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Old 05-21-2012, 11:38 AM
 
2,563 posts, read 6,059,006 times
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Hi everyone. I recently put in a job application for Alaska. Now I just want some advice in case I do get offered the position so I won't be scrambling then to figure out the logistics and practicality of it all.

Bit about me: I'm a single male that will be 27 I'm imagining when the position is offered. I've never once lived anywhere with snow. If offered the position it sounds like money won't be too big of an issue, I'd make around 60k or so.

I'd probably be looking at Talkeetna or Susitina North to live it looks like.

On to the questions:

Vehicle
1. Should I buy on the mainland as I imagine it is cheaper or should I wait until I get there?

2. I'll have to put significant miles on it and of course it should be durable. Any suggestions for a good balance? I was thinking maybe a VW Sportwagen TDI for the Diesel engine but great mileage but it sits pretty low and its also a foreign car. Is it best to just stick with Ford/Dodge/Chevy pickup trucks for parts up there? Do Hybrid trucks hold up in the cold?

3. What other things would I need? I believe I read "Engine Block Heater" and "Battery Blanket"? I suppose some sort of snow-tire, chains or both? Then remote start I understand is nice. Is there anything else? Foglights perhaps?

4. What is vehicle insurance like up there?

Renting
1. Obviously roads get blocked and restaurants are sparse so I suspect stocking up on food is a necessity. If I were to rent a room in a person's house would I need to make sure they have enough room for some food storage or is that usually assumed? Or would I have to find room inside my bedroom to add an icebox and store foods there? How much food do you all typically have stored away for emergencies? A weeks supply? A months supply?

2. When renting is there anything special I should look for in terms of both keeping my car safe and protected from wildlife and weather? Same question but as far as keeping myself safe and protected. A particular heater? Certain type of wall panels/insulation? Anything at all I should be mindful of.

Logistics
1. Where do you all get Gas outside of the cities? Especially in threads like the "Highway Pictures" I wonder how you all manage that without winding up stranded out of gas. Obviously paying attention to guages but are there gas stations scattered out in remote places or a good resource of a map that shows where all gas stations are located? Do you also carry a spare container or two with you?

2. For those that have made the move up. How did you handle your mail initially? Forward it to a friends place back home until you got a permanent place established?

3. Banking. What banks are well represented up there? Do they have credit union shared branches? (That's what I currently have)

Clothing, Protection & Snow Gear
1. Yep, I'm just this new. What type of clothing, blankets, undies and all that should I bring? Should I even bring shorts or will they not be worn pretty much ever? I'm coming from Florida so 60 degrees feels cold to me

2. Stuff like guns and bearsprays and such. Should I be looking to get that as well on the mainland or is it cheaper to get once I'm there?

3. I have a pretty good Grundig Radio with Shortwave frequencies. Would it be better to get a Ham radio though and learn to use that? Do you all even get any Radio (outside of Juneau/Fairbanks/Anchorage) or how do you keep up with important safety news while inland?

Crash-Courses
1. I would really want to take a course in shooting and car repair. Should I do that once I'm there or would it be cheaper to do that here? I also plan on having a friend teach me how to fish and hunt as I've never done either.

Food & Vitamins
1. I read you should have Vitamin D. Are there any others I'll really need?

2. What about vegetables particularly leafy green vegetables like spinache, bok-choy, cabbage, lettuce - how do you all get your servings? Should I expect to have to take a supplement like Kyogreen or Superfood in order to get this in my system or are fresh greends readily available year round? Would that be something I'd have to get while in Anchorage or would it be available at smaller stores in say Talkeetna?

I realize this is a long thread with lots of questions but I appreciate any feedback and figured it would probably become a useful thread for others too. So far I hadn't seen any thread with a lot of these practical questions.

