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Thread: Heading to AK in May!!

  1. #1

    Default Heading to AK in May!!

    Short story to start it off.....

    **I am in the Air Force and during my tech school one of the guys always talked about his "adventures" in Wasilla; had rugs and trophies throughout his house and being an outdoorsman type person I knew that Alaska was the place I had to go to so I put Alaska #1 on my "Dream Sheet"...fast forward 9 years and BAM orders to Elmendorf AFB.....yesssssss!!!! The AF took the long route to get me there (1 year in Tech School in Texas, 4 years in England, then 4 years in Florida) but FINALLY they got their cards straight and now we are Alaska bound!! LOL**

    So in May I will be packing up the family (wife and 2 kids) and watch Panama City, FL fade away in my rear view en route to ALASKA!!! I have been glued to this forum for the last week trying to read anything and everything I can get my mouse to click on!! Wife is a little worried about coming up as she really isnt into cold weather but is being a good sport and trying to look into the positive side as well as knowing that this isnt a permanent move (unless we fall head over heels in love and I find a way to stay there 11 years and retire!!! LOL) Just got done ordering The Milestone (thanks to this forum making the recommendation)

    Seems like the general consensus is to take your time and soak in the scenery on the drive.....I will be getting a couple weeks to drive up as well as I am taking an additional week off en route to allow me to slow down even more (plus gotta visit a couple family members)....I honestly see myself blazing through the lower US to allow more time in Canada and Alaska "enjoying" the scenery!!

    They always say there is a perfect match made for you (usually meant towards wife/husband) BUT since I already got the wife I think this statement suites more towads a state for me!!!! LOL

    Fishing...Check
    Hunting...Check
    Hiking...Check
    Boating...Check
    Fun...Check
    Nice People...Check (based on this forum and what i have heard from others)

    I know there are MANY questions I have running through my head but thought I should at least introduce me and my family before going too crazy!!

    Based on what I have seen through these forums (as far as people helping out) I think that this should be a pretty smooth transition.

    Thanks in advance, from me and my family, for all the help/support.

  2. #2
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default You're Gonna Have Fun

    It's really cool to see someone so excited for a land they just heard about a lot.

    Welcome Welcome, You Are Gonna Have Some Fun viewing your priorities for adventure

    Put some thought into the clothing for your wife as even Anchorage can get cold, (not as bad as she is probably imagining as it is a coastal city) but things like the excellent Capilene long underwear makes the cold a non issue, but you might also ask around for the womens opinions on jacket, hats boots as the right stuff makes All The Difference. A good store for nice looking yet highly functional clothing is REI in Anch (or Seattle on your way up). If she is just a little cold "all the time" it's hard to expect her to enjoy herself. Coming from Fla it can be just a little wet cold and miserable even in summer for an adjustment period so take care of her ahead of time, you'll be glad you did

    Also make sure and get out of town for drives, etc, as much as possible

    Also make a plan if you have options to travel outside in Nov or Dec when the days are short, this is a key to survival through the adjustment to Ak

  3. #3

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    He was a good story teller!!

    Actually throughout my career I have heard nothing but good things about assignments to Alaska...with exception to the "its cold" phrase...

    As far as getting out...definitely in the plans....have already been looking into the local hiking spots near Anchorage as well as getting our bikes ready to go.

    Will check into those companies for some gear. Thanks

  4. #4

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    Quick question....

    Seen lots of postings about not bringing a RWD vehicle....so I am guessing I should dump my Dodge Ram and look into a 4WD type SUV/Truck??...

    I think I know what I want to do but just looking to see what the consensus would be.

  5. #5
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Sounds like a discussion

    You might start a thread on this question, sounds like the guys could go on about the choice there,

    I've had several of each and I believe 4wd is just more to break down (Ak woods driving will do this to your rig too believe me!) and you should just bring what you have and get a four wheeler for the AK terrain as there aren't a lot of full on four wheel drive roads to be had but four wheeler trails are everywhere into the major bush. Of course there are quite a few opposed to any more of those around also as they rut up the woods pretty good

    I like the old trucks so am driving a '78 F-100 step side 2wd now which is good for firewood and hauling gear to the boat harbor but is so light in back it is near worthless off road or in deep snow even..... I just like it and have a boat to get me off road and in the remote woods.

    One note is the SUV might not like all the stuff you need to throw in the back versus an open truck, I've always got something smellin like fish or some other in back

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    Default

    HAHA, looks like we're following each other but didn't know it. My wife was in USAF, based in England, we move back over here 3 years ago, Alabama, now we are about to move to Kodiak in the next couple of months. We are now both going through the same as you and packing the shorts and t-shirts all away and stocking up on the cold wet gear. I am fairly well organised, ex-military and hunter, so is my eldest kid and the wife, youngest kids are hardest to get gear for. Strangely getting good cold/wet gear for really young kids was easier in UK.
    Had the car all organised - until someone ran into my beloved land-rover 3 weeks ago and totalled it, now we have my wife's minivan and I get to buy a new 4WD when I get up there.
    We have had lots of friends based at Elmendsdorf (sp?) and all have really enjoyed it. It was them that convinced my wife to take the job on Kodiak.

