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Internet Mentors: JW Rawles and Patrice Lewis

Internet Friends - Patrice Lewis & JW Rawles

If you have always wanted to move to the American Redoubt and "Get out of the Rat Race" then read on - I'm going to share how we did it five years ago. And how we're moving one more time to the heart of the American Redoubt - St. Maries, ID.

Get on board for a step-by-step "How to" journey from start to finish as we do it one more time.

If you are interested in moving to the American Redoubt, check out our home above. 

Or, help us get it sold by Sharing the Listing on your social media.

The Prelude

Let me go look back through my blog history real quick...


So this blog dates back to around 2007. That means I have now logged 13 years' worth of Jones family history on this blog.


I have had several blogs over the years but this is one that  I have limped along the most.

It was around 2010 that I really started to pour some effort into blogging. I found myself on a night shift at a very small hospital in Mesa, Arizona. The nights could get very slow there.

You see, I actually like to write. Yes, I get "writer's block" like most people. But this is also somewhat of a journal and, well, there's always something going on in this house.

Having six daughters, a wife and plenty of animals keeps it interesting. 

But it was around 2010 that I found two blogs that I was particularly interested in.

Survival Blog and Rural-Revolution

I really connected with the prepping and survivalist genre that was coming out of Survival Blog.

Having been raised partially by my grandmother, I knew there was a vast knowledge of self-sufficiency being lost in my generation (I'm Gen X, 1971.)

My Grams - Rest In Peace Bubba

I once asked my grandma how hard her family struggled during the Great Depression.

I expected her to recant tales of only morsels of food on her plate if any at all was to be eaten.

Instead, her answer was this: 

"Well, it didn't really affect us at all. We were farmers. We grew everything we needed."

That's when I realized...

...that most of society had forgotten how to do that. More common, at that time, were news stories about grocery store shelves being stripped empty every time the news reported that a storm was coming (nature or financial.)

I recognized that being self-sufficient was important and that I needed to know what I didn't know.

Mentorship Sought and Found

Enter Captain James W. Rawles

Survival Blog had endless articles about every facet in this arena. I could read it for weeks. 

In fact, I did.

I even printed out some manuals for long term storage just in case an EMP found it's way to our neck of the woods.

After all, as a father of six, it was ultimately my responsibility to make sure we survived any event.

"When it comes down to it, I’m still a man on a mission, because every family that prepares represents one less family that’s going to panic and clean out the grocery stores at the eleventh hour. Well-prepared families are part of the solution rather than part of the problem."
                                                                              JW Rawles,  Spokesman Interview

Of course, at the time we were living right on the outskirts of Phoenix. A very big, overpopulated megacity that had all the problems that went with large populations:
  • Daily crime that was getting closer to our neighborhood every year
  • Nasty pollution that could be seen as a brown haze all 360 degrees around our town
  • Traffic jams of nightmare proportions
  • Commute time to work of 60-90 minutes every day was normal (one way)
  • Cost of living that was not commensurate to the pay received
  • HOAs (homeowner associations) that controlled what you could and couldn't do on your own property
And the list goes on and on.

I had written an article or two for Survival Blog. I also served as an intermediary when SB was attacked DDOS style and taken off the internet for a few days.

James and his readers even came to my rescue when our home burned down.

"My family will never forget the outpouring of generosity during our time of need. It came from people all over the internet who we had never met. It was amazing and all thanks to Survival Blog. " - OJD

My wife and I knew we had to make a move to somewhere that was better for raising our children. Somewhere like the American Redoubt. 

Survival Blog introduced me to Joel Skousen. His book is also in my personal library. Strategic Relocation by Joel is an essential book when you are ready to figure out where you ultimately want to live. 

The Awakening

It, along with Survival Blog and Rural-Revolution, helped me to determine that the area known as the American Redoubt was where we needed to be.

Then there was Patrice.

The opinionated rural north Idaho housewife. She was relentlessly blogging away at what seemed to be every aspect of keeping up with a bustling homestead. Homeschooling, animals, gardens, cooking, cleaning, home-based businesses, professional writing, and on and on.

How did she do it all?!

Honestly, I didn't stop to ponder that for too long. I just kept lapping it up like a dehydrated dog hovering over a giant bowl of clean, cold well water. 

It was all there. 

How to raise animals, including dehorning with paste. How to homeschool the kids to keep them from being force-fed all the liberal garbage that was spewing out of public schools. How to cook the most delicious "boxed stuff" recipes and caning staples like mayonnaise, garlic, and mustard

A real-life Reader's Digest of How to Homestead.

And so it began...

And thus began my blog: "The Orange Jeep Dad's...blog." A simple Blogger template with a blurred background. The mascot was my trusty orange jeep.

It was started to share the experiences of my family as we slowly learned some of the most basic skills.

Thanks to our shared Blog Roll links, Patrice at Rural-Revolution has sent me 20,000 page views over the past decade:

Thanks to the support from fellow bloggers like Patrice and Captain Rawles, I've been able to share my adventures with the whole world. 


And so we intend to share one more journey with you. Moving our family to the heart of the American Redoubt. Working jobs until we can support ourselves with home-based businesses and live as off-grid as possible (but still get internet, right?!)

