Random question(s) for Alaskans on this forum.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by BushcrafterAnthony, May 22, 2013.

  1. Random question for Alaskans on this forum... possibly several questions as I think of them in the course of my research:

    If you live in the bush, exactly what do you put as your address on the DMV form (or whatever you call the motor vehicle department up there)? I went and looked at the DMV form and to my recollection it didn't seem to make any provision for bush dwellers.

    Random complaint: It seems like bullshit that you need to register your rowboat or small skiff as a motor vehicle just because you stick a small electric trolling motor on it.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    I do not know who told you these facts, but they are WRONG, for the most part...

    If you do NOT have an Street Address, because there are NO Streets, where you live.... like where I live.... you can do a couple of different things.
    1. You can make up your own address. Many people out in the bush do that.
    2. You can use your Subdivision, Block, and Lot Number, for your place. ( Lot3 BlockB Excursion Inlet, South0
    3. If your on the Road System, you can use the Mile Number, that your place is on the road. (Mile 21, Hills Highway)
    4. Ask the Postmaster, at your nearest Post Office, to Assign you and Address.....

    Many Bush folks have small unRegistered skiffs that are used on Lakes and non-Navigatable waters. Any Skiff that is used on salt water, is required to be State Registered, with USCG AK Numbers, if it uses any Petroleum Fueled Engine. If it is a Human Powered, then no Registration is required. If it is wind Powered, then it would depend on the Length of the vessel....
  3. 1. You can make up your own address. Many people out in the bush do that.

    Would that one 'technically' be illegal? :)
    What I am researching would be in a subdivision, off the road system.

    I've been looking into ways to get a drivers license without connecting it to the property I was looking at. I thought about renting a dry cabin for a few months, and then just using that rented cabin as the mailing address for the license (and the 'staging area' where I'll reside and collect supplies until I can hammer out some details about how to make this move happen).

    Getting all the stuff out there sans roads is a challenge. I can't quite figure out the details, and that's made significantly more difficult by the fact that I'm not independently wealthy and can't afford a helicopter to be flying in building stuff like the rich people do. I seem to run into the money issue, no matter which method of transport I use to haul the stuff out there. The bush plane is expensive as hell and probably can only hold limited amount of material. I could maybe get somebody to ferry me up river, but then it's like 6 miles across possibly boggy terrain from the river to the cabin, and I'd need an ATV to haul the stuff (more money). Then there's snowmobile (more money - not to mention that I have no idea how to get all the stuff from Point A to Point B anyway since the distance is massive and the road is like 40 miles away). *just thinking to myself here*
  4. Akheloce

    Akheloce Monkey++

    I live in a subdivision that has no roads other than lines on a plat. It is nine miles from the nearest point where a 4wd truck can go.

    I use a family members PO box in town for mail, the family member holds my mail for me.

    Since I needed a physical address to purchase firearms, I called the borough to give me one. Since there is technically a road where my trail is, they were able to give me a street address. However, if you google my address, it doesn't show up. Nor was the census able to find me. It's not secure, I know, but good enough for me.

    Some people who get to town regularly use mailbox stores like the UPS store. They give you a street address, not a PO box, but it acts like one from your point of view.

    As far as transportation, living up here can be expensive. I spent 16 hours a day for three months straight making a trail, and hauling building supplies by four wheeler, and later snowmachine. In my area, it's hardly an option not to have both.

    In your case, you might have to haul all your supplies in in the winter by sled, and wait till summer to build. Usually, traveling in the winter is far easier, and you can get more places.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Building in Bush Alaska is NOT for the cheap minded.... It can't be done on the cheap.... There is just to many places that REQUIRE Money....
    some places are easier, than others. One of my neighbors just spent $2.5KUS to hire a Landing Craft, to bring out a load of Building Supplies, and it
    took them 3 days to move it all from the Landing site to their building site, via 4Wheelers and Trailers. They considered themselves LUCKY, to get all that stuff on Site, for that cheap.... .....
  6. Akheloce

    Akheloce Monkey++

    Not including wheelers and snowmachines or initial land cost, I figured once I'm into my 1200 sq ft cabin for roughly $150,000. This includes only materials and gas to transport it all out there.

    Most if the expense is my time and sweat.

    For a 75% done cabin, if I paid myself $10 per hour, I'd have close to a $ million into it over the past 6 years.
  7. alaskachick

    alaskachick A normally quiet snow monkey

    Almost all Alaska state forms have places for both a mailing address AND a residence address. A general description that you make up is fine for the residence one. For example, The Big Brown House, Lookout Point, Nowhere,Alaska .

    Someone once told me that whatever I thought a project might cost.... In Alaska double it and double the time you think it will take . I would say quadruple it! Have you considered a small stater cabin before going after that big 1200 sq ft one? BTpost has written a huge blog about going to the bush
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2014
  8. Akheloce

    Akheloce Monkey++

    Yeah, I built a shed first and stayed in it. The time was more spent on transporting materials. Once the lumber was out there, it went up pretty quick. I'm in the plumbing and septic phase now.

