ERE City (US)

All the different ways of solving the shelter problem. To be static or mobile? Roots, legs, or wheels?
jacob
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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by jacob »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2024 10:50 am
An interesting *possible* future scenario for drylands areas is that everything goes to hell there because all the cities depend on the Colorado, leading to massive area depopulation... leaving behind just the scrappy little communities of cooperatively self-sufficient Renaissance permaculturalists getting along just fine with their loosely-coupled FEW (food energy water) systems, shaking their heads at the news reports of all the violence going on in more Northern areas where all the climate refugees jammed themselves into. One could argue that the SW is a uniquely ideal place for a web of EREers to settle... :D
Pro: Living in edge territories begets a certain amount of robustness. You're already adapted. You're ahead of the curve. Your moat is based on the incompetence of the vast hoi-polloi. The Good Life Lab (our kind of people) are/were located in New Mexico. Forsooth, the name of the town was "Truth or Consequences". I can't think of any better name for this particular strategy. Contrast this to people dying for the simplest reasons in a Texas snow storm or an Oregon heatwave.

Con: The whole water and food issue. Resilience breaks insofar the system is utterly dependent on one thing. This is where I worry about "rural". They may or may not grow good ... but they depend on cities, etc. for everything else including the tools they need to grow those foods. Being self-sufficient in the desert is nearly impossible.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by AxelHeyst »

guitarplayer wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2024 11:14 am
Wow @AxelHeyst this is a very nice contrarian proposition. Plus I suspect you've not pulled it out of thin air as you are desert(ish?) based.
I had to come up with some kind of justification for my life choices :roll:. QH gets less annual rainfall than Tucson (but has a much more secure and abundant renewable aquifer). For the record it's not a strategy I recommend, just the one I happen to be pursuing because I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul. I agree with everything Jacob said except "nearly impossible". I'd say "very difficult and unforgiving."

Western Red Cedar
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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by Western Red Cedar »

The first two variables I'd consider when purchasing property are whether it is located in flood plain, and what is the water source. That is true for rural or urban property.

As Mark Twain said - "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting"
AxelHeyst wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2024 10:50 am
One could argue that the SW is a uniquely ideal place for a web of EREers to settle... :D
I don't disagree, but I don't think paying at least a quarter of a million dollars to live in a city that relies on the Colorado represents a good investment. I'd be much more inclined to follow in the footsteps of Calamity Jane or Midsize Lebowski with rural property in the SW.

It is feasible the interested parties at the federal, state, municipal and individual level make some progress on this issue before it gets significantly worse (perhaps by limiting agricultural allocations for water-intensive crops such as cotton), but there are so many conflicting interests and so much money at play. The complexities of western water law only muddy the issue ;)

Something like rainwater harvesting can work well, until there is a drought or until the government changes law or policy making it illegal (this happened briefly in the PNW).

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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Western Red Cedar wrote: I don't think paying at least a quarter of a million dollars
Yes, this alone seems towards "make the project incredibly boring." I mean, there are multiple reasons for the failure of my cuckoo-bananas Money Dimple project/plan in which I purchased dilapidated 480 sq.ft. house with similarly sized garage and tiny shed on 1/3 acre in rust-belt collapse zone city for $6000 with intention to create multiple mini-shelter options in alignment with retro-surburbia and pattern language, along with permaculture/intensive garden. But, if it had succeeded, it would have represented a major break-through in reduced shelter expenses. There is really no inherent frugality challenge in acquiring housing for $250,000 cash investment and associated property tax/maintenance/insurance expenses.

The way I approached the Money Dimple project was analogous to the 21 Day Challenge in ERE. I opened up Zillow for my entire state and then sorted from lowest price to highest. I would note that the approximately 1/3 acre I purchased was also within walking/biking distance of all sorts of city amenities such as groceries, night-life, maker space, arts institute with classes on welding, and employment. It was also surrounded by rural area, so within biking distance of a free beach, multiple hiking trails, and even hunting opportunities. And it was in an area with tons of fresh water and very fertile soil, relatively safe from climate change. Once again, yes, FAIL, but I only spent $6000 and I fairly easily sold it again on land contract when I became too sick to continue with renovation.

