Inner city people rarely are seen out in the wild and they never live there. Self sufficiency is required and the inner city types prefer to be cradled by the taxpayers from birth to death (with institutional terms in the prison systems interspersed where they’re still cared for at public expense). There are wilderness churches but I have yet to see a wilderness mosque or synagogue. That may have to do with the traditional practice of eating bacon with your waffles (in turn covered with butter and maple syrup) at breakfast.
Most people who live beyond the settlements are private people living on their own land, and they value their privacy. Disturbing people who live on a compound as a matter of choice requires impeccable manners and a reason for showing up. There is the inevitable problem of having savage, feral dogs tear you to pieces before the owner (taking their sweet time) calls their hybrid wolf-dogs off. People have been known to end up as wolf-dog manure, recycled as God intended. Inner city people avoid those situations instinctively.
- 2 hour drive from a major airport. I may not need to consult forever, but for the time being I can fly to work, wherever that may be. Flagstaff (commuter airport) is closer than Sky Harbor (where Loretta Lynch met Bill Clinton) in Phoenix but either will work.
- 6 – 7 hour drive from children/grandchildren. Two of my four daughters live in Southern California and are unlikely to leave due to their husbands appropriate career choices. That equates to five grandsons.
- 40-50 miles from a city of any size. I can drive to the city when I need to and I don’t need the city when I don’t need it.
- Help. I wanted to be near enough to some sort of paramedic assistance that I might be reached in the event of an emergency. I’m not getting any younger and despite what I think in my heart of hearts, I’m not bullet-proof.
- Bandwidth. There was no cell service when I bought the White Wolf Mine property, but they installed a cell tower a few miles away adjacent to a ranger station last September. Imagine my surprise when the phone rang when I was out on the property – three bars. I was content to use sat phone contact, but I have three-four bars on Verizon.
- Weather. I wanted to be no more than a two hour drive from warm weather. Having lived in areas where the winters are cold, and the drive from there to warm is —- considerable, it needed to be fitted in. I’m not old now, but it will be an issue in the future. It’s nice to be able to thaw out if you need to, and maybe swim in an outdoor heated pool for a bit at a hotel if that’s called for.
- It had to be the mountains or the ocean. I like the desert, I really do, but that wasn’t what I wanted for myself.
- In California, the ocean means unwanted progs living near. Because of the 6 hour drive radius, I couldn’t get far enough north or to Oregon without making a visit to the grandkids a two-day drive with an overnight in a hotel on each end of the journey. I had some land picked out in the Applegate Valley in Southern Oregon not all that far from Grant’s Pass, but I’d never see the grandsons grow up. (note- my three granddaughters live in Arizona)
- The California taxation system and the general oppression of the liberal government made a move to either Arizona or Nevada a 20% reduction in cost of living – significant.
- I had to be able to afford the land and a reasonable house. I couldn’t find what I wanted with a structure on it that I could live comfortably in, so I went for land in the ponderosas with a view and a meadow that was perfect for a home in the 3,500 square foot range (sufficient to have room enough for guests in addition to space for my own basics). Remote locations mean that if you are going to rely on the skills of others to build/help build a house, it will cost more because they have to drive there and back to wherever. Time and fuel cost.
- Sweet well water. The water needed to be of sufficient quantity and quality that it wouldn’t be problematic. North-Central Arizona gets snow but it also has a summer monsoon that reliably drops 8-9 inches of water every August.
- Near lakes and streams with abundant wildlife.
- Live in an area of light regulation. Some government footprint is a good idea, but there are limits. There is a County Sheriff but they don’t patrol the area near the WWM. I’m on my own. I can live with that. Walk softly and carry a big stick.
- I have electricity on the property, and can use that, propane or pine (not as good as hardwood, but it’s an inexhaustible supply) for power. Likely I will use a combination of the above with a propane generator to kick in if the electricity goes out.
There have been some surprises. Not many but a few:
- The price of an alternative septic system and the time that it takes one designed, excavated and installed.
- The large numbers of bobcats and mountain lions in the area – a good thing from my perspective, but there are a lot of them. Naturally, there is a lot of game for them to eat.
- The summer monsoon surprised me, but as with most mountain showers, you have a clear morning but afternoon thundershowers. Time to get the fishing in, and back to the place before you get soaked. The EXTENT of monsoon in Northern Arizona was surprising. Two inches of rain per week is significant.
- The lack of an insect problem that you’d normally find in lower altitudes in summer.