you people seriously livein alaska? (Anchorage, Homer: rentals, home, find a job)
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Kinda like a San Diegoian or Hawai'ian wondering just why somebody would stay in Colarado all winter(s)?
That's exactly right! I was born and raised in Hawaii (Maui). I love Colorado 8-9 months out of the year, but the winters, and especially this winter, suck. Now that it's back in the 50-60s I'm somewhat comfortable again. I guess living in Alaska is like an extreme version of why I like Colorado. It's beautiful and it's like no other place, but it's just too damn cold. I don't care what color or type of human you are, cold just sucks period end of story. Maybe I should move to San Diego...
I'm not the first guy that started this post, but I'm just as ignorant. I mean, seriously. Why would you want to live in Alaska? Especially Fairbanks or anywhere that cold? You must be messed up in the head. I live in Colorado and I can barely make it through a winter here. I mean, c'mon.
Why live in Arizona? It's just too damn hot!
Why live in Oklahoma? Too many tornadoes!
Why live in Wisconsin? Too much beer and brats been passed around! (You've gotta love this state)
Why live in England? It rains too much and London is always foggy!
... I think you get my drift.
Thank "God" they are all different
As for me, I've always wanted to visit Alaska. From what I've seen in photos and on TV it is breathtaking. When is a good time to visit? I'm not scared by the cold, infact I love it ... but I'm also not keen on the tourist traps either. Any advice from you knowledgable folks would be appreciated
It's only like 71 below in the wind this morning in Kuparuk.
Rance, your post gave me a chill! I'm griping about the rare 20-degree days we get here in N. Florida, I can't even imagine living somewhere that cold. How many layers does it take to stay warm in that frigidness?
Seriously, I've been trying to talk my husband into a trip to Alaska. Everything I've ever read or heard about it makes it sound absolutely beautiful...of course, I'd have to visit in the summer!
Your driving the only roads that access the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the largest US national park. You're driving along the Copper River Valley. You're driving in an alpine wonder.
Who'd live anywhere else?
Mal, that sounds so isolated - does that ever bother you?
Might have something to do with a persons pioneer spirit. Wanting to see whats over the next ridge, and the next and the next. Some folks are meant to be here...some should never even have looked in a northern direction. I could'nt live anywhere else but Alaska. It's gets in your blood and under your skin, and is a very hard habit to break!
The roads have never bothered me at all. The state has a law that any person seeing a vehicle in trouble MUST stop to offer assistance. I had a truck with serious problems on the Parks Highway on the road to Fairbanks. It was 2:00 AM, -25 or so. Within 20 minutes, I had 4 vehicles stop (going the wrong way) and a 5th drive me 30 miles to Healy to get coolant and hose clamps. Nobody up here goes on a trip on the highway in midwinter without arctic bibs and arctic weather gear in the cab. And my boss always reminds me that in case of a real emergency, rubber will burn.
The Glenn Highway is pretty well travelled. I might not see a vehicle going my way for the whole trip past Palmer out to Glennallen, but I'll pass a couple of dozen or so heading into Anchorage. There are a lot of gas stations on the road, maybe 15 or so in 180 miles. There are a couple of small towns (Sutton, Chickaloon etc.) along the way. And the staties patrol constantly. There's a couple out of Palmer, and a couple in Glennallen.
The law is in place for a simple purpose. Most folks up here would stop anyway, but once in a while, someone might say "They probably have a cell phone", or "Someone else will stop". That would be the one time someone would die from exposure because a freak storm or avalanche would block the road. Whiteout conditions are when the wind and the snow limit visibility to maybe a car length (I've seen worse!), and everyone stops until it passes. Up on the slope where whiteouts are more common, work crews stay where they are and wait it out, or wait until there's a convoy of relief people. You carry food in your truck for that purpose. Every mancamp up on the slope or at any of the mines has a "spike room" off of the cafeteria where you can snag sandwiches, candy, juice, chips, etc. for "iron rations" for survival. Cans of pilot bread and peanut butter are in the tool boxes of most of the guys I work with.
When you get into a small plane, the first thing the pilot tells you is the location of the survival gear. I use a term, "Death by Alaska", that is a definition of the Darwin effect up here. It's not necessarily survival of the fittest so much as survival of those with a minimum of coimmon sense. Mother Nature is a seductive witch. She will lull you with the weather, setting temps in the 50's and turn around and set it to below freezing with a nice downpour to wick the heat from you. The animals have sense. Man doesn't use his all the time. Last summer, my youngest went fishing without his waders, and was blue from the cold water in his sneakers when he got home. I might go out in a sweatshirt in below zero weather, but my arctic gear is only as far as my truck cab. The best advice about survival in Alaska is best gotten from real old Alaska hands (Rance comes to mind). It took me about 2 years to overcome the moniker cheechako. Basically a tenderfoot. People would watch you to make sure you're not making a serious mistake. Safety is paramount on jobs up here, even more so on the slope. One thing most companies up here give is safety training.
My Dad moved us up here in late 1967 from Minnesota. Coming off the dairy farm and moving into the very small community of Sterling (only about 12 families total then) was such a change to a yougster like me (7 going on 8). We spent many hours on the bank of the Moose and Kenai Rivers, catching fish to eat through winter, and could hunt moose right here in town. We were well off the highway and had a so called cattle ranch, which lured in brown bears all the time. We walked over a mile to the highway everyday to catch the bus and had many bear sightings. I would have to blame my Dad for my survival skills/common sense. He was constantly out in the woods and always dragged me along. At age 13 I was going on 2 week sheep hunting trips behind Tustemena Lake and we had no cell phones or other means of communicating if we had an emergency. You never take a step without thinking about where that foot is landing. You set your camp up to discourage wildlife entering camp. You respect any water you travel on. You learn and understand how to read a map and compass, and to keep track of landmarks. Make noise in the woods (unless hunting). Don't eat berries if you know nothing about them. Common sense will take you far in this country. One little mistake can kill you or render you helpless.
The roads have never bothered me at all. The state has a law that any person seeing a vehicle in trouble MUST stop to offer assistance...The law is in place for a simple purpose. Most folks up here would stop anyway, but once in a while, someone might say "They probably have a cell phone", or "Someone else will stop".
I remember learning in a psych class many moons ago that the mentality of living in a metropolitan area vs one as isolated as yours, can be expressed exactly that way - when you have 1,000 people passing a stranded motorist in a given hour, every one of them will expect the person behind them to render aid, rather than stop themselves. When you know you may be the only person on the road, you stop to help no matter what. And that's a GOOD thing! The other extreme is a place like Miami, where I was told by a highway patrol officer that if he hadn't SEEN me spin out and wreck my car, he wouldn't have stopped, because so many accidents had been called in as a "set up" to kill the cops. I'll take your roads any day over that.
But Mal, people like you and Rance impress the h**l out of me. I see what he means by needing a "pioneering spirit" to get along up there. I don't know that I could do it, but I envy those who can.
Thanks for sharing a little bit of your life...it's truly fascinating!
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