Posts Tagged With: survival


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I visited the Arts Council Gallery while on an errand in San Andreas. Mary Jane Genochio, who runs this amazing group, was discussing earthquake preparedness. She has a motor home and was talking about what you keep ready for disasters. She has her important papers ready to place in the motor home and pictures and some medical supplies. That works for fire evacuation as well.  I told her I’ve carried a survival kit in my car for years and I took her out to my car and showed it to her. I had removed two pieces of the survival kit because I was having work done on my car. So, when I got home, I decided to check my survival kit and explain why I do it.

My small car is a 2001 Prius. The picture above is my back seat. It has a body pillow and under that a lounge cushion, a blanket, and two pillows. In a pinch, I’m short, I can sleep in my car comfortably. The cushions can be removed and easily slapped on my garage work table if I’m carrying an adult in the back seat.  But, mostly it’s been my grand kids. So, at least one cushion rides with me all the time. The seat belts are useable no matter what.

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In my glove compartment,  next to the driver’s seat, is a headlamp, two pair of warm gloves, eating utensils, napkins, nail file, wash cloth and a few miscellaneous items, plus a towel covers my front seat. I always have a jug of water, a garbage can, and maps for the areas I travel. I have a Garmin GPS, but it doesn’t always work accurately.

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This is my trunk. On the left is a cushion covered in plastic. A piece of rug in the bottom of the box. Both allow you to sit on something other than bare ground if needed. A military shovel is upright at the back of the boxes. Chains in the middle box and I always carry a jug of water. The right third of my trunk holds my survival kit. I always have enough room for groceries or carrying a bag of mulch or something home from the hardware store even with everything you see in my trunk.

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The right third of my trunk holds my survival gear. Notice a folded windshield screen next to the folded stool.

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My foldable stool is handy to sit on, and it is filled with stuff.

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A stuffed full backpack.

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And, a stuffed full carry-all.

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When I unloaded those three items, you can see that the bottom of my trunk has a tarp that can be placed on the ground and prevent wetness. Or hung over a clothesline for emergency shelter from rain.

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When I pull back the tarp, an extra blanket. I used to carry a small one person pop up tent under that blanket when my grand-kids were little. It would hold two of them. I gave it away when they got too big for it.

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The windshield sunscreen can actually double as a solar cooker. I’ll go into solar cooking on another blog.

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Unloading the stool first, here is a toilet and fire starter.

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A bungee cord, wipes, eating utensils, a mosquito net, small saw, bungee clothes line, and a small net bag in which one can put a note, nail it to a tree, or hang it from a bush if you were lost in the woods and wanted someone to find out where you went. The handsaw can cut down a small sapling or branches from a tree or bush.

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Let’s examine the “toilet”. I know this is an icky subject, but I’ve had occasion to use it several times. The can holds a bunch of plastic bags, to line the can in the event you need more than a urinal. The urinal is a hospital appliance that I carry in a burnable bag.


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Also in the stool is a package of wrapped sanitary napkins. They can sop up water, staunch blood from a wound or used as a sanitary napkin. Inside the can are pieces of cardboard, paper, dry wood chips and a propane torch to start fires. I’ve never been a boy scout and would hate to take the time to start a fire that way.

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Unloading the back pack I counted four jackets of different sizes, and two sweatshirts.

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Now, I see more toilet paper, a note bag with paper and pencil, ropes, one with hooks, one without; a light scarf and two plastic ponchos, matches and a candle in a plastic bag; a heavy scarf and a wool knit cap; five individually wrapped pairs of socks, and a sewing kit., a spare pair of shoes, and a folding knife. Hmmm. This pack has morphed into too many jackets, no extra pants, no clothing for hot weather, no hammer or stakes, and I remember having those things at one time.  It needs major updating. I’m glad Mary Jane inspired me to look at my survival kit. But I have another packet to unload.

I’ve run out of time because Jim and I have an appointment at the Vets in Sonora and I have two appointments for bids on my car damage.  I’ll have to come back to this tomorrow.









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Mesa Verde means green table. And, for desert, this high mountain place is green.  The drive  Mesa Verde National Park at  7,500 feet was a challenging pull. The drive to the various ancient dwellings on a twisty hilly road provides you beautiful views of the valley below.

It takes 45 minutes to drive the 25 miles to the Long House. We stood in line to get tickets for our guided tour.  The tickets are only $3, affordable and young children can climb the ladders. No water or food in the canyon. When  you go, read all the rules before you start.

A panoramic view of this ancient  cluster of dwellings, set into a stone mountain suggests to me why it is called the Long House since it sits in a long crevice in the stone. ( Click on pictures to make them larger.)

The tour starts here, with these two ladders. They are easy to climb. The guide allows 90 minutes for the tour from start to finish. Plenty of time to look around and rest if you need to.

The first building we looked into was quite intact.  The Puebloan People crawled into their dwellings through a small door. Windows were often smaller than this one, and gave very little light.

This is what it looks like inside. Jim teased a little girl on the tram ride back and asked her if she would like to live here if they would install a television set.  Of course,  she said no. The climate gets very cold and very hot here.  Archeologists believe the ancient ones  spent as little time inside as possible. Mostly to store goods, sleep and cook in winter months. 

Looking down into one of the dwellings shows a fire pit with a deflector in front of it.  The chimney that brought in fresh air is behind the deflector, so not to blow embers or smoke around. Smoke went up through a hole in the roof.  It is amazing to think these people lived her around 568 BC.  Archeologists  know the dwellings were continually occupied for 200 years. Then abandoned and then lived in a second time.

No one knows how many people lived in this cluster of dwellings, but their middens show they hunted elk and the bones in the midden got smaller and smaller as the years passed, suggesting they had over hunted and game became scarce.  Knowledge had to be passed down to younger generations, and the average lifespan was 32 years for men and 36 for women. They were good architects; survivors; capable of eking out a living in a sparse environment.

Building here was no easy task, picking the stones, carrying them in, making the mud. This rock shelf had a small spring at the back wall that now grows moss and mosquitoes. Life giving to the Puebloans.

In the floor were grinding holes next to the water visible as a thin layer on the right.

And on the  floor, a moccasin footprint .


It is easy to romanticize and imagine the congenial families, children cavorting, enjoying story telling around a fire at night, women weaving, looking out over the beautiful canyon. But, the lifespan, the sparse living, suggest more work than play.

We hiked back up to our tram and got off at the Pit Houses. These ancient dwellings are covered for protection and precede the cliff dwellings.

This community of ancient peoples dug homes into the ground. We visited four covered sites  within easy walking distance of each other.

A large Kiva, where ceremonies and religious rituals  were held suggest a large community.  A drawing of what these dwellings looked like with a roof over is at one of the sites.

Why did they dig homes to live underground?  Why did they cease their formerly nomadic life style to live in “permanent” dwellings? One pit house had evidence of a fenced enclosure around it. Was it for protection?  To hold livestock, like turkeys?  No one knows. Archeologists suggest the planting of corn, changed their lives from nomads to farmers. They used practically every plant in the canyon for food and medicine.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how they lived and imagining being set down in this hostile climate and  being able to survive. For us, not possible.



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