Going back to the earliest days of our relationship, Deb and I have placed great importance on being ready. We are, by almost any definition, “preppers,” and we raised our boys with that same mindset. When WuFlu panic swept over the land, our lives weren’t buffeted like most were — we had the supplies, tools, skills and, most important, the attitude to keep on keepin’ on.
Hitting the road 19 months ago, obviously we couldn’t bring along all of our accumulated materiel. Then, between March and July of this year we liquidated our household goods, distributing virtually all of Second Chance Ranch’s prepping stash to family, friends and charities. Still, we’ve adapted our preparations to The RV Life in ways that might surprise you.
Food. Water. Shelter. Power. Security. Defense. We’ve duplicated (to scale) every function we established previously at a fixed location.
Now we’re advancing confidently in the direction of a new American Life. When at last we settle on The Mountain, our preparations will change to match site, surroundings and situation — but we won’t be “starting over” because there’s been no interruption.
Once again, we’ll simply adapt.
With everything else to consider in building a home and a life, maybe I shouldn’t be thinking about prepping right now. News of recent attacks on power substations in North Carolina, Oregon and Washington, however — among a reported 70 nationwide this year — dragged readiness from the back of my mind to the front.
Is there an imminent threat to us? Not that I know of. That question, however, isn’t particularly relevant to prepping. Being ready for the unexpected — which is, by its nature, unknown and undefined — is the whole point of preparedness.
Some may disagree, but I say that readiness is largely generic. With very few exceptions, it really doesn’t matter what happens or why. Whether it’s an ice storm or supply-chain problems, a full-scale nuclear attack or government overreaction to a virus, responding to being without goods, services and order demands the same things from us.
What separates The Unprepared from The Ready is the degree to which we’re able to assert independence — not just practically but mentally and even emotionally — and for how long. Maybe you’ve read books or have seen videos about “societal collapse,” the dystopian aftermath of a cataclysm leaving us a world that bears no resemblance to what we know. That’s when we’ll see who prepared to survive for 90 days or longer, not merely a toilet-paper shortage or a week without electricity.
Resist the urge to dismiss that. American society is closer to crumbling than it’s ever been.
Up on The Mountain we have the benefit of a blank canvas. It provides us with a rare opportunity to truly build a system, constrained only by our resources.
Water and septic will be independent of utilities, and we’ll have a (limited) supply of liquid propane, but we’ll still pull electricity from the grid. We’re already scheming ways to generate our own power (and not just with a fossil-fueled generator or a solar array).
The biggest challenge will be water, given that our well will be too deep for a hand pump. I expect we’ll create two or more ways to collect and store water when we can’t draw it from the ground. We have some ideas.
Restocking supplies will be the easy part, relatively speaking.
Our greatest advantage is location. We’re glad that our Home isn’t in an urban area or, as Second Chance Ranch was, in a suburb of a major city. Should there be widespread unrest, we’d be far from it. And I can’t imagine that the State would choose Marion County, Arkansas for mass shelters and refugee camps.
In an emergency or following a disaster, neighbors often have to learn how to work together. It’s not something that today’s Americans are accustomed to. Out in the Country, however, it’s different — the way we’d hope our neighbors would act when the worst happens is what they do every day anyway. They don’t have to learn to be the people they already are.
And by the way, when there’s a run on firearms and ammunition, let’s just say that you won’t find our neighbors standing in line at the gun shop. I hope I don’t have to paint you a picture.
That said, we don’t take our relative isolation for granted. Complacency is the enemy and our vigilance remains intact. And though The Mountain isn’t without its challenges, it’s a great place to be.
For anyone reading this and waving it off because Deb and I are in a unique situation, you’re right — we are. But so are you.
You can do this. All of it. Stop giving yourself reasons not to.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.
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