Episode 413: Oops

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Collateral Damage

You can’t just go and shoot a gun without worrying about the consequences. Seriously, don’t do it. Outside of the zombie apocalypse, you’re likely to run into some pretty serious legal problems. And that’s if you don’t accidentally hurt someone. Do that, and things are going to get really bad. Of course, in the zombie apocalypse, things are a little different. You’re not likely to have to worry too much about the police since they’ve probably been eaten by zombies. On the other hand, you’ve got to worry about zombies. And we all know zombies flock to the sound of gunfire like a moth to a flame.

And if you accidentally hurt someone during the zombie apocalypse? Well that’s a problem for a number of reason. First, you’ve just hurt someone and you should feel really bad about that. Second, that’s someone in your group that probably won’t be able to do as much as they could otherwise. Third, it’s going to eat into your medical supplies and you’re going to work hard to take care of them.

So, yeah, accidentally shooting people is something you should probably try to avoid.

About this Episode:

This little trip to the store hasn’t gone too well. We’ve got one paralyzed shop owner, and now Murphy is wounded, although we don’t know how seriously.

Discussion Question: Zombie Apocalypse Survival Vehicles

This one comes right out of our forum, where there’s been quite a bit of discussion of late. The question is, what would your preferred vehicle be in the zombie apocalypse?

Some things to keep in mind: how much noise the vehicle makes, how much you can carry, fuel economy (horses still need to eat, as do you), off road ability, ground clearance, maneuverability, etc. So justify your decision, and talk about how the pros outweigh the cons.

58 thoughts on “Episode 413: Oops”

  1. http://www.army.gov.au/Our-work/Equipment-and-clothing/Vehicles/M1-Abrams-tank

    This would be my preferred vehicle. Not that the fuel economy is anything to write home about, but at least if a zombie gets in the way of that, goodbye zombie, it was nice not knowing you! 😀

    • The Abrams is an interesting beastie. It has a turbine engine, like a jet, really, not a traditional piston engine. That makes it very powerful, and really efficient; but it’s still a pig. From Wikipedia:

      “The gas turbine propulsion system has proven quite reliable in practice and combat, but its high fuel consumption is a serious logistic issue (starting up the turbine alone consumes nearly 10 US gallons (38 L) of fuel).[59] The engine burns more than 1.67 US gallons (6.3 L) per mile (60 US gallons (230 L) per hour) when traveling cross-country and 10 US gallons (38 L) per hour when idle.[60] The high speed, high temperature jet blast emitted from the rear of M1 Abrams tanks makes it difficult for the infantry to proceed shadowing the tank in urban combat.

      Sixty gallons and hour in normal operations.

      • Holy cow, that’s a lot of fuel!

        • That it is. Wow.

      • Yes, and assuming the first thing a zombie apocalypse presents to me is a horde of zombies trying to overrun the place, I’d much rather be in a tank or at a minimum an APC. 😀

        You just can’t beat the protection of something that’s not only heavy enough to roll right over the top of the zombies and is also suitable for defense against the local crazies armed with rifles or pistols! 😀

        As for the horde of zombies a tank is also suitable when you need to get rid of a large number in a hurry, a quick artillery shell or two in the right spot and all that will be left is fragments of former zombies! 😀

        • Just hope you can keep it gassed for more than a few hours.

          In reading about military vehicles’ fuel efficiency for today’s discussion, I read that the US military consumes more oil than any other organization on the planet.


  2. Goshdangit Brent!

    I would love a military style Humvee. Dang durable, pretty good with technical stuff like off-roading and ground clearance, and while I don’t know how good they are fuel-wise, I would assume they’re not really terrible.

    • Humvees generally get less than 12 MPG as far as I know (one figure I saw was 4 MPG in city driving, which you would probably experience with random things in the road nobody bothers to remove after the end of the world). This makes sense considering we’re talking about a vehicle loaded down with armor and designed for durability and ground clearance over fuel efficiency.

      That’s worse than your average pick-up truck, so that wouldn’t be my first pick unless I have access to plenty of gas, think people will be shooting at me, and/or don’t expect to be going far.

      • I’ve also read that the four-wheel independent suspension system is actually pretty fragile on those.

        One advantage they have is that the military-issue ones do not have a keyed ignition system. They’re secured with a padlock when not in use.

