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Thread: Few month stay

  1. #1
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    Default Few month stay

    I've been reading on this forum all day and have learned a LOT. I just wanted to get some opinions on my plan.

    I'll be graduating college May of 2011 and am wanting to go to either Fairbanks or Anchorage and stay for a few months. I've got a couple questions I hope you fine people will be able to answer.

    Should I rent an apartment in Anchorage for my three months? If not what would you recommend? I'm wanting to get the tour of Alaska. I want to be able to see many parts of the huge state, and I realize that picking one place may not be the best way to do this.

    Which brings me to my other question, transportation. I know there are buses in the cities, but what if I want to go from Fairbanks to Anchorage? Would it be better to buy a truck? And what about flying? How easy is it to get to Juneau from Fairbanks? Is it terribly expensive?

    I'm trying to get as much learned as possible before I set things in stone. It's been a dream of mine since I was little to be able to visit Alaska, and now that I'm close to graduating I'm ready to get the ball rolling on actually going. I honestly cannot wait to go. Thanks for taking the time to read.

  2. #2
    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    Welcome, and you are right this is a great forum with some very helpful people. Are you wanting to come here for awhile and just see Alaska as a visitor?Or are you thinking of work and maybe try and live here. The reason is if you don't need work you don't need the citys. If you really want the feel of Alaska you need to get out into it. The distances between places here are far and it would be hard to get around without some kind of car/truck. If you had a truck and camper you would be set to enjoy a summer camping and seeing as much as you can by road. As to get to Juneau you could drive over to Haines and put your truck on the ferry. To fly there or any where here is very costly. Most of the time you can fly to Seattle cheaper then in state.Flying from Anchorage to Fairbanks isn't to costly as they are main hubs, but the trips into the bush can be very costly as what choice do you have if you want to get there.If I where going to do what you want to do I'd get myself my truck/camper down there some where drive it up enjoying the trip before the trip spend a great summer here fishing, hiking, rafting and what ever you like then when its time to go sell the truck here and if you buy the truck right there you might even come out ahead as new trucks run almost $10,000 higher here then down there. Its good to have a dream and hope you are able to make yours come true. Good luck! Andrew

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I agree that the best option would be a car or truck and live out of a tent. There are plenty of places to camp, both formal and informal camping areas, and not being tied down to one location will free you up to visit as much of the state as possible.

    Flying around the state is easy enough, but it eats up $, and it's well worth driving as you'll see more of the state.

    It just comes down to how much time you have and your budget. You'll spend more on gas $ driving from the lower 48 up to AK than you will flying, but you won't have the hassle of trying to find a used vehicle, and get rid of it when you leave. So if you have a reliable vehicle, your best bet is to drive it up.

    I haven't seen the price disparity the previous poster mentions in vehicles, maybe a couple thousand more, but things have really evened out in the past decade or so. There are plenty of people willing to fly down to the lower 48 and drive a vehicle back, or get one in the lower 48 and ship it up on a barge, so prices here may be a few thousand more than the lower 48, but not $10k more.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    What many parts do you want to see and how do you want to see them?

    If you settle into Fairbanks you can take small commercial carrier flights to Nome, Kotz, Barrow, Bettles, McGrath, Kaktovik, Point Hope,.....the list goes on. You can learn of the cost for these flights by checking out Frontier Flying Service, Warblows, etc.

    However, what do you want to do once you are at the runway? Walk around a village and get stared at by the native kids? You can fly into ANWR or Gates of the Arctic from Fairbanks and backpack for a while.

    If you just want to see places then Anchorage maybe the best spot to set down. You can take flights to Lake Clark, Katmai, Bethel, Barrow, Fairbanks, Juneau. A quick penciling in my head and this looks like an easy way to spend $15,000 in three months. Can your trust fund support that?

    I will go along with the other guys and recommend driving and camping. Canada is a pretty cool place to visit west of the plains. Driving and camping you can still get some Alaska stuff in near the road, and then make a plan to go on a fly out to someplace cool like Katmai or ANWR and spend a week without having to sell a kidney.

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    Default Alaska is easy to see and tour

    just bring an incredible amount of money and expect to spend double of what you budget for. If you want to see True Alaska - stay away from Anchorage and Fairbanks They are just like every other stinking urban area anywhere else. A big cities equally suck North and South.

