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Thread: Ideas on showing wife Alaska

  1. #1
    Member ergoman's Avatar
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    Default Ideas on showing wife Alaska

    Paul H had posted a driving route in another thread, I didnt want to hijack it so started this one:
    So thanks Paul for a driving tour recommendation.

    Here's our situation;
    We have a small business that still provides a decent living but is struggling like many in our area. I want to move to Alaska if/when the business winds down, wife is considering it and we will make another trip prob this summer. Up to two weeks long depending on cost.

    I did a cast and blast on Kodiak 3 years ago, and took my wife and 8 yo on a south bound inside passage cruise last year. We rented a car and drove to the Yukon at (skagway? I think), other than that we toured towns that were very similar in the tourist area's. We are rehab therapists and would need to be within driving distance of a town large enough to have a hospital or clinics/schools that could use one of us. I loved Kodiak for the outdoor oppurtunities, my wife thinks she and the kid wouldnt have enough to do socially??? I met a school teacher on the flight that said it was a great place and his family loved it there.

    Not sure how to spend two weeks in Alaska to get a better feel for what it would be like to live there. Our thoughts have been;

    -Rent a cabin/hotel for a few days in two/three different likely towns (other than anchorage) for the two weeks and explore.
    -Do a driving tour and try to narrow down a geographic area
    -Any other ideas?

    We would like to be near the coast.
    We grew up farming and have a small farm now, we spend a lot of time outside and the wife and kid hunt and fish a little.


    This is the route Paul H posted in the other thread, (hope its ok to copy it here)
    "Fly into Anchorage, rent a car, drive E to GlennAllen, take the tok cutoff N all the way to Fairbanks, head S on the Parks hwy back to Anchorage, keep going S to Homer, hit Seward on the return to Anchorage. That's roughly 1600 miles, and the best way to see the state. The train only goes from Seward to Fairbanks, so you'll see alot more driving that route. That trip can be done in a week, and you can camp out the whole time (in the summer) so save quite a bit over hotels or bed and breakfasts. The train is pretty spendy, I bet if you compared a rental car for a week and fuel vs. 2 train tickets from Anchorage to Fairbanks and down to Seward and back the car wouldn't cost any more, may actually be a fair bit less."

    thanks
    Ergoman

  2. #2
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
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    Default

    A great person to contact this about would be Rickf here on our boards. You can find him by doing a user/member search under 'community' in the above 3rd pane.

    He did this same trip about a year ago, same time, and he can give you all the ins and outs on what he experienced. (Everything from rental cars to people and to places that he stayed).

    My suggestion is that you come and take your time. Alaska is vast and Mapquest isn't all that accurate when it comes to ETA to each destination.
    Lurker.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Default

    I've done the Anch to Tok to Fbks to Anc trip a couple of times. A week or so is doable, two is great.

    You can really keep costs down by renting a car and tent camping. I've camped in a lot of the SRS sites and never had any trouble getting a spot- in fact I've been there by myself on several occasions. Keep in mind these are bare bones facilities for the most part- table, pit toilet and fire ring and thats about it. Most spots in AK allow roadside camping and its not unusual to see folks crashed out in pull outs but there's no real need.

    The only areas you may have trouble finding a good spot are close to tourist destinations- Denali, well worn fishing holes and the like. Other spots will be almost vacant.

    Buy the book 'The Milepost' for a mile by mile breakdown of everything on the road. Its reasonably accurate and well worth the cost.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    It's tough to figure out how a place will be to live in a two week visit. It took us two years to get used to living up here. And then there is the factor of places you'd like to live vs. where you can live due to employment requirements.

    In the medical field, Anchorage is the hub of the entire state, not only do the medical facilities support the nearly 1/2 of the states population that live in the Anchorage area, but it also supports most remote areas where people are flown in for medical care. Not a bad place to live and you can have a small farm within driving distance.

    I've been to Kodiak a few times, and it's one of the places I've visited that I'd gladly move to if I had work there.

    But if you're concerned about social things to do for you child, again Anchorage has the most options.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    If you want to be near the coast, focus your efforts on Seward, Soldotna, and Homer. All three of these areas have some medical facilities nearby, though they are somewhat limited. Alternatively, consider Eagle River or Wasilla/Palmer and realize that you may have to drive or hike a bit to find real solitude.

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    Member ergoman's Avatar
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    Default alaska

    Right now were considering flying into anchorage, drive to wasilla, eagle river area for a day or two. Then drive to the Kenai to check out Homer, Seward and Saldotna, ending up back at Anchorage to fly out. Does that sound like a reasonable trip for 10 days or so? It would be in June.
    Thanks for the help and responses so far.
    Ron

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Personally, if I could figure out how to make a living on Kodiak, it would be the only other place I'd consider moving to in Alaska. Plenty of people there with very diverse cultures, good athletic programs at the high school, good education system, and access to great hunting and fishing. I can't imagine anything you couldn't get "socially" in Kodiak that you would be missing.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Member ergoman's Avatar
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    Default alaska

    Thank you for the information,
    AKDoug, what you wrote is basically what that school teacher I met from Kodiak told me also. Jobs are harder to come by.

    -How long does it take to get from Soldotna or Seward to Anchorage?

    Thanks
    Ron

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    Hi Ergoman,

    If I can be of any help let me know. Like COtoAK said, I made almost the same trip last April. I drove 1827 miles in 7 days just to see as much as I could.

    This maybe helpful:

    http://www.bellsalaska.com/myalaska/highways.htm

    I printed out my routes and took them with me. It told me what to watch for.

