Getting Out of Dodge – Part 1, by Doc

In 1993, I was practicing in a large city and had a home on a lake in the suburbs. I had an attractive younger wife and life was good. I bought a new computer and was stopped in traffic on my way home while ahead of me, a backhoe was digging a hole in the street. I was hit from the rear by a truck loaded with pipe fittings. The truck had a sprinkler company sticker on the door, and was driven by a Mexican with no insurance. The impact was so great that my car was slammed into a stopped vehicle in front of me. The impact broke the CRT screen in the new computer monitor when it slammed into the back of my seat. The Mexican disappeared as did the sprinkler company. And the address on his license didn’t exist.

I was badly injured and had to sell my practice. My young wife was advised by her friends that I would be a cripple, and she divorced me. But I had property before we were married that was not included in a divorce settlement, by a premarital agreement. By 1997, I had healed up partially and decided to go south for the winter in my motorhome. I set the thermostat so the house wouldn’t freeze, turned off the water, and I left.

When I returned several months later the electricity was off. I called the power company and they said I didn’t pay the bill. It was set up on an automatic payment from my bank account and the account was closed by the divorce. They turned on the power and I went to take a shower but the gas water heater was off. I went outside and checked the gas meter to see if it was turned off and noticed the meter had been replaced. I called the gas company and they came out and lit the pilot light on the water heater and explained I must have had a defective gas meter because my neighbor with about the same size house used four times as much gas as I did for the past several years. I explained that I had R-30 in the side walls and R-64 in the ceiling and the plastic on the south end of the house was a large solar panel for heat.

I took my shower after the house warmed up and noticed a smell from the refrigerator and freezer. A lot of salmon and steak was rotten. Saying this was a bad day would be a gross understatement! In the mail box I found a letter stating I must keep my grass mowed and shrubs trimmed or the Homeowner’s Association would take legal action. The house was paid for. I was single and didn’t need 7,000+ square feet to pay taxes on. So I sold the house.

On The Road

I sold the old class C motorhome and bought a new Class A diesel motorhome. I also invested $200,000 in gold and silver, to add to my collection. The gold was under $400 at the time. I sold the practice and some other assets and bought more gold and silver. I moved most of the furniture, tools, guns, and other stuff into a rented storage space and started looking for property to build a secure new base of operations where I could store the RV. I drove through several states looking and drove several realtors crazy. They don’t seem to understand about solar electric and solar heat needing sunshine. They located some beautiful property that was restricted from having garage doors large enough for a motorhome. Several properties would have to pipe in sunshine! And several would not allow an underground home, or steel buildings.

I asked a lady to go south with me for the winter and had a Hughes Net satellite dish installed on the roof of the RV. I contacted realtors on the Internet and located several properties. After spending the winter in warmer weather and consuming a lot of amino acids and other nutritional supplements, I was feeling better. I got lots of exercise.

Building Stoutly

In the spring I bought 11 acres in the middle of nowhere. I had a creek in back and a spring and a couple of acres that wasn’t vertical. I started at the spring and witched the path of water up the hill across the place to build an underground home. I drew plans to fit the property and drove some stakes. There was no building code at that time so I contacted several contractors and started digging.

I had 18,600 lbs of #4 and #5 60,000 psi steel rebar hauled in. I poured a 7″ reinforced slab after digging in sewer and water lines and some electrical conduit. Used 4,000 psi concrete and laid 3/4″ limestone and 1 inch of closed cell foam insulation under the concrete. A 1,000 gallon diesel tank and a 500 gallon water tank were moved on the slab. Perforated 4″ vinyl drain line was covered with a nylon sock and run around the slab to a drain at the East end.

I had several prices for drilling a well and I poured a plastic bucket in the floor slab where I wanted the well. One well driller said I couldn’t drill inside the building and insisted he drill it in the middle of the driveway. A local well driller agreed to put it where I wanted and we agreed on a cash price. The East end was open and the well drilling rig drove on the new slab and drilled the well. Using a 120 volt pump in the well so it could be solar powered gave me water as did the diesel generator in the RV.

