1. Back Then, Moving to Alaska was Backbreaking!

    May 9, 2011 by Editor

    Times were hard, and the hope of striking it rich was irresistible. 

    The U.S. remained in a severe recession following the burst of an economic bubble inflated by land and railroad speculation. Businesses went bankrupt and banks closed. The rate of unemployment shot up to as much as 20 percent. Into this backdrop, headlines of gold strikes in the Klondike landed like a bombshell. On July 17, 1897, when the steamship Portland docked at Seattle, a crowd of 5,000 watched 68 bedraggled but jubilant miners unload one million dollars in gold. 

    Within six months, hoards of clerks, farmers, adventurers and unemployed workers stampeded off to the Yukon Territory in the Klondike Gold Rush. Almost overnight, an entire industry supplying Klondike prospectors sprang up. The fevered gold seekers were showered with advice, maps and equipment lists. Seattle boomed as merchants made fortunes outfitting the miners. 

    To avoid shortages in the harsh interior, the Canadian government ruled that a yearʼs worth of supplies were required to enter Canada. Each traveler had  2,000 lbs. of household goods moving to Canada and Alaska, including food, clothing and equipment. The Mounties turned back anyone who came short. 

    The Chilkoot Trail took the stampeders from Dyea (about ten miles from Skagway) to Lake Bennett, where they would build boats for the 500-mile trip on the Yukon River to Dawson. Some prospectors walked nearly 1,000 miles to move their household goods and supplies into northern Canada and on to  Alaska  by way of the 33 miles from Dyea to the waterway. 

    For many of those that eventually turned back, the last straw was the 1,000-foot climb up icy “stairs” cut into the Chilkoot Pass. For even the strongest men, it would take 25 to 30 trips up the mountain to get all their goods to the top. Each man would cache his goods at the bottom, take a load on his back to the top, cache that and then slide back down the mountain. Then he would strap on the next load and wait to get back into the endless line of fellow gold-rushers moving to Canada and to Alaska. 

    Of the estimated 100,000 who set out for the Klondike, only about 30,000 got there, and only about half of those actually did any prospecting. Probably no more than 4,000 found any gold at all. 

    Very few of the stampeders got their chance at a claim, but the gold was there. “The British Yukon Navigation Company received over 37 tons of gold for shipment ʻoutside,ʼ” in the year 1900, mining inspector G.W. Gilbert wrote in a Canadian government report. At todayʼs gold prices, it would be worth over a billion and a half U.S. dollars—$1,678,142,400. 

    Opportunities still abound in the Last Frontier. Hi-Line gets the household goods moving to Alaska, the easiest and most economical way, for the start of new Alaskan adventures. Hi-Line Moving specializes in moving crated or wrapped household goods overland to Alaska every day of the year.
    Learn more:

    Online www.hilinemoving.com/alaska,
    or call toll-free 1-800-769-1096

  2. Moving Precious CARgo to Alaska

    May 4, 2011 by Editor

    Back in the day, freight to Alaska’s interior traveled by water in summer and by dog sled in winter. Today, moving household goods by road to Alaska can be much more safe and gentle than the alternatives over sea. Case in point: an antique car collector near the Port of Astoria, Oregon, needed to get his prized antique vehicles to Alaska. Port-to-port transport seemed obvious, but this client found that shippers were not willing to take his precious—and very valuable—early model automobiles on board. Not a good idea to strap them down on deck; not a good idea to put them in a container. Hi-Line Moving was able to load all three antique autos into a secure moving van and transport them to Fairbanks without a scratch.  

    “Our driver babied those cars all the way, and they didn’t move an inch,” says Hi-Line’s Director of Sales Brian Smith. “But it still cost far less than this client expected. I can’t tell you the models of those cars, but they were beautiful, absolutely mint condition—and that’s the way they arrived. Protecting our loads is just the way we roll.”  

    The vehicles were loaded in Astoria and brought back across the Rockies to the Alaska highway, a route that Hi-Line drivers know from top to bottom. The 2,450-mile trip took about five days. The autos were delivered directly to the grateful owner’s new location—door-to-door with one loading and one off-loading. 

