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Bearfoot Travel Guides: An Old Bus & 50 Cans Of Urethane Foam Provided A Temporary Home While Cabin Was Built

For Many Years, When People Arrived In Alaska There Was Nowhere To Live 

It's hard to bridge those first months or years when you come to Alaska and there's no place to live. This was especially difficult in several times during the modern era: During the 1898 Gold Rush, and then again during the years of the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline,  around 1975. The first oil went through in the early summer of 1977. Tens of thousands of people had already arrived along the Pipeline Corridor of Alaska, north of Valdez. Many people arrived in roadside Alaska to work on "the pipe." Still more came to provide support systems.

Hardships of living in rural Alaska.
Alaskans had to find inventive solutions for the lack of housing.

Before the construction era, there had been perhaps 1,500 residents in the Copper River Valley, north of Valdez and south of Delta Junction and Tok. When "The Pipeline" came, the population leaped to 10,000 workers, hangers-on, and new residents.

This is an old bus that was sprayed with insulating urethane foam, and which provided living quarters in Gakona, Alaska. The spray covered everything except a window on the side, and a place at the front in the driver's seat, so he could drive the bus to its current resting place.

The need for housing in the 1970's duplicated the intense need for dwellings in the 1898 Gold Rush. Back then there were no buses, of course. And no urethane. So all of the jury-rigged solutions that gold miners came up with were tied to the land, and included tents, lean-to's and logs. This 1970's era bus is less than an eighth of a mile from the old Valdez Trail, which was used by the miners of the 1898 Gold Rush.

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Bearfoot Travel Magazines A Division Of Northcountry Communications, Inc. Jeremy Weld Linda Weld Tim Weld 2440 East Tudor #122 Anchorage, Alaska 99507 907 320-1145 Fax: 1 800 478 8301