Planning for a move to Alaska in 2018

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by jackalsour, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. jackalsour

    jackalsour Xennial

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    Hello Alaskan inmates!

    I received some big news just before the holidays that I am earmarked for a 1 year assignment in Alaska starting this summer! I've been lurking the subforum and thinking a lot about Alaska ever since :wave 1 year is actually pretty short for all the things to see and do

    I have been waiting for any opportunity to ride across Canada and to the arctic. I read many great Alaska ride reports on ADVrider and keep notes :deal So I'm not really here to ask the standard what tires/bike/oil/bear deterrent I need unfortunately :lol3

    I want to maximize my time in Alaska so I've been thinking a lot about the winter. The picture on my bedroom wall is actually northern lights above a snowy Atigun pass I bought 5 years ago in Anchorage. I had some time for sightseeing but I'ver never seen the northern lights..



    I'd love to do some backcountry/mountain winter camping and sledding. As a shift worker I should have time off in chunks longer than normal weekends and I've winter camped before. I'll probably be at least 60 miles from the good stuff so I'd need to figure out a form of winter transportation

    So my internal struggle is whether I should find a beater truck/trailer now to tow my bike and possibly a used mountain sled to Alaska rather than ride there.. The bike is ready to go whereas I'd have to buy and prep a truck.. I would obviously enjoy riding there far more than driving

    I could buy winter transport in Alaska but I don't necessarily plan to switch my Canadian driver's licence/registration to AK for 1 year (I'll have justification to stay on Canadian plates) But I imagine that would preclude me to register a used snowmachine or truck at the Alaskan DMV..

    Any backcountry sledders here? Winter hikers/campers? What are your winter hobbies? :ear
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  2. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric Supporter

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    My '02 pickup has lots of miles (three rounds over the alcan, plows snow and tows heavy stuff) and isn't a beat up piece of shit nor are most of the guys trucks I know.

    Lots of good pickups around to buy in Anchorage or Fairbanks (my home since 1970 but grew up in Anchorage.) As to whether trucks and sleds are less money than where you are is easy to determine. Look it up on Craigslist. Decent pickups aren't cheap anywhere unless its a useless 2wd stripper, and old wore out trucks are more trouble than they are worth. Trailers are generally more expensive here by what I've seen traveling down south.

    Registering a truck/trailer or sled you buy here shouldn't be a problem but I don't know. I've had Canadian friends who bought vehicles locally. Sell it before you leave if its a problem taking it back. Call Alaska DMV. Sleds don't have titles but get re-registered every two years. Lots of guys don't bother but I do.

    I'm a backcountry mountain sledder since the late 80's, started riding sled in the 60's. Bike in the summer, sled in the winter. In the winter if I'm not riding sled I'm in the shop working on bikes or volunteer work (retired.) I use a toyhauler trailer for winter camping. Have done winter tent camping long time back...

    Do the homework and listen to those who live here. Most of the Alaskan ADVers I know ride sled and/or boat and/or fly airplanes and/or four wheelers in addition to bikes.
    Where/when are you going to be based? Where are you now? I have some friends near Toronto Ontario who are riding sleds from there to here in Feb/Mar. That's an adventure!

    Happy to field more questions. Ask away. Welcome to Alaska.
    david
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  3. jackalsour

    jackalsour Xennial

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    @HeidiHo
    I agree in general, having lived and worked in the north east things tend to cost a bit more and take a bit more beating from the harsh elements in general. Of course it all depends. I'd have to register any Canadian vehicle on the east coast where my residential ties are, pay the extra to drive 5,000k miles (and back), CAD vs USD, plus sales taxes are 15% here etc. It's all kind of a wash and not always about the money, but weighing the hassles of any options. Importing/registering vehicles is one thing you can't just wing and can be a major pain if not prepared

    @Solarmoose
    I'm now relatively experienced with importing motorbikes to Canada. I believe I could register vehicles bought in Alaska but I'm making things overly complicated on myself by bringing a motorbike registered in Canada tied to a Canadian driver licence etc (which I'd rather not import to Alaska for 1 year) Ironically I have a US spec bike from Germany.. now if only I knew I'd have left it as a US titled bike in storage a few years and this would have magically solved itself twice now! :bash

    That's interesting about the snowmobile registration. Out east they check them all on the main trails at choke points for registration, insurance and trail passes, usually on the weekends. But I suppose you don't meet too many Alaskan snowmobile police in the backcountry!? Not sure it would be wise to buy a sled and leave it unregistered. Is there no sales tax on used sleds there? I searched but it's still not 100% clear

    I avoid mentioning locations in public threads but I'll PM you and anyone who's interested. I'll live practically at work and it's not one of the major cities, so ideally I'd just park a sled within walking distance and have access directly to the trails/backcountry. I imagine I would find groups to trailer to other locations with but as a shiftworker it's not always as easy as weekends to schedule. I have some experience sledding but with a bit less snow, altitude and gravity involved

    Longterm I'd like to build a toy hauler/camper out of an enclosed trailer but it won't happen before this move unfortunately. If I bought the trailer now it could eventually be converted overtime and it would probably make a great mobile garage/winter shelter in the meantime. I've enjoyed winter camping out east but it really depends on the weather and it's probably a different game up there

    Bikes, sleds, planes, camping sounds like a pretty great situation you have! I've been saying I would go west since high school but I only got as far as Quebec so far and if they make me stay in AK longer than 1 year I don't think I would be too upset!

