Story Market Day

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
CCG,

Good news concerning your dear wife.

Three more sets of hikers to find and get to safety.

Thanks for the two chapters.

Texican....
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
Doug rolled up to his next parking area. His heart sunk. There was a four door sedan. On the trunk was a bike rack. One of those type you attach with straps rather than a solidly built one in a receiver hitch or clamps on a roof rack. The latter type sometimes get left on all the time. The other type, you only use if you are actually hauling bicycles. These three were on bikes. He looked at the trail markers. The loop trail they were parked on was actually three loops. The shortest was about twenty miles with two camp sites along it. The next ones were forty-eight and sixty two respectively. Between the two longer loops there were 9 designated campsites.

Doug hated bicycles. Yes, he could ride one decently, but only out of necessity. This looked like one of those necessities. The shortest loop would take all day to hike, the longest two to two and a half at a decent pace.

He checked his notes again, hoping for an eight year old or something to help limit pace and distance. Nope. Two mid-twenties males and a female. He looked at the back of the car. There were a slew of stickers, most of which he recognized. They were mostly outdoor gear companies. The big names like Patagonia and North Face were there, as well as some more bike-centric ones and more obscure camping gear like RockShox, Campagnolo, Kifaru, and Hill People Gear. This did not make him hopeful for the short loop.

He went to the back of his truck. Opening the back, he pulled out the bicycle and made another check of it. Extra tubes, pump, patch kit, tools, they were all in place right where he left them the last time he had to get the damn thing out. A plus up kit of some additional gear in a fanny type pack got strapped to the rear luggage rack, followed by a check of the tire pressures. His wool jacket was far too heavy to wear, and the Stetson offered no fall protection, so he left both behind in the truck. A climbing helmet with mounted headlamp went on his head. It was more protective and multipurpose compared to a lightweight bicycle type.

He closed up his truck and rolled to the back of their car. He figured to look at the tire patterns around the bike rack, so hopefully he could recognize them further up the trail. He might luck out and see them turn off. He was able to see at least two distinctive patterns. He pulled out his cell phone and took some pics, since he didn’t trust his memory. This and carrying reference materials digitally were the two main reasons he even had the damn thing.

He looked at the sun. He looked at his watch. It was almost lunch time. His mind tried to do the calculations compared to the trails. Within about eight miles, he should have an idea which of the trails branches they took. He could then calculate, from which one they took, the best way to try and intercept. It may be shorter to go from the end of the trail backwards rather than trying to chase them from behind. Either way, the other two camper groups would have to be tomorrow’s mission. He would be lucky to get back to the truck by tonight.
 

Sportsman

Veteran Member
Thanks, there may be more to worry about than the bad guys.
I wonder how do you mount the pistol and light holsters between packs and the belt?
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
And if you don’t need the space for rifle mags, there’s the space for another pouch for rappel gear
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
The second pic from left to right- med pouch, holster, tourniquet pouch, flashlight, two pistol mag pouches
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
The first pic has four med pouches in the middle, two rifle mags and a multi tool pouch on the left
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
Thank you. Appreciate you sharing those tips. I never thought to try to double up pouches like that.
Depending on what you need them to do, you can shingle them effectively if you keep in mind to use a thin one if you are putting them behind a thicker pouch. This is frequently done with a row of magazines, but it can be done with others, like a holster. The belt rig in the pic also has a long Flat pouch behind the ones with the crosses designed for a cloth litter. I use it for a combat casualty blanket
 

LawPoet

Contributing Member
"He pulled out his cell phone and took some pics, since he didn’t trust his memory."

Cool - more "fiction-tainment that's useful".
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Thanks CCG for the chapter.

Will Doug have to bike all three routes or do the long one first? Has it rained and washed out the bike tire tracks?

Texican....
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
Zed and Jesse stood around the kitchen table and checked their gear. Each filled water containers, Zed an old pilot’s flask and Jesse a metal GI canteen. Zed pulled some trail food from the pantry. He had an old one gallon Tupperware container full of homemade trail mix and some zip top plastic bags. Jesse looked at all the little bits in the mix as he filled two bags for himself.

“Is this your grandfather’s recipe version?”

“Kinda. It has some of the key bits. I can’t make too much at one time, or it gets a bit moldy with the humidity around here.” The mix had raisins, peanuts, chocolate chips, cranberries, and some other stuff, all in all, not much different from commercial stuff until you get to the meat. Zed’s grandfather made the trail food with small square cubes of homemade jerky, usually venison. Zed had added and subtracted elements over the years. The three things that had to be there were the cranberries, the meat and the nuts. Marta used to mix it fifty/fifty with peanut butter fudge to make trail bars, but he hadn’t been able to bring himself to open her cookbook to make some.