Next the 8″ walls were poured using aluminum forms with steel cross ties, and laying rebar on the ties and also using them to tie 10′ and 12’ vertical #4 rebar. The electrical steel masonry boxes were all connected with 3/4″ EMT, filled with paper, and tied to the cross ties. Most of the switches were run straight up above the forms. I used 1/2″ EMT for the phone lines. The structure is 40′ wide and 60′ long. Interior walls were set up to provide for 12′ width on the side rooms with 13’4″ width on the center rooms. I bought 14 steel doors and frames and installed the frames in the walls. There was a 2′ offset 4′ wide for a fireplace and an opening for 6′ sliding glass doors on the East end of the center room. On the east end of both side rooms there is a 2′ x 3′ vinyl casement window. I installed a 4” combustion air vent for the fireplace.

I had two 12″ diameter holes in the generator room for air ducts. This was a mistake, as I later had to cut out 15” holes for larger air ducts. I started with black plastic drain pipe and went to steel culvert. After the forms were removed, I used a roller and coated the inside walls with Dry Lock sealer. I put cardboard on the floor and didn’t worry about getting the ceiling white, because it wasn’t there.

Next I had to build 2×4 supporting walls down the center of the rooms to support the 20 gauge steel decking. The decking was 3′ wide and I had it cut to length to span the rooms and lap on the walls. It had to be screwed together with self-tapping sheet metal screws every 12 inches and notched out for the EMT. Then I had to cut 2×4 pieces to support 2×12 forms around the walls on the outside and around the 6′ square opening for a 5′ steel spiral stairs. This was attached to the top row of cross ties with 1/4 ” lag screws and fender washers and notched for the 2×12 s. Using a hole saw I cut the openings for the ceiling lights in the center of the rooms over the support wall. I also cut openings for 12 6″ PVC heat ducts a little over 12″ long and filled them with cut circles of styrofoam to keep the concrete out.

The next project was to install 2 layers of #5 rebar on 12 inch centers. The first layer was held up by 5″ rod chairs and the next layer was higher. The rebar was tied at every junction to keep it in place. Did I mention it was August and hot! A forty foot stick of #5 rebar is a real pain to get off the pile when the pile is twisted. I used my John Deere garden tractor to pull it out one stick at a time. The 10’ vertical rebar in the walls was bent over using an acetylene torch and tied in to the slab. This was designed strong enough to hold a semi on a bridge!! Next, all the electrical conduit had to be completed, using waterproof connectors. It was still August and it was hot. I installed a 3/4 inch plywood panel board and the electrical panels with a lot of EMT cut through the decking. I also installed two 5 foot pieces of 6″ PVC going up to the shop above for future electrical connections to solar and hot water lines.

(To be continued tomorrow, in Part 2 )




27 Comments

  1. Very well written Doc!!! I can deeply relate. I was severly injured with a relatively new wife as well. She had congenital birth defects and issues that she disclosed to me before we were married, and I went forward anyway, believing that she had a good heart and a humble spirit. I loved her for who I thought she was and not what she looked like. Not to get into any great details, but I literally didn’t have sex until 4 months after I was married to her and that was not up to me obviously!!!. Fast forward a few months and I had a severly injured spine in multiple locations (mining is dangerous still) and was fighting to get my work that caused it to pay for the surgery to fix it. My new wife had met a former coworker of mine with, ironically similar injuries, and decided that it was better to bail on me ahead of time. Small world, but I then met another fellow that literally had almost identical circumstances to mine, his wife had the same health issues. He and I had the same injuries, I worked in a mine, he worked for the railroad. We are good friends to this day. His wife left him for another man, and my wife left me, on advice of her friends. He and I both got through our hell of lawsuits and injuries. I have since found another wife, and like you I have a prenuptial agreement and have found peace in a sunny region of the country. My friend however, has not been as lucky in several ways. He lives a bizarre double life. He is very wealthy from his settlement and then figuring out how to invest it etc…. I even watched him take a casino for $200k in a few hours playing black jack, he has a very high IQ and is borderline autistic. But I feel sorry for him, he now no longer trusts any women. He has several mansions stocked with Lamborghinis and Corvettes and other cars that he rarely sees or stays in. He lives in a rented house and drives old trucks to convince women that he is poor. He works a job even though he doesn’t need to. I feel like I might have found a woman that really loves me despite my injuries and the little money I have left after building a refuge. He will never find peace and never again trust a woman. Please pray for him fellow readers. This was an article that touched me from the bottom of my heart. Hopefully my I can forward this to my friend and maybe he will find peace as well. Thank you God Bless!!!

