Now that’s a bush pilot.

North to Alaska II – Pinning It Down

Mrs. Animal and I have been planning this for twenty years.  We’re now at the light at the end of the tunnel stage.  Here is the continuation of the story of our planned move from Colorado to Alaska.

Narrowing Down Locations

We spent last week in the Great Land, further narrowing down exactly where we want to live.  We chatted with several folks who lent valuable insights, including a fine dinner with the Glibs’ own 61 North.  Thanks to 61 North for all the intel on locations and neighborhoods!

We’re still mostly looking in the same locations:  Palmer, the Mat-Su Valley up as far as Willow, or maybe out the Glenallen Highway including the Soapstone and Fishhook areas.  Big Lake we have kind of scrubbed after getting some information on that area.

New Considerations:

We have learned a little bit more about specific areas.  What are we looking for?

Well, as I’ve said, we’d like to have a place outside of town, un-zoned, with a few acres of trees to play around with.  I would like to have at least a pistol range and Mrs. Animal wants a greenhouse.  We wouldn’t turn down a house in, say, Palmer, if the house was just right and if it sat on a big lot, but we’d prefer to be out in the sticks a way.

We do have to be within an hour or so of the VA hospital in Anchorage and the airport.  That rules out much north of Willow, east of Sutton or (sadly) the Kenai Peninsula.  But there’s a caveat on that last, which I’ll discuss in a bit.

The Areas

Big Lake, we have it on good authority, is a “good place to live if you want to get your house broken into.”  On our one Sunday in the area we drove around Big Lake and were not favorably impressed with the look of most of the housing.  Along the lake itself most of the properties looked well-kept and well-maintained, but away from the lake?  Well, I suspect there was some meth being cooked in some of those places.

Just on the north side of the Glenallen Highway east of Palmer lay the areas of Soapstone and Fishhook.  A local I was chatting with in the gas station said both areas were nice, “once you get away from the meth houses on the highway.”  I’m not entirely sure why, but the woods in those parts have fewer conifers and more hardwoods (look like mostly ash and larches) than some of the other areas we’ve looked at.  The country is rolling to hilly, with lots of big horse properties in the open valleys and parcels tucked into the woods in the hills.  While turning the truck around on one narrow gravel road, a ruffed grouse burst from cover at the side of the road and buzzed off into the trees, which I took as a good sign.  We like this area a lot.  Some of the hillsides offer good views of the mountains, some of the Matanuska river valley, so even if you lack water access (a big draw in the Great Land) you can at least have a great view.

On our first Saturday we drove up to Talkeetna, thinking that it would be the northern limit of our home search, but we weren’t impressed with the town; it’s clearly a tourist trap and now, in the off-season, it was muddy, chilly and dead.  I can imagine that in summer it might be a fun place, but not at the moment, and we’re looking for year-round digs.  It’s a pretty area, though, a town along a river that flows through an impossibly vast pine plain; it looks like there would be some great hunting in the area.  We’ll be spending some time in those parts.

On the last Saturday we were in the area we looked at an area called Butte, across the Matanuska River from Palmer.  We’ve looked at the area before, in fact almost put an offer on a big house on a hillside lot a couple of years ago, but in that case we were beat out by another buyer.  It has many of the same appeals as the Soapstone and Fishhook areas, but there isn’t much of the open horse country lots up there, and more of the hillside building lots.

Fishhook, Soapstone and Butte all seems to share one characteristic – crappy houses with rows of junk cars right on the highway, with properties very quickly becoming much nicer (and presumably more expensive) as you get away from the main road.

We looked at a few houses in Wasilla, where the same conditions would apply as for a house in Palmer, but Wasilla is a fast-growing town, and the possibility of getting enclosed is a little too concerning.  To lure us into the Palins’ hometown, the combination of house, lot and price would have to be damn near perfect.

Right now the Butte, Soapstone and Fishhook areas are high up on the list.

Pictures are worth a thousand words.


Along the Matanuska:


As It Stands…

A lot depends on November 3rd.

If Groper Joe wins the election, we may move up our plans to “as fast as possible.”  While most of our reasons for wanting to move to the Great Land are not political, I can’t say that the current political situation isn’t a factor.  If Biden wins, his handlers will have the country on a fast downhill course:  Beta O’Rourke as a “Gun Czar,” Kamala Harris closeting up with Bernie Sanders on health care and Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Ocasio-Cortez on the Green New Deal, and Corey “Spartacus” Booker on new Imperial diktats on residential zoning.

If that happens, we bail, to be as far away from the lower 48 as we can get and still be in the United States.

If Trump wins, then we have a reprieve, but I really think that’s all we have.  The collapse will be postponed, not prevented.

So, our timeline now is for 24 months at the outside.  Things are getting weird and I’m getting old.  It’s time to go to the place we’ve wanted to go for a couple of decades now; we’re in the position to do so and the time is right.

Our intent is to found Glibtopia North.  Join us!