How Far?

PaulM mentioned yesterday in comments that MrsPaulM said that they don’t live far enough away from the wretched masses.

PaulM and I both live where city people go camping. I may be a bit more off the beaten path, but the Phoenix folks do flood into this area in large numbers with their fifth wheels and toy haulers, towing a trailer with two side-by-sides. The problem that I have is that I can’t think of anywhere more remote in the Southwest than where I am.

In Arizona, deserts are far more heavily impacted by Canadians who come for the winter than my area is in the summer – and as PaulM knows, being a westerner, there isn’t that much patent land. I thought about going farther afield to stake a mining claim in rougher country, in the middle of government land sort of like where I live now but farther out.

Filing a mining claim does get you rights to build a hovel and work the claim. It’s old law and if you’re interested, you should delve. I won’t do that here and now.

I have the money to build a bug-out location more remote than this:

The Mogollon Rim

This is where I am now.

Having cast about, there are damned few places that are MORE remote. The White Wolf Mine is on patent (deeded) land, and it’s not a mining claim on federal land.

There are other considerations and I hate to even touch on them here, but as we (and I) age, we need to get to town to see the doctor or do other things that make uber remote more of a challenge. At 25, I could have done it easily. At 65, it’s much harder.

So here’s the throwdown. Get a map (as I have done) and look for areas that you might like to live that are at least 50 miles from the nearest gas/store/civilization.  50 miles isn’t that far, but you need to find a place that’s not part of some federal animal sanctuary, etc. These places exist. There was a place in Hell’s Gate, outside of Young, AZ that I looked at. Patent land in the middle of nowhere, a creek ran through it, Cottonwood trees, a horrible road to get there. It had been around since the Arizona range wars around Young, in the middle of patent land.  But they didn’t want to sell. It was a great spot but somebody was already there.

Back to PaulM’s dilemma. I looked in the Silverton, CO area to set up a mining claim as described above as a bug-out location. The roads in and out are closed for weeks because of heavy snow and that’s to Silverton. Once you get out of town, you’re on snow machines. Take the map and draw a circle 50 miles outside of Silverton… do it for fun.

There was a cabin in the Uncompahgre Wilderness, very near Engineer Pass that was for sale.

Somebody bought it and turned it into an ARB&B…

The cabin pictured above is great in the summer, but in the winter you’d need to get in and out by snow machine because it will get 15′.  Lake City is about 20 miles away, so it doesn’t meet the 50 mile test. Having said that, this place is remote – now a tourist trap of sorts.

There will come a time when I’m too old to live where I live now. Maybe I can squeeze another 15 years until I’m 80. After that? So there you have it. Finding a new frontier is not easy and when you get there, you may find a tourist trap.

The world is changing and finding “farther out” can be chore in more ways than one.

48 COMMENTS

  1. We do what we can… I’m in a small rural town in north Texas. Not perfect, but I’m old and broke, so having access to the VA is kinda a priority for me. And I’m two hours plus from the nearest metromess, so at least I have ‘some’ warning if things go south.

      • I like he idea of being on my own, but isolation and a single location gives lots of failure points… I’d rather be in a place with friends and a good community not far away to give redundancy and options.
        The town I’m in now is 50 miles from the next bigger town.

        I’ve been learning alot about mining law recently – As far as living on a mining claim, you have to request and justify occupancy, showing that you need it. You also need to show that you are actually conducting mining operations there.
        The flip side is that mining on federal land is a right; grazing, recreation, etc is a preference. If you put together a decent mining plan, it has to be allowed, even in areas limited to other activities, especially if you can buy an older mining claim..

  2. I would love to be 50 miles from everywhere, but like NFO, I’m getting somewhat up there and I do have issues that require medical monitoring. Other than that I’m not in bad shape. On the other hand the wife does not get around well. We do live an hour out of KC and a bit off the beaten path. At least there’s that.

  3. I keep working on COLOEXIT but it is complicated. Medical concerns are a minor factor but I do need the occasional visit. Parts of Wyoming attract me but most are in or around Minuteman silos. Then there is the Wyoming winter to consider. Cold and snow don’t particularly bother me but access and sharing roads with idiots does. Shirely Basin is a consideration. I know of some private land there.
    Taxes and state governments are high on the list of consideration. The Oregon Pacific Coast appeals to me. Oregon politics don’t. The same applies to NE New Mexico – state government.

    At age 77, maybe I’ll stay in place and see how many assholes I can take out before they take me out.

