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Thread: Like to retire in Alaska

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    Default Like to retire in Alaska

    Hello folks,I am a retired from the US Marine Corps last year and would like to settle in Alaska.I love the cold weather and hunting .I have a lot of Arctic survival skills as I skied and spent several entire winters above the Arctic circle in Norway most of the time in tents with Yukon stoves or less.My Dad was living and working in Alaska when WW2 broke out and then left to join the Marines.After the war(s) in the late fiftys before I was born he went back for a few years to live but my mother did not like it.I grew up on stories about Alaska but unfortunately I have never got there (yet).Couple of questions;I wont need a job as I have a real good pension but how are prices for land and a cabin? Also can I drive my Land Rover up with my weapons through Canada? Or is it possible to take the ferry from Washington state and bypass Canada altogether? I really do not know where to begin and any help would be really appreciated.This seems like a real good forum and I am sure to gain a lot of useful information from it! Semper Fi!

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    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    How about coming up for a visit, maybe driving (and flying) around the state to find what you like.
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    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    Driving through Canada with weapons is a pain anymore, and handguns a big NO! NO! As for taking a Ferry to not go to Canada Most of the ferry rides end in Haines Alaska, but from there you still have to go into Canada to get back into Alaska. Phish is right come on up and just check it out.

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    There is a ferry that crosses the Gulf a few times per summer; however, it's way cheaper to drive up. I'd look into having a dealer ship your guns. Here's a link to ferry routes:
    http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/routes.shtml
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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Dittos on coming up and spending a year or two traveling around the state to see what you like. As far as prices for land and cabins, they very tremendously based on how easy or difficult it is to access the land, and on how popular the location is. Land can run from $5-50,000 an acre, but land that is cheap to purchase can be incredibly expensive to develop due to the diffculty of getting building materials to the land. Cabins on land run from say $70-300k, depending on many factors.

    The cost of living in Alaska varies from high to very high, so thoroughly understand what your expenses will be before figuring you won't have to work to support yourself.

    Search through the cabin's forum, there have been many excellent threads the cover the ins and outs of cabin building, pros and cons of various locations etc.

  6. #6

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    Driving up is a great expieriance itself, it is half the fun of coming to alaska. I have never taken the ferry,but it is likely a fun experiance too.
    I have to agree that you need to come up and spend a year or so before choosing what and where you want to buy.
    I have to dissagree with shipping your long guns,as I have driven up with guns several times with absolutely no trouble, just no restricted guns (pistols or black guns). When you get to the border you will need to stop at the us customs if you have guns. It simplifies things if you have the make, model,serial number and barrel length of every gun written down before you get there, they will fill out one piece of paper work and go out and verify the serial numbers and give you the application for you to give the canadian customs officer, which may or may not even ask you to look at them when he sells you the permit to transport them through canada. The permit runs app. 25 bucks for a one way,one time permit for however many you bring. There is no permit required for as much as 5000 rounds of ammo.

    I have done this several times without a hitch and have only had the canadian customs even look at the guns once.

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    Quote Originally Posted by starmac View Post
    Driving up is a great expieriance itself, it is half the fun of coming to alaska. I have never taken the ferry,but it is likely a fun experiance too.
    I have to agree that you need to come up and spend a year or so before choosing what and where you want to buy.
    I have to dissagree with shipping your long guns,as I have driven up with guns several times with absolutely no trouble, just no restricted guns (pistols or black guns). When you get to the border you will need to stop at the us customs if you have guns. It simplifies things if you have the make, model,serial number and barrel length of every gun written down before you get there, they will fill out one piece of paper work and go out and verify the serial numbers and give you the application for you to give the canadian customs officer, which may or may not even ask you to look at them when he sells you the permit to transport them through canada. The permit runs app. 25 bucks for a one way,one time permit for however many you bring. There is no permit required for as much as 5000 rounds of ammo.

    I have done this several times without a hitch and have only had the canadian customs even look at the guns once.
    That is encourageing. I hear so many stories about how Canadians (the government) hates guns. i would traves light with just a rifle or two but i would not feel fully dressed without a .45 ;yes most knowledgeable Marines still carry them. My Dad had made the drive to Fairbanks from the US in the 50's when it was a dirt road and he said it was the greatest trip of his life. I still see that Alaska has some cheap land for sale ;but I can see the caveat in that ,that it is a long way to get building supplies.Wouldn't timber be inexpensive though?

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    Member kylemac's Avatar
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    Very little is "inexpensive" here. I agree with the others -- little has matched my early expectations -- it's hard to explain the nuances of this great state via a forum or email or even a video. I would come portable for a little while and spend a season - or two - traveling. I just completed the Hwy -- it was an adventure of its own.

