place and negotiated trading them in for 3 bikes that were usable for the grandkids to ride and was in workable order. Bartering is a good way to get rid of what you don’t need any more and getting what you do need. We ended up not paying anything in the process and we got what we needed and he got more bikes to sell.

So a couple of the take away on this is that you can trade for things that really do not need to be new, thus saving money and that you can take a skill such as working on bikes and turn it into money.

Product review Baofeng radio

Product review
BAOFENG UV-5RE Dual Band Amateur Radio
Frequency Range: 136-174 / 400-480MHz. Dual-Band Display, Dual Freq. Display, Dual-Standby
• Output Power: 4 /1Watts.
• FM Radio 65.0MHz-108.0MHz

This is a handy little radio. It is convenient to carry in a shirt pocket or on your belt. The stock antenna is good enough for most applications, however there is a better one available for longer range use and you can of course connect the radio to an external antenna for vehicle or base use. It only took a few minutes to get the radio up and running straight from the box. After the initial test I did go ahead and charge it overnight. The standby time was great, almost 36 hours. There is a nice feature with on this handy radio that allows you to listen to FM broadcast content just like your vehicle radio and monitor the selected operational frequency too. You can walk around listening to the local music station and when someone calls you it will interrupt the music automatically. Same thing when you transmit. Besides the enjoyment factor this provides it also ensures that the volume does not get turned down inadvertently. Another feature that comes in very useful is that it can be set to scan all the frequencies on whichever band it is set to.

In casual use the radio sounds good and during one test we were impressed with the range. One radio with the stock antenna was inside of the office, the other radio also with a stock antenna was inside of a vehicle parked 3 miles away. On low power [one watt] the transmissions were clear and strong. Of course this was not clear line of sight as there were buildings and trees between us. This was between 2 Baofeng radios. We tested a set of stock FRS/GMRS radios and did get decent communications for up to 0.25 [1/4] miles [not the advertised 20 to 38 miles]. When put to a similar test with 1 Baofeng radio and a stock FRS/GRMS radio we got about one mile of spotty communication. [the problem was the cruddy antenna on the FRS/GRMS radio]

Overall the BAOFENG radio is a great buy and well worth the money. I would buy it over any brand of the FRS/GMRS walkie talkies any day and for not much more money. During an emergency the Baofeng is a great radio to have.
You are of course responsible for checking your local laws before transmitting. There are NO restrictions to listening to any frequency that you can hear.

To find out more information and to order a set go to

Update 2016 – 09- 20

Update on the range performance of this radio. I made direct contact with a station that was between 250 miles and 700 miles away from me. I was transmitting on 4 watts [high] power and we could hear each other well with a bit of static at the extreme ranges. How is this possible from a hand held radio in the 2 meter band you ask?…. ;] The international space station is about 250 miles straight up with line of sight out to around 700 miles and your window of opportunity is only about 15 minutes to talk, along with a bazillion others trying to talk with them too.

Evac kit container


Perhaps the second most important ‘thing’ about emergency kits, is something to carry all that stuff in. Having a container that is well organized, makes for easy access of any item during a frantic moment. Periodic inventory is also easily accomplished when you have a printed list and your equipment organized in appropriate containers that are laid out in an orderly fashion. The container you must be easily carried by family members. There are several types of containers you may consider.

BACKPACK: This is the most convenient, versatile, and appropriate container in which to store and carry your Evacuation Kit. We strongly recommend that you consider this type of container. It should be of large size, of waterproof nylon or leather, lightweight frame (internal or external), padded shoulder straps, and padded hip belt. It need not be expensive. If you are not able to use your car to evacuate, a backpack will allow you to carry your kit comfortably for long distances while freeing your hands for carrying small children or other items.

BELTPACKS (fanny packs): These must be a waterproof nylon or leather and are especially good for expanding a backpack. However, they are simply too small to be seriously considered for a 72-hour kit by themselves. However, the basic essentials such as fire starters, knife (s), string, iodine tablets and signaling equipment should be carried on your person.

POLYETHYLENE PLASTIC BUCKETS: These are air tight and waterproof, but are also awkward to carry for any distance. If you do use one of these be sure to attach a sturdy padded handle. They come in four, five, and six-gallon capacities.

DUFFLE BAG: Very awkward to carry long distances. If used, get the kind that has shoulder straps and looks like a backpack, which makes it almost as good. Also be sure to get one made of water resistant nylon. Do not use ones made of cotton.

TRUNK OR FOOTLOCKER: Must be sturdy, and waterproof with strong, padded handle(s). They are great for placing in your car, however, they are very difficult to carry when full, and generally require two individuals.

PLASTIC GARBAGE CANS: They hold a lot of items and are good for initially collecting items in for the kit, but to carry them, even just to the car, is difficult at best and impossible for most to do. For this reason I discourage anyone from considering using a garbage can for his or her 72-hour kit. If you do use a garbage can, get one with wheels.

LUGGAGE, wheeled. Get the kind that has good wheels and strong straps/handles. A main compartment with several outside pockets is best, if you are going to go this route.

This is just a start on the topic. Cross ref post about the Quick Start Guide book.

Trips 19

19 **************

Back to planning and packing.
Water bottle – There are lots of options here. There are collapsible ones, metal ones, hard plastic ones – and many of them have a carabineer on them so you can hook them to your belt or daypack. There are also carabineers made specifically to hold a regular water bottle (or soda bottle). They are very inexpensive and you just replace the bottle with a fresh one when it is empty. Many backpacks and belly bags also have a water bottle holder, too. If you are going to be doing a lot of walking or if it’s hot, it’s best to stay hydrated.

I might add a note here about flavoring. If you get tired of “plain old water”, several companies including MIO, Crystal Light, Dasani and Kool-Aid make a small bottle of concentrated liquid flavoring. Just squirt it into your bottle of water until you find the right strength and shake. They are small, convenient, and relatively cheap and will flavor many bottles of water from one small bottle. They even come in dozens of flavors.
[also see the re-0hydration drink in the first aid section- R] Depending on your preference for caffeine, check the bottle closely. Some are considered “energy” or “sports” drinks and have more caffeine and some don’t have much (or any) at all. Maybe high caffeine to get your engine started in the morning and the other for later on. You could take two or three of the little bottles in different flavors in your backpack and not take up much space or add much weight. There are also powdered packets of flavoring (Crystal Light) but they are pre-measured so if you like yours stronger or have a larger bottle, you might need a pack and a half – wasting the other half pack. They are lighter to carry, however.