I think ERE City might be better realized as an experiment which would maybe be like a group version of "Nickel and Dimed" or "Scratch Beginnings." For example, we randomly pick a location on the map, and then we meet all have to get there from wherever we are starting with only $100/human and a backpack full of gear of our choosing, but with live communication and co-operation throughout. Then whoever gets there first starts building an instance of ERE City.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by jacob »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2024 10:55 am
There is really no inherent frugality challenge in acquiring housing for $250,000 cash investment and associated property tax/maintenance/insurance expenses.
Boring as it sounds, this is a feature, not a bug, because it makes it possible to resell the property w/o a loss of time, loss of money, or loss of money/time. Most RE buyers pursue a strategy where they eventually want to sell again with a profit. Thus an important consideration when buying something is how easy it is to sell it again to someone else.
7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2024 10:55 am
I think ERE City might be better realized as an experiment which would maybe be like a group version of "Nickel and Dimed" or "Scratch Beginnings." For example, we randomly pick a location on the map, and then we meet all have to get there from wherever we are starting with only $100/human and a backpack full of gear of our choosing, but with live communication and co-operation throughout. Then whoever gets there first starts building an instance of ERE City.
Scratch-beginnings/nickel and dimed/... neighborhoods are available within 3 miles of the chicagoland suggestion. You get the same type housing and everything... except the windows are boarded up, weeds are overgrowing, ... and like in Scratch Beginners, you'll be approached for a "spontaneous loan" walking down the street.

This is not something I'm personally into. Nevertheless, if there's a desire for a strategic gentrification of a neighborhood, I don't think it would be too hard to do both since there's already a median preference in this thread for "low-urban development". The easy solution is to choose a borderline place with a safe side and a sketchy side. This way people can choose their risk/reward.

For @chicagoland, a lot of the property is actually pretty standard: 25x125 lots with 1000-1500sqft housing. The price (ranging from 50k to 400k) mostly reflects how sketchy/desirable the neighborhood is. So if you can somehow bring about a change in an entire block or five, you got yourself a 5-10x bagger.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

jacob wrote:Boring as it sounds, this is a feature, not a bug, because it makes it possible to resell the property w/o a loss of time, loss of money, or loss of money/time.
Gotcha. But, residential real estate is not immune to risk as an investment, and as you suggested elsewhere, ERE rule-of-thumb for investment in real estate you occupy should be around 10% net worth. Therefore, $250,000 buy-in limits membership in ERE City to those with net worth of over 2.5 million (or, I suppose, more like $1.25 million given 2 human occupancy rate of dwelling.) Also, the loss of entire investment in $10,000 piece of RE is likely less than transition costs on $250,000 RE investment.
jacob wrote:The easy solution is to choose a borderline place with a safe side and a sketchy side. This way people can choose their risk/reward.
Now you're talking! Here we go. Five bedrooms, 3 baths, and a brick coach house out back for $49,900. Just needs a bit of spit and polish. ;)

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1304 ... 2790_zpid/

Alternatively, you could buy 5 different $10,000 houses in the neighborhood of my Money Dimple project, and have more acreage for gardening/solar gain/rain-collection per human:

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2322 ... 6893_zpid/

Or for $239,900 within biking distance of Money Dimple neighborhood, you can get this 3240 sq ft. brick beauty with its own woodworking shop:

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2002 ... 5902_zpid/

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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by jacob »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2024 1:40 pm
Or for $239,900 within biking distance of Money Dimple neighborhood, you can get this 3240 sq ft. brick beauty with its own woodworking shop:
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2002 ... 5902_zpid/
Looks nice, but? ... what's the catch?

If you're serious ... or anyone else is serious ... make a post where the headline is: Suggestion: location, state, followed by climate, resilience, walkability/ bikeability concerns... and a handful of RE-for-sale links to relevant neighborhoods. I'll try to collate this links as the thread progresses since suggestions are already getting buried and hard to find if they don't follow the format.

So far: Following the format makes it easier to find and compare, so start with "Suggestion: city, state" as the first line.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

jacob wrote:If you're serious ...
I sincerely wish I could be serious, but only got me about 4 spoons in my drawer currently.

However, my armchair commentary will continue along the line of wondering about the subjective, consensus-building approach to this topic/problem. If I belonged to a forum that largely attracted other eNTPs, and we wanted to create a "city" or a "clubhouse", I might first consider the expected downsides of ENTP on ENTP* interactions and how a designed environment might serve to ameliorate* rather than accentuate.

