Ever stationed at Elemsdorf-Richardson?

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by USMCGrunt, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Just learned a family member will be PCS'ing to Alaska. We were discussing how to get there and whether it made sense to drive a POV there. A long time ago, when I was stationed on Okinawa, there were cars that just changed hands for a nominal (fair) price as guys rotated off the island. Incoming officer would arrange to buy the vehicle from outgoing officer. I was wondering if that kind of thing happens up in Alaska or if people drive (or ship) their POV's.

    Would love to hear from anyone with experience regarding this.
     
  2. dasani

    dasani Member

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    Depends on what kind of vehicle the person has. Gas in Alaska is the highest in the Nation. Furthermore, if the person is planning to stay there a couple of years, it is best to bring their own vehicle. Alaska is a nice drive from the States through Canada
     
  3. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    We did both. We shipped one POV up to Alaska and when we left, we drove one out of Alaska. Back when we did it, the shipping took much longer than I would have anticipated. Maybe it is quicker these days. We had a rental car until the vehicle arrived. The drive out of Alaska was a one-in-a-lifetime thing. I'm glad we did it, but we didn't have kids or a pet to have to deal with at the time. When we went up to Alaska, it was the middle of winter and there was no way that I would have driven up there then. When we drove out, it was in the summer.
     
  4. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Not quite sure where your getting your information,

    The average per gallon price of gas in Alaska is even or below the national average.

    When you PCS you don't just decide to stay a couple years.

    "A nice drive" is a bit misleading depending on the time of year and unneeded since the military will ship a POV to Alaska.
     
  5. greentrees

    greentrees Member

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    AK is GREAT!
    going to AK we shipped a car on the gov't and had the brand new Suburban we purchased before PCSing delivered to a dealership in AK and flew the family to AK
    leaving AK we did the ferry trip with our stuffed Suburban and shipped the other car. (Drove to Haines AK and got on the ferry which took us down the inland waterway -- gorgeous!!)
    I'd highly recommend the ferry route, but the ALCAN Highway the whole way is much better than it used to be.
    All depends on what time of year you have to report. We arrived in late Nov, so flying in was a better option for us, though we know others who did the ferry right at that time.

    cars in AK must have special stuff -- like battery blankets and oil heaters; that's why you'll see plugs hanging out of the car's front grill, so you can "plug in"
    We did all of the modifications to the car as soon as we got to AK -- and we arrived in late Nov.
    Used studded tires for our Toyota; Suburban had 4WD

    Gas prices -- you deal with them wherever you are so not a big issue really.
    I had more of a gulp on some food prices -- I thought fresh fruit was very expensive
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I know what you mean about the cars, that was true for us in the UK, but that really is not true for Elmendorf. I don't recall anyone in the 90th doing that.

    We lived there for 3 years. On the way there we drove out to Seattle and shipped the cars from there. They were there within a few days.
    ~ We shipped one privately and one with the govt. We just shipped them 2 days apart and spent more time in Seattle. Our jeep was there the day after we arrived. The money we made from the PCS well covered the cost of shipping.
    ~ We also opted to do this because we owned a dog. Airlines have a min. temp that they can fly pets, thus in Dec. we did not want to risk it.

    On the way out we did the ALCAN because we DITY it since we purchased a camper. That was a really nice PCS paycheck!
    ~I would not suggest doing the ferry and the ALCAN in the winter. It can be very desolate. Hence, why we drove to Seattle and shipped from there. The place you pick up the car from is literally right out the back gate.

    Elmendorf does not need any special treatment (heaters) for your cars. What you do want to do is take the car and have the undercarriage sprayed with oil. Do this every year in late fall. The reason is it protects it from salt and sand. You really won't find plug in battery chargers in Anchorage. Garages in AK are heated.
    ~ We took a Honda Accord and a Jeep Grand Cherokee. We did not used studded tires, just winter radials on the Accord. Bullet drove the Accord and never had any problems whatsoever. I think the only time I put the Jeep into 4 wheel drive was when we drove out on the ALCAN in Dec.
    ~~ The roads are not as bad as you think when it comes to Anchorage. Snow does not stop them at all. It is not uncommon to get 44 inches of snow over 3 days and people still go out doing their normal day to day things.

    The gas is more expensive in AK because they do not refine it up there, but it is cheaper than places like CA, DC and NYC. If I recall it is only maybe 25 cents more a gallon than the national average.

    What I found to be the most expensive items, besides fresh fruit were chips and beverages, but you get use to it.

    If they are going to be stationed at Ft. Rich, chances are they may get base housing. They renovated their houses back in the very late 90s. I think they have a high chance because I believe the news recently said they are reducing troops there.

    The majority of stuff (hospital, BX, Commissary, golf course, etc) is really on the Elmendorf side. The bases are like Pope/Bragg. They are connected.
    Elmendorf also has a ski slope right off the base. Rich has an amazing gym with an amazing indoor swimming pool. The pool has the enclosed tube slide for the kids.

