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Some other readers brought it to my attention though, that this form did not work for them if they received updates to this blog through an RSS feed or email subscription. If you tried to sign up for the giveaway and didn't get a confirmation notice and an email from my newsletter service verifying that you indeed wanted to be added to the list, you were not added. I apologize for the confusion but the newsletter service (hosted by MailChimp) is new to me and I should have posted a link rather than an embedded from so that those of you who subscribe to the blog rather than visit Bug Out Survival directly would be able to enter. So if you didn't get a confirmation, here is a link to the signup form:
Scott B. Williams Newsletter Signup
You can also enter by visiting the signup page on my main website here:
After you enter your email address and click 'submit', be sure and check you inbox and SPAM folders for the verification email. If you do not respond to it to verify that you wanted to subscribe, you won't be added to the list. This is a good thing as it keeps you from getting unwanted junk mail.
I also want to point out that this signup is for my newsletter and is not a subscription to updates here at Bug Out Survival. The purpose of the newsletter is to let subscribers be the first to know about the next book giveaways and releases, and will also provide me a way of contacting you directly through email if you are a winner in one of these giveaways. As mentioned in yesterday's post, you will only get an occasional email from me through the newsletter and your email address will never be shared. Remember too that you can unsubscribe at anytime.
Thanks again for all the interest in my new book and good luck with winning one of those free copies. I look forward to staying in touch with my readers through the newsletter, and will soon have some news to share regarding the next books after Refuge.
I should have my author's copies sometime before then, and I want to announce a giveaway of ten (10) signed copies that I will personally mail out to the winners, who will be chosen from the email entrants to the giveaway once I have books in hand.
To enter for a chance to win a copy in this giveaway, all you have to do is enter your email address and first name in the form below. If you are selected I'll contact you by email to get your mailing address.
The sign-up will also add you to my newsletter mailing list, so you will be the first to know about my next books (two projects currently in the works) and other giveaways, previews and occasional recommendations of other books I've recently read. This newsletter list is new and will be my go-to method of keeping readers informed in lieu of social networks like Facebook and Twitter with their ever-changing policies and restrictions. You'll only get an occasional newsletter email, certainly less than one a month and most of the time even less, and you can be sure your email address will never be shared and that you can opt out of the list at anytime, including right after this giveaway, if you choose.
If you chose to enter, thanks for your interest in the sequel to The Pulse and good luck!
(Update Notice: If you are reading this blog post from an email or RSS subscription feed, the signup field below will not work. I posted an update about this after publishing this post. Use the signup form at this link instead: Scott B. Williams Newsletter
If you are reading this on the web at www.bugoutsurvival.com, the form below should work. Either way, you won't be entered unless after clicking subscribe you get a notification saying that an email has been sent for verification. You must opt-in to the list after receiving that email.)
But then, suddenly Polar Pure was taken off the market in 2011 by the DEA because of illegal drug manufacturers allegedly using the pure iodine crystals that come in the bottle for making crystal meth. This put a small family business on indefinite hold and took a great product for the bug out bag off the market.
I still had some older bottles on hand when the ban went into effect, and since Polar Pure has a long shelf life I wasn't too worried, but I could no longer recommend it for others since finding it was a challenge. But just today I was sorting my gear for an upcoming motorcycle trip out West, where I expect to be camping in the backcountry as I explore remote forest service and BLM roads off pavement. Looking at my old bottles of Polar Pure, I decided go online to check on the latest status and was delighted to find that it is back on the market and for sale at Amazon for the same price as before the ban. I'll order a couple of fresh bottles immediately, as this is one of the best water purification options I know of when you have to travel light. Even if you own and prefer filtration systems, it doesn't hurt to have a bottle of Polar Pure in the bug out bag. It's lightweight, can last for years, and only costs $15.
