Friday marked one month in Fairbanks and I can honestly say we are quite settled. I can get around town without a GPS and have started to discover our local favorites. Fairbanks is beautiful and not at all what many would think it is. For starters it is way farther away than you may expect. In miles, it is about the same distance from NJ to Fairbanks as it was to Germany. However, it takes almost twice as long to get here. Our travel here was about as fast as you can go. We had one quick one-hour layover in Seattle, and door to door it took us 16 hours.
When we left, we arrived early at Newark International to allow plenty of time to take care of Poppy, and I am glad we did. Although we did not cut it as close as we did leaving Germany, my sister was also flying to California that morning and she almost missed her flight. Security that morning was insane! Gladly though, everything checked out fine with Poppy and we were able to check her at the same counter as our massive amounts of baggage and make it to the gate in time for waffles at a cafe. Getting to Newark we needed two vehicles, mostly due to the size of Poppy’s crate, but Fil picked us up with the truck so there was no concern when we landed. That being said, the bed of the truck was full.
We actually flew on Brock’s birthday and he was super excited to get to see Daddy for his birthday night. He was a bit shy, and tired, but I know he also was thrilled to go in the cockpit with the pilots and get a set of wings. Unfortunately, our layover was so quick, and gates had changed so I rushed him off the plane before he could really look around the cockpit too much, but it was still quite a treat.
When we landed in Fairbanks it was 4:30 in the afternoon, raining, and about 60 degrees. That was about 20 degrees colder than it was in New Jersey that morning when we left. To say we had an adjustment would be an underestimation. It was painfully obvious for about two weeks that we were new in town… when all the locals were enjoying the weather, we were already sporting our down coats and boots. Since then we only sport the down coats on occasion, but rain boots are part of our daily attire and I love it. My yellow Hunter boots get daily compliments and I feel like they are finally getting the use they deserve. The rain has slowed but living on a dirt road with a dirt driveway makes boots the better daily wear option.
Brock has also settled right in. We are still waiting on our things to arrive, but we are more than comfortable with what we have here. He loves going to school and is learning so much already! We decided to enroll him in a private school, and every morning with his class he says the pledge of allegiance and the Lord’s Prayer. The school requires parents to volunteer so I have been helping with recess duty while it is still nice out. Up here the kids go outside until it reaches NEGATIVE 20 degrees! I can’t imagine we will have any snow days. At recess I try not to interfere with Brock, but I was noticing it was taking him a little while to warm up to the other kids. After 2 weeks of school he had eased right in and now has a best friend named Leroy. Brock is a good student, and has earned a sticker everyday—no bad marks for him!
So far we really love it up here, and up here it is. Our home is up on the mountain with an elevation difference of over 700 feet from town. While we don’t have views of town, on the drive down there are a number of breathtaking spots to take it in. Our A frame home is carved into the woods, surrounded by mostly White Birch trees.
Total privacy and true mountain living. We have electricity and internet, but our cell phone reception at the house is spotty at best. Water and snow removal will be the biggest issues up here. We have been talking about the coming snow and we think hiring a service is our best option. The tricky part will be finding someone to come all the way up here to plow us out. I considered buying a snow blower, but the size of our driveway plus the extreme temperatures made us decide against that one.
What do you think of the house? I really like it, but it has been a process to fit everything in. The house is large enough, but as you can see that roof line is sharp and goes all the way to the ground. The only rooms without slanted walls are the kitchen and one of the bathrooms which are in the part right off the deck. Otherwise every single room has slanted walls which made quite the challenge of making furniture fit. I think we have it mostly figured out, but I’m worried about how to fit the furniture that is on it’s way from our New Jersey shipment. I am sure most of it will end up in the storage room above the garage.
Being up so high, although for Alaska it isn’t as high as it could be, it is still noticeably colder up here than it is in town. Without exaggerating, it is still an almost daily occurrence for me to walk out of the house and be cold, but when I get to town 10 minutes later I’m so warm I have to remove a layer. This makes me a bit worried about winter, and I know we will see it first. I remember when we visited Fil at Easter everyone in town commented that I missed all the snow, but up at the house we still had a good 5 inches.
Around Labor Day, seemingly overnight, most of the leaves turned golden and already have dropped to the ground. Winter is coming. The forecast for next week even shows a possibility of snow! Many local attractions have already closed or are closing this week for the Winter season. Tourism is big business in the summer and a lot of places just don’t stay open through the rough winter. For that reason I will not have as many travel posts as I would like. We have managed to get a few things in before it all closed up, but we are also just enjoying the beautiful Autumn weather on the weekends. Last weekend we drove up a gorgeous mountain road to take in the views and snap a few family photos.
Fil has also been quite busy hunting and fishing. Since we have been here he hasn’t gone fishing, he did that all summer long, but it is duck and moose season right now so he is on that. The wilderness is really wild up here. He has seen all sorts of animals and their tracks including grizzlies, moose, wolf and lynx.
We had hoped to find a pop-up camper so that we could travel with him on the weekends before it gets too cold, but that just hasn’t happened. The problem is that we are hours away from anything up here so day trips are few and far between and with Poppy, we either get a camper or kennel her. Come spring time we will get searching again for a pop-up and off we will go.
In the mean time I will be filling you in on all the ways life is different up here. For starters, access to water. That post is coming soon and i can promise you it will make you feel lucky for whatever water access you have.
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