    Hi-Line will move your household goods … AND antiques…  safely to Alaska, and that includes antique cars. See photos of the autos being loaded at www.hilinemoving.com/alaska.

  3. Grueling Races Echoe Alaska Moving 0f 100 Years Ago

    May 2, 2011 by Editor

    The 39th running of the Iditarod sled dog race started Saturday, March 5, 2011. The mushers and their 12 to 16 dog teams will cover 1,131 miles from Anchorage to Nome on the Iditarod trail. They will take their chances scaling rugged mountain ranges and crossing treacherous frozen rivers, bleak and barren tundra, and the wind-battered coast of the Bering Sea. Whiteouts, sub-zero temperatures, wind-chills down to -100°F, lonely wilderness with up to 90 miles between checkpoints—those are a given. 

    Alaska’s famous Iditarod may be the most grueling sporting event in the world. But, at its heart, this great race is really a tribute to the hardy souls that hauled the freight that kept early Alaska settlements alive during the winter months.   Truly, this was the Alaska moving services of those early days.

    You’ve heard the story about the heroic relay of dog sled teams that brought live-saving diptheria serum from Anchorage to icebound Nome in 1925, but the history of the trail goes deeper than that. For centuries, the indigenous peoples of Alaska bred dogs for transport. From the 1880s through the 1920s, dog teams were used to get mail and supplies into the interior and bring out the gold.

    For the purposes of hauling freight, dogs are amazingly powerful. The freight mushers typically used twenty or more dogs—each weighing about 75 lbs.—to haul a half a ton of goods. Where horses or oxen would have floundered in the snow and been impossible to feed, the dogs could live on wild game or fish. As well suited as dogs are to the environment, the transport and even the character of Alaska, more modern methods for Alaska movers eventually won out. The advent of the bush plane in the 1920s and finally the “snowmachine” in the 1960s replaced the loyal dog teams that had been a part of village life in Alaska for so long. 

    The Iditarod is a reminder of the role that sled dogs played in the settlement of the last frontier. The competition over the next 9 to 20 days is really a reconstruction of the old freight route to Nome. Like the haulers of 100 years ago, the mushers travel from checkpoint to checkpoint—just a whole lot lighter and faster and certainly with more media coverage. 

    Learn more:

    Online www.hilinemoving.com/alaska,
    or call toll-free 1-800-769-1096

  4. Wildlife Defense During Alaskan Winter Dark

    April 29, 2011 by Editor

    On a January day, Fairbanks sees only about four hours of daylight. During the long hours of dark, Hi-Line’s drivers moving household goods to Alaska “on the north road” run a greater risk of encounters with large mammals. An adult moose can weigh 1,200 lbs. and a bison averages about a ton.

    “Although temperatures don’t get much colder than we see in Montana, North Dakota or Minnesota, it is still a factor to be managed,” says David Vaughan, Operations Manager at Hi-Line Moving Services, regarding the Alaska moving services division.

    Hi-Line Moving has drivers on the highway shipping household goods to and from Alaska every day of the year. The company takes extra precautions to protect the safety of their drivers and their customers’ valuable shipments.

    A “moose bumper” prevents damage to the front of the truck in case of a collision. The bumper guard is constructed of 4-inch heavy gage aluminum tubes. Four to six additional headlamps are mounted on it. When allowable, the extra beams are used to light up the road and roadside ditches as much as 100 yards ahead.

  5. Deep Winter at Denali: Camping is Free!

    April 28, 2011 by Editor

    On the road between Fairbanks and Anchorage, the highest peak on the continent rises a majestic 20,320 feet. Outside of Alaska, we call it Mt. McKinley, but to Alaskans, it is Denali (“the High One” in Athabaskan).

    In summer, the peak of Denali may be visible only one day out of five. Of the 400,000 visitors to Denali National Park and Preserve each year, those in the winter usually see much more of the mountain, snow-clad though it may be.

