Prepper Redoubt of The East – Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau

By Joel M. Skousen,

Author, Strategic Relocation North American Guide to Safe Places

Many people new to the preparedness field often get exposed early on to the writings of survival blogger and author James Wesley Rawles (Patriots and Survivors). I have a great deal of respect for Rawles and the work he has done to get America motivated to prepared for very difficult times.

His books and tactics, however, often revolve around a civilian military style response to both government tyranny and social unrest which is beyond the capabilities of most people. In addition, Rawles now promotes a related concept for retreating called “The American Redoubt” which consists of 3 states and parts of 2 others in the West which he feels are the only areas ultimately defensible, where Americans can and should make a final stand for liberty and survival when things really get bad.

His American Redoubt includes all of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and the eastern parts of Oregon, and Washington. He envisions this area as a focus point of collecting fellow patriots who want to survive and forging them into a “Biblically-sound and Constitutionally-sound silver local currency [community] that will give it unity.” These five states he selects happen to be also highly rated in my book on Strategic Relocation, though I expand the selection to include Utah and Western Colorado as well.

But ultimate retreating to the safest areas is not within the reach of all but a few, and is not without serious compromise in other important factors. I’ve consulted with people for 40 years and most just can’t just pick up and leave where they live and relocate to one of these 7 states in the far West? Does this mean no one else survives the major wars and social unrest that are looming on the horizon? Not at all.

As a relocation specialist and designer, I found safe retreat locations and helped clients develop high security homes in every state of the union and you can too. The concept that anyone caught East of the Mississippi River is doomed is only partially valid and highly exaggerated. It is based on the fact that the largest concentrations of people are East of the Mississippi, and that high population densities are your greatest threat in a severe crisis where food and public infrastructure fails—when even good people will be forced to pillage for survival.

To be truthful, the US coastal plains east of the Appalachian chain of mountains is the most dangerous area in America since that is where the overall concentrations of people are the highest and where the level of individual preparedness is the lowest. The areas west of this first chain of mountains will become the general destination of choice for people fleeing the East Coast. Because refugee flows will flow exclusively westward, Rawles condemns it as unsuitable (at least as to a military-style standoff) clear up to the Mississippi river and beyond.

But for the vast majority who intend to survive without directly military confrontation, there are a much wider set of alternatives. When you understand the principles of retreat location siting, and learn to avoid the flows of refugees (who will take fairly predictable paths out of the major cities), you can find relative safety in many rural forested and elevated areas in the East. It won’t provide the same kind of long-term safety as places farther west, but you can survive. The closer to population centers in meltdown, the greater the risk of having to deal with the more criminal type of looters. And that will happen near any major metro.

But the reality of all this is that few will find the perfect solution. Each person has to prepare as best they can given each person’s limited resources and abilities to relocate. That’s why I concentrate so much on contingency planning in Strategic Relocation knowing that few people can just “up and move” to the safest locations. Many who have done so have underestimated the costs. I know from long experience that self-sufficiency if very expensive and people underestimate the skills needed and overestimate the savings from self-sufficiency. In short, quickly exhaust their savings and end up moving back to civilization. That happened a lot of people leaving jobs and buying rural during Y2K.

Let me give you an example of the general choices for people on the East Coast. The first line of retreat is that chain of mountains to the West—we’ll call it the Appalachians generally, even though you might know it locally as the Catskills, Berkshires, Great Smokeys or Blue Ridge mountains, etc. These are the most convenient retreat sites for most people because they are closest to the suburban areas in which they live.

Having a retreat within an hour or two has its advantages in terms of access and service of the construction process, but it also has the disadvantage of being closer to the actual threats of social unrest that will flow out of the major cities. These refugee flows will concentrate on low valley roads going through the mountains as people head for other known cities first. When they find no refuge in those other cities, the concentrations of flows further west will diminish as people drop off due to fatigue, hunger and discouragement and start foraging locally. That’s where the danger of a site close to danger comes in: eventually, desperate people will make it to rural homes and cabins even in the mountains.

Only those, who are located out of these flows, and not visible from main roads will have a chance of evading major confrontations. And, even then, I recommend a strategy of providing concealment underground so as to avoid armed confrontation whenever possible. While I don’t have the space in this article to cover all that I’ve written about as far as retreat areas in the East, I will give a review of the highest rated areas relatively within a day’s drive.

Redoubt of the East

The first range of mountains can give you significant safety, but you can achieve a significantly higher level of safety going beyond the Appalachians to the high plateau regions of Tennessee and Kentucky. This massive and relatively unpopulated area is called the Cumberland Plateau—most of which falls within the state of Tennessee. A narrow section goes north into Kentucky but much of that is part of the Daniel Boone National Forest, where you can only buy land near the edge of the plateau.

Tennessee is where the most land is available on the plateau. This state is a famous battleground state with deep conservative sentiment and lots to offer in terms of lifestyle: great music, horse country, good growing climate and fine people. TN gets my best rating for a retreat state in the East. Land is relatively cheap and there is no income tax. Garden potential is good, there is lots of forest land within a tankful of gas from many large eastern cities.

I consider the Tennessee Cumberland Plateau the “redoubt of the East,” and it is my highest rated area for retreats near the East Coast. In a meltdown of the social order, by the time refugees get through the first mountain range and the numerous mountain rifts that confront them—before seeing the 1000 foot high Cumberland Plateau, they will be highly motivated to stay on the valley floor with its promise of food and civilization (the lure that keeps people on the march). There isn’t much agriculture on the plateau (though it is fine for growing garden crops) nor large communities so there is little draw for refugees to make the trek up those slopes. What highways do lead up to the plateau cut through steep valleys and gorges and are fairly easy to block off to restrict access.

The two major cities that are closest to the plateau are Knoxville and Chattanooga. Both are very nice cities with fairly good economies that can support those who can relocate but still need to stay in the job market. The southern plateau areas are about an hour from Chattanooga and the northern areas are about the same distance and time from Knoxville. Interstate 40 cuts across the plateau and links Knoxville to Nashville. You should give it a wide berth.

The best area for those coming from Virginia and states to the northeast is the plateau area north of I-40 ranging from the Catoosa Wildlife Area on up to the Kentucky border where the Big South Fork Recreation Area is found. You have to avoid the Oak Ridge nuclear research site on the Tennessee river valley floor (a prime nuclear target during war), but the northern part of the Plateau along highway 27 from Wartburg to Winfield gets you far enough west and east of the threat area to be safe. The northern plateau area has two or three pockets of federal land which makes a nice backdrop for a retreat, especially if you find running water on your land.

The southern plateau south of I-40 has an even larger land area and is only sparsely populated. There is a small town in the middle named Spencer, but I prefer the broad forested lands further south near McMinnville, which the closest full service valley town to the plateau. Highway 111 and 8 get you down off the plateau to the East or West sides of the plateau for shopping and jobs. Check out this area and you’ll find there is considerable safety in the East. There is hope.

