It gives us no joy to have to report the following: The Atlantic has no idea what they're talking about when it comes to zombie apocalypses. This morning, City Lab published a series of maps on how to escape from various major cities in the case of an outbreak of zombies. Their recommendation for San Francisco? Get to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Just to be clear, that's 289 miles and over five hours drive by car. Five hours during which the zombies can swarm you.
What's their case for Shasta as the site of your anti-zombie redoubt? They point to natural springs, salmon and steelhead fishing, and deer for hunting. Presumably, it's also sparsely populated—and since zombie outbreaks work like epidemics, it makes sense to get as far away as possible from big population centers.
Or does it? Here's where The Atlantic's thinking breaks down: During natural disasters, it's better to be in a group than on your own. Humans are tribal creatures—and a small- to medium-sized band stands a much better chance of fending off the walking dead than a single person does. Shasta is far too remote to work as a rally base and there's not enough infrastructure once you're there to organize a defense. Just ask the emergency responders to the Loma Prieta quake (which we've been covering all month during its 25th anniversary). It's a delicate balancing act: Enough people to form an anti-zombie militia, but not so many that your group is susceptible to the plague causing the zombie outbreak.
So, with that in mind, what are the options? Santa Cruz starts to look pretty good. The mountains are easy to hide in, there's plenty of hippie survivalists running around, and it's much closer than Shasta is. By the same token, parts of the North Bay look good too. Why not turn make survival bunker in a winery? (The trouble there is if the zombies want a nice cab to pair with your brains.) Or, heck, just take over the Marin Headlands. The bunkers are already built for you.