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Thread: PCS to Alaska

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    Default PCS to Alaska

    ok guys heres the deal. let me start by saying i am nothing short of envious of all of you, especially those who have either grown up in or moved to AK and live off the beaten path. ultimately i would prefer to live in a more remote location, however current circumstances and job make that difficult at best. i am currently in the army stationed at fort hood texas and deployed to iraq. i have wanted to move to alaska as long as i can remember and finally i am in a position to reenlist to move there. i can either pick fairbanks or anchorage with anchorage being the far more difficult to get of the two. i am a pennsylvania native and love mountains, hunting, fishing, hunting, hiking, hunting and off roading among other outdoor activities. also i like to hunt. i have been haunting this forum for a while now and it has helped me with a lot of questions and spurred my motivation to attain my goal to live in alaska. i have had some difficulty deciphering which location would better suit my interests. as stated i am stationed in texas and have been several other places in the south and been highly disappointed with the hunting and the hunting situations regarding the leases and people. i want to live outside of town where ever i end up and am wondering what area would offer better hunting opportunities (land, animals, access etc) and outdoor recreation for the truck and quads/snow machines. good people are a big plus too. i will be moving there with my wife and three kids, 6, 5, and -10 days (ish). actually, any information about either place would be very helpful at this point, military related stuff and civilian alike. if anyone happens to know any of the EOD people on either post i would love to ask them some job related questions offline. i know not all of this thread relates to hunting, but that is a major consideration in this decision. thanks in advance.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Forums, and presumably to Alaska also,

    I'd say if FBKS is the easier, go for it, There's tons of Hunting,
    all things outdoors and extreme available up there,

    It's gonna get Cold in winter but you'll learn to dress for it, Not a Problem.
    Summer, Spring, Fall, are to die for up there
    Less populated than the Anch area,

    Go Fairbanks, I started there in '78, Hunted like crazy, right out my back door
    maybe a little different now days but the locals should chime right in soon,
    I bet they're still Hunting like crazy.
    (search out characters like Vince, and Stid look at their threads
    and you'll get a picture of folks who love it in that area, seem to "get out there," fairly often)

    Did you say something about liking to Hunt ?
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member polardds's Avatar
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    Fairbanks. More access off the road system with less people. If you are going to have a small plane or an ocean boat then living in Anchorage is not so bad. Also Fairbanks because to get "out of town" in Anchorage means you are going to have a long commute to base each day.

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    figure you PCS to Ak... youll bee here a week before they send you back. seems to be the run of all the new transfers here. unless your up in rank, or rare in speacilty... come on by though the coffee is always on.. ( might be cold but its on)
    "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."

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    Welcome to the Forums, and presumably to Alaska also,

    I'd say if FBKS is the easier, go for it, There's tons of Hunting,
    all things outdoors and extreme available up there,

    It's gonna get Cold in winter but you'll learn to dress for it, Not a Problem.
    Summer, Spring, Fall, are to die for up there
    Less populated than the Anch area,

    Go Fairbanks, I started there in '78, Hunted like crazy, right out my back door
    maybe a little different now days but the locals should chime right in soon,
    I bet they're still Hunting like crazy.
    (search out characters like Vince, and Stid look at their threads
    and you'll get a picture of folks who love it in that area, seem to "get out there," fairly often)

    Did you say something about liking to Hunt ?

    i had kind of gotten the idea it gets cold around fairbanks...-40? lol. less people and hunting locally is right up my alley. honestly some days all i wanted was a place to walk out in the woods with my .17 and squirrel hunt and just get away. not so practical in my florida/louisiana/texas experience for a variety of reasons including the leases. and yes just to clarify..i think hunting is ok...lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    figure you PCS to Ak... youll bee here a week before they send you back. seems to be the run of all the new transfers here. unless your up in rank, or rare in speacilty... come on by though the coffee is always on.. ( might be cold but its on)
    as for the quick pcs out of alaska...i dont know what is up with that but i am familiar with the event. im an E6 so not so much on the rank...but my position in my job helps me out. retention is pretty bad for EOD people so when someone wants to stick around they tend to accommodate. ill be in iraq till sometime late this year so if all goes well maybe sometime next spring/summer ill have to take you up on the coffee offer...


    polardds

    thanks for the input. i doubt that i would be getting a plane or boat anytime soon...ill be relying on the ol chevy 4x4 and quad to get me where i want to go other than walking. boats and i dont have a good history so i tend to leave them alone.