    1. Somewhat ironic, I suppose…to say you’re sad that your friend doesn’t trust women anymore, while also stating you have prenuptial agreements in force. I’ve never believed in prenupts myself. A marriage is a covenant. If I don’t fully trust the woman I want to share my life with, then I shouldn’t be considering the marriage in the first place.

      My two cents.

      1. I love the idea, but disagree with the logic. Every marriage should have a prenuptial agreement. It doesn’t matter if either party is rich. People change. Peoples’ priorities change. I’m not the person I was twenty years ago. My spouse isn’t either. A person can always choose to combine what was previously separated, but you can’t easily separate what was combined.

      2. Most people don’t understand that a marriage liscense from the state is in fact a form of prenuptial aggreement. How did people get married before the state came along to give out marriage liscense ??? Lol. The marriage liscense is a contract just like a driver’s liscence. You agree to give the state jurisdiction and authority over your marriage and the products there of. In addition to this, the contract can be changed by the legislature without ever telling you and you have no say in the matter. Who would sign a contract like this??? That is part of the reason why we now have men paying child support to women that commited paternity fraud, being upheld by the courts even after DNA evidence shows that the man is not the father. Modern Dna tests and studies show that about 16-20% of the children men think are theirs, are in fact fathered by another man and being sold to them as their own children.

  2. WOW! APPLIED KNOWLEDGE = POWER ! THIS GUY DOC SHOWS COURAGE UNDER STRESS PLUS TREMENDOUS PLANNING ABILITY, AND TONS OF SELF CONFIDENCE. I AM VERY IMPRESSED AT HIS WILLINGNESS TO ADMIT THE NEED TO LEARN AND MAKE CORRECTIONS ON THE MOVE. EVERY READER NEEDS TO CONSIDER HOW DOC HAS MOVED AHEAD OF DIFFICULTY, DEFEAT, AND LOOSE OF FAMILY TO CREATE A NEW LIFE ON A HIGHER LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE AND EFFORT.

    I AM ENCOURAGED TO CONTINUE MY PERSONAL EFFORTS TO DEAL WITH SERIOUS DIFFICULTIES…. AGE 79 – TERMINAL COPD – DIABETES – BAD HEART – AEROBIC ANEURISM – HYPOXIA COGNITIVE DAMAGES – OXYGEN 24/7 – RIGHT LEG NERVES MALFUNCTION – NOT ABLE TO DRIVE THESE PAST 18 MONTHS – HOUSE BOUND!

    AT THIS MONTH WE BEGAN A 3 ADJACENT SMALL TOWN AREA “PREPAREDNESS RESPONSE INFORMATION” COMMUNITY SERVICE VIA E-MAIL, TELEPHONES, AND CHURCH SERVICE HANDOUTS AND SMALL CLASSES …. THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING GOOD EACH OF US CAN DO FOR OURSELVES AND OTHERS IF WE JUST MAKE A POSITIVE COMMITMENT TO EVENTUAL SUCESS! THINK DOC’S SUCCESSES SO FAR.
    “YOUNG AT HEART OLD BOBBERT”

  3. One of the more entertaining posts on here in a while. A nice mix of practical knowledge and my favorite, the psychological aspect of how people react to different situations. Can’t wait for #2.