    Now sledding all the way to Alaska is not something I considered! I wonder what my employer would say if I tried that one :nono
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  4. XXMe

    XXMe Not my picture

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    Just moved here. DMV requires license change within 30 days and vehicle plates/reg within 90 days.

    Good luck attempting to find a way around the laws, I'm sure they've never seen it before!
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  5. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric Supporter

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    No statewide sales tax and no income tax. A few boroughs have sales tax but not where you are going. No sales tax on used sleds. Not required to have sled insurance. No trail passes needed. Registration was not much, $60 for two years maybe less. No snowmachine police. (Alaskans don't use the term snowmobiles.) No speed limits on snowmachine riding. Most highways are 65mph and 70 is ok.

    Weather rules a winter trip not you. We didn't carry GPS's until recently relying on memory to know an area and still do, only using GPS as backup in case visibility goes to hell. I had a Spot tracker but it was the first version and didn't work well here, I use an Inreach tracker now which works well up north (Spot uses equatorial orbit satellites and Inreach uses polar orbit.) I think its wise to carry one if things go bad and carry it on bike trips too since it allows family and friends to follow us on trips. My wife uses a similar device, Spider tracker, in her airplane, much better than an ELT.

    Yes, a toyhauler or enclosed trailer makes a great off-season secure storage or out-of-the-weather work area. I've had several looking for the "perfect" solution. (no such thing) "Bikes, sleds, planes, camping," boats, wheelers and etc, none of us do all those. not enough time/money but lots of opportunity and others who will offer suggestions on best riding, boating, camping. flying and etc areas but don't expect anyone to give away their favorite fishing location...lol
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  6. jackalsour

    jackalsour Xennial

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    @XXMe
    If you go near a US military base you'll probably see plates from everywhere, and it's legal in many states. In Canada our RCMP/MP aren't so kind and we have to follow the same 30/90 day rules. It's a huge pain and personally costs me thousands as I move a lot and usually like to keep a few toys. I think my bikes have been inspected a dozen times in a few years and it's never free. US is right to be flexible on this rule for military who move often

    Besides my licence is french so DMV will be happy to not deal me either :deal We can't even spell it right

    @Solarmoose
    I like the sounds of getting myself a "snowmachine" more and more. I suppose nobody would raise an eyebrow if I ride up to the corner store to pick up a few snacks? May not even need a truck. That's a good point about the SPOT coverage. I've been thinking to switch to a PLB like ACR ResQLink+ which goes straight to US military with far better comms capabilities and coverage. Never heard of spider tracker I'll check it out

    Speaking of fishing reminds me I'll need to seriously upgrade my travel kit :lol3
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  7. XXMe

    XXMe Not my picture

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    I live about 2 minutes from JBER. Please don't act like anyone here needs education or to be tagged by you.
    I'm a 68yr old Vietnam/Cambodia Veteran who is quite familiar with military bases thanks.

    I offered info on what the State of Alaska wants you to do. Take it or leave it.

    I personally follow the laws when it comes to things like license, registration, plates, etc.
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  8. jackalsour

    jackalsour Xennial

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    Gotcha. That will be cleared up at the international border seeing as it's a Canadian vehicle and they always ask for how long, and then proper customs paperwork.. Many Canadians spend winter in south as do many RTW riders and they don't change plates every 90 days. Same as US plates in Canada for various reasons. No need or intent to break laws here

    Just trying to be able to legally buy/register some form of winter transport while there. Might be easier to switch everything over or come up with another plan.. these rules aren't really designed for short moves
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  9. XXMe

    XXMe Not my picture

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    I never said RTW or anyone else who was going to be somewhere for 90 days had to get new plates.

    (Why do I feel like I'm living in MA again?)

    You said a year. Am I right that a year is more than 90 days OR 4-6 months like folks from Canada like to spend in FL?

    Yeah, I thought I was...

    I was talking about going there TO LIVE. You said you were moving to Alaska. I gave you the requirements if you're moving here and now you want to nitpick my answers.

    So you don't want to move to Alaska, you want to take a job, make Alaskan money without any of the responsibilities of actually moving here... Got it.
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  10. jackalsour

    jackalsour Xennial

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    Don't worry about the Alaskan jobs. Paid in CAD and spending in USD. From what I understand I would import a vehicle to US only if I plan to keep it there or sell it there, but in this case I expect to leave after 1 year. If I don't import it I probably won't be able to do anything with it at the DMV

