We grew up knowing that whenever you left the house by horseback, on foot, or in a vehicle, we were supposed to go prepared. Extra clothing-ie warm coats, rain coat, and dry socks, matches, string, a chunk of cotton, a piece of wasps’ nest, survey tape, jackknife, and sometimes a firearm, depending on where we were going and/or the season. Snacks and water rounded out the list. Dad used to tell us to carry a deck of cards. If we got lost, we could play solitaire. He said, "Eventually, someone will come along and tell you to put the jack on the queen." Of course, the time of year made for additions to the list and a lot of time, the items stayed in the vehicle or saddlebag year round.
We let someone know where we were going and when we thought we'd would be back. Return time was always a +/- thing, but at least if it got dark and we weren’t back, someone knew the direction we had headed. Accidents happened, weather changes happened, and silliness sometimes prevailed. All causing the possibility of being alone for several hours, overnight, or days.
There were no cell phones, and the truth be known, where I grew up, there are still areas that have no service. You couldn’t check in, and you couldn’t call for help, other than yelling. You relied on your knowledge of your surroundings and what you had been taught to get you through.
As I get older, gravel travel is something I enjoy and often I go alone. When I make a trip to visit friends and family, I tend to shy away from the most travelled routes. Now it is my children who ask me which roads I am going to take, when will I arrive, and when will I return home? Do I have the things I need in case I get stuck and need to be on my own for hours or overnight? Their questions can be annoying, but deep down, it pleases me to know I have taught them well.