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The Realities Of Choosing Your Survival Retreat Location

Brandon Smith
June 6th, 2012
Alt Market
Comments (194) Read by 20,811 people

This article was originally published at Alt Market.

Unfortunately, having a ‘Plan B’ just isn’t the modern American way.  The great and diabolical misfortune of having two to three solid generations of assumed prosperity in one’s culture is the side-effect it has of lulling the populace into comfortable apathy.  “Prepping” becomes a kind of novelty; a lifestyle that people joke about while planning out their next vacation or their next suburban home purchase.  It’s something that others consider in that fleeting moment in front of the television while witnessing the news of a catastrophe on the other side of the world, only to be forgotten minutes after changing the channel.  Such things do not happen here.  Not in the United States…

I am a child of an age laden with illusory wealth, and have benefitted (for a short time at least) from the financial fakery of our economic system, as have many Americans.  Most of us have not had to suffer through the unmitigated poverty, hopelessness, and relentless fear that are pervasive in harsher days.  All our problems could be cured with money, especially government money, and as long as the greenbacks were flowing, we didn’t care where they came from.  Ultimately, though, the ease of our well-to-do welfare kingdom has set us up for a cultural failure of epic proportions.  Anytime a society allows itself to be conditioned with dependency, its fate is sealed.

We do not know what crisis really is.  Many Americans barely have an inkling of what it entails.  We imagine it, in films, in books, and in our own minds, but the fantasy is almost numbing.  We lose sight of the tangible grating salty rawness of the worst of things, while imagining ourselves to be “aware”.  Most people today are like newborns playing merrily in a pit of wolves.

Preppers, on the other hand, are those who seek to understand what the rest of the public goes out of its way to ignore.  They embrace the reality and inevitability of disaster, and suddenly, like magic, they are able to see its oncoming potential where others cannot (or will not).  The price they pay for this extended vision, however, is high…

I see the prepper generation as a generation of sacrifice; men and women who must endure the collapse of the façade for the sake of an honorable future society they may not live to experience.  Modern day Cassandras?  Hopefully not.  But, certainly a group of people who have lost much in the path to knowledge.  We lose our blissful naivety.  That which once easily entertained us becomes banal and meaningless.  We set aside many of our dreams to make room for the private and public battle we must wage for the truth.  And, in the early days of our awakening, we tend to lose sleep.

The primary advantage of this otherwise complex life is actually simple:  we have a ‘Plan B’.

Independence, self sustainability, true community, and redundancy in systems; it’s all in a day’s work for the prepper.  But, one thing tends to sit upon our minds above all else, and that subject is ‘home’.  Not necessarily the home where we are, but the home where we will shelter during darker days.  Call it a retreat, call it a bunker, call it whatever you like, but every prepper has to have that place set aside that gives him the utmost advantage while facing off against calamities that normally annihilate average people.

Choosing a retreat can be easy, or so difficult it explodes your brain depending on how you approach it.  The problem I see most often with those seeking a back-up location for a collapse scenario is that they engage the process as if they are still living in 2006, hunting for their McMansion with a view on the sunny hillsides of Colorado or California, instead of thinking in practical terms.  So, to help clarify a more fundamental approach to choosing a survival retreat, here is a list of priorities that cannot be overlooked:

Property Placement

You may be searching for a homestead property or a more discreet retreat area for only the most violent disasters.  In either case, property placement should be your number one concern.  Where is your subject property located?  What are the strengths and weaknesses, economically, socially, and legally, in the state you are considering.  What is the disposition of the government and law enforcement in the county your retreat resides in?  What kind of environment are you surrounding yourself with?  These are all very important issues to consider.

Even more important, though, are the dynamics of the land you are choosing.  Are you looking for a typical flat piece of developed farmland with easy access to roads and town amenities?  Then you are going about this all wrong.  Are you purchasing a cabin in the woods where you and your family will be isolated and alone?  Again, not very bright.

The ideal retreat location is a combination of rugged terrain and varied topography that is just accessible enough, and set in proximity to like minded neighbors who will aid each other in the advent of a social implosion.

It may feel strange to consider it at first, but try to think in terms of an aggressive party:  a looter, a criminal, or just a hungry refugee.  Now, take a second look at your retreat selection.  Is it easy to wander into?  Can a person stroll right up to the front door, or do they really have to spend a lot of time and energy to reach you?  Is it within sight of a major highway?  Is it in the middle of a funnel or valley which people would naturally take to get to a tempting destination?  Is it flat with little cover and concealment, or is it nestled in the midst of hills and crevices which can be used strategically?  How many routes in and out of the region are there?

Crops can be grown in any area with any climate if the correct methods are used.  Energy can be produced with a multitude of technologies and tools.  Structures can be built to adapt to the materials that are most abundant in the region.  However, once you commit to a particular environment and terrain type, you are stuck with it for good.  Choose wisely.

Community Network

As mentioned in the section above, isolation should NOT be the goal here.  The concept of the lone wolf survivalist waiting out the implosion with his family in a secret fortification is not realistic, or likely to work at all.  In the most volatile of collapses, such retreats only offer a tempting target for unsavory characters, from Bosnia to Argentina and beyond.  If you don’t have a community of preppers around you, you have nothing.

Ideally, choosing a retreat location, especially for a homestead in which you will be living on a day to day basis, should be done with multiple families involved.  The more preppers involved, the larger the perimeter of warning and defense, and the safer everyone will be.  It is not enough to have a friend or two on the other side of town, or to have a couple neighbors who are open to the subject of collapse but have made no efforts to prep.  A return to a true community foundation is the surest way to secure your retreat.  There WILL be people who will wish to take what you have in a crisis situation.  Your best bet is to surround yourself with people who already have what they need…

In Montana, I have used the idea of “Land Co-Op Groups”, expanding on the barter networking concept to include helping people of like-mind to meet and find property within proximity of each other, or to choose mutual retreat areas where there will be safety in numbers.  Explore real estate markets near family members who are on the same wavelength.  Talk with existing prepper communities and see if you might work well together.  Form your own group of land seekers and make purchases together, saving money for everyone.  Know who you will be weathering the storm with!

Defensibility

This has been mentioned in previous sections, but let’s establish what defensibility truly involves.  Do the natural features shelter you, or hinder you?  How many lanes of sight are near your retreat and will they work to your advantage, or someone else’s?  Is your homestead on the top of a wide open hill and visible for miles around?  Will attackers exhaust themselves attempting to reach you?  How much warning will you have if someone is approaching your location?

Make sure your surroundings work for you.  Folds in the land topography not only off greater surface area for your money, but also cover and concealment.  Forget about beautiful views, perfect soil, and room for a gazebo.  Is the retreat actually protecting you or not?  If this single issue is not considered and resolved, nothing else matters.

This is why I recommend starting from scratch with raw land if possible.  Many people dislike the notion of building their retreat or homestead from the ground up, claiming that there is not enough time, or that the project will be too costly.  This is not necessarily true, especially for those who plan the construction of their retreat around off-grid living strategies.  Raw land purchases, depending on the region, can be highly affordable.  Building using present materials, like native timber, reduces costs drastically.  And, as long as your house plans remain simple, construction can be started and finished within a matter of months.

When building from scratch on raw land you have chosen using the guidelines already discussed, you can place your living quarters in the most advantageous position for defense, while being able to reinforce the home itself as you go.  For those using an existing structure, the job becomes a bit more difficult.  Additional fortifications will have to be planned carefully to adapt to the framework of the building.  Weak areas of the property will have to be strengthened using fences, walls, or strategically placed vegetation that frustrates approach.  High points in the terrain should be used to establish observation posts.  At every moment of the day or night, someone must be awake to keep an eye on the surroundings.  Respect the realities of a collapse, instead of disregarding them, and your chances of success increase a hundred fold.

Water Availability

Many would place water resources at the very top of this list, and having an ample supply is certainly vital.  Digging a well is a must.  Building in proximity to a stream, river, or lake is even better.  That said, rainwater collection is a viable supplement to weaker indigenous water supply, along with water storage done in advance of any event.  The average adult human being needs approximately 2.5 liters of water per day to survive comfortably.  The common vegetable garden needs around 2” of watering overall per week.  Bathing and general hygiene requires several gallons per week depending on how conservative you are.  It is important to gauge the water production and storage capacity available at your retreat.  If the math does not add up, and if rain collection is not enough to fill the gap, then move on.  Find an area that will sustain you with water, but do not neglect the rest of the items on this list just to be near a roaring river…

Food Production

This is an area with far more flexibility than most people seem to realize.  With the right methods, a garden can be grown in almost any climate, and at any time of the year, even winter.  Every retreat should be fitted with a greenhouse, and this does not require much expense, or even energy to build.  Makeshift materials often work wonders and the cheapest greenhouses tend to supply as much produce throughout the year as expensive and professionally built models.

Raised bed gardening is efficient, requiring less water, and producing more food than typical gardens.  Small orchards are possible depending on the climate and elevation of the property.  Wild edibles in the area should be cataloged.  Find out where they grow in abundance, how to cook and prepare them, and which edibles you actually enjoy eating.

Animals require at least some acreage.  Two acres being the minimum if you plan to raise several species.  Goats, chickens, and rabbits are much easier to squeeze into a smaller parcel than cattle or horses, and draw much less attention to your retreat.  A single milk producing cow and a bull, however, have the ability to keep your family healthy and fed for a lifetime.  The trade-off is up to the individual prepper.  The bottom line is, the number of animals you plan to raise determines the amount of open field you will need to clear on your property to provide the grasses and feeding area they will require.