        Of course that generally means stealing; and we’re not about stealing here at BotD. I generally tell people to have their gear in order now. If your ZPAW dream vehicle is a Unimog, start saving your pennies now; so when it happens (the Crunch) you already own the car.

        • Yeah, stealing shit is not a survival strategy, kids. It’s criminal activity.

        • How are the civvie Hummers compared to their military counterparts?

          Without the M2 on the pintle mount, the HMMWV holds no interest for me.

        • Well, I wasn’t implying theft. Maybe ask nicely. I mean, if it turns out all the personnel manning it are dead, what then? I’m not trying to advocate criminal activity or anything.

        • If, and only if, everyone in it is dead, and you can physically see the bodies, maybe you can take it.

          The odds of it getting to that are pretty freakin’ small.

      • 4 MPG in the city? Good lord.

        • Yeah, I’ve read eight highway, four city.

  3. Right. Remember, kids, you are morally, ethically, civilly, criminally, and spiritually liable for every round that leaves the muzzle of your weapon, whether intentionally, negligently, or (less often) accidentally. I’ll tell you the same thing one of my instructors told me: anything that bullet touches, you now own, for good or ill.

    On topic, where you stand depends upon where you sit. When I do home visits, I drive a little Ford Escort. I get about 310 miles on an eleven gallon tank. Everything about that car is cheap: cheap tires, cheap gas, cheap insurance, and no monthly payment. Can I haul a family of four, plus supplies in it? No way. I can barely fit all of everyday my gear into it.

    Right now, my plans are to ride out anything short of a catastrophe. It’s too far to get to my BoL with kids- can’t make it without at least one refuel. We’ll likely all hunker down at my in-laws, only about six miles away. I suppose we could load everyone into the family work truck, a full-sized Dodge Hemi 4×4, four door with an eight-foot bed. Mileage is about what you’d expect for a diesel.

    I sincerely believe that the vehicle you choose should depend upon where you’re going. If I were trying to make my primary BoL alone I would want a short SUV with a short trailer. Ground clearance and turning radius are important considerations.

    • I drive around in a Toyota Corolla. Great mileage, and no payments. The only problem is that I hit my head on the ceiling a lot, but after a while you get used to slouching.

  4. What’s my preferred vehicle? Whichever one I’m driving…

    Odds are that is my beastie, an old Ford Crown Vic. Not ideal, but without knowing exactly what I’m heading into and not having time to shop around, that’s probably my “choice.” I’d feel better about using that than my previous Dodge Neon.

    I know my Crown Vic can get moving in a reasonable time period if I need it to, it can take a small to moderate hit without busting the frame in half (It has taken some hits. Once I tried to fit the front end under an SUV. Didn’t work out very well, but I was able to drive it afterward.) and has pretty good cargo space and ground clearance for a car.

    Downsides include less than stellar MPG, no handy truck bed, and all but one window won’t roll down, so if you have to shoot from inside you will have no windows afterward in addition to your new found need for hearing aids…

    To be honest, I’m kind of with Bo here. If something goes down, my first impulse isn’t going to be to take off willy nilly and hope the roads are safe.

    On the other hand, my sister lives forty-five minutes away, has no car, and I know she isn’t prepared for your typical SHTF event. (Neither am I to be honest, but I’m better prepared than she and her boyfriend.) But, again we run into the likelihood that I will simply be driving my Ford and not going shopping for a better ride first…

    So, yeah, I don’t really know. Use what you got, upgrade according to circumstances and best judgment for the situation at hand.

    • If your sister’s place is more isolated and secure than yours, maybe you can start stashing preps at her place. Divide your preparations. Get her on board and contributing. If her place is suburban/rural, start some raised beds there. If she’s not into gardening, investigate guerrilla gardening, which is basically planting things that will grow without your intervention. Stash spare parts for your primary vehicle at her place, too. Make nice with her family, and see if you can come to terms on a survival plan.

      • Good thinking here. Not only are you prepping where you’d want to go, but you’re also building up redundancy.

        • That’s the ultimate goal: 1.) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. 2.) Have a place to go when it hits the fan. 3.) Start recruiting a trustworthy group. Kin are generally the best for that.

    • “What’s my preferred vehicle? Whichever one I’m driving…”

      Well said, and similar to the old photographer’s maxim: “The best camera is the one that’s with you.”