Joel Skousen, is the publisher of the World Affairs Brief, a weekly news analysis and commentary service online at  Mr. Skousen’s books (The Secure Home, and Strategic Relocation—North American Guide to Safe Places) are showcased on his website

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. breadmomma says:

    this makes for good reading…as much as we make fun of you easterners…this is a great plan..I have several friends in this part of the world and they love their Tennessee mountains and their old Kentucky homes…as for the Western states mentioned, lots of snow in those winters up there, and it is a pretty tough place to live if you don’t know the rules of the forest up there, a lot of greenhorns buy up in Wyoming and the wind gets to them…lots of desolation……lots of dreamers headed that way and mucked up some pretty decent places…the californication of Montana and Idaho…(no offense to my Cali bros and sista’s) .there are places in the midwest that can also service folks…the weather does get dicey at times with snow and such, but if you are the type to have no real problems with the snow in winter, states such as minnesota, nebraska and parts of kansas can be a life for me…I am a westerner and will stick to my little bit of heaven on the south oregon coast…best to you MD

  2. Joel,
    Excellent post and I loved your book “Strategic Relocation—North American Guide to Safe Places” well done a great info.

    As many of you know I’m not a fan of James Wesley Rawles because of his I’m right and no one should ever disagree with what I say. It’s in the bible.

  3. I think everyone has got it wrong when it comes to retreat areas in the East. Most of the herd will stay put – waiting for help from the government, in places they have grown up in and are familiar with. Humans have a tendency to stay put. By the time they realize that no help is forthcoming and their food situation becomes critical – it will be too late. The roads will be chocked with abandoned, out of gas vehicles and with no gas, no food, limited water, limited shelter- they will not make it very far. The average ( mostly out of shape) person will not be able to walk very far, especially with children or the elderly. It will be a horrible situation on the open roads. I believe that even semi remote retreats in the East will be fine as long as you are not near any major roads. The one caveat here is that the few that do make out and away from the major urban or suburban zones will be the most determined and vicious ones. The ones who have escaped by preying on others for their vehicles, food, shelter, and water. There won’t be many but they will probably be armed and very dangerous. If it is fall or winter – they will head South to try to escape the cold but they will stay on or near the major roads or highways. I believe that as long as you in their path you will be fine.

    • Mva926,

      I think you are right here. Unless there is some localized threat, folks will stay put. Even when there is a localized threat such as a hurricane, it is hard to get people to evacuate their homes. And the choice of hurricane is important. With a hurricane, everyone knows what the threat is–it’s objective. If (or when) the economy collapses, it will take a while for folks to wake up.

      Our most significant threat will be from folks living on the bad side of town. Already we have seen an increase in home invasions.

      I do have a question for the pack: what do you think is the time frame from collapse until the masses have died off rendering it safe to go out? I mean, if society collapses Jan. 1, how long would it take the sheeple to die off? Do you think they could live for 6 weeks, 3 months or 6 months?

      • Hunker-Down says:


        Think of the Old Testament plagues in the time of Moses and how the earlier plagues fed the latter.

        First starvation will lead to death, that will be over in maybe two months. Human burials will stop in about 10 days. Airborne disease like T.B, and cholera will drift everywhere. Then rats and vermin and buzzards will open the carcases to every infectious disease that has ever visited us. What is the life cycle of a maggot? When will they not be able to reproduce? That evolution will take 8-12 months. Then we face the skilled survivors. That will never end.
        But I’m optimistic, at least for now.

      • Gayle,
        I think again that the answer to your question is “it depends”. IIRC you are in Florida where January 1 is much more hospitable than here in Ohio or up in Minnesota. You also have multiple and longer growing seasons than your northern neighbors. This comes back to an extension of your own threat matrix. What are the mean temperatures at different times of the year? What crops (from grains to fruit) are available at different times of the year? Are there large numbers of wild game available in your area that could be harvested for food, and how many (on average) people actually have the equipment and skills to harvest this game? You get the picture. Just like all of our other preparations, we must all determine what fits our own situations, from location, finances, health, etc. I would bet that with a little thinking about your area you could come up with a reasonably good set of answers to yourself, most of which would not apply to me.

      • In my neck of the woods (Alberta) a jan 1 collapse date would see a huge percentage of the population freezing before february 1st.

        In the big cities I see people staying in there homes till it’s too cold to do so then moving into the car or trailer. At that point they will either sit and wait for the gov’ to come rescue them or they will head out with the vehicle hoping to find somewhere to get warm. So may head south but on a single tank of gas it isn’t happening. Or some will head for the mountains because there is trees there and they figure they can burn them for warmth, not knowing how hard it is to get a good fire with wet wood. Also they will head west because over the mountains is the warmer BC weather.

        The downside of all of this is that well into the next spring bodies will be showing up as the snow melts and many homes will be overrun with waste from the bodies frozen inside.

        I think that in a Jan 1 situation that surviving the first month will see a huge reduction in people in the Province, but also those who do survive will have been the prepared or the raiders.

        In a say June 1 situation the weather will be less of a factor and the people in the cities will spread out in all directions looking for farms and food (because most people know food comes from farms) and they will expect that the farmers will just let them strip the land. Then the dnager form other people will last longer and people will get desperate as fall comes along and it turns cold.

      • US Food production looks ok. If it can get to market. Logistics will be the weak point.
        2010 cattle 100 million head
        U.S. 2010 wheat production would be 2.0 billion bushels
        2010 U.S. corn at 12.45 billion bushels, beans at 3.33 billion

        The problem is going to be people behaving badly. (see Black Friday events, OWS, gangs, etc.) Disrupting the system for various reasons. Nut jobs bringing the system down because they “want their share”. (see the troll on my post).

        A Catalyst could be Tambora going off. With 310 million people, how long will the food last if there is no new harvests for up to 2 years? Dominos falling. Especially if the socialist government start shipping our food to the Foreigners. (maybe Kenya?).
        Didn’t Stalin use that tecnique to cull/control his disenting populations?
        Maybe TDL is thinking turn in a gun for a bag of wheat.

        To answer you question, It will be descending levels of chaos and waves of stampeding sheeple over a year or two.…tambora-volcano…eruption…/2011/…/gIQAyEUMqK_blog.html

        • LurkerBob,

          Thanks for the link. Interesting information. Could you even imagine what such a massive eruption would do to China?

        • Stalin took the food from the Ukrainians because he wanted to prove to the west that the communist model was more productive than the capitalist model. He also want to get rid of the ukrainians as he hated them. He took the food that was produced to sell to prove his economic model and then used guards to prevent the starving from getting out of the ukraine. Estimates are between 7 and 11 million died during the famine, the official gov’t of ukraine number is 10 million.

          The west knew little about the famine at first because the correspondant in Moscow for the New York Times named Walter Duranty. He deliberately wrote articles talking about the great harvest that year and attacked in his articles any reporter who tried to talk about the famine claiming that there articles where just propaganda pieces for wester governments. Some people believe that he did it because he was fond of communism though recent information that came out after the fall of the soviet union paints a different picture. He was recieving caviar, money and a car from the soviet regime and he was given after hours access to the city morgue to satisfy his necrophilia.

          When the truth about the famine came out years later he coined the phrase “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” to justify Stalin’s actions.
          In 1936 during the height of the famine he recieved a Pulitzer prize for his reporting and articles on the bounty of the soviet harvest. The Pulitzer committy to this day refuse to strip it from him even though they admit the stories where all lies.

          So even in the 1930’s the New York Times appologized for communism and helped hide attrocities committed.

          • JeffintheWest says:

            The phrase “you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs” first rose to “popularity” in World War I when Generals like Haig and Foch used it to justify their horrendous losses in assaults on the German lines on the Western Front.

