Monday, July 06, 2009

Heaters and Hotels.

Last week, my roommate and I watched No Country for Old Men over dinner, since she hadn't seen it. As those who have seen it are aware, various bad things happening in motel rooms make up a large part of the story. Bad things that involve guns.

When a friend and I drove down to Terlingua, we spent a night in a motel room in Alpine, Texas where the door jamb showed signs of rather vigorous forced entry in the not-too-distantly-repainted past. Over dinner, we speculated on various things: Had it been the cops? The DEA? Business associates of an unlicensed independent pharmaceutical distributor that had been staying there? A drunk student from the college across the road with a mean stomp-kick? Where do we put the FAL and HK-91, since leaving them in the truck was a definite no-go?

Having recently returned from a roadtrip to the Left Coast, Frank W. James speculates on some practicalities of guns on the road, and defending your castle-away-from-castle. It's given me pause to think. Usually when on the road, I've slid the revolver from my purse under the other pillow in the bed, but how much good would it have done on those occasions I forgot and left the doorknob alarm at home? I mean, I sleep fairly lightly, but...


Ed Rasimus said...

I'm into the Kimber on the nightstand mode. Locks and chains usually mean unwelcome entry will perforce be noisy.

Gotta reconsider the efficacy of traveling with FAL's and HK91s...might be a job for my AR next road trip. Now, how to disguise it as a carry-on bag.

rickn8or said...

Following up on Ed's comments, I use the same rule on the road that I use at hoome: "Anybody that's supposed to be there knows how to get inside quietly."

Anybody making a noisy entrance needs to become acquainted with Mr.Smith-on-the-nightstand.

Simple, no?

Malamute said...

Some good thoughts from Franks post. I've long had a gun under the spare pillow, or under mine in hand depending on the time and place. Takes some getting used to. I prefer revo's for that, after waking many times with the 1911 cocked and unlocked and pointing in various directions in the morning. I prefer to do long drives in winter, I figure less thieves out in zero weather, and easier to find a room without much notice. Also tend to get a room 50 miles or so from any large town. The two large dogs help with in-room intruder security. I try to get a room that I can park right outside my own window also. A model 12 Winchester, cut to 20", with rifle sights, in a black takedown case lays unnoticed on top of the black duffle overnight bag when walking into the room, and gets put together and loaded when in room. I generally eat and do all the other things before settling into the room, so never need to leave stuff in there for any amount of time unattended, other than walking dogs, which happens close by if you find the good dog friendly motels and go to the same places over time. A Winchester 94 goes in the room in western states, nobody pays much attention to taking guns in the room, tho I keep them vertical against my body when going in or out. Seems most places I've stayed have concrete block walls. The stuff in the boots is good, thats an old camp trick, but a good idea for the road.

A small stainless revo goes into the bath for showers, under the towel. A small gun in the shaving road bag is nice. Spare flashlights are good, bad to grab the surefire and find that that moment is the one that the batteries conk. I usually have 3 close by on the road or in camp, with a spares (batteries)carrier handy. Small containers of sugar and creamer are nice to have in your road gear too, (less need to leave the room for stuff) as they never seem to have enough in the rooms.


Anonymous said...

Billfold and revolver under the covers: Yup. Park outside the room's door. Yup.

I've noticed that most of the relatively-newer motels' doors and hinges are sturdier than the older ones. A piece of 2x4 with a vee-notch in one end, long enough to jam under the knob and be at an angle a tad steeper than 45 degrees can be a permanent resident in one's car. Won't be forgotten and left at home...


Carl H said...

I bring an old-fashioned $2 wedge doorstop in the luggage.

It won't stop a determined push, but it gives me another bit of time to prepare an atomic wedgie for those determined pushy types.

I prefer a revolver for nightstand duty, but lately have been carrying a Makarov in the road bag since I can still buy ammo.

I EDC a Spyderco pocketknife and a Tinker Swiss Army Knife, plus I keep a 'cut throat' straight razor in the dopp kit. As the old song says "Going up to Dallas, bring my razor and my gun. Cut you if you stand still, shoot you if you run."

When I think a truck gun might be a good idea, I bring a 30-30. Bought an SKS and a Mosin M44 with the idea they might be better truck guns...but the old 30-30 is still leader of the pack.

mariner said...

Good post, Tam.

The threat is not merely theoretical.

Stranger said...

12Ga 870 with a slug barrel, loaded with "20 ga load" of 7/8ths oz bird shot and a spreader wad. 40" pattern at 20'. Motel walls are flimsy and I'm a pretty good snap shot even when startled. And it breaks down into a nondescript carpet bag. That holds my personal pillow on top.

Along with a steel wood splitting wedge for the bottom of the door. I put a very soft non skid pad on one side, and the more you push the harder it gets to move.

And for in between? In cool weather a S&W 57 under a coat. In hot weather something smaller. Down to a PPK or one of my Rem 51's in a pocket holster for singlet and shorts.

I second the park outside your room proposition. Although I had to park outside my room window once. My alarm remote chirped and some guy rocking my van was startled to look up and see a fat naked guy pointing a shotgun at him and shaking his head. He left - wisely.


Firehand said...

Anony beat me to the 2x4. Used to know someone who kept such a piece in their car so it was always there for trips.

Stranger's idea of the wood-splitting wedge is a new one to me, ought to work nicely.

Frank W. James said...

Tam: thanks for the bump and this specific post has certainly attracted attention from other sites due to her spotlighting.

Many have mentioned door wedges and I failed to mention them in the initial post. It was for a specific reason. I don't use them because I have reservations about their use.

I use door wedges on the doors of my farm buildings at remote locations to 'lock' the building and prevent unauthorized entry. Many has been the time where I had to use a sledgehammer to remove these wedges when they became stuck extremely tight.

No system is perfect and it is up to each of us to determine what is an acceptable risk, but my concern is in the event of a FIRE a stuck door wedge could prove extremely hazardous if not fatal if you couldn't remove it in a timely manner.

It was an oversight on my part not to mention this in the original post, but use your own judgement.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Texas gun nut said...

Not likely you would have had any trouble in Alpine. Crime is all but nonexistent there. I haven't even had to prepay for my gas anytime I have been in town. Alpine is also the only town I have seen wherein the True Value hardware store was also the local gun shop, with more Aks, ARs, and other assorted goodies than most gun shops in the Dallas or Austin area. Though the little hotels near the college are all a little run down, they are still pretty safe.

For rifle duty on the road, pulling the pins and collapsing the stock on an AR will let it fit in a small totebag for transporting, with a doorknob alarm for the initial heads up and a Judge for first response.

Tam said...

"Not likely you would have had any trouble in Alpine."

Didn't really expect any trouble, but still didn't want to leave the rifles in the truck. Everybody who's ever walked back and found their vehicle with a broken window thought they'd parked it in a safe place. :o

JokersWild said...

For the home I use the Master Lock Security Bar. There's also the SmartHome DoorStop Alarm. Both of these items could be easily left in your vehicle when travelling.