    BTW, I typoed... It's only 1000 sq ft.
  9. Do you guys have any knowledge about building enforcement code issues in terms of whether they really enforce code, particularly for the many off-road system subdivisions which DNR has? I'd suppose each borough is different, but I'm wonder how motivated they are to care if it's just a small cabin/shed/shack, as opposed to if somebody builds a giant house (I'd think they'd take more of an interest then).

    Do people in these subdivisions generally bother to get building permits if all they are building is a small dry cabin?
  10. Akheloce

    Akheloce Monkey++

    Code, what's code?
  11. Humor, I assume... but code is what you get in trouble for in 95 percent of the rest of the country when you build your footings 3.85 feet deep and then the building inspector comes by and slaps a stop-building-order on you, or tells you to take your house down because the frost line for that area is 4.0 feet, and you are 1.8 inches short of the "all-important" legal requisite. :)
  12. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Building Codes are a Borough Issue, so if you do NOT live in an Organized Borough you will NOT have any Building Codes, for non-commercial or residential Buildings. My Borough, (Haines) only has Building Codes for the Haines City District, so I can build anything I want, and how I want, and No Yahoo, from the Borough is going to show up and tell ME, that "It isn't to Code, and Tear it Down" You need to check with your local Borough Office and see just what the Borough Code has on the books for Planning, Platting, and Code Enforcement. Out here, Commercial Buildings must meet Fire Marshal Regs, and minimal Building Codes. Now all this is NOT to say you should just pound something together, as a living space, and call it "Good". Especially, if you and your family are planning n living in it, for a while. They write such Codes for GOOD Reasons, and it takes a very WISE, and Thoughtful Builder, that KNOWS the region, to decide which codes can be fudged, and which ones shouldn't be messed with...... We do have EARTHQUAKES, Massive RAINS, and BIG SNOW Loads, that if you do NOT plan for, can make life miserable, if they wreck your building, while you are living in it, and the cost to ReBuild is ALWAYS more Expensive than doing it RIGHT, in the First Place..... ..... YMMV....
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
    Witch Doctor 01, kellory and ghrit like this.
  13. Gotcha'. Understood and agree.

    I do construction work, so building shitty on purpose wasn't really my plan. I usually tend to over-build when it comes to structural issues for the reasons you stated.

    My only concern was that building codes can be unrealistic in certain aspects (for example, in some parts of the country they don't even want you building on Sonotube piers, preferring you build only a solid slab which just wastes monumental amounts of concrete, aside from being quite unnecessary in most cases as building on piers is legit building practice). A lot of the residential code is also oriented towards stick-framed building because that is the dominant building method in most of the country (except southern U.S. which has a lot of cement block houses) and so sometimes the codes don't make much allowance for alternative (yet perfectly legit) building methods [e.g. geodesic dome homes, post-and-beam, etc...] that are well tested in other parts of the country (so you have to jump through a lot of extra approval hoops getting an engineer to 'sign off' on that design, even though that design ma be common elsewhere in the country).
    kellory likes this.
  14. Akheloce

    Akheloce Monkey++

    My only additional advise is to build either below the frost line, or on top of the surface- not near the frost line, or part below and part above.

    I personally don't like sonotubes since I've seen a lot crack in quakes. (Just my personal opinion, some people up here love them) I built mine on pier blocks and timbers. It has been through a few size able quakes and a few 100 mph wind storms just fine.

    By using pier blocks and timber cribs, you don't have to worry about mixing concrete or digging (a big deal when remote). The only downside is not having a root cellar under the house.
  15. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Concrete isn't the most available form of foundation material, around Alaska, and it is also fairly expensive. You almost NEVER see it used as a SLAB, out in the bush, unless transport isn't the issue.... We just put up a 40' X 60 Foot building with a 8" Slab Foundation. It cost more to ship in the PreMixed concrete than to buy it in the first place, and we have our own 7 Yd Mixer Truck. Load the 1000# Bags and add water... We do have good Transport here, with a barge line coming every week during the summer....

    My Beach Cabin sits on a number of 8" Piling, that were sunk into the Cabin Site 4 ft, and gave me a 2ft clearance under the Cabin. Pilings came from an Old WWII Dock than rotted out at the Mud Line, and were taken out, and replaced, with Steel. Sawed off the bad sections and then cut them into 8' chunks. Put them in the Holes, and used a Handmade Mixer to fill in the holes with concrete. Once they were set, we used a Laser Level to cut them off at Grade, for the Caps, and then the Stringers, on top of that. Cabin foundations built like this, are good for 50+ Years. Rebuilding, will be someone else's issue, as I will be long Dead in the Ground, by the time they need fixing. .....
    kellory likes this.
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