            Just FYI.

    • Mva926,
      I agree with you. Our society is primarily an urban/suburban one and I think the tendency for most folks (unless they’re thinking clearly) will be to head into or toward the cities. That after all is where most of the resources are located. It will also depend on the source of the collapse. If a major city were for instance to be nuked, then I suspect people would turn and run as fast and far as possible.

    • I agree, also add that during the intial phases of any collapse socio-economically, the masses will be hesitant to leave the TV. 97% of people don’t have a any preplanned area of retreat, 97% are not awake enought o realize they are sitting ducks in 3 – 4 days, and 97% of people have no idea that things have gone to sh8.

      All eyes will be glue to the 24/7 news cycle as all wait to see what the government is going to do, the pundits weighing in on their opinions, etc.

      When it happens this is your window of opportunity to get going. The roads won’t be packed with hordes of people retreating. Remember, they have no idea where to go. Intitally, there will not be any government responce, to do so will illict panic.

  4. Thanks! for mapping us.

    But, really, you needs look somewhere else. Many of these spots are already taken. and defended. )

  5. I always prepare in my mind for refugees fleeing East, but that’s probably because I fixate more on Yellowstone exploding than East Coast Event X.

    It should be noted that the “worst case scenarios” for Event X planning probably don’t apply to purely political failure. There would be a much more prolonged period before the first missed Social Security check and Mad Max than there would be in the case of, say, a nuclear EMP attack.

    • lone survivor says:

      Or it could be a nuetron bomb from Russia or China. Kills people but will not destroy buildings or factories. I think that is what happened in the movie “The Road”.
      or could be something like the movie “The Crazies”. A air force plane carrying nerve/poison gas crashes into the water supply and infects the local population.
      It would be nice to live on a survival retreat covering a couple of hundred acres in Montana or Idaho, but unless one has won the lottery, how could you afford to move there? Not many jobs avaiable, unless you want to work in a restaurant or gas station.

  6. Good article and something to think about . If your outdoor skills are very very strong ( you will need them to be ) , then getting lost in Maine or Alaska would be no problem at all if the goal was to avoid people . Away from the coast , you have a maze of logging roads used by few to none , and low population densities . It would not be a far fetched idea to build a retreat cabin in either one of these states without it ever being discovered . But …..uh ……… you better Really like being isolated on many levels . Winters inland in either state will be the biggest test .

    • Rich Muszynski says:

      greetings. in some of the old time survival manuals they mention that maggots are high protein and chickens love them. they advised setting up a fly proof cage in which they would toss meat scraps and road kill and of course flies. the flies breed and lay eggs and thousands of maggots get born. chickens eat the maggots and use them for food. chickens lay eggs and in time end up either in the frying pan or soup pot. near costless way to feed chickens that cannot be allowed to free range because of depredation from natural carnivores and the ultimate danger people who see the birds and harvest them for themselves.

      • Hunker-Down says:

        I ain’t eating maggots from a cadaver. Sounds line a live petri dish fermenting a new strain of cholera.

        • Its a interesting system HD and you don’t eat the maggots, the chickens do, and then you eat the eggs or chicken meat. Its being currently done with road kill and leftover butcher scraps and or garden/kitchen scraps and has been studied and used successfully for a good while now..

  7. People have been fleeing the East Coast for years, unfortunately it’s been mainly Newyawkers and Massachusettsians (Boxer & Pelosi to name just a few) to California – and now California sucks the worse for it.

    • How true your words!

    • With all due respect to the members of the pack that live in CA, as long as they keep skipping Fly Over country, then CA gets what it deserves.

    • LOL used to live in Maine at one time and the one thing people liked the most about winter was that all the Ass from Mass went home ! and the dumb ass Hampies got off the roads . I think New Hampshire drivers go to Mexico to learn how to drive . They belong on a donkey .

      • One strange thing I have observed and I dont know why that is …….people from states with green plates cant drive worth a crap . Vermont , Colorado , whatever …………….hey ! either turn or shut off your blinker , speed limit is 75……..not 35 !…… lights green …….waiting for an engraved invitation ? GO ! GO NOW ! , dont have to come to a complete stop to turn into the parking lot ! lol

        that felt good 😉

      • T.R., I must comment on the very misleading info you just spread about Maine and NH, which is my home state. The “Ass from Mass”, as you called them, do not go home to stay in the winter. Both Maine and NH are extremely active recreational states year round. Boating and hiking and summer camping are replaced by skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, etc., in the winter. There are only two times a year that the tourist traffic actually stops: October, after the leafpeepers finish leafpeeping, and at the end of ski season, sometime in April or so until around Memorial Day.

        As for “dumb ass Hampies”, we don’t call the drivers from Maine “Mainiacs” and the drivers from Mass “Massholes” for nothing. Toss in the “Connectinuts” and “Roadies” and “New Yawkuhs” and “New Jersyites” coming up I-95 and I-91, not to mention all the often lost folks from the Atlantic Provinces, and it’s really hard to figure out who the worst drivers are.

        Having lived in many of these fine United States, I’d say just about every state has its fair share of bad drivers. So, before you go slinging around names, check out the drivers in your state. All experts, right?

        • None of which nonsense has anything to do with whether or not Maine would be a good place to relocate. I know remote nooks of Maine where you could hide thousands of dead bodies and only the wildlife would notice.

          Now I feel better!

          • I loved the Maine country and people ………. the day to day living was another story . Being from out west , I found some of the laws and the high taxation oppressive . The people are great , still keep up with friends back there . Liked it very much in a general sense , the winters didnt bother me either , but I just like to buy my bourbon and beer at the same place , want the infrastructure to work reliably , dont want to pay the high taxes , dont want to pay for the state run Obamacare , etc. Not to mention my quick temper is better suited for Tombstone than Maine lol .

        • Well in Southern Maine where I was at , there was a very marked difference between the summer and the winter . Most of the Massholes did go home and the hampies weren’t backing up in the middle of the intersection or clogging up I-95 on their way to freakport . I did see a bit of every plate in the summer but 9 times out of 10 , the car making a dumbass move on the road will have a NH plate on it , The Massholes are just agressive and rude , I could out do them no problem if push came to shove .In the dead of winter , most plates you saw were Maine plates with the odd Quebec now and then . As far as My state goes , Im very agressive and live in an agressive driving city , those that dont move with the flow either get run off the road or discover derogatory gestures they never dreamed of lol

  8. Another key geographical feature is the fall line along the Eastern seaboard. Particularly from Richmond south until Florida. It is tht point that you go from the low hills of the Piedmont to the flat areas of the old sea bottom. Outside of a handful of urbanized or vacation areas on the coast, you have an awful lot of agricultural dead space. Much of the roadside crop is non-edible cash crops (cotton and tobaco), and away from the coast it is hot. These rural areas have slowly been losing their population, and what remains is often older.

    It is not the area that most urbanites are going to think of to escape to. Probably some of the children who moved to the cities to get the job will return home, but the actual numbers involved would be small.

    Your biggest problem is likely to be locals. And even if there are not a ton of them, there is still more of them than in the Western States. On the plus side, you are often talking about some very fertile areas, with long growing seasons. Small tucked away plots (no road access) can go a long way toward increasing long term sustainablity of your retreat.

