Start at the beginning

Your Bug Out/Bug In Plan – Location, location, location…


A bug-out / bug-in plan should presume the worst. Normally, a hurricane, earthquake or tornado assumes a swift return to normality. A SHTF event presumes the need for a bug out or in plan because civilizational necessities (food, water, electrical supply, law and order) are absent with no reliable expectation of when they might return.

It seems obvious that, prior to a SHTF event, the soundest strategy is to be already living at your rural retreat location. To be able to bug ‘in’ rather than need to bug ‘out’. And of course, from the standpoint of financial considerations, funding just one location is eminently sensible. I strongly recommend that anyone who lives in either a city or in a city’s suburb, immediately start planning to move ASAP to a rural location. As in a grid down situation, cities and suburbs will quickly become death traps.

Of course, practical considerations can make that impracticable. The second best strategy and arguably, potentially essential to survival is to live nearby one’s bug out retreat. Preparation for a SHTF event does little good if hesitancy in deciding to leave quickly, results in an inability to reach a retreat. Decisiveness will be critical to survival. Waiting will not be an option.

It’s a given that in a true SHTF event, traveling long distances will be, at the least difficult and at worst, impossible. Lawlessness will be rampant, chaos and blocked roads certain and fuel with which to refill vehicles may be difficult to obtain. Also, the possibility of nuclear fallout cannot be ignored by the prudent prepper.

The closer you are to your retreat, the more likely you are to reach its refuge.

In a paradigm changing disaster with long term, civilizational disruption, a bug out/in plan offers the best prospects for long term survival. Meeting certain preconditions will considerably enhance chances for success, as we cannot know in advance what type of disaster we might face or for how long. Self-sufficiency must be our goal and mantra. 

The very first precondition is internal; your mental attitude, which IMO must combine common sense with situational awareness. There is no substitute for common sense nor, in a SHTF event, can there be a reasonable expectation of long term survival without having long made a habit of situational awareness. 

The second precondition is external and at its most basic, geographical; i.e. living in a mild, temperate climate in a nuclear free zone. In the age of terrorism, a nuclear attack is a real possibility and a grid down situation could result in nuclear reactor meltdowns.

Here’s a map of nuclear reactors across the US and one of likely nuclear targets;


 The third  precondition is to live in an area free from the threats of periodic natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, fire storms and tsunamis.

There are two unique, potential disasters that are only a threat to high technology civilizations. They are a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) Solar event and an EMP attack. CME events appear to occur about every 100-150 years. We narrowly avoided one in 2012. However, that estimate of time between events is decidedly uncertain.

An EMP attack is an artificial, man made CME event. Both have the potential to bring down our electrical grid, possibly for a very long time. 

Unprepared, such an event would be disastrous. Death estimates in the aftermath* are very high and the potential threat is very real. Prominent scientists have testified before Congress about this threat. We could do much to protect our electrical grid and infrastructure from these but the Federal government and the electrical generation industry is doing nothing to prepare for such an event. 

*the government’s estimates are grossly underrated. They purposely underestimate the number that might be without power and ignore the predictable death tolls from disrupted power over an at the least, months long time frame. Which begs the question, if the Feds couldn’t handle hurricane Katrina… how are they going to handle a SHTF event?

Nor is a CME event or EMP attack the only means to create a semi-permanent grid down event; “a white-hot study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was leaked to the Wall Street Journal. The government study concluded that coordinated attacks on only nine electrical transmission substations in the United States could bring down the entire trinity of grids (called interconnections) that supply electricity to America. Terrorists would have to physically destroy only four in the East, three the West and two in Texas, plus one large transformer production plant, and “the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer,” said the memo.”

There are limited preparations that the individual can take to protect their energy preps from destruction and/or interruption. Besides those preparations, IMO the most prudent preparation is to acquire the resources needed, such that dependency on electricity can be transformed from a profound need to a mere convenience. Self-sufficiency does NOT require electricity. A comfortable, self-sufficient, agrarian lifestyle is achievable.

An EMP attack could occur at any time and is essentially indefensible when prior preventative measures haven’t been implemented,  as the only defense against an aggressor nation is deterrence. Against hostile but not ideologically fanatical nations, the certainty of nuclear retaliation is sufficient deterrence. But…there is no deterrence against a terrorist organization like ISIS. Launching an EMP attack from a commercial container ship(s) off our coasts could be easily accomplished.

Which IMO raises such a terrorist attack from a possibility to a probability. Iran has conducted missile launches from ships and then detonated the launched missiles at the optimum altitude for an EMP attack. North Korea is said to be developing a ‘super’ EMP nuke and has a limited number of missiles potentially capable of delivering nukes to any part of the US.

The fourth precondition is to acquire the needed resources to weather any storm and any SHTF event. 

Of course, septic infection, botulism or simply a coconut… falling on your head are always possible in life. There is no 100% ‘safe zone’. All we can do is reduce the chances of personal disaster but if it’s truly your time, well… we’re all going to die, the only question is how and when.

There are five categories of preparedness that must be met to survive and three others that may be essential to survival. In order of importance, they are: 

Indispensable categories: 

#1 is enough Food & Clean Water to survive. Which, given the uncertainties means renewable food supplies, i.e. gardening, domestic livestock, hunting and fishing. A clean, nearby, year round water source is also a necessity.

Shelter is #2  – when it comes to shelter, before all else, location, location, location! 

