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Old 01-01-2011, 10:20 AM
 
3 posts, read 5,545 times
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So, Im sure people ask these types of questions all the time, but heres another just for the new year! I hope I can get an opinion/advice from someone who's actually there, rather than try to read about it from whatever I can find on the internet.

I am being stationed at Elmendorf AFB later this month with my wife and 2 year old, and we're really torn as to where to live. The easy option is just to move into base housing once we get there, which definitely has its pros (being close to work, all utilities included), but really limits your options as to size, location, etc... We have looked at places in Anchorage, and can find a nice townhouse/condo in our price range, but from what I can see, the neighborhoods dont look the best. Eagle River is an option, looks to be a small town, relatively cheap, but still mostly townhomes/condos. The other option has been Wasilla, there it seems I can get a single family home with land for as much as anything else in Anchorage or Eagle River. The only thing I am concerned about is the commute, Google maps says roughly 45 minutes to Elmendorf, but how is it really? And how are the roads, I mean I know its Alaksa, but most of the commute is a highway isnt it? So they shouldnt be too bad? And finally, is it worth it? I know "worth" is hard to judge, but from someone who has done it, is it worth it to you?

Thanks for any info anyone can give me, I really do appreciate it! Happy New Year!
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Lyons, France, Whidbey Island WA
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From Eagle River it's about 15 minutes in good weather 30 in bad weather. Winter roads from Wasilla can be taxing according to those that do it.
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Connecticut is my adopted home.
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Can you do a temporary billet in base housing (a few months to a year) so that you can look around and get the lay of the land? If so that's what I'd do.

We commuted to Anchorage from the Eklutna area (the last stop on the highway on the way to the Mat-Su valley) for 5 years. My husband worked on north Boniface (near the base) so for him it was a shorter commute (for me not so much) and though our housing was cheaper there than in Anchorage (like for like) and the area was beautiful, we got tired of all the driving in a hurry and our commute costs stacked up more than we anticipated. We thought, okay, we can save on gas costs by buying a compact model Subaru, which definitely saved on gas, but being out there with the road warriors jockeying for position, who's tires looked bigger than that car at 65/70 mph had us sweating bullets especially in the winter. We sold that house and moved back into the heart of town, 10 minutes from work for either of us. We haven't regretted it. After we retired and would no longer have to commute, we have not been tempted in the slightest to go back out there.

Maybe you'll be fine with a commute, and Eagle River is definitely not nearly as inconvenient or far away as the valley and might be a good fit but you have to weigh the time spent on the road and the cost of gas/accelerated vehicle maintenance against the housing upgrades that you will gain by moving further out. The same is true of living in south Anchorage and on the hillside and working in north Anchorage. You will spend as much or more time on the road if you work an 8-4 or 9-5 type of shift living there as you would living in Chugiak.

I'd take the base housing with an eye toward looking around first. Could be fun exploring the city without being stuck with a bad decision at the starting gate. Whatever you decide, good luck to you and welcome.
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
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My supervisor lives in Wasilla. He allows at least 1 hour although weather has caused him to be late only a few times. If the weather was bad enough, he didn't come to the office. He often said that the highway can become very bad and at times. He leaves early to come to work and leaves early to go back home.
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:24 PM
 
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I have friends at work who live on base & have enjoyed it- they've made friends with other young military families with young kids right in the neighborhood. Utility costs are sky-high here, something to be taken into consideration.

I didn't even like the commute from Eagle River into town but then I hated the drive.
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Old 01-01-2011, 04:14 PM
 
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Thanks for the info, definitely some good advice. Ive lived in base housing before (in California) and I liked it, but the allure of not living where you work is always there. Im pretty sure once we move into housing we're only required to be there for 6 months before we can leave, so thats looking more and more like thats what we will end up doing... Thanks again... one more question, gas prices? I know they are a little bit higher up there than down here, but they flucuate just like anywhere else right? Not perminately stuck at $HIGH.00?
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Old 01-01-2011, 04:15 PM
 
3 posts, read 5,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AADAD View Post
From Eagle River it's about 15 minutes in good weather 30 in bad weather. Winter roads from Wasilla can be taxing according to those that do it.
Do you live in Eagle River? If so, what do you think about the area?
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Old 01-01-2011, 05:06 PM
 
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Gas is high in Alaska- even in Anchorage $3.35, higher still outside of Anchorage.
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Old 01-01-2011, 08:42 PM
 
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We just got stationed here in September and live off post, because they only accept 2 pets and we have 2 dogs and a cat. Airforce housing is very nice, mostly duplexes and quadruplexes with small yards. ( Too small for our bigger dog ). Have you looked at AHRN.com? We found our house there and are renting a 3 bedroom single family house including all utilities in my husband's BAH range ( he's an E 5 ) and we absolutely love the neighborhood! We are close to the international airport, around the Sand Lake area. It takes my husband 30 minutes in the morning to get to work, depending on traffic, sometimes less. His E 6 lives in Wasilla and while he loves it, it takes him about 1 hour to get to work lately. I have coworkers that live in Eagle River that have taken up to an hour to get into town in bad weather before, but that's mainly due to accidents blocking the way. Lots of Military lives in ER and they all seem to like it. If you have any specific questions about the base, just let me know :-)
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Old 01-01-2011, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Lyons, France, Whidbey Island WA
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Reputation: 10929
Eagle River is quiet and friendly mostly families with children. Not many restaurants but good services. Very low crime no street walkers and no panhandlers. Gets a few more inches of snow typically than Anchorage IMO. Commute is very good to excellent.
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