Proximity To National Forest

Another aspect to consider is how close your property is to national forest areas or unclaimed and unpurchased acreage.  Perhaps you are only buying 5 acres of land in a well placed area which borders thousands of acres of forest service.  Not only have you purchased the use of 5 acres, but the potential use of thousands of acres through attrition, while guaranteeing that no unpleasant or unaware neighbors will move in too snug next door.  Abundant resources will be at your fingertips in a post collapse scenario, including timber, wild game, possible minerals, caching sites, secondary retreat locations, etc.  The advantages are numerous…

Secondary Retreat Locations

Never put all your eggs in one basket.  We hear that warning all our lives but few take it to heart the way they should.  I have dealt with many a prepper who has become indignant at the idea of having to leave his home to escape danger, claiming that they would “rather die” than have to beat feet to a secondary location.  I personally don’t get it.  Fighting back is admirable, but fighting smart is better.  There is nothing wrong with living to die another day, and this is where the multiple retreats strategy comes into play.

Some survivalists live in the city, and have set up a retreat in an area distant but reachable.  Others have taken the plunge and uprooted to start a new life on the grounds of their new refuge, leaving behind the metropolis and sometimes even their high paying jobs.  In either case, they have done far more for their futures than the average American has even vaguely considered.  However, it is not quite enough…

Back-up retreat locations should be chosen in remote areas near your primary retreat, and very few if any people (even friends and associates) should be told about these places.  Keep in mind, these are last ditch survival spots.  They are not ideal for long term living arrangements.  Little if any infrastructure will be built in these places, and all shelter materials should be heavily concealed.  Caching sites should be set up well in advance and placed on at least two separate routes to the same location.  You should have no worries over whether you will be able to feed, clothe, and protect yourself on the way to the emergency site.  Hidden approaches to the area should be scouted ahead of time.  A viable water source should be present nearby.

Thinking Ahead:  It’s Pure Sanity

There are all kinds of excuses for not doing what needs to be done.  Americans have an ingenious knack for rationalizing their own laziness and inaction.  If you want to know how to get ahead in the world of prepping, or just the world in general, all you have to do is become a man or woman who makes a plan, and then follows through on it!  Welcome to the top ten percent!

One excuse that I do in some instances take seriously is the problem of the conflicting family.  We all know a prepper or two whose spouse or children are not on board, ridiculing or even obstructing their efforts.  When expenditures of cash (or large expenditures of cash in the case of a property purchase) are in debate, the tensions can be crippling.  In every disaster there are oblivious masses which make things hard on those who are aware.  From the Great Depression and Weimar Germany, to New Orleans after Katrina, it is not uncommon for people on the verge of starvation and death to still assume that government help is right around the corner and all will be right as rain.

All I can recommend to those struggling with the survival-impaired is that you educate friends and loved ones on the nature of recent events like Katrina, or the economic collapse in Greece and Spain, or the tsunami and subsequent reactor meltdown in Japan.  Show them that this is real life, not a cartoon.  Make them understand that they are not immune to the tides of catastrophe, and that preparation is not only practical, but essential.

Survivalism is not a product of insanity; it is merely a product of our precarious times.  A disaster is only a disaster for people who are not prepared for it.  The only madness I see before me in our country today is the madness of those who believe themselves immune to the fall of the curtain.  The true “insanity” rests in the minds of men who presume tomorrow will be exactly like today, and that the comfort of their existence is law, a foregone conclusion, set in stone, forever…


You can contact Brandon Smith at:  [email protected]

Alt-Market is an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense.  Join Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the system and build something better.

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Author: Brandon Smith
Views: Read by 20,811 people
Date: June 6th, 2012
Website: http://www.alt-market.com

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194 Comments...

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  1. Barn Cat says:

    A good place would be a cottage on one of the thousands of tiny glacial lakes in northern Wisconsin or Minnesota. Both areas are far from population centers. Both areas get enough rainfall for agriculture. Having an area that’s defensible really isn’t an option for most of the country. I doubt that there will be many community networks after it hits the fan. With only about 3% of Americans prepping it’s very unlikely you’ll have neighbors who are prepping. I’m 100% invested in bugging in because I don’t have the money to have a bug-out property. Bugging out without place to go is a death sentence.

    • Anonymous says:

      Then you got the people who have prepared half-assed preps that think they are moving in with you…..
      If it ever really does hit the fan, I think a lot of us will be shooting at people we know before we fight strangers.

      • ScoutMotto says:

        Those are the people I tell “Don’t come over without an invistation, and you don’t have one.” Unless they are willing to carry their share of the load, they could end up as one of the unfortunates laying motionless ont he front lawn.

        • DomesticTerrorist says:

          Most effective if you really say it that way, “Invistation”.

          Start practicing now:

          Restaurant = Restraunt
          Laundromat = Londrymat
          Invitation = Invistation (kinda sounds like infestation, doesn’t it?)
          Professional = Perfessional
          School = Schoo’
          Threw Out = Thowed Out
          Wasps = Walsps (that one’s fun to say)

          And so on hehe

        • ScoutMotto says:

          One lousy typo, and you have side-step the point with it.

          I’m not impressed.

        • really? says:

          So, in other words. You are not sharing or caring? Don’t get me wrong. I am just as annoyed as you by ‘sheep people’, non preppers. But, in the end, is that the way you really want to treat people? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. No?

        • disector284 says:

          DEmsToke TEAr orisT must be the spelling bee queen.

        • Odd Questioner says:

          I’d prefer to find selected neighbors with extremely valuable skills, and set aside a little for them. It doesn’t cost too much (yet) to set aside some beans, rice, and such to send to them anonymously once shit meets fan. Included in that care package is perhaps a book on foraging.

          Going it alone or isolated only means that your death sentence is put off for a little while, but inevitably, you’re going to pass out exhausted, run out of ammunition, or simply not remain lucky enough to take out the entire mob looming at your door.

          Far better to get up a core of nearby neighbors who can provide help once you provide them some help.

        • ScoutMotto says:

          @really?

          Let me fill you in on something. I worked hard for the preps I have. I paid my money now so that I could survive the crisis later. Those around me did not care to lift a finger to prepare themselves or to help me in any way. Comes the time when it all goes to hell, people will be coming to my door telling me to share what I have. Not asking, but telling and threatening. I have what I have so that I can survive, and perhaps some family with me. I can’t take care of everyone. If I do, there is nothing left for me to survive.

          If you want to reduce your preps down to enough for 25 people for one month, you go right ahead. but you WILL NOT survive. And once your preps run out, everyone you helped will desert you in a moment, and go look for something else. You will be left out in the cold with other people trying to survive. So good luck with sharing all your stuff.

      • Prepared Pastor says:

        When I was looking for retreat land several years ago, I invited my friends and family to buy in an had no takers so no one other than my wife has been there. Certainly my neighbors who live there full time, heat with wood, garden, and take as many deer as they please are aware of it and watch over it. It has no utilities, driveway, address, or building permits on file and being on a gated former logging road off a dead end road I am confident few people outside the community know of its existence.

        It has a spring fed pond and a rainwater collection system, but a professional well driller cannot get a truck back there. Even my neighbors who have driveways must use tire chains in the winter.

        I have sacrificed some tillable acreage for seclusion and defense, but planted and orchard and built some potato towers to maximize the space. I also doubled down on food storage and set aside a few hundred canning jars with Tattler reusable lids to fill with game we will slaughter immediately after SHTF before the populations dwindle.

      • Kiwi lad says:

        You guys certainly have a different cultural perspective in America. Its a completely different culture to what I’m used to and grew up with. Doesn’t matter what country you’re in, there aren’t too many people prepping for anything, in any country. Which is very scary. But at the end of the day when the SHTF where I am, I and all those I know, generally rise up and come together as a community to fight back or get stuff done. Sure, there are dickheads that go the opposite direction to everyone else, but they are quickly weeded out.
        All this talk of shooting strangers or even people you know!!! just to protect your food preps!!?? Sorry Americans, but you are sad sad humans. I guess that’s the cultural divide between you and all the other English speakers.
        I was unlucky to experience the Christchurch earthquake and thousands of aftershocks.
        The community spirit to survive, get through the deaths and account for the missing will forever cement my faith in human nature, that we can, as a community, overcome and adapt to SHTF scenarios. We survived days, then weeks without running around killing friends neighbors and strangers. In many instances people who had a roof over their heads took in friends and neighbors who’d lost theirs. Even strangers. I had a couple I didn’t know before the quake. They stayed 10 days…… We just got on with surviving and getting thru together. I shared what food I had and they were able to share what they had.
        People up and down the streets in my area, checked on neighbors, especially the elderly, children and those without. We walked miles to get water for others who were unable to themselves, until the army were able to get in to build water points. We carried in food. We shared what ever we had. And had community meals.

        Sewage was out from the get go. I dug so many toilets in back gardens!! (and some front yards) and built make shift seats!! I didn’t know there were so many elderly in my area. We didn’t have power and gas bottles were in short supply, so we built open fires and BBQ’d

        But most importantly, although there was some anger and frustration, people got through the worst of it together. We got food, water, shelter and toilet facilities sorted with out sinking into armed conflict.

