Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25

Thread: Questions, Questions and more Questions!!!

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    6

    Question Questions, Questions and more Questions!!!

    My husband just got a job offer in Alaska and as crazy as it may seem to some, we are strongly considering moving there (we are currently in Washington State where there is no work available in his trade, hence why we started to look elsewhere).

    I have wanted to visit Alaska for years and the idea of living there (to me) is exciting. I know there is an adjustment period (I had moved and lived in Germany for three years with my ex who is still active military), et cetera. Nothing that intimidates me. My husband on the other hand, is finding all of this a bit overwhelming.

    So, we are very grateful to have found this site and are hoping we can tap into some of your experiences and knowledge to be better prepared for our move. Moving on with many questions:

    1. We have been told to utilize the ferry that goes from Bellingham, WA to move there with our vehicles and a few belongings we can't part with. Is this the best way to move there, or is driving there better? If we did drive, is the road paved now? Is it mostly an uncivililized road (no lodges, gas stations or restaurants for long stretches)? The thought of driving is a bit daunting with three young children, so we most likely won't, but just in case...

    2. My husband and I plan on making a trip there for four to five days to touch base with his potential future boss and to check out the area. Does anyone have any suggestions on a cheap, yet nice hotel we can stay at in Anchorage? MAybe a B & B?

    3. We were also wondering how much the current recession has affected your state. We were informed that Alaska is a more self sufficient state than your typcal state in the grand ole USA, therefore there has hardly been any affect there. I was wanting to get more than just one persons POV on this to be sure.

    4. Also, following the same train of thought, my husband installs flooring and has for over eleven years (residential and commercial). Can anyone tell us how that field of work is doing right now or how it typically does there? For instance, would he be busy for most of the year?

    5. We were told that the best place to find a descently priced home to rent near Anchorage was in the valley. Are they refering to the Palmer/Wasilla area? Are those areas descent places to raise a family? Does anyone have a better idea on where to look for rentals besides Craigslist (where they are currently experiencing problems with fraud and hoaxes)?

    6. I am currently attempting to homeschool my kids and was wondering if anyone knew of any homeschooling groups I could tap into? Or, if I did put my kids into a school there, does anyone have any suggestions on a good elementary school or district? Is there such things as the WASL (Washington Assesment of Student Learning) there like we have here?

    That will do for now....lol. I am looking forward to hearing back from some of you in Alaska and can't wait to come and visit!

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Sent you a PM

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,957

    Default

    1. We have been told to utilize the ferry that goes from Bellingham, WA to move there with our vehicles and a few belongings we can't part with. Is this the best way to move there, or is driving there better? If we did drive, is the road paved now? Is it mostly an uncivililized road (no lodges, gas stations or restaurants for long stretches)? The thought of driving is a bit daunting with three young children, so we most likely won't, but just in case...

    OK, the road is paved and is actually civilized. The best thing to do is go downa nd buy a copy of the Milepost. It'll tell you all about the road, what's along it, what's open, that type of stuff. Three long days of four shorter. The ferry is a beautiful ride.
    http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/

    2. My husband and I plan on making a trip there for four to five days to touch base with his potential future boss and to check out the area. Does anyone have any suggestions on a cheap, yet nice hotel we can stay at in Anchorage? MAybe a B & B?

    I don't think there is a cheap hotel in Anchorage during the tourist season but I can look.
    http://www.anchorage.net/

    3. We were also wondering how much the current recession has affected your state. We were informed that Alaska is a more self sufficient state than your typcal state in the grand ole USA, therefore there has hardly been any affect there. I was wanting to get more than just one persons POV on this to be sure.

    The recession is effecting Anchorage, especially cargo operations at the airport, that sort of things.

    4. Also, following the same train of thought, my husband installs flooring and has for over eleven years (residential and commercial). Can anyone tell us how that field of work is doing right now or how it typically does there? For instance, would he be busy for most of the year?

    I really can't anser that but I can tell you I'm paying $7000.00 to get new flooring in my house right now. They seem to be at least a little busy.

    5. We were told that the best place to find a descently priced home to rent near Anchorage was in the valley. Are they refering to the Palmer/Wasilla area? Are those areas descent places to raise a family? Does anyone have a better idea on where to look for rentals besides Craigslist (where they are currently experiencing problems with fraud and hoaxes)?

