Clearing Out our Survival Retreat and a Look at What We Stored There

Ever wonder what a prepper stores at their survival retreat? We visited our retreat and here’s a look at the supplies we cached there.

Over the long weekend, we made the long journey to our survival retreat and recovered some supplies we had cached there. Most of them had been there for less than a decade, but some items had been there since before Y2K.

Now that we have our permanent prepper property, the retreat property will be sold. This trip to remove our personal property was the first step in that process. We also met with a realtor and she gave us some ideas on how she would market it. Thankfully, she agreed that we should sell it “as is” and while we won’t be making any renovations or major improvements, she made some suggestions of what might make it more marketable without the need to spend much money. We hope it will be on the market in June.

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Book Review “World Made by Hand” by James Howard Kunstler

Sometimes you pick up a book and its difficult to put down again. This book definitely roped me in and grabbed my attention. A great read!

The book World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler is a tale of good and evil, hope and despair, tenderness and love, and mysticism and the supernatural. It overflows with remarkable, well-developed characters and has an interesting take on life after the electricity stops and the cars cease to run. I found it to be a post-apocalyptic story unlike any I had read before.

I was so impressed with this book and the author’s exceptional story telling ability that I did little else but read, putting aside two other books I was reading, so that I could finish it in a day or two.

In many books about the end of the world, the calamity—how the world ended—drives the story. This one is a departure because World Made by Hand is a character-driven story. The people that populate this book make the story compelling, and it would remain as captivating if it took place in the 1850s. That it is set in the near future after a collapse is a bonus.

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Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

If we didn’t expect something bad to happen, we wouldn’t prep. What you prepare for and how you prepare are critical to your success.

Whether or not we know it, we are all sitting here waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Some wait with trepidation, fear and anxiety, certain that something terrible lies in their future. Others look forward to the coming collapse, thinking that it is the only way we will ever get to have a do-over.

Some work to hasten the collapse, the downfall of our country. They are actually people out there that believe that our population is too high and that we need a great die off to save “Mother Earth.” Strange that none of these people seem will to step up and commit suicide to save the planet. They would rather sacrifice you and your family in the name of good.

Some refuse to think about it, either through youth and nativity or possibly denial. Perhaps some are so self-absorbed and live in such a small inward-looking world that they have no idea what the real world is a dangerous place and that life is a terminal disease that no one escapes.

Personally, I like to prepare for something terrible and then live like I don’t care. Maybe the other shoe will drop tomorrow or next year, but by preparing, I feel ready for whatever the future may bring. No fear, no anxiety, and no worries.

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A Survivalist by Any Other Name

There are lots of names for prepping, some may be vaguely threatening or sound darker than others, but in the end, we are all preparing to survive the collapse.

When I started prepping, I had never heard of the term.  I was a survivalist.  I practiced survivalism, I read American Survival Guide, and I used my 56K modem to read alt.misc.surivalism. 

After Y2K was a bust (at least from a survivalist perspective), survivalism became less urgent until the attack on the World Trade Center, the anthrax scare, the start of the gulf war, and the fear that Iraq had developed nuclear weapons.  That caused things survival-related to pick back up for a year or two.

Survivalism never really died out; it was just gradually replaced by “pepping.”  I think it was reality TV shows like Doomsday Prepper that popularized the terms “prepper” and “prepping.”  I believe the term prepper was quickly adopted by the community because it sounds less threatening than survivalist.  The term survivalist conveys crazy camo-wearing guys in the woods with their guns and gold while preppers are just being careful and buying a few more groceries than regular folk. As a result, your wife or your buddy is probably more willing to be a prepper than a survivalist. 

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We Look at the Big Picture as the U.S. Exceeds 400,000 Dead Due to Coronavirus

As the U.S hits a major milestone, we step back and look at COVID-19 in comparison to past disasters, potential future disasters, and even post-apocalyptic fiction.

The United States has seen more than 400,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19, even as the rate of new COVID-19 cases drops. 

Depending on your perspective, that’s either a large number or a tiny one. For example:

  • If you do the math based on a U.S. population of 330 million, that’s about 0.12 percent of the population. 
  • That’s about the same number of Americans killed in World War II (407,316), although our population was only 132 million in 1940
  • It’s far more than died in the Vietnam conflict (58,220) or Afghanistan and Iraq (7,056).
  • It’s below the 675,000 deaths that occurred in the U.S. as a result of the Spanish Flu, which took place when we had a population of 103 million, but it is far more than the 116,000 U.S. deaths believed to have been caused by the H2N2 flu in 1957.
  • It is estimated that small pox killed 300 million in the 20th century and untold numbers before that, including vast numbers of Native Americans.
  • It’s less than the 700,000 or so deaths attributed to HIV/AIDS in the U.S.

