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Other maps to your Bug Out Location

April 7, 2013

Hi again, already, folks.


Well, maybe it’s a ‘guilt trip’ for slacking off (and being nasty sick for a few days), but here I am again this weekend, posting. This idea, which I had covered in my eBook,  Surviving Urban Crisis , deserves to be here as well.


This time, we tie back to my bug out map article from October last year, where I pointed out the extreme usefulness of typical free web map services to get all kinds of alternate road maps to your Bug Out Location. By dragging the route marker line to avoid the big cities and other probable obstacles, you can print every conceivable  alternate and back way for your ROAD TRIP to your BOL. That single part, being on a real road, is the last chance for that method. If the roads are too dangerous, impassable, held by hostile groups (NATO troops, gangstas….whatever you personally consider ‘hostile’) or your Bug Out Vehicle has failed, run out of fuel (HOW could you have let that happen!?) been carjacked away from you (rehearse your planned security to prevent that), whatever the case let’s now assume you’re on foot. Might even have been on foot to start with. Could this now be turned to an advantage? Well, maybe so.


A good prepper has backups to their backups. And that’s the idea for today’s blog…..backup routes for your backup route. Remember that ancient old tune ‘I been workin’ on the rail road’? Well, we’re going to be ‘I been WALKING on the rail road’. YES! Railroad lines! How many times do we drive over the tracks at crossings and wonder ‘where does that track go?’ Have you even thought about that?


English: Rail Lines to Hebden Bridge

English: Rail Lines to Hebden Bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The bottomless pit of useful and useless information, the internet, can again help us out here, by giving us access to railroad maps for almost every state in the nation. Search ‘state rail road map’, see if your state has a decent map in PDF format or an image you can capture from the webpage. Some of these maps are wonderfully detailed such as Iowa’s map where they have turned abandoned rail lines into hiking trails. Who could guess there were that many abandoned rail lines in one state! If you’re lucky enough to live in Iowa, you can use this rail map to get all over the state while having minimal contact with roads. More than likely though, we’ll have to be using active (at least at the start of the crisis) rail lines in our bug out travels. So, as you travel along the rail bed, keep it quiet to give yourself a bit of warning that a freight train may be coming up behind you. As the crisis worsens, I would head for cover as this unknown train gets closer…perhaps it may be loaded with hostile foreign troops. When you’re on foot, it’s a good idea, imperative, even, to keep it quiet as we travel just for standard OpSec (operational security), with a scout a ways in front of the group which should also be strung out at a distance from each other, just as if you were on military patrol. You want an experienced, if you have such, person on ‘point’, or at least someone who can remain alert and cautious as the miles unwind. A daydreamer on point could have all of you wandering into bad trouble.


As your ‘scout’ approaches road crossings, bridges and the rails wander into small towns, they will have to get back to the group and then the group will have to decide if they want to get all close together into a weapon bristling knot as they continue on through the town, or string out and individually cross the rail bridge or road crossing. Be aware, there’s no such thing as a plan working every time, but the military generally keeps their boys spread out as they maneuver through hostile territory. Some of these bridges, out west and so forth, can be pretty spooky, way up high over the canyon or river that’s being crossed, with little or no effort to keep foot traffic from falling off. It’s a railroad bridge, after all, not designed for hikers to cross.


English: This is the Rail-Road Bridge present ...

English: This is the Rail-Road Bridge present on the Godavari River (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


If you have people with personal problems with high places, they will need help to get across. If you should come up on something quite obvious, such as a dozen trees felled across the tracks, it’s time for ‘group think’ again, because ‘somebody’ doesn’t want foot traffic coming down the tracks here! What to do? If you’re well armed, you ‘could’ decide to have the scout forge ahead, carefully working around the downed trees, keeping very, very alert for whatever hostile or defensive position you’re wandering into that somebody has taken large trouble to put up, and once the situation has been scoped out, get back for a briefing. Or you can backtrack to another way around. The report from the scout would decide the issue.


Also, we might consider power transmission line rights of way as yet another alternative route source, also probably mappable from the ‘net. But, these routes, unlike the rail lines, can and do cross some pretty rough terrain, as they’re not worrying about a nice flat as possible route to haul freight. They follow the path of least resistance to their destinations, going over rivers, canyons, swamps, hills and mountains. And farmland and residential back yards, where you’ll have to climb over fences while you ‘trespass’ on private property. Gas pipe routes would be slightly better than electric, because they avoid canyons and such, but not farms or back yards.


So, there you have it, a few more ways to get from here to there and back again. But, unlike the hobbit tales, you’re unlikely to meet actual goblins, but you ARE likely to meet some unsavory characters!


Be safe, stay alert….survive.






  1. Lots of really good recommendations for those of us who aren’t ex-military. Some things I’ve not thought of but very valuable information. Thanx!

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