We wanted to start a diary of one of our favorite shows and comment about the preppers that are highlighted from our own perspective sitting in our nice comfy living rooms on Tuesday nights. The diary will be collected as a running commentary from the show by two of our writers Cornelia and Pat. We hope to be able to complete this season by watching already aired shows in re-runs.
We are starting at an odd spot, episode 215 entitled “Hit the Ground Running” that aired last night (2/5/2013) so let’s go!
The first set of preppers are here: Former firefighter medics John and Kelly who are motorcycle riders living on a prepping homestead in the mountains of Virginia in preparation for a total economic collapse. They had witnessed the chaos that ensued after hurricanes in Florida and bought forty-one acres to live a self-sustaining lifestyle. They paid $180,000 in cash for their land and farm and live without any real bills.
They live a modest lifestyle using the farm as their total sustenance. They have no savings, do not work and they don’t have an income outside of their farm. They have chickens and goats for protein and a nice garden. They have no bills at all except for cell phones and cable TV.
CA: What about the taxes on that farm? Don’t they need money for that?
Overall, though, John and Kelly have a good-looking setup. They are able to get water from a mountain spring but they don’t have a large supply of food stores.
CA: Why aren’t they canning?
They have three bee hives and plan to use the honey in a grid-down scenario as barter. Their neighbor Sharon helps them with their bees in return for charging her batteries.
PH: They have nice decorative English hives which means they don’t take this seriously.
CA: Three hives are a great start, and they need to get some honey. Looks like Kelly needs to barter for a new bra.
One excellent addition to their preparedness plans is a serious bank of solar panels that they say cost them an additional $99,000. They are currently selling power back to the power company and will use the solar power capacity in a SHTF scenario.
CA: I hear that power companies are ending the practice of buying back electricity.
PH: Another $99K for solar on top of the $180K for the house. EMTs? What am I missing here?
PH: One problem with solar is it only takes a big rock to make those panels worthless. Theirs are on the ground which means they can be stolen easily.
The narrator says they have no fallback plan, nowhere to bug out to.
PH: They are bikers so they must have friends with guns, right? Am I stereotyping?
John and Kelly go to the local hardware store in town to purchase additional security options for their retreat.
CA: A bear trap for security? What are the odds someone would step on it”?
PH: It looks like four hangers welded together, did they get ripped off?
John and Kelly are shown on the front porch testing the trap and it appears to work nicely on a stick.
PH: I prefer the .223 “trap” from 200 yards.
Another plan they have is to store remote caches in various locations around their retreat property. The caches have supplies such as food, medical and clothing.
PH: They put it in a big cooler and covered with a camo net? Why wouldn’t they bury it?
They also have plans to retreat into the hills if they are overrun and take out any aggressors with a sniper team method. John is the “sniper” and Kelly is his spotter.
PH: Here comes some real protection! That isn’t a bad plan to retreat to the hills for the high ground advantage.
John and Kelly both have what look to be standard AR-15’s and John just called his weapon a “high-powered sniper type weapon”.
PH: An AR as sniper rifle? Why not a 30.06? They are much cheaper and more effective at that range. He could have a .308 though.
CA: Kelly is geared up like Rambo now. At least she appears to have resolved the bra issue. Why does John have a camo face mask and blue jeans?
John and Kelly plan to head into the hills and they have camouflage ghillie suits hidden in caches to conceal their location and movement.
CA: Kelly is the spotter; wasn’t she wearing glasses earlier?
The final assessment from Practical Preppers is that they don’t have enough food. At this criticism, Kelly laughs. “A year’s worth of food is ridiculous!” And they are given the estimate of 13 months. The narrator says for the hundredth time, “Experts believe the chance of an economic collapse is remote.”
PH: What the hell is remote? I still have issues with these assessments. Let’s see what happens to the next prepper.
Next up is Brian. Brian Brawdy is a former police investigator and wilderness survival expert in Illinois. He is married with two young kids, but no one in his family is into prepping like Brian. In fact we don’t see them for the entire episode. Brian Brawdy fears the nation will come under attack by terrorists. He has created an ultimate bug out RV he calls his “Mobile Base Camp” and “Off-grid Office.” The RV will protect him and his family from the upcoming terrorist attack because he plans to drive away and migrate to safety.
Brian has his own podcast that he broadcasts every week which is a great way to potentially reach millions.
CA: His dog looks bored.
Brian says he got the motivation for the Mobile Prepping by observing the patterns of birds who migrate to find better locations to live. He believes terrorists could possibly attack and he wants to be able to move freely if the situation calls for it.
PH: I really like his truck, but one flaw is that if there were a major emergency, the roads would be clogged.
CA: His truck is super clean; will he have a problem if things get dirty?
Brian has solar panels on top of rig and a wind turbine to power his RV without the need for electrical sources.
CA: Too bad that wind turbine will kill all of those migrating birds he was talking about.
Brian’s RV is outfitted with a year’s worth of freeze-dried and other types of food. He also has several water pumping options.
PH: What about a big fat gun?
Brian has buried multiple caches and has marked them with his GPS. He has options in there for food and water purification.
