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Old 05-12-2012, 07:28 PM
 
231 posts, read 717,150 times
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So, I've been applying to any/all jobs I can find in my field and am willing to go anywhere. One place where I see a job opening for me is in Ketchikan.

I've always loved Alaska, I visited there a couple years ago, more toward Anchorage area, but the Inside Passage I've always thought seemed interesting. And the weather seems great! (Temperature-wise, at least; I know it rains a lot and there are a lot of gray days).

So I just want to know if anyone has any idea of what living there is like. I understand it's not TOO far away from Juneau. I come from a town a little bit smaller than Ketchikan, and I know about the differences in living, so that stuff isn't a problem. But Juneau seems like a cool place; if I lived in Ketchikan, would it be insane to think that an occasional trip to Juneau is possible without breaking bank?

As far as moving there from the Lower 48, that wouldn't be much of an issue for me, as I barely have any property to my name, and in fact, am thinking I might just sell what few items of furniture and such I have, even my car, and just fly up there myself and pick up a used car and furniture for wherever I'd end up living there.

Of course I wouldn't pack up and go without nailing the job first. This is all just speculative, at this point. But I've always liked Alaska and think the Ketchikan/Juneau/Inside Passage region would be great for me. So, anyone have a clue about Ketchikan? And do you think I'd be better off doing what I think and just selling my few possessions, and picking up necessary stuff when I'd get there, rather than going through the expensive/annoying process of getting all my stuff shipped up there? (I am not made of money.)

BTW I live in Pennsylvania, so shipping anything all the way there, and dealing with my car (driving it to Seattle and having it ferried up? Ugh...) would be reaaalllyyy expensive and a massive pain.
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Old 05-12-2012, 09:34 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
7,305 posts, read 13,214,715 times
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What's hard about driving to Washington and putting your car on the ferry? Once it docks in Ketchikan you just drive in off the ferry and your in business. The only two real drawbacks to living in Ketchikan are the price of housing and the price of groceries. Both high. A single guy could probably deal with it. And if the job you're applying for pays well it may not be a consideration.

If you have a good car that runs well, load it up with what you need and bring it.
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:22 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
4,060 posts, read 9,171,522 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stiffnecked View Post
What's hard about driving to Washington and putting your car on the ferry? Once it docks in Ketchikan you just drive in off the ferry and your in business. The only two real drawbacks to living in Ketchikan are the price of housing and the price of groceries. Both high. A single guy could probably deal with it. And if the job you're applying for pays well it may not be a consideration.

If you have a good car that runs well, load it up with what you need and bring it.
He said it would be expensive. I did a cost/benefit type analysis of moving back to Alaska via the ferry and decided it wasn't worth it either and just got rid of stuff and flew back.
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:50 PM
 
22,571 posts, read 30,546,141 times
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He could drive it up to Prince Rupert and take the ferry from there in order to save costs -- or not. There's always plenty of vehicles for sale in Ketchikan by people who are moving out.

An occasional trip to Juneau would probably work out but be prepared to fly -- the ferry takes too long if you've only got a few days off from your job.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
7,305 posts, read 13,214,715 times
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SitNews for the classified ads in Ketchikan. Great resource.

SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:35 AM
 
4,715 posts, read 9,583,863 times
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Why not drive all the way? google maps says about 3200 miles from Pittsburgh...Ferry would be nice - but I bet will cost your more in the long run. (Including TIME...) If you do drive, talk to Warptman - he can give you the best and safest route. I didn't like the default google maps route as you are in Canada a very long time. For cost purposes, it is cheaper to stay in the US as long as possible.

Isn't getting there half the fun?

Then again, I love a good road trip. If you dread a long drive or if you have an unreliable car, then I can see it being a wise choice to sell everything and just fly up.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:17 AM
 
22,571 posts, read 30,546,141 times
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I don't think that Warptman has ever driven to Ketchikan, and good luck finding anyone who has.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Southeast Alaska
2,048 posts, read 3,385,058 times
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ya as Met mentioned....whatever you do...don't drive your car to Bellingham to board the Alaska ferry