  9. 101st Airborne Division says:

    Funny. I grew up in the Blue Ridge mountains in NC and currently reside in McMinnville TN. I had no idea that my entire life was that of a Prepper! It is just how I was raised…couple that with some expert combat and survivial training compliments of the 101st Abn Div and wala! We’re ready…this I will defend.

    • ShadesOfGray says:

      Hi, 101st ABD,
      We live a little north and east of McMinnville (Highland Rim). I was surprised to see us in the middle of the above map! Good news and bad news.
      I think that you’ll agree that, before moving to this area, an in depth research into the job situation be made. And compared to the individuals’s inventory of marketable skills. Except for the new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga factory jobs have been disappearing steadily for years and most “good” jobs are filled and have a waiting line.
      On the other hand, Mr. Skousen is correct that without I-40 this area is pretty darn difficult to get into. From either the east or west. Few roads north or south either.

      • 101st Airborne Division says:

        Agree…I’ve been here for 20 years and have never had a local job…fortunate now that my company is in NY – my boss is in Tampa – and all I do is travel around TN/KY….2 of the most beautiful States in our nation….we live outside MACMINNVILLE as the locals pronounce on the Mboro side towards Cannon County – way out in the sticks….so nice to see a neighbouring prepper! Be safe.

  10. Momengineer says:

    This article details one of the reasons I’m staying put…but the other is family and connections. My family has farmland in my area stretching back generations…and I intend to keep it for my girls. How can I do that out west?

    The main problem I see with rawles approach, is that the redoubt would be a primary target, should a military coup/collapse come about. While it sounds horrible, my main focus would be survival while my children are little, versus defending the first founders ideals….sometimes you can win the battle but still lose the war

    The area I grew up in still has plenty of “good ole country boys” that cling to our God and guns in our fly over state….and the difference is, vs out west…I know them and they know me. I just don’t feel like i have enough time (before a problem happens) to relocate and create those relationships….ymmv

  11. James Wesley Rawles seems to live in a fantasy world where he is some sort of survival God. I don’t read that site anymore. If I want shoot’em up fantasy I’ll go watch a movie.

    • templar knight says:

      I don’t want to be too hard on JWR, 007, after all he was the guy who got me started prepping. I look at him as my grade-school teacher who gave me a good start. I then graduated to MDs site which is the higher education component of my education. I rarely go to JWR’s site any more, but do give him the credit for getting me started.

      • templar,

        Fair enough. But I wonder how many good people he has turned off to the idea of prepping with his unreal and unworkable tactics? He seem to have the most appeal to teenage boys and not real people who are actually planning and preparing for a collapse…

        I think he does more harm than good…

      • I still visit his site a few times a week and still occasionally get information or resources that I don’t see elsewhere. It only takes a few minutes to see the latest posts. He does IMO have some good insights in some areas and was one of the first dedicated preppers when we first met (online) nearly 20 years ago.

      • +1 on comma guy, he got me restarted. you guys are giving me continueing adult education:) i still check his site, the are sometimes good articles in the news section.

  12. western mass man says:

    I’ve had my eye on E. Tenn. for a couple of years now.
    The company I work for has divisions in Chattanooga, Church Hill, Knoxville, Murfreesboro, and Nashville which I can transfer to.
    Unfortunately they service large cities.
    My issue is the welcome factor to some of these areas.
    Many locals frown upon Yankee’s.
    Although Northern Maine looks like a possibility because of the hundreds of lakes of fresh water.
    It’s just the damn cold and snow factor.

    • well well well. ive got a little story to tell you about how southern hospitality welcomed me,a young (20) man from a small new england town.the first night i spent in louisiana i got stabbed at a gas station while i was getting gas. it was because i had connecticut plates on my heavily salt damaged car and a thick new england accent heavily influenced by an italian mom from boston and an english dad from who the hell knows maine.not only did the guy stab me but then some hillbillys in a pickup truck came over with an axe handle to finish the yankee off if i had the audacity to get up and try to make it to a hospital. if youve heard my videos,there is virtually no trace of new england accent now. it was a diifacult transition but i feel like i fit in here now and no one ever asks me,”hey,where you from boy”. so i guess im saying,come on down,just dont get gas across the street from a redneck bar called the kickapoo lounge and motel.

  13. Sorry, but the commenters bashing Rawles is just childish. Disagree with him, yes, but he is simply doing what he sees as the best approach and has taken the extraordinary steps to educate others. That is something to be admired, not belittled simply because you disagree.
    At the end of the day, each person needs to walk their own path based on how they see the future playing out. I live a few miles outside an east-coast mid-sized city and in the retreat path of a major city. If it seriously hits the fan, my family is SOL. But, I think that is a very small risk, and as relocating to the west or even to TN would be a major economic hit to my family, I’m not willing to make that sacrifice. I think its far more likely that there will be major disruption (i.e. Argentina, or even Weimar), but societal fabric ultimately will hold together. I’m preparing to weather that storm, but not preparing for complete collapse. I’d rather spend my extra funds on taking the kids to Disneyworld instead of a cabin in the woods. So obviously Rawles’ path is not mine, but I’m greatful for him, and everyone else, sharing their perspectives. GL
    As I tell my friends, if it does truly collapse, at least those last few days on the East Coast will be awefully exciting.

    • momengineer says:

      I agree….and hope I didn’t “bash” rawles. I simply have valid reasons for staying put. I value what the content he puts on his site, and read it, and here daily. (but then I also read the MSMedia sites and overseas papers daily as well)

      I guess what I was trying to say is that there are positives/negatives to any location, and I do think that the redoubt is not all positive. Just my opinion obivously.

    • Mike,

      Sorry for disagreeing with Rawles his advice should be followed without question after all if he said it must be true after all he did write that fiction book and likes to tell everyone how great he is.

    • well ive been to rawles sight a few times and found it to be completely unrealistic for the common man to garner any real usefull info.i bought one of his books and stopped reading it when he suggested that you buy a firetruck to protect your homestead against fire. as for hoping that the societal fabric will hold together. did you see any videos of walmart shoppers? you mean that kind of societal fabric. i think your trying to candy coat the possible dangers you face by placing to much faith in the goodness of man. a simple drive on the interstate during rush hour or at a lane being closed for construction will tell you all you need to know about this societal fabric you think will exist,when it doesnt exist now.please give that some more thought. your family may suffer from what you believe cant happen.

    • Mike, I’ve decided along similar lines. With the choice between being SOL if things happen and being SOL if things don’t happen, you gotta decide what you’re going to accept.

  14. It takes a lot of time to find, buy and improve a remote retreat location and once that has been accomplished, it will take even longer to be accepted by the local population. Plan on two or three years to get it all done. You’ll need the local community for support otherwise you’ll be considered part of the golden hoard to them.

  15. Very timely piece — I enjoyed getting out the maps and taking a map-journey to get exact locations for this article. I can’t help but notice the many interconnecting roadways in these regions, but I know the eastern portion of TN and realize the map for what it is.

    We are currently scouting for retreat property: over the mountains, deeper into the woods. I have been using USGS topo maps to examine the terrain in advance of onsite viewings and it’s been very helpful, even though we know much of the region we are looking at already.

