Choices – Remote Living

Reader Contribution by Bruce Mcelmurray

Let’s face it remote living is clearly not for everyone.  For those who  choose to live like we do maybe our experience will help you.  For those who don’t live in a remote area or may just be considering doing so, maybe it will help you decide if you want to attempt it or not. Having such conveniences as getting a newspaper, mail or packages delivered to your door and other amenities are not part of remote living.  

When we first moved to our current location we were fully aware that we were going to have a substantial drive from those provisions we were used to having  easy access to.  Like veterinary care,  medical care, pharmacy services and all the shopping amenities.  When I need a tractor part the co-op is 75 miles one way.  Medical care is 45 miles assuming weather will permit travel off the mountain.  For a small city we are fortunate to have quality medical facilities and providers.  Dental care, 42 miles one way.  Groceries, we purchase many of our groceries from Ft. Garland which is only 18 miles one way.  We also make occasional trips to Pueblo where we can buy in bulk.  Hardware is only 18 miles to a very well stocked store.      

Living as we do can be daunting when you consider the distances we have to drive for certain basic needs.  Our alternative is that we shop on line and only have to drive 8 miles to the entrance of our community where a drop box is located to retrieve our packages.  Those ads that used to be on TV showing UPS and Fed Ex delivering to remote locations is not true in our case.  They once did that but in the winter driving a two wheel drive panel truck up and down the side of a mountain can be an exciting trip for their drivers.  Their screams were pitiful and most amusement parks don’t have fun rides like that so we pick packages up 8 miles away.  

There are some amenities that you will clearly not have access to when you live remote.  If you expect to have them close at hand living remote is probably not for you.  Paving winding roads, building malls, and having those things you would normally find in a city are not realistically in the budget of a landowners association.  So if you plan to bring your city amenities with you it is probably good to rethink why you are moving remote in the first place and you may want to stay where you are and avoid disappointment.  

 That makes it important to follow the Boy Scout motto of always being prepared.  That means  you have to think ahead and anticipate emergency situations and needs.  We maintain a well stocked emergency kit for ourselves and our dogs.  We have emergency responders  that are only a few miles away, thanks to the forward thinking of some in our community.  We are not without basic survival means, but when you live remote if you have health problems and need quick access to medical facilities you might want to rethink that lifestyle.  Trees can fall across roads, snow drifts across the roads, spring mud can make two wheel drive very difficult therefore access can sometimes be limited.  

We maintain a postal box in Ft. Garland.  The post mistress will hold our mail until we can get in to retrieve it.  Our roads are plowed but in the winter there are winds which can drift the roads in right behind the snow plowing equipment.  Most of the time you can get out without problem but not always and those are the times you need to be patient and properly prepared. When we make a trip to Alamosa we usually have multiple stops and a well prepared list of purchases.  We may make that trip every two weeks.       

Life is full of choices and the more information you can accumulate before hand. the better those choices will be. If you are a person who is in poor health or expect a service person to show up the same day you will be seriously disappointed.   You need to plan ahead, stay well stocked in basics, and be able to adjust quickly to changing situations.  We sometimes get 3-4′ snow storms that can strand you for a few days.   If we had an emergency there is help available just like most places, but if you have a non emergency you need to be patient and sometimes wait it out.  So if you are considering living remote I hope the above information is some benefit to you, and if it is not that appealing to live remote, then maybe it will reaffirm you conviction to stay where you are.  

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