Saturday, 17 March 2012

March 17, 2012 - The Iditarod So Far - Bet

Howdy ho everybodies!

Although this post is being written AFTER the amazing finish of the Musher and Pretty Curly Tails, we are putting it before the finish so all of the posts come in order.

We have oodles of things to tell you about that happened during the nail biting finish, so sit back and enjoy.  If we haven't covered stuffs and things already, there will be additional posts about those stuffs and things... and of course you will want to come back again and again when the Musher finally gets some rest, collects her thoughts and takes you on the journey once again through her eyes and experiences.  You will NOT want to miss her blog posts!

Before we get on with things, I neglected to give a huge shout out thank you to the people that provided the snack bags at the last few checkpoints.  SORRY!  Thank you so much:
  • Deb and Mike Rawaillot and Sue LeClerc for your awesome Koyuk snack bags
  • Donna Finner for your tasty and amazing Elim snack bag
  • Tara Lemieux for the delicious nummy White Mountain snack bag!
When we last left the Team, they were resting in White Mountain for their final mandatory 8-hour rest.  Here is the description of what its like in White Mountain. 

Things are a bit hazy at this point, because I've been sitting at this computer in Perryvale for so long that my Border Collie behind is now shaped liked my chair, so the sequence of events may be off a bit.  Excuse this small lapse of non-linear non-roving Border Collie Reporter reporting.

It seemed to take the Pretty Curly Tails a long time to get to Safety.  Who can blame them!  They had run over 800 miles at this point, and the trip from Shakawhatever to Koyuk seemed brutal... at least from our standpoint of watching a little blip on a screen inch forward... that was until that stupid GPS thing flung itself off onto the ice of Norton Sound.

At this point I need to make a confession.


Shortly after the GPS flung itself off, a page called "Karen Ramstead's Wayward Iditarod GPS" was created on Facebook.  From some of the comments on the Musher's fan page, we get the impression that some thought it was a stranger trying to take away from the Musher and Pretty Curly Tails... um... not exactly... it was us.

The Musher Minions created that page to give the Pretty Curly Tail fans something to laugh about and keep their minds off of the fact that they could no longer watch the team's little blue dot travel the course.  They also didn't want a stranger taking advantage of the situation and creating the page, so they jumped on it.  They didn't expect it to become so popular and be mentioned by the Iditarod Staff themselves and become a cult thing.  But since it did... they used it to pull more people over to the Musher's fan page and get more Pretty Curly Tail fans!

As far as we know, the Musher had no idea this was going on throughout the race, and we hope Richard debriefed her before she was asked about "Wayward".

Yes, we know it would make an awesome children's book, and yes we know we could make a lot of money for the North Wapiti kennel by putting "Wayward" on merchandise... BUT... the actual GPS unit is owned by ITC, and the unit itself is trademarked by IONEarth.  So if the Musher, ITC, and IONEarth are ok with it, and IF some of the proceeds go to North Wapiti Kennels, we're game.
 Back at White Mountain

While the team rested, we were elated to hear from Richard that the GPS unit had been flown into White Mountain and had been re-attached to the sled!

White Mountain cam screen capture by Sandy Stealey of the plane that brought "Wayward"
The team pulled the hook in White Mountain on March 16 at 16:57 (4:57 pm) with 11 Pretty Curly Tails and headed to Safety!  Here is the description of the trail from White Mountain to Safety

We were all VERY happy to be able to follow the blue blip on its way to its final checkpoint before Nome!

Trip to Safety

The trip to Safety seemed to take forever... at least to all of us glued to the computer screen watching the progress.  We know the team was very tired, they had come so far, and not being there, its really hard not to think the worst... Mooses, sore tired Pretty Curly Tails, Musher tired... aliens, who knows!!!

There was a HUGE collective sigh of relief when on 17 March 2012 at 6:24 (6:24am) the team checked into Safety!  Here is the description of Safety

Normally teams pull into Safety, then promptly check out of Safety to finish their trip to Nome and the finish.  The Pretty Curly Tails obviously needed more time to rest and recuperate, and spent a little over 3 hours in Safety.

Of course, there was a lot of fan speculation that the team was waiting for Hank DeBruin's team to catch up, and then make a grand entrance into Nome for a Canadian Siberian Husky photo finish... the Minions and I didn't think so, but it sounds really good.  We'll find out what happened when the Musher recuperates and tells the whole story.

Meanwhile Back In Nome

While we all waited in front of the computer for the blip to move, Richard was busy at work making sure the Pretty Curly Tails had a place to rest after the race.  he set up their crates as little cushy nests with fresh straw in the dog lot.