Here's a view of the back cover, which I did not have at the time of my last update here:
As with all these books done through my publisher, the printed price on the cover is the list price only. The selling price on Amazon and other online retailers will be significantly lower. It's currently listed on Amazon for $11.26, but I expect that price to go lower upon release, but final selling price is up to Amazon. The Kindle Edition will also be available at the time of the print release and should be under $10.
I want to thank all the readers of this blog and especially those of you who have purchased and enjoyed The Pulse and The Darkness After, making it possible for me to continue exploring the concepts presented here on Bug Out Survival through works of fiction. I think fiction can in many ways be more thought-provoking than nonfiction when it comes to considering just what one might do in the event of a catastrophic disaster like the solar flare scenario explored in these novels. I try to make the stories as realistic as possible, but at the same time, the goal is to entertain more so than to teach. I look forward to continuing these stories as well as beginning new ones. More to come soon with the announcement of the next project...
John has also posted his written review of the book on his Destiny Survival site here: http://destinysurvival.com/2014/07/10/the-preppers-workbook-gives-checklists-and-guidance-for-prepping-no-matter-what-your-level-of-preparedness/
The link to the interview can be found here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/39273878/167_williams_finazzo_the_preppers_workbook_071014.mp3
Days have turned into weeks with no contact from anyone outside of North America, where the power, communication and transportation grid has been completely destroyed by massive solar flares. In the ensuing chaos, grocery store shelves have been stripped bare and panicked survivors have fled the cities and towns, sweeping across the countryside in a desperate attempt to find sustenance and avoid the violence.
Artie Drager has risked everything to sail from the West Indies to New Orleans, where his daughter Casey was attending college. Finally catching up with her after discovering she had long since evacuated the city with her friends, Artie’s plan to get her to safe refuge on his brother’s sailboat begins to fall apart. Artie and his daughter must fight to survive, and hard choices must be made when part of their crew fails to return before they must set sail.
This sequel to The Pulse explores the descent into anarchy that occurs when everything familiar in modern life is suddenly stripped away and survivors must adapt to a harsh new reality or die.
I have been working hard at wrapping up the manuscript for Refuge, the sequel to my first novel: The Pulse and it is now in the hands of the editors and hopefully on track for release later this summer in July or August. Refuge picks up right where The Pulse left off, after a series of strong solar flares has shut down the grid over the southern U.S. and maybe even worldwide, as far as the characters in the story know.
My intention all along while writing The Pulse in late 2011-early 2012 was that there would be one or more sequels, as there were so many possibilities for this unlikely group of characters thrown into such a life-altering event. I wanted to move forward on the first sequel immediately after the release of The Pulse in the summer of 2012, but at the suggestion of my publisher, I agreed to first write the parallel story for young adults, The Darkness After. Response to that book has been extremely positive as well and I also plan one or more sequels to it, although they will likely be independently published so that I can get them out there sooner.
Hopefully, readers of The Pulse will not have forgotten too much of the story and will be able to pick up Refuge and move forward with ongoing dilemma that Larry, Artie, Casey, Jessica, Grant and Scully have gotten themselves into. Things certainly get even more complicated for them in Book II, but setbacks and disappointments are to be expected in a major SHTF event like the one in this series.
I will post updates here as the publishing process moves forward, and there will almost certainly be a GoodReads Giveaway that you can sign up for as well. As with all my books, review copies will be available for other bloggers and writers with related sites who wish to receive one.
For those of you who have requested a review copy or are among the ten lucky winners of the Goodreads book giveaway for this book, please be assured that you will be getting your copy from the publisher as soon as they get the shipment they are awaiting. The way the book distribution system works, shipments often go out from the printer directly to the booksellers before even the publishers or the authors get theirs. The book industry is changing so fast anyway that every time I have a new book released it seems there is a surprise of one kind or another.