CA: What if GPS fails? Brian’s going to be walking in circles digging holes looking for gear while the bad guys watch him and wait till he finally gets it before they spring.
Brian’s main concern is that he will be stranded without fuel and unable to find gas to fill up his diesel RV.
CA: You are just now thinking about that? Brian needs to bury some gas tanks.
The show demonstrates how Brian is going to solve that problem. He has called a friend who would not give his name to show him how to siphon fuel.
CA: Why would anyone abandon a fuel filled vehicle in a doomsday scenario?
PH: His friend, who shall not be named, has a really nice truck too. I have truck envy.
CA: Siphoning is just not that difficult. Do we really need a lesson in this?
One question we have is why does he keep aimlessly driving? Why not save the gas now?
Brian goes into RV parks but never stays the night preferring the quiet and safety of a secluded camping spot.
CA: He is just dumping his poo at the RV location. Gotcha!
Every night Brian takes great pains to ensure his vehicle is hidden from sight and rolls out camouflage netting to disguise his truck.
PH: Camo netting is a pain in the butt. Brian gets props for that.
Among other security options he has Brian has installed infrared cameras on his RV so he can detect anyone trying to sneak up outside when it is dark. If the situation arises where Brian is about to be overrun by a group of invaders, he will speed off into the night.
PH: No quick escape with camo nets and giant vehicle.
Brian also gets a fairly good evaluation from the team at Practical Preppers. I think I am going to call them the Impractical Preppers.
Next preppers are Frank and Elaine. Frank is a contractor from Maine (rhymes with Elaine). He is also an amateur pilot who enjoys spending his golden years flying around Maine with his wife, Elaine. Frank feels that his most important prep is his own body, so he dedicates his life to being physically fit and constantly active. His wife Elaine is a former fitness instructor. They are both prepping for a collapse of the world banking system caused by hyperinflation. Fearing such a collapse, Frank is trained by an experienced cage fighter known as the Irish Hand Grenade. He learns to defend himself using nothing but his body.
They make supply runs. They have buckets of Wise Foods that they are unloading from his prop plane into a hidden underground bunker on what looks like an island. They have also been training with MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) expert and we get to see some lessons and sparring. This should be fun!
PH: No rules in doomsday so why not cage fight? This seems to make sense.
CA: Elaine looks stunned when the instructor talks about walking into a bar, scanning for possible weapons, and when the need arises for self-defense, violently smashing another human being in the skull with a glass ashtray that may be sitting on a table.
The “Irish Hand Grenade” is discussing how he sizes up any room he goes into and says he has actually been to a class on how to kill with empty soda can.
CA: I wish I had some soda.
To see how Brian would handle a confrontation, the two gear up and the Irish Hand Grenade tells Frank to come at him. This will additionally show how Frank will handle the typical adrenaline rush that comes with a fight or flight scenario.
CA: Frank’s inner predator came out, but the Irish Hand Grenade just totally crashed Frank into the fence. Sixty seconds later and it’s over.
PH: Now Frank is stunned and has a cut on his cheek, but kudos to Frank.
The Irish Hand Grenade says that what this demonstrated was that Frank has courage.
CA: Frank did not look all that pumped at the end. Poor Frank.
During the break we see a commercial featuring “the most interesting man in the world”.
CA: I bet he has awesome prepping gear.
Back to the show. The narrator says that there are no roads or hiking trails to Frank’s bug out location and you can only get there with a plane.
PH: What if there’s an EMP attack? Or his plane is destroyed?
CA: Or the Irish Hand Grenade becomes desperate and comes at Frank and Elaine with an ashtray in his hand?
Frank has an underground bunker that they are carrying supplies of Wise Food into; it is 140 square feet, has electricity and plumbing.
CA: Doesn’t it look romantic? I bet Frank and Elaine go in there and…..nevermind.
Elaine has even devised a way to cure the lethargy that may set in if they are forced to stay underground. She has created various exercises that could keep her and Frank in good shape even if they are unable to venture out.
CA: What? I would lie around and eat Oreos. The world is ending for crying out loud.
Knowing that just one bunker isn’t a perfect strategy, Frank has built a second bunker he plans to bury much closer to his home.
PH: Uh oh, back up bunker closer to home. You can never, I mean never, have enough bunkers!
CA: I bet Frank has bunkers everywhere.
This new bunker has been built using all of the know how Frank learned from the previous bunker, but is larger. Additionally he wants to ensure this will protect him and Elaine in case someone tries to break in using explosives.
CA: Frank fears angry Mainers. People in New England can get out of control. They might throw lobsters at him.
They test the strength of Frank’s new bunker by exploding dynamite in a safe area. The bunker seems to make it through with flying colors. It moves slightly but that’s about it. As they wrap up this show, Frank drops some wisdom. “Better to be a couple of months early than a couple of days late.” Amen, brother!
Summary: Most economists think the chances of a collapse are slim. So let’s just lie around and eat Oreos. Who are these experts anyway?
Thanks for reading. We will have another review next week on Doomsday Preppers.