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Thread: Moving.

  1. #1

    Default Moving.

    Here is the one thing that drivews most Alaskans nuts and I know it. Hopefully I have learned enough with my research that I do not make too many mistakes, including alienating the locals.

    The Dream:

    When I was ten years old my dad told us we were moving to Alaska. Those plans fell through and we never went. My dream of moving up there never died though. It has never left me and now 27 years later I am finally getting the chance to make the move. In the last 27 years I have never given up. I live, eat, breath a read anything Alaska. Now I have my 3 youngest boys ready and excited to go.

    The Plan:

    The plan is to move to Tok. Yes I know it is cold (very cold), in the middle of nowhere and there is NO work to be had. I have all that covered I hope.
    I will be putting boots on the ground in May of this year for about 10 days. I hope to make the move in April or May of 2010.
    The goal is to be with in 20 miles of Tok. The first year we would like to rent a house in town while we build our own place on a purchased piece of property and get used to the area with out the extra stress.

    I own an internet chainsaw shop that has feed my family for the last 6 years and will be bringing it up with us. I will not be taking others' jobs and will most likely employ one or two people.

    I am a skilled Millwright, Carpenter, Welder and I have my own milling equipment that I will bring along with all my other tooling. I can build or fix anything. I of course have plenty of chainsaws. The plan is to come up with two 4wd trucks and two flatbed trailers and a 4wd Suburu wagon. All of the vehicles will be equipped with block heaters.

    My trip in May I hope to meet the local gun dealer in Tok and get all the paper work in order to send my guns up when we are ready to move.

    I am planning on buying a steam engine and boiler soon and will be bringing that with us as well to generate heat and electricity for our green house and home.

    I would like to make some friends on this board with people from the Tok area that can give me some advice and help me not make too many mistakes.
    I would also like to get as much advice from every one about daily life that no one writes about. Like the one thing you can not live with out. Tricks that noobies would not think of doing. Helpful items that Alaskans use but most down here do not.

    On the social side of things: What not to do to pizz off the locals. What to do to become accepted in a new community. How to survive up there with out making myself into a burden.

    We are not looking to move up there for free land, smoke dope or live in a bus. We do not want to bring the crappy ways of doing things from down here up there. I am drawn to Alaska for what it is; a beautiful land, harsh land and rugged individuals who are tested.

    We want to assimulate into the Alaskan culture and be a part of it, not change it.

  2. #2
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Good luck and continue to follow your dream.

  3. #3
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with your plan. Tok is as good as anything if you don't mind the cold.

    The number one way to not pizz off the locals is to try and change things locally (politics, schools, etc..) until you've been there a couple years. Otherwise, just make friends as you go. We have dozens of people move in and out of our small town every year. Some that have moved in recently have been excellent families and I have made some quality new friends.
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  4. #4
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    You should be able to do fine.You will fine that your skills are a basic almost abiliby of most Alaskans that don't live in a big city.Folks tend to be able to fix things in Alaska as you can't just drive five minuets to town for a new one.Toks a nice place and most everyone is happy to see it if traveling the ALCAN.To get along just never say well back in_ _ _ _ we did it this way.

  5. #5
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Are you a single parent? Are your three boys school age; if so how are you planning on educating them?

    Plenty of opportunity for someone with your skills willing to work hard and not infringe on others who've been there a long while. Like with trapping...gonna be hard if you want to trap to find a place not already trapped by longtime residents there. Wouldn't be good to step on any toes in that regard right off of course.

    Tok certainly isn't the middle of nowhere; neither is twenty miles out of town. Residents there are used to seeing folks like yourself move up there...many don't make it. Keep in mind that it will take a few years before people view you as a local per se who can be trusted. Like anywhere, it takes time to build respect if you are a newcomer. If your boys are school age, and you are a single parent, educating them via distance delivery if you move twenty miles out of town and don't send them to public school will be one of your major jobs if you will, that can also lead to some problems. Gateway School District in Tok has a distance delivery program; so does the state. Some kids are better than others at doing their work; having home-schooled all our kids I can say it is a huge chore in and of itself.

