We had our first Survival Club, preparedness experience this past weekend at the Gun Show. I would like to say it was a planned exercise, but unfortunately it was not. It was a scenario where yours truly was severely lacking in a critical component of the prepper life style, and that is Situational Awareness.
Here’s the story, as I pulled off the main road, onto the road that would lead us to the convention center where the gun show was being held, I immediately saw that the place was packed. This did two things in my mind…
- Told me all the good parking places would be used up, and I should look for alternate parking.
- Got me really fired up that we were about to see something really good, all those people can’t be wrong, right?
So, there’s an innocent looking parking lot across the street, which belongs to a closed business. There were maybe 20 or 30 trucks parked in the lot. The fact that they were all 4 wheel drive vehicles should have been a clue, I thought I had hit the jackpot, so I pulled in and started driving down the single lane, not really taking note that as I drove, the loose snow was starting to get deeper. At this point I had “My Spot” picked out. Like a hungry eagle going after a slow rabbit I zeroed in on my target, and nothing was going to stop me, until…
I pulled just past the last truck and things started to look really ugly really quickly. This is the point at which I came to realize that this lot may not have seen a snow plow in the winter of 09/10, and was not a good place to be in my minivan. Well within about 10 feet I was immovably stuck in that glorious white blanket that graces every single square inch of the South Dakota planes right now.
Thus began the great “Dig CompleteFaith out of the Snow” survival training… Class was in session. Let me just start by saying I was totally unprepared for this situation, and what I did have on hand, I forgot about. So I want to start out by making a list of the mistakes I made.
- I became uber focused on my goal, and lost focus on my current situation.
- When a bad situation arose I reacted instantly.
- I forgot what tools I had on hand to help deal with the situation.
- I did not have set of tools on hand to deal with things that are likely to happen in a South Dakota winter.
I am sure there are more things that can be added to that list, but that’s what I will start with. So let’s take a look at each of these things.
- I focused on the end goal, and became blind to what was going on at the moment. I took for granted that the road under me would be passable, and in this case it was not. I neglected to practice situational awareness in any form. Situational awareness is something I have always known about, but really haves started to take an interest in over the last year, and try to practice as much as I can. I think I need to work on that more. I believe Situational Awareness is a topic a post all to itself, so is something I am starting to formulate now.
- I jumped in headfirst without assessing the situation. Simply said, I reacted. I think this made things slightly worse and more unpleasant then they needed to be. I have always thought a guy should carry a cigarette in his tool kit, and when something does happen the first thing he should do is sit down, spark one up and think about what’s going on. As an ex-smoker I don’t practice this, but it at least introduces the idea of taking a moment or two to fully assess the situation before taking action. In this case I was wearing street shoes and a hoodie so I would be comfortable walking around the gun show, and in the back of the van I had a good pair of boots, heavy gloves and a winter hat, which would have made things much more bearable. I totally forgot to look at what I had available and let my hands get so numb in the snow that they still ach 3 days later as I type this up.
- Had I done #2, this would not have been a problem.
- Shoulda, coulda, Woulda… I should have had some sort of shovel on hand at the very least. In this case something to provide a little traction, such as floor dry, or cat litter may have helped. A tow rope was the tool we ended up using in the end.
So to wrap up here, if it weren’t for Dr. Mark, Strider and the kindness of some locals I would still be sitting there feeling like a bone head in a snow filled parking lot. It ended up taking 2 4×4 trucks and the efforts of about 10 men, and hour and a half to get unstuck.
So what good came of this? Well, a small group of men came together with an unexpected but common goal and were able to come up with an answer and saw it through to the end. A core from that small group found a stronger bond, by facing a trial together. Best of all Big Z, my 7 year old son, was able to witness this, and learn that part of growing into a man is a willingness to get out and get dirty, break your back a little to help another fella out of a tough spot. We were also blessed with the opportunity to
What did it cost me? Some pride and $40 to go see Dr. Myles at http://dixonfamilychiro.com/. I do owe Dr. Mark one fancy ice scraper/snow removal tool, but all in all a fair price for a day that will last a long time in our memory.