Monday, 7 March 2005

March 7, 2005 Traditions & Decisions

I guess that I have to go all way back to Saturday to get started. At 4:45 Karen, Marcus and myself woke up, loaded the dogs and left for Anchorage. Once we arrived we headed to the same restaurant that we’ve gone to for our past four Iditarods for our traditional Iditarod start breakfast of Eggs Benedict. Once breakfast was done we headed back to the truck were a crowd had already gathered. Several hours of dropping dogs, feeding dogs, and schmoosing with everyone, Karen was heading down to the starting line again this time with her brother Jim in tow on the second sled. She took her time running to Campbell airstrip, stopping along the way to grab hotdogs, muffins and to let kids pet the dogs.

With the start stopping at Campbell airstrip instead of Eagle River, we had plenty of time in the afternoon to get ready for the restart. One of the final decisions that Karen had to make was whether to take the Defender shotgun or the .44 Magnum handgun. While I was putzing around that night a HUGE moose wondered into the dog yard. I ran to the garage, were Karen was packing her sled. I grabbed the shotgun and told Karen that if she wanted to practice shooting the new gun that she should come outside now. By the time we got back to the dog yard the moose had already vanished over the hill. Karen still took the opportunity to fire several shots into the air, and the decision was made, the shotgun is in the sled.

Sunday morning was pretty relaxing compared to past starts. Iditarod changed the restart from Wasilla to Willow and from 10:00 to 2:00, this meant that we were able to take our time getting ready. We even had time to have our traditional restart breakfast of steak and eggs.

The short 3-mile drive to the community center was a breeze, dog trucks get waved though and put in pre-assigned parking spots. This year our spot was in between the Norwegians and the Swingley’s. With former champions on either side of us, there was always a big crowd. The dogs got fed, pee tested, chip scanned and then put away out of the commotion for a nap. Karen’s sled got checked by officials for all the mandatory gear. Before we knew it, it was time to start hooking up dogs.

This year Karen choose experience over enthusiasm and put Gus and Grover in lead to get her out of the starting chute. The rest of the team in no particular order is: Snickers, Kara, Sprite, Hector, Herman, Surge, Skor, Loki, Odie, Denali, Draco, Moses, Crunchy, Dasher.

Well that’s all for now, Karen is right on schedule, don’t forget about “Root For Your Musher” on the Cabela’s web page.


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