The first thing you need to do is establish your immediate location and route to where you intend to flee if you must. There are several different types of maps that you should consult, if not own outright, and they are as follows:
- Local atlas/road type of map with streets and metropolitan areas readily identified
- Topographic map: preferably military (DMA, or Defense Mapping Agency is your source) of the immediate area
- Maps from the State/Federal Forestry services for your area
Once you have these resources, then you can accurately identify your route out of there, and your new location to hide/hunker down. There are some avenues you should specifically consider on your E&E. Let’s go over them:
- Railroad tracks: most of the time, railroads must make their tracks accessible for repair/refitting trucks and equipment. This usually involves a “built up” area that holds the track, sloped off and then followed by a large “bare” stretch that can hold a vehicle, almost akin to an unpaved “secondary” road. THE KEY TO THIS IS A SUCCESSFUL RECONNAISSANCE! You don’t want to drive along such a route and parallel the tracks when the time comes for the first time…only to find you must stop at a railroad bridge that is about a quarter of a mile long…so you don’t do the “Nestea Plunge” into a two-hundred-foot gorge. That’s a bad thing. You need to know the whole route…all the way to your final destination.
- Rivers: What direction do they flow, in relation to your destination? East-West, or North-South…it makes a big difference and will be specific to your location. Also, are there any large bodies of water such as a lake or a bay or such in your immediate area?
- All the Roads to your Destination: You need all of them…the highway, the road, the firebreak, the dirt trails…every possible conceivable route by vehicle. Then you need to prioritize them…in numerical order of preference…as to the route you want. You also must find points where these connect. For example, you may have as your #1 route an “Interstate Highway 66,” but the bridge is out on part of it. Where is a jump-off point to #2, #3, or #4 that you can use? All this needs to be meticulously planned and written down.
Because you may die or be taken out of the picture, and your family will have to appoint a new or temporary “leader” and follow your directions out of there.
- Airports: It may just be that you’ll need to fly out of there, either by your own hand or with someone else as a pilot. It may behoove you to know where the nearest aircraft and the nearest pilot (friendly to you and your cause) can be found.
- Major Harbor points with access to open ocean: self-explanatory, but once you go there, do you know what you’re looking for? Types of vessels that can hold you and your family, and your entire vehicle?
When you conduct the E&E, will you be taking your entire family with you at once, or will you rendezvous at a location to continue onward? This second option would mean that each family member traveling separately will need a plan of their own, and then to link up with you to continue the overall plan. We are now going to pose a series of questions to help you assess where you are at this point in time.
There are some skills that will need to be assessed and then brought into play. Do you know how to pilot a boat? Do you have such a boat available for your use, if the time comes? If not, the moral dilemma: will you commandeer one? How about seamanship, regarding the open ocean? Do you have any experience, and do you know how to navigate using only a sextant and compass, without electronic aids? Do you know how to fly, either VTOL (as in helicopters) or fixed wing aircraft?
Regarding a driven route, do you have at least 3 good viable routes planned for use, with connecting points and checkpoints to enable you to switch from one route to another easily and fluidly? What are you driving, and how much gear/supplies/equipment will you be taking? More than one vehicle? How about fuel?
One thing I’ll tell you about that will be a tremendous help if you can swing it. A mini bike, all the way up to say a 200-cc dirt bike. You can throw that bad boy in the back of a pickup and then use it to scout and perform reconnaissance on an area ahead of the “main element” of your family. Although great on gas, motorcycles are not the most efficient way to get out of dodge as a family, unless you’re one of the Hell’s Angels or a family of Evel Knievel-type daredevils without a lot of gear.
Plan refueling points, rest areas and hide spots (to hunker down) along the way on your routes. All this planning needed to be done a while ago. If you’ve planned it out, then good job. If you haven’t, then this article may be something to stimulate you to act. That is the whole point: preparation promotes a good follow through. The key to success is being able to act decisively when the time arrives. You’ll have to go with your observations and go with your gut on it, according to the situation, making changes and adaptations as you go. Keep in that good fight, and plan your route to get out of Tombstone before the gunfight at the OK Corral begins.