Thursday, June 14, 2018


I'm looking at switching jobs soon, and since there aren't many local jobs that pay more than I'm making now I'll probably end up having to commute to the city again. The idea of driving an hour each way five days a week is displeasing, but I'm burning out physically and mentally where I am now, so it's time for a change. The change from work being 10 miles away to work being 45 miles away means I will have to make some changes to my vehicle and what I carry in it.

I currently drive a Ford pickup to and from work. It's handy for when I need to haul or tow something and the shop pickups are gone, but it only gets about 15 MPG. It's also coming up on being 20 years old and is starting to require too much maintenance too often to be considered reliable transportation. If I were to keep using my truck, the additional 70 miles per day would cost (using the current gas price of ~$3.00/gallon) $14.00 more every day. That's equivalent to losing $1.75/hr over an eight hour day, which means that I'd need to make that much more just to break even. The added wear and tear is harder to estimate, but the IRS uses $0.545/mile as a reference for gas and maintenance expense, which works out to a bit over $38/day (about $750/month) in extra cost. That's a monthly payment on a nice car with full coverage insurance.

One option is to find a vehicle that gets better mileage and has fewer maintenance needs, so I'm looking at used cars. There are plenty of small cars out there that get ~30MPG, which would drop the loss down to about $7.00/day or $0.875 per hour. That's a reasonable raise in wages to expect when looking for a new job, and the lack of maintenance bills will cover any car payments or increases in insurance costs. I'm currently scanning the local car markets, trying to find something that will carry what I need (GHB and such) and that I can comfortably drive -- I'm over 6' tall, so a lot of the really small cars don't have the leg room or head room for me to drive.

Carried Preps
I'll be traveling mostly Interstate highways instead of two-lane county roads, so my GHB is going to have to be modified.
  • Longer distance means I'm going to have to pack more food (water is covered by the same Sawyer filter as my current GHB). I could walk home from my current job in a couple of hours, but trying to walk from the city would be closer to a day or two due to terrain and distance. That means I'll need to add some sort of shelter and sleeping gear to the GHB, and probably a few more toiletries. Extra socks and maybe a change of boots are going on the list as well.
  • My vehicle first-aid kit is currently under reconstruction. The bag is over 20 years old and is starting to wear out, and I dumped a lot of the contents due to age a while back. I need to get it restocked and find a new bag that will fit in a small space, but that hasn't been high on my priority list. I have a smaller kit that I moved from another vehicle in the truck at the moment, but it is limited in its contents. With the possibility of a longer commute on a busy highway, I'm expecting to see more traffic and more accidents, so the first-aid kit has been bumped up a few notches on the list of things to get done.
  • I normally carry a full 5 gallon gas can in the back of my pickup. It's there for helping stranded motorists and making sure I have enough gas to get home (an extra 75 miles in the truck) in extreme situations. That won't be an option in a car, so I'm going to have to figure out a back-up plan for fuel. The requires more research and is something else to consider when looking at cars.
  • Tools are going to be an issue. I carry a lot of tools in my truck because I've had to work on it on the side of the road a few times. I'm praying that a newer car won't have as many mechanical issues and won't require as many tools, but I'll still have to find a spot for the minimal tool bag that I will always carry in a vehicle.

Being a prepper impacts all aspects of your life. Something as simple as switching jobs brings up a chain of things that have to be taken into consideration. This added complication can cause some people to avoid change, but I prefer to see it as a way to challenge my creativity and resourcefulness. I'll keep a list of what I have to change if I do end up finding a new job, and will explain those changes in a future article.

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