Monday, 11 February 2008

February 11, 2008 Drop Bags

So, on Saturday I had a bit of a crash a few hundred feet after leaving the dogyard and I gave myself a good whack on the head. (I think I fell on my snow hook) It wasn't anything really serious. I just have a goose egg, a serious headache and my jaw was out of alignment for about a day making it hard to talk, chew, or open my mouth. I'm very dedicated to all those things, so I found ways to make it work, but I was really glad on Sunday when my jaw 'popped' back in on it's own bringing instant physical relief and allowing me to eat and talk properly again.

Things are almost normal now. The swelling is mostly gone, although the area is still tender to the touch but other then popping a few extra painkillers a day (having a pharmacist for a land lady is sweet - she always knows the right painkiller for the right occasion) things are back to normal.

Now, I will have you all know that I'm a dedicated dog musher and finished a 30 mile run after the head bang (obviously it didn't knock any more sense into me) but Sunday morning I wasn't feeling too hot and was kind of looking for an excuse to take a day off running. A temperature of -23 F was the ticket and Mark and I decided to spend the day putting my drop bags together - which are due to be dropped off tomorrow in Anchorage.

Many of you have asked about drop bags - what goes into them, how I decide what to send where, etc. The process actually starts in the summer when I sit down and work up a race plan. I figure out run and rest times and then work out my drop bags around that schedule, while always padding the numbers with extras in case the race doesn't go exactly like planned (actually, it never seems to go like planned - at least for me!)

Throughout the year I gather, sort, and organize. During the winter, Mark slices and dices meat on the band saw and then divides and bags them into 16-dog sized meals and snacks.

The end product is piles and piles of stuff that gets loaded into the truck for the drive north. Once we get to Alaska, more gathering, sorting and bagging is done. Drop bags are picked up from Iditarod Headquarters and labeled with my name.

Finally, usually the day before they are due, we spend the day filling and closing up drop bags. Everything is kept on an Excel database that tells us what is going in what bag.

At the end of the day 70 or so bags will have all the supplies I will need for the dogs and I to journey across Alaska (I'll give you exact numbers and weights after we turn them in tomorrow. Since we are paying 50 cents for every pound I'm shipping - I will know the exact weight).

To give you and idea of things in the bags, I shipped -

60 packages of SuperDog Treats

27 herring snacks

22 chicken skin snacks

10 vet bags (containing things like liniments, foot ointment, Gold Bond baby powder, and Imodium)

36 meals for Karen

26 bottles of Gatorade

86 juice packs

9 sets of runner plastic

175 handwarmers


7 changes of underwear

Of course that is not a complete list. You can see more of the stuff sent out at

Since the bags are all loaded in the truck and ready to be taken to town tomorrow, we headed out to run dogs today. It was a great run, as the temperature went up to 0F and we got a couple inches of snow this morning!

You can see pictures of that at  -

Lots of dog butts - as usual!!

Anyway, that brings everyone up to date on the happenings here.


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