  16. I hope this does not degenerate into another session of Rawles bashing. That topic gets old in a hurry.

    The best retreat location will be whatever retreat you have or can find when things melt down. Just like the best firearm will be the one you happen to have when you need a firearm.

    It is interesting to muse about what would be “best”, as it allows me to see what might be the weaknesses of what I’m doing… But, I can only afford whatever I can afford. I’m not so certain of the future to uproot my whole life to head to the Redoubt of the West or the East or the North or the South.

    • ShadesOfGray says:

      JWR does like to promote the “advantages” of the Western Redoubt. But interestingly one of the minor characters in his new book relocates to, and builds his retreat, in Muddy Pond, TN – on the edge of the Cumberland Plateau.
      Great Minds …?

  17. Just heard on the news cattle rustling (mostly free range) is up from last year. Of the reported cases last year there were 250 cases. That is way up this year.
    I surmise from the report that this is for filthy lucre and greed.
    Seems they take them to a completely different state to sale them off.
    As far as the brand inspectors they are few and far between.
    But how is this going to play when and if the SHTF?
    But this has been going on for years.
    I heard of one such incident where they were backing up a tractor trailor and hearding cattle on it. That was quite some years back.
    This is big operations that are being stolen from. So when the hungry get to stealing all your livestock will be precious.
    So I guess the FOX will be in the HEN house.

    • Ellen,
      You stated, “I surmise from the report that this is for filthy lucre and greed”. I would agree and suggest that these are the same breed of people who are stripping copper from vacant homes and even power lines. As long as the chance of getting caught is low and if caught, the punishment is even lower, then this will continue. The only things that keep people from stealing are morals and threat of punishment. We know the former is getting lower by the day, and the left has seen that the later is never employed, preferring rehabilitation of the people who think that they are fools.

      • Ohio Prepper
        I had in my head which didn’t make it in my statement, was the thought it was for lucre and greed as apposed to hunger.
        I wonder how many cattle rustlers will be around on the hunger issue?

  18. Muddy Fork says:

    Having lived near the Cumberland Plateau area for 10 year I can certainly say he has picked a good location for a retreat. I think one can use his guidelines and direction of thought to find similar location in your own state. While I live in populated yet remote area of NW Arkansas, I know that staying put would be difficult with the 100,000 plus unprepared in the two county area, thus I am preparing for that contingency. My retreat is three hours away in a great location where the locals have accepted us. Could I find a closer location, yes but it would not be near family. My retreat area is much like that of the Cumberland, great growing season, good weather, good ground, National Forest next door. The only drawback to the Cumberland area and my retreat is that the prospect for nearby professional employment is extremely limited. But there are trade offs for everything.

    • Muddy Fork,

      Joel M. Skousen’s book “Strategic Relocation—North American Guide to Safe Places” is the best and most researched books on the topic. In it he lists the best locations in every state, not just those in the West.

  19. Wolf Pack; let’s leave James Wesley Rawles alone we have other much more important stuff to talk about…

    • Sorry Mr. Creekmore but Rawles gets under my skin. I think he has turned a lot of would be preppers off to the idea with his far out and over priced suggestions. That is how I found your blog. I was about to give up after reading his site for several months. Thank you for what you do and I will not mention his again.

  20. Listen Rawles has done the best for him. So far it has worked. Why?
    He had the jump on this survival thing. Plus as we all have not, he has not had to put his plan into total implementation.
    So now he is fortified, secure, weaponed up and sittin’ pretty.
    We should not hold it against the guy.
    After all we are all “know it all’s” as far as our plans.
    He did the best for himself and family. We are doing the same.
    We have to sift through all information. We would be nuts not to. But we cannot disregard information just because someone is overly confident.
    I personally do not believe snow is the best for me so leaves out the American redoubt. It may actually be the safest place. But it can’t be pushed down a person’s throat.
    And I am beginning to think that there is no safe place.
    Everyone talks about the great depression and what we can learn from it.
    Well there was 1/2 the population. This is a great factor.
    The same amout of land.
    The wild life was almost killed off.
    Criminals still had some moral fiber, maybe not complete but some still.
    And there was the Rule of Law.
    More people were farmers even on a smaller scale.
    Things were decidedly different back then, and we do not know what is in store for the future.

  21. TN or Burst says:

    People there is a reason that the Western U.S. is lightly populated.

    It is because most of it is barren, dry, extremely cold in winter, extremely hot in summer, short growing season, poor soil etc., need I go on. It is difficult to live there now while the trucks are still hauling in food and gasoline. I can only imagine how hard it will be after a crash.

    Most of the west will die alone in a barren waste land of nothing.

    • TN or Burst, You are right, the west is “lightly populated” but not for the reasons you suggest. It has little to do with it being ” barren, dry, extremely cold in winter, extremely hot in summer, short growing season, poor soil etc”, and more to do with the lack of testicular fortitude of those who move here. Many people who move here find the life a bit more difficult than they expected, and after a few years they put their land up for sale and more back to the “city”. Honesty your post reads more like someone who reads books and less like someone who has firsthand experience of the west.
      Having been born and raised in the northern mountain west I feel you under estimate us. there are many of us who live in and around small towns throughout the west who already live off the land, and “fend for ourselves”. Most have plans for SHTF or worse, and all have the means to defend what is ours/theirs.
      I will concede that the population centers will fall (as they will in all other parts of the US). The sheeple will panic and do whatever they will do.
      We have spent many generations learning how to use nature to our advantage. We track, trap, hunt, fish, and grow our own garden….have you ever spent more than one night in sub-zero weather? Have you ever tracked a wounded elk until dark, pitched a “tent” only to find in the morning that pack of wolves were tracking the same elk…or you? Have you ever peered from your sleeping bag and seen a wolf staring back at you? Speaking from personal experience, it’s a bit nerve rattling.
      Look, I’m not saying the west is any better, nor are we any smarter then any other part of the country/people, nor am I saying you all should come here. What I am saying is there are people here who have learned to adapt, and live off the land (just like every other part of earth), and that we will get by when TSHF.
      So anyway, TN or Burst… you just keep writing off the west. As for the rest of the wolf pack ,you are always welcome.

      • Thank you evolute! While I have only lived here (Wyoming) for a little over a year, I have to say that I think I adapted fairly well. To me, this is heaven. I came from rural Indiana and in all honesty, the winters are not all that different. Longer, but cold is cold no matter where you are and it is worth it to me to not have to deal with the horrible heat and humidity of the midwest. I had no problems growing a garden this past summer. I amended my soil just like I would have anywhere else and I started my seeds indoors early so they got a good head start. I did my research ahead of time and I knew what varieties to grow that would produce in our short growing season. There is no way someone could just move here and expect to continue doing everything the way they had back home and expect to thrive. We have to adapt to our environment. People have been living here for hundreds of years and those of us that are willing to try different methods will continue to live here and love it!

        • Thanks Tigerlily, As you have shown, it just takes a bit of research, determination, and a willingness to adapt and one can live anywhere. We’re a bit north of you (western MT).
          If you have to bug out head north. I’m thinking all the sheeple will be heading south to warmer weather. you ae always welcome.

  22. Lynda from MA says:

    If it hadn’t been for reading various works by Mr. Rawles I would never have started my prepping journey. I haven’t found a book or site yet with which I agree with every single word of advice. We must do what we see fit and what we have to work with in terms of location, financial resources and material goods.