    Some kids take to Alaska, especially boys; some don't. It can be a great thing and experience for them moving up there and learning to live remote and hunt/fish/trap etc, a real building experience in their lives and in your own parental relationship with them.

    If you get that boiler going, I'd sure be interested in how it ends up working for you to generate electricity from steam, been wanting to do that for a long time now but weight of boiler is preventing me getting it to my location and moved off the river.

  6. #6

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    My wife will be going up too, but our daughter who is 18 will be staying down here and going to college. We plan on putting our children in the public schools.
    I understand that it takes time to become part of the comunity. I just do not want to do anything that makes it that much tougher or longer to be accepted.

    As far as the hunting and trapping thing goes; well the plan is to live there until we become residents and learn a little fisrt before getting too carried away. Although we are an outdoors family; fishing and hunting everything we can down here in Washington. I realize that Alaska is not Washington and there is a learning curve. I am hoping that I will be befriended by some one in Tok that will help us learn the ropes. I plan on taking things slowly and not get too eager.

    The fact that we have a house to build and getting established will keep us busy enough for the first year.

    My 14 year old son is a fishing and hunting fool and is beside himself with anticipation of the move. He keeps asking why we can't move now.

    My 10 year old son is extemely excited about dog sledding. He gets on the web all the time to check it out. I am not all that interested in it , but if he is then I will help him out with it. I have found several sights about it and see that there is even a Jr. race in Tok. He is excited to learn and get involved.

    My youngest is 6 and he just wants to go.








    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Are you a single parent? Are your three boys school age; if so how are you planning on educating them?

    Plenty of opportunity for someone with your skills willing to work hard and not infringe on others who've been there a long while. Like with trapping...gonna be hard if you want to trap to find a place not already trapped by longtime residents there. Wouldn't be good to step on any toes in that regard right off of course.

    Tok certainly isn't the middle of nowhere; neither is twenty miles out of town. Residents there are used to seeing folks like yourself move up there...many don't make it. Keep in mind that it will take a few years before people view you as a local per se who can be trusted. Like anywhere, it takes time to build respect if you are a newcomer. If your boys are school age, and you are a single parent, educating them via distance delivery if you move twenty miles out of town and don't send them to public school will be one of your major jobs if you will, that can also lead to some problems. Gateway School District in Tok has a distance delivery program; so does the state. Some kids are better than others at doing their work; having home-schooled all our kids I can say it is a huge chore in and of itself.

    Some kids take to Alaska, especially boys; some don't. It can be a great thing and experience for them moving up there and learning to live remote and hunt/fish/trap etc, a real building experience in their lives and in your own parental relationship with them.

    If you get that boiler going, I'd sure be interested in how it ends up working for you to generate electricity from steam, been wanting to do that for a long time now but weight of boiler is preventing me getting it to my location and moved off the river.

  7. #7
    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Waltz With Me Alaska is a great book and written by Donna Blasor-Burnheardt right there in Tok about her first year there, living in a tent with her kids and husband. It is a good book to read as a family.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1stimestar View Post
    Waltz With Me Alaska is a great book and written by Donna Blasor-Burnheardt right there in Tok about her first year there, living in a tent with her kids and husband. It is a good book to read as a family.
    I've seen it. Not what I am about when it comes to the tent thing. I am a house person myself.

    I would like to thatnk you for posting on the Andrew Cochran thread though. Wow! I learned alot from that thread. Although I have no intentions of living like that, there was a lot of good advice on the basics. I can see why Alaskans are suspicious of people when they first move up. Makes a lot of sense to me.

    btw: I will see if the library has a copy of the book.