    Most people live in either Eagle River or South Anchorage. There are a few that will go out to Wasilla. I would not suggest Wasilla at all. The main reason people go there is that housing is much cheaper. However, it is @45 min drive, and impo your mtg and real estate taxes are deductible, the wear and tear on your car is not.
    ~ Eagle River is called in the AF the base housing of the north. The reason why is so many people live there. We lived in Eaglewood. In just our squadron 12 of us lived in that development. I would say in total 75% of those of us that lived off base lived in an Eagle River subdivision.

    A few suggestions for them.
    1. If they have kids buy SORELLs ....you do not want to go cheap with some no name brand.
    ~~ In Eagle River 90% of elementary kids walk to school. They will go outside for recess unless it is lower than 5 or 10 degrees. Most schools will flood their basketball court in the fall and make it an ice rink.
    ~~~ Live in Eaglewood, Alpenglow elementary has a heated staircase to the school. It is 120 steps staircase that the kids walk everyday.

    Off topic, but the funniest thing is 5 minutes before the end of the day the school will send out the teachers to look out for Moose on their school paths. They will announce over the loudspeaker, Moose were found on this or that path, and the rules regarding what it means if their ears are down or up.

    2. Buy good winter coats too. Northface or Columbian. Again they will walk to school starting at a young age.
    3. The elementary school will ask for them to leave a pair of shoes at the school because they will switch out of their boots once at school.
    ~I can only speak for Eagle River schools, but they are strong academically. They start their talented and gifted program in 2nd grade. I would place them on the level of NJ.
    4. We kept at all times in the trunk a blanket, water and a couple of MREs. Never needed them, but it was done to be prepared for the just in case issue.
    5. Buy a snow blower. Trust me they will want one and they maybe able to pick one up now that is left over stock and ship it via the military.
    6. Think smart with their packing out too. Their HHGs can take several weeks.
    ~ I believe we were allowed up to 45 days in the TLFS. Elmendorf has 2 types of TLFs depending on how many kids. We had 3, thus we got a 4 bdrm TH on base. The other ones are like apartments.

    Elmendorf was our all time best tour. Our squadron was insanely close. During the summer we would all go camping together. In the winter on Sat. a.m. they would have intramural ice hockey games.
    ~ We always do a big Xmas eve open house at our house starting at 5. We invited the squadron. We had over 100 people every year, and they would stay until midnight.

    It really is like an overseas tour. You will only get out of it what you put into it.

    Finally here are the top hit lists of must do:
    1. Simon and Seaforts Restaurant
    ~ It is on Cook Inlet in Anchorage. It is expensive, but the view and service is amazing
    2. Hilton Roof top restaurant/bar (downtown Anchorage)
    ~ It overlooks the entire city
    3. Camping at WilliWaw (Portage Glacier)
    4. Eagle River check point for the Iditarod.
    ~ Go to 4th street for the start, than go to Eagle River. 4th street is crowded and you really can't meet the mushers and dogs, but you do at Eagle River.
    5. White water rafting.
    ~ Eagle River does it, but it is woosy. Great for when the family visits, but that is about all.

    My last piece of advice is they may want to save some money to buy a camper up there. The majority of us purchased the pop ups. This is where you may find a deal. Campers up there do not come with AC, but with heaters. Some will re-sell up there and do the ALCAN, picking up a new one in Seattle.
    ~ For our squadron come mid-May through mid-Sept. everybody cleared town and went camping every weekend.
    ~~ We got to a point that there was a meal sign up sheet at the squadron for the weekend, think pot luck for 3 days. Memorial Day. 4th of July, Labor Day and we would have a dozen families.

    OBTW, I don't know if they still sell it, but there is a book that is called the AK milepost. They will want to buy this if they intend to drive the ALCAN. It literally is the mile post markers. Think old days of the RAND atlas.
    ~ JMPO I would not drive the ALCAN after Nov. 1st
    ~~ It is not uncommon to have snow by Columbus day in Anchorage. Actually Oct 1st is the common date for snow on the ground for Anchorage.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
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  7. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Many thanks for the responses and advice. I will compile and send out.
     
  8. dasani

    dasani Member

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    #1 I receive my information form AAA. Clink the link on the below is you don't trust me.

    http://fuelgaugereport.aaa.com/todays-gas-prices/

    #2 When you PCS, you know how long you will be staying at that assignment. Thus you can PLAN TO STAY for either a couple or few years.

    #3 Yes, the military can ship a POV to Alaska, but would you rather want to have your own vehicle with you or wait for your vehicle to arrive?
     
  9. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    #1 I guess it depends on where you look at gas prices.

    http://www.anchoragegasprices.com/

    #2 Not even sure what that means, "You" don't plan on how long you stay, the AF decides that for you.

    #3 Again it depends on what time of the year the person does their PCS to Alaska, also would depend on where they are coming from, a drive from Eglin AFB to Alaska would make you think twice about shipping your POV.
     
  10. dasani

    dasani Member

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    If you check the site you posted, Alaska's gas prices are $0.50 more expensive than the continental US. Just saying

    Anyways, I digress. I'm sure USMC Grunt has all the info he needs
     
  11. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Yes, I got what I need. Thank you.
     
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