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Old 12-01-2012, 07:26 PM   #1
Spike Paddy OP
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What are the pros/cons of living/riding in Alaska?

I'm in the Army and in a couple months I should have my pick of duty stations and I'm really interested in Alaska...I was just wondering what some of yalls likes/dislikes are about living there and riding there before I make a decision.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:04 PM   #2
nuttynu
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if you love riding, make sure you have something to occupy you during the winter,

im not much of the snow type..
gas might be a bit more,
no taxes..

lots..lots of outdoors to do
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:29 PM   #3
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How much time out of the year is riding even practical?
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmy21b View Post
How much time out of the year is riding even practical?
Well it IS a world apart from what you are used to in Florida FOR SURE. But you would be surprised how quickly you can acclimate. I came from GUAM to Fairbanks in the middle of winter 1991 and survived, so you could too.
If your not afraid of the colder temps you usually can ride till the snow flies..... There is a HUGE difference between Fairbanks and Anchorage in terms of riding season length. When i was stationed in Fairbanks (Eielson AFB) it was the ONLY place I did not have a bike in my 20 year career. It was the LOOOONGEST 7 years of my life! I got into 4Wheeling so it passed the time. Every year is different. Last year this time we had record snow depth. THIS year we have record LACK OF SNOW depth. I rode my XR600 to and from work into November this year I know when riding on and off post the post commander (who is normally NOT a rider) closes the base to motorcycles WAY TOO EARLY. I was Air Force and worked at Elmendorf and had to stop riding to work much sooner than I wanted.
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Alaskajeff screwed with this post 12-01-2012 at 09:04 PM
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:08 PM   #5
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BTW you've got a PERFECT bike for exploring all that Alaska has to offer. The Honda XR is wonderfully suited for the riding conditions here. No matter if you get Ft Rich or Wainwright.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:22 PM   #6
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Well I grew up in Minnesota so I'm definitely no stranger to the cold...however, since I've started riding I haven't been in a climate where snow and ice are ever a factor, so I have winter riding experience. Right now it's getting relatively cold in Florida when I have to ride to work at 5AM and I'm one of the only guys still riding to work in a parking lot that's usually full of bikes in decent weather. I'm the type that will keep riding no matter how cold it is, but I'm sure at a certain point the snow and ice in Alaska sort of make it an impossibility even for a dual sport. What appeals to me most about Alaska is just the endless amounts of beautiful wilderness and terrain to ride on, I'm just trying to figure out if it's all worth it.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmy21b View Post
Well I grew up in Minnesota so I'm definitely no stranger to the cold...however, since I've started riding I haven't been in a climate where snow and ice are ever a factor, so I have winter riding experience. Right now it's getting relatively cold in Florida when I have to ride to work at 5AM and I'm one of the only guys still riding to work in a parking lot that's usually full of bikes in decent weather. I'm the type that will keep riding no matter how cold it is, but I'm sure at a certain point the snow and ice in Alaska sort of make it an impossibility even for a dual sport. What appeals to me most about Alaska is just the endless amounts of beautiful wilderness and terrain to ride on, I'm just trying to figure out if it's all worth it.
If you are an outdoor type, not specifically hunter/fisherman (that helps) the pros FAR outweight the cons IMHO.
I've been here in the state since 91 when, like you was transferred with the military. We fell in love with the state and the people, the scenery and the adventure of it all. I retired in 2002 and Alaska is our home. Check out some of the posts here in the Alaska section for some of the riding opportunities and you will be chomping at the bit to get up here and ride them ALL. BTW last winter a few of us crazies went and studded up our tires and rode all winter. Never to and from work but on sunny warmish days I would suit up and tool around town (Palmer) I ended up putting 200 winter miles on my XR600! it was a BLAST
Have you done any web surfing on Alaska traveling yet? There is a plethora of material out there. Heck, just the Alaska section of this site will give you HOURS of reading on whats out there to do.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:10 PM   #8
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Laugh

For the last two years,my riding season started right at the end of march (30&april1st) it' might be a bit earlier than some ppl. Cause the break up us still going in with tons of gravel and such. And I usually end in earlier October .
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:51 PM   #9
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I can hardly stop

Laughing long enough to type.. I can see Ft. Wainwright from the back deck.

I came up here in Service in '76, and have never left.

It has been a warm winter so far,, Winter dosn't start December 1st, in Fairbanks.. Snow can stick in October, It is -30 F. as I write this, I've seen -68F.

Freezing your Ass off in the dark develops Characters, AK HAS LOTS OF Em..