  9. #9
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    A big thing in Alaska is helping your neighbor even if you don't like them. If you see someone stuck in the snow help them out as you may be the one stuck next time and getting out may mean life or death on roads that may not see another car for ten hours or longer.No matter far right or far left if life is at stake you help each other and the respect it builds adds up. I found we always put up about fifty more quarts of salmond than needed and most always it was given out before winter was over(bring the jar back).

  10. #10
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    A big thing in Alaska is helping your neighbor even if you don't like them.
    Amen to this. I have helped several that I didn't like, and I've been helped by several that didn't like me. In the end those instances have formed a bond of trust, maybe not friendship in all cases, but a trust that comes in knowing that while our personalities might clash we are still good human beings.

    Nowhere is this more apparent in a small town than when we have some sort of tragedy. People from all corners of life band together in our small town to help those that have loved ones perish in car crashes or have homes burn down. It's probably the number one reason I love living where I do.

    By your descriptions, klickitat, you sound like you will do fine in Tok.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  11. #11
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Dean...Tok school stuff

    Dean, I'm not sure how far out of town the school buses run. One of our members here, Northway, is a teacher in Tok, likely can give you more info. I'd say the whole public school thing will be biggest factor in how far you can move out of town, whether or not you drive them to school every day or if bus is on that route.

    Having changed schools a bit myself when I was young, I know how hard that can be to adapt and also be accepted...so I hope your boys do okay. It can be rough at first. As AKDoug advised, I'd steer clear of school politics for a while <grin>.

    Drop a pm when you head up...I know a few folks in Tok who may be looking for someone with your skills if you are looking for work.
    Good luck,

  12. #12

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    Thanks guys. I plan on spending 10 days up there in Tok in the spring and will be checking everything I can out. Like the school. I am glad you mentioned busses maybe not going out that far. I need to check into that.

    Part of the reason why I want to rent a place for a year first, then buy a place and build is to understand some of those things I did not think of or that others take for granted and wouldn't think to mention. Gives us time to make a better plan once we see what we are dealing with.

    The 20 mile thing is the furthest I want to be away from a town. With my business being internet based I have to be able to ship. Customers do not like excuses. I do not like being in town if I do not have to be, but I sure do not want to be too far away; that would not make my wife too happy.

  13. #13
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Don't know about mail and UPS in Tok but in some towns in winter its all about the weather.I know in Haines at times it would be two weeks between mail or UPS in the winter.

  14. #14

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    What kind of internet connection will you use? If sattellite, is it reliable?

  15. #15
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    Simular to what I want to do fist off. Except I got a hard time about it.

  16. #16

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    I've checked into the mail service and because it is on the highway and it is maintained year round; the service is mostly reliable. I am sure that there is hang ups now and then, but that is understandable and most of my customers will understand as well.

    As for the internet; I have been using Hughsnet satalite service here where I am at now for about 6 months (we are rural here) and I love the service. There is 4 second delay because of the travel back and forth to the satalite so my kids can't game on line. Too bad, dads feelings are not hurt too much over that. I have talked with my provider and I have been given a guarantee that it will work there. I get unlimited access for $80 per month and they will transfer my equipment for free when we move.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew cochran View Post
    Simular to what I want to do fist off. Except I got a hard time about it.
    I think most of the people on your thread were trying to give you a reality check and had your best interest in mind.

    If you do half the things that they told you to do you will miles a head of your original intent.

    I think you sould still try. I love what you have in mind. You are still young enough to take that chance and still have time to change your mind if you do not like it. Listen to these guys that give you advice though because they have lived it already and know the cold, hard reality of life in Alaska; you only have idealized dreams of it.

    I am not putting you down, I am cautiously encouraging you. would love to see you write a book about your adventure starting from now when you first starting making plans. You might even start a blog site for others to learn from.

    All the best of luck to you. Maybe some day I will even get to meet you as a modern day mountain man.

  18. #18
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    I'll defiently be trying it. And I have no plans of failing. But if I do I do. I will be taking peoples advice and taking it slow. How ever I won't be quiting my dream.

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