If you are interested in moving to the American Redoubt too, take a look at our beautiful home. We have done a lot to make the inside welcoming and warm. The outside is still a blank canvas with lots of opportunities to customize.

American Redoubt Idaho Home

I tend to get pretty long-winded in my posts so I'll truncate it here. But here's what you can expect in my upcoming, regular posts:

  • Why we are moving.
    1. Determining the perfect homestead
    2. What do you want for your children (small schools, small community, protected freedoms, etc)
    3. Cleaner air, less crime, more outdoor activities, small-town atmosphere
  • The process of moving a family
    1. Organizing, garage sales, donations, packing, "shawshanking"
    2. Let the kids finish the school year or move now (pros and cons)
    3. The physical aspect of moving (rental truck versus pods, etc)
    4. The plan for loading and driving, unloading, etc
  • Selling the current house (our house went live today, come share the link!)
    1. How to get the most money for your house (value-adds vs money pits)
    2. Staging, cleaning it up, putting a little money in to get more out of it 
    3. Tell everyone to help share on social media (like a Book Bomb idea)
    4. Does your house have a story to tell?
    5. What if it doesn't sell (rent it, short sale, foreclosure...)
  • Finding a rental in the new town
    1. Why we would rent before we would buy
    2. What to look for in a rental (contract, length of stay, beds/baths, neighborhood, cost, etc)?
    3. What about the animals you already have?
    4. What if you have to pay for both homes for a little bit?
  • Evaluating the school situation
    1. Home vs private vs public vs charter
    2. Music, sports, 4H, arts, etc
    3. Ratings, teacher to student ratio, etc
    4. What curriculum do they use?
    5. PTO involvement?
  • Matriculating into the new town
    1. Getting involved (Masons, Elks, 4H, PTO, City Council meetings, school events, etc)
    2. Service projects (JustServe app)
    3. Churches
    4. Neighbors helping neighbors. Offer meet n greet dinners with neighbors.
  • Looking for a permanent residence
    1. Attributes (fresh water on site, mountains/wooded, remote, flood zone free, gentle to no slope, size of land, etc)
    2. Distance to: town, university, work, school, grocery, highway, city, etc
    3. Cost, size, livability
  • Again, I get long-winded. I'll stop here. :-)

I hope you can join us. And please leave any questions or comments below. We'd love to hear from you on our journey.

The Orange Jeep Dad


  1. I am glad you are back. You were someone I enjoyed reading about your exploits and raising a family while you and your lovely family learned how to transform into a self sufficient family.

    1. Hey, thanks pal. Too bad work had me travel so much the past few years. We had some doosies (is that how you spell it?) here in south Idaho. But we're on to better things and I'll be able to blog about it this time. Good hearing from you!

  2. Awesome! Welcome back OJD and family. Your journey with the help of James Wesley Rawles and Patrice Lewis parallels ours except for the hardships you overcame.
    Montana Guy

  3. Patrice Lewis mentioned you (and included a link to this site) in her blog today. I figure, if a blogger calls himself Orange Jeep Dad, and my favorite "opinionated rural north Idaho housewife" blogger likes him, he might be worth meeting. So - a handshake and a howdy from a new fan in New Mexico.

    1. Well Howdy-Do Paul! Yes, I've been a friend of Patrice for some time. We both started blogging back in the oughties. Her's was around 2010. I was just a tad earlier. She has a great blog at RR. I enjoyed her stuff immensely over the years.

      Nice to meet you. Hope to hear from you again.

  4. Glad to see you back, OJD! Patrice mentioned you were back to blogging and gave a link.
    Good luck with the new adventure, will be following along!

    1. Aye, back and honery as ever. Getting older though so watching my step a little closer :-) Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Hmmm, are you buying Patrice's place? :-)

    1. Man, I wish I could. It would be a dream to pick up where she is leaving off, right? Her and Don have done so much to that property over the years. Fenced and double fenced. But it's just a wee outside my price range. And by a wee, I mean many wees :-)

      But, you know, moving to a new place we tend to rent first. You never know what the different parts of town are like until you have lived there for a while. And we hear the schools are excellent in St. Maries. Patrice doesn't live in St. Maries.

      But don't think I didn't mention it to the wife :-)

  6. Glad to see you back; I have missed you. We left Oregon for the Redoubt last year. Living in north central Idaho in a small town with great growing season and like minded people. Land prices are escalating like crazy, though. Hurry.

    1. Ugh, I know. I'm trying! We had a showing today of our current house. They liked the house but not the neighborhood. That might be what trips us up. Most people are looking for acreage in towns like this. I moved into town to cut down on chores and get the kids closer to school (walking distance now.)

      So, we have fixed our house up real nice but anyone looking for land isn't going to want it. But we'll keep trying. I've found a couple of places I wouldn't mind buying up in St. Maries neck of the woods so far.

      Great to hear from you Tweshooz! And glad you made it to Idaho. North central might be close enough to us for lunch some time?

    2. Ron, our son moved to St. Maries a couple of years ago and loves it, although he does live in town. He is about 2.5 ours away from us now. Lunch would be great!!


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