    My Dad's an old Marine -- Vietnam Vet -- I am looking to bring him up for a visit next spring.

    I wish you the best of luck.

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    Where you comming from? This place is incredible, but dont think the hunting is a cakewalk. We came here from the midwest where we could shoot whitetail from the backyard, but Alaska is much different and you'll most likely have to learn on your own as we have. With that said I'd live no-where else again. Do the trip up the Alcan it's a great trip. Canada was no problem for me, they did'nt even look at my firearms. Just dont bring a 25 or 32 caliber handgun as they are no-go. This is a great site with tons of knowledge available to you, read as much as you can. Post when you arrive.
    Paul

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    Another thing to keep in mind. Very few places take Tricare and Medicare.
    “You touch my junk, I'm going to have you arrested.” - Groping objector

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    Nordlander
    If you cross a border you need a passport. No pistols

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    Member AkKevin's Avatar
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    Norlander
    I would rent an apartment for a year. Get to know the lay of the land. You will have a better idea as to the direction you would like to go in.

  13. #13

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    Lots of retirees (working stiffs too) stay for a year or two then become disillusioned and move back.

    Take a couple of months IN THE WINTER to visit then decide. Southeast? Interior? Matsu? Bush? Los Anchorage? Kenai? All very different areas with different weather, different taxes, different challenges. Decide what level of civilization you need. Living two hours from Wally World sounds awesome until...you need something from Wally World! Flights around the bush and in Southeast can really add up in the $ department. Energy costs in the Interior can kick you in the can. Blah blah. For the right person it is more than worth it.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    You can live good on your government check about anywhere in S.E..Semper Fi
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Ship your guns up to Alaska either to a sporting good store, gun broker , etc. This will allow you to keep from hauling them through Canada.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskaflyer331 View Post
    Lots of retirees (working stiffs too) stay for a year or two then become disillusioned and move back.

    Take a couple of months IN THE WINTER to visit then decide. Southeast? Interior? Matsu? Bush? Los Anchorage? Kenai? All very different areas with different weather, different taxes, different challenges. .....
    I agree with everything he said!

    My suggestion is to pick an area and rent for a year or two and see if you like it. I lived in the interior for 15 years, loved the warm summers but got a little tired of the -40 and below winters.

    Then the “road system” started getting crowded for my tastes, so 3 years ago we moved closer to the coast and about 15 miles from the nearest road. Cooler summers, warmer winters, a lot less people and we love it!

    I still get a kick out of people who come to visit. They are “outdoor & healthy living” types who after a week are going into movie or Big Mac withdrawals. Not that I am saying anything bad about them, it just illustrates to me how most people are “hooked on the city” and don’t even know it. People are amazed when they find out we only go grocery shopping once or twice a year, (pre-order, buy in bulk, etc.)

    Here is a site I like, Alaska Remote Properties it will give you a good idea of prices and what not.

    Good luck to you!

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    The trips up is great and have done it a couple of times. Have carried up a good clip of guns on each trip and have not had any problems as long as you have you numbers right and yes no hand guns. You can also send your long guns like the assault type to yourself by way of USPS just break them down and box them up.
    There is nothing cheap up here, and if it seems to be, well there is something wrong.
    Everything cost up here but i would not leave it for nothing. I guess the part of jumping on a snow machine and run over to the local hamburger joint for a burger and a beer just appeals to me.
    Good luck on the trip

    Semper fi

    Sweepint
    Wasilla, (when not overseas)
    '' Livn' The Dream ''
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  18. #18

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    I drove from texas and everyone said, "no guns, no hand guns, and be ready to have a cavity search wehn you get to the border"....then everyone said, "dont' drive, sell all and rebuy up there"...

    well, i called teh canadian authorities, they faxed me the paper work for HANDGUNS and rifles, I filled it out and faxed it back, they Ok'd it all...like $25 bucks a gun...all had to be locked up so i had a gun case, that was great...then I loaded up my truck, 4 wheeler, adn trailer with 1 years supplies and drove up the Ak highway for my vacation! cost me $1200 or so bucks, about a plane ticket to thebush from texas....cost me about 2 miles per gal to be loaded...so, i did great on monie and the move...i did not have to buy food for months!....i had a welder, tools, oil, guns, etc..>OH, when i got to the canadain border, i did have to unload my trailer for them to inspect my hangguns and rifles, they did, and only charged me for one!!!! The handguns have specific regulations about a barrel cannot be shorter than like 3 in???? Nor longer than 6.5???? But, you can get through, just do the paperwork in advance, fax to them, have them check it out..the lady there was really nice to me....