      • What’s the best knife/gun/wrench/screwdriver/lighter/flashlight/hammer/sword/dagger/etc? The one in your hand…

        As for my sister, her place is even less secure and prepared than mine (I’m on the outer edge of a small-medium town, she’s in the middle of a small city). I would be going to retrieve her and anything useful she has, not to go hide there. She also has a somewhat crazy landlord and keeps threatening to move, so I’m not going to waste time trying to prep her place when I’m not even putting much effort into mine.

        • Understood. I don’t know anyone’s situation more than mine. I was just pointing out possibilities. It seems to me, then, that the long-term goal should be to improve both of your situations. Then you can work on helping each other build something in terms of preparations.

          Totally spot-on regarding tools, though. I think it reflects my notion that software trumps hardware. Skill set beats tool set.

  5. I wish I had my old 1972 Cadillac Eldorado with a V8 500. Damn thing weigh almost 2 tons and that kind of a beast is only missed in tears … but if I found one in the ZA, they’d pay for it in blood.
    But to my disfunction my friends and I agree we would find a County Road Rig with a V-plow. Sound doesn’t matter much to me because where ever I’m going trouble will follow and if you don’t want that stop asking to make runs. I building a fortress here!

    • So you’re bugging out to the Oakland Country Road Commission garage?

  6. I think I’m going to stay in my more recent understanding of this question.
    1: Cardboard Box 36x36x36
    2: Cardboard cut out wheels reinforced with paper towel rolls
    3: Put together with ductape
    4: Reinforce with ductape
    5: Turn Cardboard car into mobile cardboard fortress via sharp pointy tin cans.

    • 6: ???
      7: Profit

      • Hah

    • Stick your feet through the bottom and drive it like Fred Flintstone.

      That should make CallofGaming happy.

      • Yes indeed.

    • Are you also going to make a cardboard suit of armor? Because that sounds kind of awesome and I want to see photos.

      • Cardboard and duct tape would be zombie proof, at least until it rains…

      • Cardboard Suit of Armor consists of
        1 Cardboard Duct tape hood fitted to hold a Tin Can/Duct Tape Full Helm
        2 Cardboard+Duct Tape + tin can for shoulder protection
        3 Cardboard + Duct Tape + wax + Tin can for Cuirass.
        4 Duct Tape and Cardboard reinforced Jean Pants
        5 Tin Can armored duct tape cardboard boots
        And finally some duct tape reinforced cooking mits.

        My weapon is a crow bar and a trashcan lid as a shield.

        • No worse than a lot of prep plans I’ve read…

  7. The vehicle should be a diesel for the simple reason that diesel fuel will be viable longer than gasoline after the end of civilization. Bonus factoids are that you can easily make biodiesel in small quantities and they get bettwe mileage on the average.

    But what Bob said was the correct answer – whatever vehicle you are driving (i.e., the one you can get to start and move) is the right one.

    • You can also run some diesels on PVO, when you don’t have time to distill biodiesel.

      The problem with diesel motors, from where I am sitting, is that you need a supercharged motor for efficiency; but the supercharged diesels (which is all recent motors) is their fragility in a EOTW scenario, especially an EMP.

      Everything is a tradeoff. Considering that, I would love something like a Toyota FJ with a small straight-six diesel.

      • For the most part I agree with Bo on this one. An older diesel engine that has mechanical fuel injection and no computerized engine management system. Modern diesels are equipped with more complicated control and emission systems then gasoline engines and would be almost impossible to maintain. They also require highly refined diesel fuels designed to lower sulfur and soot emissions. The older diesels are robust as heck and much more flexible when it comes to the fuel you can put in them. Unfortunately, vehicles like this are pretty rare in the US. Europe and Asia are lousy with them, but not the US. That makes an initial vehicle hard to locate and spare parts difficult to find.

        It is also relatively easy to convert a diesel engine to run on Compressed Natural Gas or Propane. CNG will be hard to come by after the ZA, but there are hundreds of thousands of cylinders of Liquid Propane gas out there filled and ready to go at any time. (Those aluminum tanks you see on forklifts, the 20lb propane tanks you use to grill with are gas output not liquid output and wont work) Every industrial site, box store, and construction site has several of these tanks on site at any time and since they are aluminum they will last for decades before they loose containment integrity. And stored propane wont degrade over time like stored gasoline or diesel.