For example, I tried to imagine the 4 INTJs I know best IRL, living in houses with 4 corners meeting, and it seems to me (might be mistaken) that the social culture would immediately or ultimately be largely determined by their other-typed SOs. Another issue might be that the path-to-growth for INTJ is towards the Leader. If every member of a community strongly psychologically prefers their own Domain/retreat, how could this psychological need be met with minimum resource wastage?

*Make the bouncy-bouncy-bouncy house with way too flexible cloud-like boundaries a bit less so, while still meeting the "special" needs of such a community.

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grundomatic
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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by grundomatic »

jacob wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2024 2:03 pm
@grundomatic - I notice the ground is rather dry in most all of the listings to put it mildly. Have you seen anyone growing vegetables in their backyard?
Well, it is the desert. I know a few people that grow some things, but it isn't common. It's much more common to have citrus trees. I will say the one thing that worked well for me when I tried gardening was hot peppers, which is right up your alley, no?

Having said that, the library system has a seed library, Native Seed Search sells and banks heirloom seeds adapted to the dry climate, and here's Brad Lancaster's planting calendar, so there are some people gardening. I can't find the factoid where Brad says what % of his calories come from his property. I want to say 25%, but that's from memory, so totally unreliable.
jacob wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2024 11:53 am
Being self-sufficient in the desert is nearly impossible.
I'm not nearly as driven, skilled, or as independent as others around here, so I have no illusions of self-sufficiency. I guess I am proposing Tucson not as a permanent or even multiple decades solution, but as a pretty nice place to live in the meantime, if for instance one despises humidity or shoveling snow.

I get what @WRC is saying. I'm surprised @jacob encouraged me to do a write-up and is even considering it. What I appreciate about living here is that there is at least some acknowledgement of the limitations of the current system. Even if the actions taken are not even close to being enough, it's way more than I can ever imagine happening where I come from in the Midwest. Tucson Electric Power understands people using less energy is more sustainable than building a new coal power plant, so they subsidize shade trees for homeowners. Tucson Water has for a decade been banking their unused portion of Colorado River water by using it to recharge aquifers (ie at least Tucson has a water savings account). They also subsidize rain and grey water harvesting. The City of Tucson noticed people weren't using the bike lanes on the busy streets, so they adjusted and developed the "bicycle avenues" on less busy streets.

I'm happy to answer any other questions.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by AxelHeyst »

Grundomatic, your point that Tucson is already thinking about and doing something about the limitations reminds me of "The future is already here, it just isn't distributed evenly" (William Gibson) and "The ruins of the unsustainable are the frontiers of tomorrow." - (Bruce Sterling)

In some senses, the first places to run up against biophysical limitations will be the furthest along in adaptation practices. Or, more realistically, the first cautionary tales for other regions to take note of... we'll have to pay attention and see how it pans out. The question is, on a per-region basis, whether they scrape through or experience ruin, and how do we define ruin. Ruin to one person is "a more advantageous respawn point" to another...

jesmine
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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by jesmine »

I see the ERE city as a geographical constraint put on ERE.

"Needs to live within 20 miles of city center" would be similar to "your SWR must be 4% or less."

These are starting points.... but it depends, on what exactly?

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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by theanimal »

Suggestion: Goldstream Valley, Fairbanks, Alaska

I didn’t really expect anyone here to be interested in living in Alaska, but as a result of the below post, a forumite bought land directly behind me. I’ll present a broad case for Alaska and the Goldstream Valley below and will finish with information about some other lots nearby.
theanimal wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2024 1:28 pm
There are multiple 2 acre parcels of land available for sale by us in Fairbanks, including one next door. Going rate is usually $35-40k. There is no building code, so you could build whatever you want. There are some new houses nearby with plumbing that go for $200k. Electricity available from the local utility company. There’s a small general store and restaurant within walking distance and it’s about a 15 minute drive to town. Winter trails less than 1/4 mi away connect to hundreds of miles of trails locally and thousands of miles of trails throughout the state. The northern lights (aurora borealis) occurs directly above us on nearly every clear night. We are above the lowlands, and it’s generally 10 degrees warmer (Fahrenheit) at our house than in town, or even compared to our neighbors across the street.
Climate and Place
Alaska is a land of extremes and the Interior is emblematic of that. It is a continental climate, with extreme temperatures and hardly any wind. On the shortest day of the year there is 3 hrs 42 minutes of daylight and winter temperatures can reach -50 F. Winter temperature is highly variable though do to the hills and inversions. Some places near the top of the hills can be up to 25 degrees warmer than in town.
On the summer solstice there is 21 hrs 50 minutes of daylight and summer temperatures can get into the upper 80s. The growing season is short (but lengthening ) and is around 100 days. First snow often comes sometime in September and there is often snow on the ground starting mid October until late April/early May. Precipitation wise, the area receives about 14 in per year (a couple inches more than Tuscon, AZ) and is very dry with lots of sunny days. Normal humidity levels are around 30%.

