Hurricane Katrina Update:

I again recommend reading Interdictor’s blog –direct from the central business district of New Orleans. There is nothing quite like reading something from the perspective of someone who has “boots on the ground”. Please keep all of those affected in your prayers!

Next, a letter from our regular correspondents, “John and Abigail Adams” in Ohio:

It looks like we will be seeing some relief in regards to gasoline and diesel supply and prices in the very near future. Crude oil is now being shipped into Ohio and the refineries are producing product once again! Supply is opening up and prices are dropping! Some stations in our area have run dry, but they should be re-supplied shortly. Our cost on 87 octane is currently at $3.41 per gallon, it will drop around 23 cents per gallon this evening. Hopefully nothing else will take a swing at us, if not we should be looking at normal prices and supply within a week or two.

Also the federal government has made steps to easy supply on diesel fuel. See the following message that I received this afternoon.

IRS WAIVES DIESEL FUEL PENALTY DUE TO HURRICANE KATRINA: The Internal Revenue Service, in response to shortages of clear diesel fuel caused by Hurricane Katrina, will not impose a tax penalty when dyed diesel fuel is sold for use or used on the highway. This relief applies beginning August 25, 2005, in Florida, August 30, 2005, in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and August 31, 2005, in the rest of the United States, and will remain in effect through September 15, 2005. This penalty relief is available to any person that sells or uses dyed fuel for highway use.

Many states have been rationing diesel to truckers on the interstates, hopefully this too will pass shortly! Things are looking up. – John & Abigail Adams.

JWR Adds: Isn’t that just like a Federal bureaucracy to formulate differing dates for the suspension of the tax penalty. Oh well, at least it is some goods news for a change!


On Retreat Selection: (SAs: Relocation, Retreat Selection)

Deciding exactly where to relocate is not an exact science. You can gauge the potential threat and plan accordingly. But you can never be sure what will happen and where you will truly be safe. But you can sleep well, knowing that at least your percentage chances will be higher if you make the move.

There is an apocryphal story about a man who was living in Virginia in the late 1850s. He could see the U.S. Civil War brewing, and he wanted no part of it. He realized that his native Virginia was likely to be heavily contested territory, so he set about finding the safest place possible where he could shelter his family during the coming war. After much searching and deliberation he finally found a peaceful place that was far, far away from where the anticipated the battles would occur. He moved his family up to Pennsylvania–a little farming town called Gettysburg.

Basic Criteria
Once you have selected a potential region to concentrate on, select an experienced local real estate agent. Odds are that you won’t be able to find one that specializes in retreat properties. So it may take a while and a few false starts before your agent starts showing you the right type of properties. The following is a basic criteria list that you can give a real estate agent. (Tailor to suit your particular needs):

Plentiful water–preferably spring fed or an artesian well. (Pumped well water would be an inferior second choice.)

Good exposure for gardening and photovoltaics.

Not on a flood plain.

Southern exposure (for those reader in the northern hemisphere, naturlich)–particularly important at higher elevations

“Panoramic views”. This usually means a hilltop location with open fields of fire and defendable terrain.teh concept of holding high ground goes back to pre-history. Yes, I know, that this is mutually exclusive with the concept of having a house that is not in line of sight of any major road. TANSTAAFL. Decide on one or the other. But don’t buy a place that has neither attribute.

A diverse and healthy local economy.

Minimal noxious weeds. (Russian Thistle, Teasel, Russian Knapweed, Yellow Star Thistle, etc.)

Not in the path of real estate developers. Look at where suburban developments have been established in the county. Suburban tracts tend to follow a “line of march” in certain directions—especially where there is level terrain. Note that in most regions row crop farmland and orchard land is at the greatest risk because it is easy to subdivide. Put on your thinking cap and do some extrapolation. If your intended area is in the path of the sprawl within 10 to 15 years then start looking in a different direction in less advantageous terrain, or a little further out of town.

If it has an existing house, a house with fireproof/ballistically-protected (e.g. masonry) construction. Note: If it is also in an earthquake prone area, you might weigh the odds in this regard and opt instead for more earthquake safe timber-frame construction.

Low housing costs. As discussed in detail in some of my previous blog posts, don’t overlook examining as many factors as possible including home and car insurance rates, property taxes, and so forth. This useful Internet tool compares cost of living in two cities.

My personal preference is to select a retreat in a mixed farming/ranching/timber region in low-humidity western state, preferably in the inland northwest. I generally discourage folks from living in coastal regions for health reasons, risk of tidal waves or hurricanes, oil tanker mishaps, visits by foreign terrorists, and the outside chance of dramatically rising or falling sea levels in the event of a climate shift. I also discourage relocating to anywhere within 150 miles of the Mexican border. (Note: I’m not a racist–just a realist. The crime rate is higher near the border, and in the event of civil war in Mexico or any number of variations on TEOTWAWKI there could be a huge influx of illegal immigrants.)