Monday, July 19, 2021

Follow-up to post on Caches

Both "Anonymous" and Mr B shared a few thoughts in the Comments that I thought deserved space above-the-fold.

I think it depends on the purpose/mission of the cache.

That adds much clarity to the discussion.

If you look at the cache for the high-desert hermit, the purpose of the cache is to provide a few comfort items to make waiting while flood-waters recede somewhat more endurable.

The cache for the snowmachine enthusiast is to provide the means for emergency repairs.

For me, it had always been about walking home from work.

Job history

My entire "real" work career was spent with a multinational corporation that slowly imploded over the course of four decades. It went from totally dominating the world market to going bankrupt over that time. One consequence of the implosion is that jobs within the company became a game of musical chairs. You jumped into any open seat when the music stopped.

In 1984 I was assigned to a boss who worked in Warren, some 95 miles from my desk. For the next twelve years, I drove to Warren two-to-five times a week.

For those who are not familiar with Detroit, it is surrounded by rings of suburbs. Warren is a "first ring" suburb. Sterling Heights is a "second ring" suburb, Utica is "third ring" and so on. 

Urban blight paused, briefly, at Eight Mile Road but then bled north into the 'burbs.

The facility I was assigned to was on 12 Mile Road.

The question on the table was, "What would it take to walk home, some 100 miles to the west?" 

The question popped up again in 2009 when I was assigned a job in Pontiac, Michigan 94 miles from where I currently live. I worked there for about two years.

Even as a retired guy, Michigan's major airport is Detroit Metro and it is about 100 mile from home.

At fifteen or twenty miles per day, that means between five and seven days of walking. Carrying that amount of gear/food makes you conspicuous, especially in an urban environment, which in the case of starting from Warren would be at least twenty miles of walking.

Bucket swap

SpartanF3nc3R suggested finding a like-minded person who would hold a five gallon bucket of his "stuff", possibly in an reciprocal exchange. That is, Spartan holding the counter-party's bucket.

That addresses many of the security issues of having your cache pilfered by others.

In the case of the walk-home from Warren, having that person 10-to-20 miles out would be useful. Novi (20 miles west) would be nearly ideal as I would have drilled through nearly all of the urban areas.

The downside is that I chose to live somewhere between nowhere and nowhere-squared. For one thing, property values are cheaper here. I am not sure the other party would find much value in stashing a bucket with me and I am not about to trade away a spot in the lifeboat to somebody who is not family.

Fabulous comments. Thanks a million to the readers.

Incidentally, both WWW and Aesop have essays on caches.

It is a clear case of 

Bugatti Chiron


  1. THere are many different points of view. Yours makes sense for your scenario.

  2. Maybe I am slow on the up-take, but I don't get the Bugatti and Dippity-Doo.

  3. if you're mission is get home, leave everything out but food/water. use the environment for shelter, but you won't be stopping much anyway. pack light freeze at night, get home fast.

  4. My idea of caches are for 'worst case scenarios'. As in domicile is no longer available and you have to 'sky for a fat man's navel' to get out of your locale pronto. Hence my opinion for a thousand in cash and a loaded handgun. Other nice supplies - water in container, good walking boots, pants, an oversize windbreaker, and a small tarp w/ cordage, all in a string bag. A five gallon bucket sized cache could be done.

  5. From Mr. B: "What you cache depends on the mission:"

    Absolutely. The mission drives everything, whether it's loadout, food/fuel/ammo, clothing, time, you name it.

    I've recommended for...well, ever, actually, performing a SWOT analysis on The More Serious Stuff. Potato chips vs Doritos, hamburger vs hot dog, etc. don't waste your time. But...if part of the goal is to keep the crack in your ass from getting wider and longer, even just a little, devote some time to a SWOT (Strengths, Weakenesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.

    Logical thought has become a very rare commodity today (I've noticed women of both sexes excel mightily at non-logical thought, to the point that I figure someone must be running PhD programs in it) so even a very basic SWOT cannot be done "on the fly." It will require some time to change mental gears and record (as in "write down") the pluses and minuses in each category, and more time to analyze them. In some cases, no one involved in the process will be able to successfully complete it; that percentage seems to be increasing.

    Something like "cacheing" or more properly described, "impromptu ad hoc travel to one or more specific destinations with pre-positioned reserves," involves all six dimensions: X, Y, and probably Z, axes, environmental conditions, time, and personal requirements (those last two frequently come into so much conflict as to be unresolvable by many; "liter consumption by hour of walking" or "calorie replacement per day unit" are frequently insurmountable challenges, and throw in map reading and some simple compass work and it might as well be "calculating the future orbit of planets around Alpha Centauri" for some.)

    Einstein said "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." This implies maintaining the minimum necessary, but no less, is critical to mission success. In the real world, some surplus - properly termed "buffer" - is required. In a perfect world one would consume the last drops of one's water as one approached the first cache which contaned more water. Such perfection is unattainable so one carries some surplus; an extra liter makes sense, 3 extra gallons does not (and, except in very rare cases, neither does 8 extra magazines), which brings us back to the math portion of the program which so many find difficult or impossible.

    I can only counsel "seek help if this describes you" or "keep your affairs in order if there's no help available or you don't know how to use it." For the rest of us, strap in and carry on.