    My route was: arrive in Anchorage and spend the night. I got a rental truck from High Country Rentals (rates were kind of high, too) then checked into the Motel 6 on 'A' or 'C' Street (don't remember which). It was a good motel, better than Motel 6's down south. The next day, I drove to Homer...then backtracked to Kenai for the night. Took lots of pictures, so the trip took longer than it should have. Next day, it was back thru Anchorage then onward to Valdez. Long, long drive and lots more pictures. I came up on Thompson's Pass after dark, in a blinding snowstorm, and this was the only time I was nervous during the entire trip. Felt lucky to make it to Valdez. Had 2 wheel drive and traffic on the highway was almost non-existent. The next morning, I got around late, had breakfast, and headed up the Richardson Highway for North Pole. Lots more stops for pictures. Scarred up a flock of ruffed grouse before Delta Junction. Then, had to get some pics around Summit Lake. Arrived kind of late in North Pole. Note: do not stay in the Jolly Acres Motel on Badger Road. Good prices but very trashy. Saw the northern lights, though. The following day, I headed down the Parks Highway with beautiful scenery and made it to Talkeetna, which was the place I really wanted to see. Stayed there for two days (in the Roadhouse). Small rooms but cozy. Afterwards, back to Anchorage and the flight home.

    None of this says anything about the friendly people I met. From the stewardess who, upon landing, came on the intercom and said, "welcome home", to all the excuse me's and pard me's I heard just pushing a cart around Wal-Mart in Anchorage, to Joe, the owner of Nature's Jewels (on Arctic Blvd., I think) who spent 30 minutes outside with me looking over rocks I'd found and discussing Alaskan geology, to COtoAK and her family - the nicest people you'd ever want to meet, to the lady at the Talkeetna Roadhouse, who gave me a room and a key to the outside door without even asking for an ID, then asked if I'd mind paying the next day, to the airline ticket agent who helped me repack my luggage and saved me $100 in fees.

    The beautiful scenery I expected. The people were a complete and utter surprise. I've been around the world, and Alaska is the only place I've regretted leaving.

  10. #10
    Member ergoman's Avatar
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    Default alaska

    Thanks for the link Rick. I think I'll try to make our trip a little shorter than yours though. Right now were thinking of checking out Eagle River, Palmer and Wasilla for a few days then driving to Seward, Homer and Soldotna for the remainder of our trip. I really need to help my wife feel confident about a move up there.

    Does this sound like a person would have plenty of time to check these towns out in 10 days?

    Any ideas on actual driving time from Anchorage to seward, Homer or Soldotna?

    thanks again
    Ron

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    Default driving time

    To or from Anchorage to or from Homer is 4/5 hours depending on weather conditions, and time of year. Or, the road may be closed completely because of avalances, etc (not often tho). If you really want to know what it might be like to live in Alaska then come back in Jan or Feb. I've know a few people to absolutly love it here in the summer, get packed up and make it back around the first of the year ( or live here till then), step off of the plane and say 'OMG,..... what do I do!?!?!?) They were gone back home in a couple of weeks. Of course then there is dummies like me that never left!

    Also,... don't expect to just walk into a job, they are few and far between, and lots of competion for them.

    Good luck!

  12. #12
    Member ergoman's Avatar
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    Default Alaska

    "To or from Anchorage to or from Homer is 4/5 hours depending on weather conditions, and time of year. Or, the road may be closed completely because of avalances, etc (not often tho). If you really want to know what it might be like to live in Alaska then come back in Jan or Feb."

    Unfortunately it costs so much to visit from Michigan I wont be flying up in the winter just to see if more snow and cold weather than we get here will be a deal breaker. Never know till you try.

    "I've know a few people to absolutly love it here in the summer, get packed up and make it back around the first of the year ( or live here till then), step off of the plane and say 'OMG,..... what do I do!?!?!?) They were gone back home in a couple of weeks. Of course then there is dummies like me that never left!

    Also,... don't expect to just walk into a job, they are few and far between, and lots of competion for them."

    We wont be moving for sure until one of us gets a job first, or at least a firm oppurtunity at one. We've been discussing this move and doing some research for a few years off and on. There are almost always jobs in our field (rehab) advertised in the Anchorage area when we look so hopefully we can get some interviews when the time is right. We've been budgeting and saving with this move in mind for over two years. This trip is most likely the final trip prior to pulling the trigger on a job search and possible move so I'm trying my best to look at area's we may actually live in.
    THanks again for all the information

    Good luck![/QUOTE]

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    Thumbs up

    Ergoman, sounds like you are doing your homework, good for you. The winters should be ok for you coming from where you are. As for the jobs, I was mostly talking about Homer, it can be really tuff here. It has been funny seeing some Califrornians deal with Homer some times.

    LIke I said, good lick to you.

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    Default sheesh

    Good luck (not lick)

    lol

  15. #15
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default Travling with Wifes

    Get the travel rules set up early on!!!


    i make a lousy tourist... and told all mine straight as we travled....


    If you see something you like!!!!!!


    let me know!!!


    I will SLOW down!!!!!!!!!

















    then again there are some certain reasons i am on #3
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Talking Vince's sign off

    Ergoman, another way to look at moving to AK, read Vince's sign off quote. I'ts right on,LOL (OK, just sometimes)

  17. #17
    Member ergoman's Avatar
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    Default alaska

    Re: Kenai

    Is the fishing more river based or ocean? Several posts were saying the halibut fishing is not the best with big travel times to get to bigger fish.

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