Photography or personal safety…

I’ve decided for a little change of pace.  While at work today, I had the opportunity to give directions to a lady in her early sixties, traveling alone, in unfamiliar territory through the mountains, guided via GPS.  She had decided she wanted to drive the scenic route.  So, using her handy-dandy internet pre-printed directions and her Garmin GPS, she set out to drive across the state.  I am a huge fan of both adventure and drama in my own life and can understand the need of others to put more into theirs.  I’ve run into ghost towns, abandoned towns, settlements and structures from days long past.  (Self-inflicted drama, should you live through it, makes for some great and even comical stories to share with others, if you live long enough get the opportunity.)  I believe this post will fall somewhere along the lines of Rob’s,  This is certainly not a replacement for his recommendations, and not packaged as cogent and coherent, but I believe it follows nicely with his theme of being prepared.

First and foremost:  If you are traveling into remote areas you are unfamiliar with, take along a good atlas or map of the area (and surrounding areas) and even more important, know how to read them.  A good travel atlas of your particular state will identify paved roads, gravel roads, county roads, fire roads and even areas you don’t have any business being in in great detail.

If your travels take you thru the mountains or the desert or other such remote locations, your cell phone (GASP) will not work!!!  This is a great way to annoy any teenagers you may have in your life, provided you brought earplugs to mute out the incessant whining, Oh wait, the Ipod still works, never mind…  Seriously, communication will be virtually nonexistant, so make sure someone responsible knows where you’re going and when you plan to return.  I’ve been on an “afternoon” hike turned dark that led me four hours up a mountain, and two-and-a-half back down, in the winter, with no flashlight, no matches, a non-working cellphone and just the light of the moon to guide me  back down.  I was able to follow my own footprints in the snow.  Hey, I can be incredibly uh, silly? at times, too.

As with any trip, take along appropriate amounts of emergency food, water and protection.  (No the prophylactics in the glove-box don’t count).  New Mexico has a state law that treats the vehicle as an extension of the home, therefore as of this writing, it’s legal to carry a loaded firearm in the vehicle.  Research the laws in your state and any others you may be visiting just to be up to speed on your rights and responsibilities regarding firearms, or other weapons you may possess.  I am not now, and do not consider myself to be paranoid, but there are bad people out there who don’t share your or my values, and even wild animals who, to the best of my knowledge, have an even more limited respect or commonality with our particular values.

Take it from someone who’s been there more than a time or two, be prepared and you’ll have a lot less interesting stories to tell, but you’ll be around long enough to tell them.

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17 Responses

  1. Rob Northrup says:

    You said there are bad people out there who don’t share your or my values, and even wild animals who, to the best of my knowledge, have an even more limited respect or commonality with our particular values
    At least the wild animals have the excuse that they are hungry most of the time. The human animals are just predatory creatures who do not deserve the leniency they are often given.

    Seize the Day,

    Simple Family Survival Tips For Disasters and Emergencies

  2. Bryan says:

    Road trips where you are unfamiliar are very exciting..although with the adventure I have found that there can be stretches of great boredome.

  3. In my job I get asked directions all of the time, I live in a area where there are many homes. There have been a few times where way out in the middle of nowhere people have stopped and asked for directions along with people stopping me and asking where I was going. You are so right about being prepared – food, water, flashlight and if your state isn’t socialist a firearm.
    Scott Sylvan Bell
    Now go implement!

  4. All your advice and tips are good. I am constantly amazed at how many people forgo a good map and rely solely on GPS and other electronic devices.

    In all cases it pays to be prepared and that includes such items as food, water (I live in the desert and people literally do “die” of dehydration on the side of the road after a breakdown) and some form of protection.

    Steve Chambers
    Body Language Expert

  5. Thanks for the tips. It is easy to set off on an “adventure”, but being unprepared can be dangerous. A friend and I got stuck in the mountains in Switzerland about 10 years ago. We had been sledding and hiking on a glacier, and the regular lifts closed. I got altitude sickness, and we had to walk about 5 miles down a mountain in the twilight to get to a town before we could even contemplate getting to our hostel in the next town over. We even tried hitchhiking (which I would never do under normal circumstances), but apparently the Swiss do not do that. While it makes for a funny memory, it was a brutal day that could have been catastrophic.

    Fun and Free Activities

  6. This is some really good advice Dewayne.
    I had a hiking adventure one time in the Black Hills where we miscalculated
    how long it woudl take us to travel the route we were on.
    The sun set sooner than we expected & the trail became harder to see
    and then it got cloudy & cut off nearly all the moonlight.

    HAd one of us knuckleheads thought to pack a flashlight with spare batteries
    we would’ve saved ourselves a lot of grief getting back to our vehicle
    after a 14 mile hike instead of an 18 mile hike!

    The Success Secrets

  7. Dale Bell says:

    Lots of good information. When I was a youngster we carried shot guns and rifles in the back window of our trucks when we went to high school. Now even with a hunting license I am half afraid of having a gun in my vechile.

  8. It’s a good think that lady encountered you and not someone who might have wished to do her harm!

    I’ve heard so many stories of people getting lost using GPS that I don’t really see the use of them.

    I love road trips, but I usually have a cooler full of food and supplies with me. Gonna have to add a gun to that list (at least in New Mexico).

    Sabrina Peterson, NASM CPT,CES
    Fat Burning Home Workouts

  9. Sonya Lenzo says:

    I used to sell Prepaid Legal and one of the benefits for the employees was an insurance package called trip insurance. If you had this insurance, you simply called a number and said, I will be gone from (blank) to (blank). If you did not return home within a few hours of your return time, the authorities began to search for you. You could even do this if you were going on a first date. I thought it was a cool benefit.
    Sonya Lenzo

  10. Shane Kester says:

    Duct tape, super glue, garden gloves, a baby diaper and a banana peal are in my car at all times. I think you can fix anything with duct tape and super glue, garden gloves are for hot engine parts, the diaper is for the baby that can’t hold it till we get home and there always seems to be a banana peal somewhere in the car no matter what.

    - Change Your Thoughts and Improve Your Life -