Bugout! California Part 70 – Safe Havens?


“Here they come,” Trevor said, looking out the driver’s side window of Ji-Ho’s massive coach.

“Thank God,” Kaylee said. “That was scary.”

They could hear Sid’s Jeep on the gravel next to them, car doors opening. John got up and opened the door. Yvonne climbed in, followed by Sid and Sam, carrying weapons.

“Sorry we took so long,” Sid said to Ji-Ho as he set down the guns.

“Yeah, sorry,” Sam said. “That was quite an experience.”

“We can’t go get our rigs?” Sarah asked.

“No, we need to stay away from there, and we need to get out of this spot before we get seen,” Sam said.

“You really okay?” Ji-Ho asked. “It your place.”

“It’s still my place,” Sam said. “It’ll keep until after the war. I like what Garrett’s men are doing there.”

“Where’s this safe place?” Trevor asked.

“Near Dulzura, off Dutchman Canyon Road,” Sam said.

“I know that place,” John said. “I was one of the few people around here who actually got along with old man Williams. He gonna be okay with us showing up? He can be a little dicey.”

“He’s dead,” Sid said. “Killed by the enemy shortly after they showed up in the area.”

“Oh,” John said. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“He’s got RV hookups and an extra coach there,” Sam said.

“We should get going, then,” Trevor said.

“Wait,” Ji-Ho said. “Sure you trust?”

“I think those guys have the town locked down pretty good, and they’ve got seven hundred men.”

“You see?” Ji-Ho asked.

“No,” Sam said. “But I believe it. I know Garrett. He’s a little kooky, but he knows what he’s doing. He’s a survivor, and his group is growing.”

“Attract bad attention,” Ji-Ho said.

“Don’t be so sure about that,” Sid said. “They’ve taken back this area. That’s pretty clear.”

“Then why enemy at RV Park?” Ji-Ho asked.

“It’s about ten miles outside of town,” Sam said. “They’re losing people there, and they don’t understand why, plus there’s something going on with the bodies, because they’re tracking them with their cell phones. Saw that with my own eyes.”

“RFID Chips,” Ji-Ho said. “I hear about from Ivan.”

“Yeah, that’s probably it,” Sid said. “Couldn’t believe when those black powder guns started going off. Nothing smells like that.”

“Wait, they use black powder guns?” Ji-Ho asked. “Like muskets?”

Sam chuckled. “No, they’re using late 19th century guns. Probably replicas, for the most part.”

“Yeah,” Sid said. “Old 1873 Winchesters, Colt Single Action Army pistols, even cap and ball revolvers. Saw one of them with a nice pair of Colt 1851 Navy guns.”

“That’s bitchen,” Trevor said.

James, Tyler, and Ryan chuckled.

Ji-Ho shook his head. “Why use? Old garbage.”

“They actually had some good reasons for that, beyond the fact that they’re black powder hobbyists,” Sid said.

“Oh yeah, what that?” Ji-Ho asked.

“They make their own powder,” Sid said. “We haven’t had to go into a store and buy ammo. He said it’s locked down tight in this state. This is a good fit.”

“Old garbage,” Ji-Ho repeated.

“Oh, I don’t know, they’ll kill people just as well as smokeless guns do,” Sid said.

“True, but it like travel. You can still sail across Pacific, but you don’t do, if objective is only to cross Pacific.”

Sam chuckled. “I get your point, Ji-Ho. Let’s talk about this later. You should meet these guys. I think you’ll like them, but right now we need to get out of sight. Our butts are hanging out too much here.”

“Yeah, let’s go,” Trevor said. “You guys lead the way.”

Sam nodded, and he went outside with Sid, followed by Tyler, Zac, James, Ryan, Bradley, and Kenny. They got into their Jeeps, Sid leading the way down the highway.

“I hope we can get a good night’s sleep,” Kaylee said. “Wonder what happened to Seth and Angel?”

“I don’t know, honey,” Trevor said from behind the wheel. “I’m pretty worried about them.”

“I pretty worried about us,” Ji-Ho said. “Need to get team to Temecula to get more fifty-cal. Wonder how much ammo Sam get from park?”

Trevor chuckled. “Crap, we didn’t even ask him about that.”

“Lots,” Yvonne said. “More than I expected. More than we started with.”

“That good,” Ji-Ho said. “If area really locked down like they say, maybe we use as base for while.”

“What’s this house like?” Kaylee asked.

“Huge,” Yvonne said. “I’ve never been inside, but I’ve seen the outside. Looks like about six thousand square feet.”