    The preserved area encompasses over six million acres and is truly a wilderness—only one 92-mile long road penetrates the park and private vehicles can only travel the first few miles.

    In February, the National Park Services and the residents of nearby communities will host the annual Denali Winterfest. The three-day festivities February 25-27 include snow sculpting, dog sled rides, and family fun.

    Winter in Alaska is made for hardy souls, but for those who know how to enjoy it, the deep winter months are beautiful. Denali National Park is open for winter camping, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and dogsledding.

    Hi-Line Moving specializes in moving household goods to Alaska, the “land of the midnight sun” every day of the year.

    Learn more about moving to Alaska:

    Online www.hilinemoving.com/alaska, or call 1-800-769-1096


  6. Planning a Move to Alaska or a Move from Alaska

    April 27, 2011 by Editor

    We receive lots of inquiries to get quotes for moving to Alaska, moving from Alaska or anywhere in the Continental US throughout the year.  It’s always interesting that when asked what time of the year they are planning to move, the majority of those calling in are surprised to learn that there are seasonal changes that definitely affect the costs of moving.  The moving industry as a whole is an undeniable illustration of market forces at work.  The laws of supply and demand are very much alive and well and understanding the trends that affect the moving industry can be very helpful when looking for the least costly methods of moving.  A real simple case in point is that many people think that moving to Alaska or moving from Alaska during the fall or winter months is not possible.  That is without a doubt the most economical time of the year because demand for moving services is low.  However, there is much more to consider when looking at the moving industry as a whole or an Alaska moving company in particular.


    First, let’s examine the details that affect individual consumers of alaska moving services or other moves around the country.  The biggest factor that shapes the decision of what time of the year to move is consideration of the school year.  Conventional wisdom is that it is much better for Alaska movers or any mover during the summer when school is out so that there is a smooth transition for the children into a new school.  The main consideration for doing that is so that the children will be able to make new friends more easily.  Research has shown this notion to be contrary to what actually occurs.  When children transition to a new school while in session, there is greater exposure to a larger number of children of the same age and much more possibility of interactions from which friendships are formed.  When executing an Alaska move during the summer season, while the kids may have more free time and have a greater opportunity to do summer activities, their exposure is far more limited to other children.


    Secondly, the one entity that affects the supply of labor, moving vans and time for those wishing to move in the summer months is the US Military.  Station changes for military members do occur throughout the year but the lion’s share of military moves to Alaska  is done from May through September.  In fact, the two absolute busiest weeks of the entire year are the last week of June and the first week of July.  Our best guess for the reason is that the 4th of July holiday seems to be an attractive time to move and many are very adamant about being in their new residence before the 4th of July.  It is also important to note that the US Military is the single largest consumer of moving services worldwide.  Therefore, moving companies across the country are inundated with military moves.  Due to the largess of this single consumer, the tendency is to give those moves higher priority than the individual consumer.  Therefore, low supply and high demand pushes prices up all throughout the industry.


    The third point to be made is that large corporations wishing to move personnel around the world also follow the same conventional wisdom.  Like the military, they will shop for long-term contracts to negotiate lower normalized rates throughout the year even though they too apply greater pressure during the summer season further creating lower supply and even greater demand.  This most certainly affects household moving costs to or from Alaska.


    Finally, conventional wisdom continues to influence choices for moving household goods to Alaska and elsewhere in the Lower 48 because people wishing to sell their own homes and ultimately purchase a new home elsewhere “know” that the most productive time of the year to sell is during the spring and summer months in anticipation of the upcoming move.  We would submit that this trend is fueled by everything else discussed namely that people prefer to move in the summer primarily for the smoother transition for changing schools which leads to getting homes sold in order to make the move.  The large majority of military members and corporate transfers operate accordingly.

    So what does this mean for you?  As you examine these trends in your area, you will likely find opportunities to reduce costs to relocate to Alaska, or anywhere else, for that matter.  Using the trends as opposed to being unwittingly affected by them can truly be beneficial to you, particularly if you can anticipate and prepare for a move with solid, advance planning.