    I’m in western/central MA and here I intend to stay in my little cabin in the woods. It’s self-sustainable, fairly isolated and as much off the grid as possible.

    I don’t subscribe to the belief that certain states are better than others particularly if one just up and moves to what they deem a safer location. I know this area, I’m familiar with the natural resources, the roads, the woods and the people. I’d stand a far better chance of survival here than I would anywhere else.

    • templar knight says:

      Hey, Lynda, we’ve been missing you around here. And I have to agree with what you said.

      • Lynda from MA says:

        TK, Hi! Thanks for the kind words. I’ve been super busy stacking wood, Thanksgiving preparations, family, American Legion stuff and Lord knows what else. Still managing to continue my preps. We did recently go through a 6 day power outage but sailed right on through it. It was a great test and illustrated our shortcomings as well as our strengths.

        I must admit that most of the people in MA that I know of are terribly whiny. Yet, they managed to storm the stores on Black Friday. I call them the Shopping Dead. ROTFL.

    • Lynda,

      How did Rawles get you started prepping? I’m sure you were already looking for information and that you were interested before you found his site. Just saying…

      • Lynda from MA says:

        Kate, I had a minimal interest, although being a Yankee from New England and dealing with all sorts of crazy weather always influenced me, so I decided to research this further in light of the economic downhill slide,
        I purchased his book, (TEOTWAWKI, and how to survive it), read it and it made sense to me. From there I bought Peggy Layton’s book about Emergency Food Storage and since then have invested in various magazines and books.

        So, yes, reading Rawles compelled me to do much more than the “norm” I have always lived by. I was particularly impressed with his perspectives on how fragile our infrastructure really is. We’ve always been conditioned to think that there’s an endless supply of all that we need at any given time. He opened my eyes.

        I just think the guy makes sense in terms of how to prepare, what to prepare and overall gives some good advice. Does this translate into my living the exact same lifestyle? No.

        • Lynda,

          I have that book too. Did you actually use any of the stuff he suggests in his book.

          For example I could not afford the fire truck he suggests to fight fires. Looks like I need to buy another water bucket. Would love a fire truck though.

          Then not everyone makes $500,000 per year.

          • Lynda from MA says:

            There are many things he suggests that I could not afford nor find the use for. However, simply having an ample food and water supply, medical resources, alternative energy sources…the list goes on.
            I got the idea of sprouting from this book.
            Like I said, his book plus others provide valuable “how to” advice to address most scenarios.
            I don’t have an issue with Rawles. I like to visit various sites, as well as this one, to glean whatever useful information I can. One need not confine oneself to just one perspective. I like to keep an open mind.

          • Lynda from MA,

            Nothing wrong with that but I find little use for 95% of what he suggests. BTY have you read M.D.’s book?

          • Kate,
            I have seen working fire trucks for as little as $2000-$3500 in the past. If you’re outgitting a group retreat, that could be well within the budget. These were old models with no fancy features, but would be more than adequate for a small retreat with a main structure and some out buildings and cabins.

          • OhioPrepper,

            Never seen a good one for under $10,000 sorry. Many people have tried group retreats over the years and none of them have worked for very long. Most groups break-up after a year or two. My retreat group is my family and like most of the readers here, I can not afford even a $2,000 fire truck.

            I’m glad you are a JWR fan club member and fine his info helpful. Unfortunately, I do not… Sorry.

          • Lynda from MA says:

            Kate, no, I haven’t read MD’s book but I have read many of the views and comments here.
            Unlike you, I did find Rawle’s book informative and I find other sites and publications equally good.
            I won’t be part of a group retreat as Rawles suggests nor do I have any interest in his religious beliefs.
            I don’t understand why this is such a point of contention. I wasn’t aware that preppers need confine themselves to one group/expert/author.

          • Lynda from Ma,

            The objection I think folks have raised with Rawls is his attitude that it’s my way or the high way, agree with me or get out. And not everyone agrees that a firetruck is an essential prep.

          • Kate,
            “JWR fan club member”?
            I don’t think I ever said that. It’s simply that there is a lot of information out there and excluding his information because you disagree with some (or all) of his ideas is IMO rather shortsighted.
            It’s been perhaps 10 years since I even looked at fire trucks (and no I don’t own one), but I know of folks who have purchased them for well under your $10K price, mostly for use in parades, or limited use on a large farm
            As for your group being your family, that is admirable, but for your sake I hope it is a large family and that you have a lot of practiced skill sets, including the tactical ones.
            Good luck.

    • i have a tonne of great memories blasting thru the berkshires on a chopper i made my self. you ever been to alices restaruant?drop right in,its around the back.just a half a mile from the railroad track. you can anything you want,at alices restaraunt.

      • …except Alice.

        • I cannot tell a lie officer opie. I put that envelope under that pile of trash. Nancy,that album cover aided in the separation of many a stem or seed from the medicinal herb.

          • Something tells me that you spent a bit of time on “the Group W bench”.

          • Group W bench
            I wanna KILL KILL KILL! Blood, Guts and Veins hangin’ from my teeth……

            Ohh yea good times……

            som’body roll one up.
            Get lint, he’s holdin’.

          • LurkerBob,
            This is so funny. We sound like a bunch of nerd senior citizens swapping one liners from our favorite comic books.

      • Lynda from MA,

        So you buy Rawle’s books supporting him and his site and even come here promoting him and his site on M.D.’s blog, yet you haven’t even read M.D.’s books or helped to support him, the wolf pack or this blog. Typical…

        • Lynda from MA says:

          Kate, actually I don’t visit Rawle’s site and purchased his books several years ago, long before I discovered MD’s blog. LONG before. I’m also a member of the APN.
          I’m not promoting anyone, Rawles included.

          I simply made a comment with regard to locations, other states and the fact that reading one of Mr. Rawles’ books initiated my larger efforts to be prepared.
          As to what I choose to spend my money on, well, that’s entirely my concern. I did purchase a book MD recommended here.
          Why are you so upset? My comments about Rawles were not very different from some others. How is that “promoting” him? Frankly, he’s not quite my cup of tea but I did find some of his information very helpful, as I do many other books, sites and preppers.

          • Lynda from MA says:

            Gayle, I understand why people object to Rawles but there’s no law that says one must adhere to every single one of his directives. I got what I could out of his books and applied it to my own life. I disregarded the rest.

            I do this with every site, publication and forum I visit or subscribe to.
            I got a taste of being interrogated right here since my initial comment that in no way promoted any other site or perspective. It smacked of a “my way or the highway” directive. I have to wonder what it was about my post that was so objectionable. Needless to say I found these questions to be rude and intrusive and have no further interest in answering any more queries about what I choose to read or how I live.

            Finally, I did promote MD on my usual forum months ago.
            Now, are there any more questions? Be done with it.

          • templar knight says:

            Yeah, are you pretty when you get mad? LOL.

            I’m with you here, Lynda, and I think Kate and Gayle thought they were defending MD more than anything else. There have been a couple of instances where MD has been attacked, although not by name, on JWR’s blog over the past month or so.

            I did not get the impression that you were endorcing JWR in any way in your responces, but like me, gave him credit for getting you started prepping. Anyway, hope to see you commenting again very soon.

