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Old 03-07-2014, 08:59 PM
 
Location: Seattle
6,486 posts, read 13,708,944 times
Reputation: 2763

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Hi everyone! I have just been offered a job on the Kenai Peninsula, around the Kenai/Soldotna/Kalifornsky area. I have never visited Alaska, so I am at a little bit of a loss. I do have some questions ... if anyone would like to help me out and answer anything that pops out at you, I would appreciate it SO much!

1. In general, how are people who are gay received there? I've been married to my husband for 5 years. We aren't flag-flyers, but we also make no secret about our relationship. We both grew up in small towns in Appalachia that would be considered not friendly, but also not hostile. Although we're comfortable in that environment, we're really looking for a location that is just "neutral" about it, as that's how we think about it.

2. What is the cost of living like? I have found info for Anchorage, but not so much for this area. I can get information on housing (no issues there), but what is an average winter heat/gas bill for a 2 bedroom house? How much do you spend on food per month for your family (and how large is your family)? Here in Memphis, we feed ourselves (2) and our dog (1) for roughly $400/month. Is that comparable?

3. Do people live in Kenai and work in Soldotna, or live in Soldotna and work in Kalifornsky, etc? Most of the housing that I can find that we like is located in Kenai, but that's not where my job is. I'm thinking especially of winter commuting.

4. What is the snow like? Not necessarily "how much do you get," but what's it really like after a snow event? We both drive all wheel drive crossover type cars, and since we grew up in the Appalachian Highlands, we're fairly accustomed to dealing with and driving in snow. At the same time, I've only experienced multiple feet of snow a couple times in my life.

5. For anyone that has moved to Alaska from somewhere else - how did you get your stuff there?? I'm looking at $5,000+ quotes from UHaul for their Pod-type deal, and a similar amount to drive up a UHaul myself. At this point, I'm thinking about just selling most of my stuff, living like bachelors until we can replenish over a few months after we get there. Any tips about shipping by rail, etc. would be really great.


Again, thanks guys. Also, anything else you think I should know?
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Here and there....
224 posts, read 283,977 times
Reputation: 168
I grew up in Copper Landing, about 50 miles NW of Kenai/Soldotna K-beach area. Went to High School in Soldotna. I subsequently lived in Anchorage for 20 years, and occasionally worked in Nikiski.

1 - It's a small-ish country town with lots of churches, probably not on the leading edge of acceptance towards alternative lifestyles, but theres no cross burning or anything crazy either. Live and let live is a common approach in AK, you should be fine.

2 - Theres no Costco, but groceries aren't to bad compared to Anchorage. Figure Cost of Living about 10% over Anchorage in town, a bit more the further you get out into the sticks. It's going to be significantly higher than Memphis. But you don't need AC in the summer.

3 - Driving between Kenai and Soldotna is about 15 minutes. Coming from the states traffic is a non-issue. You can drive from steerling to Kalifornsky Beach Road any time of year in under 30 minutes. Well, except when the salmon are running, gets a bit worse with tourists but still no gridlock. Winter commuting is actually better than summer. See below...

4 - If you can drive in the snow and ice it will be nothing new for you. They have snowplows, the main roads are kept mostly clear.

5 - Anytime I've moved I just got rid of everything and started fresh. It's pretty fun. Surf Craigslist. Theres no Rail option to AK, Truck, Boat or Air.

Other.... Do you like fishing? Kenai/Soldotna are HUGE sport and commercial fishing towns. Arguably one of the best salmon sport fisheries in the world. Also Great Trout Fishing, Clam digging, and Moose hunting. The Kenai Peninsula as a whole is a sportsmans paradise.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:42 AM
 
Location: Nikiski suburbs
45 posts, read 90,343 times
Reputation: 66
Kbeefy has pretty much covered it, but, just to reemphasize, Kenai and Soldotna actually are treated by everyone as one entity, just 9 miles apart. Cost of electric is high compared to where you are now, but not excessively so, our bill runs around $400 in winter, but I have several buildings and a business and if you can get natural gas, (I would look for someplace that has it) my cost is around $272, these of course are monthly totals. We have two Safeways, several independent groceries, a Walmart, Fred Meyers, but be prepared for considerably higher prices for most goods, especially in winter. Gas for your car is rather more expensive than you are used to, but it is cheaper in winter, so there is that. And if future winters are like this one, driving in snow is a piece of cake! We have had hardly any. There is no cheap way to get your goods to AK.
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Kenai
17 posts, read 20,143 times
Reputation: 49
Definitely you will save on your heating costs with nat gas. Fuel oil or propane will run you about $5 a gallon delivered, roughly $500 a month in the winter. Electric 25 cents per kwh, but there is a minimum fee also. My electric bill runs $100 to $160 depending on the season. And my electric bill is pretty low compared to my friends. Groceries I'm not sure, we spend $150 a week roughly for my wife, kid, and I. Also gas today is $3.99 a gallon. Not too high yet, but my truck only gets 12 mpg at best. Housing isnt too expensive, but it also depends on what you want in a house or apartment. Starter homes that don't need remodeling are about $160000 to $200000. Other things, who knows. It really depends on your lifestyle, IE if you have expensive taste, life is expensive.
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Old 03-17-2014, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Seattle
6,486 posts, read 13,708,944 times
Reputation: 2763
Thanks guys. Our summer electric bill here in Memphis can easily run $300 monthly. This winter we've had a string of below freezing temps, so my electric/gas bill for Dec/Jan/Feb was also ~$300 monthly. Looks like I am headed for an increase (about 60% higher in the winter, according to your figures 1986matthew), but could probably realize substantial savings in the summer to offset.

We're looking to rent, at least at first. I've been calling about updated, 2/3 bedroom single family housing that runs about $1200. That's very much in line with Memphis prices.

Food is a little more expensive. I've been monitoring the sales ads for Soldotna Fred Meyers. I'd say 15-20% on most goods, 30-50% on fresh produce.

Even with the cost of living calculations, the salaries up there seem pretty good. About 25% higher than an equitable position here in Memphis. My family lives very frugally (I haven't bought clothes in years, we make our own laundry soap, toothpaste, we buy bulk foods) and operates with one car, so I think I can minimize the extra costs in Alaska and end up saving substantially.
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Nikiski suburbs
45 posts, read 90,343 times
Reputation: 66
Good luck on your move!! I'm sure you'll fit right in and it's always nice to begin a new adventure, right?
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:32 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,971 times
Reputation: 10
I know this post is almost a year old but I was wondering if you made the move to Kenai? My family (Me, my husband and 1 year old little guy) will be moving in March from Denver and I wanted to know what you thought of the area?
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:48 AM
 
Location: Soldotna
2,268 posts, read 1,721,021 times
Reputation: 1066
I know quite a few openly gay people. Haven't seen or heard of any problems. Compared to Tennessee the cost of living is astronomical. Think DC prices.

The snow has been weak this year, I'm actually disappointed but a good front wheel drive or awd/40 will be fine.

As for moving here, I sold everything that wouldn't fit in my car. I basically came with clothes, guns and money. Everything else I bought here.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:49 AM
 
Location: Soldotna
2,268 posts, read 1,721,021 times
Reputation: 1066
Doh, didn't notice the age. Did you ever move here???
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