“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rule number 22 applies.

I posted the list of Murphy's rules of combat earlier.  What got me thinking about them was rule number 22.

"Make it too tough for the enemy to get in, and you can't get out."




Believe it or not, this was once a one lane road.  It's an old forest service road that was closed back in the 1960's, then blocked with earthen berms.  This particular road runs from the top of my mountain, along a saddle, to another mountain top with a spectacular 360 view. That mountain is in the National Forest.  This is considered relatively clear in terms of getting through it. If you go off the old road six feet in either direction, you are pushing through tangles of mountain laurel, downed tree piles, blackberry bushes, and other impediments to foot travel.


From my place to this road, you go up a very, very steep mountain side. There are some deer trails which you can use if you know where they are. If you didn't, coming down the slope to my compound in daylight would mean having a lot of luck and making an inordinate amount of racket. At night, it would be dangerous and virtually impossible.


All of the other approaches to the house are directly through the woods.  Maybe if you had my place marked on a GPS, you could navigate through this heavy brush, but you'd sure have to make a lot of noise to do it.  Mindful of the "The Japanese can't get tanks down the Malaysian peninsula so we don't have to worry about that"  theory, I have some technological assistance on possible avenues of approach through the woods.  I am in the process of replacing some of that now, since our very wet , humid summer has given some of the older gear the coup de gras. I got my money's worth out of it.

There are some very low tech passive security systems you can put out that work just as well, closer in to the house, and are neither expensive nor susceptible to weather. 

My problem is that this place has never been easy to get into or out of, even without any help from me.


You have to come a long way out into the woods, on an old gravel county road, to get to the foot of the mountain.  There, where my trail goes up the mountain, there's a steel gate. On one side of it is big gully with a stream in it, on the other, a sheer cliff.  You can get out and walk up, but not even a motorcycle is driving up.

Unless, of course, they cut the lock up.  It's a good lock, designed to protect storage lockers, but as the engineers say "an obstacle not protected by fire, is not an obstacle."   Ok.  But it keeps casual morons from driving up my trail in new 4 wheel drive vehicles they don't know how to operate. At least with the gate, I don't have to get into their vehicles and get them turned around up where I live, as I used to have to do. There's no turn around up there.  If somebody comes up the trail now, I know they went to extreme efforts to cut that lock and I can greet them appropriately without preamble. 

Without being too talkative, if anyone is coming up the trail I know it inside the house immediately. I can follow their progress towards me, which precludes casual passers by like deer or bear from causing an uproar at the house.

Lately I put some physical impediments across the trail, and now it's even more of a hassle to get out of here. I have to take them down to get out myself.  So now, even if the weather doesn't make the trail dangerous with ice or snow, and even if there are no trees down across it (as there were this week), I can't just drive down to the gate. I have to stop. Chock the rear tire (I learned the hard way a while back not to rely on one emergency brake going down the mountain), unhook or move whatever, drive through, stop, chock the wheel, put the device back on line, and so forth. 

But I'm retired, and time is not a problem.  The one instance where you don't take these precautions will be the one time you wish you had. I remind myself of that constantly.

12 comments:

  1. Man, when you finally have that massive cardiac event the ambulance crews are gonna have a hell of a time..............

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    1. You know what, when the wood stove chimney in the basement caught on fire just after Christmas in 2012, the firemen cut the lock off the gate( it was a cheaper lock then, I don't know if they could now), then when they got within 300 yards of the house, they found my F250 parked square in the trail, locked, and no way to get around it. They had to carry their ladders and gear the rest of the way up. One of the guys was a fellow I had worked at the state park with, on that senior job program thing. He told me I needed to at least hide a key down by the gate (that's not happening) and not park the truck to block the road. They were good natured about it though.

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  2. No security system is worth anything if not properly used. Sounds like yours is.
    Mine, on the other hand, is questionable at best. It's one of those where you use a keypad to call the apartment you want and are then buzzed into the building. Or you can enter a code on the keypad and get in that way. Because there is a lady living here who has health issues and needs an ambulance every so often, the police have the code, the ambulance personnel have the code and just the other day I noticed that someone here had given the pizza delivery guy the code. I think I like your system a whole lot better.

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    1. I'm fortunate that I don't have to take any other individuals into consideration when I make my plans. If I had to, it would be much more difficult and far less effective. My location makes this a fairly easy place to maintain security as long as you are methodical and do some minimal planning ahead. I know your situation is a tough one. Places open to the public are almost impossible to secure.

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  3. Sometimes I wish I lived in solitude, but it is nice having stores close by to get things. I couldn't imagine having a sick kid, and having to take them to a doctor, then a pharmacy.

    It has to be great being able to just hear nature.

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    1. Alissa, my wife's sister is a pediatrician. She lives in a town about an hour and a half from here. So we always took the kids to her when they got sick. We kept all the necessary medicines on hand. If we needed prescription medicines my wife's sister would call them into town for us. My wife was raised in a mission school in Africa. She worked in her dad's bush clinic until she went back to the University of Mississippi for college after she finished high school there in Lagos, Nigeria. So she can get us through just about any accident or illness up here on the mountain, she can even sew up cuts and we keep the things we might need in our medical supply locker. We usually go into town once a week anyway, although lately I haven't been very energetic and I'm not going that often.

      The nicest thing about being here is that no one bothers me or tries to tell me what to do. I don't have to listen to people noises like leaf blowers or mowers. I can work on my guns and test fire them anytime, or just shoot at my little range in the meadow whenever I want to. It's a good life. Nothing is perfect, of course, but this suits me.

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  4. Harry, Ya got it made! The peace and quiet alone make all of the other chores worth it.

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    1. Scooney, you're right. This place is a handful to keep up without my son, but by working on it a bit every day and not overdoing, I can hold the line. The rewards are many and the detrimental aspects few.

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  5. Harry,

    It sounds to me like your place is perfectly set just the way you want it. Not one person would get past you if they tried. Pretty countryside where you live.

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    1. Sandy, while I was in the Marine Corps I had a very salutory lesson about complacency when it comes to security, and since then I may be a bit over the top about it, but it's how I am. It's part of the self sufficiency lifestyle for everybody, and I just pay some extra attention to that aspect of it.

      Yes, it's beautiful here. Fall is all crisp, cool air and the forest is red and gold when the leaves start changing. But every season here has something special about it.

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  6. Looks like the hillside at Little Round Top, all you need is the 20th Maine and your set. Of course a few large boulders to roll down the hill also helps.

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  7. Well, I'd have been in the Alabama regiment trying to throw them off, but I see your point. ;-) Our mountains don't have the big granite boulders they have at Gettysburg. We do have granite "balds" where there is no dirt. You can get a good view from some of those because there's no trees growing there.

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