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Thread: The plan for making the move from South Texas to the Anchorage Area

  1. #1

    Default The plan for making the move from South Texas to the Anchorage Area

    OK it looks like we are finally going to be able to make our move up to Alaska in late May or early June (waiting on school to end for the kids and the roads to get better if we end up driving ourselves up there). My wife and I have wanted to make this move for about 15 years but didnít want to be that far from her parents as they were older and we didnít have the resources to make the move nor jobs up there.
    Now that I have landed a good job in Anchorage (starting at the end of the month) and my wife has several job offers she is working with and we have no family holding us back we are ready to go. Myself I spent the last 6+ years working in Iraq and Afghanistan and my wife finished up her degrees, we have saved our rears off and gotten rid of just about anything that we donít use often or need (maybe one more garage sale is needed LOL).
    We have tried to research the move and the area as much as possible and are still working everything out but the one thing we hear most often from folks that have moved up there is they wished they had brought more money so we have tried to get ahead of that issue as much as possible. We will be moving from South Texas, to the Anchorage area (Anchorage, Wasilla, Eagle River est.), and what we are looking for is your opinions on our plans and any advice you might have.
    The Route we are thinking about would take us up from Texas through Montana and crossing over into Canada at Sweetgrass, then up to Calgary, then to Edmonton, then to Fort St. John, then to Whitehorse, then crossing over into Alaska taking the Alaska Hwy all the way into Anchorage. This route looks to be about 4250 miles and we were thinking of trying to make it in 8 days. We figured we could drive until we get to a good stopping place and either camp out or grab a hotel/motel if rooms are available.
    Now for the different types of moves,
    1. What seems to be the least expensive route is, I buy an 8X24 cargo trailer, fill it with our household goods and tow it up there with my F150 while my wife drives her Mustang. I can buy the trailer down here for about 5K new. I figure if I go this route I will grab 2 or 3 spare trailer tires and a darn good jack, and an extra one for the truck. So we would have the cost of traveling to Alaska plus the cost of buying the trailer, spares and jack. Iím hoping if I go this route I would be able to sell the trailer once I get there and recoup some if not all of the purchase price. (this is my wifeís least favorite choice at the moment)
    2. Second least expensive way that we have found is to have a moving company come pack up our household goods and drive them up while we drive up our own vehicles. The bids Iíve received so far for this move are 12K up to 16K.
    3. The most expensive way I have found (ok my wife thought of it and LOVES THIS ONE), would have us hiring a company to pickup our Household goods as well as our vehicles and we would just fly up there and meet them (of course if I had a money tree growing in my back yard Iím not sure I would even consider this then).
    Ok I didnít include any travel through the Alaska Marine Highway as every way I looked at it, it cost quite a bit more than just driving through Canada. I think we will be OK traveling through Canada with the guns we arenít planning on shipping to a FFL up there (our Pistols), a Ruger Number 1 in 338 Win Mag, a browning A bolt (BOSS) 338 Win Man, a Browning A bolt (BOSS) 30-06, a Remington 700 in 7mm Rem Mag, a Par***i MX 2000 12 gauge, a Remington 1187 12 gauge, a Benelli M3 12 gauge, a Ruger 10/22, a Spring field M1A and Rock River M4 in 223 and a additional upper in 50 Beowulf.
    Iíve read the posts here on the relocating part of the forum and would really appreciate any advice, or opinions on this move. As for hunting up there, well all I can say is I have no real idea because I have never done it. I have hunted and fished my entire life through the south and in the Gulf but that is not Alaska and everything from what I can tell is quite a bit different so I will be looking forward to getting out there and learning all I can for what works to put meat in the freezer and mounts on the wall up there.
    I took my old rucksack and added 50 pounds of sand bags to it and am hiking 2 to 3 miles per day 5 days a week to try and start getting into the kind of shape I will need up there. As for boots what would you guys recommend not only for hunting but also for the wife and kids for cold weather gear? We always used the old Bunny boots in the Navy but Iím not real sure what would be best up there. Let me apologize now for how long this post is.

  2. #2
    Member Rumbarr's Avatar
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    Any chance you could leave the wife and take me with you instead ?? shhh don't tell her I said that =)

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    You may need to ship the M4, not sure how the canuks are about them. I like your trailer idea and would bet that you can recover most of your investment there. If possible try and pick up a v-nose drive in drive out trailer. They are the preferred enclosed up here since they are easier to load/unload snowmachines and ATV's. The rest of your plan to drive looks pretty solid, is it the best? Who knows! Enjoy the trip if I was just driving the stang I would head for BC with a grin on my face that is great country for a spirited drive though not so much w/ a loaded trailer.