Jesse was putting stuff in his bag when he realized Zed had zoned out and was just standing there with tears in his eyes. He knew his friend was hurting. He missed Marta as well. He had known Zed since Zed was ten years old. He had married Zed’s older sister and was out here all the time when he was able to. The trips got fewer after Karen’s death over Lockerbie all those years ago. When he got out of the military, he came back to the area and his grandfather’s land up north. The Park Service job gave him something to do, a way to not think too much. He had seen enough retirees die within five years of leaving the military because they didn’t know what to do with themselves. He was worried he was seeing this happen to Zed.

Zed had been a successful businessman, stock broker, insurance, lots of useless paper pushing that made him tons of money. He and his wife Marta had not flaunted their wealth, but did the nice house, nice car and expensive stuff thing. As the Y2K scare started to pick up, Marta had a ‘sea change’ in her thinking, and so did Zed. They started to focus more on what they needed rather than what they wanted. Marta loved it out at the cabin, away from the world as it was. She pushed Zed to renovate for the twenty-first century.

He remembers coming out here to visit Marta as she showed him all the new changes. If she hadn’t, he would have never seen them, because they were subtle. A new hundred year copper roof, painted green to look like a cheap tin roof, better supports and insulation for a new, more durable plastic water tank for the house, fed from a spring uphill through replaced and updated pipes, a bigger root cellar, a bigger pole barn with enclosed storage at one end, all of these were long term improvements that left the cabin the same, but better. The more she did out here, the more she pressured Zed to cash out and retire so they could enjoy it. They made a timeline to do so, then she got sick.

Jesse knew it was the longest five years of Zed’s life. He was right there by her side every step of the way. She could also see what it was doing to Zed and had many times talked with Jesse about not letting it kill Zed too. After Marta died, Zed had sold off most everything and moved out here. He had told Jesse it helped him feel closer to her.

“Zachariah” Nothing. “Zachariah….we have work to do. Doug needs our help. How much ammo for your 30-30 do you have with it?”

Zed seem to jump a bit at hearing his real name. “Rifle’s full, and the buttstock has seven more. Do I need more than that?”

“Probably not Zed, but make sure you have at least two mags for whatever pistol you have. Whatcha got anyway?”

“Glock in nine.”

“That should do the job. Hell, it’s good enough for SOCOM these days. It’s my old paranoia creeping in. Just like an old dog, the earthquake has me spooked.”

Zed looked down at the table where his day pack was. He watched Jesse’s nimble fingers load and organize stuff in the old leather mailman’s bag Jesse seemed to carry with him everywhere since forever. A big simple leather pouch designed to swallow huge amounts of mail for the postal workers to carry on their routes in the old days, Jesse had loops sewn in the back wall to hold magazines for his pistol. The pistol was the same one Jesse always carried, too.

As a gun guy with more money than sense, Zed had owned and or handled thousands over the years. He was always after the flavor of the week as Jesse kept picking on him. Jesse only had a few, but they were his constant companions and family heirlooms. This pistol was first owned by his great-grandfather who was a federal agent chasing the gangsters of the prohibition era. Chambered in 38 Super, it was lovingly cared for and carried by members of Jesse’s family since, as was his grandfather’s WWII bring back 1911A1 and one of Jesse’s own wartime 45s.

“Hey Jesse, is that the 38 or the 45?”

“The 38. I don’t carry the 45s as much anymore. It’s at the house on the bench next to the one Page gave me. I told you about that, right?”

“I think so, but tell me again.” He knew Jesse loved talking about his granddaughter. Jesse had gotten married again a few years after Karen’s death, but it didn’t last. It was an amicable divorce and they remained friends. They had a son, and that son had a daughter. Jesse’s Granddaughter had joined the Marines. One of Jesse’s proudest moments was watching her graduate Boot Camp. She was now working at the Marine Mountain Warfare School down in California.

“Yeah, she figured I needed one to go with the others. There were some of the original new Marine 1911 Rail guns from the first contract returned to the factory and swapped out. They later sold them to the public and she bought one for me. I now have a battle proven issue 1911 USMC Rail.” His face was glowing, as it always did when he spoke of Page.

“Well, I hope we don’t need any of them. Hopefully, everyone will be too busy with all the earthquake stuff to wander around the park too much. Winter’s coming as well so this place should get quite sleepy.”
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Now did the group that escaped head to the park due to its size and remoteness?

Thanks CCG.

Texican....
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
Doug was hot and tired. And frustrated. He was about four miles down the middle trail when he lost the tracks he was following. It took him a good thirty minutes to find the point they disappeared, then another twenty to figure out why.