        Well anyway. Good luck to you all if you plan on killing other humans …. family, friends and neighbors and strangers to protect what you have, because others might not have anything. Im not sure what to say. You guys are a strange and violent Nation. Wow.

        • Sarah says:

          I agree with you, in temporary SHTF scenarios, human beings pull together well, support each other, etc. But you knew help was coming. You all knew that the wider world (government, money, outside people) would come to help out, rebuild, and that there would be an end to the situation.

          But here is the problem. I do not believe for a second that my neighbor will feed me before she feeds her children, even under those heartening circumstances, and this is the point: definitely not under long term circumstances.

          What I am prepping for is not temporary. I am prepping for a meltdown of society, and for that to happen here in America it will mean that the majority of other interdependent societies are breaking down too, or have broken down, as well. There will be no one coming to help. There will be no rebuilding. There will be no food or water trucks arriving from “outside.”

          See?

        • MXLord327 says:

          An earthquake is really a different situation than many people on this site are talking about. You know your state and federal government is still intact, and that it is just a short term hardship. When an true TEOTWAWKI event happens, that spirit of community and everyone working together may disintegrate. Not just in the USA, but everywhere. We have had similar natural disasters here, where people do work together, because the end of the hardship is always in sight, they know the grocery stores will be open in a week or two, no real panic. When realization that life will never be the same, you will see the real disintegration of society, and it may truly come down to every man for themselves and only the best prepped survive.

        • Comenius says:

          In your country there are few people from other races, except some Maoris who live in their own neighborhoods.

          In America, the racial divide is so strong, it can’t be corrected.

        • steve says:

          think you missed the point, not that it wasn’t properly mentioned ” PC ” such a wonderfull mess. we have so many welfare, gang related persons in our cities who are simply animals that to take the chance to help them only gets you and your family killed

        • Karen in Kansas says:

          Thank you for the encouraging comment. This is the way we handle it in Tornado Alley USA too. Sometimes, the SHTF and everyone is left standing in a pile of rubble from a tornado. Everyone pitches in from miles around to do whatever they can. Usually, the Feds are holding up the help whatever way they can and so do the Red Cross, so beware of their help. Do what you can before they come, and if you know that you might get a flat tire, you get a spare and a jack, right? So I think it is right to be prepared for a tornado around here. They have been worse in the last 12 months all over the US. Joplin was shocking though. Just shocking. We might have to shoot someone but not those who just show up for a meal or water. They ask and if you have any to share you do it. So, have a little tucked away for sharing. You might also consider bartering goods and services. If that hungry woman can cook a rabbit or do some chores, will you turn her away hungry and thirsty? Can she sew or hunt? It just might be me.

    • Havok says:

      Then you got the people who have prepared half-assed preps that think they are moving in with you…..
      If it ever really does hit the fan, I think a lot of us will be shooting at people we know before we fight strangers.

    • Snake Plissken says:

      @ Barn Cat
      As usual you have a great idea, however my family lives in one of the states you mentioned and “retreat” type hobby farms and cabins are being bought up as I write.

      According to our local conservative talk radio, many are being purchased by folks from “Back east”, Hedge fund types, Doctors and such.

      I guess great minds do think alike. God Bless you and yours.

      • don't-tread says:

        Barn Cat says,”Bugging out without place to go is a death sentence.”
        I say, staying put in a large city/apartment setting is a death sentence. I believe most people that are in a situation like this, will be on the move. To where? Who knows? But, the people who have one ounce of common sense will realize that without food supplies coming into the cities, they must get out to rural areas if there is any chance to beg,borrow, or steal food. It depends on “how rural” you are, as to how many you may encounter. For those 3 % (or less) of prepared city folk, I would advise to lay so low you could see eye to eye with a snake. If one idiot finds out you have supplies, the jig will be up and you “won’t” have them for long. Guns or no guns, doesn’t matter. Starving people will have no control or conscience, and they will have weapons. I believe apartment/big city dwellers should have a bug-out plan, even if it means tents/tarps/trespassing. You can pack up several meals of dried foods and clean water in an old pickup truck bed. Yes, if feasible, keep an old pickup (preferrably with a camper cover) stored close by and be ready to load her down and make a run for it. It’s a cheaper alternative than owning property and having all the up keep of a bug-out location and the possibility of thieves and vandals ruining everything there. Just sayin’.

      • MXLord327 says:

        Watch out for them!! These rich urban types are usually very liberal and activist. They will try to get in on local politics first, like planning boards and school committees, then move to the state level. They are like a very aggressive cancer in a rural state. Pretty soon land you used to hunt, fish, trap, hike, and snowmobile on will be fenced off, gated, and posted. Once this cancer takes hold, even if the excrement never comes into contact with the rotary cooling device, your life will never again be the same. In the ’70’s southern and central Maine used to be an outdoorsman’s paradise, now it is Boston North, just disgusting.

    • John Q. Public says:

      In the desert, RAISED gardening requires almost DOUBLE the water. To prevent wind from desiccating your garden, a desert climate demands planting in bowls, not mounds or raised beds.

    • JanieKanuk says:

      IMHO even in the even of Yellowstone going…..I believe that where I live would be the best place in the world…

      I live in a village of 73 people in SW Saskatchewan, Canada called Lancer. The worst disaster here could be a snow storm or a strong wind to a baby twister(not likely).

      Surrounded by farms, plenty of wildlife and wild edibles, open spaces to see who is coming and lots of ground water. Gas and oil in abundance…..Cheap to live too….I paid cash for my lovely little cottage…muaaaaahaha!

      The weather is not as harsh as some other places in Canada and you can grow any kind of crop. Farmers have grain bins full of wheat, oats, lentils, canola, peas…etc etc.

      In whatever disaster, I am sure that they would gladly share their bounty. In fact, it would likely spoil if it cannot get to market.

      Worst case scenario, I would hunt and raid my neighbours’ grain bins….they would not even miss it…LOL!

  2. lil bit says:

    Temporary bug out- Holiday Inn (tornado, forest fire)
    Permanent retreat- an undisclosed location in rural America
    not even visible on Google map.

  3. Most people can’t afford a good bug out property. I’m blessed my Dad decided to buy up some rail road properties in Nevada in the 70’s. The land is arable (we lease some to a farmer already) and there’s more water then I could have ever imagined in the “desert.” And being so darn remote is its greatest feature…..anyone makes it out as far as I am might be worth letting stay.

  4. Be informed says:

    Something few people that have very much money consider as a retreat to go to that are safer are, ghost towns. Throughout the western United States and many other places that were once thriving mining communities or other economic reasons, still have the basics there left to make it workable for the survival purposes. Most ghost towns have nearby water and game and vegetation available for food. Even partial collapsed buildings can be made livable as the foundations are sometimes in good shape. At very least there is usually wood for fuel.

    The nice thing about ghost towns are that most of them are out of the way and isolated away from the massive problems of the urban areas that will certainly be an issue. Ghost towns also are viewed as ONLY places where bums and derelicts gather and will not be a place that many will go to seek refuge. With camping equipment and some hand tools people can find a safe place in or around a ghost town. The many mines also offer the cave protection and shielding after fallout from some nuclear war or other radiation induced event.

    Other abandoned areas also offer something that just going into the forest doesn’t offer, refined materials that can be used. An inventive mind can come up with all sorts of contraptions that most would find as useless junk. With all the economic problems of the past, there are many abandoned areas that could offer fair to excellent shelter for the future SHTF events that are coming. Looking around at areas nearby you, within reasonable distances, might be a good future look for everybody. 😉

    • BraneFrees says:

      Be Informed – ghost towns, interesting concept.

      Here’s a link that might be useful for a bit of local research wherever you happen to currently be.

      http://www.ghosttowns.com/ghosttownsusa.html

      • Be informed says:

        @ BraneFrees. That’s a site that I have visited in the past at least a few times. It really is incredible how many places there are around the U.S., but also Canada, Australia, New Zealnad, and many other countries that offer shelter for free IF you can get to them IF you have to. It is always more preferable to bug in, but sometimes even Mother Nature makes it necessary to get out of Dodge. There are many abandoned places that LOOK so rotten to the regular person, the non-prepper, that they will be left alone. It is so much nicer to fix what is there than try to construct something out of woodland material like Survival Man or Bear Grylles, (I know I misspelled his name).
        ********************************************************
        Survival suggestion for everyone, please read:

        This brings up something that every prepper/survivalist should try in their spare time before something happens, make something workable out of junk or discarded material. The more practice that someone gets at “inventing” something that is workable, the more they will be able to salvage all sorts of loose materials lying around and make it work for them. It can be as simple as something to carry water easier, to something as complex as a parabolic solar cooker.

        Just look at some of these really interesting parabolic models, many made with scrap: http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0oG7mbIItBP1G4AQqxXNyoA?p=parabolic+solar+cooker&fr=yfp-t-701&fr2=piv-web You can push the button at the bottom that says show more images for many more pictures. Parabolic solar cookers are extremely efficient at rapid cooking as the shape magnifies the sun’s rays. This is one way of cooking food quickly without the smoke of a fire. As long as the reflection could be concealed from the view of others, this is one item that can cook food without any fuel as long as the sun is out. I read to it can be used to keep things cooler at night since it reflects heat so well.