For those who have been patiently waiting for this book for so long, my coauthor Scott Finazzo and I again want to thank you for your continued interest despite the delays and setbacks. We have gotten word from our editor at Ulysses Press that sales of this book have been fantastic, no doubt due to the continued interest so many people have in doing all they can to be prepared for the unexpected. We hope you will find it useful in your own preps once you get your hands on a copy, and that you will use it as intended, as a workbook to be written in, marked-up and customized to your needs.
Because of the interview, Finazzo got his hands on the first hard copy of the book to ship from the printer. We are hoping these will start shipping any time now.
The publisher should have copies of the book in their offices around the first of March. I will announce other opportunities for free copies this book here on Bug Out Survival once I have copies in hand. Those of you who have survival or prepping related blogs and would like a review copy should email me directly with your address information.
I first became acquainted with Scott Williams by reading Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late. This was the first of his books I’d read and to say I was impressed is a dramatic understatement. Here was a guy who’d truly been there and done that. Not only did he have practical experience, he was able to communicate his knowledge effectively. His writing style was easy to follow and a pleasure to the eyes and mind.
Time and again in subsequent books, Scott has shown he is no armchair prepper. His knowledge and skills have been hard-won by doing rather than just reading a few books and regurgitating the same information someone else came up with and never tested in the real world.
I’d hazard a guess and say that well over 90 percent of preppers are list makers. We make lists of bug-out bag contents, food pantry supplies (both what we have on hand and what we need to acquire), wish lists of the gear we’d love to buy once we get that bonus from work, to-do lists for chores and projects. The list of lists goes on and on, doesn’t it?
That said, many preppers, even the ones who have been around a while, are probably missing a thing or two (or more) on those lists. Maybe they forgot about them, maybe they never heard of them before. No matter the case, more than one prepper has agonized over whether they’ve accounted for everything. When the balloon goes up, or the grid goes down, is the worst possible time to realize you forgot something.
The beauty of The Prepper’s Workbook is they’ve done the remembering for you. With easy-to-understand forms and checklists, all you need to do is fill in the blanks. Granted, that might be oversimplifying things just a tad as prepping in general involves (or should involve) a lot more doing than reading. The point is, follow the proverbial bouncing ball and, by the end, you should be fairly well set should disaster strike.
Every prepper has a different plan for what to do in a crisis and how to go about getting things done. That’s as it should be as we each face unique circumstances and challenges. There is no one single game plan that will work for everyone. That is where The Prepper’s Workbook will really help, as it allows for customization to suit your individual needs, strengths and weaknesses. By following the instructions and filling out the forms, you will be able to create a survival plan that is unique and perfectly suited for you and your family.
Fill out the worksheets, run through the checklists, complete the projects. Take your time and do everything the way it should be done—no cheating! Be honest with yourself and recognize where your plan is lacking, then work toward improving on that weakness.
Even if the worst never comes to pass and you never have the opportunity to truly put your plans to the test, you’ll rest easier at night knowing that if the world begins to fall apart in the morning, you’re ready for it.
Author of Prepper’s Home Defense and
The list price printed on the back doesn't mean much, as almost all online retailers and especially Amazon sell for a significant discount off retail. Right now it's listed for pre-order on Amazon for $11.03 but that price fluctuates for all kinds of reasons only Amazon knows and it may be less when it's actually in stock and ready to ship. I really hope that will happen sometime in late February, even though it's listed there as available March 18. All I know for certain is that at this point, our work is done so the rest depends on the shipping and distribution times.
Once copies are in my hands and in the publisher's offices we will have some book giveaways, and as always, review copies will be available for those who have related websites and blogs.
The updated cover design for The Prepper's Workbook:
Along with the new cover shown above, the final revisions and most of the interior design work is now complete on the new and updated version of the The Prepper's Workbook, co-authored with Scott Finazzo. It is now in the production stage and though the new release date listed on Amazon is March 18, my editor says that it should be available to ship by mid-February. I know that a lot of readers have pre-ordered the book since it was first listed on various online sites last year, and I know it is frustrating to wait so long, but the final version of this book will be much more useful than what I had originally envisioned. Rather than a book of mostly checklists, The Prepper's Workbook is a complete interactive planning tool to help you prepare your home and family for any disaster, whether of natural causes or manmade. You don't have to have any background in preparedness to use this book, and the focus is on the ordinary family who wants stay safe and be self-sufficient in a short or long-term disaster. In other words, you don't have to be expecting the collapse of civilization to benefit from this book.
