The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: Where’s Your Sense of Adventure

The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: Where’s Your Sense of Adventure

“Where’s our sense of adventure, young, man?” is a common phrase you will hear up here in Alaska. My response, “Well, sir, it is in my back pocket.”

I am quickly learning that moving to the Great White North can only be parlayed with the amount of green in my back pocket. I am not talking about environmentalism here folks. I am talking about cold hard cash… Washington’s and Lincoln’s and Jackson’s and quite a few Grant’s.

It is expensive to get ready for winter up in these parts and I am soon learning this is no poor man’s paradise. Let me explain:

Hank Hill, Propane, and Propane Accessories

I visited Wasilla’s version of Strickland Propane (Amerigas) on Friday afternoon to sign up for an account and schedule the delivery of my first tank full of propane. When I entered the little shoppe I fully expected to see Hank at the desk, well his name was Cylde, but they did sell propane accessories: grills, regulators, fridge’s and more.

Cost: $350.00

Black Gold, not Texas Tea

The house, well I am remiss to call this a house, it is more of a cabin, has two ways to heat the (not very well) insulated log structure. A wood-burning stove (I’ll get to that in a minute) and heating oil.

Our local heating oil company, Newman’s Hilltop is just up the road so thankfully they don’t charge a delivery charge but at $3.05 a gallon with a 100 gallon minimum it still hurts the pocket book. The cabin uses an average of 88 gallons a month according to Newman’s records.

Cost $915.00 (ouch!)

One Mans Trash is another Man’s Treasure

Now this is the life...

As you, my rabid readers, friends and fans know by now, I have spent the last two months throwing away dumpster load after dumpster load of trash that the previous occupants left behind. I figured it would take me the better part of the summer and fall to get it cleaned up and I am realizing it will be at least spring until it all gets hauled off.

I am sure you have heard the saying: One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure. Well for the price it is costing me to haul away all of this junk, I think I am padding the pockets of the local waste company at the cost of what some people on minimum wage bring home a month!

Cost: $478.00 (two months of service thus far)

Parkas, Bibs and Bunny Boots

Bunny Boots

I have been told it gets cold in this neck of the woods. Dang Cold! And being a musher that arrived in Alaska with winter gear suited for the warmer climate of Colorado (fleece jacket and light snow pants) I am quickly finding out that to outfit my big butt in the latest fashions and keep myself from freezing to death and ending up like Jack Nicholson’s character in the closing minutes of The Shinning I will have to get a parka and some Bunny Boots (do people really wear these things?).

Cost: $500.00 for the parka and I haven’t bought the boots yet


Looks about what I will need...

When I attended the Willow Dog Mushers Symposium last weekend a speaker asked the audience a question: How much wood do you use to heat your home each winter? One cord? two? Ten cords a winter?! Of course it depends on construction and insulation but I am guessing that I will use way more than five cords to heat this ice box.

Cost: $200.00 per cord in rounds (un-split wood)

The Pipeline

I have been told that Alaska produces more oil and natural gas than anywhere in North America but for some reason there are no refineries up here and all of it must be shipped to the Lower 48 and brought back to fill our cars, trucks, ATV’s, SUV’s, Quads and Big Boy Toys.

I am working in Anchorage three days a week at Alaska Dog Works and I get about 17 miles a gallon in my Toyota Tundra. I am filling up once a week.

Cost: $3.35 a gallon ($80.00 bucks a tank)

With all of these budget busters I can see why people earn a bit more up here in the Last Frontier. I can also see why they were advertising McDonald’s jobs starting at $14.00 an hour in the newspaper this summer. But,

the price of chasing my dreams and doing what I love….

I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please comment below.

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Doctor Radio | Denver Dog Works


Dr. Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and The Dog Doctor Radio Show

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About robertforto

Robert Forto is the owner of Dog Works Training Company in Alaska, a canine behaviorist, mushin' down a dream, sports nut and radio show host. Robert writes a lot about his observations in Alaska, pop culture, music, and of course dogs!

View all posts by robertforto

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  1. The future home of Iditarod dreams: 50 grand for a belt buckle? « - October 28, 2010

    […] Rewind: Where’s Your Sense of Adventure […]

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