    Homes in the Matsu valley are cheaper than in Anchorage. but then you have the long drive both ways. some people have no problem iwth it and think its worth it. Personally I don't want to be driving 45 - 60 minutes one way each day. If something happens on the one and only road into Anchorage, or weather, you may never get to work that day. You cab check the paper:
    http://www.adn.com/

    6. I am currently attempting to homeschool my kids and was wondering if anyone knew of any homeschooling groups I could tap into? Or, if I did put my kids into a school there, does anyone have any suggestions on a good elementary school or district? Is there such things as the WASL (Washington Assesment of Student Learning) there like we have here?
    Here's what I can find about homeschooling: http://www.asdk12.org/aboutasd/faq.asp#homeschooling

    Schools are different. I think the one my daughters went to first was much better then the second one.

    Anything else?

  4. #4
    Member ret25yo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Unit 13
    Posts
    1,471

    Default

    Driving ...lol

    We did it through the alcan in july with 5 kids , 3 cars , 2 cats , 2 dogs .. nothings impossible.. pics to come..



    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

  5. #5
    Member ret25yo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Unit 13
    Posts
    1,471

    Default


    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

  6. #6
    New member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Wow! Thanks for sharing your pics of your crazy adventure to Alaska.

    We have decided that driving there is really the only way to go. I called the ferry reservations office and found out that we would have to disembark the first ferry and get on another one that would take us closest to Anchorage, costing us twice as much money than it would have cost us if we could take one ferry. Driving sounds like an adventure that we won't forget and at the best price.

    We will for sure buy ourselves a copy of the Milepost!!!! It sounds like an essential tool for this trip.

    I have read some past posts on other people who have made plans for such a move and it took them months if not years to make the move...we are needing to make this trip in a matter of weeks. Anyone have any pointers on how to get outta here in weeks or is it really a pipe dream?

  7. #7
    New member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Bill S~

    Thank you for your wealth of information. :-) I checked out all the links you posted and found them very helpful! You have helped cut my research in half - easily.

    It is greatly appreciated!

  8. #8
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Searching for more cowbell!
    Posts
    1,945

    Default

    FWIW, the drive is one of the most beautiful drives on the continent.
    ><((((>.`..`.. ><((((>`..`.><((((>

    "People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they
    just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskalotoquestions View Post
    Wow! Thanks for sharing your pics of your crazy adventure to Alaska.

    We have decided that driving there is really the only way to go. I called the ferry reservations office and found out that we would have to disembark the first ferry and get on another one that would take us closest to Anchorage, costing us twice as much money than it would have cost us if we could take one ferry. Driving sounds like an adventure that we won't forget and at the best price.

    We will for sure buy ourselves a copy of the Milepost!!!! It sounds like an essential tool for this trip.

    I have read some past posts on other people who have made plans for such a move and it took them months if not years to make the move...we are needing to make this trip in a matter of weeks. Anyone have any pointers on how to get outta here in weeks or is it really a pipe dream?

    The ferry trip is very nice and well worth it. We ended up taking the ferry from Bellingam to Haines then driving to Anchorage. We ended up seeing whales, dolphins, seals along with the awesome Canadian and Alaskan coastline. Very leisurely trip and quite enjoyable with no hectic pace to get to a certain place at a certain time. The ferry also ports in some places that you might not be able to see, which are only accessible by plane or boat, once you get to Anchorage. We never disembarked other than to visit the port cities, until we arrived in Haines.

    The trip from Haines to Anchorage was really nice as well.

    Good luck and have a safe trip.

  10. #10
    Member kjashen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Juneau, Alaska
    Posts
    141

    Default

    ferry from Bellingham to Haines is nice and the drive from Haines to Anchorage is beautiful too...also the drive from Wash. state up the Alcan is real nice..be sure to get a Milepost and check with Canadian customs as to what is required getting in/out of Canada...birth certificates/passports etc...also if anyone has any convictions even 20 years ago you need to go through the canadian "rehabilitation" process. Good Luck and Welcome!!!

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    520

    Default

    We homeschool through IDEA http://www.ideafamilies.org/ . It has worked well for us. Feel free to write if you have any more questions....Louis
    Louis Knapp

  12. #12
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    11,415

    Default

    The drive through BC is not to be missed, I love that drive! You can see all the ocean stuff from a fishing boat ride out of Seward for a small percentage of money you save by driving, oh and you get fish that way.