          • TK,

            Actually, I don’t think M.D. needs defending. Integrity needs no defense. I was pointing out that it was Rawls’ attitude that was disturbing more than anything else. My impression from reading Rawls (what little I have actually read), is that he thinks he is right and anyone who disagrees with him, even in part, is wrong.

            I think it’s important to keep an open mind. If you think folks who disagree with you are wrong, then you are not open to learning.

            The “my way or the highway” attitude is arrogant. That’s what I took so many folks here to be objecting to. (I was setting out to clarify the Pack’s comments.)

          • Lynda from MA says:

            TK, I’m not in the habit of going onto someone else’s forum and attacking him or her. There was nothing in my original comment that did this. Nor did I promote JWR in any way other than to say, like you and others, that it was only after reading his book that I truly began preparing in earnest. I don’t see how this comment could be interpreted any other way. I sure as heck didn’t mention a fire truck of all things.

            Whether he’s arrogant or not, I really don’t know. I really don’t care.
            The irony doesn’t escape me that the poster who chastised me for reading it(and getting something out of it) had purchased it herself. Therefore, because she didn’t agree with most of it neither should I? Now that is “my way or the highway”, isn’t it?

            If anyone has anything else to comment about this then feel free to email me directly at [email protected].
            I see no need to further hijack this thread and frankly, I’m getting tired of having to defend myself over an honest and innocent comment.

  23. SrvivlSally says:

    Great suggestions. I have already chosen my retreat and bug out locationS and I feel a little more secure in knowing that I have a place on the West Coast, one in the Central states and there are mountainous woods surrounding both that I can head right into and drop out if I need to. I truly enjoy having a backup but I appreciate it all the more that I have a backup to my backup. Should all backups fail, I guess I will just have to use my survival skills to help me as I wing it.

  24. Earth Girl says:

    Glenn Reynolds to Bill Quick’s forum to M.D. Creekmore. Only then did I try Rawles. Rawles is sometimes helpful, but the forum and Creekmore are usually helpful.

    I’m curious whether earthquake is a factor in eastern TN.

    • Earthquake hazards aren’t great on TN’s Cumberland Plateau and according to my research are on par with the risk in Idaho.
      Many people ask about “New Madrid Fault” from my research it would seem that TN’s Cumberland Plateau is to far East of the fault to see much damage. Most of the damage to TN will be to the west around the Memphis area.

      • Your absolutely right about the earthquake risk. Tennessee recognizes the New Madrid Fault risk, and exercises their emergency response plan for it quite often, but the majority of the threat is to West TN, which is a couple hundred miles away.

  25. Alex(Ontario) says:

    A lot of people will also try to cross the border into Canada and some canadians may try to get into the US if it’s just as bad here, so I would advise people to avoid making long-term shelters near a border.

  26. blindshooter says:

    The one thing that will keep me here or maybe south of here is cold. I’m getting older and have no doubt that cutting wood for one winter would kill me dead, even with power tools I couldn’t do it alone even here where it don’t get that cold and when it does it don’t stay cold long. I do know how to deal with the heat and bugs that will, IMO, be the killer where I live. Most people that live here have forgot how nasty it is without power, I see lots of buildings that have windows that won’t open at all. They will be ovens in the summer without AC. The bugs will be terrible if your not prepared, if you live in the south and on the coast keep some spare bug screen material on hand it will be like gold if we have to go without power for an extended period or if it gets so expensive we can’t afford it.

    MD, how cold does it get in your area? I could stand a short winter but the really cold areas are not for me.

    • blindshooter,

      Right now we are getting flooded because it’s been raining for several days. The coldest months are Dec through Feb most days are slightly above freezing. But it can dip down into the single digits.

      • That doesn’t sound like an ideal survival retreat to me. Why don’t ya’ll just come on down to Florida. It was cold today–only in the 60s. We might get into the 30s tonight. Time to bust out the wool socks.

        • im still wearing shorts. my brother in connecticut hates it when i tell him that.

        • Gayle

          Your cold comments always make me laugh, crack out the wool socks at 60’s .. Now I have to admit that it has been starting to get chilly in my neck of the woods but its still not cold yet. granted the signs and the critters are all pointing to a bad winter, I have not seen the beavers build up like this for a number of years.

          • Farmgal,

            I would never make it in your neck of the woods. Last night it got down to 43 and I had two wool blankets, a down comforter and a bedspread on the bed. (And it was 70 degrees in this house.) LOL At least we got to turn off the AC.

          • I am with you FarmGal !

            last week it was about -10 Celsius, and I had to put on some bed cloths, left the heater in the half position and got under the covers ;P

            I will also be looking at making a Rocket Mass Heater for my Camper Truck which I live in, and not a sticks and bricks type of dwelling. I do have 3 layers of carpet though with an underpad, we do what we must.

        • Me either! I’m in the north part of Fl, but last winter it did get colder than I’ve seen in awhile. The girls were so excited to see icicles outside on the tree.

        • gayle, why don’t we come to FLA? because when tshtf, it will be annexed by cuba or haiti. or retaken by mexico. oblo? 🙂

  27. Some other locations in the east to consider are Michigan, especially the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula above I-96, Ohio and Pennsylvania, below interstates 70/76, West Virginia and Kentucky. Each area has its own unique challenges as far as growing food weather, etc. But each area also has a lower population density and strong communities that have survived and even prospered for generations. I personally believe that “community” and people working together are what will help us to survive and prevail during any SHTF-type event.

    • JD: SSSSHHHH! Michigan is a horrible place in the now and will be worse once TSHTF. Ignore the world’s largest resource of fresh water…its all polluted. Ignore the fact that the native americans considered it a true paradise that could support a large population even before agriculture existed…they didn’t last once the white man came – so that didn’t work long term. Ignore the fact that there won’t be many (if any) of the golden horde passing through with those big lakes to the east and west, and 2 skinny little bridges to the north. Even if folks have boats, those big lakes eat 1,000′ ore boats regularly. And eveyone down south (in the populated regions) knows what a godforsaken wilderness with a truly hideously cold climate the northern areas are. The few natives are well-armed and unfriendly…if you haven’t been there for at least 6 generations…you are SOL. As an example, a couple local boys took exception to the antics of a couple downstate “citiot” (short for city idiot) weekend hunters and literally fed them to their hogs. Definitely not somewhere anyone would want to move to!!! (snicker, snicker)

      • Plant Lady says:

        Oops…missing sentence. Above should read…
        “…they didn’t last once the white man came – and then most of the whites bugged out in a hurry when lured to the distant southern city by the new factory jobs, “easy” living and a milder clime – so that didn’t work long term.”
        That makes a lot more sense, since I was trying to explain a low population density (in most areas) in such a paradise…in the more populated “East”.
        All tongue in cheek, of course…except the part about the city hunters getting fed to the hogs. That did happen…and might have a little to do with the low population density of the north. Works better than fake BioHazard signs (hehe).

  28. The Prepper says:

    Anyone have any thoughts on western NC? Curious if there are any downsides to that area?

    • the prepper, i know the area some. the problem there is that every wannabe survivor in raleigh plans to bug out to there. when they find out they’re not the guru they thought, they’ll be looking for warmth and food, yours. i lived in the middle a state forrest awhile. i thought i found survival heaven, until the first day of turkey season. the woods were crawling with city folk, guns blasting, some from 300 miles away. i was afraid to go outside for a while. i’m sure they plan to live there post tshtf too, so i bugged to western va., not as far west as i want but it’ll have to do. good luck.