  4. Staying physically and mentally busy is important to salve the emotional healing process. Sometimes it feels like you are re-living the life of Job…but we have faith in the end result.

  5. Part of the wedding vow is always suspect….”in sickness and in health..”. Sounds like the ex-wife wasn’t really all that committed, and he’s better off without her.
    My brother-in-law’s wife had a stroke some 40 years ago, and he has taken excellent care of her all these years. A senior programmer at a huge defense contractor, he could write his own ticket anywhere and do anything. But he stuck by his beloved wife and is still there for her. Hard to find people like that now days.
    The author has real grit and a can-do attitude. Can’t wait to see the next installment!
    A trauma surgeon I did a shelter for out of Washington advised me to ignore all the crash safety gimmicks in cars….air bags, “crush zones”, etc and drive the heaviest, largest vehicle i could afford. The main factor in collisions is WEIGHT. Like a Ford F350 or facsimile (8300 lbs, empty). Diesel fuel, cheap ($3.00/gallon). Blood, EXPENSIVE ($900/pint). Can’t afford to drive a dump truck. We are all free to choose what we drive. Choose wisely.

    1. I agree, the author is a true AmeriCAN. He doesn’t have ‘quit’ in him (like Old Bobbert above).

      I’ve seen the crash test videos of 60’s cars vs today’s cars. The ‘crush zones’ are impressive. But I’ve yet to see a crash test video of a Ford F350 vs a Smart EQ Fortwo. I’m with you, the more mass the better

  6. I’ve heard of prenup agreements but haven’t really looked into them. My situation is that my wife of 48 yrs passed away of terminal brain cancer ( the same as John McCain ), I’ve met a couple of women that I’ve been attracted to, but not enough to get serious. I did away with my will and replaced it with a trust that has clauses stating that if I ever remarry and she decides to divorce me, she gets nothing, and if I pass away before her, then she will get the profits from the property to live on ( but she doesn’t get the property ), my family will have control of the property and then they can’t sell it for a specified number of years. Her family will get nothing from the property except to be able to hunt or go camping on it. One widow quizzed me on my financial situation early on in my wife cancer treatment ( and my wife did not know her except that she was part of the church group ) and needless to say, I stayed away from her.

    1. A very good friend advised me that a prenup agreement should be written by a divorce attorney. Haven’t had the need yet but kept that nugget of advice tucked away for future use.

  7. Paul I would disagree with your trauma surgeons advice, modern safety features make all the difference in a crash. I was a a FF/emt for 33 years and was on the ambulance full time for twenty of them. I have been to literally hundreds of wrecks. The people in the ER never see what goes on out in the field. As an example I was at a crash, happened to be a friend of mine, driving a tri-axle towing a loader at about 45 mph, probably 60,000 lbs. at least. Well Granny, probably 80, headed out Christmas shopping with her mind elsewhere, decided to pull out in front of him. Well he t-boned her on the drivers side and pushed her down the road probably 100 ft before he could stop. Dual side airbags in her car. We opened the passenger door and she got out and walked away. If no airbags and in an F-350 I figure the outcome would have been much worse, Like your head in his bumper. Just sayin’

  8. Sorry to hear about all of your losses in divorce and that means the commenters too. I will be praying today.

    Remember there was a reason women made less money for the same job years ago because they have have less responsibilities with their money. Then and now women do not support stay at home spouses according to the IRS.

    The divorce rate is always commensurate to the women employment rate. Both were 10% in 1960s and today both are equal at 60%-70% depending on statistics. Men design everything (91% patents given to men) and men fight all wars. Also the abortion and lawsuits coupled with divorces to make women equal is a world destroying tactics.

