The story so far:
Everything that I didn't take with me I had sold for cash. I had also taken out as much cash as the bank would allow. I may not know human nature all that well, but I do understand greed. People didn't want the old ways to disappear. Most people would likely feel comfort in the familiar: money was one of those familiar items.
Some would think that hoarding money would somehow help them survive. It might in the short term, but after a few years a dollar's value would be measured by how many camp fires you could light with it. The money I managed to save after some important purchases was expendable as far as I was concerned. Ballast for my flight to Jilly.
I spent some of the money I'd gathered on tools and a lot on survival gear. I bought several duplicate items, as well, such as the crank powered flashlights and radios. I used to laugh at those stupid contraptions. But now that I would no longer be able to buy batteries at the local convenience store, they were almost priceless. I did buy some rechargeable batteries, assuming that in my spare time (which I figured on having a lot of) that I could re-engineer one of the crank radios into a battery charger.
There wasn't much I could do about food. I'd have to beg borrow, shoot or steal what I could to survive. I wasn't very handy with a gun, but I did get a .22 rifle and a pretty hefty bow. I chose the .22 because I could pack a lot of bullets per square inch. I figured I could retrieve any spent arrows or make new ones when I needed to.
The major purchases were intended to be my transportation. A folding mountain bike and a bike trailer – the kind you can drag pets around in – was what I would use when the car ran out of gas, broke down or could go no further due to the terrain. I hid a major portion of the money by stuffing it here and there in the bike frame, by sewing some of it into the material I would use for a tent and in other places no one would think of looking.
I didn't sleep much the final two days; I was busy feverishly checking and rechecking and trying to compact everything into as small a place as possible. Once I figured that out, I practiced unpacking and packing everything until I could do it literally with my eyes closed.
The day finally arrived for my departure. I had high hopes of a quick journey and fantasies of seeing Jilly within a few months. The thought that I might never see her again was the furthest from my mind.
As I left Goshen, it seemed as if nothing had destroyed the center of the U.S. People still met others on the street and laughed and said 'hello, how are you' and 'see you later' never realizing that in the near future they might be fighting each other for survival. Robbing and killing their neighbors for a scrap of food. I imagined that I saw them in tattered rags, looking like walking skeletons, greeting each other with growls and tearing limbs from each other. I sighed and stepped on the gas. It was a beautiful day for a drive, and I hoped to be through Pennsylvania in record time.