How far out is far enough? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

It didn't seem possible two weeks ago that I would be seriously contemplating moving. But, on Saturday, after a heated discussion with my husband, by the grace of God, he GI and is actually the one who approached me about getting a cabin or something in the country. What is interesting is that Saturday morning he was telling me how unfair it was for me to be spending our money buying all these supplies. Thanks to many wonderful, knowledgeable people on this forum, I was able to speak somewhat intelligently about the reasons why we had to do what I was doing.

We live in the suburbs of a metropolitan area of approximately 2ml. I looked in the classified section of Sunday's paper for real estate and it was amazing the ads for "Y2K Retreats". What I want some help with is, how far away from the city is it necessary to go? I found a place with 107 acres about 50 miles from downtown with a mobile home to rent for $300 mo. I also saw something to buy, a cabin about 200 miles from town for $18,000. I guess our decision is, do we keep the house and look for something temporary or sell the house and buy instead of rent? I realize no one can answer a personal question like this, but I would like some different opinions. Thanks to all of you who take the time to answer the questions on this board. God bless. Mary

-- Mary (, February 01, 1999


Kinda hard to answer, Mary. Lots of factors, including: How bad do you think it will be? What is your financial situation? Can you pay cash for the property 200 miles away? 50 miles from a major metro area may be sufficient. If there's a total breakdown, it's doubtful the fleeing urbanites will get that far. 200 miles from "civilization" is a long way. If you make that decision and we get a 2-3, will you be happy staying there? Remember, many of us think Y2K is just one of the tragic things that can happen to trigger a worldwide collapse. Your decision isn't an easy one, and I wish you the best of luck.

-- Vic (, February 01, 1999.

Think upland, upwind, upstream. You want your cabin to be free of any possible y2k induced pollution. Better for you the farther away from interstates, big local highways, or smaller local thru roads. Rougher country is a plus. Distance from city depends upon these factors, and your comfort with the location.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, February 01, 1999.

Mary, I've got a lot of questions about the "bug-out" scenario. Let's leave y2k out of this for a minute and let's also, for the sake of this discussion, ignore community obligation. Let's assume that this nation becomes faced with some catastrophe where people become hungry to the point of starving, and as a result, become lawless. You may picture a rural area as an idyllic bucolic setting where everyone is in harmony with nature, blah, blah blah, but, there are mean vicious people everywhere. It's pretty common for country folk around here to have rottweilers and pit bulls as their welcome mats. Dogfighting and cockfighting are illegal and downright scary, yet these activities thrive. Blood feuds go on to this day. There are rural "terrorists" who intimidate and manipulate by use of force. Now I'm not saying that anyone should be afraid to go out into the countryside. On the contrary, I enjoy camping and hunting and just walking the countryside. I'm just saying that there are mean people in most locations. If you're new to a rural area, who do you think would get singled out first for a pantry raid. I don't understand the concept of those who recommend stocking up on ammo. No bad guy is going to show up at your mobile home door with a cowboy hat and a .22 pistol. More like a front end loader with a concrete filled steel- drum protecting the engine. But in actuality, you'd have enough sense to surrender when the front-end loader and a gang of rough-and- ready woodsmen showed up on your property with torches and 30-06 semiautomatics. You'd be foolish to threaten someone's life when it was obvious that you were faced with overwhelming force.

Now it's my opinion that this country is not facing any kind of threat which would cause people to go feral. But that's just my opinion, and I'm not trying to convince you otherwise. I'm just taking as a hypothetical that we are faced with that situation and whether you should bug out.

I'm not a country boy. I'd stand out like a sore thumb if I were to move 100 miles from my home. As a Chicago cop once told me when I was asking directions to a southside location. "Sonny, you'd be easy pickins." I took his advice and rearranged my plans.

Now everything I've said is irrelevant if you can bug out to some really, really remote area and hunker down in a really low profile. Very very few people have what it takes to do that. You almost need special military training or enough money and free time that you can set up housekeeping and a cache of supplies in a remote part of the western US or Canada. But I get the impression that most of the bug- out folks are talking about going to farming country. Also, if you live in some kind of apartment situation where you couldn't arrange for supplemental wood or kerosene or propane heat, then I'd look at your situation differently.

I am concerned about y2k and have made preparations for extended outages of services. But all of my experience tells me to stay at my house in the burbs. Your question is interesting and everybody is going to have different opinions. This post is not advice, just things to think about. I hope you reach a decision that comforts your mind. At least your spouse is on board!

-- Puddintame (, February 01, 1999.


May I suggest the great plains? Nobody from other geographic regions of the U.S. seems to want to live in the plains if their life depended on it (pun intended). It's really flat, there aren't many trees, generally windy, nasty thunderstorms and tornadoes-o-plenty, and the temperature swings anywhere from about -15 degrees in the winter to a *dry* 105 degrees in the summer (and boy it can change fast). *But* the plains region does have it's own beauty...wide open spaces, a huge clear sky, freindly and generally moral/conservative people.

Just about any part of the Texas panhandle northward thru central/western Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska are great.

-- Delete (, February 01, 1999.

