New career - in Anchorage! Halp!

Drake ChambersDrake Chambers Lay out my formal shorts.Registered User regular
edited April 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
After seven or so years chasing the career of my dreams, I've finally been offered the job. The twist I didn't quite expect is that it's in Anchorage AK. We'll be moving in August.

Some of you live out there, right? Ima have a million questions over the next couple of months but here's a start:

Where should we live? Our son will be nine months old when we move, and we'd like to have a yard and a dog. I believe my office will be in the city, but I don't have an address yet, so I'm not sure what part.

What should I drive? I've got a 2012 Hyundai Elantra with ~800 miles on it. Is it worth it to have it shipped out or am I going to want a heftier, four-wheel-drivier vehicle? I expect I may have to do quite a bit of driving per my job.

What mobile carrier do I want? It'll be time in the next few months to renew our contract with Verizon. Do they have good coverage up there? If not, then who?

I am excited and terrified. Any advice is welcome!

Drake Chambers on

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  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    After seven or so years chasing the career of my dreams, I've finally been offered the job. The twist I didn't quite expect is that it's in Anchorage AK. We'll be moving in August.

    Some of you live out there, right? Ima have a million questions over the next couple of months but here's a start:

    Where should we live? Our son will be nine months old when we move, and we'd like to have a yard and a dog. I believe my office will be in the city, but I don't have an address yet, so I'm not sure what part.

    What should I drive? I've got a 2012 Hyundai Elantra with ~800 miles on it. Is it worth it to have it shipped out or am I going to want a heftier, four-wheel-drivier vehicle? I expect I may have to do quite a bit of driving per my job.

    What mobile carrier do I want? It'll be time in the next few months to renew our contract with Verizon. Do they have good coverage up there? If not, then who?

    I am excited and terrified. Any advice is welcome!

    Living - visit first. I'd recommend renting a place for a week and exploring the city to find out where works for you and your family.
    Car - Get quotes, see if work will pay for it. Weigh the cost vs. new car

  • Drake ChambersDrake Chambers Lay out my formal shorts. Registered User regular
    schuss wrote: »
    Living - visit first. I'd recommend renting a place for a week and exploring the city to find out where works for you and your family.
    Car - Get quotes, see if work will pay for it. Weigh the cost vs. new car

    Fairly sure they won't pay to ship the car -- assistance is limited to transportation of our household from what I've been told so far. Would the Elantra be a reasonable car in which to drive all over Alaska though? I figured I'd need something more snow-worthy.

  • NoquarNoquar Registered User regular
    After seven or so years chasing the career of my dreams, I've finally been offered the job. The twist I didn't quite expect is that it's in Anchorage AK. We'll be moving in August.

    Some of you live out there, right? Ima have a million questions over the next couple of months but here's a start:

    Where should we live? Our son will be nine months old when we move, and we'd like to have a yard and a dog. I believe my office will be in the city, but I don't have an address yet, so I'm not sure what part.

    What should I drive? I've got a 2012 Hyundai Elantra with ~800 miles on it. Is it worth it to have it shipped out or am I going to want a heftier, four-wheel-drivier vehicle? I expect I may have to do quite a bit of driving per my job.

    What mobile carrier do I want? It'll be time in the next few months to renew our contract with Verizon. Do they have good coverage up there? If not, then who?

    I am excited and terrified. Any advice is welcome!

    So many things to address. I recently moved out of Anchorage after spending 27 years there.

    I don't know where you currently live, and what real estate is like so comparing is going to be difficult. Anchorage is a municipality. It's also huge in land area. That means you could live 13 miles north of Anchorage in Eagle River, but still be in Anchorage. So for the first question you need to decide what kind of budget you have for a home and what kind of a drive you are willing to commit to. Now, many commutes in the Lower 48 - and get used to that term, because all of Alaska refers to the continental U.S. as the Lower 48 - are much longer, but during the winter a commute from the Mat-Su Valley and/or Eagle River can suck because of winter driving conditions. Eagle River has many nice homes that tend to be on average more expensive than much of Anchorage "proper". There are nice areas all over Anchorage - find a realtor. They'll help you.

