Maria’s Note: Maria Bonaventura here again, with a special weekend edition of the Diary. Yesterday we sent you Part I of Bill and Dan’s 13 things to do before the crisis they see coming falls upon us. In it, we shared Bill’s three money-centric tips. In Part II below, Dan offers 10 additions for your “long-emergency” bucket list…

Bill’s three tips are practical precautions for any kind of crisis. But let’s say we’re in what our old friend Jim Kunstler calls a “long emergency.”

That means you still have time to prepare. And it means you still have time to travel to places or enjoy experiences – like the 10 I’ve outlined for you below – that may no longer be possible if the crisis worsens.

Yes, it’s a bit gloomy to think about this sort of thing. But you can also think of the below as a kind of “bucket list.” These are things you might take for granted now but will regret not doing later, when it’s no longer possible.

Keep in mind the 10 things below are MY list. If you have a suggestion, don’t hesitate to write. You can reach us at [email protected]. Now let’s get to it…

Dan’s “Top 10”
Long-Emergency Bucket List

  1. Visit that national park, museum, or monument you’ve always wanted to. For me, for example, it would be Yosemite or Redwoods. You won’t be able to do those things when the feds close them as they run out of money. Or they won’t be safe places to go. The New York Public Library is another. But you get the idea: Museums, national parks, landmarks, etc. – all will be closed to the public. Probably for a long time. If not for good.

  2. Drive Route 66. Similar to the above, mobility and ease of movement will be things of the past in a true crisis. It will be riskier and more expensive to hit the open road. That great American road trip you’ve wanted to take? Do it now while you still can. In fact, I’m doing one next week, driving from Raleigh to Denver, via Asheville, Nashville, Memphis, and point west in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

  3. Go to Red Lobster or Outback Steakhouse and order the surf and turf. Then, go buy a bottle of champagne at the local booze store (maybe Whole Foods). If we see a “collapse” in the U.S. it’s going to be a global problem. It will mean a breakdown in the supply chain that makes so many products available on demand – including food. If you want to eat lobster from Alaska, or scallops from Maine, or beef from Japan… or drink wine from France or Italy… do it now before the shelves are empty and the ports are closed. You’ll never be able to experience those pleasures again. Same with cigars.

  4. Buy a car with a manual transmission that doesn’t require a computer to run it. How do you think the new high-tech cars are going to hold up when there’s no one who knows how to fix them? If you want something reliable, buy something built before, say, 1985. This is more of an idea about how to prepare and live in a world where you can’t easily replace things. The whole “just in time” method of living will end, and you’ll have to rely on your machines, or fix them when they break. Go ahead… try fixing your Tesla.

  5. Buy an AR-15 or a shotgun. Maybe ammo will be illegal. Maybe guns will. Or maybe they’ll be so hard to get that you’ll have to pay through the nose. But if you want to arm yourself against chaos, you’d better buy these things while they’re still legal. (I once asked my brothers who were in the Marines about a portfolio of firearms… a handgun, a shotgun, and a rifle everyone should own. Maybe a story for another time.) Not expensive to do. Better than an Oculus Rift headset or an Xbox.

  6. Same with flashlights, safes, generators, bolt-cutters, etc. Verging on prepper stuff. But you can get all these things now from Home Depot or Amazon or Walmart. After the fall, you won’t be able to. Lightbulbs and an extra pair of eyeglasses are good ideas, too (assuming the power is still running). Just to test things, I recently ordered some facemasks from Amazon. The cheap ones were sold out. The more expensive ones (with carbon filters) were still available and arrived in two days. They were made in China, ironically.

  7. Go see a Broadway show. Or a live symphony orchestra. Culture will be hard to come by in a crash or long emergency.

  8. Jump out of an airplane or take a hot air balloon ride. No one will have time for frivolity or derring-do when times are grim. It’s fun. Do it now and pay for the video footage. You can watch it as you get older and become less risk averse.

  9. Learn to ride a horse. It could come in handy, and it’s a nice way to see the world if the trip is less than three hours.

  10. Build your own Library of Alexandria. Well, not really. But books are good entertainment and educational for the kids when the crap hits the fan. I’d recommend Janson’s History of Art, the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Great Books collection, The Riverside Shakespeare, Aesop’s Fables, an anatomy book, and an astronomy book. Also, get a basic book on first aid or emergency medicine. You never know when you’ll have to set a bone or extract an abscessed tooth.

There are many levels of “prepping” for a world where things stop working. You can get as immersed in it as you like. In the last two years, I’ve explored the full spectrum of approaches in my American Bolthole Project. If you’re a Bonner-Denning Letter reader, you’ll know what I’m talking about… I did over 8,000 miles in road trips all across the country, looking for places to retire, retreat, or hole up if and when the time came.

Am I saying that time is now? You never know. But just in case, call your mom. Kiss your kids. Give your dog a hug. And say hello to your friends and neighbors. People – a network of like-minded and trusted people – are your ultimate resource in a crisis. The right information comes a close second. That kind of knowledge is good preparation.

Until next time,


Dan Denning
Coauthor, The Bonner-Denning Letter

P.S. If you’re in Asheville, Nashville, Memphis… or any point in between or west… and you think I should stop and see your town or hamlet, let us know. Send an email to [email protected] with “Road Trip” in the subject line. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can if I’m headed your way.

P.P.S. Remember those face masks I mentioned earlier? Bill has been putting them to good use. Here’s your editor, working on the Diary in the Age of the Plague…