    Stay rural to see real Alaska!
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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Get your own rig

    I would also say get your own truck, especially if you can sleep in the back somehow, is a better way than flying from an apt. in the city.

    The road system is pretty limiting tho and as most agree the cities are not the real Alaska, but you should be able to get a long way out with your own rig then grab a pack and tent and get out of the truck and off the road as much as possible.

    A part you don't want to miss is Southeast, (My Personal Favorite part of the Entire State)which you could do nicely with your truck on the Ferry out of Bellingham WA or Prince Rupert BC then stop and drive around each town as you pass thru Ketch, Wrangell, Sitka, Juneau etc. then drive on up from Haines.

    Some Incredible areas like the Aleutians and Western coast are hard to get to and see very well without a boat or something but at some point if you can afford to get a bush plane flight somewhere you'll be Really Happy you did get up in the air.

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    Thanks for the info! I had thought that maybe the cities weren't the "true" Alaska. whateveri8, do you have any specific places in mind? I'm not really looking for "touristy." I want to see what I see in the pictures, because I know it's up there. I'd like to take a small hunting/fishing trip just to say I did. I'll read more in the fishing and hunting area about that.

    I'm pretty sure the plan is going to be to get a truck (probably an old 4wheel drive Nissan) and just drive. I could save much more money flying and looking for one up there. I've found a couple good ones on Craigslist. I figure if I can get a little off road truck I'll be able to go most places and get a feel for how Alaska really is. I just don't want to go park in the middle of nowhere, miles away from anything and pitch a tent and expect to have adequate food without looking like those people on "the Alaska Experiment."

    It's a definite point of mine to fly..somewhere. I don't know where or over what just yet, that's what I have the next year for. I don't want to have to worry about paying rent and utilities renting an apartment. Plus I don't want to be tied down when I want to go to another part of the state.

    I'll have to budget out things per trip such as flying vs driving, where to store the potential camper, etc. I suspect that flying everywhere is going to be too expensive for what I had in mind, although I do expect to take a few flights just to explore. I haven't really thought about a tent, I don't know how much my back would like sleeping on a cot for several months.. That will definitely save money though. All this talk about going makes me want to pack up now.

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    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    A good option is to fly into Seattle then take a hotel transport to Bellingham. Ride the Alaska Marine Highway north. You can get off and explore the stops. If you travel light (backpack with essential gear) you will save yourself a lot of headache. Then, when up on the main land, buy a beater that you can sell when you leave. I wouldn't rent a set place for the entire time.

    What's your budget?
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    One thing you might want to consider is getting an Alaska Airlines Signature Visa card. When you're approved, you automatically get 25,000 miles. If you spend $5,000 in the next year on that card, you'll have 30,000 miles. It only costs 15,000 miles for an in-state round-trip ticket on AK Air. You could fly for free down to Southeast once, and then take another free trip up to Nome or out to Adak. If you're likely to spend five grand over the next year anyhow, you may as well get some miles so you can see more of the state on the cheap. Alternatively, you can use the 25,000 miles to fly up here for free, as inter-state round trip tickets are 25,000.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    You can see alot of the "real Alaska" just on the outskirts of Anchorage, and sometimes in the city limits. I know it's popular to bash Anchortown as the Northernmost suburb of Seattle, but that doesn't mean you can't have some incredible experiences within 30 mintues of downtown.








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    Great idea Brian! I'll seriously look into that. You may have just saved me a lot of money. BTW, my budget will be around 4k after truck/camper.

    Were those pictures seriously taken that close to Anchorage? That's awesome. I can't even wait to see Denali.

    Thanks guys, yall have given me many things to think about. I need to do some more looking into these campsites/rv parks.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The First picture was taken on the trail to Mount Baldy in Eagle River, and downtown Anchorage is in the view of the picture. 30 minute drive from Anchorage, 10 minute hike.

    The second picture was taken off the Seward Highway, about 10 minutes South of Anchorage, a 10 minute hike from the pullout

    The third picture is the South Fork of Eagle River 30 minute drive from Anchorage, 20 minute hike.

