Iowa Boy Considering Move to AK, Words of Wisdom?

Discussion in 'Alaska Flyway Forum' started by Zugunruhe, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. Zugunruhe

    Zugunruhe Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    181
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    I'm finding myself looking for a job and as fate would have it, AK has two opportunities that have my curiousity, both are in the Anchorage area. The benefits of the flora and fauna of AK need no embellishment, I'm more interested in the nuts and bolts of life in your great state. This would be a full scale family relocation complete with wife (veterinarian) and two boys ages 7 and 9 and a lab or two:h

    Both of the jobs I'm looking at pay well but I'm concerned about the cost of living and housing in AK and how it would compare to my previous salary in Iowa. Are there "suburbs" of Anchorage that one could commute from? What is the weather really like? We have the extremes here- 110+ degree heat indexes in the summer and -60+ degree windchills in winter, I'm curious where Anchorage ends up on the lower end of that scale? How are the schools- good place to raise a family?

    Too many questions I know, please feel free to answer any/all of them and provide any other insight that might be useful. Thanks!:tu
     
  2. waldo2382

    waldo2382 Refuge Member

    Messages:
    88
    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Location:
    Homer, Alaska
    Well, the prices are all relative to where you're coming from. I came here from California and it is cheaper for a house in Alaska than there. There are plenty of suburbs around Anchorage such as Eagle River or Chugiak, even further out by Palmer or Wasilla. Food prices will give you a shock. The $1 for a dozen ears of corn from the lower 48 doesn't exist here.
    Temps in the Anchorage area is not as extreme as Iowa. You won't have any 110 degree days. Maybe 80's in the heat of summer. In the cold of winter, you may see close to -20 but not for long. The wind can howl and make it a little cool. Lots of things to see, but to truly get out there and take part in hunting, access is the toughest part. There really are not that many roads up here. A boat, snow machine or 4-wheeler (quad, atv) will get you to the critters with a lot more success than staying on the pavement. I don't have any kids so I can't really comment on the schools up here. Anyway, as they say about Anchorage, "It's not really Alaska, but you can see it from there."
     
  3. Ray

    Ray Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    771
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Go to the Alaska Outdoors Forums and review their "relocating to Alaska" forum: link.

    There are many good posts on there that will aid anyone wanting to move up here. Movers, places to live, "whats it like?", schools, ALCAN road conditions, etc.

    The search function on there is very under utilitzed since the same questions keep getting asked an answered.

    I recommend joining up since it is instant and then you can see photos and what not better. You will not be able to PM anyone for a month and after having a high post count - this is all due to the spammers.

    Anchorage is a giant suburb itself, with stable, but high property values. There are communities along both roads that leave town where folks communte from. There are only two roads out of town. To the north there is Eagle River, Peters Creek, Chugiak that are all communting locations. To the south there is Indian and Bird Creek as well as Girdwood. Girdwood is the ski town so the land values there are silly, but Indian is going through development right now and getting pricier.

    In Anchorage there is the hillside and south Anchorage areas that are much like commuting since they are 12 to 15 miles from down town and there are only two roads that go anywhere. One car at 730am and nobody is going anywhere for a while. There also are nice neighborhoods hidden all over the place thanks to the history of homesteads being subdivided in the 1970's during the oil boom days.

    Anchorage is pretty warm, but gets icier these days than in the 1980's. Makes for some crappy cross country skiing in mid winter. Can also make for some crappy driving. Leave the 2WD pickup in Iowa if you have one. Ten to 15 days of the year that 2WD will be completey useless. Then the rest of the winter will be planning your driving routes every day to avoid any hills.

    Anchorage schools are pretty good, but like most places they are teaching to meet the middle ground with the No Child Gets and Actual Education Act requirements. Like any education it all starts with the parents before the kids ever step foot in a classroom. There are many folks up here in the city that are not interested in having an educated child - thats what the school is for - so they raise kids that will never be ready to be anything other than cannon fodder.

    Now for the really important stuff...... If you have a MoMarsh/Four Rivers style boat bring it. If you have a jon boat with any kind of mud motor bring that too. Everything else you can buy up here used or new.
     
  4. Duck Gumbo

    Duck Gumbo Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    105
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Just returned from a 10 day vacation to S. Central area. Things I noted: food and gas are much higher than in the lower 48 states. Lowest gas I found was in Anchorage @ $4.09/ gallon with highest being $4.999 in Healy (Denali). Prices in Baton Rouge, LA are $3.38 at name brand stations! Basic food was about 20% higher with restaurant prices close to twice what we pay here.

    I drove about 2,500 miles during our stay and the S. Central area is beautiful. Anchorage, Denali Park, Denali Highway, Valdez, Glen Highway, Homer and the Kenai Peninsula are picture post cards. Hope has some of the best homemade pie you will find anywhere in the U.S. and the scenery is pretty damn tasty also. As mentioned, not a lot of roads other than the major highways. Salmon fishing in the middle of Anchorage on Ship Creek!

    Wouldn't hurt to take an interview and visit. my 2 cents...good luck
     

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