    Another option is to look into a shipping container. I also had a coworker who just paid for a semi trailer the whole way. They dropped it in his driveway and he loaded all his stuff into it including 2 quads and his jeep!

  4. #4

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    As LuJon said the trailer is a good idea it gives you the freedom having a place for short term storage . If you do get the trailer make sure that it is the 8ft model a lot of people make the mistake of going with a 7ft wide and that is not a good fit for toys. You should have no problem in picking up a extra grand or more on the trailer when you go sell it. Good Luck

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Get a fairly recent edition of the MILEPOST... Helps you plan for fuel, food, etc... The 8ft wide V nosed, enclosed trailer is a very good idea... they are very popular up here... /John

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    I would have a concern over an F-150 being up to the task in your option 1.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    I share the concern about the F150 pulling a loaded trailer that size. Check your rating on the truck/hitch and then try to estimate the weight of your goods that would be in the trailer. I don't think the F150 will meet the load. My old F150 struggled with a 4 place snow machine trailer at times which is smaller than what you are planning on pulling.

    A trailer that size will be hard to park up here in the average driveway in Anchorage. So you will have to store it right off the bat, which will lead to its overall cost.

    All military firearms should be shipped by FFL. The M4 and the M1 are not going to make it through. Complete the Canadian form before you leave but don't sign it until you are checking the guns through. Also complete that silly US Customs form prior to leaving the US. Makes it easier coming back in.

    You can also mail long guns to yourself through the USPS without an FFL.

  8. #8
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    About towing the trailer with the F150. Iíve found that you can tow just about anything with anything, you just have to make adjustments in your driving style and maybe be willing to pay a price in equipment longevity. For example, in 1974 my wife and I moved from Chicago to San Francisco in a 6cylinder Ford van completely packed with our stuff and towing our car, a 1973 Mercury Capri. The rig would barely maintain a 55mph cruising speed (the speed limit in those days) and on some long up-hills going through the Serra Nevadaís Iíd be lucky to be going 15mph by the time Iíd reached the top. I took it easy and the van made the journey just fine. The thing is, it was only a 2000 mile journey, and it wasnít like I was going to be driving an over-loaded van for the rest of my life. My second example was about 10 years ago when my daughter recruited me to help her tow a trailer from Memphis to LA. She was driving a 4 cylinder 1987 Chrysler LeBaron and had reserved the smallest trailer U-Haul rents. The problems started when she picked up the trailer and all U-Haul had left was their normal size trailer (the trailer alone was almost too much for the car). I arrived in Memphis by plane about the time sheíd finished loading the trailer. On the highway we soon found that the car engine didnít develop adequate torque to tow the trailer at even 55mph in third gear. We ended up driving cross country in second gear. The car averaged 7-8mpg and was never quite the same after the trip, but it made the journey and ran long enough (about 6 months) after my daughter arrived for her to get another car. BTW the car didnít die from the journey, but ended up getting wrecked in an accident.
    The long winded point Iím trying to make is that yes the F150 may not be ideal for the journey, but if you adapt to the situation realizing itís just for maybe a week or 10 days your F150 will probably do just fine. However, if your trucks not fitted with a transmission cooler (assuming itís an automatic) you should probably invest in one.
    Before everyone jumps in and tells me how FOS I am, remember, itís a one-time 4,500 mile journey, at least half of which is on a rather flat interstate highway, yes the truckís going to struggle in the montains but if he just adjusts his speed and gearing on the up-hill slogs itíll make it, just not as fast as that F350 diesel will.
    Steve
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    Approach life like you do a yellow light - RUN IT! (Gail T.)

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Listen to the advise from rockdoc, I left Killeen Texas on my way up here. I was driving a 29ft RV pulling a 20ft trailer, did great until I got to Wyoming and started climbing hills. I had to stop in Billings MT and install both a trans and engine oil cooler. My transmission got so hot on the long pulls up hill that it started boiling transmission fluid out the vent. The coolers made it better but I still fought it all the way here, THIS IS NOT FLAT LAND. Stopping got a little scary at times as well on the way down from those mountains.

    The other advice I would offer is to ensure your legal record is in order. While I was at Canadian customs, there was a Gentleman that was going to have to wait until the weekend was over to sort out his legal record. With all those firearms, you will get looked at hard. Might want to do the paperwork before you get there.

    Awesome trip, if you get time make a side trip to Skagway. The drive and visit there was a highlight of our trip.