        Making your own Biodiesel is a great idea if you are operating out of a fixed location, but what a lot of people forget is that you still need methanol or ethanol to produce biodiesel. You can produce your own ethanol from biomass like corn, but now your getting into a much more involved process and using stuff you can eat to produce fuel.

        • Yep. The first step to making biodiesel is starting with your own corn likker.

          And that should be for sippin’, not burnin’.


        • Ya’all are way smarter than me on this topic, so I’ll just say “Save some of that corn whiskey for me.”

        • That’s kind of the point. I do not drink, at all; but I find it interesting that it is still illegal in the twenty-first century, to distill your own ETOH. That’s just stupid. We have this incredible dependency upon foreign oil; but we can’t distill alcohol without a dispensation from the BATFags.

        • Now Im stuck with visual imagery of trying to survive the ZA with that guy “Tickle” from “Moonshiners”

        • My father had an old pick-up truck he converted to run propane. It ran for a long time, even after things started falling apart. He ended up having to replace the starter when the key broke off in it and he jury-rigged a couple of buttons you could push to start it. Easy to steal if you knew how to do it, but impossible if you couldn’t figure it out. (You had to press one then the other and then hold both down for a minute before it would do anything or some such weirdness. This is the same guy that used to own a car that you had to blow in a tube while driving to keep the engine from dying. My father really would be useful after the end of the world. Not quite one of those guys you can send into the wilderness with a pocket knife and a Q-tip and they build you a shopping mall, but far better at that sort of thing than the average.)

        • I have a buddy whose dad is like that. He had this old Scout that to start it, you had to crawl underneath it with a screwdriver and use it to jump the starter solenoid. Good times.

          Yeah, simple engines work better than more complicated ones. However, they do require more maintenance than their modern equivalents. Consider the big V8’s of the 60’s and earl 70’s. Sure, they’re plenty powerful, and easy to work on; but I don’t want a motor that will need a complete overhaul at a hundred thousand miles or so. I’d rather have a Honda or Toyota, or Subaru (for example) that will go two hundred and fifty thousand miles or more before changing the starter, or maybe rebuilding the transmission. It’s not just the Japanese, either. My Escort has 180,000 miles on it with no significant engine problems (changed sensors and catalytic convertor- the motor would still run without either, biut not pass emissions).

  8. mmmh.. how about the Mad Max interceptor? The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a zombie apocalypse survival machine into a car, why not do it with some style? (hehe…)
    Speaking of vehicles of the apocalypse, I bet that Murphy is about to try the wheelbarrow!

    • No flying DeLorean?

      • That’s cool and all, but what about the flying locomotive?

    • You might be right with your bet, Greg. Just call it Checkov’s wheelbarrow.

      • There was a famous troll in the S&P movement about seven or eight years ago that went on and on about his “tactical wheelbarrow”. You can probably still Google search that. I can’t mention any of his many aliases, because it’s like Beetlejuice. If you say it, he might come.

    • Sorry about hijacking your thread. I agree, the Mad Max Interceptor is wicked cool.

  9. I would get a specially converted Electric Unimog with a Solar Panel on top. Put a door connecting the front to the back and fill with MREs. An off-road home on wheels, and I’d never even have to step outside.

    • I wonder how many PV cells it would take to generate enough current to get enough torque from the motor to turn a ‘mog’s wheels.

      That would make for a fun experiment in math, that is, if your pockets were deep enough.

      • If you had a solar array the size of your average residential lot and a full 10hours of sun you might get the batteries charged to the point where you could turn on the radio, but that’s about it.

        • That was kind of my point.

          I am not a great fan of PV.

    • I had to Google the Unimog. That thing looks like a beast!

      • The ‘mog is the Holy Grail of prep vehicles. The only prepper I know that doesn’t want one is the one that already has one.

  10. I’d go for an off-road 10-speed (or better) bicycle. No gas to fill, no having to feed an animal. What I can carry. I’d be going for light anyways.

    And odds are better of finding more bicycles and repairing, lifting and carrying it over and around obstacles and if I must abandon it. No worries, I’m likely to still be able to find another, until they all rust out.

    • Bikes are cool for folks without small children. No disagreement from me there.