    Your vehicle is fine. Again, contrary to popular belief - you do not need a big truck or SUV in Anchorage. Your FWD will do just fine in the winter, and you will begin the new experience of swapping tires between summer and winter. If you intend to haul a camper, or a boat, or go off-road, then maybe you need something bigger. I'd wait and see how outdoor involved you really become.

    Verizon is not native to Alaska. They have no Verizon stores, and you will be piggy-backing off of another carriers network. AT&T, ACS, and GCI are the big ones in the Anchorage area.

    If you have any other questions, let them fly.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Alaska isn't an island.. it would take forever but that's a brand new car, is there a reason you can't drive it there? I honestly have no idea, and I'm wondering if it's something you've considered but ruled out because it was impossible, or if you just hated the idea of being in the car forever.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • Drake ChambersDrake Chambers Lay out my formal shorts. Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    ceres wrote: »
    Alaska isn't an island.. it would take forever but that's a brand new car, is there a reason you can't drive it there? I honestly have no idea, and I'm wondering if it's something you've considered but ruled out because it was impossible, or if you just hated the idea of being in the car forever.

    Fair question! I don't actually know yet how much time I'll have to move -- I'll be in training here on the east coast and then be expected to move to my duty station after graduation in August, but I don't have the exact details of when I'll be expected to arrive yet.

    That said, even if I had the time, I'm not sure it would be doable or at all bearable with a baby. If my family flew and I drove cross-continent by myself it would probably take forever. A drive from here in DC to Seattle would be epic, and the drive to Anchorage is about 1,500 miles longer than that.

    Looks like I could have it shipped for under $2,000, which is a lot of money but might be worth the month it would take to make the drive. Fortunately we've got some time to weigh our options.

    @Noquar: great, helpful advice. I'll definitely be using you as a resource when more questions arise. Thanks!

    Drake Chambers on
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Could you bring a friend with you to switch off and then fly him home, or possibly one of your wife's friends - I'm thinking it might be a little cheaper than $2000, but even if it's a similar cost, if the person stayed for a few days you'd have some built-in move-in help. It might be useful with a baby.

    I realize this is probably ridiculous, but I'm just throwing out ideas. If shipping is worth it then definitely go that way; it's one less thing to worry about.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Blight on Discourse Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    Alaska isn't an island.. it would take forever but that's a brand new car, is there a reason you can't drive it there? I honestly have no idea, and I'm wondering if it's something you've considered but ruled out because it was impossible, or if you just hated the idea of being in the car forever.

    Fair question! I don't actually know yet how much time I'll have to move -- I'll be in training here on the east coast and then be expected to move to my duty station after graduation in August, but I don't have the exact details of when I'll be expected to arrive yet.

    That said, even if I had the time, I'm not sure it would be doable or at all bearable with a baby. If my family flew and I drove cross-continent by myself it would probably take forever. A drive from here in DC to Seattle would be epic, and the drive to Anchorage is about 1,500 miles longer than that.

    Looks like I could have it shipped for under $2,000, which is a lot of money but might be worth the month it would take to make the drive. Fortunately we've got some time to weigh our options.

    @Noquar: great, helpful advice. I'll definitely be using you as a resource when more questions arise. Thanks!

    A month? Dude it'd take about a week if you didn't do much else. It's a <83 hour drive.

  • ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    Just out of curiosity I plugged it into Mapquest, about 75 hours and about $500 in gas (I have no idea what it costs out in the wilds of Canada). Throw in hotel and other costs, plus the simple part about spending a week of your life in your car, and I'd probably just have it shipped, myself. Hell, looking at this map is just giving me visions of getting stuck somewhere out in the backwoods of Canada with no one but a friendly grizzly for company.

    Guess it depends on if you've got the extra thousand to spend or not as opposed to a week of time.

  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Blight on Discourse Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    I like roadtrips myself so I'm biased that way.

  • xThanatoSxxThanatoSx Registered User regular
    What mobile carrier do I want? It'll be time in the next few months to renew our contract with Verizon. Do they have good coverage up there? If not, then who?