    How do you like it there so far? I was at JBER a few years ago it's a stunning area. Kenai Peninsula was my favourite but that's pretty much the only place I made it to. Unbelievable fishing and hiking. What was your military occupation?
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  11. rwebell

    rwebell Been here awhile

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    @jackalsour take a truck and trailer from Cda. You can claim a higher mileage rate for pulling the trailer and an enclosed trailer makes a good storage option. Have a look at the Chillkoot pass. It’s the hike the gold miners did to get into the Yukon in 1898. It is now a joint US/Cda national park and steeped in history. Going pretty easy it is about a 4 day hike starting in Skagway AK and arriving in Lake Bennett YK.
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  12. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    relax dudes, this guy is good people, and happens to be part of a group that provides a particularly invaluable service for our men, his too. a very capable rider, good bushcraft, and seems a perfect fit to the AK moto community. from the other side of NA, don't hold the French against him, he speaks perfect English too. bottom line, he ain't the fobbit type, and this assignment isn't his first. if you have the opportunity to ride with him, take it...i would.
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  13. Drunk_Uncle

    Drunk_Uncle Long timer

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    My only question is where in Alaska are you going to be for the year. As posted earlier, trailers are more expensive here compared to the lower 48. You are right in that trying to get Alaska plates on a Canadian vehicle could prove difficult. I wouldn’t worry about keeping Canadian plates and DL so long as you have all the endorsements for your vehicles. Drive safe and have fun.
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  14. Alaskajeff

    Alaskajeff Long timer

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    Sounds like you will have a great time, even if it's only for a year. If you are in the Palmer area give me a jingle. I work 1 week on 1 week off so I've got some downtime between shifts to ride. We could hit Hatcher Pass or many other good riding spots in the valley. If you can swing it you could always head to D2D in June and meet up with a BUNCH of the AK riders.
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  15. jackalsour

    jackalsour Xennial

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    @rwebell
    That is probably the most common sense thing to do. Maybe in the spring when it's 100% happening I'll look at selling car and buying truck+trailer. I won't get a paid move for 1 year so I probably won't get any high mileage. I will have to ask permission to take a vehicle there on vacation at own risk and claim comparable price of a flight. I'll even have to get permission to list my house and the new Brookfield call center only system just wen into effect :bash

    @jdrocks
    Thanks man. It was great meeting an ADVrider legend by chance this summer and I've been reading up on your expeditions to Alaska and marking my maps with all the hidden gems I need to see and gravel roads I need to ride. I'm just under cover French I'm actually from an English part of bilingual New Brunswick. When's your next trip to Alaska? :ear

    @Drunk_Uncle
    I avoid naming locations on here but I'll send you a PM with the location and any local ADVriders who's interested. Indeed I've experienced importing and plating vehicles before it's just that for 1 year I would rather avoid that pain

    @Alaskajeff
    I'll certainly msg you when I get a chance to ride near Anchorage. Sounds like there's a lot to see around there. I have clicked "interested in" D2D on Facebook. We'll see if the dates line up!
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  16. rwebell

    rwebell Been here awhile

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    Sounds like an interesting posting. I’ve been out (retired) for three years now so maybe the rules have changed on the 1 yr posts. I spent some time working and living in the Yukon. Northern people are great. Super friendly and it’s a small world up there they all seem to know everyone. All the best.
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  17. jackalsour

    jackalsour Xennial

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    @rwebell
    Indeed they've completely revamped the posting system recently. I'll probably get to claim the cost of a flight to get there and a flight out to visit family. Living in furnished shacks on base, no need to ship my furniture etc. What gets me is when you elect to drive a vehicle they only let you claim max 500km because we're only supposed to drive 500km in a day and the rest is on leave at own risk/expense. So I'd get like $250 max to drive to Alaska

    Regardless it's a great opportunity and I hope I can manage to get a bike and sled up there somehow. I looked up Chilkoot pass and added it to my map. Looks amazing if I can manage to spend a few days there. Apparently they restrict permits to 50 backpackers a day. Not sure there are any other places they let you hike across a border like that
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  18. rwebell

    rwebell Been here awhile

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    Looks like all the perks have disappeared! I did a 1 year posting in Kabul....full move entitlements, even though I couldn’t move anything with me, posting allowance...whole nine yards...oh well. I served 26 years so it’s nice to get that pension cheque and complain about VAC! Chilkoot takes a bit of planning but is really worth the effort. If you start getting serious about it let me know and I’ll put in touch with some folks in Whitehorse who can help you out with the details.
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  19. sledneck

    sledneck Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks for your service! Mountain sleds (actually, all sleds except for vintage) are much cheaper in Alaska than Canada. Both new and used. I have a place in ontario (Muskoka) and am shocked at the price of used sleds there. Girdwood used to be a prime place to live for a backcountry rider due to its proximity to amazing zones. We haven't had a deep winter since 2013. Thankfully our state is massive and zones with deep pow are only a drive away. Alaska is incredible and the locals are wonderful. I have the winters off. Look me up if you want someone to show you a few fun riding zones.
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  20. jackalsour

    jackalsour Xennial

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    @sledneck
    Last time I bought a sled they were much cheaper south of the border, even those HQ'd in Canada. Taxes and currency is a major factor. For multiple reasons I think I'll just wait until I get to AK. There's always a risk in the military to buy a sled and get reassigned to Oklahoma the next day. I also really want to motorbike there rather than drive

    Is this Girdwood from Alyeska? Beautiful area, looks like you could almost go sledding in summer of 2012. Avalanches there much?

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