    Steve
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  10. #10

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    Old John, I have a 2010 Milepost (thanks to reading this forum) and I think it will be a great help to us.
    Rumbarr, No chance brother. The wife is a real keeper and after 20 years of marriage she has aged like a fine wine while I continue to age like dirt LOL.
    Thanks for the advice guys Iím looking into the F150 issue, I really hadnít thought about it as I used to have a F250 with a power stroke and it would just pull whatever I hooked up to it. This is a 2010 F150 4X2 that the wife got me for my Birthday or I would be thinking of grabbing another diesel before heading up there.
    I will make it a point to have both the Canadian and US paperwork filled out, I go ahead and plan on shipping the M1 and M4 for sure and if I can ship to myself I might just ship all but maybe 1 rifle and 1 shotgun.
    I agree with you guys that the truck will probably pull whatever I want it to as long as I take it easy but I might be biting off more than I should chew with my current set up. The household goods were bid at between 11K and 12K pounds by the movers and when you add in the trailer it would be quite a load so I will get with the Ford folks and see what they say. This truck doesnít even have 10K miles on it yet and Iím not looking to tear it up as I must admit if it was a 4X4 it would be pretty darn near perfect (but down here I would never think of putting a new truck like this in the woods and other than that you just donít need 4 wheel drive very often.
    Guys do you think I will need anything like a block heater for either the Mustang or F150 once we get up there (the Anchorage area)? I really wish I could transport my International Scout, I love my hunting truck, it will go anywhere I have ever wanted to get to and has never left me stranded. But there is no room for another vehicle DARN IT.

  11. #11

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    I hate to say this, but even if it is a one time one way thing, there is no reason to pull a loaded 24 foot trailer up with an F150, If the rig does not cook the tranny, you don't have the brakes to hold it back on a grade or the weight to hold it. If you can't maintain speed on flat ground you will be a danger to everyone on the road. Other than that make sure you have your passports and if you have pets , their health papers.
    It is no problem bringing guns that are not restricted in canada, but make sure they are packed where you can get to them easy and stop at us customs they will want to verify the serial numbers. It is a great trip, have fun and be safe.

  12. #12
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    I agree with starmac about the brakes. I was thinking about it last night and remembered some scary times I had with a U-Haul move from San Francisco to Oregon in an overloaded U-Haul equipped with drum brakes. It feels awful tromping on the brakes and not having any! However, it probably kept me from getting run over by the logging truck that was right behind me. Disc brakes are much much better, but you can overheat them too. I had dragging brake pads on one side of a car once that got so hot it vaporized the brake fluid and there I was on the interstate at 70mph with no brakes. And my wife says I shouldn't try to get 300k out of my vehicles, what does she know LOL!
    Steve
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    Approach life like you do a yellow light - RUN IT! (Gail T.)

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cowboy Logic View Post
    [FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3] This is a 2010 F150 4X2 that the wife got me for my Birthday or I would be thinking of grabbing another diesel before heading up there.
    Hold your horses... This is a 2 wheel drive? If that isn't a misprint then put it up for sale immediately. While the trailer will gain value as you drive north you will lose much more by bringing a useless truck to AK. A man could make a decent living buying used 2 wheel drive trucks in AK then taking them to the states. While down south buy a used 4x4 and a 26' v-nose trailer and bringing them back to AK to sell. Heck if you had the money you could buy 4 new sleds down there too and drag them back up for even more profit.

    I have gone without a block heater on my rigs in the Anch area If it gets really cold then I just fire it up for about 1/2 hour before bed. That said they are not overly expensive to have installed and most any shop in town can do it for you. Truthfully none of your vehicles are very good to use as a mainstream source of transportation. If the mustang has traction control then it will be "ok" but front wheel and all wheel drive cars are much better for winter driving. The truck will be lucky if it can climb out of the fredmeyers parking lot during the winter.

    I am a ford guy (now) and we have 3 cars a 4x4 F250 power stroke, an all wheel drive Ford Fusion, and a beater front wheel drive saturn. We love the fords, the saturn is a 3K beater we drive the wheels off of.

    Oddly enough the Scout assuming it is 4x4 and in good shape is probably the most practical AK vehicle you currently own.

  14. #14
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    We moved up with a toyota 3 liter truck pulling a very heavy 14' wells cargo trailer. It was all we had, so we had to make due as we didn't have $ to move professionally, and we sold all of our furnature. The truck struggled up the mountain passes, with it floored we were doing 35mph up the steepest ones, and by the end of the trip the break rotors were warped. I would expect a 1/2 ton pulling a 24' trailer would the same thing, only with alot more weight.

