Coming to Alaska, the new car challenge
View from the Akasofu building over Fairbanks into the Tanana Flats to show the slightly pink light
Contents
  1. Immigration to Alaska by plane
  2. Window shopping for a car
  3. A weirdly dreased car dealer
  4. The bomb: No credit reports
  5. Who can pay a car in cash?
  6. How we bought a car without credit reports
  7. The reasoning for her weird clothes
  8. Spring outfit in Interior Alaska

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Immigration to Alaska by plane

Most of the new Alaskans come from the airport. So did we, actually we came on a Condor flight from Leipzig, Germany via Franfurt/Main and Whitehorse, Canada over the pole. When we immigrated to Alaska, we came without having been able to arrange for housing and of course without a car. Thus, our first tasks on our (seemingly never ending to-do list) was to find a place and getting a new car.

The plan was house hunting 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 50 yea 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

Window shopping for a car

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.

A weirdly dressed car dealer

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 decorated 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!

Golden Days parade fluziies in Fairbanks by "063_alaska_2007_1465.jpg" by lizstless is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Fluzzies at the Golden Days Parade in Fairbanks. The car dealer was dressed like these Golden Days Parade participants when we bought our car. Photo by “063_alaska_2007_1465.jpg” by lizstless is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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 the 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.

The bomb: No credit reports

“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 pride.  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.

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.”

Who can pay a car in cash?

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 spent all that time and now not being 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 have to be a very, very old car. Nobody in Fairbanks sells a 4 wheel drive that is only 2-3 years old.

How we bought a car without credit reports

“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 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.

The reasoning for her weird clothes

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.

Golden Days Jail hauled on a truck in Fairbanks "085_alaska_2007_1529.jpg" by lizstless is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Fluzzy in front of the Golden Days Parade jail that is mounted on a pitch and hauled by a truck in Fairbanks Alaska “085_alaska_2007_1529.jpg” by lizstless is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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

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Focus Alaska is a series on Alaska lifestyle, street style, shopping, travel and curiousa.

Spring outfit in Interior Alaska

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. 😉

Don’t let the right outfit be a random thing. Wear the right look in every situation by looking up what to wear when in How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy the book now.

over 50 years old Alaskanin winter outfit

fashion over 50 winter outerwear

mature Fashion woman in winter outerwear in Alaska

fashion over 40 woman wearing denim-on-denim in Alaska
Outfit details: 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

Like these outfit ideas? If so, please feel free to pin them to your own Pinterest board.

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