Crossing America – The Exercise – My Approach

So I clued you into the Crossing America exercise.  Here is the actual scenario for this one.

You have the opportunity to go back in time, arriving on the east coast of North America circa 1650, and your goal is to cross the North American continent alone, taking as much time as you need. When/if you reach the opposite coastline, you’ll be transported back to the present day.

Your equipment for this journey will be as follows (taken back in the time capsule with you):

  • enough gold to buy a horse and a mule (or two horses / two mules, whatever), and provisions for the first five days’ travel;
  • a small backpack containing some clothing and toiletries;
  • a winter coat, raincoat and two pairs of boots;
  • waterproof sleeping bag;
  • an axe, a large sheath knife, a smaller blade, and a “toolkit” knife like a Swiss Army or Gerber Multitool;
  • a box of 1,000 “strike anywhere” waterproof matches;
  • a topological map, binoculars and a compass;
  • a very small toolbox, including a firearm cleaning kit and a few spares for your firearms;
  • and a U.S. Army First Aid kit.


  • ONE long gun (and 800 rounds, but no scope)
  • ONE handgun (and 1,000 rounds)

That’s it. The question: which long gun, and which hand gun would you choose to take with you?

So here is my thought process and answers.

1650 North America, there are only a handful of very early colony sites that are being establish.  The good news is that there are colonies representing 7 European nations.  Britain, France, Spain, Sweden, and Holland.  The Dutch have pushed inland along the Hudson River, The French have pushed upstream along the St. Lawrence to what is currently Montreal.

Given what I know today, I think the most likely route for survival is one that starts either from the Jamestown colony, or from New Sweden.  Striking out east through the Appalachians, striking out to intercept the Ohio River way.  Using the Ohio, I would have to work my way downstream to the Mississippi and then pickup the Lewis and Clark trail from there.  Now the big thing to remember here is that this will be all “virgin” territory.  The waterways are good guides and should provide ample hunting / fishing / trapping opportunities as well as it being the most likely method to meet and trade with any native settlements. 

Success for the trip will be predicated on my ability to live off the land.  That means trailblazing, friendly relations with any other travelers / natives, surviving disease, hunting / trapping to provide for needs (clothing, bedding, food, trade, etc.).  Hunting of large game is going to be a requirement, as will being able to preserve and utilize as much of the animal as possible.

As other folks have mentioned this is a long, multi-year trip.  Once you get to the plains you might be able to make 15 – 18 miles a day.  When in wooded regions of the country you will be on game trails, native trails, or trailblazing.  Progress will be slow.  Crossing mountain ranges may be a trail and error situation unless you are able to pull in a native guide, or directions.

There will be seasons that are not going to work from a travel standpoint.  You will need a winter camp, unless you try and take a southern route.  Unfortunately water becomes a major challenge on the southern route, and those horses / mules / donkeys require grazing and water. 

The Guns

Handgun – Springfield XD .45 ACP.  Mostly because I really like this weapon and it has a better magazine capacity than 1911A1.  If the rule tweak of being able to have a 22LR conversion kit for a 1911A1 came into play I would switch this over to the 1911.

Long Gun – Marlin 336SS  30-30 Win

While I would love to be able to have commonality of ammunition I think that there is a real need to be able to reach out farther, accurately than I can with a handgun and a 30-30 should allow a one or two shot stop at reasonable distances.

Go over to Kim’s and read the other opinions.

I still need to think about the dog choice, Akita, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Wolfhound, Mastiff, Sheepdog?


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