One dilemma often faced by would-be retreat owners is that they are chained to the Big City because of work or family obligations. Ideally, you should live at your retreat year-round. It will give you crucial experience in gardening and animal husbandry. And of course you will be there to keep an eye on things. One crucial intangible benefit to living at your retreat year round is that you become a “neighbor.” If you don’t move in full-time you simply won’t be considered a neighbor. This can take years. Building neighborly relationships may be crucial WTSHTF. You do not want to be seen as the expendable newcomer.
In some potential situations you won’t have the opportunity to Get Out of Dodge (G.O.O.D.) until it is too late. The following advice is for those of you that plan to take that gamble:
It is essential to pre-position the vast majority of your logistics at your retreat. Circumstances may dictate that you only can make only one trip to your retreat before roads are unusable or unsafe to use. It would be tragic to have to pick and choose the portions of your gear to take for that one trip. Show prudence and foresight: pre-position most of your gear! Incidentally, it is wise to do a “test load” once every two years to insure that those items that you keep in your home will fit in your vehicle(s) for that one trip.
Plan multiple routes using secondary roads in case the freeways are clogged, roadblocks have been set up, or bridges are washed out or intentionally demolished. Have a Plan A, B, C, and D for getting to your retreat. The latter may be on mountain bikes or on foot! Pack your G.O.O.D. backpacks for each family member accordingly. (See the “Shank’s Mare” chapter of my novel Patriots for ideas on what you should pack.)
If family or work circumstances dictate that you can’t live at your retreat year round, then at least look local. If your retreat is across a state line then carry the driver’s license of the State where you have your retreat (with the town nearest your retreat listed as your home address), and get dual registration for all of your G.O.O.D. vehicles. The latter is so that you can get past roadblocks. (If things get really bad, there will be roadblocks–either official, quasi-official, or impromptu.You will want to be able to have documentation to prove that you are headed home to your retreat rather than just another refugee from The Big City. Paying a little extra each year for dual registration could save your life.