“I’ve been there,” John said. “It’s seven bedrooms. Huge kitchen. Used to have chickens and goats. It’d make a good base, if we could protect the surrounding ridges. You can’t see it from the main highway.”

“Then why don’t Garrett men stay there?” Ji-Ho asked.

John chuckled. “You really don’t want to trust these folks, huh?”

“They not sound serious,” Ji-Ho said. “That all.”

“They have that western town,” Sarah said. “Been there for a carnival they ran once.”

“You’re joking,” Kaylee said.

“It’s pretty cool,” John said. “They own several hundred acres. Built the town themselves. Had a big battle with the county over permits. Had to tear parts of it down and rebuild.”

“Like I say, not serious,” Ji-Ho said. “Hope they not get us killed.”

“They handled the enemy fighters without breaking a sweat,” Yvonne said. “Not that I don’t agree with being cautious.”

“We’re almost there already,” Trevor said, gripping the wheel tight as the Jeeps took a right turn. He followed them. “Tight street.”

“It says no outlet,” Kaylee said. “Hope it’s not a good place for a trap.”

“We could take the Jeeps out through the back in a pinch,” John said.

“Maybe we ought to get some horses, like Garrett’s men had,” Yvonne said.

“Wait, they on horseback too?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Yep,” Yvonne said. “Perfect for back there. If they get hit with more enemy fighters than they can handle, they can ride into the canyons in every direction from that RV Park.”

“Whoa, that it?” Trevor asked as they approached the huge house. The Jeeps drove through the gate.

“Yeah, that’s it,” John said, looking out the windshield from behind. “See where that other coach is, sitting next to the garage? Pull up next to it. There’s electrical and sewer hook ups there.”

“Why’d he have two?” Kaylee asked.

“Son-in-law had a rig,” John said. Used to come here a lot, even after his wife died.”

“So somebody could be coming back, then?” Trevor asked. “Somebody who could kick us out?”

“Nah, he wasn’t a relative anymore,” John said. “Had no claim on this place. He was a nice guy. Wish he was around. Used to be a drinking buddy.”

“I’m glad he isn’t around,” Sarah said. “You two were a bad influence on each other.”

“I know,” John said. “I’m not that person anymore. I can still like the guy, though.”

“He how you know place?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Yeah, as a matter of fact,” John said.

Trevor made a sweeping curve and backed in next to the other coach. “That’s a nice one. Maybe we can take off with it.”

“Tire flat on rear driver’s side,” Ji-Ho said, pointing. “Fixable. We check out in morning. Sleep tonight.”

“We can cover the entrance road with the forward machine guns,” Trevor said. “I’ll help Sam reload them.”

“Yes, do,” Ji-Ho said. “You in charge of coach. Maybe you and Kaylee stay here tonight. Rest in house.”

“Makes sense,” Kaylee said. “We’ve already been using the bed anyway.”

Everybody piled out of the motor home and walked to the wrap-around porch of the huge house. There was a barn behind it, and horse facilities. The porch light turned on as they approached.

“Crap, there’s somebody here,” Trevor said.

“Hold it,” Sam said. “There’s Garrett’s horse. See it, in the coral by the barn?”

“Good, I meet,” Ji-Ho said.

“Hey, folks,” Garrett said, walking out onto the porch with his Winchester in his hand. “Thought I’d better get over here and get the place unlocked. Keys are on the table next to the door.”

“Thanks,” Sam said, walking up the steps. “I’ll introduce you to our folks.”

“That’s an interesting motor home you got there,” he said.

“You don’t know the half of it,” Sid said. “Hi, Garrett. Long time no see.”

Garrett nodded and shook hands with him and Yvonne.

“Hi, I’m Trevor, and this is Kaylee,” Trevor said. “Love to chat with you about black powder sometime.”

“Sure, it’d be a pleasure,” Garrett said, smiling as he shook hands. “Always ready for some new converts.”

“This is Ji-Ho,” Sam said, nodding to him as he walked up. “He’s our leader.”

Ji-Ho smiled. “I not leader. Sam better, or Tyler here. Good to meet you, sir.”

“Nice to meet you too,” Garrett said, giving him a warm handshake. “Tyler – which tribe?”

“Barona,” Tyler said. “What’s left of them. We nearly got wiped out earlier tonight.”

“I heard,” Garrett said. “Take some time to recharge. Maybe we can work together. We’ve got the bad guys on the run around here.”

“Hey, Garrett,” John said, walking up with Sarah.

“Oh, thank God,” Garrett said. “I was so glad to hear you survived. You knew old man Williams, didn’t you?”

“Yep, been to this house quite a few times,” he said. “Sorry to hear about what happened. Heard anything about Clinton?”