        Each person out there has skills to make various gadgets that can help that person and their families survive what is coming. All over the internet there are fantastic ideas, such as at http://www.ehow.com for making workable devices out of free material that others consider junk or trash. Most have clear instructions that make it a lot easier. Children also love to make things, and including them in building survival items will only make their building and scavenger skills that much more acute, which they will need someday.

        Besides all this, it is a lot of fun to create workable survival items for free or almost free out of what others consider nothing.

    • A lot of ghost towns will have inoperable wells that aren’t that hard to make “operable” particularly using a hand well pump. They can also give you instant shelter that isn’t that hard to reinforce; best thing though is to keep it looking “Ghost” like on the outside. Only problem I would foresee is “roads.” Most of them are on some sort of road way and they get followed. You get 10 miles away from the nearest “map/road” and its a long ways in open territory – provides a lot of safety but some risks too – you aren’t getting out of their easy either.

      • DRD5508 says:

        Jim, a good number of the ghost towns had wells that dried up. Others became ghost towns due to the railroad not coming through or the lack of gold. During the 70s and early 80s I had looked in to the ghost towns. Because the price to buy(then) was dirt cheap.
        Stay prepping.

  5. hammerhead says:

    great article brandon,thanks
    due to a rough finacial turn i had to sell the back-up plan.it may have been to remote anyway.
    on the bright side i already live in a place very well suited , blessed to still have more than many.:)

  6. Norse Prepper says:

    Good article. Thanks for sharing!

  7. prepared soccer mom says:

    Saw this on Zero Hedge….Great article!

  8. leeholsen says:

    not that i believe things are going to get so bad that anyone will have to go for more than a week before essential utilities will be re-started(excluding an EMP attack, which if happens; i give up); but if i were really do this; i would choose lake tahoe, california.

    its surronded by mountains, national forests,fresh water lakes and snow melt; so you have isolation from most anyone that doesnt live there already and fresh water, fish, some aminals and plenty of places to start growing food. the winters are mild for being in the mountains and summers wont burn you up.

    i figure you’ll have some tough times from people finding out you can grow food, but if things really got that bad; you are going to have that problem anywhere except your own island.

    • Barn Cat says:

      We’re going to have hyperinflation. The Fed has already created $2 trillion with nothing to back it up. 90% of dollars are held by foreign countries since OPEC sells oil in dollars. Eventually other countries will dump the dollar. It will lose at least 90% of its value in a short time. The electrical grid will go down for a long time after people can’t afford their $1,000 to $100,000 electric bills. Everyone needs to prepare for life without electricity for a long, long time.

      • ScoutMotto says:

        Quite possible, or at least consider alternative power sources. While there’s gas in the car, I have an inverter that will help. Also, there are solar-power rechargeables battery sources of various types. I went to the self-reliance expo in Colorado Springs and came across a booth where folks sold a variety of solar-powered-rechargeable items, like flashlights, a portable power source, etc.

      • BC…and what if we deflate? The massive decline in housing values is a deflation, if the stock market goes from 13,000 to 6,500 its deflation, and as odd as it would seem if we Gold goes from 16xx to 800.00 its deflation too. All of those things are possible and hell one has happened (housing values). With the implosion of Europe and the Euro there is no other world currency ready to handle the volume the dollar handles in International trade. Until they form one I think we’re at greater risk of deflation then inflation. Of course the FED will probably be printing all of that so we might actually enjoy the HELL of both.

        • Prepared Pastor says:

          I think you are right. People no longer have discretionary income, so as energy and commodity prices climb, the only place they will be able to cut are housing and car payments so those will likely deflate as people double up and let their cars get repossessed. People are already defaulting on their underwater homes in order to keep up their credit card payments so they can keep those credit lines open.

        • rjdoyle says:

          Jim, you need to start visiting jsmineset.com. The BRICS are already forming their own bank so they don’t have to use the US dollar for settling trades. And China & Japan started settling trades in their own currencies just last friday. The deflation you talk of will not happen when people starting dumping dollars, it will cause hyper-inflation. You might also check out the ShadowGovernmentStatistics sight by John Williams, he’s forecasting hyper inflation also.

        • MXLord327 says:

          The problem isn’t inflation or deflation, it is called bi-flation. This is when durable items of high value such as real estate goes down in value, but daily necessities keep rising. Sound familiar at all? We are just at the beginning stages of bi-flation now, it will most likely get much worse.

      • KY Mom says:

        Electric bills will go up.

        Many people may not realize that a large percentage (about ½) of the electricity in the U.S. is produced using coal. The EPA has been hard at work refusing new permits to mine coal and even cancelling previously granted permits. The EPA is also at work shutting down coal burning power plants.

        The EPA is requiring a coal burning power plant near Louisa, KY to install almost $1 billion of “updates”.

        There are meetings about coal and the EPA this week in Frankfort and Pikeville.

        Obama’s EPA admits: yeah, we’re shutting down coal towns

        “‘Painful Every Step of the Way’: Top EPA Official Inadvertently Tells The Truth About the White House’s Environmental Agenda”

        (www.theblaze.com/stories/painful-every-step-of-the-way-top-epa-official-inadvertently-tells-the-truth-about-the-white-houses-environmental-agenda/)

  9. I would have a bug out retreat if i could afford one, sadly i cannot. Please remember that bugging out or not you need to be prepared with not only food, water, survival gear etc, but you need to be adequately provided for medically as well.

    Learn to use the standard kit properly, and think outside the box when it comes to solving medical problems, especially if you are on the move when a personal medical crisis hits you.

    Many everyday items are duel function and can be very effectively employed in a medical emergency.

    Take care

    • ScoutMotto says:

      Agreed, Burt. I’ll be more like bugging in. I’m getting the place stocked now while there is time to do so.

      • Scout motto

        I believe it can be done, although bugging out to somewhere isolated would make me far happier.

        Once the initial impact of whatever befalls us is over with, and those who have nothing are too weak to roam around killing those of us that have supplies,disease will be the biggest killer, that and malnutrition, at least in my opinion.

        I know having a decent medical kit is a priority, but knowing basic aseptic technique and wound management will be priceless when medical assistance is no longer available.

        Take care

        • VRF says:

          I think you hit the nail on the head..I think their plans are to starve a lot of us out.
          prolonged crisis, wars, civil unrest..lack of food cultivation and shipping..etc..

          over a few years many will be dead, along with a planned desease..the killing of massive numbers, I feel is the elites plan to have whats left of our natural resources to them selves ,,,for how ever long that is.

          i heard a number somewhere close to 6 billion?..and im sure there is no way to control that even..who knows with as screwy as they are, it could get out of hand fast and lead to total extermination of the human race as far as we know it.

          or not

        • ScoutMotto says:

          Burt, excellent point. I am trying to schedule a first-aid course through my employer as soon as I can. Next one available is in August. Hopefully we’ll be intact here at least until then.

      • Thanks Scout

        BUT I DIDN’T WRITE THIS POST

  10. DRD5508 says:

    Great article with a great line: A disaster is only a disaster for people who are not prepared for it. Same held true during the depression, though the trickle down effect hurt the majority.
    I had spent over 2 years looking for the right retreat/bugout place closest to me. Found it in early 2010, by the grace of God. Advice to those looking; don’t jump to the first available retreat area. Do some comparative shopping yet don’t put it on the shelf. Weigh out the pro’s and con’s. I had narrowed my choices down to three locations; fuel, water availability, time and distance (to get there) were the primary factors.

  11. eppe says:

    If you are not prepping, your just inepting.

  12. Saddle Up says:

    This is really a tough one. My intention is not to pick this article apart but simply to make people think about some added things that come to mind.
    If you live in a city and can get to your hideout in one tank of gas how long do you think it will take for everyone else in the city to get there?

    If you pick a spot that has alot of wood it makes security as tough as picking a spot with no trees at all.

    If you live in chicago and think that Northern WI is the safe place? Do you think that everyone else in Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and the twin cities are going to go to St. Louis for safety? Nope they are right behind you thinking the same thing as you.

    I don’t think there is any perfect place for a retreat, a person picks a place that fits their present situation best. If I was working on the eastern seaboard it would be very difficult to reach my retreat in WY.
    Personally I will choose to stay in my small town where I already know my neighbors and will not have to go through the process of asking some flag raising questions of strangers. I will give my farm equipment or fuel to a neighbor if his fields grow better than mine. It is for the good of everyone in the community not only me. It will suck to give to people that mocked me earlier but if they already know I have cattle and horses (food source) i either look at it as community survival or prepare to defend everything I own from everyone else. I believe that would be an overwhelming task.

    • Barn Cat says:

      The secret to getting there is leaving early enough. The collapse of the dollar will lead to drastically higher gas prices and the loss of electricity. If you wake up one morning to find that gas is now $20 a gallon you need to leave that day. You can’t wait until the electrical grid goes down. I suspect that a lot of people won’t leave until the electrical grid goes down and they’ll try to leave places like Chicago without a full tank of gas and extra gas cans. Roads will be clogged with vehicles that ran out of gas. Or car accidents will block roads and nobody will get through. It’s possible the TSA will man checkpoints and not let anyone through. I expect very few people to reach northern Wisconsin.

      • dfisherman says:

        hey there BC;as usual you’re right on and I’m in the process of storing gas-any suggestions on how cause I’ve got a generator that somehow I must hook up and like you,bugging out while attractive, at this point,not entirely feasible so it’s batten down the hatch time and dig in(but I’ll still keep the “getaway car” ready in event of a full scale assault on my house)and try to keep movement as low as possible.Keep On Prepping.