A lot of the focus is on accessing what you currently have and do not have that you might need in the aftermath of a disaster, and the worksheets and activities will help you acquire, organize and store these items. You will learn how to prepare your home for sheltering in place and how to plan an evacuation, as well as how to determine whether it is best to stay or go. There are sections on specific types of disasters and how to plan for them, as well as sections on first aid, home and personal defense, and the most important survival skills you need to acquire and master. Along with all the information we provide in the book, there are just as many fill-in-the-blank pages and worksheets that will require you to put the "work" in the workbook. When you are finished with these tasks, you will have a unique and perfectly-tailored reference book with all your critical preparedness information compiled in one readily-accesible and handy location. This, we hope, is what will make this book so uniquely useful among a flood of books covering the topics of disaster survival and preparedness.
I received some excellent submissions from those who participated by sending in their personal list of what they consider the Top Ten Essential Skills that any prepper/survivalist should possess or attempt to master.
As you would expect, there was a lot of overlap in these lists, as most of us can agree on at least five of the top ten essential skills, especially: finding and purifying water, fire making, shelter making, navigation and food gathering (including foraging, fishing and hunting). Other commonly mentioned skills included the use of firearms for hunting and personal defense, knowledge of first aid, use of camouflage and stealth and hand to hand combat skills.
One of the lists submitted had an interesting and probably overlooked skill set that most people should pay more attention to: mechanical skill to maintain gear, firearms and mode of travel. People who like to work on things as a hobby or have jobs that require mechanical skills may be all set in this department, but in today's society, fewer people do their own repairs or use their hands at work. If you are among them, you can begin by doing small, routine maintenance jobs on your home, vehicle and other items. As you gain proficiency in this, your confidence in your ability to keep everything you need going after the SHTF will be much greater.
As stated in the last post announcing the book giveaway, the five winners were chosen at random by a drawing, not based on the quality or content of their Top Ten List. To those who didn't win, I still appreciate your participation and contribution. As Scott Finazzo and I put the finishing touches on The Prepper's Workbook, these lists will be taken into consideration as we complete the final section of the book, and you may see one of your ideas published there.
So, here are the five winners of a copy of The Darkness After:
J. Miller of Chesapeake, VA
J. Guerra, of McAllen, TX
H. Coulter, of Prentiss, MS
T. Cleveland, of Savanna, GA
D. Baldwin, of Ft. Collins, CO
The winners have also been notified by email and the books will be sent out today.
If you'd like a chance to win a free copy so you can check it out, I want to announce two book giveaways: one here on Bug Out Survival and the other on the Goodreads website.
My coauthor, Scott Finazzo, and I are putting the finishing touches on The Prepper's Workbook, and the book giveaway I'm doing here relates to that project. In the final section of the workbook, we discuss The Top Ten Survival Skills Every Person Should Know.
What do you think are the top ten most important survival skills and why? Post your answers in the comments section below or send them to me directly by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, making sure to include your mailing address, to enter the drawing on August 15 for five (5) signed copies of The Darkness After. Who knows, maybe you'll submit something we haven't thought of and see your suggestion printed in The Prepper's Workbook when it is published in September. I'll announce the winners no later than Friday, August 16 right here on Bug Out Survival.
The other book giveaway for The Darkness After is hosted on Goodreads and all you have to do is sign up below for a chance to win one of ten (10) copies.
Some changes have been made to the format of The Prepper's Workbook and it will hopefully still be ready for release in September after a final reorganization of the material. The improved format of this book that my coauthor and I have been working on will make it a much more useful addition to any prepper's library and hopefully it will be worth the wait for those of you who have already preordered.
