Cabelas was in better shape than we expected. It had been looted, but whoever did it closed up afterwards--probably planning to go back. I suspect it may have been whoever was holed up in that shopping mall surrounded by zombies where we lost Mike. I think the looting happened early in the outbreak, though, because the stuff that was missing was kind of stupid. Lot's of clothes and shoes and high-end electronic stuff was clearly missing--like somebody thought they were going to pawn it or something. The display guns were gone, of course, but nobody even looked in the back of the store, where they keep the real stuff.
We tried to stick with calibers that matched what we had--12 guage shotgun, .45 caliber pistol and Matt's SKS--we struck out on that one and had to get a different caliber of hunting rifle. We came away with a couple of Remington 870 pump shotguns (just like the one Matt left with Shawn), four 1911 pistols (like the one Matt was letting me use on this trip, amazingly enough) and two classic Springfield M1A rifles (they don't use exactly the same ammo as Matt's SKS, but the damage is supposedly similar). We also grabbed so much ammo for all of those that I thought we would break the springs on the Blazer. I crammed in a couple of fishing rod and reel kits (the break-down kind), some binoculars for Heidi (with night vision), 6 absolutely badass machetes with 19 inch blades, a few flashlights, batteries, and sleeping bags, and (strapped to the top of our grossly-overloaded vehicle) 6 crates emergency food kits. Matt also insisted we make room for gun-cleaning supplies.
If hotwiring were a skill any of us had, it would have been nice to pick up another vehicle to replace our lost truck and load it as well--we left a lot of good stuff in that store. We did something abso-freaking-lutely brilliant with some of the extra guns and ammo in the store, if I do say so myself. I won't go into it here in case the wrong people are reading this, but I'm really proud of this one.
Another thing we did before we started back--we camped in an industrial building down the block and took target practice on a small cluster of zombies that came wandering down the street (they might have followed us from the mall). It was almost fun. I don't really care for the shotgun, but I think I can do some damage with the pistol and rifle. Matt was on--three kills with 4 shots from his SKS. Corey handled the shotgun pretty well for a smaller guy. Justin...Well, I think Justin might have to stick with the machete--he pretty much just wasted ammo. More importantly, we all kind of acclimated ourselves to the idea of being the hunter instead of the hunted. I'm kind of starting to feel like Matt--we've all lost so much to these things; maybe it's time to get some payback. After we dropped the cluster, we kept waiting for more to come, but they never did. We even thought about going back to the strip mall and cleaning house on those 100 zombies, but we were afraid we might be overrating our own abilities...And we didn't know how we'd handle it if Mike was one of them.
When we finally got back on the road, the trip started out pretty much uneventful. The roads were still clear. Well, almost. There was a blockage on Dundee Road that wasn't there before--it couldn't have been, or we wouldn't have made it. It was a school bus, a yellow school bus, overturned in the road with a couple of cars crashed around it. We're not sure how it got there, but we agreed it was bad news--Matt thought it was a classic ambush. Luckily we saw it far enough ahead that we were able to take an alternate route (thanks to Heidi's new binoculars). We actually took an extra night because we detoured up through Palatine and set up our own ambush, waitingto see if anybody followed us (we didn't want to lead anyone back to the camp). Nobody came, though. I still wonder where that bus came from. Anyway, we made it back acouple nights ago and nobody has showed up at our door (human or zombie), so maybe we're just paranoid. We're alive. These days it's one and the same.