  7. #7
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default

    Hey nbh40, is she going to be working on the CG base? civilian something or other, just curious as mine works there.

    Welcome, ahead of time to Kodiak, REI in anchorage has a lot of good wet/cold gear for kids if you get that far, of course buy South if you can.

    You know it doesn't get really that cold here but wet as all get out, London stuff will work here probably,

    It's 39 F outside right now after dark, but blowin 40knots out of the East in February, so feels wet/cold as I think you already know by your post,

    It is an exotic island tho, Hope you all Love It

  8. #8

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    nbh40: Where at in England?? We were at Lakenheath......

    Does sound like we are taking similar paths.

    Rain: Still not 100% sure what I want to do with my truck....I love being able to throw everything in the bed of the truck not worry about smells and such.....BUT at same time like the additional room that an SUV would bring.

    Too many choices!! LOL

  9. #9

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    One thing you should do first thing is get a copy of the Mile Post. It is a detailed set of maps of Alaska, and western Canada. It will tell you everything you need to know for driving the Alaska Highway. I would suggest buying it as soon as possible. You will love looking at it.

  10. #10

    Default Milepost

    Chobbs: I actually pre-ordered my 2010 copy the day I started the post...just waiting for it to come in the mail!!

    Thanks for the heads up!

  11. #11
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dskel1122 View Post
    nbh40: Where at in England?? We were at Lakenheath......

    Does sound like we are taking similar paths.

    Rain: Still not 100% sure what I want to do with my truck....I love being able to throw everything in the bed of the truck not worry about smells and such.....BUT at same time like the additional room that an SUV would bring.

    Too many choices!! LOL
    Wife was at Lakenheath, left USAF when pregnant with our first - Aug 2001. I was in British Military and retired July 2007, we then moved to AL. Wife was Labor and Del nurse at Lakenheath.

    Funny thing, my Landrover got totalled 3 weeks ago, so I am now also debating the truck v SUV for AK! The Landy would have been ideal

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    Hey nbh40, is she going to be working on the CG base? civilian something or other, just curious as mine works there.

    Welcome, ahead of time to Kodiak, REI in anchorage has a lot of good wet/cold gear for kids if you get that far, of course buy South if you can.

    You know it doesn't get really that cold here but wet as all get out, London stuff will work here probably,

    It's 39 F outside right now after dark, but blowin 40knots out of the East in February, so feels wet/cold as I think you already know by your post,

    It is an exotic island tho, Hope you all Love It
    Wife will be at Providence Med Center. We are actually hitting all the winter sales at the moment; been a long time user of REI. Got a pretty good feel for the climate, as you say pretty similar to some parts (northern) UK. Being in AL for 3 years we now have more shorts and tees than cold/wet gear. Been digging through the attic to see what still fits

    Everyone tells me Kodiak is a great family place - we have 3 boys 8, 4 and 3. The eldest is really into shooting and just started hunting with him. Kodiak as good as people say?

  13. #13
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Kodiak was made for boys

    Yeah, I think the Island was created for boys especially, We have an 8 and 3yr old. Oldest is just getting started shooting/hunting (new .22 rifle for Christmas)

    We joined KISA (Sportsmans assoc) for access to the indoor range and they are just starting a Youth Rifle class there, yours might like that. There is good rabbit and even Fox hunting close to town and Ptarmigan up high. Blacktail Deer (limit 3) etc. Hunting and Fishing is Extreme as it gets!!

    There is a lot to do for boys outside, My wife really enjoys the beaches with the boys fascinated by the tide pools, good for all ages but the little ones have great time with ocean stuff, the ocean never ceases to entertain. She is also real big on walking in the woods just for Peace'n Out, Superfresh air, ocean spray, etc. There's an old growth Spruce forest five minutes north of town that has nice trails all through the woods and it is Highly Recommended by my Born and Raised Kodiak Girl. She is third generation Kodiak so knows what it takes to enjoy life here. It's different for women so you'll want to get her with some long term residents for friends(Providence has some cool folks out there) to hang with good attitude girls and they'll take her under their wing and she'll love it.

    We Love It, especially when the weather or isolation gets hard, it'll make you appreciate the sunny days and calm foggy mornings for the rest of your life

    Eventually, You'll want to come up with some kind of boat as the water is The Way off the road system and opens ALL kinds of stuff to do.

    It can get dreary in the rainy winter for some but we focus on getting outside as much as possible and that seems to be a key, It is an absolutely beautiful place even in the rain, fog, even getting out in the woods when it's blowin 50 is a surreal experience you'll never forget. Most people never try that but it's awesome! Go down to the beach in a Storm and watch the Waves Pound In for fun

    So get set up to be outside and you'll really enjoy it in on the Emerald Island, Wait til you see the summers, it gets just "Flourescent Green" on the hillsides

    Lots of good groups of people doing social stuff too, It used to be hard living on an island as isolation made even getting auto parts and other basics tough and spendy but the Internet is changing all that nicely.