    #1 tip is to sell as much stuff as possible, unless you have heirlooms, you're better off getting new furnature and appliances when you get up here. As mentioned, if you cook the tranny in your truck, you're savings will be shot. If it's a 2wd vehicle, sell it and get a 3/4 ton 4wd. As far as a trailer, if you could get a deal on a toy hauler, you'd have a place to sleep, and be able to haul your stuff.

    It's definately worth making the drive.

  15. #15
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Lujon is right about the 2 wheel drive, great for summer but death on ice in the winter. I agree to get a 3/4 ton 4x4, should be cheaper to buy in the lower 48. Before you know it you will be hauling ATVs, boats, camp gear ect.


    The drive is awesome unless you are fighting overloaded equipment.

    Here is a photo of me letting the RV cool down again after a long climb. Notice the open hood!!



    Don't forget to make a stop at the hot springs.



    Before you know it you will see this sign!!



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  16. #16

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    Steve, thanks for the pictures, the family is loving them. I bet it was great driving up there with the RV.
    Paul H, I canít really sell off the furniture as there is no way I would be able to get anywhere close to what it is worth as some of it was custom made for us and we really love it. I will be moving 3 bedroom suits and large dinning room table with 8 chairs, a couch, 2 recliners, a very large entertainment center and a 63 inch TV along with a couple of smaller TVs and of course the rest of our clothes est. if worst comes to worst I will just have to bite the bullet and pay the movers I guess.
    It looks like gas prices in the Anchorage area are about $3.50 per gallon and Diesel is about $3.75. Here in San Antonio itís about $2.90 for gas and $3.35 for Diesel so not to bad of a difference.
    Lujohn, I am thinking about getting a 4X4 I just really hate the thought of getting rid of this truck, but if it is going to be a real pain in the winter I will have to look some more into it taking into consideration that I would probably never get top dollar for it up in AK like you said. Well at least if I buy the F250 I donít have to worry about towing any longer LOL. The wife will want me to go with a 4X4 Expedition though. I had been thinking that the 4X2 with studded tires would be fine (but hey Iím from south Texas so if we see a snow flurry we get excited LOL)

  17. #17
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Here are a few more for motivation.

    Stone Sheep




    Bison





    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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  18. #18
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Sign post forest.





    The US/Canadian Border, taken from the train that runs from Skagway.



    Enjoy the journey!!!

    Steve
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  19. #19
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cowboy Logic View Post
    Steve, thanks for the pictures, the family is loving them. I bet it was great driving up there with the RV.
    Paul H, I canít really sell off the furniture as there is no way I would be able to get anywhere close to what it is worth as some of it was custom made for us and we really love it. I will be moving 3 bedroom suits and large dinning room table with 8 chairs, a couch, 2 recliners, a very large entertainment center and a 63 inch TV along with a couple of smaller TVs and of course the rest of our clothes est. if worst comes to worst I will just have to bite the bullet and pay the movers I guess.
    It looks like gas prices in the Anchorage area are about $3.50 per gallon and Diesel is about $3.75. Here in San Antonio itís about $2.90 for gas and $3.35 for Diesel so not to bad of a difference.
    Lujohn, I am thinking about getting a 4X4 I just really hate the thought of getting rid of this truck, but if it is going to be a real pain in the winter I will have to look some more into it taking into consideration that I would probably never get top dollar for it up in AK like you said. Well at least if I buy the F250 I donít have to worry about towing any longer LOL. The wife will want me to go with a 4X4 Expedition though. I had been thinking that the 4X2 with studded tires would be fine (but hey Iím from south Texas so if we see a snow flurry we get excited LOL)
    You can get by with a 2wd with studs, I drove a mazda rx-7 for two winters until somebody pulled out in front of me and it was totalled.

    That said our winters have been getting warmer, which equates to more ice on the road. I finally go studs for my 4X4 truck this winter, and there are times even with studs and 4wd that I'd rather stay off the roads. We have winter driving conditions from October to April, it's not like you just a have a few days of winter driving each year, it's 1/2 the year. Where people tend to get snookered is in April when they think winter is over, so they take off their winter tires a bit early. 2wd with all terrains and that last snowstorm or two is no fun, w/ a 4X4 you just shift into to 4X4 and off you go. Then there is pulling a boat up a ramp and other situations where power to all 4 wheels comes in handy.

  20. #20

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    Thanks Paul, Iím still having to think on it pretty darn hard because I love this truck and would hate to get rid of it but the lack of 4X4 on it is giving me reason to pause at this point. Iím looking into F150s in 4X4, F250s with a power stroke and 4X4 and the Dodge Rams 2500 with the Cummins Diesel and 4X4.

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