S.A.D. Seasonal Affected Disorder, (Lack of Light) gets to some folks. Shortest Day is @ 3hours 45 minutes. Longest Day June 21'st has @ 22 hours of daylight.

Whatever you look for you can find. I came for the Hunting and Fishing, found a Home.

Rode to Key West last summer.. It was Freeken HOT. The Dakotas and Idaho were hotter than the Deep South and Florida.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:04 PM   #10
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"I can hardly stop
Laughing long enough to type.."

Do tell, what is making you laugh so?
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:42 PM   #11
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Living/riding up here is as blast...especially if you can get out of Anchorage or Fairbanks. Exploring the outlying areas gives you a chance to explore some great back roads (gravel and dirt). The scenery is beautiful and the possibilities of seeing wildlife is promising. I've lived in PA and OR and here for the last 13 years...I don't think I will ever leave.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:02 PM   #12
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I usually have a bike out by mid-April and ride into early October. Each year is bit different in terms of snow depth and temps, sometimes I start a bit earlier and/or end earlier.
Which base?
Weather at Ft Rich (Anchorage) is milder but you live next door to a lot of people. Of course if you are used to large cities, Anchorage is a nice place.
Weather at Wainwright (Fairbanks) has more extremes, winter and summer, but low population density and quiet rural roads nearby. Usually has nicer summers than cities near the coast.
I'm ok with both but have lived in Fairbanks since '70, lived in Anch before that since '52. Try either or both for a hitch, you won't regret it. In either place don't sit on your ass in the winter, do something useful and/or fun.

A better question for this group might what do you do in the winter?
Snowmachine riding is the best in the world, great downhill skiing at Alyeska, winter camping and hiking, we party (once in a while...), and typical indoor stuff (concerts, plays, etc.)

Good luck with your decision. Give a yell when you get here.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:27 PM   #13
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Whereas the highway system is somewhat limited compared to the South 48, we really have quite a variety of places you can ride to. You may need to toughen up a bit to keep up with some of the locals -

That's inmate Wheeldog, who has been to Nome twice in the Iditarod, with his KLR at the Arctic Circle in February.

We have a lot of scenery, but sometimes it's kinda hard to see for all the mountains that get in the way.


We do things a little differently up here - like get the snowplowing done in a hurry.


And we bundle up real warm when we take the dog out for a run.


We raise some of the most bloodthirsty mosquitoes to be found anywhere on earth.


We don't believe in washing and waxing our vehicles too often as it might wear out the paint.

We believe in "Truth In Advertising".


Sometimes we like to stop and sniff the posies.


Not all of our roads are twisty.


If we don't have a jack handy and our Piper Cub has to have a wheel and tire changed, we improvise.


We don't need carnival rides, as we have earthquakes.


We have 5 seasons - Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Breakup.


To make up for the short days during the winter, we have supplementary lighting.


Our animals, alas, cannot read so they often miss the crossings marked for them.


Some of them leave large footprints.


You can ride pretty much year-around... if you really want to.


Like I said - it would be pretty scenic up here if the mountains didn't keep getting in the way.


Oh, yes. It can get a bit nippy at times.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmy21b View Post
I'm the type that will keep riding no matter how cold it is, but I'm sure at a certain point the snow and ice in Alaska sort of make it an impossibility even for a dual sport.
Huh? Whadya mean?!?

4 winters on my studded tire KLR. Fun! And I love other winter activities too.

It ain't all easy tho. There's a reason why so few live up here, tho there do seem to be quite a few from MN.

Good luck with your decision, Mark H.





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Old 12-02-2012, 10:38 PM   #15
wayne_l
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The coldest ive had in Salcha was -70 and nothing i owned started even plugged in lol . your summer air in the tires will escape .. shocks break off and desiels wont like to give you heat after -45 .. tires on aluminum rims like to loose thier beads at -50 ..

The people are the best and summers in Fairbanks can hit 90 * and fishing is outstanding . i still had snow in my drive till first week of june this year . highways were clear but back roads still had packed ice .

by Oct its getting icy once snow stays for season you can ride again for a bit till it warms up then its nasty . See ice here is sticky if it stays cold but if its like 20* or warmer its slick ..

Find a winter hobby stay busy I liked shooting indoor archery and working in my shop on my 4x4's and race truck .
Price of utlities here suck ass and most expensive . and still trying to outlaw our wood stoves so i have to buy thier heating oil at 4.30 a gallon .. Electricity from MEA is also criminal ..
everything is shipped in so its also very expensive for even basics of stuff .. We call it the Alaskan tax or the price for living in Gods country ..

But if you love freedom and being self reliant, a challenge and being outdoors its Heaven on earth !
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