  13. Snake Plissken says:

    From what I understand, James Rawles at Survivalblog is promoting all like minded folks to move to what he calls “The American Redoubt, in case of civil war.

    • Comenius says:

      Redoubts rarely work well. Hitler had the same idea in the middle of Bavarian Alps, and when the Americans got there they only found captured Allied politicians there.

  14. lil bit says:

    My place is an hour drive, which means it might be 2/3 days on foot, is in the woods, has a trailer w/shed,is close to major rivers, channels w/fish, lots of wild life and 3 acres are already plowed and planted.
    All for the low low price of $400 a yr.

    A good tip for a fire pit is to use a semi tire rim sunk to ground level. The metal rim keeps the coals hot for hours.

    • Barn Cat says:

      Sounds like a great place. I don’t like the idea of burning wood though. It alerts people for miles that you’re there. I plan on using kerosene heaters and kerosene stoves. You can open a window a inch or two for ventilation and you’re good. I got my kerosene cooking stoves here:

      http://www.stpaulmercantile.com/

    • Anonymous says:

      @ lil bit- I removed a washing drum from a washing machine and welded a pipe to the bottom of it, buried the pipe about two feet into the ground— made a real nice BBQ and firepit to sit around at night roasting weenies and marshmallows while watching TSHTF — with a BEER of course! The little holes in it mesmerize you as the flames flicker inside. calms the nerves while watching the world collapse.
      ME? I plan to stay right where I’m at and provide for me and my own with a little “farm” we have going. It’s in a good neighborhood in a small town and all the neighbors have pretty much the same mind set.

    • MiVidaLoca says:

      Oh, that is a good idea! Thanks for sharing!

  15. the realist says:

    Bug in or bug out.. We are all the slaves to the banks and government..

    You may choose to live in the mountains.. but still have to pay taxes.. personal property or on the dirt and house..

    we own nothing.. but owe everything we are and ever could be to the govt or bank..

    without having cash.. no one can survive anyway any how..

    we are a society of puppets and puppet masters..

  16. VRF says:

    I aint “Bugging” anywhere

    come get me, if you feel lucky

  17. ScoutMotto says:

    I may have to look at this as a bug-in. I have no cabin in the woods, nor can I afford such. The house is paid for. I plan to get some plywood sheets to cover the downstairs back door and windows if needed. I have a basement to hide in, and it’s all I really have.

    • Scout motto

      You also have the will to survive and I think that is half the battle, the best preps in the world will not make up for the wrong mindset.

      Take care

    • Barn Cat says:

      Maybe you could get a “foreclosed home” sign to put on your property after you board it up. And don’t hide in the basement. You should be armed and upstairs so you can keep looters out of your house.

      • lol says:

        @ Barncat— your just a genius huh? Put up a foreclosed sign so everyone thinks the house is EMPTY and just strolls on in… Hey…maybe he’ll be in there cooking lunch for everyone on his st paul kerosene stove filled with kero he went and got from the airport after the shtf……… dope.

  18. copperhead says:

    As for me and mine it’s the old homestead. We have good supply of fresh water, can grow food, well armed, and a rural area. Again make a mindset and keep to it, K.I.S.S is the way to go. Oh we have a lot of surprizes for prying minds ( lol ). Thats just me. Remember just live free

  19. InternationalJeff says:

    For housing, I really don’t understand why people don’t just buy 2 – 4 produce shipping containers. They’re insulated and can be welded together in a square / triangle. In the middle of the structure, you can have a chicken run / garden that’s safe from predators. You’re looking at under $4k for each container. Slap some solar panels or a wind turbine on there and you’re good to go.

    • Barn Cat says:

      Most counties won’t let you build something like that.

      Yes, you could have chickens in a courtyard surrounded by the containers but you need some type of netting over the top to keep the hawks out.

    • Prepared Pastor says:

      I considered that option, but there was no way to get them through the woods. I ended up installing a temporary culvert and driving as far as I could into the woods as possible before dragging my materials the rest of the way.

      I loosely followed the plans by SolarCabin on Youtube and built a solar-powered, wood-heated cabin with hot and cold running water and a large screened porch for about $6,000.

      • PP, you are so ahead of the game. I myself am in cahoots with “eppe”, we have 28 acres with 2 metal houses, enclosed metal garage, well, springs, 15+ deer stands, a national forest behind us, deer, turkey, small game everywhere. We also have relatives with weapons, ammo, canned and ready to eat food. We are working on a 10 foot fenced in garden, (to keep the multiple deer out), pond on one spring, and many other things to get set up for survival. We keep stockpiling items for any occasion, just seems like the list is ever growing. I do enjoy the knowledge you impart, and as always “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”.

        • Prepared Pastor says:

          Sounds like you are doing quite well yourself and way ahead of me in several areas. All my siblings moved to the city as soon as they graduated high school so they are helpless. Fortunately my retreat neighbors never left.

  20. EAGLEDOVE says:

    I am looking more at a society break down where there is no law,and the only people to protect you will be your family, yourself and possibly a close friend.

    I will bug in until it gets really bad and then head north to where my family lives. With resources of water, land and some safety in numbers.

    Hopefully I will have time to load up my truck with prep gear.

    Has anyone done a trial on loading all your gear into your vehicle to see if you have room? 🙂

    • Eagle dove

      I hope the remote viewing works from up there because I am staying in the city and may need a little help lol

      Many things have several uses, which is pretty good when you are not allowed to own fire arms. Do you have any idea how flammable wasp nest destroyer is and how far it sprays?

      A kids super-soaker gun can sent a jet of liquid about 30 feet, thin laundry bleach works a treat, i have patches on the back fence to prove it.

      I have the food, the water, the big dog and some defences..I also have the mind set that goes with these things…..the rest is in the hands of God.

      I will tell you one thing though, if Burt goes, a shit load of those responsible for my demise will go with me.

      Take care

    • SWIFT says:

      Yes we did a trial years ago. We discovered we needed a Peterbilt with the largest allowable box trailer and two more for my wife.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Some possibilities of bug out sharing with like minders:

    Lakes and other fresh water sources often have rental cabins, cottage villages and/or lakeside motels with outbuildings. Owners are struggling to keep them open with little rental activity due to the economy. In addition, the owners are often prepping without knowing it. They build wells, use windmills/solar and often have multiple systems for heat and cooking. Almost all of them are pretty handy and very independent.

    We approached the owner of a cottage/camp rental property with the idea to subdivide his property and sell us one unit. After some wrangling with the town folk, we got a bug out location a low cost of entry and many of the sytems we wanted in place already. He got some capital to keep his business afloat. Plus he keeps up the cottage up for us. There are may other qualities of the property but wife/OPSEC chief says not to discuss. Rest assured it can be secured and defended.

    We got to know the owner and found that he doesn’t see what we do as prepping but rather “the way he had come to survive in a part of the country where electric is unreliable at best and there is no one to service your needs at the other end of the phone (when it works)”.

    We have a long way to go but got a bug out location years before and for a lot less money than we thought we could. We have decided our new approach is “independence through interdependence”. With like minders of course.

    • Orwellian States says:

      Two years ago we built a 3 bd, 2 bt weekend cabin on 50 acres next to a notional forest in East Tennessee. We went in on this with my daughter, her husband and two young grandchildren. They love it so much that we both are selling our other homes and we added an addition to bring it to 5 bd, and 4 bath with 2 separate living areas. Installed a 20 kw standby genny and my daughter quit her job and got another one teaching in a local school. We hav a creek, well, springs etc. Our driveway is off a forest service road. Remote. So,, our bug out location has become a bug in location. What amazes me is how they all suddenly wanted to leave our current area. Our son-in-law has a long commute to Knoxville, but he loves the quiet and remoteness of the mountains. My wife has morphed into a bigger prepper then I am.

  22. MiVidaLoca says:

    We bought 12 acres that is a gas tank away from a major city – a real “no-no”. However the property is surrounded by like-minded conservative folks who have livestock, gardens and weapons – and they’re super nice people to boot. It also has excellent visibility.

    If people wanted to walk to the property, they would come across many other home and land owners before they would come to us. We would encounter the subsequent waves of people. We wouldn’t be the first stop for many looking for food, water or shelter.

    The hard part of choosing a place to “bug in” is that if you need to work to survive, you have to choose a place that will allow you to make it to your place of employment every day, week in and week out, in a reasonable manner. This often means that you will live close to a major city or an urban area (within 75 miles). Those who are retired or who do not have to work to sustain themselves will be in the best position, as they can choose a better site, unconstrained by concepts of commuting to work each day.

  23. MiVidaLoca says:

    I was also thinking that with today’s energy efficient vehicles, a car can go 300 to 400 miles on one tank of gas. Wow, it would be hard to find a place that could not be reached by that sort of a vehicle.

    This is just a complex and difficult subject.

    • Saddle Up says:

      Agreed, I am hoping if there is an instant collapse it happens in winter to restrict movement. Many people cannot drive their BMWs without manicured roads plowed and salted for them. An inch of snow on the roads would really cause havoc for many.
      With a good 4 wheel drive and set of chains it would I think you would get anywhere you wanted.
      But I think I would be going against history. Most happen in the summer or warm weather.

