Sunday, September 1, 2013
How to survive the zombie apocalypse by Glyn Gardner
Ok. You’ve scoured your house for everything useful. You’ve shoved everything in your backpack as you can fit. You’ve unpacked it in order to get those last few things in. You’ve finally decided you can do without those Vienna Sausages and the last can of Coke from the fridge. You have your 50 pound pack on your back. You have a knife in your belt and a pistol on your hip. You have a shovel that is doubling as a walking stick. You are ready to beet feet, bounce, un-ass your current residence.
But, how? Do you just walk out the front door and start walking? What other modes of transportation do you have? What are the pros and cons of each?
Let’s look at our most often used mode of transportation: The car. Oh how nice it would be to just cruise out of the hot zone in my nice SUV; passing the shambling, slow moving zombies in the air conditioned comfort.
1. Capacity: Cars have a large cargo capacity. You can offload that heavy rucksack for a few hours.
2. Speed: Cars have a huge speed advantage over other modes of transportation. Not even sure if the “Rage” zombies can keep up with even the most underpowered, overloaded car.
3. Protection: Cars are generally covered in glass, metal, and plastic. You’re probably safe from the random zombie just reaching out and grabbing you.
4. Range: Range is a huge factor. You can cover a lot of ground with a car. You have a chance of getting ahead of the outbreak, or of exiting the area before the government quarantines the area.
1. Require roads: Most cars, light duty trucks, and SUV’s don’t really do well off road. They don’t have a high enough ground clearance to make it over even moderate obstacles.
2. Fuel: Cars are hungry little creatures. The better they are at hauling our stuff, and protecting us from zombies, the hungrier they’ll be.
3. Target: That’s right. You’ll be a target. Imagine if you’re walking out of the hot zone and some jackass drives past you in a nice comfy Caddy. Think you might wanna try to take it from him. Damn right. Every time you slow down, someone is going to try to take your car. Some might not even wait for you to slow down. Desperate people will do desperate things. You might get shot at by everyone you pass.
4. Noise: Cars make noise. Noise travels. Zombies, bad guys, even desperate people are going to know you’re in the area. You may not like the attention you get.
So, does this mean you abandon your car and just start hoofing it? I’d say for 80% of us, the answer is no. Get as far away from the known danger area (where you are now) as you can. Just keep in mind that at some point you may have to start walking, and/or find another mode of transportation.
I’ll just touch on motorcycles. They have limited range, carrying capacity, and offer no physical protection. They are generally more tolerant of rough terrain, especially if the bike is made for off road use. Be warned. Off road bikes are generally not muffled, and are that much louder. You may still be the target of robbery, so, keep that in mind.
Most homes in America, and around the world for that matter, have a bicycle or two in them. They are really a pretty good option.
1. Fuel: You’re the power source. You don’t have to find a working gas station, or carry fuel.
2. Flexibility: You don’t have to ride a bike. If you get tired of pedaling, you can always dismount and walk with your bike. The bike can still carry your gear the entire time.
3. Mobility: A bike can go just about anywhere. Rivers and mountains being a few notable exceptions. When everyone else is sitting in the traffic jam waiting for someone to help them, you can veer over to the shoulder or the grass, and keep right on going.
4. Easy to maintain: Unlike a car, most 12 year olds know the basics of bike maintenance: keep the chain greased and on the sprockets and air in the tires. What happens to the car when it’s sitting stuck in traffic for an hour with no air blowing over the radiator? You can even ride a bike with no air in the tires in an emergency.
1. Limited range: Unless you are an avid biker, or in very good shape, you’re realistically only going to be able to make 70 or 100 road miles per day. This will of course decrease if you have to go off road. While this number is not bad, remember it is about what a car can cover in about 1-2 hours if traffic is light.
2. Protection: A bike has little protection from the elements or zombies. One lucky grab and you’re on your back holding your busted melon with a zombie eating you. That reminds me: Safety First. Wear a helmet. It would suck to escape the zombie hoard and then die from a brain bleed when you fall off your bike.
3. Limited carrying capacity: In reality, you won’t be able to carry much more on your bike than you can on your back. Oh, if you turn it into a pack mule like the Vietnamese did during the Vietnam War, and then you can carry a butt-load. You just won’t be able to ride it in an emergency.
Some folks have access to horses. If you have access and know how to ride, then this is an excellent form of transportation. They require grass for fuel, they have a large carrying capacity, and can travel long distances. Be warned, most horses are a bit skittish around things like snakes. I’m betting that even the best horse out there may buck when confronted with a zombie. That would suck to get thrown from your ride as a couple of zombies come at you.
Airplanes are a good form of transportation. They can cover extremely long distances in a very short time. They can carry large amounts of people and cargo. They do require fuel, a lot of fuel. An airplane has one disadvantage that no other form of transportation has. Once you’re in the air, you have to land. Run out of gas, or can’t find a place to land, and you get to become one with the earth at a high rate of speed. When I refer to airplane, I mean the little air strip planes. You couldn’t pay me to try to jump on a Delta flight out of the hot zone. Airports are going to get overrun quickly. And, I don’t want to be on American flight XYZ when someone decides to turn from living to dead at 30,000 feet.
This is my personal favorite form of transportation. Boats have it all. They can be powered by you or a motor. He’ll, you can even get ones that are powered by the wind. You don’t have to power them at all. You can just let them float down river.
They can carry a bunch of stuff. Even a little boat can carry more than you can carry on your back. They can even carry a you and your friends to safety. Just don’t tip them over, and wear your life vests. Don’t want to drown as you’re on the verge of rescue.
They are relatively safe. Put a few hundred yards of flowing water between you and your hoard, and you can almost rest easily. Almost. I read a friend’s book, Until the End by Tracy Ward, this summer. I was reminded that rivers have bridges, and bridges can hold zombies. Some of which may try very hard to fall into your boat. So, watch those bridges.
Food. Boats are generally used on water. Water usually has fish swimming in it. Catch enough of those little guys, and you got a meal. Just remember, zombies may be in the water. If you snag on something it may be a zombie. Be careful.
Now, all of these recomendatio0ns depend on where you are. If you live in the desert of the Southwest U.S., then you probably don’t want to try to get to a boat. So, keep in mind that what works for me may not work for you.
My plan is to get as far as I can with the car. The family bikes are strapped to the luggage rack. When I get to something the car won’t get past, I’m going to the bikes. I’m making for a river and looking for a boat. From there, I have either the Red or Mississippi River to take me out. I can go west, north, or south.
Don’t forget to check out APEX. My characters don’t always follow my advice. But, that’s the nature of my characters. They don’t always listen.