Moving to Alaska

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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StretchArmstrong
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Location: north of the Yukon

Moving to Alaska

Post by StretchArmstrong »

I am moving to Alaska next week to a remote village in the Arctic Circle.

I will not be able to take my car to Alaska. I plan on leaving it at my parents house (in a different state than where the vehicle is currently registered).

Option 1) keep the vehicle in my name at my parents house. They can use whenever they need it.

Option 2) Transfer the title to my parents. If/when I come back can transfer it back to myself then.

Option 3) keep the car in my name, but put it in a barn for long term storage. Has anyone ever done this? Was it hard on the engine? Will have to research the insurance requirements but I believe I can cancel the insurance in this situation.

If I cancel the insurance, will I be dinged in the future for not being "currently insured" or having a gap in coverage, including the situation where I transfer it to my parents and do not own a motor vehicle?

I have an umbrella policy. If I go for option 2) or 3) is there any reason I should keep the umbrella policy?

I still have some time before winter, but for any of you who have been to Alaska, did you find that there was any non obvious specialty equipment / specialty clothing that was "must have"?
ABQ4804
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by ABQ4804 »

Smart to leave your car at your parents; vehicles can get trashed with the harsh winters and gravel roads, and you'd have to winterize it, install an engine block heater, etc. You may want a different vehicle when/if you return, but you don't have to decide now, just check on the insurance options.

Our experience was living in central and coastal Alaska, and north of Fairbanks winters are much more severe. Maybe ask your contacts at your destination for any "must haves," and how they shop. You could shop at REI before you leave or mail order after you arrive. Moving during the summer, you have a few months to gear up before fall (starts in August).

Enjoy your time in that amazing part of a beautiful state, including the northern lights, possible caribou and other wildlife! You will likely bond with the other locals and build some solid memories.
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by FrugalInvestor »

First, it doesn't hurt your car to be stored for long periods as long as the storage environment is reasonable and that you do a few things to protect and preserve it. What sort of 'barn' is it? What is the floor made of (concrete, dirt, other)? Is it full of rodents (they like to eat wiring insulation) or are there cats around?

This site has pretty good info. on storage, maybe a bit of overkill on the fluids (oil is often enough) and the tires (often just putting a little extra air pressure in the tires is good enough. http://www.techguys.ca/howto/winter.html

If you store the car you can 'suspend' all coverage except for comprehensive which covers the car should it sustain damage from winds, a tree falling on the barn, etc. Comprehensive only is relatively inexpensive and you would then not have a break in coverage and could pick up where you left off when you return.

If the car was kept in your parents' garage you could also just carry comprehensive as long as they didn't drive it on the street. They could start and run it for you monthly or so to keep everything in shape, although this can be worse than storage unless it is run long enough to get and keep the engine up to full operating temperature so condensation doesn't stay in the oil.

If you're going to be working outside during the winter you'll need a pair of these above the arctic circle....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunny_boots
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Pacific
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by Pacific »

I immediately pictured the John Wayne - Stewart Granger movie North to Alaska and, to a lesser extent, the Johnny Horton song. Good luck. Or rather, good night, sleep tight, and don't let the grizzlies bite.
wingnutty
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by wingnutty »

and don't let the grizzlies bite.

...I think it's polar bears :happy
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22twain
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by 22twain »

wingnutty wrote:
and don't let the grizzlies bite.

...I think it's polar bears :happy
Don't forget the mosquitoes! :twisted:
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Steelersfan
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by Steelersfan »

You might ask your last question on this site:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/alaska/

Or if you search the postings you might find an answer to it already there.
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by FrugalInvestor »

alisa4804 wrote:Maybe ask your contacts at your destination for any "must haves," and how they shop.
It is a good suggestion to ask your Alaska contacts about this. 'Specialty' equipment that you will need depends on what you will be doing. Working outside? Outdoor sports such as snow machining, 4-wheeling, fishing, hunting, hiking, etc? You can live in the arctic in the same way the you would in the northern areas of the lower-48 if you're just going from home to work and back, but if you're going to be spending a lot of time outdoors (which you should to enjoy what Alaska has to offer) it will require some extra and different equipment. It would also be good to know where they are buying their equipment. What you buy from REI may be good for a mountain climber but not suitable for everyday wear where you will be and for what you'll be doing. I say this from first-hand experience in that area.

