Friday, April 30, 2010

I thought I was on to something

The Ozarks are supposed to be one of the safer bugout locations. There are lots of positives: low population density, well above sea level, decent growing season, plenty of wild game, and well watered.

I was tooling around Missouri and thought I found a couple bug out locations for rich people. One location looked great. It took up the whole end of a peninsula on a good sized lake. There was one gated road into the place. It even had its own private airfield. My imagination ran wild. I could picture security guards at the gate, patrol boats on the water, and private planes landing at the airfield.

Alas, letting my imagination off its leash is not always a good idea. The reality turned out to be more mundane. The whole development consisted of the pretty gate, a dirt road, a very tiny airstrip, and exactly one model house to show potential customers. It appeared the development fell victim to the same real estate crash that affected everyone else.

An older more established gated retreat was also suffering from the financial downturn. They'd just recently let their only caretaker go. He said things had been scaled way back.

That doesn't mean that the Ozarks aren't a great place. I liked it there. It really does have a lot of natural advantages. It's wonderful country if you love boats. There's plenty for outdoor people to do. Hunting and fishing are terrific.

There are the same problems you find in any rural area. Opportunities are limited. Jobs are hard to come by. The long distances away from bigger cities discourage people who like their urban pleasures. One thing that surprised me is that I saw fewer personal garden plots than are in rural New England. Everyone shops at Walmart.

To be fair, this is just a few quick snapshot impressions. I wasn't there all that long. I did drive down plenty of back roads and talked to people who lived there. Still, it would be dishonest of me to claim more than a passing knowledge of the area.

If I'd been looking into buying property out there, I'd have done a lot more research. Things you don't notice during a week long visit could become deal breakers months down the road. For example, one family moved way out in the country. Their daughter was constantly suffering motion sickness from her bus ride to school on the curvy roads.

Letting my imagination run wild, I would love to own that retreat on the peninsular, and an airplane, and a pony . . .


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