Goldstream Valley Culture
The Goldstream Valley (where I live) is a small community on the western outskirts of Fairbanks. This community (and Alaska in general) is the type of place where you will get multiple people stopping to ask if you are ok if you seem like you’re having trouble with a vehicle on the side of the road. Alaska has a strong DIY ethos and people here have a much broader skillset than other places in the lower 48.

Most people are here because they want to be in Alaska, not because of a particular job or career. Working for only part of the year is very normal. It’s anecdotal and likely self selecting, but our friend group alone probably 2/3 of our friends do not work the entire year. While that is likely higher than the norm in the community, it lends to the idea that people here work to live, instead of living to work. When people here ask “what do you do?” They are often not interested in hearing what you do for work, but rather what you like to do with your free time. Many ERE adjacent individuals.

This is more of a rural community, with smaller lots around 1 acre in size, but more commonly around 2 acres. There are no building codes, so the quality of homes and home prices tend to resemble a barbell. There are a lot of poorly crafted small, dry cabins for sub- $100k or high quality, large homes for over $300k, with very little in between.

Crime is negligible in this part of town and it is the type of place where you can leave things out and your doors unlocked without worry.

Land is typically more desirable the higher you go on the hills due to the winter inversions. Higher land is usually drier as well and not as prone to permafrost. Permafrost is discontinuous in the Fairbanks area and can be avoided/mitigated with good site selection. There are very few city services outside of town center. For example, 1/3 of Fairbanks lives without running water.

Employment
This is close to the end of the road, and as such, there is a lack of skilled labor across all sectors. If you are reliable and willing to learn, you should have no trouble finding work if need be. If you are skilled, you will often be enormously rewarded for your services. As an example, the hospital is offering an $80k signing bonus for nurses.

University of Alaska Fairbanks’ campus is on the west edge of town, about 10-15 minutes from the Goldstream Valley. They have many of your usual university type jobs, but also some more exotic ones that people may find of interest, like work with the geophysical institute/on their rocket range (for NASA) or wildlife research.

There are also two military bases on the east end of town.

If you are interested in starting a business, Alaska is a business friendly state without much regulation.

Seasonal work is abundant throughout the summer.

PFD. Microgrants
Each Alaskan resident is eligible to receive the Permanent Fund Dividend each year. The payout varies by year, but the past three year payouts have been $1,114; $3,284; $1,312. This year is supposedly going to be $1,600. The state also has an annual food resiliency program that offers micro grants for up to $10k for funding for things like greenhouses, seeds, animals, freezers, bows/arrows, fishing nets, material for chicken houses, gardening equipment, and much more.

There is no state income tax and there is no sales tax. Property tax rates are high (2.5%) but there is a residential credit of $50,000, which brings the actual amount paid to under 1% (Mine is 0.8%).

Hunting/Fishing/Berries/Mushrooms
While almost all the food that is consumed in Alaska originates elsewhere, there are many opportunities to gather food locally. Hunting options abound in the fall, with many places nearby to look for moose. There is also a roadkill list you can sign up for with the troopers. In my experience, you are almost assured of a moose that way about 9 months after signing up. Hunting opportunities for caribou and sheep are also available within a two hour drive. Morel mushrooms can be abundant following wildfires and berries (mostly blueberries and cranberries) can be picked in large quantities come fall. The interior is one of the poorer fishing regions within the state, but there are still large lake trout, pike, burbot, and smaller grayling that can be caught locally. A few hour drive will take you to A+ salmon fishing.