Defense is # 3– Is your retreat defensible? It is almost certain that someone IS going to try to take it from you. There are three subcategories in defense: first is avoidance, second are perimeter alert(s) systems and third is the means to defend you and yours; i.e. various rifles, pistols, crossbows, knives. (RPGs & IEDs?) Peace through firepower…

Hygiene (Cleanliness is not only ‘next to Godliness’ but the first barrier to infectious disease) Solar showers can, in inclement weather be used indoors and are cheap, as is soap. Proper hygiene is absolutely critical in a grid down situation.

Medical supplies –  though there is no substitute for access to a doctor and/or trauma/maternity nurse, first aid training and medical info at hand is the minimum.

Possibly essential to survival:

Energy generation (animal power is the least ‘energy dense’ form of energy assist) a number of ways to generate electrical energy exist.

Transportation – grid down doesn’t have to mean walking.  Think outside the box; bicycles in various configurations, steam is a viable power source, believe it or not, you can literally drive on wood and, there are always horses.

Communications – Ham radio is the ‘fallback’ for a technological civilization.

Within these broad categories are subcategories such as clothing (shelter) cooking gear (food & water) etc, etc. Each of these categories & subcategories deserves and requires its own space.

In this, the first article expounding upon my current thinking (learning and growth never stop), I explore the preconditions upon which all our preps logically rest. 

It is a fact that Colorado, Idaho and Montana’s harsh winter climate make them poor for gardening, IMO a critical consideration for long term, grid down preparation. Generally, Western Oregon is not considered part of the “American redoubt“.  I believe south central/western Oregon to be an overlooked region, one that should be included and one well worth consideration. In fact, I’ve concluded that overall, the inland region of southwestern Oregon is closest to my ideal bug out/in location. 


Particularly attractive is the Rogue River region in southern Oregon, residing between Oregon’s Coastal and Cascade mountain ranges. Those mountain ranges provide abundant water resources and yield a mild four season climate.

“The Rogue Valley is a farming and timber-producing region in southwestern Oregon in the United States. located along the middle Rogue River and its tributaries in Josephine and Jackson counties, the valley forms the cultural and economic heart of southern Oregon near the California border. The largest communities in the Rogue Valley include Medford (78k), Ashland (21k), and Grants Pass (35k).” 

South Central/West Oregon’s three small cities rest within a rural area, one that possesses a mild climate with plentiful rainfall, a ‘Mediterranean climate’, ideal for gardening. Gardening IMO is critical to the prepper. Food supplies will be used up and hunting and fishing, while of great value are time consuming and “catch, as catch can”.

The areas prevailing winds would also blow away any potential fallout, with the nearest nuclear reactor more than two hundred miles away in Corvallis. There are no commercial nuclear reactors in Oregon but there is a research facility that houses a nuclear reactor at Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, Oregon.

The Pacific Ocean’s “ring of fire” earthquake zone must be considered in evaluating Oregon’s potential. Fortunately, starting in northern California it moves away from the continental US. That greatly reduces earthquake intensity in Oregon.  

Oregon’s Coastal mountain range offers protection from tsunamis.

In regard to the danger of volcanic eruptions, the very powerful 1980 Mount St. Helen eruption devastated up to 25 miles from the center. The Grants Pass area is 60+ miles from Mt. McLoughlin, the nearest volcano in the Cascade range.  Medford is about 37 miles away.

Oregon’s fire danger is mild and rare due to its plentiful rainfall. Fire danger, never to be completely ignored,  can be also be addressed with inexpensive, fire-proof shelters.

There is superb hunting and fishing in the area.

Thus, a retreat or retreat compound* located between the Coastal and Cascade mountain ranges in southwest Oregon provides ideal conditions in every category of consideration for the prudent prepper. It meets all of the requisites for a successful retreat. 

*the old truism that, “there is safety in numbers” will, in a SHTF event, be even more true. There is no substitute for shared resources, work and protection.

Below are some images collected off the internet that illustrate south central Oregon’s appeal for the common sense prepper.



Here’s a link to a Way cool real time USA wind map (you can zoom in for a much closer look)


The human element is of course another critical consideration but that is an issue regardless of location. There is no substitute for intelligence married to common sense.

Which leads to Oregon’s only real negative. Its progressive/leftist/liberalism. Fortunately, that is primarily confined to northern Portland, which of course as the most vulnerable, will be the first to go. Reality will eventually deal with “useful idiot” liberals.

Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can’t help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime: the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.” Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough For Love

In the aftermath of a SHTF event, the “true believer” Trotskyite leftists will once again be surprised when the “all about power and control” Stalinists show up. And, they will show up, as every generation produces its own crop of ruthless malcontents. It’s therefore predictable that, in any semi-permanent grid down situation, sooner or later, fighting the “bad guys” will be necessary.

The degree of patriot blood that must be shed to secure liberty is always directly proportional to the degree of civilizational rot that resides in a society. As long as human nature’s ‘dark side’ remains, Jefferson’s truism will remain, with occasional watering of the “Tree of Liberty” inescapable.

Fortunately, southern Oregon is conservative, lightly populated and racially homogeneous. Given the racial turmoil that the left has and will continue to foment in America, racial homogeneity is sadly, now beneficial and arguably, necessary.

These are the reasons why IMO, southern Oregon, between its Coastal and Cascade mountain ranges,  provides nearly ideal conditions for preppers.


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