Sunday, 26 February 2006

February 26, 2006 Must Play

All work and no play makes EVERYONE – even Iditarod mushers a week before the start of the Race – dull. So on Friday, Mark, Colleen and I hooked up with our old ‘landlady’, Nancy Black (Darren is off on the Serum Run – this time as a snowmachiner) and headed out to Settler’s Bay for dinner. What a meal! Mark opted for prime rib, which he raved about – but personally I don’t often order steaks in areas I’ve never seen a single cow in (I am an Albertan, afterall. It is hard for anywhere to do beef better then it is done at home.) The rest of us went for pan braised Halibut, stuffed with crab and a salad with a blueberry vinaigrette. How Alaskan – how delicious!! My mouth waters now just remembering it! 

After dinner it was downstairs to hear Hobo Jim ( play – and play he did. Most of you know him only for his ‘I did, I did, I did the Iditarod Trail song’, but Mark and I have been fans of his down home, Alaska flavored music for a number of years. Some of you may remember that last year at the pre Race Banquet in Anchorage, Hobo Jim found me and gave me a copy of his latest CD after I mentioned having everything from ‘J.Lo to Hobo Jim’ in my iPod player to a reporter on the trail in ’04. (Link above to cited ADN article, pdf version for future archival use).

Anyway, Hobo put on a very entertaining 4 hour set. In fact, as entertaining as any act I’ve seen anywhere. My goodness that man can play a guitar. I would highly, highly recommend the show to any of you that have the opportunity to see him.

Yesterday morning as Colleen and I were finishing up feeding, a single snowflake drifted out of the sky and landed on my jacket. I got excited and rushed over to Colleen to show her. My run on Friday was so rough and icy; I was planning on cutting team sizes down to 7’s and 8’s from the 10’s I’d been running.

We stopped and talked to Erin McLaren, Jamie’s neighbour and Colleen’s landlady and by the time we were headed back to the house, at least a ¼ of snow was already on the ground. Throughout the morning and well into the afternoon flakes continued to fall.

We walked Odie over to Dream a Dream Dog Farm ( for Susan Whiton to take a look at a weird lump the techs had discovered on his leg when we were in for bloodwork. I also had thought I was seeing an occasional limp on Ode’s front and wanted to get that checked out.

All the news looks pretty positive. Susan could find no injury in the front end, just a minor groin pull on his back left and the lump, although still admittedly weird, don’t look dangerous. We will get Dr. Baetsle to give it another look Tuesday when the team goes in for their vet checks, but Susan doesn’t think it is anything that will stop him from heading to Nome.

Once back home I picked out a 10-dog team and asked Colleen if she would like to go for a ride. With over 3 inches of fresh snow on the ground now, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t kill her on the out trail, like I tried with Ann earlier this season.

By the time the team loped onto Steven’s Lake, the snow was letting up and the sun had worked it’s way through the clouds. Not one other team had been out on the trails, so we were traveling along through unbroken snow as we were treated to a lovely sunset.

The dogs were having a fabulous time too – and on the way home, when we hit a downhill grade they cracked 20 mph on the GPS. That’s moving, by any dog team’s standards.

Everyone had a grin on his or her face when we pulled back into the yard just as dusk was settling in.

Good times!

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