Drive to Prince Rupert BC and board there....way way less costly. From there its only a 6 hour ride up to Ketchikan....check the schedule and greatly reduced cost online.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:41 AM
Status: "Cancelled" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: Puna, Hawaii
3,056 posts, read 3,051,775 times
Reputation: 5093
I've spent many years in SE Alaska and spent a lot of time in all the towns and in all the seasons. I have to say that with the exception of Yakutat, Ketchikan is my least favorite of them all. It's hard to put a finger on exactly why. The weather is definitely one reason. It gets twice as much rain as other SE Alaska towns and a lot less snow. Some people would say less snow is a positive, but in the short dark days of winter some snow on the ground really amplifies the light and mood. Ketchikan gets a lot of slush, which is harder to move than snow and it's dirty gray appearance matches the sky and amplifies the gloom. Plus, the KTN municipalities are too dysfunctional to figure out how to build a bridge to their airport or put most of the town on water and sewer service. I think the KTN "slogan" is "Alaska's First City" but it should be "Home of the bridge to nowhere. But we haven't built it yet." At least Yakutat built their bridge to nowhere. And it really goes nowhere!

Yes, Juneau is roughly 1/3 as far away as Seattle but look at the airfare. $348 RT KTN to JNU or $478 RT KTN to SEA. The difference in airfare is only $130. Since hotels, food, and car rentals are much cheaper in Seattle, you'd make up that $130 difference going to Seattle even if you only stayed one night- heck, maybe if you only stayed the day. Yes you will definitely want to see Juneau (and once you do, you'll probably regret moving to Ketchikan) but Juneau doesn't have anything that Ketchikan doesn't... well except a bridge. And the glacier, but other than that the shopping isn't significantly better. The restaurants are better in Ketchikan. But if your point was that you wanted to go to a bigger city, it's actually cheaper in the long run to go to Seattle. One thing the locals know is that Washington waives their sales tax for Oregon and Alaska residents when a driver's license from either state is shown. That will make the Seattle shopping even cheaper still than Juneau's 5% sales tax. In all actuality Juneau's sales tax is really just a flat tax because it's not just a tax on goods, its a flat tax on every time money is exchanged for anything. Most sales taxes only tax purchases of goods, Juneau taxes EVERYTHING including services, rentals, food, fuel, medicine, you practically pay taxes on paying the tax. Alaska residents get two free checked bags on Alaska Airlines after joining "club 49" when traveling to/from Alaska. You get three free checked bags traveling within Alaska. So on shopping trips you have to figure that into your pricing. While I know a lot of people who leave KTN to shop, my opinion is that you can get just about anything you need there, except maybe fashion clothes, and you can get those online. Most of the people who leave town for shopping do it for the recreation, not because its the only way to get what they need.

You said that you were going to KTN for a job... I think jobs are harder to get in KTN than a lot of other Alaska towns. If you look for a job in your field, you will probably find that its available in Sitka or Juneau too.

Last edited by terracore; 05-13-2012 at 09:54 AM..
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Old 05-13-2012, 12:39 PM
 
231 posts, read 717,150 times
Reputation: 310
Thanks for the info everyone!

Well I'm a newspaper reporter so it's not the kind of work I can just show up in any city and be like "Here I am, ready to work!" There are reporter spots open in Ketchikan and Petersburg. I'm thinking Ketchikan because although it's a small town it's not nearly as small as Petersburg, and the Cost of Living index for Ketchikan is lower than Petersburg (actually lower than any other town in the southeast). Like I said I wouldn't move there without first being assured of having the job.

I searched Sitka and Juneau and even Anchorage and Fairbanks for similar jobs but there are no positions open at any of those places, so as far as Alaska goes it looks like Petersburg and Ketchikan are the only options at the moment, and Ketchikan, being more affordable to live in than Petersburg, is the #1.

I come from a town in northwest Pennsylvania that has bitter winters with 150+ inches of heavy snow on average, and is one of the cities with the most cloudy days on average in all 50 states. So, gloomy days and rainy weather don't bother me. I actually enjoy rainy days; they make you appreciate the sunny days so much more!

And the climate of the southeast panhandle sounds nice in that the temperatures seem to stay pretty mild all year round, which I like. Here in northwest PA near Lake Erie, the winters can stay below 0 for days at a time and the summers can be in the 90s with near 100% humidity! A stable comfortable temperature would be a nice change of pace. That being said, I love the cold a lot more than the heat, hence my willingness to go to places like Fairbanks. With cold, you can always put on more layers; but with heat, there's not much you can do but just sweat it out and try not to suffocate, lol.
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