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Coffee Can Survival Kit

I flew last week. Only half way across the country. Big deal. Oh, only if that were the case.  Have you flown recently?  If so you’re in the throng that’s hanging onto your decorum and sense of civility by the skin of your teeth.  You say things like “please hog tie me and beat me with a big stick” under your breath.  Or when a guy that’s yammered on and on in the waiting area for hours states “I don’t normally talk this  much I’m just punchy”, you whisper loudly, “doubtful.”

You think of things to say in your blog like “the airlines are making their last kicks at the wasp nest.” Which now I don’t know what that means…

I cringe at how poorly I handled the news that I could have driven the distance in the same amount of time.

Flying has degenerated into something brutally equivalent to crossing the Great Plains in a Conestoga wagon.  I can actually list advantages to the wagon ride, and can’t think of a single one to place in the airplane column. And please, do not let me hear you say it’s “quicker.”  If you live close I’ll have to drop over and hog tie you.

Maybe I’m asking too much for the ”getting there” part to be a somewhat enjoyable component of the overall trip.  It’s not a secret that I love to road trip. We usually fly to West Virginia for Christmas. It’s quicker. I can say that only because that’s the lie my husband and I kept telling ourselves.  Then we drove last year (and went on to D.C. and North Carolina’s Outer Banks just because we could).  It was positively memorable, relaxed, fun even and the element of freedom and spontaneity was ever-present.  Other family members flew.  They arrived sometime during the 3rd day after our arrival.  Lies are such thieves.

So if you’ve not opened your pocketbook yet and said to an airline “please take all  my money and while you’re at it give me a good, hard kick in the ribs”, then I have a suggestion – DRIVE.

If you actually take my advice, have your vehicle serviced for the winter driving season, and throw together this diminutive survival kit.

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• A 3 pound metal coffee can. You’ll be storing the other items inside the can. You don’t need a lid because the top is covered with a warm, fuzzy stocking cap!  And yes, coffee cans are a thing of the past.  Anything will work. This one was provided by my husband’s favorite diner.

• 12 feet of nylon cord

• Candles or a can of sterno (for melting snow).  I must caution against handling open fire in enclosed spaces. So take care with this.

• Knife

• Surveyors tape bright orange (tie to antenna or door handle).

• Packets of dry soup, hot chocolate, tea, bouillon cubes, etc. (mixed into melted snow)

• Camping spoon & small metal cup

• Peanuts/energy bar/jerky

• Gloves. These would be for back-up or doubling up.

• Camping matches in waterproof holder & a fire-starter or two

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Firestarters. Look Ma! No diesel/gasoline/kerosene required!

• Flashlight.  Since the cold is hard on batteries, carry extras.

• Hand and foot warmer packets.  A must.

• Whistle

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Better than a flashlight. But I carry both.

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American Express has nothing on these. I never leave home without them.

Place stocking cap over it all and keep in front of the vehicle in case you go into a ditch and can’t get to or open the trunk.

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It's good to have options. I keep a lanyard with chapstick and a whistle attached. And the Buck knife? Well it just looks cool. You never know when you'll run across a mountain lion.

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This is not a Frisbee.

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It is however an expanding dog bowl. Fits as a lid on the can.

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A few things I throw in for a winter trip that won’t fit in the can:

  • Small first aid kit, a mylar blanket, a heavy quilt, and bottled water.

**  Where to Buy:  www.campmor.com

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