    • Hey WellSeasonedFool – I’m 72 and live on a relatively remote section of the Washington coast. If you ever get to the Oregon coast, make sure you have a couple hundred feet of elevation. I’m about 40 ft above sea level and very happy, except for a nagging fear of tidal waves which began after the big one hit Japan about a decade ago. The big one here is overdue and if it hits, I’ll be underwater about 15 minutes after the shaking stops. If I were at 200 ft plus, I’d be a happy camper. Stay warm.

  4. Being 50 miles from the nearest civilization outpost is challenging anywhere east of the Mississippi because of the 200 years of property buying and selling before the Bureau of Land Management (the other BLM) ended up owning close to half of everything. I’ve also heard 300 miles from the nearest big city (about a full tank of gas in lots of cars). I’m not sure anyplace in the Southeast qualifies for that. Maybe an hour from a major turnpike or interstate? Nowhere in Florida.

    That means for vast portions of the population, “bugging in” and locking the doors is the only option. I remember reading Rawles’ “Patriots” and when they’re putting half inch steel plates over the retreat, I thought, “if that’s really what it takes, we’re toast.”

    Having groups of friends to help each other is great. It’s sobering that in our circle of friends that are going to help each other, I’m probably the fittest and healthiest.

    • Fill the interior walls with 5/8 or pea gravel should also work if the floors will support it. around and under windows and doors would also make a good barrier .

      • Everyone has a different setup. If you live in the country, having a gravel pile that you can move around (and sandbags that can be filled) that sort of engineering is a lot easier than it is in a condo, for example, on a second or third story.

  5. I am a country boy. Living somewhere out in the sticks would be wonderful. And at age 68, possibly fatal from something as simple as a fall, which I am OK with. My better half sees it differently, so we live in the DFW area. My opinion lands somewhere below 50%. Feel free to speculate on that.

    Night before last, we drove over to our daughter’s place to baby sit our grandson for the evening. On the way over, sounded for a minute like a tire picked up a rock, then the noise went away. Not a rock. Right rear tire is almost flat as I type this. Will be Thursday before I can tend to it. Will have AAA come by and air it up Thursday morning so I can drive it over to Costco where we bought the tires for a flat repair. Yes, I have the tools and could change it out myself if need be. We also have my Silverado. I guess my point is that you have to be realistic about your choices.

    We will bug in, come what may. We have chosen our hill. Thankfully I bought ammo when it was cheap, and thanks to cataract/lens surgery I can once again see my iron sights.

  6. There’s a now-dark blogger who built a really nice two/three story compound in the Georgia Highlands, far from civilization.

    His mistake? Building a two/three story compound and getting old. Last I heard from him, his formerly way away from everyone area was invaded during the great Obama Refugee Put Democrat Voters in Red State Territory era by, well, Refugees and idjits from Atlanta (moved by the FedGubment to… Red State areas.)

    So he had a compound, that he couldn’t access most of due to bad knees, far from the medicos as his wife started having major medical issues (to the point they got an apartment in town for her to stay at so she could be close to doctors, and now surrounded on all sides by shady people and actual third world refugees, to the point if you see some vatos or blecks standing on the side of the road, don’t stop else you’ll get jacked or killed.

    So, as one ages, concerns about going up and down stairs, being able to control your area and access to medical is a big concern.

    When I went apartment searching, it was to find a single-story apartment with easy wheelchair or ambulance gurney access.

    I wish I could buy that Sprint missile base in North Dakota (now only $550,000, includes a hardened surface building and an underground complex, and missile silos, all buildings renovated and cleaned and 100% useable, missile silos not so much, http://missilebaseforsale.com/)

    Seriously, if I had the scratch, that beyotch would be mine! And I’d turn the Intake and Exhaust towers for the underground part into some bitchin medieval towers with both electronic and catwalk (inside the towers) observation of the surrounding terrain.

    But I don’t.

    As most people don’t. Best is to fortify what you can.

    Though there are some ghost towns out there available for purchase at low low prices. But there’s usually a reason they’re for sale. And BLM has lots of sway over western land ‘rights.’

    Plum Island would have been a neat place, but it’s no longer for sale.

    And in Florida, there are all sorts of small islands for sale, but…

    • There is a fire station (nothing else, but a fire station) with paramedics 24/7/365 and a pad for a helicopter near me. It went into my decision to buy.

      • That one in North Dakota? The missile silos are for Sprint ABMs. But the launch control complex is accessible via a sloped ramp downward into the buried complex, which has inside it 16′ ceilings.

        Would love to have the scratch for that place.

        • Maybe bring in a coalition of like-minded people, each interested in their own piece of the pie and a share of the whole?