    I'm pretty sure you will like it but some really have a hard time, we see Coast Guard folks come through a lot (not necessarily by choice and for a limited time span) and totally suffer here, the adjustment is large from the lower 48. It's ALL in the attitude and as I have said "Get Out There", not a place to hunker down inside online or TV. Some people miss it completely. Some totally love it and decide to stay forever.

    Ok, I better stop yacking, It's a good place. Hope to get a chance to meet you somehow.

    Good Travels

  14. #14

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    nbh40: Wow that is weird probably met your guys and didnt even know it.....I am a biomed tech (work on all the hospital equipment) so made my rounds throughout the hospital regularly...actually spent quite a few nights working in labor and delivery working on the central monitoring systems...April 2002-06....

    Well talked to a few people that were stationed in Alaska and went out to check out the 4WD vehicles in the area......now my old RWD truck is being cleaned out and being prepped in its new home, the used car lot......Got me an 05 Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon....

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    KodiakRain,
    Thanks for the info. Unlike many, the UK (cold/wet/dreary) weather is something we really miss. I grew up on UK coast and loved the beach in the rain and storms and that is something myself and my wife have already talked about looking forward to.
    Sounds like we may have to get together - my son (Jake 8) got his 22 for his birthday last October and we have been shooting every weekend since. My younger 2 boys are also same as your youngest (4 and 3)!! How are the schools? On-line reports are real good, but nothing better than first hand info.
    As for KISA, I have already been speaking with the Guys at Mack's; can't remember names, but the Pres and VP of KISA. The were really informative and gave me a lot of info on the youth programme: Jake can't wait, shooting, fishing, beaches, cub scout camps - what more can a young boy want?
    How is the rabbit and fox hunting in respect to bear dangers? That is my wife's biggest concern - taking the boys hunting in bear country. Biggest threat in Alabama hunting is Bubba mistaking us for white-tail!!!

  16. #16
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Close to town not so bad

    Bear Factor is big in Kodiak and we are regularly surprised how close to town they are coming now and then but I would say if you use common sense they are not as big a factor on the road system close to town. More aware of man's presence so they are less easily surprised. They don't want to mess with you either, usually

    So for rabbits and Fox it's not as dangerous as say Deer and Elk hunting further from town, where they are not afraid of men in "Their Territory" and will come in to lay claim to a gut pile on your rifle shot. Not always but Definitely Keep Your Head Up always for the possibility on Kodiak. Fox calling with with Fawn in Distress could be a spicy endeavor tho

    Also they often get up and go for walks in dead of winter so even tho they are a bit less predatory then it still requires awareness at all times

    I guess another tip for road system hunting is everything intensifies during Salmon runs when the streams are full of fish and that becomes "Bear Territory" for several months.

    Again always keep your head up, but you can get out there and have fun

  17. #17

    Default The day creeps closer

    Well the packers come next week to pack everything up and I get to move into my temp home till May 10th!......Found out that the ferry is booked up so had to scratch that part of the trip so now get to take the truck and trailer on the ALCAN!!
    Couple of questions about the trip....we should be coming into Canada just south of Calgary from Sunburst, Montana. Looking at trying to get through in 6-7 days.....I will have my wife and 2 kids with me (5 and 2 year old); any tips on places to stay the night, places to stay away from, hole in the wall places to eat along the way??? Kind of glad it worked this way cause I have heard lots of good things about the drive as far as the scenery goes.

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

  18. #18

    Default Which way is better???

    Well only have 9 days before I leave and was talking to a couple of friends that drive to Anchorage every once in a while and getting mixed answers......

    Cross into Canada through Montana and take ALCAN to Anchorage or drive to Washington and shoot north from there??

    I will be driving my Ram Power Wagon and hauling a 5x8 trailer behind......mainly worried about road condition for the trailer.

    Thanks for the help.....cant wait to get on the road headin to AK!

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    Go through Montana. I-15 to the border and head up towards Edmonton and then cut over to Ft. Saint John. Nice drive as I just did it last October.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dskel1122 View Post
    Well only have 9 days before I leave and was talking to a couple of friends that drive to Anchorage every once in a while and getting mixed answers......

    Cross into Canada through Montana and take ALCAN to Anchorage or drive to Washington and shoot north from there??

    I will be driving my Ram Power Wagon and hauling a 5x8 trailer behind......mainly worried about road condition for the trailer.

    Thanks for the help.....cant wait to get on the road headin to AK!
    If you are coming from the east, enter Canada through Coutts AB/Sweetgrass Montana.
    That would be I15 in MT, then hwy 4 in AB. Go to Lethbridge head west on hwy 3. Then north on hwy 2. Stay on hwy 2 till Edmonton. Get on hwy 43 and head NW to Grand Prairie.
    Look at a map to wiggly through Edmonton.
    Have a good trip
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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