Anyone who wants to seriously explore the full defensive implications of the scenario described by Puddintame should read James Wesley, Rawles Triple Ought or whatever it is now titled. NOT the screenplay, the novel. No, it isn't Anna Karenina as literature, and you may find it extreme or even ridiculous, but it will make you consider all angles of survivalism, even if you disagree with his specific depiction. They key point is simply to have good people with a variety of skills surrounding you closely at all times.


-- Runway Cat (, February 01, 1999.

How about instead of just 5 or 7 (whatever) miles from a 7-11 -- how about one-half a tank of gasoline away or more (>100 miles)?

I've heard -- and seems reasonable, that the average car has, at any given time, less than half a tank full. Range of average full tanked car maybe 200 to 300 miles max? So half a tank is 100-150 miles.

-- A (, February 01, 1999.

As the lyrics go....nowhere to run, baby, nowhere to hide.

-- me (, February 01, 1999.

I would think a small town, under 50k people, would be preferable to a city of a few million. Can we agree on that?

As for rough and ready "woodsmen" showing up at your doorstep - that's not an argument for not stockpiling guns; it's an argument for hardening and fortifying your domicile, securing superior firepower, and developing a communications network with the non-criminal elements of your community. If your neighbor has rotweilers for a welcome mat, why should that bother you? If he lets them run free, he's asking for them to be shot. Be prepared for bands of looters. Be prepared to join with the more responsible members of your community, including law enforcement if available, to deal with looters harshly, before they can gain significant power. If there's a church or other community Y2k network, join it immediately on arrival and donate generously to food stores for the poor. Donate your time. Be yourself, demonstrate dignity, responsibility and caring, and you will be accepted.

It would seem to me that if you're not ready to disappear into the wilderness, a compromise location - small town in a food-growing area, with generally low population density regionally, would be a good bet. The alternative, for city-dwellers, is horrible to contemplate. I don't see the point in discouraging people from moving outward. There will also be a lot of other people in the same boat; connect with them, band together, reach out to the locals and be willing to lend them a hand. Or stay in your metropolis and face the ridiculously well-armed and demonstrably vicious gangs, in total darkness with lame-to-zero police protection, no food, water, light, sewer, phone...


-- E. Coli (, February 01, 1999.

Without knowing your financial status and your location, it's hard to give specific advice. Personally, I'd be unwilling to sell my home and move 50-200 miles away from friends, family, jobs, etc., just in case the geeks pull a miracle out of their calculators and y2k is a bump in the road. But then I already live in a small town 200 miles from the nearest metropolis. If you're in the snowbelt, the rental acreage 50 miles from your city might be sufficient, assuming it's well away from the nearest freeway interchange. If you're in a region where you can't count on snow blocking the roads, go for distance. The $18,000 cabin 200 miles away: can you rent instead? can you finance it with minimal down w/o selling your home and carry the monthly payments until after 1/1/2000? If y2k's a bust, you can sell the cabin in 2000/2001, possibly even at a slight profit. If it's TEOTW, you're in the best place possible.

-- Cash (, February 01, 1999.

I live in the suburbs now and my biggest worry about my neighborhood is water and sewage. We are much too dense here for all of us to be able to handle the waste problem with no electricity for more than a couple days. I worry about the disease and insects that the waste will draw within a couple weeks. With no water, there is no way to deliver water to this many people and no large local lake able to handle these numbers.

Ideally, I would want to live on several acres in farm country but just outside of a small town with the kind of community that could support itself, doctors, mechanics, etc. who would have the range of skills necessary. We can not do it all alone. But to live within a small city, puts you at risk of disease with not enough space to sink a well. Living near a good water source would be my first priority. And setting up composting toilet systems would be my second. Then you can worry about food and the rest of it.

If a city has a good water source close by, the will be much less likely to come after you. But making friends is important. You have time to do that.

Congradulations on the husbands GI status and your new ability to prepare!!

Lora, mom in California

-- Lora Ereshan (, February 01, 1999.

Mary, this was posted elsewhere by me before I saw your question.

At first, my inclination was to move very far from both cities and even small towns. I found that there were many downsides to this. After much traveling and seeing many properties here is what I concluded.

Being alone and very far out in the country makes you very easy pickens. Being in a town of 5000 to 15000 provides many benefits but there will be too main neighbors who won't be prepared.

Living in the center of a small village of say, 700, provides much protection but lacks the benefit of a large town with supplies and a hospital and commerce.

I am choosing a small community that is actually an agricultural subdivision of about forty homes. Each home has between 5 and 40 acres. You get to this subdivision by a small road that can be gated. Forty families can help one another and they are not new to the area. They are educated folks that know a little about country living. Each home has a well and septic.The families can feed themselves.

This subdivision is ten miles from a town of 14,000 which has a hospital, library, college, etc. I want to be near a town/city so I can start a barter business post y2k. The city is inhabited by many out of state people who have owned their own business. The population is composed of many out-of-staters. Outsiders are accepted. The nearest large city of 500,000 is 300 miles away.

I put much time, travel, and consulting money into arriving at this solution and I hope this provides some insight for others in their planning.

-- Tomcat (, February 01, 1999.

There is also some very sound advice to those seeking a quick solution for a family retreat in the thread "Feeling trapped: Preparations for relocation not going well." Worth your effort to track down and read that thread.

-- PJ (, February 02, 1999.

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