After stopping by his house to pack a few things, Clinton set out for the long hike up to Boone. It was late enough in the day he decided to follow highway 19 which would be a little tougher hike, but it was off the beaten path and a bit more secluded. There was little traffic on the highway so he took advantage of the desolation for the first hour or so. He had seen a few vehicles zip by and took note these were indeed older automobiles. The driver of one pick-up truck, a vintage 1955 Ford, had obviously seen him and pulled onto the berm of the highway and came to a stop. The driver was an older fellow, and looked friendly and harmless enough so Clint approached him. The old fellow asked, “you need a ride somewhere?”

He told him he was on his way to Boone, North Carolina, and the old-timer said he was going only so far as Blowing Rock and was welcome to come along. Clint thanked him and told him he would be grateful for the ride in that direction and in less than a minute the unlikely pair were on their way. Blowing Rock was just a stone’s throw from his property and Clint was amazed at his good luck. The two talked very little as they rode up the mountain. The power was out at home for both of them, and this was the only vehicle the older fellow could get to start. He had a son in Blowing Rock and just wanted to be closer to family until this ended.

Roughly 90 minutes after he had got into the truck, Clint was climbing out with his backpack and thanking the fellow for his kindness. It wasn’t until the tail lights were disappearing from view he realized he didn’t get the fellows name.

He never saw another human that evening and once it was completely dark, he took a long and circuitous route up to his cabin, hopefully unnoticed. The place looked exactly as he had last left it. He closed the blinds tightly and turned on a single DC lamp. He was exhausted, but too agitated for sleep and decided on a cup of tea. One of the many reasons he wanted to be at the cabin was access to fresh, cold, mountain spring water easily drawn with a hand pump. He had boiling water in two minutes using his Jetboil with a propane heat source and the tea worked as intended. The night air was crisp and cool and he would liked to have had a fire, but didn’t want to draw any unwanted attention so he pulled on an extra blanket, and despite all that had transpired, fell into a deep sleep.

Breakfast was dried fruit and trail-mix that he carried from home. He had some provisions stored at the cabin, all of it MRE’s, no fresh food. That wasn’t a problem, he was a skilled hunter and fisherman and there would be fresh meat soon enough. The first order of business was getting on the air and establishing contact with the hams back in Asheville. The short distance is problematic. It’s too close for HF on most bands as radio signals often skip over local areas. So the immediate task was building and installing an NVIS antenna for 75/80 meters. The Near Vertical Incident Skywave antenna is designed to squirt RF energy straight up so that the reflected component is mostly concentrated over a 100 km to 200 km area. He had brought along printed instructions for such an antenna.

He also wanted to tune around on the higher frequencies to see what news he could glean about the situation. There was a little more amateur radio activity this afternoon, though all he heard was speculation. Actual news was difficult to find as the amateur traffic had nothing definitive. It wasn’t lost on him that just two days ago he was doing everything he could do to avoid main stream news, while right this minute he’d trade a paycheck for it. Life was weird.

After sunset, at the appointed time and frequency, he established contact with others in Asheville. The NVIS antenna seemed to be working well and he relaxed a little knowing that he was safe, fed, and once again in contact with other resourceful radio enthusiasts. He knew this was only the beginning. He needed to keep all this working and feed himself for at least 90 days until the government could get a handle on the situation and things would return to normal. His bank of batteries had just been replaced as were the solar panels. The wind generator was fairly new too. Barring major problems, he should have enough renewable 12 volt power to last at least a year, probably more if he was careful.

But humans rarely get what they want, they more often get what they deserve. The political meltdown that precipitated this ordeal wasn’t an accident, it was purposeful and now would play out to a horrible conclusion. Americans will finally get a much deserved break from the constant bickering and deception of politicians. The next time Americans will go to the polls will be decades from now…