Thanks!
Ender

Last edited by EndersDrift; 05-21-2012 at 12:06 PM.. Reason: added the food section; added the radio question
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
21,368 posts, read 38,127,072 times
Reputation: 13901
Alaska is a great state.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Deltana, AK
863 posts, read 2,077,852 times
Reputation: 1190
If you will be driving up, then yes it's a good idea to buy the vehicle you will need before coming up. Lots of front wheel drive compact cars do just fine up here, but it's not good to be especially low to the ground. If you can afford it, the best rigs (other than full size pickups) are the small 4wd SUVs by Toyota, Honda, Subaru, etc. The diesel might not be a good idea, since they don't do as well in the cold. Quite a few people have diesels, but it's a bit of a hassle. Lots of people get by without snow tires, but they make life a lot easier, especially driving in crowded urban areas like Anchorage. Living in the upper Susitna, you'll need a block heater. Assuming you'll be driving up in summer, just get it installed up here where the mechanics know how to do it.

In fact, aside from the vehicle itself, it's best to get everything up here, as you need it (clothing, guns, bear spray, etc.)

For renting, the upper Susitna is cabin country. Lots of nice places in the woods for reasonable prices. Take note though that many of them don't have running water, and some only have a wood stove for heat (as opposed to the automatic oil stoves most of us have). Everywhere has electricity though. Generally speaking, it sounds like your vision of Alaska is more remote than the reality. Or rather, you're envisioning life off the road system. Although very rural, life is pretty civilized in the parts of Alaska accessed by all season roads, including Talkeetna. It's very unlikely for main roads to be closed for more than a day or so. There's a full size grocery store at the Talkeetna Road junction. They have fresh fruits and vegetables year round (well, maybe "fresh" isn't the right word...)

There are plenty of gas stations all around the road system, as long as you pay attention. When driving in rural areas you aren't familiar with, drive on the top half of your tank. Oh, and grab a copy of The Milepost Amazon.com: The Milepost 2012 (9781892154293): Kris Valencia: Books which will tell you everything you need to know about services and attractions along the northern highways.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
7,308 posts, read 14,689,820 times
Reputation: 6238
We need to know a few things first. Are you male or female? Married, divorced, single or widowed? Are you gay or straight? If you're female, straight, single and good looking(hot!) post a pic. After you answer those questions we should be able to answer a few of yours. Or maybe not. Otherwise just buy a Subaru Outback and come on up. The rest will take care of it's self.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:13 PM
 
4,715 posts, read 10,519,308 times
Reputation: 2186
Stiff - You are getting over excited... OP said he is a single, male, 27 yoa... I don't think he is your type. But good advice either way!!!!
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
7,308 posts, read 14,689,820 times
Reputation: 6238
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakster View Post
Stiff - You are getting over excited... OP said he is a single, male, 27 yoa... I don't think he is your type. But good advice either way!!!!
I saw that. But sometimes they throw that stuff in there to get ya off track. Just tryin' to give'm a chance to fess up and come clean.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:53 PM
 
4,715 posts, read 10,519,308 times
Reputation: 2186
Quote:
Originally Posted by stiffnecked View Post
I saw that. But sometimes they throw that stuff in there to get ya off track. Just tryin' to give'm a chance to fess up and come clean.
Doesn't hurt to ask then...
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
7,308 posts, read 14,689,820 times
Reputation: 6238
In all seriousness though we kinda need to know where the job is located. I can't really see Talkeetna be a commutable location to anywhere for a year round job.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:29 PM
 
2,563 posts, read 6,059,006 times
Reputation: 879
Quote:
Originally Posted by stiffnecked View Post
In all seriousness though we kinda need to know where the job is located. I can't really see Talkeetna be a commutable location to anywhere for a year round job.
Denali National Park
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:33 PM
 
2,563 posts, read 6,059,006 times
Reputation: 879
Quote:
Originally Posted by stiffnecked View Post
I saw that. But sometimes they throw that stuff in there to get ya off track. Just tryin' to give'm a chance to fess up and come clean.
You caught me I'm really a 22 year old, 5'-2" Colombian woman with brown hair, dark eyes and the body of a volleyball player. Imagine your perfect woman.... I make her look like a primate.
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