“Ah, the brother-in-law,” Garrett said. “Last I heard he was in Utah.”

“Not a great place to be,” Ji-Ho said. “I hear much bad. Islamist and Militia slaughter people there.”

“Yeah, heard some of those same stories,” Garrett said.

“I’ll show everybody around this place,” John said. “It been closed up?”

“Yeah, for the most part,” Garrett said. “We had to chase some kids out of here a while back, but they didn’t do damage. Might find a beer can or two laying around.”

Sam introduced the rest of the group to Garrett, and they went inside.

Kaylee stopped Trevor at the porch. “You care about the tour?”

“Not really,” Trevor said.

“Good, then let’s get the ammo out of Sid’s Jeep, reload the machine guns, and hit the sack. You mind?”

“Not even a little bit,” Trevor said. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her. “We haven’t been alone for a while.”

“I know,” she said. “C’mon.”

They walked to the Jeep and opened the tailgate. “There it is,” Trevor said.

“Hey, you guys gonna reload the guns?” Sam asked from the porch.

“Yeah,” Kaylee said. “And then we’re going to bed. I’m beat.”

“Good,” Sam said. “See you two in the morning. I’ll stash the rest of the ammo later.”

Trevor nodded and picked up one of the metal boxes, then followed Kaylee back to the rig.

“You think we’re safe here?” Kaylee asked, closing the door behind them.

Trevor went to the driver’s area and removed the floor in front of the passenger seat to reload the guns. “Yeah, I think we’ll be okay for now. Maybe we ought to put this baby in siege mode, though, after I get her reloaded.”

“I’ll text my uncle and ask him about that.”

“Good, do that. I’ll be finished here in a couple minutes.”

She typed on her screen as Trevor finished loading. “Perfect. Only used about a quarter of the ammo in this box so far, and there’s five more boxes in the Jeep. I’ll go do the back guns too, just in case.”

“My uncle agreed with the siege mode,” Kaylee said, following Trevor into the back, watching as he reloaded the rear guns.

“Done,” Trevor said.

“Good. Show me how to put this into siege mode.”

Trevor nodded and took her back to the driver’s seat. He went through the steps slowly as she watched. The metal plate moved in front of the windshield, and they could hear the plates coming down around the tires as well.

“We don’t want to hook up?” she asked. “Forgot about that.”

“In the morning,” Trevor said. “I’d rather be able to hi-tail it in a hurry.”

“Good, then take me to bed,” she said, slipping her arm around his waist. They undressed, got under the covers, and were out like a light.


Angel woke up startled, looking around in a panic, then seeing Megan next to him, lying face down. The night came rushing back at him. He got up to use the bathroom. When he came back, her eyes were open.

“Morning,” she said. “What time is it?”

“Almost eleven,” he said. “That was quite a night. I don’t think we fell asleep completely till about four.”

“Well, you kept waking up and getting me started again,” Megan said, turning over and stretching, her naked body before him.

“Oh, yeah,” Angel said.

“Stop! I’m sore. Give me a little time, okay?”

Angel chuckled. “Okay, I guess I can live with that. It’s your fault, anyway.”

“My fault?”

“You said you were going to wear me out last night,” he said. “Didn’t think I heard that, did you?”

“I wanted you to hear that,” she said, getting out of bed. “I need to use the bathroom now. Maybe we ought to get some breakfast.”

“I could eat a horse,” he said. He got dressed, then opened the door. A shot rang out, just missing him, hitting the door. He slammed it and dropped.

“Get down!” he yelled.

“Oh, shit,” Megan said, crawling back out, trying to pull her shirt on. Angel grabbed his M60, then used the barrel to break out the window. He fired on the van that was sitting at the back end of the parking lot. Then more gunfire erupted from behind the van. There was more glass breaking, and Seth opened up with his M60, hitting several UN thugs as they tried to run for cover.

“Son of a bitch,” Seth yelled. “How many do you see?”

“You just killed four. I filled the back of the van pretty good. I think we’d better get the hell out of here.”

“There might be more out there,” Megan said, checking the magazine on her AK-47.

Seth rushed out of his room, Kaitlyn following, both running to the back of the parking lot. Somebody popped up from the bushes and Kaitlyn dropped him, then ran towards the van with her gun blazing.

“Whoa, that woman can fight,” Angel said. He opened the door. A couple more shots hit the door frame and the wall, and then Seth fired, killing three more men who were coming in from the left. Megan burst out, her AK-47 blazing.

“Hope the Jeeps aren’t ruined,” she said, stopping behind theirs, trying to look it over. Seth was already inside his Jeep as Kaitlyn covered him. He started it up and rolled forward.

