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  • Distances

    Wow, this takes some getting used to. The distances in Alaska, I mean.

    My employer is shutting down for 10 days in April to draw down inventories, and I'm taking the opportunity to visit Alaska for the first time.

    So...plan an itinerary. Visit Anchorage, Talkeetna, Fairbanks/North Pole, Glenallen, Valdez, Kenai, and Homer.

    Er..ah...there is just no way. Looking at mileages, I would have to spend most of my time just driving. Alaska is just too big, lol.

    I really had two purposes for the trip - one was to look at land and the other was to hand out resumes with a particular emphasis on refineries.

    For land, I'd tentatively like to look around the Talkeetna and Glenallen areas. It may make more sense to do this than to concentrate on hand delivering resumes. That would require going to North Pole, Valdez, and Kenai.

    Does anyone have connections with the refineries or North Slope work? I have a degree in chemical engineering but have spent most of my career in production supervision (18 years) and have experience with DCS and running a control room. I currently work in the chemical industry.

  • #2
    Have you posted in the 'Help Wanted' section. You might get some responses in there as well.

    As for refineries, have you already electronically submitted your resumes to places? Flint Hills?

    How long do you have to be able to make this trip happen? Do you have the full 10 days, or as soon as your job 'shuts down' temporarily will you be traveling to Alaska?

    I suppose this is my initial response. Skip Anchorage coming into Alaska and fly to Fairbanks first. You'll be able to drive from Fairbanks to Glennallen in 4.5 hours depending on the weather and another 1.5 hours to Valdez. Coming back up, I haven't driven the Glenn Hwy to know exactly how long it would be from Glennallen to Anchorage, but you can either take the 1.5 hours to Talkeetna while you are in that area or you can continue going down to Kenai and Soldotna. 3 hours on a good day. Also, it depends on the weather.

    Good thing about doing that would be that it's probably the quickest route, but not necessarily the cheapest because it's cheaper to fly into Anchorage than Fairbanks. Another plus is that you will be able to see the Pipeline regularly making the drive from Fairbanks to Valdez.

    Downside is that you miss the Parks Hwy driving into Fairbanks which includes Denali and the full Alaska Range view. Don't worry about that though. There are usually only 4 good days of viewing Denali if you are 'lucky' enough to see it. There are tons of other beautiful sites on the Parks Hwy.

    Winter driving conditions are different up here. I want to forewarn you on this. I always tell people that a good day in Alaska is a BAD day in Denver and Denver was ALWAYS prepared for snowy and icy conditions. You really need to be careful. I want to emphasize on that. Only because you may know how to drive in the snow doesn't mean that you'll be exempt from something happening. Another additional item to remember in this note is that there is the weather and extreme temperature element. I know that you will be here in April, but I do want to add that only because it's April and we are in the middle of our break up season doesn't mean that you can't get stuck in the mud and be somewhere that you may not have cell phone reception... especially on the Richardson Hwy between Delta Junction and Sourdough or even Glennallen to Palmer.

    I also agree with you that this definitely takes some getting used to.
    When we moved up here, the kids and I decided to take a little trip to Anchorage from the Interior. It's the same distance from Denver to Moab, Utah. I mapquested it thinking that it was correct and the distance said 361 miles and in my noggin, I determined it was about 5 hours (if that... and if I were to be driving 75mph). YEAH RIGHT. Average drive from Fairbanks to Anchorage was definitely 6.5 hours.

    Anyway, keep us in the loop on what you decide to do.



    • #3
      Thank you for the response, COtoAK,

      Actually I could come up for 10 days, but I'm intending on making it 7 days to limit expenses. That way, I can afford another trip up in mid- to late summer.

      Thinking about it, I believe I'll make this an exploratory trip - looking mainly at places I may want to settle in rather than going to potential employers. My experience has been that if you just drop resumes off (shotgun them) it's hard to get calls. Best to apply for specific positions as they come available. Since the Tesoro refinery in Kenai and Petro-Star in Valdez are somewhat on my route, I'll probably drop by there. Looks like I'll have to skip the two refineries in North Pole this trip as well as visiting Fairbanks.

      Thanks for the driving advice. I'll add some slush to my schedule (I know...groan). You said that the weather in April is unpredictable. I'll take that as sound advice. Thank you.

      There is a rental cabin outside Talkeetna I intend to stay in for a couple of days and do nothing more than see if it "feels" right. That's the best way I can put it. Gotta see if I can grow roots there. If so, I probably wouldn't want to leave.


      • #4
        My parents flew up the 2nd year I was here. I sent them a Milepost and told them to list where they wanted to go. We almost mirrored the trip you are talking about. Think it came to 1600 miles. Mom said that next time they would focus on a couple of areas only and not drive the whole time!! It was much more enjoyable!!


        • #5
          A good person to ask about this would be plwilli on my friends list. He came up with his family last year and they even tried to make it to the Arctic Circle and drove as far as they could. You can see their trip pictures inside of his profile of their trip. They didnt go to Soldotna and Kenai, though.


          • #6
            We did basically that loop on our honeymoon, 1500 miles in 6 days. Yes, alot of driving, but we saw alot of the state. We didn't have any time to look at land or look into jobs.

            My advice would be if you are considering employment/relocate, concentrate on finding the job. Finding land is easy, and you don't want to look in April, as most everything is covered with snow/ice, so you can't find out how bad/good the land is, or if there is trash scattered everywhere. Also alot of land is difficult to access in the winter unless you have a snowmachine. Realize you are coming during late winter, and will likely have to contend with winter driving conditions.

