EP On Vacation: Part 1

odometer 2348 miles
2348.5 mile road trip

This is no LOL matter. It’s time to unleash a new acronym upon the world. Drum roll please. I’m talking about EP.  It is my acronym for a mindset and a lifestyle. Its about taking proactive measures to deal with unexpected situations that arise in life. It simply stands for “emergency preparedness”.

Oh sure, it doesn’t have the pizzazz of “prepper”.  Hollywood is not about to seize upon it. Don’t look for EP branded reality programs on Netflix or Hulu. There isn’t money to be made documenting unremarkable people exhibiting that endangered species known as “common sense”.

No, EP by my conception isn’t very glamorous. It is what it is. The traditional Boy Scouts organization of yesteryear has espoused it for decades. Always be prepared. It very much reflects what I’m about. Joe Lunchbox anticipating the potential for problems without going over the top crazy with it. Of course, how we all define the parameters of “crazy” will vary widely, but I believe I approach it reasonably.

With EP, the intent is to shift the imagery from the extreme “Mad Max” types, to the everyday man who is simply doing what people should do by default…. prepare for potential problems, and take practical measures accordingly.

While a person can’t plan for every need or possibility, being prepared for some is better than none at all.

In 2018, this practitioner took his family on an extensive driving vacation. Twelve glorious days away from the grind exploring America with the most important people in his life. Among other things, it made for an excellent homeschool field trip.

TIP: Take photos of how you packed everything at the start of the trip.

This won’t be a boring vacation pictures post. It is meant to show some provisions to consider packing should you take a similar excursion. You don’t need all the latest, fanciest high tech “prepper” gadgets. Common items work just fine for most situations as you will see.

In anticipation of the extended drive, I took the opportunity to put EP to practical use.  A week before we left, I tried to imagine what circumstances we might find ourselves in that was not on the agenda.  My wife had tackled the trip planning, but I had not yet been fully briefed. I knew our night time accommodations would be a mix of staying with family, tent camping, and maybe a couple of hotel stays.  Mostly safe, controlled situations.

But “what if we get stranded, and need some shade?” I pondered in eager anticipation. Better address that I told myself. As I haul a small trailer on regular occasions, I keep a bag in the garage full of ropes and spring clamps, bungee cords, duct tape, straps. Additionally it contains fiberglass poles saved from an old tent. Why? Because they can be re-purposed, are not heavy,  and don’t take up much space. This bag was definitely coming along on our “westward ho” trip.

Thus, my version of an improvised stalled vehicle shelter. Imperfect, yes. Not fit for all conditions, absolutely. But it would work if the van itself was too stifling (our air conditioner retired a couple years ago) and it wasn’t too windy. Click to enlarge the photos.



This exercise served several purposes. It forced me to forward think and contemplate potential scenarios we might be faced with in the middle of nowhere. It stimulated creative thinking which is always good. It provided a problem solving solution. Lastly, it gave me a way to work off some heightened energy from the excited anticipation of a much needed getaway. The last week prior to rolling out of the driveway, I felt like a kid again. As giddy as an eight year old on the night BEFORE Christmas Eve day.

Luckily, we never had to resort to using that set up. The point is that we had the option had their been a need of it. While a person can’t plan for every need or possibility, being prepared for some is better than none at all.  Seen below are many of the items I brought along in addition to the basics like tools and flashlights. Yes, provisions can take up a lot of space. But you need what you need. Help is not always just a smart phone call away. Travel like a pioneer. Bring what is necessary and then some. Notice the lantern and barrel on that multipurpose SUV from the 1800’s. They found space. It’s a good bet that the covered wagon travelers brought as many emergency tools and supplies as they could pack, hook and strap on.


Other provisions that seemed prudent to pack included a fire extinguisher, machete, LED lantern, head lamp, extra tent stakes, plug in air pump,  water bag and a bucket to house it in case it leaked, a spare air pump for the mattresses, and personal protection equipment, meaning…. firearms. Believe it or not, many of these items were called upon. While not faced with anything immediately life threatening, I was glad to have brought them along.

IMG_0412 (2)


Some of this might seem unnecessary or sensationalist. We all have cell phones… you can just call for help, right? In many cases that would be true. But not all. And that’s the very heart of preparedness. Readying yourself for the unexpected. For example, not having traveled it before, we were caught off guard to discover that we wouldn’t have cell service across much of Nebraska. While we had an atlas, our itinerary and schedule were parked at an online trip planning website. This Nebraska blackout actually came into play somewhat.

I’ll detail that in EP On Vacation Part 2.

Thanks for reading!

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