    • Dante says:

      Just remember, it’s 300-400 miles under optimum conditions. If the Big Skedaddle is occurring, going to be a lot of vehicles clogging up the right-of-way, and each minute sitting with the car running is about one mile less you are able to travel. So many people rely on their phones and GPS for navigation that they don’t even HAVE a paper map in their vehicle. Those with paper maps will be able to find a way around those choke-points, the rest of the people might get lucky, or they might not. (Remember with GPS that even if you turn off the freeway, it will recalculate the fastest way to get you to your destination, which means putting you BACK ON the freeway.)

  24. Jasoncookies says:

    My two cents,
    I love driving on the highway and seeing rich houses with huge windows on top of hills. When the Wyoming wind picks up…wow. And they make excellent targets for looters

    Me? I’m want to live off the grid in the middle of a forest in a small house on a millitary crest

    As for gardening I read about something called heugelculture. Seems a lot more efficient than regular gardening

    • Eagle eye says:

      Jason, forests burn. As for Huegalculture, my long experience at gardening in its many forms is it is not something you will get right first off. You have months to learn something that takes years and there are no shortcuts.

      My house on the hill with big windows is fine, and it allows me to watch the roads to my location some 7 to 10 k’s out but then I have been prepping since 96, and the last two k’s to my place will be on foot down sniper alley when the big ass trees go down across the road. The big windows also mean that on 3 deg C days my house is livable without a roaring fire that requires heaps of work to keep fueled.

      Dont be too smug, we can all learn from the mistakes of others.

    • eppe says:

      Compost, compost, compost.
      If you see the electric company trucks that trim trees with a full load, follow them and ask them to deposit their load at your place close to your garden. When you prepare a garden, load up the rows with the compost, it brings worms from underneath to eat, leaving their castings, which is “black gold”. It also keeps more moisture in the ground, thus less water used to keep a garden up and running. Raised beds are the way to go, and google the three sister method, maximizing the real estate in maximizing food production in least amount of space. I do this also in the “landscaped areas” around my house, and have worms for fishing, and in the worst case to eat. Many cultures eat insects which we Americans have not even scratched the surface on protein production. Sound gross, but many insects are edible and could sustain life.
      If you are not prepping, you are inepting.”

  25. Tomahawk says:

    The problem with having a “bug out location” is you might arrive and find out someone else has claimed it for themselves. With a total collapse situation, your deed and title won’t mean jack anymore.

  26. RICH99 says:

    first of all bugging OUT is a horrible idea based upon the fact that getting there in a SHTF scenario will be highly dangerous and possibly unlikely due to possible massive chaos so IMHO , i think its best to prepare to BUG IN !
    SECONDLY , the market was up 286 points today so all is well for now !!

  27. scott says:

    Ultimately there will be no safe retreats. The Internment/Resettlement Manual classifies all of us as enemy combatants until our hearing. There will be “in theater” facility and then facilities outside of the immediate area for housing folks when the sweeps begin.

    Even the process of disarming and inventorying current US military personnel are described. If our society collapses the framework Obama has setup will kick in within 24hrs. You will see wide city sweeps of residents. You will need to prove who you are and where your from. There will be small pockets of resistance but these to will be smashed quickly. A good plan would be have a small USB drive with all your important documents on it i.e. passport, drivers license, birth certificate and proof of residency via your home ownership papers.

    The Interment/Resettlement Manual also talks of a tribunal process and verification/validation of who you are, in the field with 3 military parties as your interrogators so be prepared if this does come to pass. In some cases it will take a few days to clear all areas in a designated city or targeted location.

    • Snake Plissken says:

      Scott, is this for real, or some creepy stuff off the net. If it’s real, where can we get one?

    • toomanyfakeconservatives says:

      Are you out of your mind? Secret police and the greatest modern army on earth couldn’t dislodge human rodents armed with stolen bolt action rifles living in the sewers of Warsaw without the costly, extended use of 15 inch cannons. Americans are armed to the teeth and would quickly slap down any attempt at “sweeps”. Don’t give me that technology and smart weapons crap either. There is a counter to everything, just look at Vietnam or Serbia. NATO pilots were dropping heavy ordnance on inflatable tanks and that was a WWII trick! Don’t even get me started on the Taliban, who are back in power, just not officially.

      I won’t be surprised a bit if and when the mass arrests occur, the federal government is virtually dissolved, and the FEMA camps are repurposed to be used on THEM rather than US. However, it sounds like you would be greatly surprised should this come to pass.

      • Willie Wonka says:

        So right TMFC, all this talk of “martial law” is just that TALK.The only real control they have over us is the FEAR of martial law, in reality, they dont have enough willing manpower to control rhode island let alone the vast U.S.

        Govt will not be our concern, our fellow neighbors will be.

    • prepared soccer mom says:

      My husband is a high ranking officer in the military and I promise you he is prepping more than most of you, and if there is a thing as the IRM, than it may look good on paper, but not practical.

      What some of you are missing is that these so called military people HAVE families!!!! Good luck getting military and police to go after Americans when TSHTF! Most of them will be home protecting their families!!!!!

      • Comenius says:

        The Asian mercernaries , especially Koreans, don’t care about families. They will shoot everyone.

        I personally think Korea should have been eradicated from the face of the earth. An H-Bomb on 1951 would have done the job, but Truman was too cowardish.

    • ScoutMotto says:

      “The Internment/Resettlement Manual classifies all of us as enemy combatants until our hearing.”

      We can thank FDR and his Congress for that. They declared the people in the US to be the enemy of the federal government through the Trading With the Enemy Act of 1917, as amended March, 1933. This law is still on the books!

  28. Ohcumgache says:

    “The wildcat does not make enemies by rash action. He is observant, quiet, and tactful, and he always gains his ends”
    – Pawnee

    (but every prepper has to have that place set aside that gives him the utmost advantage while facing off against calamities that normally annihilate average people.)

    This is a nice thought however it is not viable for most. There are disadvantages to every place you could think of. I will stay in my home, on my land, where I feel secure and familiar with my surroundings. I know all of the advantages and disadvantages of where I live, so I have prepared with them in mind.

    There comes a point in time where you must make critical decisions regarding your life and future, however you have to live in reality and make the best of what you have to plan with. To those who can not ever have a bug out location, stay put and stay firm with your preparations. Don’t worry about the fact that you can’t get that little cabin in the woods, stocked with food, a garden, farm animals, a well and all the other perks. That to most is not reality and should be dismissed without further torturing yourself over the fact that it can not be for you and yours. Perhaps it is not even the best thing for you; everything happens for a reason and we are all in the place where we are supposed to be at any given time, that is what I believe.

    Pray, prepare and thank God for what you do have.

  29. SWIFT says:

    When I was younger, my group made plans to bug out to the Allegheny mountains. Very defensible, clean water, lots of game and trout fishing. We even prepositioned some items. We spent many nights camping in the snow to toughen ourselves against the time that it would not be voluntary. Now, I’m older, and have no intention of running. If jack booted thugs, or street thugs make it out to our farm, I’ll thin out their ranks before they go on to my neighbors. If each neighbor does that, I see a lot of survivors left to carry on once the smoke clears. Hopefully, they’ll carry on with a vengeance. No quarter.

    • Saddle Up says:

      Swift: I couldn’t agree with you more. I hope my neighbors know that I will be only a minute away if they have trouble and if it is in my fields and I don’t make it I hope they know that they can feel comfortable coming in my barn for my good saddle.

    • toomanyfakeconservatives says:

      That’s the attitude of more and more people every day. Just watch “Red State” for an idea of what happens to the bad guys when people (granted they were what they were in the movie) don’t run.

  30. Lucille says:

    You can buy inverters and power supply and solar panels on the cheap at Harbor Freight stores.I don’t work there and don’t have any thing to gain. Just saying. You know? Can come in handy one day, maybe?

    • Barn Cat says:

      I’ve thought about solar power. I live in a small town. I don’t want to put solar panels in my windows or on my roof. Or even try to collect rain water. I don’t want anyone to see anything out of the ordinary. If you live in a rural area those things might work better.

    • Prepared Pastor says:

      I have several of their solar kits and there are coupons in the back of every Reader’s Digest. With U.S. planning to put a tariff on Chinese panels at the end of the year so Obama can save face on green energy companies, they may never be cheaper.

    • I read that they don’t hold up at all.

  31. LadyHawk says:

    Good article. When thinking about live stock, consider “dwarf. I’m doing goats – even being dwarf they have breeds that give a lot of milk to make dairy products.

    They are easier to handle, don’t take as much space or feed. I’m using dog Igloo’s for shelters and their pooh is pellets that can be swept up with a broom and dustpan. It also makes good fertilizer.

    • Ohcumgache says:

      LadyHawk,

      You probably already know this, but it may be usefull information to others that are thinking of getting goats.

      Goats are great for milk, however you will have to have them impregnated seasonally in order for them to produce milk. You will also need a safe warm place for them to birth. The dwarfs can have complications birthing due to their size. Eventually you will end up with quite the herd, and therefore you will need more land. You will also have to be ready to milk early morning and again later each and every day. A lot of commitment but it can be worth the effort.

      • LadyHawk says:

        @ Ohcumgache

        I choose Nigerian dwarf’s because they are year round in season, hardy and are high in butter fat versus meat goats. They love the coziness of the Igloos for sheltering and birthing.

