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Old 08-10-2007, 01:02 AM
 
12 posts, read 44,133 times
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Dear All,

I've spent half an hour reading your posts and found you all a group of knowledgable and kind people. By posting this message, I am hoping to get my many questions answered.

First off, let me do a brief intro about myself. I am an international student, pursuing a doc degree in special ed at Univ. of Washington, Seattle. I received my teaching certificates in Michigan. For the data collection of my dissertation, I have decided to accept a special ed job offer in Anchorage. This is going to be another great adventure for my life. But anxiety for the unknown is great here

I am hoping that by the sharing of your experiences to my following questions, I can be somehow relieved from that anxiety.

1. I have a car (Honda-CRV), some used furnitures, a set of new single day beds, TV, VCR, and lots of books. Would you suggest me shipping them? Or, should I drive my car or a trailer to Anchorage?

2. If driving is the best way to go, what is the safest rout you'd suggest? It's highly possible that I will only have my sister's companion on the journey. Is it safe for two girls to embark such a trip on their own?

3. Being an international student, I must attain a Canada visa if I am to take the driving option. Does anyone of you happen to know the cost of it?

4. Weather:
- Is Anchorage as dry as Ann Arbor, Michigan? Do we need special type of cream in order to prevent dry skin problems?
- Is it easy to buy warm clothes in Anchorage? Any speical type of warm clothes or outfit that the locals wear to guard the coldness? (I guess you're smirking about my timidity... But my body does not function too welll when the temperature drops.)

5. Do you have any suggestin for apts around 2220 NICHOLS ST? What's the price line for 1-bed room, a studio or a 1-bed apt?

6. What is the elementary/middle school education quality in Anchorage?

I guess that's enough question for now. If you can't answer them all, even your sharing of your life in Anchorage will be great!! Thanks!!
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Old 08-10-2007, 02:14 AM
 
Location: Fairbanks Alaska
1,677 posts, read 6,099,537 times
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I am not sure how much a CRV can tow, but if you can fit everything in a trailer and tow, then maybe take the ferry up. Less miles and wear and tear on the car. Keep in mind books are quite heavy for the space they take up and something to avoid is your loaded trailer weighing more than the tow vehicle. Been there, done that in the winter, NOT FUN!. Furniture is expensive here so bring your good stuff if you can.
Anchorage has all the clothes you will need, and locals will help guide your purchases.
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Old 08-10-2007, 02:45 AM
 
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Thank you Articthaw!! That was helpful

But I don't quite understand this line "but if you can fit everything in a trailer and tow, then maybe take the ferry up"

Is there a typo? I thought... if one can fit everything in that trailor, then ferry can be a second choice. Would you explain more? Thanks!!
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Old 08-10-2007, 06:36 AM
 
Location: I'm not lost, I'm exploring!
3,402 posts, read 12,820,303 times
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oh goodness, that's a perfect idea! OP, take the ferry. Last time I called it was like 900 from Bellingham to Whittier. That way, you don't ever have to deal with the Canada visa/transport issues. Pack everything you can fit towing in your car... yes, then plan for a ferry trip to do the work from you. (takes off in Washington, and arrives in AK 3-5 days later). I've never done it, but was looking into it as one of my options when I move up there... so just passing along the info I know. In the winter, the rates go down. You are obliged to pay car + driver + any food or board for said driver. ..but in the winter they knock off the driver fee. and just charge you for the car tow. (you still either need to plan ahead to sleep in a curled up ball in a sleepingbag on deck, or rent a small room for the duration of the trip.


Keep us posted. fun fun!

oh and to take a stab at some of your other questions.... (this is just from what I have learned so far)

I wouoldn't risk the drive with just 2 females? But that's just me.. I don't trust my truck not to break down and ruin my life half way there

Wait until you get up there to buy your winter clothes. if you start now, start on the bottom. people layer. so lots of layers. skip shelling out the big $$$ on arctic gear until you know what your up against. fleece jackets, windbreakers, sweaters, big fluffy socks.. that kinda thing for now

1 bedroom apartments can get pretty pricey. ummmm, stay away from Mountain View or Spenard (did I get that right guys?) because they're in a less-than-desireable part of town.. but overall you're looking anywhere from 600 - 900 a month depending on what and where.
A lot of people choose to live outside the citylimits in smaller areas (like...Eagle River!) because the housing is so much more affordable, the only downside to this is, the farther away you are from the inner city... the more of a headache the commute to work will be once the real winter kicks in. woo!