P.S. Just noticed that your parents are in a different state. If you choose to leave the car with them for their use you'll need to purchase insurance in that state or they'll need to add it to their policy (probably the best and most cost efficient choice). Insurance rates and required coverages vary from state to state.
Have a plan, stay the course and simplify. Then ignore the noise!
Topic Author
StretchArmstrong
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Location: north of the Yukon

Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by StretchArmstrong »

The barn would be an old, rustic barn with a dirt floor. Cats don't seem to go in there, I imagine lots of rodents. Will have to rethink that part. I guess I could sell it too, but I've had it for 10 years (it's a 1998) and at this point I like seeing how long I can keep it until it falls apart.

Polar bears will be rare, but lots of black bears and some brown bears (grizzly). Was told I need to bring bear deterrent if I go on any hikes- either bear spray from the hip ($50+ for a setup) or a rather large caliber revolver ($800+).

I am looking forward to seeing all of the wildlife. Would like to see herds of caribou and moose. If I get lucky I would really like to see a dall sheep. The northern lights will be amazing too.

I'll try and get a pair of bunny boots, still have some time before the winter starts.
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by FrugalInvestor »

Just FYI, moose typically don't hang around in herds. I've only seen that once in a very specific area (not where you're going). They're generally pretty solitary animals. You'll typically see lone bulls and cows or cows with a calf or two.

See if you can find some Musk Ox too. They're a very interesting and unique animal. There is a Musk Ox farm near the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) if you're in the area. They give tours and you can learn a lot about them there...

http://lars.uaf.edu/

The UAF Museum of the North is a great place to learn about Alakska and it's history, peoples, flora and fauna.

http://www.uaf.edu/museum/
Last edited by FrugalInvestor on Sat May 24, 2014 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Random Poster
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by Random Poster »

If you totally cancel your car insurance, you might not have any coverage for any rental car, unless you purchase a separate rental-car policy.

Some carriers care about gaps in insurance coverage, some don't. USAA didn't seem to care.
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dratkinson
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by dratkinson »

Remembered related topic: "Borrowing a Friend's Car for 6+ months"
http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 1&t=121523
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texasdiver
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by texasdiver »

I spent 10 years living and working in Alaska...in the Aleutians and SE Alaska (Juneau).

First, Alaska is still part of the US. Anything you can get on Amazon.com in the lower 48 you can get in Alaska. It just might take a day or two longer to get there. I wouldn't worry so much about buying whatever gear you think you are going to need. You aren't going to Nepal. Anything it turns out you absolutely need will be available locally.

As for the car. It kind of depends on how much you like it. My advice is:

1. Don't change the registration. That is a lot of additional cost and complication. People maintain out of state licensed cars for long periods of time. It is totally common for military service members and others who work abroad and in remote locations. Just make sure it doesn't expire.

2. Call your insurance company and go over the options. You may be able to cut the coverage way way back for a car in storage that isn't used regularly. Again this is pretty normal stuff. When I worked for extended periods in the Aleutians I kept my truck in storage in Seattle at the NOAA headquarters on Lake Washington where they maintained a long term storage lot for employees in my situation. This kind of thing is pretty common. I just cut back my coverage to comprehensive only when I was traveling and it was pretty minimal cost and then restored the liability and collision when I was back in town.
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by FrugalInvestor »

texasdiver wrote:I spent 10 years living and working in Alaska...in the Aleutians and SE Alaska (Juneau).
First, Alaska is still part of the US. Anything you can get on Amazon.com in the lower 48 you can get in Alaska. It just might take a day or two longer to get there. I wouldn't worry so much about buying whatever gear you think you are going to need. You aren't going to Nepal. Anything it turns out you absolutely need will be available locally.
Yes, it is part of the U.S. but there are still many online retailers that will not ship there or charge much more to do so. Depending on the village you may or may not be good availability and prices may be very high. If you can get to Fairbanks or Anchorage on an occasional basis you can do your major purchasing there from local and national retailers.
Have a plan, stay the course and simplify. Then ignore the noise!
texasdiver
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by texasdiver »