        For me and my current circumstances, a herd under a half dozen does is doable. The boys I find “good” homes for. In a SHTF situation they will be great barter. Right now I’ve donated a couple of whethers to 4H and as pets. The girls (good line of milkers) are a source of income.

        • Ohcumgache says:

          LadyHawk,

          You certainly do know what you are doing and I commend you. You have provided me with more usefull information. I have horses and chickens, now I will have to consider getting a couple of Nigerian dwarf goats. Thank you.

        • toomanyfakeconservatives says:

          I choose cans of evaoprated milk, cans of condensed milk, and 5 pound bags of Carnation instant milk because it’s cheap, stores well for years, and there won’t be any cow pies in my backyard.

      • Shootie says:

        Once the grocery store is closed(looted)you will have plenty of time to tend the goats. The herd size can be controlled by selling(bartering)the excess or learning how to cook goat. Sounds like a winner.

  32. What? says:

    http://todayspictures.slate.com/20120606/

    Obama blowing off D-Day again.

    Fucking commie.

  33. JustMe says:

    I really doubt that even the best located retreat will be untouched when SHTF. There is really no-where left that cannot be reached by determined people.

    Add to that, TPTB have defacto declared war on everyone. They are not buying millions of rounds of ammo, and putting 30,000 drones in the air, which see in IR, for nothing. For some of the most remote retreats, TPTB may find it more convienient, and cheaper, send a Predator carrying LGBs to visit you. Expect that or worse from them, on opening day.

    As has been mentioned, if you are not already at your location, you may find yourself having to fight for it once you get there. The idea that you can run and hide from what is coming is a fantasy.

    • Government Guy says:

      I would personally rather work with my retreat community to fight off the 300 people that might make it all the way there by chance than the 50,000 people who can walk to my house in the city.

      I can do little about TPTB, but history shows they tend to focus on higher population areas and areas with resources they want like commercial farmland.

      In response to the argument that it is better to die in the city than attempt to make it to a retreat that may contain squatters, I am burying a pipe from my cabin to a battery operated fog pump so I can chemically remove them from the building.

      • Prepared Pastor says:

        Add a solar powered 12-volt fan available on Walmart.com and it will suck air in, cool it in the earth, and spit it out inside to keep your place cool.

    • toomanyfakeconservatives says:

      Why would TPTB spend precious resources going after loony preppers in remote retreats? They would be the very last target in a Gamma World scenario. Preppers are generally no threat to TPTB and TPTB would have their hands full dealing with ghost stalkers, armed resisters, foreign adversaries and so on. By the way, IR is a joke, a $2 mylar sheet at Walmart and they can’t see shit. Our finest drone mysteriously landed safe and sound in Iran a few weeks back, so I ain’t concerned.

  34. scooterP says:

    Man is it me or are the predictions of TEOTWAWKI slow to unfold. I started prepping in 2007, at the time I was laughed at by friends, coworkers and family. I have gone “All In” as they say, and am beginning to wonder if I was paranoid and delusional. I have so much time, treasure, blood, sweat & tears into my planning and preps that I am now beginning to feel foolish. Anyone out there help convince me I should continue to ride this crazy train, as I am about to jump off…..

    • toomanyfakeconservatives says:

      Have you had recurring Alamo Fantasies? They are really unproductive. I recently finished putting together a years worth of food, fuels, water, toiletries, ammunition, booze, tobacco, etc- along with some hard goods like tools, filters, and spare parts. More than a year with some stuff and less than a year with some stuff. I can and will consume all these good long before they deteriorate. I don’t really look at it as “prepping” as much as I look at it as buying a large BUFFER of goods that will surely either cost more next year or not be available next year. You’re not crazy, unless you turned your life upside down for a Mad Max situation that I sincerely believe IS NOT coming. I’m banking on the mass arrests of federal scum, the virtual dissolution of central governments, and a golden age the world hasn’t seen in a long time, if ever.

    • eppe says:

      scooterP:
      Don’t worry, I have been called the same for years, but if none of this happens, we will come out ahead. When it does happen, we will be the ones that run the country. I’ve been prepping since ’96, so I have doubted myself many times, but in the end we will be the winners.
      If you are not prepping, you are just inepting…

    • REB says:

      As Ive said here before it has to be a lifestyle…not a phase…if youre prepping in anticipation some big disaster then youre gonna burn out,but if you live it as a day to day thing then youre ready all the time for anything from a storm to an invasion…I never prep…Im just always prepared as much as can be…so relax,breathe in/out slow and deep and keep getting ready…for what?…God only knows but youll recognise it when it gets here…till then just live 🙂

    • Prepared Pastor says:

      I’ve been the family joke since I read Ravi Batra’s best seller, The Great Depression of 1990. My siblings have big jobs, live in big houses, drive big SUV’s while I ‘waste my life on other people,’ live in a small house, and drive an 80s diesel truck. Even my secluded retreat was a concession my wife made when I sold my country home and moved into her house in town when we married.

      If people are criticizing you, maybe you are talking too much about your activities. When I tell someone I am ‘going to the cabin’ this weekend they do not question what I’m doing and I do not volunteer any information. I was having wings with a friend on Thursday who made fun of someone who told him what an asset his garden would be WTSHTF. I just nodded and thought to myself how I will miss him.

      You do not have to jump off to have some fun. If your storehouse if filled, you can go on with your life rotating stock and knowing you are ready for whatever happens. I believe the global economy is like the movie Titanic. When the first half of the boat sank (Euro), the other end shot up (dollar). Did anyone think it would stay there?

  35. EastTenn says:

    I understand why you want multiple bug-out locations but you also have to deal with reality. I have a wife, a 19 month old son and a 4 year old son. I do have property in other parts of my county that are rural but they would not be able to sustain me and my family for long. On the other hand, I can sustain my family for over year where I live in my house.
    When it is 0 outside in the winter or 95 in the summer with 90% humidity, I may be able to survive outside, but I would rather die than have to watch my 2 sons die from the elements. So personally, I am prepping in.

  36. tmedlin says:

    plan A – bug in at my little micro-farm in the suburbs, for as long as possible; plan B – if the crime starts to get bad in the city, or the banks completely shut down – head to the farm where I’ve worked with just a few other like-minded folks for several years to prepare – less than an hour away by vehicle, plan C – head for the hills in a convoy!

  37. toomanyfakeconservatives says:

    Be careful… survival retreats and even the very concept of survival retreats invite you to engage in Alamo Fantasies. Bring prepared and having one or more retreats is great, but daydreaming about apocalyptic battles at your primary or secondary residence is simply not productive. Sure, dig an escape tunnel and wire up some diversionary pyrotechnics, but cut the crap when it comes to obsessing about that final decisive battle.

  38. rjdoyle says:

    Bugging In is what I’m planning for. I do have a camp retreat some 70 miles from here in the mountains on a lake, but, as others have mentioned, getting there would be dangerous in a SHTF scenario.

    • mkuisi8mo says:

      Amen! I to have a bug-out location arranged with like-minded friends about 90 miles out (a few uphill miles off a major interstate), and am equipped to survive a mighty long time in the wilderness if it came to that, with what I can carry on my back and what I have cahced. However, getting to either location safely would be all about flawless timing and a BIG stroke of luck, with a BIG DOSE of the Divine help if the balloon went up.

      Being situationally aware and holding tight until you have reliable water-tight intel about what’s going on along the route to get there is imperative if you need to make the move, unless you are feeling very very lucky.

      For every minute passing that peeps are baling various size municipalities there will be others along the routes anticipating the flight of the lemmings. Some are going to be “officials”, some just average peeps looking to protect what they have in their respective communities/homesteads en route, others will be organized to grab whatever of value comes their way…not just the “official” gooberment goons looking to route you to a “safe” FEMA camp.

      You’re gonna encounter roadblocks, vehicular breakdowns/accidents (some real, some staged), ambushes, IED’s, snipers, legitimate TSA/military/police road-blocks and check-points, opportunists/thieves dressed in “official” uniforms, etc. Anyone who travels alone or in one vehicle, and not in a small organized (and highly armed) convoy is gonna be “dead-meat” if the timing is not just right.

      Even if you are forced to bale on foot, and have been able to actually do so, to try to circumvent the chaos ahead on the highways or just to save your life/freedom, how much can you really realistically carry, while moving quickly through unknown terrain, with limited to non-existent communications/intel/resources, to reach your objective?

      You’d be very lucky indeed to just be able to make it out of sight unscathed, on foot, and to be carrying just the basics to survive…abandoning all your well-planned preps…with just the contents of your pockets, water/means to purify, basic shelter from the elements, fire-starting/pre-packed mini-survival/trauma kit, a bit of food (maybe), a rifle and/or side-arm, and maybe a pre-prepared bandoleer/bag of a couple hundred rounds of ammo at most. In essence, just “First Line Gear” (such as on a bare necessities “war-belt”) that “Light-Fighters” use to live another day, in an escape & evade situation.

      Anyone who thinks “bugging-out” is going to be like a weekend jaunt to a camping/fishing retreat or summer vacation trip to the “boonies”, or thinks they will be able to move with all their well-prepped goodies unscathed is just plain delusional. Unless you are already there pray to God you have been living right.

  39. DeezNutz says:

    It will be a bug-in for me and mine. Neighbors are all like minded. Plenty of lead around the area and Everyone practices throwing lead down range.

    We have decided to blockade the main road with blockades and most of the properties will be taped off with “radiation tape” and Caution “lethal Chemical and Radiationmexposure signs” sheeple are sheeple and aw easily spooked.