          • I think a coalition of like-minds is key.
            .
            Although the farm we operate is near the outskirts of Eugene Oregon (aka ‘goofball central’) we have a couple-three dozen workkampers in RecreationVehicles and various forms of home-built ExpeditionVehicles.
            After our perimeter was breached June 9th, every dang one of us is heeled 24/7/360°.

  7. Very good post LL…captured the essence of this more rural lifestyle and wanting to protect it from “the urban invaders”.

    While we’re not paranoid or desiring to sell our place…being prudent is the approach. MrsPaulM has these inklings, I heed them. Even tho we’re sitting away from civilization, 26 miles North and 45 South, she’s concerned the idiots will show up. We know of a few spots off the track to explore, so now it’s “find some land we can park the ’56 Shasta on if need be”.

    Took a look up in the Snowy’s at a Forest Service lease cabin, used a topo to find it. You buy the cabin, but $2500/year lease is too steep if you ask me. FS built it in ’32 along a running stream, but a PITA to get to (Winter is snow machine or ski in only), and it needs a lot inside and out.

    Someone bought it already from the elderly Iowa couple that owned it. (echoing what others have commented about accessibility and usability as we get more seasoned.)

    But as you say, being under any gov’t-level lease goes against my grain. Deeded land is better, and rural is often cheaper tax-wise.

    So many people have “escaped their urban environs” that custom camper van shops can’t get enough to fill orders (Amazon is buying a lot of them, but there is a shortage…which I take is because the Left hates vans and pickups). They’re stuck cancelling orders, and these things ain’t cheap.

    I would imagine, having grown up going into the Poconos and other rural spots (actually a lot in PA), those old hunting cabins are being re-outfitted for fulltime living, and there is no trespassing on those properties, might get shot.

    So we’re trying to read the tea leaves in order to stay prepared…next to impossible but we try.

    • Everyone has to decide for themselves (a) what they can afford (b) what they can tolerate in terms of urban sprawl and (c) what they can do physically. My first pick was outside Durango but they get a lot of snow and if I want to feel warm outside, it’s a very long drive. AZ mountains work because it’s a gun state, I can flee to Phoenix, about 2.5 hours away if I get too cold and tired of snow, and in the summer, it’s glorious here.

      • Exactly. Was put mowing pastures – tractor therapy – and thinking on this. We didn’t spend the last 20 years driving all over looking for just the right property, then finding it, only to bail due to some urban pressure. Like yours, ours was raw land and its just getting to where we want it, and most people driving by on the pavement wouldn’t know anyone lives here.

        Still waiting for the County Health Dept. vax person to show up unannounced. Might get interesting.

  8. This property was originally our bug out spot. Now that people are coming closer (a sport complex of some sort up the road), I might have wanted to look elsewhere; but I think the Lord intended for us to be here because we did not expect a mortgage at our ages.
    Still, if we had enough fuel, we do have a friend in Arkansas…

  9. In 2014, I went as far as I could…from Florida to the PI. Not a single regret. I saw what was coming and bugged out early.

  10. Some people are happy with 8 foot ceilings and one inch walls in the ‘sprawl. That’d be torture for me, but not for them. They like it.

    We beat on the sheetrock.

    • Having been to your compound, you have a different situation than a lot of people. Most homes were not built for defense. Frankly, I thought about using adobe for above-the-water table construction material, combined with re-bar and steel structural support. Two-foot-thick walls with plaster on both sides work very well. I lived in a house like that as a kid. Houses that were built in the 1800s in the pioneer period where the Commanches would come howling off the plains had to be built of fireproof, bulletproof (before AP ammo) and insulated against both heat and cold.

  11. Due to upcoming divorce and my age, I may not invest in property again. But in the meantime, I am very happy and secure in a fifth wheel camper in a campground 60 miles from a small town, and on the way to even smaller towns and nowhere. Totally surrounded by ranches, BLM land, desert and mountains. One highway, but dozens of dirt roads and paths. If needs must, I can move the camper to someplace more remote in the hills near water, but that would be an effort. I’m thinking a small trailer that could get totally into the back-side of nowhere would be the best option. Snow isn’t much of a problem, heat is worse but manageable.
    Now, to figure out a way to make off with some of the solar panels currently not used for charging EVs. Kind of crazy having stations out here so far off the interstate and beaten path. And not cheap to use!
    OldNFO, you know my origin point.

