“…the witch of the winter came slashin…”

raleigh.jpgI could very convincingly argue that around 80% of Survivalism is being aware of your surroundings. The other 15% is skill, given you recognize the reality of your situation, and another 5% actual ‘stuff’ to use. That being said, examine the picture. This was the scene in Raleigh NC just a couple years ago. Finding this situation hideously entertaining, and faced with a similar storm tonight, there’s some lessons to be garnered.

NC can be an interesting place, weather-wise. While the northwestern corner experiences quite a bit of snow regularly, the central to eastern parts face snow as well but more often ice. It happens every single winter. And yet, realizing this fact, soccer moms still grossly over estimate their driving skills (because, we all know 4×4 suburbans make you go-anywhere drivers) and the tasty wintry allure of bread milk sammiches (because, what else do you do with only bread and milk?) overwhelm the common sense factor.

In the picture above, the storm hit in the afternoon. It didn’t just pop up, NOAA had been calling for it for weeks, just like the storm hitting tonight and tomorrow. Those folks pictured could have went home early, they could have called out (I bet the dude with the flaming car wished he had) or they could’ve just had common sense and said, “I’m staying home today, I can’t drive in this stuff.” Better yet, realize that even though I can drive in this stuff just fine with my 4×4 soul-crusher-doom-slayer, NOBODY ELSE CAN, SO STAY HOME. After all, it’s like 50 degrees in the Piedmont a couple days after every snow storm and then you get to clean up. Life’s not that serious, and there’s very few things worth yours. Sometimes survivalism means staying home, kicking back, and taking a little break when you know things might turn sour, watching the hilarious entertainment of morons in Raleigh, or any other urban area.

But you can’t know if you don’t pay attention. And no amount of gear or skill could pull all those cars up that hill, on that particular day. But being aware would have kept those folks at home.

Fifth Principle of Patrolling- Common Sense.


41 thoughts on ““…the witch of the winter came slashin…”

    1. Speak it, preacher! AMEN!

      as one of the below-mentioned ‘critical’ workers, I keep a change of clothes, seasonally appropriate, and several changes of undies and socks in my ride, along with a seasonally appropriate sleep system, among many other things in my emergency kit

  1. Pingback: Brushbeater: The ICOM 7200 Is Back For Now | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  2. Henry Bowman

    hah..so true..just because u can, does not mean u should…hangin w hot little yoga wife, u know the pic, 🙂 drinkin Brandy n Scotch, watchin the flakes drop…life is good bro…btw..made calls to folks in local AO that may be in need of support…local, local, local, tribe….B safe….

  3. Jason

    Nice Gordon Lightfoot reference. The Sinking Of The Edmond Fitzjerald might be one of the best songs ever writen.

    1. Wasn’t it “The Witch of November came slashin’!”?

      Definitely one of my favorites. Spent a lot of time on that-there lake and a lot more time looking at it. BTW, if you like that song, and you have yet to check out Stan Rogers, highly recommend that you do.

  4. Elmo

    Option 1-
    Be a dumbass and join the crowd.
    Option 2-
    Pay attention, stay home, load ammo.
    Option 3-
    Pay attention, stay home, cast bullets.

    Heavy precipitation and snowfall are moving into my neck o’ the woods this weekend. If the power stays on, I shall be exercising Option 3. If the power goes out it’ll be Option 2. Life is good.

    1. Deplorable B Woodman

      Option 3, only if you have excellent ventilation. And if it’s winter, I’m not seeing it.

  5. Mark Lydahl

    Thanks for taking the point on this matter. I plan to print a copy of your article and hand it to my wife. I live in the D/FW area and we had .01 of an inch of snow yesterday and it was on! I tried, to no avail, to get her to come home earlier. Thank God she made it home okay.

    Sometimes my wife takes constructive feedback much better from a third party than her husband of 26 years. Happy New Year Brother!

    1. I drove through DFW during that giant paralyzing ice storm a few years ago- that WAS crazy. We usually have pretty harsh ice storms, but that one took the cake, by far.

      Happy New Year to y’all and be safe!

    2. Scurvy

      My wife would not listen to my advise to pack a simple change of clothes in her carry on let alone not pack her jacket but to carry it. Then she got stuck in Atlanta a couple of years back during that ice storm. Hers was the last plane in for two days. The airline would not release any of the bags being shorthanded.
      She had a sweater, some snacks in her carry on, was wearing boat shoes and light clothing for a more comfortable ride.
      The three block walk in the ice to the only convenience store open to get the last can of Vienna sausages got her attention.
      Opportunities will present themselves to teach.

  6. John

    The bread/milk addiction in snowstorms is raised
    a full magnitude by the lust for extra toilet paper.

  7. drdog09

    I live in DFW and the soccer mom 4×4 missive is right on. Any time we have a serious storm the typical vehicles I see lining the ditches and off ramps are SUV 4×4 types. 4×4 and 3tons of weight provide for lots of traction. But that same characteristic does not alter the dynamics of breaking one wit. So mommy thinking she has control really has none when it comes time to stop the thing.

  8. Joe Ragman

    We live in Avery County, NC and we could see this one coming. Did our “runnin ‘around” Friday Am, went to Boone for lunch and right on time, the snow started about 1400. We drive a Jeep Ruby but I certainly like to think I know my limits. Western NC is spectacularly beautiful but very unforgiving to the foolish. Always enjoy your posts, forge!