Outdoor recreation
In the Goldstream Valley itself, there are plenty of places for outdoor recreation. Come winter, there are trails ½ mi from my doorstep that connect to hundreds of miles of ski/fatbike/dog mushing/snow machine trails in the area. Five miles from here is the local ski hill, with south facing slopes and ~1,500 ft vertical runs. That is also a very pleasant spot to walk in the spring/summer/fall. On Ester Dome, also ~5 miles away, are single track trails maintained by the local mountain bike association. Within an hour’s drive are another dozen plus trails and two hours takes you to the Alaska Range/Denali NP or the White Mountains.

Social and Cultural opportunities
Music wise, there is often live music throughout the summer at bars, community events, and music festivals. Throughout the winter, there is a concert series that brings in larger acts . The town is bbig enough that you can likely find a group for whatever activity you’re interested in. There are recreational sport leagues, regular pickup ultimate frisbee and soccer during the summer. Ham radio club, dance groups, theater groups, and then more lifestyle groups related to hunting/fishing/gardening. There isn’t much of a public nightlife scene here, bonfires and potlucks are more of the norm.

The local library system is excellent and is part of the Alaska interlibrary network, which includes the university system and most libraries within the state. The library has been under renovation for the past year and is set to open in the next month with a new makerspace and business center. There is a communal tool library that is active and has a wide selection of tools. '

Downsides?
Darkness-Lack of light midwinter can be really difficult and tends to be what drives people away (not the cold)
Urban design- Fairbanks is winning no awards for design and architecture and in many ways serves as the perfect example of what not to do.
Bugs- Mosquitoes are the unofficial state bird and are most active for about 6 weeks each summer. There's about 3 weeks where they are intense (variable throughout each day). This changes year to year depending on snowmelt and rain totals. Drier years (like this year) there aren't that many mosquitoes (knock on wood) whereas wet years, they are present for longer. Either way, they are usually gone by August.

----
So, if you’re still reading and any of that sounded appealing to you, there are lots in my immediate neighborhood that are for sale. None of them are publicly listed so unfortunately I can’t share a listing, but I can add photos. Some of them are raw land. However, if you’re not interested in building, I’d be happy to refer you to others nearby who can build for you (I have 0 financial ties). Estimates for buying a raw 2 acre parcel and building a ~1000 sq ft house is probably around $125k.

-The lot next door to us is for sale. Nearly raw land, no buildings. Building pad and driveway are already in place. The lot is completely south facing and elevated for maximal sun exposure. One corner of the lot is a low point and tends to be more swampy than other areas. The current owner is asking an arm and a leg for the property ($60k) but I think it could be had (and more accurately worth) at $40k.
Image

-Further up the hill behind me are two additional lots for sale. Roughly two acres in size apiece, They are about 75 feet higher than my house and I figure an additional 5 degrees warmer in the winter, or 15 degrees warmer than in town. They also get more sun than my lot (which gets about 85% of available sunlight). The ground is drier and there is not likely to be any issues with permafrost. The developer is going to start these at $35k.
Image
Lot 1

Image
Lot 2

- The guy I bought land from is also building some spec cabins on two of the lots here. Same size lots as the others ~2 acres. One of them is very nice and has ample amount of large spruce trees for firewood, building or other uses. He usually builds the same style cabin, 2 story 1 br/1 ba 900 sq ft with an outdoor deck. Water, washer/drier, toilet, the whole works. They are very nice. Unfortunately, he sells all of his properties via Craigslist or word of mouth so I don’t have any pictures to share. You'll have to take my word for it at the moment that they are of quality. There will likely be one available this fall. He sold the last two for $200-215k
Image
Spec home will be here

If you're interested in looking around on your own on Zillow, I recommend looking at the west side of town.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by jacob »

theanimal wrote:
Mon May 20, 2024 5:42 pm
I didn’t really expect anyone here to be interested in living in Alaska, but as a result of the below post, a forumite bought land directly behind me.
Achievement unlocked!

I'm almost sure that the ultimate location of ERE City will not be determined by a general vote but grow organically around the first place(s) to attract more than 1 person to the same neighborhood. Much like a crystal forms around a nucleus. Perhaps we need a leaderboard :)

PS: I'm kinda curious who your new neighbor is and whether it's full-time living or a second home situation.

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Jean
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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by Jean »

If I was an US resident, I'de be your neighbour already.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by jacob »

theanimal wrote:
Mon May 20, 2024 5:42 pm
There are no building codes, so the quality of homes and home prices tend to resemble a barbell. There are a lot of poorly crafted small, dry cabins for sub- $100k or high quality, large homes for over $300k, with very little in between.
I noticed!