  29. Preparation without Paranoia is key. Be aware if there is a large (and growing) SOTB (South Of The Border) population in your area. It may be assumed that when SHTF occurs, roving gangs of SOTBs will be raiding middle and upper class neighborhoods. NOTE: If you live in such a housing area and have an inordinate influx of SOTB people coming to your home during Halloween, they already know which neighborhoods to raid looking for food if SHTF happens. I am NOT “anti-SOTB”, but I am Pro-survival.

    • Vigilence, honestly, that applies in any community. On Halloween every parent or adult or oldest teen in the group knows where the best goodies for trick or treat are to be found. Likewise on Christmas, it’s the neighborhoods with the grandest displays of lights. Or if it’s a Scout food drive or any other fundraising activitiy. We ARE our own worst enemy it seems.

  30. Uncle Charlie says:

    Even without a thought of prepping, a cabin in the woods can make a nice place to get away to. It’s more fun and more educational than Disney World to boot. Also, the land is much cheaper if it’s hard to get to and a cabin can’t be seen from a road if there is no road. I read here one guy has been prepping for 20 years. I hope WTSHTF comes before he dies so all that prepping doesn’t go to waste. I hope his bug out place is a cabin in the woods which he has been able to enjoy for all the years he prepped. Oh yeah, if the caldera in Yellowstone goes, prepping will only postpone the inevitable for those of us in the East and most of the world, but hopefully that won’t happen for a few thousand years. If the New Madrid fault goes, Atlanta will feel it and Louisville will have some damage. Those are my two areas of concern, but the plateau in middle TN will probably come out with little or no damage. While prepping is always smart, don’t forget to enjoy life while you’re at it.

      • Lynda from MA says:

        Interesting thread. I don’t see being prepared as a waste of time or resources and eventually anything we buy gets used anyway. You never know when things can go south, as evidenced by the long power outage here in MA last month.
        Cabins in the woods aren’t for everyone but since moving here we’ve found life to be much less stressful, more private, less materialistic and certainly more self-sufficient. I didn’t even know how to plant a vegetable garden before.

    • uc, ten dash four on that. we built/lived in a little cabin while we built “the big house” and many is the day that we wish we never built the big house. living in the cabin was just soothing somehow. and no bills didn’t hurt either:)

  31. I have been reading this thread with a great deal of interest, particularly comments about information on other websites and is prepping a waste of time. For a long time I have really been stressing out watching the news with this gut feeling that something was going to happen. I didn’t know what it was or what to do about it. I am not usually a stressed out person and am described by my husband as being the most mellow person he knows. I was actually starting to lose sleep over it. Then I saw the show Doomsday Preppers. I know some people like the show and some didn’t, but what it did for me was give me a direction to go in. From there I googled “prepper”. I was absolutely shocked at all the sites. I know I ended up on a few extreme sites, and eventually I ended up here. However, even the sites I considered too extreme for me, what they did was validate my feelings that I am not being overly paranoid. That in itself is very important to a new prepper. Even if I obtain one piece of useful information from another site, to me it was not a waste of time. Not every piece of information posted on this site is useful to me and my life, but it might be to someone else.

    Living in Massachusetts may not be an ideal location according to relocation articles I read. However, by having all these sites available to me, instead of getting stressed out over it, I haved learned steps to take to make it more secure for me and my family. That in itself has brought some peace of mind.

    As far as prepping being a waste of time, I wish I had started long ago. I mentioned in a post last week that we are struggling financially and my husband is selling his business because so many of our customers have gone out of business. If it wasn’t for prepping, these last fews weeks would have been very difficult. We haven’t received one payment in from any customer for 2 weeks, so needless to say the checkbook is on empty. However, I have been able to feed us from the supplies we have on hand. I would not have been able to do this a few months ago. Prepping shouldn’t just be about preparing for some wordly castastrophe, it could also be a catastrophe in your own little world. If you are financially secure, be thankful. Comfortable lifestyles are very fragile these days and can end at a moments notice.

    Prepping has also provided me with a new outlook. I have decluttered my home, learning that half of the material things I had are not important. Now I don’t have to clean them!! It is much more fun sifting through thrift stores looking for that bargain item for my supply closet than getting trampled by the holiday shoppers. It is much more satisfying (and more delicious) putting a loaf of bread on the dinner table made by my own 2 hands than buying it from the supermarket. I might not have the cabin the woods, but I was still able to have fresh vegetables in my yard, and it was very peaceful sitting on my porch watching the birds, squirrels and groundhogs all eat out of one tray together like they were one big happy family. I have learned a simpler lifestyle and am very thankful for it.

    • Carol,

      I couldn’t agree with you more. We do like to talk about what could happen–EMP, terrorist attack, nuclear attack, economic collapse, etc. But first and foremost we are prepping for the eventualities of job loss, economic hardship, the unexpected bill and so forth. In prepping, we really aren’t doing anything that different from what our great-grandparents did. They all put up food for the winter and stored up enough to feed the family through a bad harvest. Prepping is prudent. Depending on a fragile economy and food distribution system is not prudent.

    • templar knight says:

      Carol, TEOTWAWKI doesn’t have to be an international economic crisis, a nuclear or EMP strike, or a pandemic. It can be a tornado, power outage(which recently took place in Mass. according to Lynda), hurricane, earthquake, or other natural disaster.

      Or it can be the loss of your job. Or it can be a medical condition like cancer. Or a hundred other things. But all of these things are why we prep. Prepping gives you peace of mind. I like your last sentence, “I have learned a simpler lifestyle and am very thankful for it.” That’s the money ball.

  32. only problem is i saw Tennessee had same urban liberal infection like Chicago did to ILL. county rule forced changed in the state rules that by this democratic infection would leave you defenseless in times of trouble. no way legally defend yourself, you would be forced to hide and hope the robber would leave you alive.

  33. Uncle Charlie says:

    MD should know since he lives there, prizm63, but don’t take his word go to: On the other hand I drive through TN twice a month. Every time I drive up from GA, I have to unload hand guns located in my glove box or console until I reach the KY border when I may I can carry my loaded guns openly or loaded in the glove box. It’s called “going armed” in TN and it’s not well defined but I say better safe than sorry. By the way, that’s only if you don’t have a CC gun permit from a state that it recognizes, about 35 in total.

  34. I’m wondering about East Coast locations myself. One of the husband’s criteria for buying a home is that he wants a sailboat that he doesn’t have to drive two hours to check up on. Hey, a properly prepared 27′ yacht sounds like a reasonable place to live once the grid goes down.

    I’ll be considering that any garden or livestock outside the house would be looted in my survival strategies. I’m hoping that money saved by having those things beforehand could be converted to secret stashes invisible.

    Who knew that duckweed was perfectly edible? And who would think to eat the fish out of an ornamental pond?

  35. Loved the Michigan comments PlantLady, That is (thankfully) what most people think of Michigan unless they’ve been here, it’s a great place actually…well except for Detroit and Flint. 😛 Which you failed to mention. I actually am from the Southern part of the Lower Peninsula…though I plan on relocating to somewhere else….not sure where yet.

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