Oh - and people are going to tell you.. the schools in Anchorage are just as dandy as any other mid to large sized city would find. I have noticed through personal research, that it doesn't seem to be as "special needs" oriented as you might find in other areas. But to each his own.

Take everthing I say with a grain of salt. I'm not up there yet

Last edited by Marylandkitten; 08-10-2007 at 06:51 AM.. Reason: 3 cups of coffee and typo'ing away still!!
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Old 08-10-2007, 08:51 AM
 
Location: I'm not lost, I'm exploring!
3,402 posts, read 12,820,303 times
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Right...and here's the link that should have accompanied that.

Alaska Marine Highway System :: Alaska DOT&PF (http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/index.html - broken link)
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Naptowne, Alaska
15,599 posts, read 37,099,387 times
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I don't think you need a visa to drive through Canada do you? Just a passport should work. And some sort of drivers license.
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:11 PM
 
3,970 posts, read 12,763,729 times
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I moved from Seattle to Anchorage in '96, and back to the lower 48 in '98. (I don't things have changed that much since).

The highway drive is long, atleast three to four full days of driving, depending on how far you want to go each day. I took the ferry from Prince Rupert to Haines on the way up, but the Alaska Marine Highway can be pricey especially with a trailer. The return trip, all highway, was very long, but in the end, less expensive.

Two women driving to Anchorage. No more dangerous than anywhere else.

Anchorage's cold weather is greatly exaggerated. Very similar to the upper midwest. And, yes, retail has invaded Anchorage and you can find anything you need there.

Dry as Ann Arbor? Hmmm. Not sure, but Anchorage is generally moderately cold and snowy from late October to early April, beautiful in June and July, a little bit of a rainy season in August and September, then you're back to winter.

Anchorage is not an outpost anymore. It is medium-sized US metro area with just about anything you fill find in the lower 48, with the exception of backyard pools!
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Old 08-12-2007, 01:28 AM
 
Location: Fairbanks Alaska
1,677 posts, read 6,099,537 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yambest View Post
Thank you Articthaw!! That was helpful

But I don't quite understand this line "but if you can fit everything in a trailer and tow, then maybe take the ferry up"

Is there a typo? I thought... if one can fit everything in that trailor, then ferry can be a second choice. Would you explain more? Thanks!!
I think everyone cleared up your question but just incase. Pack the CRV, and tow trailer with other stuff. Drive to Marine terminal and ride ferry to Alaska and drive last bit to Anchorage.

I just peeked at the Alaska Marine Highway website and didn't see a route from the inside passage to Whittier. Did I miss it or is this not an option? IF not an optin then she would have to disembark in Haines and still travel through Canada. Though still will save wear and tear on the car. Good scenery too.
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Old 08-12-2007, 01:36 AM
 
Location: Fairbanks Alaska
1,677 posts, read 6,099,537 times
Reputation: 672
Did I suggest you pickup one of these books, or at least check it out at your local library? The travel guide to Alaska IMO.

Alaska Travel Guide and Alaska Trip Planner, The MILEPOST: Alaskan travel guide and Alaskan trip planner for Alaska, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta and Northwest Territories
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Old 08-12-2007, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Alaska
1,437 posts, read 4,486,252 times
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If you're still considering the ferry, you may be too late.
No ferry goes further north than Haines after oct 1st, and vehicle space is sold out for the season past Juneau. Call the 800# anyway, some people do cancel.
One more thing about the ferry, it's not a cruise line. Check your schedule, you will change ferry's at least twice going from Bellingham to Whittier. Some with a stayover of just one night, sometimes two. And no, they don't put you up for the night. you just may end up sleeping in your car on the docks in Sitka, Wrangle, or Juneau if you don't think ahead. And untill the 3rd week of Sept, it's tourist season, which means most hotels, motels are sold out. Not all, but most.
Anyway, the ferry is a hoot and a lot of fun. And all things considered, very reasonable. Call the 800#, you will either get the Juneau or Kodiak office, and they're very helpfull. Good luck.
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