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Big move to Alaska

Born and raised in Illinois, I had considered moving a few times, especially with the high tax and piles of BS that come with living in the state. With so many good friends and family members close by, I really didn’t think it would happen. When my wife asked me if I’d consider moving, I told her I her I had been thinking about it too. I knew she was unhappy at work and had been job shopping, so I wanted to be supportive. I could find work easily and the idea of getting a fresh space to mold for an arcade was appealing. My current space was good but not perfect, and we always want more space. Where were you thinking of moving to dear…?

Big Move to Alaska!

Imagine my shock when Alaska was the answer! I figured Indiana, Wisconsin, or maybe out west to California, but Alaska? Yikes. After numerous discussions, a family “vacation” to check it out, and even more discussion; we decided to make the big move to Alaska. My lovely wife got an amazing job offer and flew off to Alaska to start right away. That left me to pack up the house, the kids and the arcade. After collecting for over 15 years I had accumulated a lot of stuff, this was going to be a challenge.

Big Move to AlaskaBig Move to AlaskaBig Move to Alaska

I had plenty of projects and tons of parts, many saved up and stored after various operator raids. One huge raid I was still trying to wrap up. I knew that parts would be scare in Alaska and I wanted to take as much as possible. Luckily for me I quickly found a job and the company was going to move us as part of my package deal. That meant I could use the money offered by my wife’s new company to relocate my games and parts. As long as I could fit it all into a container, I was golden. I decided to build crates for the heavy stuff to prevent damage and make it easy to stack stuff on top. I put my table saw through quite a workout.

Big Move to AlaskaBig Move to AlaskaBig Move to Alaska

Part of the deal I made with my wife included buying a new vehicle. I loved my old 2004 Toyota 4runner, but it had 150k miles on it, was out of warranty, and had been needing repairs lately. I just couldn’t risk driving to Alaska in the 4runner. I was driving because we had two dogs to haul and a few misc things I didn’t trust to safely pack into the container. How often would I get a chance to drive from Illinois to Alaska on the Al-Can highway? I was getting reimbursed for mileage and hotel, my dad was going along as a second driver, so what the heck.

Big Move to AlaskaBig Move to AlaskaBig Move to Alaska

I would be moving close to 40 games to Alaska, which meant I had to utilize every little bit of space possible. Project cabs got packed full of their parts and components. Working cabs had spare boards or other miscellaneous items packed inside. All cabinets got inspected so nothing was loose for the trip. A few local friends stepped in to help me move, wrap, and load the games into the trailer. Big thanks to gregfree, gatordad, mrbill08, and seawolf. They helped me on one of the hottest days in July 2016. We were all a sweaty mess, but the games got loaded, and cold beer never tasted so good. I couldn’t take everything with me, especially since we would be massively downsizing in the short term. Tools and misc stuff would go to my friends. Commercial grade table saw, standing drill press, sand blast cab, stand up air tank, ultrasonic cleaners, and tons of misc parts. All left behind. I will really miss that table saw.

Big Move to AlaskaBig Move to AlaskaBig Move to Alaska

One of the crappiest things I had to do was strip down my Black Hole pinball playfield. I had been slowly restoring this machine and encountered a number of issues. I couldn’t put the playfield into the cabinet, so I either had to box it or strip it down. To make sure it traveled safely, I stripped it down. Made a crate for the upper and lower playfields and also squeezed in my NOS Lord of the Rings PF. The night before the move I realized that the truck ramp I rented for the game load was only about 9 feet long and provided a 30 degree angle for loading. Not the best idea for games. So I built one. It was about 16 feet long and provided a nice incline for loading. I shoved the thing into the trailer and used it to unload as well.

Big Move to AlaskaBig Move to AlaskaBig Move to AlaskaBig Move to AlaskaBig Move to AlaskaBig Move to Alaska

It was sad to look at my empty game room, but I was hopeful. I planned to score or build a good space in Alaska. Once the games arrived in Anchorage, I had to bribe the owner of a local bowling alley to let me drop a trailer in his parking lot. The storage facility I was using had a no trailer policy. So I rented a uhaul trailer and drove down the street a few times to clear out the truck and get the games snugged up in the heated storage. I ditched the ramp inside the trailer when I was done, as I had no where to store it.

Big Move to AlaskaBig Move to AlaskaBig Move to Alaska

Big Move to AlaskaBig Move to Alaska

So my stuff will sit in the dreaded storage unit until we can figure out the housing situation here in Alaska. The plan is to buy a small place with some land so I can build a workshop/arcade. I miss my arcade buddies back in IL, they are an amazing bunch. The locals in Alaska have been friendly, and while they are fewer in number, they are a good group. Wish me luck!

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