“Good, theirs is okay,” Megan said. “Get in and start this puppy. We need to leave now.”

Angel nodded and jumped in, starting the engine and backing out.

“You get the ammo?” she asked.

“Yeah, I got it. Let’s go out the back. Throw her in four-wheel drive. That courtyard is a good place for an ambush, and I don’t trust the street either.”

“Yeah,” Megan said. “That’s what Seth is doing.” She got in and they took off towards the rear of the lot, guns out the windows. They went over the back curb and raced down the dirt road, which curved around the hillside quickly, picking up speed as they raced for the nearest of the canyons bordering the town.

“How the hell did they find us?” Angel asked. Megan had her eyes peeled outside, looking for vehicles on their tail.

“I don’t know,” she said. “This sucks.”

“Maybe it’s our cellphones,” Angel said.

“Look, Seth and Kaitlyn are stopping ahead.”

Angel nodded and pulled up next to them. They got out with their guns.

“Stay low, between the Jeeps,” Seth said. “For all we know they might have snipers around.”

“Why didn’t they destroy our vehicles?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Probably figured the noise would tip us off,” Seth said. “How the hell did they find us so quick?”

“It’s probably simpler than we think,” Kaitlyn said. “There’s not that many places to check, and they knew what kind of vehicles we had. They might even have pictures of them from the earlier battles.”

“Crap, you’re right,” Seth said. “They could take a map and look at how far we could’ve gone. Draw a circle, then check out every town within it. If they figured out we skipped I-8, that helps them a lot.”

“You might be right about that,” Megan said, looking at her phone. “There’s not that many towns that have motels.”

“How many motels does Jamul have?” Seth asked.

“Three,” Angel said.

“Dammit,” Seth said. “They might have seen us from that ridge last night, too, you know. That would cut their search area way the hell down, if they took the time to see where our dirt road dumped off.”

“Oh, crap,” Kaitlyn said. “Forgot about that.”

“Son of a bitch,” Megan said. “If they figured out what road we were going on, there’s only one town to check – Jamul. That means they had to check three parking lots to find us.”

“How could we have been so stupid?” Seth asked.

“We were tired and scared,” Kaitlyn said. “We would’ve been better off going to El Cajon. At least there are a lot more motels there.”

“What do we do now?” asked Megan. “One of those slugs might have gotten a call out before we killed them.”

“I know, I’m thinking the same thing,” Angel said. “Let’s look at the map again.”

“Wait,” Seth said. “We should risk a call to Trevor.”

“What if they’re tracking our phones?”

“They are,” Kaitlyn said. “They were watching I-8. That’s why we saw them on the ridge looking for us.”

“We need to find a land line someplace,” Angel said.

“That’s going to be tough.” Megan said.

“We can’t send them a text?” Kaitlyn asked. “Not even one?”

“Not sure how that would help us,” Seth said. “It’s not like they can state their location.”

“Dammit,” Megan said. “Maybe it’s time to just go into San Diego and disappear.”

“If they even let us in,” Angel said.

Seth’s phone dinged. He pulled it out of his pocket. “Trevor,” he whispered. “Text. This is weird.”

“What does it say?”

“It says Samstown remember TV show on channel 6.”

“What the hell?” Angel said.

“Think,” Kaitlyn said. “It’s a message. You know it is.”

“Sam’s Town – that was a casino at Laughlin,” Angel said.

“Maybe he’s talking about Sam,” Kaitlyn said.

Megan laughed. “Where did Sam live?”

“Crap, that’s got to be it,” Seth said. “Dulzura.”

Megan looked at her phone. “That’s right down Highway 94 from here.”

“Can we get to that road without going back into Jamul?” Angel asked.

“Yeah,” Megan said. “See?” She showed her phone to the others.

“That’s only part of the puzzle,” Seth said. “Show on channel 6. That’s a San Diego station.”

“Dude, you still got Ji-Ho’s walkie-talkie?” Angel asked.

Seth smiled. “I think it’s still in the glove box, but remember that I didn’t drive it the whole time. Somebody might have grabbed it.”

“Let’s check,” Kaitlyn said, opening the door. “Yep, it’s here.” She turned it on. “Looks like there’s still battery, too.”

“Perfect,” Seth said. “Let’s get going before our friends find us again.”

“We’ll be lucky if we don’t run into them on Highway 94,” Megan said. “I think we need somebody in the back of these Jeeps with guns again.”

“Worked last time,” Kaitlyn said. “Let’s get out of here. You mind driving, Seth?”

“Not at all,” Seth said.

They got into their Jeeps and took off, moving south-east towards the highway.

To be continued…


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