FrugalInvestor wrote:
texasdiver wrote:I spent 10 years living and working in Alaska...in the Aleutians and SE Alaska (Juneau).
First, Alaska is still part of the US. Anything you can get on Amazon.com in the lower 48 you can get in Alaska. It just might take a day or two longer to get there. I wouldn't worry so much about buying whatever gear you think you are going to need. You aren't going to Nepal. Anything it turns out you absolutely need will be available locally.
Yes, it is part of the U.S. but there are still many online retailers that will not ship there or charge much more to do so. Depending on the village you may or may not be good availability and prices may be very high. If you can get to Fairbanks or Anchorage on an occasional basis you can do your major purchasing there from local and national retailers.
Priority mail is subsidized. In my experience the only things that cost more to ship to Alaska were oversized items that had to go freight instead of priority mail. If you buying something big and heavy like a kayak or BBQ grill that the mail carrier isn't going to deliver then yes. It will cost a LOT. But if you are buying things that come in normal size amazon boxes via priority mail they will cost about the same as the lower 48 no matter where you are in Alaska.

The key is to use priority mail and not the private services like FedEx and UPS which are not subsidized. So you don't buy from any online retailers that don't provide priority mail as a shipping option.
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StretchArmstrong
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Location: north of the Yukon

Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by StretchArmstrong »

I will be working indoors, but plan on being outdoors a great deal of time whenever possible. My contacts have all been on vacation, so haven't been able to ask many questions.

If I'm in Fairbanks for any time will check out those museums. The musk ox look very interesting to see. I'll keep an eye on shipping, have a feeling Amazon is going to be really important.

The journey starts tomorrow! Will figure the rest out as it comes, I'll let you know how it goes.
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wilpat
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by wilpat »

22twain wrote:
wingnutty wrote:
and don't let the grizzlies bite.

...I think it's polar bears :happy
Don't forget the mosquitoes! :twisted:
The mosquitoes in Alaska are HUGE! I was with a group at Elmandorf Air Force Base one time and we were standing out near the runway when a couple of planes flew over with one refueling the other. The lady standing next to me looked up and said "I wondered where those mosquitoes came from!"
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mt
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by mt »

I spent a year in Alaska in the cold part of the state.

I agree with the bunny boot recommendation.

Balaclava. Get two- a thin polypropylene one for general use and a thick one for -20 and colder.

Bear spray with holster. Plenty of evidence that this is more effective than a firearm in general and handguns in particular. And remember that bears emerge from dens when snow is still on the ground. I had a bear follow my snowshoe tracks in April.
http:wdfw.wa.gov.hunting/bear_cougar/files/JWM_BearSprayAlaska.pdf

Hand comfort- get three layers- a thin polypro glove, then a fleece or wool liner, then a waterproof outer mitten shell.

Polypropylene long underwear- you will wear this from early October to late May. Get a thin layer and a thick layer (both top/bottom).

Bug repellent- I have always had good luck with the liquid 100% DEET. But if bugs get really bad the only way to maintain your sanity is with a mesh head net. Get two in case you lose one.

Depending on which village you are headed to, you may want to prepare yourself mentally for some racial tension. And you will be the minority.

Northern lights- tell everyone you know that if they see a really good show to wake you up at any hour. These are really awesome. The University of Alaska Fairbanks has an aurora forecast and will send you email updates when they anticipate increased activity.

Enjoy your experience. Yes Alaska is in the US, but is SOOO different. In a good way.
Last edited by mt on Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Moving to Alaska

Post by FrugalInvestor »

mt wrote:Northern lights- tell everyone you know that if they see a really good show to wake you up at any hour. These are really awesome. The University of Alaska Fairbanks has an aurora forecast and will send you email updates when they anticipate increased activity.

Enjoy your experience. Yes Alaska is in the US, but is SOOO different. In a good way.
I second the Aurora Borealis, they are spectacular and can be mesmerizing, particularly when you get a really good show with multiple colors and lots of movement. There's nothing in this world that compares!
Have a plan, stay the course and simplify. Then ignore the noise!
Coiled_Snake
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Where?

Post by Coiled_Snake »

Which village are you coming to?
No, there is no specialty equipment except excellent mittens (NOT gloves).
We enjoy it.
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