Of course, if it has affected you or one of your loved ones has died, then that is more impactful than any number.

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What Survivors Will Need to do After the SHTF

If you are lucky enough to survive the SHTF disaster that destroys society and our way of life, you will need these skills to stay alive.

Serious preppers plan for a devastating scenario in which the SHTF so badly that modern life, our society, and our culture undergoes and rapid decline and stays ugly for a good long time.  We’re talking massive disruptions that result in a breakdown of society, a loss of the rule of law, and the death of billions.

As preppers, our desire is to survive, to protect ourselves and our loved ones, to weather the storm, and to someone how come out alive on the other end, regardless of whether that is in six weeks, six months or six years.

Everyone has their favorite scenario for the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI.)  For the purpose of this article, it doesn’t matter how the end happens and whether it is fast or slow.  What we’re going to do is look at possible roles or jobs people will be doing after the immediate disaster is over.  We put these out there as a planning tool, so you can think about and prepare for your role before disaster strikes. 

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Until Help Arrives: Should You Expect to be Rescued?

Many people expect that the government or someone else will rescue them after a natural disaster or other calamity, but that may not be the case.

Many people don’t think they need to prepare because they expect that they will be rescued by the government. All they need to do is hang on until help arrives.

For example, if your area is hit by an earthquake that knocks down elevated highways and bridges, breaks water mains and gas line, and causes damage to house and buildings, help will certainly arrive from areas that are outside the damaged region.  Likewise, if you live in a coastal area and are hit by a hurricane, rescuers might show up in a helicopter or a boat and take you to a shelter. 

Once you are rescued, you and whatever you could carry in a single bag, will be taken to a shelter, which are often rows of cots in a high school gym or other public facility. You will be fed institutional cooking at long tables and sleep in huge rooms filled with hundreds of other refugees. 

If your home is destroyed, the Red Cross will get you a few changes of clothes and maybe put a few dollars in your checking account.  FEMA people will show up, put your name on a list, and you eventually may get a cheap loan to rebuild.  Hopefully, the shelter will have a place where you can recharge your phone so you can reach out to your friends, family, and insurance company.

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Prepper Diary November 21: The Car Crash Aftermath

Left on the side of the highway after my car crash, I have to figure out what to do next.

I know absolutely no one in this town.  So I fire up Uber, put in my destination, get a price of about $25 and wait. And wait.  They have no drivers, or at least no driver willing to go 18 miles up the Interstate. So I upgrade to the expensive vehicle, the XL, which is $45.  Still no luck.  I consider Lyft, but I don’t have the app on my phone, and I expect they share drivers out there in a small town.

I consider hitching a ride with a trucker. Corporate haulers don’t allow passengers.  It’s also not the safest option, but I do have a .38 in one pocket and a damn big folding knife in the other.  I’m not too worried about being robbed or kidnapped.  I decide that hitching – something I haven’t done since college – will be my fallback plan.

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Prepper Diary November 20: Pete’s Favorite Truck gets Totaled

I was in a head-on collision with another vehicle and both my airbags deployed. I survived largely uninjured, and a learned an important lesson or two.

As I was on the way to our prepper property with a pickup-truck load of stuff when a young woman made a left turn in front of me at a major intersection and I plowed right into her.  I had time to think “Oh sh*t!” and be angry that the other driver who would make a dumb move like that.  I jammed on the brakes, but it was too late for that to make much difference.

The next thing I knew, I was seeing white, and after a second of confusion I realized the air bag had deployed.  I had heard a bang, and even now, I don’t know if it was the sound of the impact, the sound of the airbags deploying, or some combination of both.  It was a very surreal moment as many of the items I had packed in the back seat had flown into the front of the car due to the impact and they were falling back down, some of them bumping into me.  This included a table lamp that was in an open box and my Shockwave in its scabbard, which thankfully missed me but ended up in the front passenger seat.  I tossed it back into the backseat.

I opened my door and stumbled out.  My phone was in the cup holder and I had the presence of mind to turn back around and grab it.  I was admittedly shaken up.  I was also pissed because I had been cut off and it was clear that my beloved truck, which I had owned for almost 20 years, was totaled. 

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