The Darkness After was completed early in May and all final revisions and proofreading done a few weeks ago. I'm still awaiting word as to when it will be sent to the printer, and have heard that it should be any day now. The publisher did change the publication date on Amazon from mid-June to early August, but I've been assured that it will likely be available before then, probably in early July. I will post an update here as soon as I know for sure.
Meanwhile, here's a little more about the book. Some readers may recall that I have said I'm working on a sequel to The Pulse, and there will certainly be a sequel. The Darkness After is not that sequel, however, but rather a parallel story with different characters facing the consequences of the same event.
The action takes place in the same general region as the final part of The Pulse, specifically New Orleans and south Mississippi. As I've mentioned before, part of what inspired the idea for The Pulse is what I witnessed personally in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in this region. With the grid down for just a few weeks in the New Orleans area and much of south Mississippi and south Louisiana, the chaos was bad enough. These books explore the possibilities of how bad it might get if the power was off for months, or even longer.
The two main characters in this story are a bit younger than even the college students, Casey and Jessica, in The Pulse. But despite this, 16-year-old Mitch Henley and 18-year-old April Gibbs both have unique backgrounds and strong motivations to get where they're going that give them the edge in a lawless world of anarchy and violence.
The son of a Mississippi game warden in one of the most heavily-wooded counties of the state, Mitch is a natural-born hunter and woodsman and a master of the longbow, his favorite hunting weapon. And on her own since the age of 17, April has unexpected skills learned from her own father that will serve her well in her desperate quest to reach the one person who matters most in her life. Here's the official book description from the Amazon listing:
The thrilling story of teenagers struggling for survival as the modern world collapses around them
Massive solar flares bombard the Earth. An intense electromagnetic pulse undermines America’s power grid, wreaking havoc. Panic and chaos ensue in cities like New Orleans, where 16-year-old Mitch Henley was stranded after driving his parents to the airport. The son of a game warden in a rural Mississippi county, Mitch is an expert hunter and woodsman and knows he can survive back on his family’s remote 600 acres.
With no way to know if his parents’ plane landed safely or crashed because of the pulse, Mitch sets out alone to walk home. But what Mitch hadn’t counted on was meeting April: a determined young woman who has an even more compelling reason to make it to her destination. Thrust into adulthood at an early age, April is a fighter who won’t back down, and when the two of them pair up to face the dangers ahead, they endure and overcome one setback and disappointment after another.
Set in the same anarchy-and-desperation-reigned world of the author’s dystopian thriller: THE PULSE, THE DARKNESS AFTER is a frightening look at how fragile our technologically dependent lifestyle really is.
So that's the latest and as much as I know regarding the release dates. As soon as I get copies in hand of each new book, I will post a book giveaway here so reader's will have a chance to get a free, signed copy.
Those of you who have read my Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters know that I have a chapter devoted to bicycles in the book. As a long-time cyclist who enjoys riding for fitness and exploring backroads and trails by bike, I am interested in many different types of bicycles, but if I could have only one, it would invariably be a touring-specific bike. When asked in the interview today why I would choose such a bike when mountain bikes are usually the first kind that come to mind as bug out bikes, I explained that it is because bike touring has been constantly evolving and developing as adventurous riders take these machines literally to the ends of the earth. Such bikes are designed to withstand abuse, carry heavy loads, negotiate rough roads and even some off road conditions and perhaps most importantly, be comfortable so that you can cover serious miles day after day.
The difference in these touring-specific bikes begins with the frame, usually built of rugged and forgiving Chrome-moly steel rather than aluminum or carbon used on more performance-oriented bikes. The wheels are also stronger, built to carry heavy loads and to fit wider tires when conditions require them. Touring bikes have a wide range of gears to handle long climbs while carrying heavy loads, and the frames are fitted with brazed-on eyelets for mounting sturdy racks to carry panniers and additional gear lashed on top.