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    matthew86, what most are telling is right about Anchorage. I retired here in the Anchorage area, and the hunting is okay but diffently to many so called hunters. My 2 cents is go to fairbanks
    good luck

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    Folks pretty well covered it. Only a couple things I'd add. One draw of Anchorage over Fairbanks is access to the ocean. Its quite a dirve for fairbanks to any of the ports if you want to get access to the ocean for fishing and exploring. That being said you aren't interested in owning a boat so it doesn't apply. I definitely like fairbanks. The folks are much more friendly and it still has a small town feel to it even though its getting more and more big box stores. Its also quite a bit cheaper to find a place to live with some space. Anchorage is ridiculously expensive. Only thing keeping me out of Fairbanks are the winters. I certainly have no problem with the cold but the short days during winter get to me even here in Anchorage. I find in late January and February its hard to get out of bed and I never feel like I get enough sleep. Fairbanks is only a few hundred miles north of Anchorage but the days are considerably shorter in the winter.

    Otherwise, good luck and hope you can make it up north.

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    If you and your wife can deal with the cold and don't mind living in a smaller city Fairbanks is the way to go in my book, then again I am biased since I grew up there and in Delta Junction and am now stationed at Fort Richardson.

    Good luck getting up here and be safe on your deployment!

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    thanks for all the replies guys. the cheaper living area wit space is a definite bonus for me as we are having a new addition to the family very soon...i hope i make it back for the birth in about 10 days...i come from a rural area in pennsylvania and have grown to hate practically every city i have ever visited or been forced to reside in. as for my wife...she really didnt know much other than a moderate size "city" until i introduced her to it. now she cant get enough. as for the cold...she swears she is all about moving to alaska and doesnt mind the cold at all...being that shes a texas native...im skeptical but not going to try to talk her out of it!! i could see where the short days could be an issue of sorts but mostly concerning hunting. lol. i dont sleep well anyway and amber and the kids pass out on the way to the grocery store.

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    A general rule of thumb, Anchorage si better for fishing and Fairbanks is better for hunting. Most of the big game hunting near Anchorage is draw. Access is better up there,.

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    So do folks tend to think the cold is harder to deal with than the short days? I only ask because the cold has never really be that big of an issue for me or my wife, particularly in a place like Fairbanks. When its -40F in Fairbanks its normally not that windy. I've just found that more than anything up here, the short daylight is a bigger deal than the cold and therefore I've been hesitant to move further north than South Central. If Fairbanks was further south I'd definitely take it over Los Anchorage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickL View Post
    Its also quite a bit cheaper to find a place to live with some space. Anchorage is ridiculously expensive.
    He's probably not going to find either one of them 'cheap'. I have a friend who moved up to FBX 5-6 years ago from S. Illinois and her family was shocked at the differences in the price of real estate. That said, neither ANC or FBX has got anything on JNU / Sitka when it comes to real estate....Anyone want a beat up 1000sq ft condo for $236.5K? Anyone?

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    Well I'm going to say take ft rich ie jber. Your wife will thank you later! -40 is-40 it is freaking cold! Your wife 1st winter she will be miserable mine was we came from sunny Arizona. She didn't gave to worry about ice covered roads, or holed in a house cause it is so cold. But she made it through and now she loves ak. I can only imagine how worse it could of been if we went wainwright. Only good thing with wainwright it knocks off 400 miles when you go up to the haul road. Anyhow go to ft rich!

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickL View Post
    So do folks tend to think the cold is harder to deal with than the short days? I only ask because the cold has never really be that big of an issue for me or my wife, particularly in a place like Fairbanks. When its -40F in Fairbanks its normally not that windy. I've just found that more than anything up here, the short daylight is a bigger deal than the cold and therefore I've been hesitant to move further north than South Central. If Fairbanks was further south I'd definitely take it over Los Anchorage.
    i can dress for the cold.. and we have lights to take care of the dark... not many REAL dark nights up here anyway... moon on the snow... heck lots of nights are brighter then the daylight... you get used to it..
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    Member Bgarcher44's Avatar
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    Fairbanks.

    I was in your same position a few months back and made the move from Italy. Absolutely love the endless outdoor opportunities even in negative temps. The wife would rather be around a big city but after a few months of living up here she has started to change her tone.

