Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Return to Gainful Employment

I’m afraid my two-week “R&R” wound down in a blur of motion, and as a result I fell a bit behinds on my Blog. Sunday was my last opportunity to run the dogs before returning to my place of employment. The entry in the training journal for that run is posted lower down on this entry.

After running the dogs and getting them settled back in their own yard I did some mechanical work around the place. My snowmachine was a priority, as I’ll need it once we have snow to break out and maintain my feeder trail and perhaps other trails as well. It’s an old Skidoo Tundra, a small utility machine that at one time was the favorite of Alaska’s trappers, hunters and bush rats.

It’s been a reliable old machine for me, but last winter the air intake adapter fell apart. Literally, the rubber on the part became so brittle it literally crumbled. I had to replace that this afternoon. With tools in hand, I turned my attention to a running board that has been trying to fall off the side of my truck. It’s suffered some damage over the years, but a bit of work with a heavy dead-blow hammer went a long ways toward keeping it serviceable. Some of the eye bolts to which I fasten drop chains to contain the dogs needed to be tightened, and the antenna for the C.B. radio needed to be tuned.

A couple of loads of laundry and a sink full of dirty dishes were washed, my poor, long suffering house plants were watered, and of course routine kennel chores were all completed. I’m afraid I’m already starting to put together my “to do” list for my next R&R. There is never any end to the chores necessary to keep house and hobby together.

Monday was spent in a combination of housework, packing for my tour at work, a quick dash to town to pick up some last minutes items, and taking dogs to their respective boarding kennels. It was also Lynn Orbison’s birthday, which we celebrated with supper at Two Rivers Lodge – and in the “real” lodge part versus our normal bar-room haunt.

Today I finished up the last minute housekeeping tasks, loaded the necessary stuff and headed to my place of employment. I was delighted to see the threatening skies open up with blowing, flowing flakes of snow only after I arrived. Let’s hope they continue falling in copious quantity so we can start training sled dogs on sleds. After all, if they were meant to pull around a four-wheeler we’d call them four-wheeler dogs.

28 Sept, 08:

“A” team. 5.1 miles on four-wheeler, all but 1 mile of it in neutral. Gravel roads and dirt trails. Lynn’s to PV Rd to haw on Paw Print to haw around Schoen’s Field, haw to Sockeye, gee across to Lake trout, up to haw on Anders, haw down Sockeye, gee around Schoen’s field, gee onto Wilbur, haw onto Anders, Haw onto Jean ? Loop, gee onto crossover trail, gee on PV road and back to Lynn’s.
Max speed 13.7 mph
Average speed 8.3 mph

Grace & Torus (lead)
Rose & Nels
Seamus & Gump
Sheenjek & Beau
Just & Lola (Lynn’s dogs in wheel)

Torus still wants to run trails from memory rather than listening to me for cues. He corrects very quickly, though. Nels running to far right of his tug/neckline for much of this run. Gump was slack through half the run at which point I switched him with Beau to require Gump run beside Sheenjek. He did better there but needs to spend some time all the way back in wheel where he always works harder.

Sheenjek, Beau, Just and Lola all kept tight tuglines throughout the run with no issues. It was a nice, brisk day and a good workout for the team.

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