    So there’s no gender equality and never will be and that is a lie from the devil.

    There’s a reason when liberals have pulled women out from under the authority of her husband (Gods law not mine) becuause to set the stage of never being fulfilled as a woman.

    Women are more fulfilled, loved, appreciated, and net more rewards in heaven when they are provided for financially and protected by their man and surrounded by children and grandchildren. Where in the Bible does it state that being a tax attorney is more important than seeding the next generation in motherhood?????

    My generation of women dropped the ball and allowed all this new age evil to enter the womanhood. That’s why women talk to their girlfriends and then file divorce. Sorry men. These women are all taught by the same ungodly principles of the LEFT.

    It is very dangerous to marry an American women for this generation. Take a bride from a foreign country where women’s rights are not allowed or Put all your assests in an irrevocable trust with her name never on it.

    1. Wow are you old fashioned……just like me. I was raised in a home where Daddy got up early and went to work to provide for our home and Momma stayed home and put us kids on the bus and tended to the house and cooked for us all. It was a happy and well adjusted home and I enjoyed it so much that when I got married and we had kids our home was just like my parent’s. I truly believe that if America could get back to the old ways we would be better off. Oh and I almost forgot that I grew up in a Christian home and then later my wife and I raised our kids the same.

    2. Very well spoken and accurate. What women fail to realized is that by submitting, they in fact gain power. A real man deeply loves a woman that is submissive and follows God’s word.

  9. This is why women should be in the homes and not in the work force. Women do not support stay at home spouses with their equality of income. Nor do women need the use of a pre-nup as their protection and provision comes from their man (husband), the Bible says.

    We have seen to many divorces, law suits, male termination, male incarcerations, abortions, and sexual harassment against men when women left their role as helpmate to go be A MAN!

    No where in scripture does raising children with Godly values means you not as equal as a man who brings home the bacon as a role of [fill in the blank].

    Sorry ladies but we did it to ourselves wanting to be EQUAL to something God didn’t create us to be- A MAN!

    Let’s be ladies in our culture and not threats to our nation with these horrific statistics the feminist movement has taught all girls to surmount in the generations to come

  10. Well my wife is a Doctor and I am a stay at home dad. We raised 3 good kids and now have 8 grand kids. Been married for 33 years right out of high school and we have stuck by each other for the good and the bad times.
    I was not always a stay at home dad and when I was, I still flipped houses and worked for the union heavy highway work and we home schooled the kids for most of it.
    We both came from poor families but we did not know it.
    She makes a lot more money then I ever can. She is a very, very smart woman and I am lucky to have her. When she was in training after 30 hours she would come home and help me on the house and I mean help siding etc. Hell she laid all the tile work and she was older when she went to MED school 32. I think we have just paid off her loans. No free ride here. She is far from being a Feminist that you can be sure of.
    She found her calling to help people her kids and grand kids.

  11. The killer in divorce isnt keeping the stuff you had before marriage, although that’s nice. The killer is child support, alimony, post separation support, equitable distribution, legal fees and having your kids turned against you. Oh and having to explain all those buckets of wheat to the Judge. Feeling sorry for a guy who wont get married is like feeling bad for a guy who wont take up smoking. I’m a divorce lawyer. I have been for over two decades. My advice? Skip the misery and get a dog and a Galil Ace.

    1. It all ties in together. A marriage liscense is a contract with the State. Why contract with the same state that wants to cause us all these problems and inflict all of this injustice on us?

  12. Hi Mr. Rawles. Love your site, but I would like to point out that some people have visual problems and they do find it necessary to use all capitals when typing, as they are unable to see lowercase letters. There is a congenital blindness gene that runs in some families, where the person affected loses their eyesight by the age of 40 or so. The loss is gradual. I know of two people who suffer from this family gene. One was blind by age 20, the other lost his sight by age 35- his father and grandfather had both lost their eyesight as well.For some reason, males are most affected by this gene.

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