Saturday, 6 April 2013

Tales From 'the Bench' - Pre Race

"So how do you get to be a judge on Iditarod?", many have asked. Well for me it actually happened right after the '12 race.
Race Marshal Mark Nordman was returning my (well, actually Doug Grilliot's) shotgun that I had taken on the race to me and we got chatting. I had already pretty much made the decision that I wasn't going to be running in '13, one thing led to another and Mark offered me a position judging.

I didn't consider it a firm commitment - and I wasn't totally 100%, without a doubt sure I wasn't racing - but it stayed in my mind.

Plans rolled on and about a month prior to the race I hadn't heard anything from Mark, but I know he has a million things on his plate, so I dropped him an email and asked if he was still interested in me judging. I got a quick and affirmative reply!!!
Ball back in my court, I looked to 'my' Mark. "Go", he said. I consulted the schedule and although it was really tight, it was doable. I committed.

We finished Canadian Challenge on Friday, the banquet was Saturday morning after which we drove home. Sunday I drove Richard to the airport in Edmonton for his flight back to England. Early Monday morning I loaded Daddy and Sky, who were riding up to Alaska with me to their new home with Jon and Jona Van Zyle; said 'goodbye' to Simone, who Mark was driving to the airport; said 'goodbye' to my dogs and headed for Alaska.

The drive to Alaska was pretty easy. The pups traveled well, it was a pleasure to be driving my little Highlander rather then the big dog truck, and the roads were great!

I stopped and had a great soak at Liard Hot Springs!

The walk up to the Springs!!!

Very special as I had the springs all to myself!!!

Frozen hair on the way back....

...but a happy traveler!!!

A overnight stay with our good friends Lee, Tim and Hunter in Whitehorse and a quick coffee with recent Quest finisher Rob Cooke and his lovely wife, Louise, the next morning. That was a special treat, as I got to say 'Hi' to former NorthWapiti residents Eeek and Tidgy!!!

Giving 'my' boy Eeek some loving!!! Photo by Louise Cooke

My 'landing spot' in Anchorage for this part of my trip was Van Zyles. A late arrival, the introduction of Daddy and Sky to the Van Zyle's dog yard, a nice meal and a lot of chat made for a late night, especially considering I had an early meeting with Mark and the other race judges prior to the Iditarod Driver's Meeting.

It was odd to be on the 'wrong' side of the table for the Driver's meeting but still good to be there.

Meetings done I was 'off the hook' till Saturday AM. I was offered a few banquet tickets, but the pre race banquet has never been my favorite thing, so fellow judges Thomas Tetz, Warren Palfrey and I went out for a lovely seafood dinner.
The next day Thomas, Warren and I met up for breakfast at Gwennie's. I headed off for a quick trip to REI and Title Wave books before meeting up with the guys again to head out to Bonnie and Jim Foster's mushers Open House in Birchwood.
It was great to catch up with a lot of musher and fan friends there!!!

Display in Title Wave books!

Thomas Tetz, Warren Palfrey, myself and Sebastian Schnuelle. Photo by June Price

I spent the evening stopping by a few functions - like Albert Lewis's Born To Run; Athletes of the Iditarod book signing and Jon Van Zyle's gallery showing - before going out for dinner with Van Zyles and a few others!! (Bacon Bourbon Cheesecake!!!!! YUM!!!). 

Photo by Sebastian Schnuelle
And now it was time to get to work......

1 comment:

AK Michele RN said...

LOVE GWENNIES!!! Miss the breakfasts there sooooo much! It's been too long :( Even the Gwennies bumper sticker on my old Buick is almost gone.