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    Matthew,
    I wish you the best of luck, and I absolutely love Fairbanks, but brother, it is expensive to live in Alaska with an E-6's salary and three kids (compared to some of the other places you mentioned). If you don't want to live on post, I encourage you to look at home prices, and remember there are a few other costs associated with home ownership here in Alaska. Fuel oil is a major expense in the winter. Winters are harsh, and if you have to deploy again, remember your wife will have to manage with 3 fairly young kids..I'm sure you thought of this but if you are gone and she needs to go to the PX at -40 it is a challenge. I would think long and hard about living off post as opposed to on, just for your wife's sake if you have to deploy / or off hunting.
    Hunting up here is also a different experience. You can absolutely plan some cheaper hunts (Brian, a moderator is good with this), but hunting in Alaska is all about access. The cheaper the hunt, the more likely you are to see more hunters. Search "Haul Road" and you will get an idea of some of the conditions if you are going to be limited to if you only use your own vehicle, 4wheeler or feet. Again, I'm not saying it isn't fun, or is impossible, but I did some cheaper hunts and at times "discovery" learning can turn out to be quite expensive. Remember too, you have to live in the state 365 days before you can hunt sheep, brown bear, and goats
    All that being said, good luck, and if your family is up for it, you will have a great time.

    Come home safe and good luck with the new addition

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    What? No body likes the "all day" sunsets during a Fairbanks winter? Or is that a sunrise when it never gets above Hess or Deb? How about the days upon days in June and July where you never sleep until you just pass out from fatigue? Or the predictableness of the afternoon rain showers in June and July? And no mention of the forest fire smoke? Come on guys tell him how it really is along with the all the quality access to public lands, hunting and river boating. There is so much more. And if you really need some city stuff you just need to plan on catching an opera/play/orchestra at UAF.

    Its cold up there, but that is not too big a deal until you go to start a vehicle or sleep out under the stars. While in college I used to run until it was down to -20. Back then we just didn't have the gear to go fast at colder temps.

    If you really are focused on a rural situation then Fairbanks is the place to go. However, heed the warning about deploying and leaving the family in some dry cabin in the woods.

    What about that rural home. You will have choices between the Classic, a dry cabin with a hole in the ground out back and have to haul water in jugs from one of the laundry places in town. Fill them up while paying for showers. I don't know if you can take your family in for a once a week cleaning on post. A real dry cabin still burns wood only and uses a propane stove for cooking. There are several variations on this theme.

    Then there is the Starter home. A cabin that was dry and then they piped in a water tank and a sewer tank, converting a closet into a latrine. Might be real fancy and they put in an oil drip stove. The Starter home comes in dozens of configurations with some looking like an actual house you would see in some other part of the US. Some are just single wide trailers covered in a foot of spray foam. Some are your basic plywood shack fixer-uppers.

    Then there is the Just Like in American home. A well on site with a super duper water filter system to take out the iron and arsenic. A heap leach micro biotic self cleaning septic system. The latest quad paned thermal windows with space gas in between the panes. A boiler system imported straight from Norway that just barely sips oil. Walls are 12 inches thick with the pest poly soy spray foam your oil company salary can afford. What you don't work for an oil company? Then here is your spray foamed single wide with a water tank.

    Alright I am being overly dramatic, but the rural home situation up there breaks down to some very basic components. Running water or not, and Garage or not, with a hole bunch of in between.

    Put seriously you don't want to leave the family in the north woods while you are deployed. First year stay on post. From post the wilderness is only 30 minutes away up there, and unlike down here it will be wild and not someones over grown drive way in the Valley that you thought was an ATV trail.

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    Matthew I'm moving up from Louisiana in 3.5 months. Know what your saying about hunting leases it a pain in the *****.I went through the same thing as you, where to move and for all the reasons stated here I chose Fairbanks. The only trade off for me was it seemed there was better fishing in the anchorage area but also more crime. Go to Fairbanks it's beautiful country. Good luck and thanks for your service.

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    thanks to this forum and the wealth of information here im aware of the non resident resident laws and guide necessity. i know the cost of living in alaska is higher than the lower 48 but in browsing housing options in the anchorage area, 3+ bedroom houses out of city limits get out of my bah range fast. so if things are cheaper fairbanks way, that is another big plus for me. we arent looking for a dry wilderness cabin just yet...just want something out of town and a little room. a garage would be a huge plus as i am always working on something trying to make it faster or more capable. in taking this assignment i am looking at another deployment pretty soon after arrival so spending the first portion of our time living on post is an option we are considering. not one we really want...but considering. i know fort hood isnt any too happy when we had both our trucks, quads, motorcycle, vehicles getting various work done and my car trailer in one area. so is fuel oil a common heat source in alaska? growing up in pennsylvania we used a coal boiler as primary heat with a wood stove and oil furnace. oil was our last option because it was so much more expensive. i cant imagine its cheaper in alaska. for the hunting, i will be taking my hunting excursions slow as i learn more and im sure pestering the local hunters quite a bit trying to learn more. thanks again to everyone for all the information and well wishes.

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