It looked like someone must have ripped out the sidewall of their tire on some rocks. There were several of the tiny clear backers for tire patches about twenty feet off the trail next to a large rock. Doug saw signs of someone sitting, having a snack, and working on something. The rock made a great seat and workbench. He knew the tiny peel off backers were easy to lose track of, especially with a wind of any kind. He also found some slices of inner tube that might have been used like rubber bands around another inner tube or spare folded tire, like the one with his repair kit.

He could see the tracks of the bikes leading away from this spot went not back to the earlier trail, but deeper, up towards the sixty-two mile trail. Since he was stopped, he figured to take about ten minutes to choke down some fuel and water, check his position and re-evaluate his plan.

There were traces of condensation on the clear wrappers. This was done at least yesterday. The tracks were clear but not fresh. Where some leaves were disturbed moving across from the trail, they were the same moisture content and color. Only their shape and the way they were laying gave away their disturbance.

Shit! He hated bicycles! He was well over twenty-four hours behind them. They seemed to be fairly well equipped and could make decent time. There was no way he would catch them in a tail chase. They also seemed to be confident enough to trail hop. There were a couple points they could do so again, especially where one or two other trails crossed this one.

Doug sat there for a few minutes. He ate some dried sausage and cheese and a banana, washing it down with some electrolyte replacement drink. He kept one of his water bottles separate and marked just for that. He had seen too many people put it in their water bladders and it would go sour on them and start growing things. The only thing he hated more than dirty water in the backwoods was having a screaming bout of diarrhea in the backwoods. He had a small amount of powdered bleach in a thirty-five millimeter film canister. Just a little pinch in the water bottle with some water, and everything would be disinfected. He had been using it so long, his body had become used to the little beach in his water and didn’t suffer adverse effects.

Why was he even trying to chase them down anyway? He was just trying to check up on the few people that were supposed to be in the back country areas to make sure they were not in any distress since there was no cell coverage out here now with the communications tower down. It’s not like he was looking for lost or missing campers. What was driving him to find this batch? He had to admit, he had fallen back into rookie mindset. These guys were out enjoying the park and didn’t need Big Brother checking up on them.

Doug looked at his watch. He could make it back to the truck by dark, without pushing very fast. He could then go bed down for the night and go check on the other two groups tomorrow, and swing back around to Zed’s.

It was practically full dark when he got the bike into the back of the truck and all his gear situated. The MARCH Belt and the chest bag/hydration pack went in the floorboard of the back seat and the pistol went back on a holster on his waist out of habit. When he plugged the satellite phone into the charger in the truck, the screen lit up. Looking at it, he realized he had missed a call and had a new voicemail.
 

FireDance

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Dang it! You could have at least told us who left the voicemail!! lol.

Excellent. I’m liking Doug more and more, but miss the rest of the gang. No doubt we shall meet again though. *taps foot*
 

Griz3752

Retired, practising Curmudgeon
OK -- so I think I'll consider the VM to be a small cliff -- nothing monumental but of course, we won't know .......
 

Lone_Hawk

Resident Spook
Hmm, having missed a couple of calls because a damn software update all but turned of my ringer..... But I need MOAR to read!!!
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
Zed was cussing Jesse. This was his third trip up and down the tower. Tracy was obviously not closing things down when she twisted her knee. There were quite a few things to do. He hoped he remembered all the things Jesse told him needed to be done. The water system needed drained, otherwise it would freeze and burst. the electrical appliances needed shut down for the winter. Any food needed to be locked up or removed. There were still dirty dishes in the sink, pots and pans on the stove, and the bathroom needed help. The trash needed emptied. The final steps were closing the storm shutters, locking the doors and the access hatch on his way down. It took hours, but by late afternoon, he was done and headed back to the house. He figured he could start some dinner. Jesse had farther to go and would probably be back much later than he was.
 

Sportsman

Veteran Member
Sounds like we have a good crew on board, and some substantial man tracking skills. But, you leave me a bit concerned about the bikers. Wonder why they cut over to the other trail.
Thanks, eagerly awaiting more!
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
The Ranger’s cabin by the clearing looked the same to Jesse as it had seven to ten years ago when he was last there. This was the easternmost of the three stations and was where the seasonal hires would usually work with covering the eastern half of the park. The other two stations were controlling smaller, more mountainous areas.

Jesse remembered going around at the end of each season and checking that everything was closed up right for the winter. He learned early on that it was a good idea to backcheck the guys shutting things down after spending a week rebuilding a plumbing system that had frozen and burst in one of the four (at the time) lookout towers.

The Ranger here had done a decent job for the most part. The main issue Jesse had was he evidently figured to be back in a week or two and didn’t drain the lines or shut down and empty the refrigerator. With all the chaos going on up and down the coast, it would probably take a lot longer to get back from San Diego. This meant Jesse should go ahead and go through everything to seal it up for an unoccupied winter.