While some touring bikes look much like road racing machines to the casual observer, these differences are apparent upon closer inspection. Because of the popularity of long off-road trips, such as the Adventure Cycling Association's Great Divide Route, many bicycle manufacturers are building truly capable touring machines that have most of the desirable attributes of mountain bikes combined with the long-distance capability of road bikes. It has been interesting to see what they have come up with. For example, the Surly Long Haul Trucker is a proven road touring bike I mentioned in the book, but the newer Surly Troll has a lot to offer as a bug-out machine to those inclined towards mountain bikes but needing real traveling ability:
The orange paint job might not be the best choice for this service, but you can see that this is a bike that could do the job. To give you an idea of it's potential, check out this site: While Out Riding.
Instead of giving me the go-ahead immediately on the sequel, however, my publisher suggested an entirely different novel set in the scenario of The Pulse - the same grid- collapse event caused by a solar flare - but with a different storyline and different characters. Most of the characters in the new novel (which will also likely be followed with one or more sequels) are young adults or teenagers, so the book is targeted to both young adult and adult readers. The Darkness After will be an action-filled adventure story with a somewhat faster pace than The Pulse. Here is the cover image:
I am still in the middle of writing this one now, but have also worked out a contract with my publisher to do the sequel to The Pulse later this year, after the June publication of The Darkness After. In addition, I will be completing The Prepper's Workbook later this spring, and the new publication date for it is set for sometime in September. The other change regarding that book is that I will now be working on it with my friend and fellow-adventurer, Scott Finazzo. The cover for the book should be updated soon to show both of us as coauthors.
Though I have not posted anything about the forthcoming Prepper's Workbook, I'm sure many of my readers have found the listing on Amazon, which still incorrectly shows the publication date as tomorrow, January 15. I apologize for the confusion that may have caused, but I was expecting my publisher to change the book details to reflect the new publication date before now. At any rate, if you have pre-ordered the book as many people do on Amazon, it will still be shipped as soon as it is released. I will post more details on both of the projects soon:
You can join us tomorrow (Thursday, July 26) at 1:00pm CDT right here on the embedded player, or listen in later anytime you like after the show:
For a review from the perspective of a prepper and survivalist, here's Jim Cobb's take on the book from his blog, Survival Weekly: http://survivalweekly.com/2269/the-pulse-by-scott-b-williams/ Jim will soon be a fellow Ulysses Press author, with his own book: Prepper's Home Defense coming out in October.
The reason that this is good news is that Barnes & Noble has finally gotten on board with how serious the topics of survival and prepping are, and the bookstore chain will now be stocking Bug Out and many related titles on their store shelves in most, if not all locations. In fact, my publisher said they were going to have an end-cap dedicated to the subject in the next month or so. This is an about face for this chain, as they were reluctant to stock many of these titles until their popularity increased. I stopped by my nearest Barnes & Noble store the other day to check this out, and sure enough, there were copies of Bug Out, Getting Out Alive, and Bug Out Vehicles displayed prominently on the shelves, along with some excellent related titles by other authors. Hopefully the backorders will be filled soon and Bug Out will soon be listed as "In Stock" on Amazon again. I apologize to anyone who may have ordered the book without knowing this and is still waiting.
"My favorite adventure stories have always been those that cast ordinary people into extraordinary circumstances and predicaments their previous lives could not possibly prepare them for. Although I sometimes enjoy reading works of fiction that involve larger than life characters with highly specialized training and superior fitness, skills and abilities, you won’t find any fearless heroes of that kind in The Pulse.
From the back cover:
THE END OF THE ELECTRIC AGE
As massive solar flares bombard the Earth, an intense electromagnetic pulse instantly destroys the power grid throughout North America. Within hours, desperate citizens panic and anarchy descends. Surrounded by chaos, Casey Drager, a student at Tulane University, must save herself from the havoc in the streets of New Orleans. Casey and two of her friends bug out to the dangerous backwaters of Mississippi where they are forced to use their survival skills to seek refuge and fight for their lives.
Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, Casey’s father, Artie, finds himself cut off and stranded. His Caribbean sailing vacation has turned into every parent’s nightmare. Warding off pirates and tackling storms, Artie uses the stars to guide him toward his daughter.
The Pulse is a compelling action-adventure novel that reveals what it would take to survive in a world lit only by firelight, where all the rules have changed and each person must fend for himself.
The 10/22 is a compact carbine even in its standard configuration, and even more so with a 16-inch barrel, but until recently, if you wanted to conceal it completely inside the average backpack or bug-out bag, you needed to either fit a bulky and somewhat heavier aftermarket folding stock, or take the receiver out of the stock as I described in the above-mentioned post. I've carried the 10/22 both ways on various wilderness trips. Folding stocks such as the Butler Creek model I used completely change the balance and feel of the weapon, and add a lot of bulk inside the pack when folded. Taking the standard rifle apart works, but does entail some risk of losing internal parts if you're not careful, and takes a lot more time than simply folding a stock.
The new take-down version of the 10/22 brings a whole new reason to choose this weapon, as you can now have one of the best semi-auto .22 carbines in existence with the packability of other take-down models such as the Marlin Papoose and Henry AR-7.
Here's a video introduction to this new 10/22 model that shows just how easily it can be taken apart and put back together:
For serious packing of a bug-out bag, I would certainly lose the bulky, fitted backpack it comes with, though this may be a handy way to carry it in other situations such as in a vehicle or boat. I haven't picked up one of these yet, but for $300 I probably will and look forward to comparing it to my other 10/22 rifles.
I've written about the Kawasaki KLR650 here before, and I'm sure many readers have either owned one or know somebody that does. It's not a motorcycle that excels at any one thing, but rather one that does everything well enough. For this trip, that meant everything from surviving the truck traffic on the interstate at 75 mph, to negotiating twisty pavement in the mountains, such as the infamous "Tail of the Dragon" stretch of North Carolina's Highway 129. But most importantly, it meant the freedom to explore off-road on gravel forest service roads and beyond.
I went alone on this ride so I wouldn't have to do much scheduling or planning, and besides, I needed time to myself anyway. Mainly, I wanted to revisit some of my favorite areas in the regions, such as the Joyce-Kilmer and Citico Creek wilderness areas, where I've embarked upon many a solo backpacking trip in times past. Hiking this time was limited, but with the KLR I was able to get to some nice, secluded campsite with the bike and all my gear, some of them places few four-wheeled vehicles could reach.
As anyone who's visited this area knows, the driving (and especially motorcycle riding) is spectacular. Going in the off-season and during the week makes it easy to avoid the crowds. One of the most scenic roads is the Cherohala Skyway, which runs through some of the wildest areas of the southern Appalachians, from Tellico Plains, TN to Robbinsville, NC.
This is a view out into the Citico Creek Wilderness Area, which is described on p. 158 of my book: Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It's Too Late. A black bear encounter I had one dark night deep in the middle of this wilderness reminds me to choose campsites carefully and take all the precautions to keep a clean camp when in these mountains. This a place where you can seriously disappear if you have a need to, especially if you don't mind bushwhacking into the rhododendron thickets in the deep ravines along the drainages.
But as nice as the paved mountain roads like the Cherohala Skyway are, the KLR really comes into its own and proves its worth on the endless miles of gravel forest service roads that lead off the beaten path.
Exploring them leads to all kinds of great places, like this fantastic stream. One thing these mountains are not short of is water, so carrying a lot of it is not necessary as long as you have a means to purify it.
It's hard to leave a place like this and ride back home, but after this little escape I'm now planning a longer motorcycle trek out West to some of my favorite hang-outs there, like New Mexico's Gila National Forest. I have no doubt that the trusty KLR will get me there and back.
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