Coming to Alaska, the new car challenge

#FocusAlaska View over Fairbanks and the Tanana Flats

Immigration to Alaska by plane

house hunting and getting a new car.

The plan was to find a place and then go car shopping. We thought having an address would make it easier to get the credit that we needed. After we had signed the rental contract, we defined what kind of car we would need. The rented house was out in Goldstream – the subskirts of Fairbanks. There were several miles of dirt roads to the house. The last stretch was thru a dry creek bed, i.e. muddy when it rained and very steep. We concluded that we need a SUV with 4 wheel drive.  Moreover, I wanted a manual transmission.

style over 40 woman in long winter coat with hat and long scarf in Alaska
Me standing in front of the house in 2001 that we had rented in Goldstream

We went to various car dealers in Fairbanks and browsed for cars. After having seen what was on the market at which prices and fuel per mileage, we decided that we wanted to stay with the brand we already had preferred when living in Germany. Thus, we went to the local Ford dealer in town.

fashion over 40 woman wearing denim-on-denim in Alaska
Great Northwest denim shirt, Oliveo denim skirt, GNW tight, Antonio Melani booties, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, Prada bag, silk scarf, gloves, Max Mara denim coat (all own), and baroque pearl necklace c/o Pearl Clasp

The guy at the front desk led us to an office where a blonde women over 60 with golden round granny glasses sat at a desk with her legs crossed. Her skirt had raised up and gave a view on her graters. Her entire attire looked like she was the Madam of a Red Light District business in the early years of Fairbanks, not like being a car dealer in 2001. She wore a huge feather adored hat, long black lace gloves and a corset with deep cleavage. The decollete was decorate with a necklace that had gold nuggets of various size. The largest was about the size of a Hershey’s chocolate kiss. The high-low Can Can skirt was red from the outside with red and black ruffles on the inside.  In the front, the hem was just above the knee, while it hit her lace-up booties at the ankles in the back. On her long well tuned legs, she wore black fishnets.

mature Fashion woman in winter outerwear in Alaska
Zoom-in on winter outerwear with Great Northwest shirt, Oliveo skirt, GNW tight, Antonio Melani booties, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, Prada bag, silk scarf, gloves, Max Mara coat (all own), and baroque pearl necklace c/o Pearl Clasp

The woman stood up when we entered. The young man introduced us to each other and left. “Have a seat. So, you just moved to Fairbanks and want to buy a car. What do you have in mind?” she said in a friendly, professional voice and handed us her card. “We are interested in the red Ford Escape with manual transmission.” I responded. “We also have that car with automatic and a stronger engine.” “We saw that, but we want a manual shift.”

After some very professional small talk on these two cars and about the great experiences we had made with our former Fords, she decided that she can’t sell other the more expensive car. It was now already 6 pm on a Friday. She now wanted to make the deal and asked us for our credit report.

“We immigrated from Germany and payed of all the credits we had there. Thus, we don’t have any credit reports anymore” I said with proud.  Her face turned into a mix of astonishment and irritation. “You have no credit reports?” she asked. “Yes, once you paid off your credits they take you from the credit report list. You are only on the list when you take a credit so other banks know how much you owe already. It serves to take out more money than you will be able to pay back.” “I see. That makes sense.” she said.

Focus Alaska Our muddy Ford SUV at Yukon Crossing
Our brand new 2001 Ford Escape covered with mud on our trip to the Arctic Circle

Her forehead now showed many folds. “Can they send a copy of that?” “No, once you paid everything off there is no history about you anymore.”

After a while of silence, she said “Can you pay the car in cash?” “No, of course not!” “Then we have a problem.” Her forehead now showed many folds again. “Why?” “Because you have no credit reports.”

She looked like a fisherman who had a big fish, but the fish escaped in the last moment. One could see her disappointment, may be even a bit regret having all that spent time and would not be able to close deal.

For a moment, I felt pity for her. I looked at my husband’s face. He looked worried, because there was no way to get to and from the rented house without a car. Of course, an old car would be an option, but it would be a very, very old car. Nobody in Fairbanks sells a 4 wheel drive that is only 2-3 years old.

fashion over 50 winter outerwear
Back view of outerwear with Prada bag, leather gloves, Antonio Melani booties, and Max Mara fur lining coat (all own)

“What about this?” I said and turned my head towards my husband “You had bought our last Ford thru the Ford credit bank when I was on sabbatical in Colorado. You could sign a letter asking the German Ford credit bank to provide the US Ford credit bank information about the that credit.” Before my husband even could answer, she said in excitement “What a great idea. That will do it!” and she sealed the deal.

When we walked to the parking lot, we saw a Ford 350 pulling up in front of the door with a guy wearing also Gold Rush Time attire. He had a hitch with a jail in tow. The woman hooped into the car. We learned the next day that in Fairbanks, many businesses participate in the Golden Day Parade and some of their employees dress in the theme in the week of the Golden Days.

Needless to say we got the car the following week. Today, we drive an old, but great car.


It has gotten colder again. Temperatures were in the -20s (lower than -29.8oC) last week and on the weekend. This denim coat has a fur lining. Underneath I wore a denim skirt and shirt, i.e. a variation of the Canadian tuxedo look. 😉

#fashionover40 woman in winter outfit
Side view of winter outfit with GNW tight, Antonio Melani booties, Prada bag, gloves, and Max Mara coat (all own)

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Photos: G. Kramm

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