The log cabins look like they have no insulation. How does this work in the winter? Do people have the furnace going on full tilt at all times? Wear coats indoors? Huddle around the heating sources?

For example, how "realistic" is this?
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2679 ... 5127_zpid/

I'm trying to form/reset some expectations. Since you say "no water", I presume that means outhouses and what... melting snow? buying bottled water? drilling wells?

Add: Bonus: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1109 ... 3345_zpid/ (250k duplex)

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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by AxelHeyst »

FWIW I’m planning on visiting in late September this year.

sodatrain
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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by sodatrain »

jacob wrote:
Tue May 21, 2024 6:27 am
PS: I'm kinda curious who your new neighbor is and whether it's full-time living or a second home situation.
*raises and waves hand* :D

It's me!! I'm super excited about it. When @theanimal first mentioned the price of land and the potential to be their neighbor, it planted a seed in the back of my mind. That seed germinated and I decided a visit was in order to explore the potential. I had a fantastic visit and I left after just under 2 weeks making an offer in land that is very close to them. (Yeah, I'm a little crazy and can make decisions quickly like that).

I arrived full of questions (@theanimal can vouch for that)! He and Mrs Animal where very gracious and patient with my mountain of questions.

I'm very optimistic about what life in the Goldstream (Also, Fairbanks and probably big sections of Alaska) seems to offer. My theory is that it offers a pretty distinctive opportunity to live and grow in my ERE life.

- modestly priced land in an area without much in terms of building codes / restrictions on land use (building tiny simple homes is totally OK as is a big garden and raising chickens/pigs etc)
- community in Greater Faribanks and specifically in the Goldstream*
- potential to garden, forage, and hunt to feed oneself

If you try and live "normal city/suburban" life there, it seems very expensive. Yet the opportunity to live a very "ERE" life seems high. And I've experienced @theanimals doing it first hand.

I feel like I'm ready to push past WL4 and I believe that making this shift to AK, in this set of circumstances, will be a nudge in the right direction.

As of right now, my goal is to spend enough time there next year to have it be my official residence. Benefits like the PFD and other privileges reserved for residents is appealing. My place in Guatemala is TBD. I have a 2 or 3 year plan to really get settled into Alaska - including building my own house on the land. My partner is from Guatemala, she is excited about the plan too, and is planning on coming along for this adventure... and Guatemala is probably the perfect place to for for at least a few weeks each December/January when there is 4-ish hours of daylight and -40 temps.

I watched this YouTube video (23 minutes) about dry cabin life before going up. It covers what it means to not have running water in your home. I liked what it showed about small homes and some of the people/community living there,

So yeah... I am full stoke on Fairbanks/Goldstream and I think the ERE potential is high despite the known challenges (winter darkness, winter temperatures, and a handful of weeks of intense mosquitos). Whos next?!


* The community has a couple dimensions. Part is the fierce independence/mind your own business of the people in AK, combined with a strong sense of "We understand the challenges of life here, We've got you" if you need help is important. Also, the level of ERE adjacency of the people in the "neighborhood" seems very high. Many people are in small dry and off grid cabins. Many people take on seasonal outdoor work vs rat race/corp work. There is a high appreciation for the outdoors and otherwise healthy prioritization of work vs life. I almost made an offer on land about 20 minutes away, but after I got to meet some of the wonderful people in this area I realized that I should prioritize the community of this specific area.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by sodatrain »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Tue May 21, 2024 10:22 am
FWIW I’m planning on visiting in late September this year.
Should you need it, I expect to have my trailer there by this point and you can stay in it! ;) The potential to host other forumites if they want to explore is there too. Shoot me a message and lets chat. I'll share pics of it in place once it is there later this summer.

theanimal
Posts: 2670
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: AK
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Re: ERE City (US)

Post by theanimal »

jacob wrote:
Tue May 21, 2024 9:17 am
I noticed!

The log cabins look like they have no insulation. How does this work in the winter? Do people have the furnace going on full tilt at all times? Wear coats indoors? Huddle around the heating sources?

For example, how "realistic" is this?
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2679 ... 5127_zpid/

Woodstoves and oil heaters (Toyotami heaters) are most common up here. Almost everywhere will have the latter and many will have a woodstove to supplement. You can buy split birch wood from the energy plant in town for $300 delivered or there are plenty of places to go and cut it yourself nearby.