  40. DeezNutz says:

    It will be a bug-in for me and mine. Neighbors are all like minded. Plenty of lead around the area and Everyone practices throwing lead down range.

    We have decided to block the main road with blockades and most of the properties will be taped off with “radiation tape” and Caution “Lethal Chemical and Radiation exposure signs”. You can find images of official signs on Bing image search and making the signs are easy. Geiger Counters are easily faked and can make alotmre sheeple and aw easily spooked.

  41. DeezNutz says:

    It will be a bug-in for me and mine. Neighbors are all like minded. Plenty of lead around the area and Everyone practices throwing lead down range.

    We have decided to block the main road with blockades and most of the properties will be taped off with “radiation tape” and Caution “Lethal Chemical and Radiation exposure signs”. You can find images of official signs on Bing image search and making the signs are easy. Geiger Counters are easily faked and can be made to ” indicate” high levels of radiation.

    These are just some ideas we are looking at as part of our disinformation plan…

    Love the site and the comments…

    -DeezNutz

    Sheeple are Sheeple and easily spooked…

  42. Ausprepper says:

    ALTMARKET CAN BITE MY SHINY, METAL ASS. Brandon tends to think a bit much of himself. He talks down on people that post opinions and when they (me and others) trump his arguments he deletes their posts.

    Of course, to the average observer it would look like we’ve “been told” because there are no apparent counterpoints to his seemingly invincible arguments.

    He also makes a point of quickly deleting posts that ask why previous posts have been deleted. To be fair, like the Nazis, he’s very thorough in squashing dissent. Maybe that’s why SHTFPlan usually brings in 300+ comments per article and his bring in 2 to 3.

  43. Ocean Prepper says:

    Hey all, this is my first post so be gentle y’all now. Good article but thought i’d let you consider a different strategy. My wife and I liveaboard our sailboat full time and dedicate our time to becoming ever more self sufficient. We have 12 To 18 months worth of fresh and frozen food on board and probably another 2 years of dried goods. We are self sufficent in renewable energy with solar wind and prop alternator (generates power under sail from prop shaft). We grow salads and sprouting seeds. We can make our own water. Carry enough diesel to cover 1000nm under engine. We have astro nav (sextant)and detailed charts for secret hideaway anchorages with great shelter and security as well as fresh water and wood available. We have more to do. Currently we use diesel for heat but may change that to wood burning. Would like to expand our fuel storage. I thought i’d share a different approach. We won’t bug out or in. We just move our ‘floating retreat’ as required. I may write an article of our preps when i get time should anyone be interested? Cheers OP

    • Saddle Up says:

      Ocean Prepper: I think that is a really good plan and I think there will be many others that do the same.

      But I have to admit I don’t have webbed feet and would most likely sink my boat trying to get out of the harbor.
      I can just see me sinking while some bad guys with nothing more than water wings floating out to get me laughing at my stupidity.
      No some of us were made for dry land.

    • Andrew says:

      I would love to read about the hows/whys in your prepping style. These articles are great I save them as PDFs on my laptop lol

  44. MiVidaLoca says:

    I know this isn’t a popular sentiment among preppers but if I come across people that are like-minded (like minded the most important characteristic) and need a place to go, I have more than enough room for them. They just need to find a way to contribute. Not everyone has the funds to get a remote place out of the city or to store a year’s worth of food.

    I feel that it is my Christian duty to help others that are in need. I’m blessed with the land for a reason, I believe.

  45. Andrew says:

    At the moment, just out of grad school and looking for work. But I am using this time to be strategic about where I will move to. I figure that once you “lay down roots” (family, job, ect..) its harder to relocate. On the other side, I really don’t have a whole lot of access money. So, for the moment I have a B.O.B that I feel happy with as well as some food storage that can last a few months. Just gotta keep hoping for more time.

    • Jesus Christ is Son of God says:

      buy water filter very inexpensive
      shop.monolithic com/products/just-water-ceramic-drip-filter

      buy bleach for killing virus and instructions at
      ready gov

      You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 to 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners. Because the potency of bleach diminishes with time, use bleach from a newly opened or unopened bottle.

      Add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight bleach odor. If it doesn’t, then repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes. If it still does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.

      Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 or 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.

      The Lord is Righteous.
      Standing by in Texas.

  46. lil bit says:

    Most of us are hoping for more time.

  47. don't-tread says:

    One thing for sure that we can count on, the collapse is coming. How bad, or exactly when, is the million dollar question/answer. The monetary system that is in place has to collapse in order to bring in the New world Order. The “One” World System is prophesied to come about during the generation that witnessed the country of Israel becoming a nation again. It began in 1948 and was finalized in 1967 when Jerusalem was regained as the nation’s city. Just what generational period God is using is still up for debate. He gave us several examples of a generation thruout the scriptures. Forty years being the shortest and figuring since 1967 to 2007 (approximately)and then adding seven years for the tribulational period, would put SHTF before the end of 2014. That’s one scenario. Another is the 70 year, and yet another is the 120 year generation. Only God himself knows the day and hour, ( well, I think His Son,Christ knows also) and which ever one He uses, it will not pass before all Hell breaks loose on Earth; literally.

    • KY Mom says:

      don’t-tread,

      Have you read The Harbinger?

      This link has some information about it. There is a movie about it too.

      (www.wnd.com/2012/05/mark-this-date-for-potential-disaster/)

  48. Either way I am Dust says:

    I have been doing what I can to get ready for approx 2 years everyone around me thinks I’m nuts (I know many here have the same prob)this includes my wife, no interest so I am just doing it alone. I have a child of 13yrs lives with his mother 35 min. away from us, no possible way of getting him so I am bugging in
    and if SHTF happens I know I will need to get him and his mother which would not bold well with my wife.
    I know most of you would probably say drop the current wife but really? Thoughts?

    • mkuisi8mo says:

      Take care of yourself 1st, then the rest will take care of itself. A “rescuer” will ultimately become a “victim”. An orphaned 12 year old has all the skills needed to survive on their own, if needed. Prepare for the worst & hope for the best. Teach him everything you know, be a “power of example” to him while helping him prepare for becoming self-sufficient too, then let go and let God!

  49. don't-tread says:

    Thanks KY Mom. I have not read the book. I did however, see Mr. Cahn on Sid Roth’s “Surpernatural” program last year and he seems genuine. Anytime man’s word lines up entirely with God’s word I pay attention. I felt he was right on with the progressing time frame as it is tied to events on a seven year cycle. God gave us examples through out history with events relating to the Jewish peoples and Israelites. Many, or shall I say most, tie the two together in error. The “house” of Israel, consists of ten tribes from Jacob and Judah along with Simeon are the other two which make up the tribe known as the Jews, or Jewish peoples. It makes a difference when seeking a deeper knowledge of God’s word. I think we are in the time of judgement and the times are relevant to the scriptures. We must prepare for things to escalate according to the signs given by Christ to his disciples.

  50. Dirty Greek says:

    AS IVE POSTED BEFORE,PREPPING AND BUGGING OUT IS USELESS IF YOUR RETREAT IS NEAR A NUKE PLANT. Didnt have time to read the 173 replies,and the writer FAILED to suggest that you should be nowhere near a nuke plant or a storage facility in a SHTF scenario. Sigh…i have the sudden urge to berate,grrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. Cassandra says:

    I keep warning everyone, but nobody believes me!

  52. Cassandra says:

    It must be a curse.

  53. manich says:

    In the Eastern mountains where I live there are many “near-failed”(less than 10% buildout) gated 2nd home communities. I have found one, 25 miles from my mountain home, that is having a “firesale” on lots that have close access to 3 lakes for $3000. I have a good refuge where I am, but after my 4 months of my stored food runs out, I want a good “fishin’ hole”. For $3000 I am going down next week and “pick” one up for a Plan B. Got a truckcamper to put on the lot that would violate the HOA, but heck in a collapse situation, who will be enforcing HOA rules.

  54. yun says:

    @King_Gangstah: R U as dumb as U wright?
    @Jesus Christ is Son of God: Only after the council of Nicaea did the Constantine I use the dialectic to get all priests onboard with the idea of JC as a god. JC himself never made that claim, he calls all who follow god his brothers and sisters

    @ everyone else: physical gold / silver, community and permaculture are the way foreward

    Good Luck

  55. OathKeeper says:

    Just a thought, but when shtf, everyone assumes the hills are the safest places, and that cities will be hell. While I agree with this train of thought, eventually when a rebuild of society occurs, the cities will more likely be the places that societies do the best. Has anyone considered pooling resources to buy tracts of say for example an industrial park and using that? places like that already have some of the necessary security measures such as fences, barbed wires, hardened structures, a security camera or two that may look ‘beat up’ would be perfect for surveillance, and may blend in if the place feels abandoned enough, roof tops for cover and sniper locations would be of easy access.. anyone have thoughts on this?

  56. durango kidd says:

    Oathkeeper: I have been looking at a warehouse, and adding wind and solar power for indoor growing using sq ft gardening techniques and full spectrum lighting.

    Also considering the possibility of adding a couple of containers underneath the concrete floor, where a water well could be drilled. the structure could be well fortified against hostiles. If they thought to look in that direction.

    Large warehouse outside of a small town in an industrial park near an airport. Sweet.

    Great minds think alike! 🙂