Recommended Region: Steens Mountain Region (South Eastern Oregon)

This remote region was settled by cattlemen like Pete French and my great-great aunt’s husband, David Lawson Shirk. (Two of my Crow family relations each married Shirks.) The area is still dominated by large cattle ranches and some hay farms. This may sound foreign to some of the blog readers that live back east but many of these eastern Oregon ranches span multiple sections. (A section of land is 640 acres.) 2,000 to 5,000 acre or larger ranches are not unusual. Some owners use a light plane to keep track of their livestock. Advantages: Low population density. Excellent hunting and …




Recommended Region: The Grande Ronde Valley Union, Wallowa, and Baker Counties, in Northeastern Oregon

This region is on the east side of the Blue Mountains Statistics (for La Grande): Average high temperature in August: 85. Average low temperature in January: 23.1. Average snowfall in January: 6.7”. Growing season: 160 days. Advantages: Proximity to good hunting and firewood sources in “The Blues.” More plentiful water than in many other parts of eastern Oregon. Fairly diverse agriculture. Grande Ronde Valley crops are primarily wheat, hay, and barley, with some oats, apples, cherries, sugar beets, and beans. From the Oregon Blue Book: “The Grande Ronde Valley in Union County is nearly table flat and is covered with …




Letter Re: Advice on Missouri’s Retreat Potential?

Mr. Rawles, I realize you are busy, and appreciate any response you can supply. I am residing about 20 miles out of St. Louis, Missouri. I realize my close proximity to such a large urban area is far from ideal, but I do not have the financial security to quit the job and move out to a less populated area. Now, my question is not in regard to my specific area. Rather, my question is regarding the rest of Missouri. I have friends owning land in central Missouri in a small community that have extended an offer to allow me …




Recommended Region: The Umpqua River Valley (Douglas County, Southwest Oregon)

The agricultural Umpqua River Valley is one of my most highly recommended regions in Oregon. Unlike the Willamette Valley–Oregon’s largest agricultural region, which may get swarmed by the masses from Portland and Salem, the Umpqua River Valley has relative geographic isolation. However, the proximity of the major population centers of northern California are troubling. The Umpqua valley wraps around west from Roseburg, Oregon. Concentrate on small towns like Melrose, Cleveland, and Umpqua. According to Oregon State University (OSU)’s School of Agriculture, Umpqua River Valley crops include: snap beans, beets, head cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, medicinal and culinary …




Letter Re: Redoubling Our Efforts

Hi Jim, Our first mountain snow of the season here in Wyoming has re-vitalized our preparation efforts. We took a good, hard look at the homestead and made some substantial improvements this past week or two. Transportation – I took my EMP-proof 1984 diesel 4X4 in for the new steering gear that has been on the back burner for some time. The new engine is now broken in, so I installed a dual filter system and switched to synthetic diesel-grade motor oil, which will only require semi-annual changes. Backup Heating – We already had a wood burning stove in the …




Letter Re: Redoubling Our Efforts

Hi Jim, Our first mountain snow of the season here in Wyoming has re-vitalized our preparation efforts. We took a good, hard look at the homestead and made some substantial improvements this past week or two. Transportation – I took my EMP-proof 1984 diesel 4X4 in for the new steering gear that has been on the back burner for some time. The new engine is now broken in, so I installed a dual filter system and switched to synthetic diesel-grade motor oil, which will only require semi-annual changes. Backup Heating – We already had a wood burning stove in the …




(Josephine and JacksonRecommended Region: The Rogue River Valley Counties, Southwest Oregon)

Concentrate on small towns that are off of Interstate 5, such as Gold Hill and Jacksonville. Josephine County crops: Hay, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, apples, cherries, grapes, peaches, pears, berries, garlic, and herbs. Statistics (for Central Point): Average high temperature in August: 90. Average low temperature in January: 30.8. Growing season: 165 days (1st of May to mid-October). Average snowfall in January: 3.2”. Median residential home price: (Rogue River): $145,000. Median residential home price: (Gold Hill): $135,000. Advantages: Mild climate with a long growing season. Upwind from all potential nuclear targets in CONUS. Disadvantages: Proximity to California’ s Golden Horde. All …




Letter from Bob in England Re: England’s Lack of Retreat Potential

Dear Mr Rawles: Greetings from the UK. Thanks for the very interesting website. I have your book which I’ve read a few times now. I must admit to a certain envy with the potential you have over there to prepare for the possible difficult times ahead. Just as an exercise and to make some of the people living in even the most restrictive states feel not quite so bad I thought I’d do a run down in your style for England the ‘state’ in which I live. As you will know the United Kingdom is made of (leaving aside the …




Letter Re: Google’s Aerial Topographic Map Site and Idaho

Jim, Another very neat -very free resource that is out there is the Google Earth program. It is available through www.downloads.com. Many of the aerial photos that are used are substandard or old. However much of Eastern Washington and a lot of Northern Idaho contain the most up to date and detailed color aerial photos. This program also allows you to drop down to above the Earth’s surface and move around like you are flying. It also uses some topo functions to view the surface in relief. This tool may be very handy and useful for many scouting out the …




Letter Re: Rural New York

Hi, As you say, the northeast is not so good for a variety of reasons. However, if one has to stay in that area for family, work or any number of other reasons there are areas where one can be more secure than you might expect. For example, I live in Central New York State. Our place is more then 40 miles in any direction to an interstate highway. The entire county has a population of just over 51k and a population density of about 57 per square mile. Most of this is concentrated in a few larger towns at …




Letter from Bob in England Re: England’s Lack of Retreat Potential

Dear Mr Rawles: Greetings from the UK. Thanks for the very interesting website. I have your book which I’ve read a few times now. I must admit to a certain envy with the potential you have over there to prepare for the possible difficult times ahead. Just as an exercise and to make some of the people living in even the most restrictive states feel not quite so bad I thought I’d do a run down in your style for England the ‘state’ in which I live. As you will know the United Kingdom is made of (leaving aside the …




From The Memsahib–Moving Back to the Land, “Successfully”

In the 1970s there was a well-publicized “Back to the Land” movement. Hundreds of thousands of America’s young generation wanted the freedom of self-sufficiency. But most of them eventually returned to urban life. We can analyze their failures to avoid making the same mistakes. Happily, someone else has already done this for us! Eleanor Agnew’s book Back From the Land is a fairly detailed analysis of why the “Back to the Landers” went back to the big cities. Here is a summary of some of the conditions that led to their failures: 1. The realities of rural life were much …







Letter Re: AA and AAA Batteries by the “500 Pack”

I should point out that the battery offer by Botach is a high risk issue. Botach is a scum sucking bottom feeding scammer! Check the comments at subguns.com and Sturmgewher.com – They have a horrible reputation. I can also attest personally that they and have ripped me off (on an expensive rifle scope deal) as well as two of my associates (various rifle parts). I strongly encourage folks to slit their wrists before buying from Botach! – A.M. JWR Replies: Don’t hold back, A.M., tell us how you really feel! (Seriously, I appreciate your advice. I’ve removed that post.)




Stocking Your Retreat

Stocking a retreat is a complex series of tasks that should be done dispassionately. It will be expensive and may take several years, so make your purchases systematically and in strict order of priority. At present, the only items that I would recommend bumping up in priority would be the private acquisition of your core firearms battery. (One rifle, pistol, and shotgun for each adult family member, and a .22 rimfire rifle for each child.) With talk these days about “closing the gun show loophole” (requiring a paper trail on all gun purchases), this should be one of your top …