This guest post is by KNB and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.
I’ve read all the available blog/book info on retreat locations. I’ve reviewed everything on JWR’s Survival Blog, including his directive that everybody go live in the “American Redoubt”. I get it. However, I’m from Texas, and I’m probably not leaving anytime soon. If the flag goes up one day, I’ll make my stand here. I’ve lived in all areas of the state, from Houston to San Antonio to Lubbock to Corpus Christi and many small towns in between. I’ve also lived in Maryland and Oklahoma and Maine at various times.
I currently reside in an area on the border of Atascosa and Live Oak County. After being there for a few weeks I’m here to put it forward as an alternative retreat location. My living condition came about after a move from Oklahoma. I am an attorney who has decided to move my practice from OK to TX (I’m licensed in both states) and while I’m waiting for my building to be completed down in the Eagle Ford area of the state. I live in a house with my brother, his girlfriend, my law partner and his wife. It’s a lot like practice for a bug-in because four of us are working from the house. We live about 30 minutes from anything and have to store food and water as necessary.
1. Remoteness: You can still find acreage south of San Antonio for a reasonable price that isn’t near or on the way to anything. If the masses from Corpus Christi and San Antonio all travelled down the major interstates and state highways in search of food, there are a lot of out of the way locations that would require a member of the golden horde to wander a long way before he found you. Our current house is off a county maintained dirt road and could be easily blocked off to filter foot traffic. In addition there is no one around. We have one neighbor within a 3 mile radius. There are some folks who work cattle or farmland during the day in the area, but they don’t live nearby. Just because of this remoteness, any area with more houses and population would be a better and easier target for those looking.
2. Small towns in the area: For any time prior to societal breakdown and hope for mercantile activity post societal breakdown, there are small towns in the vicinity that wouldn’t attract much attention or bring many people our way, but make grocery shopping and general business possible today.
3. Defensibility: As I said we live off a dirt road and the area surrounding us is not hospitable. It would be very difficult for a large group of people to approach without some serious effort, if they ever found you in the first place.
1. WATER WATER WATER: If you want to live here you have to secure water. It could be a spring fed pond, or a well, but it won’t be regular rain, so figure something out. If it is a well you need to make sure you have a pump that will work by wind power or hand power if the grid goes down. I repeat that you will not get regular rain. My family has a river on its property and would protect it to death.
2. Agriculture: See above about water issues. They make feeding either livestock or crops difficult, but it is possible. The people who colonized Texas had to deal with similar situations and worked it out, but it sure wasn’t easy.
3. Current residents: South Texas is in the middle of a massive natural gas and oil boom associated with the Eagle Ford Shale. This has brought a number of people into the area on a temporary basis. They would all know about our house because it sits between two natural gas wells. While they couldn’t get out to see us without some effort, they know we exist (whereas the hordes travelling down the highway probably don’t). As time goes on they also get more and more unsavory. You see more prison tattoos today than you did a year ago.
All in all I see South Texas as a viable, if imperfect, retreat location. I’ve been somewhat surprised with my observations of it as an option. The biggest issue really is water and water alone. Everything else can be worked out. The lack of population density itself is due to the water and anyone wanting to spend any of their resources of locating here needs to lock down the water issue ASAP. With this in mind I encourage people to consider the fringes (as in away from interstate 37 and state highways 181 and 59 among others) of Live Oak, Karnes, Goliad, Bee and San Patricio counties. Each has its own benefits and detriments, but I believe you could find an affordable, workable retreat location in each.
This contest will end on February 16 2013 – prizes include:
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