Islands of Freedom I: The Long Campout

Off the keyboard of RE

Published originally on Reverse Engineering on November 3, 2011

Discuss this article at the Frostbite Falls Daily Rant inside the Diner

Note from RE: This is the first of a 3 Part Series I wrote originally in 2011, before we even began discussions of openning up the Diner for Bizness. In this series I discuss what the possibilities are for survival in the hard times likely coming down the pipe here, and historically how some other people managed to survive their trials, and find a Place to Be for themselves.

I feel these articles are of particular significance now as the Diner Crew embarks on a New Voyage, looking for the Promised Land in one spot in North Carolina.. Many differences today from yesteryear, not the least of which are 7B Human Souls currently inhabiting the planet.

There are no guarantees with any plan, no sure bets. We all don’t have the same cards to play either. There are however some principles which are timeless, and others have walked this road before us. In this series, I hope a few Lessons ae demonstrated, and from that we can find the Pathway in out own time to a Better Tomorrow.

We have been discussing for a long time the various possible options we have here to try to find some way OUT of the mess coming down the pipe. Sadly, just about every paradigm we come up with has flaws and weakness embedded in it such force the thinking people here to in the end reject the idea as truly sustainable.

The Classic Method being pursued by many is the Doomstead, aka the Sustainable Subsistence Level small Permaculture Farm. Problems with this paradigm are many, first off many if not most people simply can’t AFFORD to set themselves up on a Doomstead. Or they are trapped inside a Big Shity here they currently ARE still employed, and to set up such a Doomstead would require they LEAVE that job. Who in their right mind is going to give up a decent paying job right now to move out, unless you are just rolling in cash to set up a Glory Doomstead? Long as you are making money and the money still functions, generally unless you are the kid of Robinson Crusoe Peter is, on balance it’s probably still a bit safer to stay with the functioning paradigm, until it really does crap out on you.

Owning Doomsteads also make you a Target, and there is no Guarantee anybody will respect your Property Rights once Da Goobermint collapses. Da Goobermint itself might “confiscate” your property in a Communist of Fascist solution to the problem. You might have to fend off endless Waves of Zombies defending said doomstead. So Doomsteads have their problems.

As mentioned in my Sail based Bugouts, this form of mobile living also has its problems. Your vulnerability on the boat, lack of security while in any harbor, lack of storage space on the boat are all major issues.

At the same time, we have discussed some very Minimalist ideas, including the Johnny Appleseed idea and Peters primitive Hermitage planning. These have their own limitations to deal with, and don’t handle well the problems people who are currently embedded inside Big Shities have to deal with.

How do you resolve ALL these problems in the most consistent way with the highest probabilities of creating a successful outcome? This is Game Theory, and this is how my mind works overall so it’s a challenge for me to try to resolve all the problems in a consistent manner.

My latest idea comes from experience I had in my youth doing Wilderness Camps. During those years, I spent some of my summers out in the Wilderness for the whole summer, but of course mostly did not H-G my own food, except for some brief tests. How this was accomplished was by “Caching” food, mostly at the Privately Owned Base Camp, but also at stop points on the routes we would take hiking and canoeing. We would drive to the Start Point of the Hike, but on the drive drop off supplies of food we couldn’t carry near places the wilderness trail crossed the public highways. The supplies were cached in two ways, mostly by hanging up Bags of them in Trees (easiest), but also occasionally by burying them in water resistant containers. We didn’t even have GPS in those days, but finding the stuff wasn’t that hard, you just triangulate on some major landmarks. So it was pretty easy really to spend 4 weeks out in the wilderness moving from place to place, picking up the Cached Food along the way.

How might you extend out such a “Summer Vacation” paradigm to last you say 3 years or perhaps even 5? Obviously your Food Caches are going to have to be a good deal larger than what we put up, but they are not really THAT large even so. You buy a 20 Gallon Plastic Garbage Can, inside that you can put enough dried legumes and rice and jerky and vitamins etc. all Vacuum sealed to last probably 6 months. Also you have another similar container with backup Tools, rope, fishing line etc. buried with it. Also of course, supplies of Wild Edible Plant Johnny Appleseeds that is appropriate for the neighborhod you do this in. So, for one year, you need 2 of these caches, for 3 years 6 of them. You could bury additional smaller ones over time as well.

Where do you do this? Well, it depends where you currently are living. Say you live on the East Coast at the moment. You might do it up in Maine or Vermont or Pennsylvania if you live in NY Shity. If you live in say DC or Norfolk, you might choose West Virginia or Tennessee. In Chicago, you might choose the Wisconsin Dells or the Ozarks. If you are in SF or LA on the West Coast, the Rocky Mountains are the obvious choice.

You want to have a “legal” Base Camp to operate out of in any of these areas, so here yes you DO “Buy Property”. What you buy though is just a few acres of unimproved on land nearby the vast acreages of National and State parks. Land you might build a “Hunting Cabin” someday, but you don’t build it yet unless you are really flush, and even then probably not. You probably can buy some of this land in the location appropriate to your bugout for $2K an acre or so, though I haven’t researched recent prices in such locations. The location should have a running stream on it or spring, or at least an easily diggable well, not something you need to drill hundreds of feet down to. Dig a simple well you can operate with a Hand Pump and Camouflage it on this property. On the property,
dig two of your Food Storage caches for a full year of basic survival foods. Now you have Food and Water on this land, hidden so others can’t find it, but nothing else. It’s not a Target. It’s just land that blends in with all the other unimproved on land in that neighborhood. It’s not going to be an
attraction point for Zombies.