    The last picture was taken in Anchorage, just off of Tudor drive on BLM greenbelt, but unfortunately that spot is now a new road.

    On a clear day I can see Mt. McKinley from my office.

    Oh, my wife and I went on a lunch time hike by flattop on Tuesday, it's a bit hazy but Mt. McKinley is poking up above her head, and Denali is to the left of me.



    You can have a summers full of adventures within an hour or two of Anchorage, but I'd still say covering the roads from Anchorage to GlenAllen, Valdez, Fairbanks, Seward and Homer would be a great way to see what the state has to offer.

    I'd say head N of Anchorage on the parks highway, up past Denali to Fairbanks. Head down the Alcan, then take the highway to Valdez. Get your car on the Ferry to Seward, that way you get to see Prince William Sound (book in advance, the Ferry fills up). Drive from Seward to Homer, then back to Anchorage.

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    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    Quote:Mt. McKinley is poking up above her head, and Denali is to the left of me.

    Denali and Mt. Mckinley are one and the same. The others are Hunter and Foraker

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    That! that is what I'm looking for. I do think what I'll do is get a truck and either find a pop-up or a tent. Haven't decided what my budget will support yet, but I've got a little while to iron all those things out. Thanks for the help. It's pretty neat that you can go on a hike during lunch. I guess I might as well start looking for some good hiking gear. I'll have a lot more questions in the next few months.

    BTW, got my application in to the Alaska Airlines credit card. Gonna start piling on those sky miles. I'm ready to go now. Just pack up and leave.

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    Member Crab_n_fish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    The second picture was taken off the Seward Highway, about 10 minutes South of Anchorage, a 10 minute hike from the pullout

    The third picture is the South Fork of Eagle River 30 minute drive from Anchorage, 20 minute hike.
    .
    Thank you for the pictures, Paul! Maybe I'll run into Leroy at these two spots. I can't speak for him, but I'll be the one with my tongue hanging out and snapping picture after picture!

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    Here's an update..

    As it turns out, my uncle and my cousin's husband both want to tag along for a few weeks. One was a Delta mechanic and the other is a pilot. Get to fly up fo freee.

    Having a third person brings me to another set of problems. I have to get a bigger truck and camper than I had planned on. I started thinking about it and had a major realization. How am I going to insure a truck and a camper for a few months when my insurance company is in Ga? I've been looking at Craigslist to see what bigger vehicles and campers are available. There are some.. but prices are a little more.

    I got a job this summer(finally!) and saved a few grand. It's a seasonal job, so I'll be working there again next summer. So now the plan is to work until August then make the trip up. Is there anything I'll miss by coming up in August? Is there any great advantage to coming up earlier in the summer? I'd like to start in the southern part of the state in August and end up in Fairbanks so I can make it home by Thanksgiving.

    I've been constantly reading and gathering more information about the trip. I'll be graduating college in May. and the closer it gets the more excited I get. I'm really looking forward to this once in a lifetime trip.

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    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    You will miss King fishing, Red fishing, and most of the summer. Still Aug & Sept are nice fall times to be here. Flying from Fairbanks to Anchorage or Juneau is easy Just look at Alaska Airlines site for prices.

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    Would it benefit me more to come up earlier than August? Other than fishing, which is definitely one of the things I didn't want to miss, what else would I miss by not coming in August? Does the weather get so bad that it might not be in my best interest to stay until November (snow ins, white outs, etc)? I'm only going to get to do this once, and I don't want to screw it up.

    Thanks,

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    I think coming up mid June or first of July would give you a lot of fishing, all the coastal streams, The Kenai Peninusla is great fishing in July. Reds, Kings, trout and silvers to the end of the month and all of August. King salmon season closes the 31 of July most every year. The weather is generally great in July, tho not this year it rained most of the month. Halibut fishing is great in July. Most nights are not to cold, only a small fire to keep warm. While working on my cabin in November 2008 it was 7 below zero on the 15th. Snow on the ground and slick driving. The crowd leaves at the end of July to Mid August. Traveling by car or truck you can cover a lot of country, use flyouts to see remote areas and Southeast. Have fun.

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    oh oh oh Come up say sept 1- 15th and I will show you how to carry a moose to my truck!

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