Alaskans and their "big toys".... (Anchorage, Barrow: high school, camp)
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I don't have to go there to make that observation. I've talked to lots and lots of people through PMs, Facebook, and other media, and I've also looked at about a million pictures, and it seems to be the case. Like with any extremely general statement, there are exceptions of course. Obviously there are regional differences; Alaska is basically a different country with all different kinds of land, everything from mountains to oceans to tundra and everything in between. So what "toys" people have will vary depending on their needs, obviously. Like I said, it was a general statement intended more to elicit response from the rest of you than anything else. And it worked in that regard.
As far as why there are Subarus... it's like anywhere with cold weather and/or mountains: they're all-wheel-drive, so they're good when traction is needed in adverse conditions. I don't like the way they drive, myself, but they seem to be quite solid cars overall. They wouldn't be all that useful in Texas, really. They're huge here.
Well you are right about the amount of "big toys" here, but they really do have a useful purpose other than looking cool in your yard. In the smaller towns, snowmachines are used to drag in firewood, trap, general transportation as are fourwheelers. I use a plow on my fourwheeler to plow snow in the winter, and it does a good job also, as long as you push the snow back early. Use it to hunt and sometimes go looking for someone overdue.
My snowmachine is a widetrack version, don't go screaming fast, but I can haul a bunch of freight with it and not breath hard! Most of the time I haul freight with it and rarely go play with it. To go to my cabin, it is a two hour ride one way and pulls a sled with survival gear, breaking down and waiting for triple-A isn't much of an option and at -20 and colder you don't have a lot of options if you're stupid!
I use the airplane to go visit with friends that live even farther out than my cabin, and sometimes use it to look for people that again are overdue. But.... sometimes I do go for a joyflight! Nothing prettier that flying around the base mountains of Mt. McKinley on a clear day!
But there are a lot of different toys here for different jobs here in Alaska!
gosh the lifestyle of Alaskans seems SO awesome...p.s. you live in my favorite place, Valdez! i stayed on Robe Lake this summer.
Originally Posted by ShipOfFools42
Yep. If there's one thing I won't be without in Alaska, it's a snowmachine, especially when you can get them for cheaper than a good camera.
I also will be buying a diesel pickup as my next vehicle, but certainly not to jack it up real high and put pipes on it. I did that when I was younger, and honestly it's just expensive as hell driving something like that. But a diesel pickup is a great thing to own all around, because it's comfortable, can tow anything you need to tow, gets much better fuel economy than its gas burning counterparts, and those engines will run for over a million miles. I do like Ranch Hand bumpers, I must admit.
Originally Posted by tigre79
I wondered the same thing when I first moved up, NOTAM. Back home it was the well-off kids who had four-wheelers and dirt bikes and boats. Here, it's common to see a run-down trailer with four-wheelers and snowmachines (not usually very nice ones, but sometimes) parked outside next to the pickup. I think some of those things are seen less as toys and more as tools here, but people also tend to prioritize things differently. And there's such a good used market already (as evidenced by some of the previous posts) that you can get them for a good deal, especially if you're good at fixing things. I bought a brand new snowmachine when I got here, because we ride exclusively in the mountains and reliability is extremely important to me. And it did actually cost almost twice as much as my truck. My boyfriend on the other hand, bought his sled used for an incredible deal and drives a 3/4 ton truck that cost six times what his sled did. But we've got the right sleds and the right trucks for our purposes. Of course, his truck is the one that hauls the sleds, and everything else you can imagine.
I didn't have too much use for toys down south, though I had a kayak in Florida and miss it a lot. But up here, with so many places to explore that can't be reached by road, it's a lot more tempting. Sitting on the edge of Prince William Sound with no boat is a bum deal. Just like seeing snow falling in increments of feet per day and not having anything to get out in the mountains with. And they are useful, beyond just being fun. Boats can bring in lots of food, from fish to deer to blueberries. Snowmachines are used around here to haul wood from across the river once it freezes, and for transportation. Four-wheelers are used for hunting, transportation, and hauling all sorts of stuff. You don't see many of the "sport" models here; they're mostly utility rigs, and most have a gun rack of some sort. So I don't think a lot of these things are as frivolous as they would be in some other places.
Sales of new snowmachines is increased during PFD time; and so are the theft of snowmachines.
Kotzebue sells machines, people from different villages go to Kotz. They wait; they watch, and @ 3 a.m. someone's new machine will dissappear and end up in another village never to be seen again. This happens lots - in Kotzebue and you must lock up with chains a machine @ night or it will just disappear. The same is also true with 4 wheel hondas or what ever other brand people purchase. Theft is a big deal up here and it is all too common. Fuel is the # 1 item stolen in every village in the Arctic.
70,000 miles a year is not uncommon for some of these hunters to clock up. What are the two most important items to have when you leave any village with a snowmachine ?? Ship ?? how much have you learned ?? You are in any village - you are about to leave that village. There are two things you best have with you that most people would never think of. These two items are the most important to carry with you. One is in your inside shirt pocket; the other is on the snowmachine in full view. I seriously doubt you would ever even think of these two things, that every hunter always carries. It has nothing what so ever to do with hunting.
We don't have paved roads, so 4 wheelers and now, snow machines are the vehicles of choice. There are some trucks here; mostly pickups and a few SUV's.
We picked up a used 4 wheeler for my birthday. Other than being fun, it is incredibly handy. I use it to haul boxes back from the post office. My husband is going to use it for hunting next fall when he can get the instate hunting license. I can also be used to help other people out. I was out and two middle schoolers were attempting to carry a huge box back to their home. I stopped and gave them and the box a ride.
I have to say those snow machines sure look fun! One of the high schoolers suggested I go to Barrow and just drive one back. Hmmmm I don't think my survival skills (or lack there of) are up for that venture. But it would save a ton on shipping!
My friend and I have come to the conclusion that there is alot of old money up here due to the low taxes. Things in Alaska/Anchorage are not really doing all that great, better than the lower 48 but not good. I am trying to sell a condo and its taking forever, I have seen many lay offs and other undesirable things as well. But when you look around you would not think so, I believe it is because there are alot of trust fund babies and old money up here.
Anyone who lived through the mid 80's probably saw the same thing, the employment market tanked in the mid 80's when I was a kid but I bet you still seen RV's on the roads, recreational planes flying around, people towing 20 grand worth or snowmachines, etc.
The only way that can be explained is lots of trust fund babies and old money. Low inheritance taxes create this sitatuation and are the primary causes for the huge gap in standards of living.
I actually seen a woman driving an F-450 that looked like it had no work value, I did not even know that F-450's existed other than for box trucks and such. People up here are buying toys AND expensive trucks. Alaska definitly has its own well to do sub culture here and they are divorced from the job market so they will be driving these cars regardless of the unemployment rate. Dont come here thinking that these people buy these things because there are plentiful good jobs here that pay awesome. There are still some good oil jobs but they are far and few between.
Just wait till the bottom drops out on the dollar and a pizza costs 250$, they will be freaking out. We the poor will all starve but it will be funny to watch all the rich peope freak out when it costs 1000$ to get an oil change for their F-750 super duely lol.
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