    1. I live in NW Montana (now, thank G-D)….My vehicle is normally very well stocked for whatever might happen. I have a SAR pack, a BoB, food, water, medical, clothes, etc.

      Come October 1st each year, I toss another bag in that has a few winter items:
      Arctic canteen (2 qt), cover, cup
      Balaclava, fleece
      Blanket, Rescue HD
      Blanket, Wool GI
      Bomber Hat, poly fleece
      Collapsible snow shovel
      Duffle bag
      Food (Cadbury chocolate bars, hot chocolate mix, Trail mix, bacon bars)
      Gloves, heavy wt (Mitts) Wiggys
      Gloves, liner, polypro
      Goggles, snow/ski gold tinted
      Parka, Wiggys
      Scarf, cashmere
      Shoe packs (Sorel or equal Wiggys)
      Ski /snowshoe poles (collapsible)
      Snow Pants, Wiggy’s with suspenders
      Snow shoes and bindings
      Socks, heavy wt long,
      Socks, synthetic liner
      Sweater, heavy wool shawl neck

      Because in Montana, it can be 40F and sunny and by the time I drive 20 minutes into town it has turned into -30, 80mph winds and whiteout… Out in eastern Montana (the plains) the weather can get downright marginal….

  9. Sad yet funny part is that its the same up in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area – Its like this for 5 months and yet every year its insanity in the snow, as if they’ve never seen it.

    When SHTF there is going to be a mass culling of the stupid and the “elite” wont have to lift a finger – it will happen all on its own.

    1. Wow…that’s actually surprising. All you ever hear from folks who’ve lives in the northern midwest is how they ‘know how to deal with snow’ (especially folks from Michigan, which is totally believable).

      1. Well many from the polar north can deal with the show conditions better – If they slow down and deal with it. But most are still caught up in the “all about me” as long as I get where I’m going screw the rest crowd – and most in the ditch are the soccer moms/dads who believe that because they have a Lexus or a Lincoln that they are invincible.

  10. …and Mr. ‘Bryan’, your second comment was spammed.

    It’s one thing to show your rear, it’s another to follow it up with something worse there, Slick.

    Trolling has a zero tolerance policy here- and I’m the final word. That includes soliciting blogs and traffic from elsewhere without my approval.

    If you feel it’s one big misunderstanding, you can email me like a man at the link provided on the ‘about’ page up top.

  11. honeycomb

    Shouldn’t we .. a long time ago .. called common sense (i.e. the old terminology) .. UNcommon sense (i.e. because you’re uncommon if you use old common sense)?

    .02 hitting the floor

  12. Glenda the Good

    I grew up in the Adirondacks of NY and learned to drive in the snow and ice before they started using Salt everywhere. I drove on snowy and icy roads and learned to drive with a RWD car with bias ply tires and get where I was going or, not try. I have the wisdom to know what is the best thing to do.

    That said, I have learned to drive in fear of what the other idiots who do not know how to drive will do next. Almost always has my close scrapes with danger come as the result of the actions of others.

    To avoid dangers as we are discussing you need to know when to get off the interstate or arterial and take the slower secondaries. The exposed nature of the divided highways tends to let them ice up quicker and dense traffic makes any efforts of the highway crews more difficult to get done and they are less able to clear the roads.

    I used to commute 70 miles to work in the 80’s and normally I took the local interstate but there were times when I took the local roads and occasionally, I would find a place to stop and just wait.

    I always carried blankets in the car and sand and or salt in the event I got stuck and needed to get moving again. Being prepared for the road is not that hard but you have to remember just because your car is AWD it does not mean it is never going to get stuck.

  13. Mark Lydahl

    Thanks Scurvy, great advice. I added the following to my wife’s car trunk sometime ago:
    Set of casual clothes, including sensible shoes
    Fleece Jacket
    Water (include the little electrolyte mix packets, heat is the more likely enemy in D/FW)
    Tools and bag (check your local pawn shops, I have not so pretty but functional hand tools in her car, filled up that Tool bag for less than $ 10.00. Include Zip Ties, Bailing Wire and Duct Tape)
    Basic First Aid kit (add OTC medications; Aspirin, Advil, Benadryl, etc.)
    Latex Dipped Gloves
    Two sources of fire starting (Lighter and Matches)
    Two knives
    Two flashlights
    Chem Light
    Emergency Blanket
    Fleece Blanket
    Jumper cables
    Floor Jack (she has demonstrated she can use this when I was at Drill one weekend)
    Day Pack

    Now if I could just do something about her “situational awareness”, curse that Cellphone!

    1. Good list- just make sure (and you probably know this, but for others’ sake) that one knife is a folder/multi-use tool, and the other being a fixed blade. Both are critical to a well rounded kit.

    2. Scurvy

      Just as a convenience item, I keep one of those $2 tatami mats in the trunk as well. I was on a sales call a number of years ago with three customers that I was wooing and dressed in coat and tie. The mat and gloves kept me from turning Pigpen (think Charlie Brown) from proximity to the grime. It was a lot more work to lift the flat tire with just gloved hands but the mat allowed me to kneel for better leverage. And I was able to wrap up the mess and put in trunk until customers were dropped.
      Remember all, we prepare for daily problems as well as the “Sweet Meteor-O-Death”.

      Play it cool each time she has a problem and ask her how she might improve on her awareness next time. At least this works with my wife. mostly. 😉

Comments are closed.