My family escape plan needs revising

Editor’s note: Long before gnomes invaded my living space — in fact long before there was even a Roamin’ Gnomials — there was a family escape plan. The year was 2003 when I penned this letter to my family, and I can’t remember exactly what was going on that prompted me to write it, but obviously those times were fraught with peril. A lot has changed since 2003. All three children are married and moved from where they were living then, and my squirrel-chasing dog has gone to the great beyond. I guess the kids and grandkids are no longer my direct responsibility, but it still pays to have a plan in place, especially if it means you can use it in your blog when you’re too lazy to write something new. Readers wishing to use my old plan as a rough guide should feel free to do so, though of course the details will vary according to your particular circumstances. The following has been edited for clarity and with an eye toward privacy for all parties.
The yellow highlighting on the map charts the path of the I-70 refugees, while the green highlighting charts the path of the refugees fleeing along I-80. We'd try to meet up in Altoona, Pa., the first checkpoint in the 30-300 plan.
The yellow highlighting on the map charts the path of the I-70 refugees, while the green highlighting charts the path of the refugees fleeing along I-80. We’d try to meet up in Altoona, Pa., the first checkpoint in the 30-300 plan.

Dear family:

As I’m sure you all know, our nation’s Office of Homeland Security has recommended that all Americans lay in a three-day supply of food, plus rolls of duct tape and plastic wrap to save us from a possible biological or chemical attack by Saddam, Osama, or some other bugger we don’t even know about.

Is it just me, or does duct tape seem useless against biological weapons?
Is it just me, or does duct tape seem useless against biological weapons?

I think most of us, with the possible exception of Rebekah, already have that much food in stock, so the food part is not a problem. I don’t know a lot about chemical or biological weapons, but it seems to me that if someone is willing to spend billions of dollars developing such a device, a roll of duct tape from Home Depot is not likely to stop it, so I think we’d be wasting our money there.

 One thing that was recommended, however, was to develop a family escape plan, and I figure that might not be such a bad idea. Here’s my thinking on it, and since you’re all either grown or almost grown, I’m inviting comments and suggestions before we adopt this plan or another as official family policy.

 September 11 taught us that bad things can happen, and with G.W. stirring the pot, bad things could certainly happen again. And living on the East Coast as we (unfortunately) do, I think this region is a bit more likely than others to be hit again. Complicating matters for us is that we’re pretty much spread out, with me working nights in Newark, Mom spending lots of time (as a teacher) with the brats of Warren County, Rebekah tromping the boards in East Stroudsburg, Pa. (as a college drama student), Aaron mostly in Sussex County, and Leah in the nurse business in Baltimore.

Now I’m no expert on national emergencies, but I have seen enough Mad Max movies to know that things could get downright nasty if we are attacked. A worst-case scenario could halt transportation, cut communications and generally make life pretty miserable for awhile. We might get separated and we might feel the need to get back with our tribe, so to speak.

That’s why I came up with the 30-300 plan, which stands for 30 days and 300 miles. So here are the specifics: Looking at a map, there are two Interstate highways, I-80 and I-70, which likely would become major routes of evacuation to the west. Interstate 70 runs west from near Baltimore, so Leah could try to flee that way, whilst the rest of us would attempt to escape along Interstate 80. So what I’ve done is identify towns that are midway between those two routes where we could meet. Look at your handy Walmart road atlas and you’ll see what I mean.

Unable to find family members in Altoona? Just leave a message with a friendly and helpful vigilante gang before moving on to Marion, Ohio!
Unable to find family members in Altoona? Just leave a message with a friendly and helpful vigilante gang before moving on to Ohio!

Now you might be asking what the 30-300 business is all about. Remember, I’m making this a worst-case scenario, where we have no communications, sporadic travel opportunities, etc. So what I propose is that every 30 days from the time when the emergency begins, we’d travel another 300 miles west to another town along the two routes. At each identified town, we’d look for central meeting places where you could leave messages on bulletin boards or with local vigilante gangs, etc., stating that you’re there or that you’re moving on, etc. Here are the towns I’ve identified:

Altoona, Pa.
Marion, Ohio
Peoria, Ill.
St. Joseph, Mo.
McCook, Neb.
Boulder, Colo. (coincidentally, the site of a post-apocalyse settlement in Stephen King’s The Stand)
Provo, Utah

Since Interstate 70 doesn’t go west from Utah, and if we haven’t found one another by that time, it’s probably hopeless anyway, and you can stop there.

She might not look too scary, but my old dog Ashley was death to squirrels and chipmunks. A whippet, she would have been invaluable at hunting food for starving refugees.
She might not look too scary, but my old dog Ashley was death to squirrels and chipmunks. A whippet, she would have been invaluable at chasing down food for starving refugees.

Just to make sure everybody’s clear on this, from the first day to day 30 after the disaster, we’ll meet in Altoona. After that, we’d be hitchhiking, driving or walking the road to Marion, where we’d stay until day 60, then it’s back on the road to Peoria. We’d stay there until day 90, then it’s on to St. Joe, and so on, until 210 days after the disaster (and assuming things are still a mess at home), we’d join the Mormons in Provo. If all else fails, I’m heading for Texas, the rest of you can do what you want.

Ashley will be used by the I-80 group to hunt squirrels and other varmints that we may need for food. Leah had better bring along her cats because she may need to eat them.

 As mentioned, your comments and suggestions are invited.

 Love,
Dad

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10 Comments

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  1. Hehehe! I also remember thinking that duct tape would be useless against chemical warfare or a conquering horde. And as apocalyptic scenarios generally last longer than 3 days, I would be awfully hungry in short order. So I decided that either one must have a a fully stocked underground bunker or do nothing. Needless to say, I did nothing 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In my case, dark chocolate would be first on the list!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not sure if you’ve been receiving multiple notifications that I’m now “Following” you here on WordPress. I’ve noticed that it’s been randomly unfollowing blogs I’d been subscribed to for months. Maybe it’s just my fat fingers inadvertently doing it, I’m not sure. I’m going to Home Depot to pick up some duct tape to try to rectify this problem once and for all!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Only pregnant mermaids like chocolate-covered sardines 🙂

    Maybe we should forget the duct tape and just hide under tables or desks. According to 1950s films this is the best way to protect one’s self in the event of nuclear attacks.

    Like

  5. I saw this and immediately thought it did not take certain considerations into account. Namely, whether the restaurants in these chosen towns would be any good.

    In related news, I may not survive too long in an emergency scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

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