Log cabins usually have no insulation. Some will have a second interior stick wall with insulation but that's not common. R value of logs is about 1 per inch. Most cabins here are built with 8 inch log iirc. So ~R8 wall insulation. Not great! Cabins like those are definitely colder than living in 2/6 stick framing. We are at 320 sq ft with R19 insulation in the walls, R30 in the floor, and R 38 in the ceiling . Our woodstove is our sole source of heat and we burn slightly less than 1 cord per year. The temperature of our house is often in the lower 70s after lighting a fire then drifts down to the lower 60s, upper 50s by the time we go to bed. Unless it is very cold (-30F and lower all day), we only have one fire a day.

I've lived in a log cabin closer to town before (below the inversion) and didn't have issues keeping the place warm with an oil stove(~450 sq ft). That said, the floor was colder and I used much more energy to heat the place than we do now. Our neighbors down the street live in a well built log home 1.5 times the size of ours and run a woodstove and toyo throughout the winter. They burned 5x the amount of wood we did and used more than >100 gal of oil as well. And their place still feels colder than ours. Needless to say, stick built homes are much warmer.

Our next door neighbor lives in a yurt. She's been in there for 5 years now and as far as I can tell has no problem with it. Yurts have even less insulation than log cabins though. I seem to remember seeing that they max out around R5 or 6 in the walls? There are a handful of others throughout the community who do so. It's possible, but I think the heater will be running all the time during the colder weeks and it will still be colder. That cabin on the property with it looks like it's on the smaller end but would be a lot more comfortable temperature wise and shouldn't have any issues staying warm.

jacob wrote:
Tue May 21, 2024 9:17 am
I'm trying to form/reset some expectations. Since you say "no water", I presume that means outhouses and what... melting snow? buying bottled water? drilling wells?
There are water "stations" throughout town that have pumps for filling up jugs and larger tanks. Outside of the town core, everyone uses the water stations to get their water. People with running water (toilets/sinks/washers/baths/the works) in their house will have a large tank (500-1000+ gallons) within their house. They'll often have a smaller tank (100-400) that they put in their truck/trailer/back of subaru to transport water between the filling station and their house. The water companies deliver (minimum 1000 gallons) but it's more expensive than filling it yourself ($0.09/gal versus $0.027/gal). Those in dry cabins will use a collection of 5 gallon jugs. We are semi-dry. We have a 15 gallon tank that we fill with jugs that we connect to our sink. We also have a shower stall within which we hang a solar shower bag. A couple of years ago we did get a 1000 gal tank outside for our garden, but we do not use that during the winter. Recently, we got a top loader washing machine and manually fill it with the 5 gallon jugs.

The documentary @sodatrain linked is a good broad overview of the dry lifestyle.
sodatrain wrote:
Tue May 21, 2024 11:33 am
I watched this YouTube video (23 minutes) about dry cabin life before going up. It covers what it means to not have running water in your home. I liked what it showed about small homes and some of the people/community living there,
jacob wrote:
Tue May 21, 2024 9:17 am
Add: Bonus: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1109 ... 3345_zpid/ (250k duplex)
That's a good location in town. You would have all normal utilities there. It is colder in town than higher elevations since it is lower. There also can be "ice fog" which is really smog that can occur whenever there is an inversion and particulates are trapped in the lower layers. I don't know the average number of days it occurs throughout the winter but it's not all winter, only when it's very cold. However, the AQI during these instances can be very bad, occasionally topping >200.

A couple blocks away is Creamer's Field, an old dairy farm transformed into a conservation area. There are a few miles of trails in the summer and a few dozen in the winter. Large supermarkets (Wal-Mart, Costco, Fred Meyer, Safeway) and home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowes) are less than 2 miles away. Twice weekly farmer's market in the summer is 1.5 miles away. University is 2 miles away and public library is 3.5 miles away.

Add: Regarding toilets, outhouses are the norm for dry cabins. We use a composting toilet. Homes with water will use some type of septic system. Because of the uncertain and frozen ground around many areas here, some will have an above ground septic system (developed specifically for Alaska, called LifeWater).

mooretrees
Posts: 767
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: ERE City (US)

Post by mooretrees »

@theanimal What are the schools like? Do most people homeschool? I assume there is a hospital in Fairbanks?

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