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Old 10-03-2016, 09:20 PM
7 posts, read 6,678 times
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Hi first time poster new to website too. Hoping to get some perspective.

Me and husband are in process of a buying house in Haines, hopefully close on it next week. We currently live in central Texas. I'm trying to decide best course of action and the cheapest way to move. I'm also 100% disabled vet so am trying to weigh benefits such as PFD and VA property taxes.

We don't have a set time we have to move by. We have zero experience in cold weather driving conditions, scares me really.

Thinking try to move asap, buy cargo trailer and catch the ferry in Bellingham. Before the snow starts.
My understanding is the ferry is 50% off now till April, do they also charge by weight?

Wait till April (while ferry is still cheap) or try driving to Skagway through Canada and catching ferry.
But miss out on becoming a resident this coming year and benefits.

3. Drive in winter and most likely die.

4. Some other option I haven't considered.

Also any advice on VA or Tricare/Humana coverage and quality would be nice.

Thanks please don't be too brutal.
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:34 PM
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The 50-percent off thing only applies to the driver of the vehicle. You really don't save that much.
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Old 10-03-2016, 11:13 PM
Location: Naptowne, Alaska
15,596 posts, read 34,564,634 times
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And don't rely too heavily on the PFD. I'd be surprised if we even have one next year.
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Old 10-03-2016, 11:59 PM
7 posts, read 6,678 times
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Thanks I went and looked closer your right about only driver discount. Price from Bellingham to Haines roughly $3,300 vs Skagway to Haines $163. With no icy driving experience what month would be best to drive? Would it be doable early November or need to wait till April/May?
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Old 10-04-2016, 12:17 AM
Location: Back and Beyond
2,605 posts, read 2,400,058 times
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If you're going to drive that far, I'd just drive all the way to Haines and skip the Skagway to haines ferry, but that's just me. If you're going to take the ferry (not a bad idea) than just catch it from bellingham and take it the whole way. Cheapest way is to drive and only bring what can fit in and on your vehicle.

A dependable fully winterized car, with good snow tires and some patience and common sense and drive could safely be made in any month. I drove it in December without a whole lot of winter driving experience with no problems. You're going to have to drive in winter sooner than later anyway .

If I was closing on a house next week in AK, I'd be moving there pretty soon or trying to find a responsible house sitter/renter until I could move. I wouldn't want to leave a house vacant in the winter.

A full year to become a resident, but for the PFD it starts counting a full year in January so you wouldn't receive your potential first PFD until October 2018. Like rance said, there probably won't be anything left of the PFD two years from now.

Don't know anything about VA hospitals in Alaska.

What are property taxes?

Don't mention anything about being from Texas . Kidding, but seriously.

Good luck to you and your move, Haines is a beautiful spot.
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Old 10-04-2016, 12:30 AM
20,431 posts, read 26,560,006 times
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You can also drive up to Prince Rupert and catch the ferry from there. I know it's cheaper -- I'm not sure by how much.

The problem with driving during April/May is that these times, especially in April, can have freeze-and-melt conditions, which are harder to drive in than packed snow, imo.

In your place, I would come up soon after the house closed. If I were trying to save money, I'd look into boarding the ferry in Prince Rupert.
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Old 10-04-2016, 12:48 AM
Location: Anchorage
841 posts, read 611,284 times
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First, Thank you for you service! Best bet if closing next week would be ferry from Prince Rupert, or driving next week. I don't think there is a VA presence in Haines?
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Old 10-04-2016, 12:51 AM
20,431 posts, read 26,560,006 times
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I think there's an American Legion in Haines, isn't there? ETA -- I see now, the OP was asking about VA. The closest one is probably in Juneau. I think the ferry ride to Juneau from Haines is about five hours.

Last edited by Metlakatla; 10-04-2016 at 01:11 AM..
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Old 10-04-2016, 01:03 AM
7 posts, read 6,678 times
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Well that is encouraging about driving. Still seems very long and many potential issues. Yes ideally the sooner the better, at least before January.

I need to make some phone calls to verify but perhaps Haines has a .8% property tax so I could save about 1,300 each year, assuming I understand vets aren't taxed on first $150,000 on property, all this after achieving sacred residency for all good things in Alaska.

So I guess in the long run it might cost more upfront for ferry but I'd save the same amount becoming resident that much sooner.

It's a fixer upper, so not worried about what could go wrong but I guess I really have no idea what could/does happen.

It will definitely be an adjustment from here (definitely not Texas) to our first Alaska winter. Our house is also about 30miles away from town. But do have somewhat close neighbors and they said the highway is well maintained.

This was pretty much an opportunity that came together very quickly not something we had planned obviously just feel in love 10 years ago and could finally make it a reality.
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Old 10-04-2016, 01:18 AM
7 posts, read 6,678 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you all, so much to consider and look into. Nice to just be able get these crazy anxiety giving ideas out. Prince Rupert was much cheaper !!! 1,200 vs 3,300. I hope there is a legion and great place to get the low down. Goodnite
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