He also did preparation for their arrival, checked in with Iditarod HQ to find out what was going on,

... communicated with the minions so they would know what was going on, and generally ran himself ragged, and then did the only thing left to do...

Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, and more waiting
While we all waited, a horrible development occurred...  NomeCam broke!!!!!

the Nome Cam stopped broadcasting and updating so the only thing anyone could see was half a picture of the finish.  There was much keening and gnashing of teeth on all of the Facebooks about NomeCam... but Richard jumped up and took care of it as usual.

Ok, we have no idea who really fixed NomeCam, but thank you.

With much relief, the Team pulled the hook and left Safety at 9:34 (9:34 am) after a little over 3-hour rest, with 10 Pretty Curly Tails.  Trail from Safety to Nome

There was some frantic posts worried that the dropped Curly Tail was none other than Crunchie, who now has a fan club.

What everyone didn't realize is that while they were speculating on which dog was dropped, we had already posted the picture of the cushy dog beds (above), and if you look closely at the far end, you'll see a dog there...

Yep, it was Rocky!

As seen here at the Open House
That meant that the Iditarod finishing team consisted of:

The Pretty Curly Tails trekked their way to Nome, stopping at Cape Nome to visit with some dear friends that now stay there.

Shortly after, the Musher and Pretty Curly Tails made their way to the finish line as we notified the fans of each mile that had passed, counting down until Richard told us that he heard the siren, until the team made it to the finish line.

We would like to thank the owners of Kaiser Cam for turning it on and allowing us to share these shots of the team arriving.

Thank you Skookum and JoAnn Solberg for the Nome snack bags!

Welcome to Nome North Wapiti Kennels!

And that was it!

And yes, 10.5 year old Crunchie ran all the way to Nome

Stay tuned for the Musher's posts on her experience in the 40th Annual 2012 Iditarod Race!

- Bet


Jackie said...

Congratulations on a great race! We've been in Nome to see the mushers finish - when we read the post on facebook that the sirens were going off, we knew exactly what that meant and how that felt to be there... we cried just a little - so proud of Karen and the curly tails!

The Thundering Herd said...

What a great race and a terrific job by you, Bet, and all of the others that helped you report the news (particularly to Penny who might have helped you with some of the scripting and pictures and blogging and stuff).

As for Wayward, what a phenomenal cross-sponsorship opportunity. The ITC was clearly amused at the following and IONEarth would get to advertise how terrifically its product works in the harshest environment (why do I picture a digging out of the GPS unit from a bank of snow while an announcer says, "It takes a dog licking and keeps on ticking.") And the PCT's would make the perfect GPS models for the entire commercial effort. Combined, the Iditarod might more fans, IONEarth might sell GPS's and services, and the PCT's would get more kibble. Win, win, win.

swordwhale said...

Awesome! So glad to see Siberians (and one 10.5 yr old) running under the burled arch. The Wayward GPS page was hilarious! Your coverage of the 1000 mi. festivities is among the very very best! (Seppala and Togo would be proud!)

huskylover said...

This was the first Iditarod I've ever followed. I have got to say it was a nail biter the whole way! I have become a rabid fan of the PCT's and am so addicted to Bet's postings that I literally can't go an hour without seeing if there is another one. Congrats to the musher and all the PCT's, especially Crunchie who I would like to come kidnap!!!!Love him.

Wild Dingo said...

OMD! OMD! OMD! Congratulations. I'm practically teary-eyed myself! What a cathartic experience. you can just see the dogs know exactly what this means... thank you for sharing this with all of us. It's got to be hard enough to race and be a race supporter, let alone keep adoring fans posted! Thank you to then entire team for job well done! Big hugs to you on such an enormous accomplishment!

Barbara in Indiana said...

Our Man Crunchie is actually 10.8 years old; I assume there will be quite a birthday party on June 6. So proud of Wolverine an Wifi and all the others too - can only imagine how Karen and the team felt since I was exhausted by yesterday evening. :) Looking forward to the Tales of the Trail.


All we can say is "HOLY HUSKIES" U "all" at NWK are HOWLWIN-NERS & Karen & all the PCTs HOWLWINNN...AMAZING!!! So BEAUTIFUL ... WE LOVE YOU!!!

UR FB POSTS & NWK BLOG are the BEST in all of HOWLWIN CYBERSPACE!!! "WayWard" is a 15 mins of FAME STAR... BUT "BET" U R a TRUE LEGEND STAR!!! <3

"HUSKY HUGS" from "ZOEY" & Lisa <3 O:)


joated said...

Fantastic job!
Congratulations on a wonderful race under some difficult circumstances.

BTW Jumping in with Wayward was a stroke of genius!