    • A trailer or fifth wheel works, and you’re mobile. Repairs to the unit that require a shop – can be made anywhere in a shop in a city. Wandering, if I was in your situation, I’d still want to buy a piece of land somewhere and build a garage that could be lived in/worked in, even if I had a mobile home (meaning trailer, fifth wheel, etc.) Tools that are the backbone of life can’t all be hauled around in a mobile rig, and it’s difficult to store basic staples in a mobile situation in the event of scarcity.

      • Agreed.
        2003, we converted a 1997 Ford CF8000 commercial truck to our concept of an ExpeditionVehicle.
        GVWR — 29,000#.
        Weight across the scale — 14,000#.
        Our interior is three paces across by seven paces long.
        Two adults, three RedHeelers, and months of food.
        I built our toy-hauler on a similar commercial chassis — 8×16.
        We are rigged for summer months up rough logger tracks at remote mountain lakes or winters on isolated Baja beaches.
        .
        And I concede we are a big fat target for the goofballs.
        Accordingly, we caravan with experienced off-grid travelers.

      • Totally agreed about storage and repairs. I’m fortunate that the campground allows me to do some repairs, but tools are in a utility trailer. Working outside in wind and dust on dirt and gravel can be miserable. I’m working on a solution as I now have limited slip kit for the high-speed diffs that I have yet to install in my LMTV.
        Unfortunately, the go-to solution for storage, CONEX boxes, are now getting stupid expensive.
        BTW, I’ve got some pix of an awesome ex-mil tractor-trailer rig that is set up half-shop, half-living. Saw it two years ago during the Lincoln Highway 100th anniversary run. Official photos here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/kjuimsjj9zaveo6/AACFlJ9BbHO0JerPtN-HGeX3a?dl=0
        Thx for input!

        • CONEX boxes are in demand now. Older boxes used to be nearly free – haul it away.

          I am only a fan of CONEX boxes if they can be used in groups where you drop them onto a foundation. Paint the bottom with that black water-resistant goo so that they don’t rust through. Doesn’t have to be an expensive slab, but you don’t want them shifting. Bolt and weld them together in a double or triple-wide, Cut out interior doors so that it’s open space inside. You weld skirts around the doors BEFORE you weld the units together so that they’re fully sealed. Make sure that there is drainage. If you’re in a hot climate, I’d build a roof over the whole thing to take a measure of the heat. You end up with a type of cabin that is large enough to pull a vehicle into and work on or you can extend your roof into a carport. My point is that it’s not just storage, it’s a proper shop that can be used for anything. You can also take a backhoe, dig a big hole, put the triple-wide into the hole, painted with water repellant and surrounded by gravel with drains running down-hill (big drains filled with gravel. You can build a small cabin on top and make that an access point or build a hatch. You can’t use it as easily as a shop, but you can store things. I’d put a declining stairway instead of a ladder to get in but I’m old.

  12. I would have preferred to be much further out, but SLW wouldn’t have been comfortable. Plus as we age, she wanted to be close to good medical facilities.

    • My situation here at the WWM will only last until I get too sick to remain, DRJIM. At some point, I’ll either die or I will have to move closer to civilization. I knew that when I made the move. It was a 20-year solution but longer than that would present problems. I have no idea where I would live if not here. I’ve run the scenarios. If society wasn’t so crazy in cities, there would be more options.

  13. Hate to sound like I’m complaining – married a gal addicted to spending money…found out about it after we got married. Have spent my entire life fighting to get out of, and stay out of, debt.
    So…..don’t have the money to do serious prep work. Do live in a small community outside a small city/large town, on a mountain with limited access, with decent people.
    While checking out places of worship after moving here, my son and I stopped in one parking lot and a guy immediately came over and welcomed us. His Sunday-go-to-meeting outfit included his hunting knife, and he wore it so naturally most people wouldn’t notice it.
    I think I like it here 🙂

    • There are cowboy churches here and there and almost everyone carries their preferred firearm or Bowie knife to meetings. Naturally, they’re not woke, usually very nice people. I don’t attend a cowboy church, but they seem to have a lot of fun (come for the sermon, stay for the food).

  14. I would imagine you could fine the remoteness you desire somewhere in Alaska. You could have supplies coppered in once a month or so in the winter, and practice your shooting ability on the mosquitos in the summer. I’m happy with my little town in NE GA.

    • Alaska – yes, but at least in my case, I still have a family and grandkids and I’d never see them if I lived in Alaska.

  15. My sister just last week sent me a picture she had taken from or of the Mogollon Rim. It is beautiful country and she says we will take a run out there next time my wife and I visit. Interesting post LL. My wife and I are considering locations also though I’m afraid time may be growing short.

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