One of the things he reflexively checked was the radio set up. Ten years ago when he did the last update to the parks systems, he got some very simple, robust multi-frequency radio setups for the repeaters and the remote stations. They were things you could fix or repair with a pocket knife and a couple pieces of lamp cord. They should still be good for another twenty years.

What he saw when he went to the roll top desk they had for the radios, he didn’t know if he should cry or scream. Instead of the simple to troubleshoot, swap items in and out multi-component system he had engineered and procured back then, there was a cheap laptop and a cheap consumer grade radio lash up. He should have known. The IT guy wanted to control everything and visit nothing, so the manual switches and dials of the remote location radios had to go. They had turned the dedicated radio capability into an adjunct of the Ranger’s computer work station with CAC card for authentication, need a log on, and had to be authorized in the system to get into the computer, much less find the right screen for the radio. At least they left the external antenna feed and power supply for them to plug in their hand held radios.

Jesse spent a couple of hours fixing things inside and dropping the shutters on the outside, all the while feeling like the crotchety old curmudgeon. As the light was shifting into the beautiful sunset hues over the meadow, Jesse’s ears picked up a sound he wasn’t expecting to hear, and hadn’t heard in quite a while. Even all these years later, it snapped him back to twenty years old again, standing on the deck hearing them spool up. Helicopter rotors.
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
Something didn’t feel right to Jesse. Rarely did helicopters come here, and usually in response to injuries or for training with the park. None of that was going on right now. He started getting a really bad feeling about this. He moved swiftly to his motorcycle. He wanted to get a better handle on his situation, and get more information. Part of him was saying to ride off quickly and creep back in, but the guys in the helo had already seen him by now. Looking into the setting sun, it was hard for him to pick out any details, but he knew he was in full view.

It didn’t sound like a big military sized helo. It lacked the meaty thump he remembered from all those years ago. It sounded more like one of those small news choppers.

Jesse walked to the back of the motorcycle where the cargo rack and the bags of stuff going back to the camp were. His leather mail bag was slung across his chest and shoulder. He wanted to get one more thing off the motorcycle and onto him without being obvious. There was a longer narrow leather scabbard. Not long enough for a hunting rifle, and even too stubby and narrow for an AR, it looked more like a flattened architect’s drawing tube. Jesse unclipped it, shielding what he was doing with his body. Without turning around, he mounted the motorcycle, clamping the tube between his leg and the bike.

The reliable little beast sprang to life at his command. Jesse looked over his shoulder towards the helicopter landing pad as he heard the rotor pitch change. It was a Jet Ranger, a helicopter so prevalent for so many years as to be anonymous. He saw three guys get out with packs. The part that troubled him more was they also had AK variant rifles in their hands. If they were hunters flying in, they would have them in cases. Jess knew it was time to go, and go now. He goosed the little motorcycle’s throttle, trying to make a few turns around some trees to get their bulk between him and the AKs. He had to take a roundabout way to go back to the house. He didn’t want to lead anyone there. He heard some shouting, but didn’t slow down or turn around.
 
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ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
Once he had a few miles between him and the landing zone, he pulled into some brush and shut the engine down. He had to get some things re-situated, now that his paranoia meter needle was buried in the red. He took the tube from between the motorcycle and his leg and strapped it to the front cargo rack. After taking off his jacket, he opened the tube. It was a leather scabbard for his little M1 Carbine. The package seemed too small for a rifle. He had taken the already small carbine and shortened the barrel ala Patty Hurst and dropped it into a Paratrooper folding stock. He opened the long pocket on the side of the scabbard and extracted the cloth bandoleer of fifteen round magazines. This he slid over his head and across his body opposite from where he normally wore his mail bag, settling the magazines where they were easily grabbed but not too obvious once he would put his jacket back on. A leather sling was attached to the pistol grip. This went over his right arm. All of this was covered by his jacket. Now he had his M1 hidden but accessible, even if he had to bail off the motorcycle.

Now he was dropping back into other old habits, like talking to himself.

“What the hell is going on?”
 
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Griz3752

Retired, practising Curmudgeon
Nice -- goes from idling along doing mundane stuff to about 5,000 RPM in maybe 20 words

Sort of like it happens in real life

Good one

Mind you, more is better - HINT HINT.

I know-- not subtle but if you don't ask, you don't get.

BTW -- thus far, this is shaping up towards becoming a classic in the genre. I don't think I've ever come across this approach or anything similar.

THX
 
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Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Doug: “What the hell is going on?”

Terrorism has come to the park.

Thanks CCG for the chapters.

Texican....
 
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