    so, my advice....pack up everything you can on a 4 wheel drive pickup truck...bring trailer, but not a polaris 4 wheeler, they are freezing up here, the oil reserves, bursting and then burning up the engine as the oil leaks out!!! load up all your tools, jacks, chains, chainsaw, extra blades, oil, deodarant, toothpaste, flour, sugar, etc and drive up!!!!! It's an awesome view!
    Scotty in the AK bush

  19. #19
    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nordlander View Post
    Hello folks,I am a retired from the US Marine Corps last year and would like to settle in Alaska.I love the cold weather and hunting .I have a lot of Arctic survival skills as I skied and spent several entire winters above the Arctic circle in Norway most of the time in tents with Yukon stoves or less.My Dad was living and working in Alaska when WW2 broke out and then left to join the Marines.After the war(s) in the late fiftys before I was born he went back for a few years to live but my mother did not like it.I grew up on stories about Alaska but unfortunately I have never got there (yet).Couple of questions;I wont need a job as I have a real good pension but how are prices for land and a cabin? Also can I drive my Land Rover up with my weapons through Canada? Or is it possible to take the ferry from Washington state and bypass Canada altogether? I really do not know where to begin and any help would be really appreciated.This seems like a real good forum and I am sure to gain a lot of useful information from it! Semper Fi!

    Norlander
    You'll have to sort out all the free advice here,,, My Dad always said that free advice was worth just about what it cost...
    He was right more times than not... Talk to the Canadian Customs people... get the straight skinny on what and how to pass through their customs with all your fire arms... We drove up with all our rifles and pistols, but that was back in 72... only trouble we had was the Alsation **** near taking the head off of the Customs guy when he opened the door of the pickup camper to look in...
    Being a USMC Ret you'll have plenty of access to the bases/posts either in Fairbanks or Anchorage.. Anchorage also just completed a multi million $$$ medical facility in Anchorage so you should be covered medically... and of course all the bases/posts in Fairbanks and Anchorage have nice Commissary and PX facilities... Almost brand new facilities on Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage... Excuse me.. it's now a Joint Army/Air Force base... gets to be a tongue twister to say it all.... You stated you Just recently Retired from the USMC.. So I hate to be the one to break the bad news to you but please don't expect to live just on your USMC ret pay... You'll need something to supplement it... If you plan on living anywhere close to civilization... Although, you could probably swing it if you had some remote property and worked hard at the Subsistence style... I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have Semper Fi and Regards/// Old John CTRC USN Ret

  20. #20

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    Alaska is awesome! Come on up! Glad I did from Texas. Got bored, got a teaching job on the Yukon, loaded up my ford pickup, loaded upo my trailer with one years supply, put the 4 wheeler in the trucka nd drove up the ALCAN highway and loved it! I took my pistol, shotgun, rifle, etc through canada, just don't have a too short or tooo long pistol barrel..like no shorter than 3, no longer than 6??? and I paid $25 bucks each, but the guy only charged me for 1 gun!!! Took several hours, but I set up the application ahead of time, etc....got them to fax me the paper work, filled it out, they did whatever ahead of time and I was cool....But, what do you want to do most...drive the ALCAN or float the southwest coast of Ak?? If you do the ferry, you can load your truck out in in the south and hit the islands, etc and see what you want on teh areas that the ferry goes to and see the glaciers, parks, etc and catch a cheap ferry back to valdez, etc....then drive up to Anch....

    just depends what you wanna see....For me, I picked the ALCAN, Canada is awesome, but you might like to see the coast/south Ak more???

    Land and housing down south is generally more expensive than the fairbanks/bush areas....you can get land outside Fairbanks pretty easy, and somewhat cheaper than Anch, colder!!!! But FB is a nice little big town with everything and suburbs that is isolated..And some around Anch....

    Make sure you got as many tools, bolts, nuts, nails, drill bits, tips, saws, etc that you'll need up here since it's more expensive to buy this stuff here.....If your going to build, bring as much big stuff as you can stuff on your truck like boilers, stoves, etc that are cheaper down south than here...a generator, wires, etc....GOOD GAS CANS, man, we got a lawsuit or something that changed our gas cans into ALL the ones i'm seeing in walmart, nappa, etc have a green spout with a spout control handle, SUCK.....get as many older ones with the yellow caps that clip on......bring specialized materials and tools..welder, solder gun, ammo, pistol for bear, rifled slug gun, good small caliber for winter game, bear/moose gun, .......get your seasonings such as sausage mix, ham brines, fish brines, etc....home brew kit for wine and beer is a must!....bread maker, home made ice cream maker, etc...

    don't bring your polaris 4 wheeler! They freeze up pretty easily...

    Hope this helps!
    Scotty in the AK bush

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