Thursday, March 19, 2009

A New Day

Errands in Town and At Home

Yesterday was an "errands in town" day for me. I had a dentist appointment first thing in the morning, followed by a taxing meeting with my CPA. Once that business was finished I asked my friend Mike to bing along his pickup truck, and we went to North Pole where I purchased a used snow blower and some tools for a very reasonable price from a friend who is moving Outside.

Once that stuff was delivered we headed over to Mike's place, where my snowmachine is currently located. I wanted to start the machine to break out my feeder trail, but wanting something and achieving it are two different things. That piece of junk wouldn't start to save life, let alone to bring home to work. Mike brought me home on a different machine, so my trail was broken out and I can get into the important job of running dogs later today. My snow machine is turning into a major frustration, and one that I need to remedy before much longer.

Yesterday evening I learned that my friend Lynn was injured in a mushing mishap. She was running a team in the Jeff Studdert Invitational Passenger Race with an inexperienced partner. Race rules require a switch of drivers at the half-way point of the race. Lynn's partner was driving and crashed the sled. Lynn was able to chase down the dogs on a club official's snow machine and there were no injuries to the team, but Lynn spent her evening in the E.R. The last report I heard from her is "Drugs are good."

History Channel Crew Gets First-Hand View of Haul Road Perils

A crew from an independent production company shooting film for the History Channel's popular "Ice Road Truckers" got a first-hand view of the perils of hauling freight on Alaska's infamous Dalton Highway (aka the Haul Road). Driving in a ground blizzard, their rented pickup truck slammed into the back of a big-rig that had stopped on the road due to poor visibility.

The driver of the pick-up truck is currently listed in serious condition in an Anchorage hospital. A family member reported the driver is breathing through a ventilator and has had his hip replaced after the accident. He also suffered seven broken ribs, a cracked pelvic bone and suffered four punctures in one lung.

An earlier news report stated the weather was so severe that it took law enforcement officers over 2 hours to drive 25 miles or so to reach the scene. It's a heck of a way to learn that things really are "Tougher in Alaska". (Reference Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

News from The Race

As expected, Lance Mackey was clearly the winner of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, coming into Nome at 11:38 yesterday. I saw video of his arrival on the KTUU television website. Hi dogs looked GREAT. They were full of energy, heads and tails held upright, curious about all the people and vehicles, &c. Anyone who thinks long-distance sled dog racing is cruel would do well to study the video paying special attention to the dog's body language.

As of this morning, Sebastian Schnuelle is into Nome in second place, followed by John Baker, Mitch Seavey, Cym Smyth, Dallas Seavey, Aaron Burmeister and Jessie Royer. All the other racers remain out on the trail.

Many lose interest in the Last Great Race once the first place musher has crossed the line, but many others remain out on the trail and will be out for several more days. It can be well worthwhile to follow their progress. Remember, the race isn't over until the red lantern has been extinguished.

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