Offsite of your own Personally “owned” land radially distributed out either on public land or even private land others own but have not built on, you distribute out your other main Food Caches at distances perhaps as much as 20 miles, but you probably don’t need to go that far, a mile or two in any direction would be fine. Main thing is that the cache is out of sight of anybody else while you dig it out and store the food. Once sorted and recorded in an encrypted journal, only you will know where to find this cache of food.

So, now you have a whole bunch of things to insure your survival for a good while. You have a source of Water on your own land not dependent on electricity to pump up. You have caches of food surrounding you only you know the location of, and only you know how many of them there are. You have Base Camp land under the current legal system you can’t be kicked off of. You buy it free and clear for CASH, you pay this year’s taxes in advance and you keep enough cash also to pay the next 3 years of taxes on it. Once Da Goobermint collapses, you won’t have to pay taxes on it and the money used to pay taxes on it probably is worthless anyhow, so don’t sweat it.

What issues previously dealt with have we solved here? Primary would be the Target Problem. You’re not setting up a “Doomstead” that is easily identified as such, even by TPTB using Eyes in the Sky. You’re not improving on the land significantly, putting up a building or buildings with Solar PV panels that could be stolen. From a Google Earth Geosat Image, it just looks like every other quadrant of Forest in the area. Yet on this speck of land, you have sequestered most of what you will need to survive through the Worst of Times.

Assume you have done what I am suggesting here. For approximately say $10K in cost for raw land in the right spot near enough to you, and another $10K in foodstuffs and tools and hardware for setting up your Well for water, you now have a place to go with enough to keep you going for a good 3 years here, PLENTY of time to seed the neighborhood with Edible Wild Plants also.

You are out in the Boonies pretty far, and there is nothing to indicate that many people live there or that they have much worth stealing. If others show up, you say you are just migrants and are camping out a while. You can pack up your tents and move along to convince others this was just a temporary stopover for you, nothing here to see, please move along. A few days later, you return.

PRIOR to the failure of Da Goobermint do you have legal issues? Nope. If the Gestapo show up asking why you have a RIGHT to camp on this land, you produce your TITLE to your 3 acres, and show you OWN it, and moreover your Property tax is all paid for. It is hunting land, so no Homeowner Property restrictions etc. to deal with. You live on these 3 acres, but in fact you have 1000s of acres surrounding you of the National Park you can tool around in once the Park Rangers or similar Gestaspo disappear. TONS of land to sow Wild Edible Plants Johnny Appleseed style!

When Da Goobermint DOES crap out completely, you’ll only have a very few others like you remaining in this neighborhood. The Park Rangers will disappear, and people who don’t have food caches will probably die of starvation in the first year. When the People start dying off, the Deer will start returning in droves, along with other wildlife. 3 years down the line when your caches start running out, your Johnny Appleseed groves will be bearing fruit, and there will be wild game to hunt. You just have to OUTLAST the general population by a couple of years here, most of them will go to the Great Beyond and YOU will be left with a decent portion of a National Park as YOUR hunting and fishing grounds!

During this period of Die Off while the few Zombies in your area are a Danger, you won’t seem much different from them, you are living in Tents like them, and if you are smart you eat meagrely and get skinny to look deprived. You aren’t WORTH considering for the other Zombies, and besides most of them will be feeding on the fat asses in the suburbs, they won’t be out in depopulated areas where the last convenience store closed 2 years ago.

So, to make it THROUGH the Zero Point, you just need to make it through an extended Camping Trip really. As Ross indicated in a prior post, what will really bring this culture down here is the failure of JIT transportation. When this fails, the vast majority of unprepared folks will die of Starvation inside the first year. Read that, the Deer on St. Matthew’s Island. There will be remarkably fewer people to compete with if you can survive this period. You do NOT want to have a Super Duper Doomstead that is a Target, and then you’ll either be descended on by Zombies or the National Guard looking to make your Doomstead into a fort. If you are just Camping Out on what seems to be unimproved land and doing a little self-protection you can make it through the Zero Point. Mostly you just try to AVOID contact with others, and you’ll probably be able to do that. You may have some battles to fight, but it’s unlikely you will be faced with large organized groups to fight off in a remote location that has nothing obvious to steal from.

What does it take to set up this paradigm of SURVIVAL for yourself and your Loved Ones? Not much really. $20K will suffice even on the East Coast, the most expensive area to try it. All you will need here is your Car and preps you can throw in the trunk, the Base Camp you buy for maybe another $10K for the raw land in the right spot and spend the time NOW burying about 3 years’ worth of dried legumes and rice and jerky and vitamins to carry you through the Zero Point. When TSHTF, you jump in your Car, abandon it several miles from your Base Camp and carry in your Shelter and clothing and some tools. You build some better shelters than your tents, or at least add to them. Nothing you can’t give up at the drop of a hat though. Long as you have shelter, food, water and clothing and you are far away from the center of the collapse, you will make it through the Zero Point. You’ll only need to go a couple of years here IMHO before most people are dropped through disease or starvation.

As I see it, EVERY one of the current members here could do some version of this survival paradigm. It’s not expensive, and as long as you have a Car and can GTFO of Dodge at the right time, you can do it even if you live now in a Big Shity. Prepare for the Long Campout. It could save your life.

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