    Verizon is in the process of building a native network up in Alaska, but currently all service is provided via roaming partners.

    Whether or not that network is going to be live by the time you move... I have no idea. I'm not with the network team so I don't have access to that type of information.

  • NoquarNoquar Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    Could you bring a friend with you to switch off and then fly him home, or possibly one of your wife's friends - I'm thinking it might be a little cheaper than $2000, but even if it's a similar cost, if the person stayed for a few days you'd have some built-in move-in help. It might be useful with a baby.

    I realize this is probably ridiculous, but I'm just throwing out ideas. If shipping is worth it then definitely go that way; it's one less thing to worry about.

    This isn't a bad idea. We did the drive in about seven days Anchorage, to Rhode Island. 5,800 miles on the roads we took. My wife and mother-in-law flew with the babies. It's not a bad drive, there are a lot of great places to stop, great places to eat. You don't really worry about gas until you get up into the northwest areas of Canada and the eastern edges of Alaska. Even then, with a car like that you likely won't worry about it too much anyhow.

  • Drake ChambersDrake Chambers Lay out my formal shorts. Registered User regular
    Well the car question has fortunately been answered -- the agency will pay to ship it. Woohoo! It's a good thing as I've learned I only get five days of "relocation leave" and that wouldn't be enough to make the road trip.

    They're moving our household and providing up to 60 days of storage. I imagine the idea there is that we might spend some time in short-term housing without all our stuff while we find a permanent place to settle.

    Online real estate information seems a bit sparse. Not sure if that's for lack of availability or lack of effort. Maybe a bit of both? Eagle River looks to be not too far from the city and reasonably priced as far as homes go.

  • MHYoshimitzuMHYoshimitzu Registered User regular
    I won't be much help here except to say congrats and good luck. This is a big step in your life and I hope it goes as smoothly as possible.

    I do remember a long time ago there was a forumer who did something similar - and actually went the extra mile to chronicle his journey from--I think it was Wisconsin--over to Alaska.

    It may not help you in terms of settling down in your new town, but it might help prepare you mentally to see what the trip was like for someone else. Does anyone remember this, or am I just crazy?

    sig.gif
  • NoquarNoquar Registered User regular
    Well the car question has fortunately been answered -- the agency will pay to ship it. Woohoo! It's a good thing as I've learned I only get five days of "relocation leave" and that wouldn't be enough to make the road trip.

    They're moving our household and providing up to 60 days of storage. I imagine the idea there is that we might spend some time in short-term housing without all our stuff while we find a permanent place to settle.

    Online real estate information seems a bit sparse. Not sure if that's for lack of availability or lack of effort. Maybe a bit of both? Eagle River looks to be not too far from the city and reasonably priced as far as homes go.

    www.alaskarealestate.com is the MLS site. That should help a bit with searching for properties. Eagle River is about 13 miles out of "Anchorage proper". The drive isn't bad in the summer, in the winter it can be a real pain. There are a lot of nice houses, but can be on the pricier side - depending on what you're used to where you are moving from.

  • Drake ChambersDrake Chambers Lay out my formal shorts. Registered User regular
    I won't be much help here except to say congrats and good luck. This is a big step in your life and I hope it goes as smoothly as possible.

    I do remember a long time ago there was a forumer who did something similar - and actually went the extra mile to chronicle his journey from--I think it was Wisconsin--over to Alaska.

    It may not help you in terms of settling down in your new town, but it might help prepare you mentally to see what the trip was like for someone else. Does anyone remember this, or am I just crazy?
    I'd be curious to read this if anyone has the link.
    Noquar wrote: »
    www.alaskarealestate.com is the MLS site. That should help a bit with searching for properties. Eagle River is about 13 miles out of "Anchorage proper". The drive isn't bad in the summer, in the winter it can be a real pain. There are a lot of nice houses, but can be on the pricier side - depending on what you're used to where you are moving from.
    Thanks @Noquar, that was exactly the site I needed. We're moving from Metro-accessible Arlington VA and from what I've seen so far it's going to be substantially more affordable.


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