    Furniture up here is readily available but not to our taste. We miss the choices that were available in the lower 48. If you are not super picky on that front then just basically sell everything and replace it when you get here. It is the garage sale season so you could outfit a house pretty cheap and then work toward getting the stuff you really want down the road. I recommend against bringing any 2x4 trucks up here. There is almost 0 resale value in them. Front wheel dirve cars and suv's along with 4x4 trucks are the go to vehicles across the state.

    Pretty much everything else is available in Anchorage. All of your standard chain stores are there.

    With all of the construction trades it pays to be top notch, I have some friends that are in demand year round and others that always seem to get layed off when the snow flies. There are less jobs in the winter but plenty of work for the best workers!

    I am a product of the valley school system (wasilla/palmer) I went to the school in between the two (Colony High) I didn't apply myself but my sister did and she recieved 70K scholorships to both Marquette and Duquesne but decided to accept a full ride to University of AK Anchorage. Those were the only three schools that she applied to. OH BTW she can spell and use grammar correctly I can't though we went through all of the same schools. I don't blame them I blame me.

  13. #13
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    We moved up 12 years ago from the lower 48. The road keeps getting better each year, and it wasn't that bad 12 years ago. We were a young couple with a 2 y/o and a 7 m/o. We bought a 12' enclosed trailer to tow behind our truck, had a smaller trailer for our other car, and whatever we couldn't fit we sold or donated. It is very expensive to move large items so you I'd say the less you move the better.

    We ended up taking 10 days, 1 1/2 spent in Dawson Creek repairing the small trailer as it was overloaded. Also we had frequent stops for diaper changes and nursing. We made it fine, though it was a few years before I wanted to go on a road trip

    The ferry is very expensive if you are bringing a vehicle, once we found out what it would cost we opted for the scenid drive.

    You'll be shocked at the price of lodging during the summer. It's not a bad idea to consider brining a tent and hitting the campgrounds is a good way to save a signifigant amount of $. When we came up to AK for our honeymoon we drove all over the state and lived out of a tent for a week.

    As I've said in other posts, top construction hands will always find work and make $. I've heard so many horror stories of construction folks showing up late for work, hungover, or drunk etc. that its sad to say that good help is hard to find. And hence, good workers will always find work. That said it will take some time to make contacts and get your name out there. Allow 2 years to adjust to AK and get established.

    Yes, housing in the valley is less expensive, but figure out realistically how much gas you'll be burning if their is a daily commute to anchorage, and place a value on your time. You're looking at 2 hours a day of your time. If you figure those two hours are worth at least what you'll make working those two hours, plus the cost of gas, the value of valley housing comes into question. I live in Eagle River and am seriously considering moving to Anchorage so I'll have an extra hour in my day, and can fill up the truck once a month vs. once a week.

    Homeschooling is very popular and there are lots of support groups. We tried it and for us it wasn't a fit. I'll probably tick of some teachers but this is my impression of the Anchorage School district with 3 kids, based on 4 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 1 highschool. Also my wife has worked as a substitute in several schools from K-12. There is almost a two tiered system when you get into the middle and high schools. If your kids get into the honors classes they'll be with focused students and teachers and get a pretty good education. If the students are in the general classes, its pretty much sink or swim with often a few students in the class that take the majority of the teachers focus and energy.

    There is no place I'd rather live.

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,957

    Default

    More real estate info:http://www.alaskarealestate.com/

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskalotoquestions View Post
    I have read some past posts on other people who have made plans for such a move and it took them months if not years to make the move...we are needing to make this trip in a matter of weeks. Anyone have any pointers on how to get outta here in weeks or is it really a pipe dream?
    Nothing is impossible. I have moved here twice in 11 years, both times with less than 2 weeks notice. (relocated to Mt. for 5 months, missed home) The first time we had a yard sale, and gave away what we didn't sell. Everything else fit in a Toyota pickup, and my wife and newborn flew. The second time we rented the biggest u-haul we could afford, and sold / gave away the rest. My wife and two new newborns drove along that time. It is all only stuff that can be replaced, but the experiance of Alaska can not. There are risks moving somewhere far away without a gaurantee on the other end but Alaska seems to have a way of taking care of those who are not afraid to work hard and make their own way.
    I live in the valley and work in the construction industry, and have always had year round employment. My wife commutes to Anch. for her job and enjoys the drive. She gets two hours a day without a needy husband and kids who dont listen.
    Anyway, as long as you don't look back, there is nothing to miss!