            I'd recomend flying into Fairbanks, rent a car and drive down to Anchorage (hit Talkeetna on the way), then on to Homer, then return to Anchorage and fly out of Anchorage. You may be dinged a bit extra on the car rental due to a different return location, but it'll save you a days drive.

            Check out www.adn.com for the classifieds, both BP and Conoco post positions on their websites. Based on what I see in the oil industry, the oil co's are going to be cutting jobs in the future, not adding them.
            Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

            If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


            • #7
              That's a good suggestion, Paul, that he should consider just doing the Parks Hwy drive down to ANC. I suppose it wouldn't be all that bad making the trip to Valdez from the Glenn Hwy.

              Rick, maybe you should consider what's really priority visiting which towns and areas wise. It looks as if you really want to have some quality time here in AK. Get your resumes out now. If you get call backs, you can let them know you'll be in the area in April, but plan your trip around making the big loop around the state.

              Besides... if you are going to end up moving here in the long run, you'll have time to see all the wonderful things Alaska has to offer. So... you might want to 'save' some trips for when you actually move here.


              • #8
                You all sure are a helpful crowd.

                Well, I'm feeling buyers remorse now. Two of you have now told me I should fly to Fairbanks but depart ANC after driving there. Bought my tickets yesterday, but I both arrive and depart ANC. Arrive 11 April (day before Easter) and depart 18 April. With weather potentially being a factor that time of the year, I figured I'd save Fairbanks for a mid- to late-summer trip. At this point, I have 4 places tentatively to send resumes to (two have openings right now).

                COtoAK, I'm splitting the trip 50/50. Half for job searching and half for sight seeing. Really, I can do a lot of the job searching prior to arriving.

                Paul, I wondered whether oil companies might be cutting jobs. Nationwide, I expected it, but I wasn't sure about in Alaska. I'm a supervisor for a company that makes catalyst used in the fluid catalytic cracking step in refineries, and our business has dropped off some. Rumor has it that refineries are operating at about 80% of capacity currently. I saw a control room operator opening in Prudhoe Bay a couple of months ago, and I'm kicking myself for not applying.


                • #9
                  It's okay. Don't worry.
                  My suggestion is that maybe you should stay just a day or some while in Anchorage. Maybe you can attend ChangePoint Church for Easter Service. There are a ton of other great churches in the area if you want some suggestions for the sake of it.

                  Also, I offer this more often than not, but while you are in our part of the state, we'd love to welcome you over for a home cooked meal while you are in the state. I can only offer it if you are good for moose meat or salmon. j/k Just let me know if you have any food allergies and we can go from there.

                  Oh... and the only other stop that you should take pictures at is Skinny Dick's and the Halfway Inn on Parks Hwy
                  and be sure that you stop in and support Rosie's Cafe in Healy.

                  They have great service and she's an incredibly nice lady.
                  It's officially my 'favorite' restaurant between Fairbanks and Anchorage. It used to be Tsesyu (Time to Eat) in Cantwell, but they closed down sometime in beginning of 2008.


                  • #10
                    Paul H
                    That is so true on what you said, I found our home on the e-net and my wife flew up to take a look in Nov a couple years back I had been overseas at the time. She sent pics to me and we bought in the Jan and the snow was 2' so i really did not get to see a lot of what was under it until i got back in June. Boy there was a lot to clean up under that snow by then. But all in all it has been fun working on the place when i am home.

                    Rick, good luck in your search finding a place is the easy part. enjoy your trip.

                    Regards T
                    '' Livn' The Dream ''
                    26' Hewescraft Cuddy, twin 115 Yam


                    • #11
                      Did the same sort of thing when I first came up here. Valdez, Seward, Homer, Denali Park all the way to the Kantinisha ?sp? and looked at land inbetween.

                      To save you one step, I will sell you my 5 acres atop a mountain just out of Talkeetna, Log home, shop, and alot of chit--but wait!?!? thats another site--my bad.

                      You will love the scenery here and the people are the best! 16 years and counting--GOD's country and finest work.

                      Attached Files
                      I give thanks to the vetrans, as they have aided in my priviledge to hunt and fish the great State of AK. and alow me to sleep safely at night.sigpic


                      • #12
                        Came to see Alaska and realized

                        Came to see Alaska 1974 and realized it would take a long time to see it. It's even bigger way way bigger than the little bit you see from the road system.
                        Juneau to North Slope,
                        Nome to Tok
                        with 11 trip Up or down the Al Can, 2 Anchorage to Prudhoe Bay

                        And still I've missed way more than half of this Great state.


                        • #13
                          Hey Rich. Thanks for the 1x6 order Sorry to hear about the busted pipe. Remind me next time to ask which house it's going to next time..LOL..:cool:
                          Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem


                          • #14
                            Only four refineries in Alaska, One in Valdez (Petro Star) one in Kenai (Tesoro) one in Fairbanks (Flint Hills) and one in North Pole (Petro Star) so that won't take long. Good luck in the job search.


                            • #15
                              Thank you everybody. You all are surely friends.

                              29 days and counting til I step foot on Alaskan soil, er...ah...snow.

                              Thanks Bill for the update. I had read somewhere that there were 6 refineries. I intend to hit 2 of them at least. I just sent a resume to Exxon in Juneau for an engineering opening.

                              AkDoug, be advised that a chechako will be wandering around your hardware store in April. I intend to stop by and see what you've got.


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