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    211

    Default

    I moved to Fairbanks, AK in December of '05 with 3 weeks notice. That was enough time to secure a trailer that I could pull, rig it to sleep in, pack everything and hit the road. Made it to AK from da UP of Michigan in 7 days. I couldn't get over 45 mph (I was pulling a 20' enclosed car hauler with a 6 cylinder F150). Anything that I couldn't fit into the truck or trailer was given to relatives to sell off or shipped to me at a later date.

    I loved the drive, was warm enough to camp along the way (with a small heater in the rig & a good sleeping bag). I loved the drive and did it again moving a family member up in September of '08. Same deal, heavier duty truck. Took 6 days to drive it with 1 day lost to a busted steering column & bad starter.

    If you are up for the adventure, drive. The ferry costs an arm and a leg; especially if you have a trailer. The ferry alone in '05 was over 3k to Valdez from Washington and I would have had to drive to Washington first. I spent about 2200 in fuel TOTAL!

    Take your time, stop at the hot springs and be sure to use that milepost. Travel in the summer is easier for most people as there is more traffic if you get into trouble. Be sure you have a spare tire (or two) for each rig / trailer and keep the tools to change it handy. I had 3 flats the first trip and 1 on the second. ALL within the US, no issues in Canada.

  17. #17
    New member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    6

    Thumbs up Driving stories...

    Thanks everyone for so much information!! It is greatly appreciated!!

    I am really interested in your driving experiences for those of you who drove up. That is most likely the route we will take. It seems to be the most cost effective way to relocate. I would love to take the ferry halfway or even all the way, but that is way too expensive to utilize for relocating there on our budget. Driving sounds like it will be an adventure and a beautiful one at that. I am looking forward to it.

    I am glad to hear that others with small children in tow drove there and are sharing your experiences. It helps us realize what it will be like for us. We will have a six yr old, five yr. old and six month old -- not to mention a puppy, too... :-) Can't leave Chewbaccah behind.

    All the info on homeschooling has been fabulous, too. I really appreciate that and am really happy to hear that a lot of people go this route there. I already feel like we belong... The programs there sound really good. There seems to be a lot of support to guarantee success and that is great news.

    We will be driving up with a Chrysler Pacifica (2005) fwd, pulling a 6x12 trailer and possibly a junker rwd astrovan (also pulling a 6x12 trailer) just so we can haul more up. We realize we will have to replace that one with a more fitting vehicle for the area once we get there. We just can't afford to purchase a different vehicle at this time or before we move. Do you all suggest we purchase spare tires for the Pacifica as well even though we just purchased brand new tires that were also the best we could find for our vehicle? I am asking b/c a "spare" for that would cost a mint. One tire is 400-500+ dollars. There is no question about purchasing spares for the trailers or the astro.

    Please share more stories and info on driving there, et cetera. Being well informed is best and I really enjoy reading about others' experiences!

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,957

    Default

    If you shop around, i think yo can beat 400-500 for a spare. Most places sell steel rims for about $50-60 and go to a used tire place and get a good one, they'll have one. Should be less then $120. You need the spare, better to hav one and not need it then the other way around.
    PM me or post any other questions. Good luck on the drive.

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Leavenworth Wa.
    Posts
    234

    Talking Something to be said...

    For those "General Classes " Paul.I never made the grades my brother did, and I retired from the Carpenters union at age 55.Live a good life, and hunt the entire season.He on the other hand, was a professional student.Spent so many years in college we thought he would retire there.Has worked for large firms like Nipon Corp,Motorola,and several others.Makes nothing but money.Has to pay for anything he has done around the house...new roofs ect,has a 2500 dollar a month mortgage,lives just outside Boston,has gone in for several EKG's,and is a product of the recession...unemployed.Sure glad I can work with my hands.It has made a huge difference in my quality of life.

  20. #20
    New member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill S. View Post
    If you shop around, i think yo can beat 400-500 for a spare. Most places sell steel rims for about $50-60 and go to a used tire place and get a good one, they'll have one. Should be less then $120. You need the spare, better to hav one and not need it then the other way around.
    PM me or post any other questions. Good luck on the drive.
    Thanks! I will shop around....

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •