Friday, October 30, 2009


Remember the old "Hee-Haw" skit that always started with this song?

"Gloom, despair and agony on me
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, despair and agony on me.

If so, read that third line again, 'cause it pretty much describes what's been happenin' in my life the whole damned month of October. That noted, you would not believe how incredibly proud of today's team I am.

Here's what happened. I hooked up a small team to my four-wheeler and we headed out the yard and onto the powerline access. Haw onto the main north/south trail, then "gee" over to a trailhead parking area and onto Two Rivers Road, past the school and on up the hill to Henry Hahn Court. Henry Hawn Court ends in a circular cul-de-sac. As we were heading back to Two Rivers Rd and damned machine started spittin' and sputterin'. Next it hiccuped, then it popped and might even have farted before it just stinkin' died.

So, there we were, a mile and half from home with a dead machine. There is no way I could safely try to "walk" 6 happy, healthy sled dogs back to the house. I couldn't let them free run home because we were on a stinkin' road and they'd be as likely to go visit the dumpster station as return straightaway to our yard. I popped the dead machine into neutral, and called 'em up.

The first part was pretty easy 'cause it's down hill. In fact, the dogs wanted to lope though I held them back with the brake, 'cause I knew what was coming up ahead and knew they would need to conserve some energy for it. We got to the bottom of the hill and the game turned into serious hard work.

From the moment we turned off the road, the trail starts a gradual climb, and it's rutted and rough. Meanwhile, the machine weighs 602# dry, and this one had half a tank of fuel. It's a locked four-wheel drive system which means that the gears in both front and rear differentials create resistance. I'm a big guy - about 240#, so in total these six dogs were hauling something in the neighborhood of 900 uncooperative pounds over rough, slightly climbing terrain.

Guess what? THEY DID IT!

Yep, we had to make a couple of rest stops so they could recoup, but they were really short little breaks. Each time I called them up they put their heads down, slammed into their tugs, and drug that heavy POS all they way up and into our yard. Considering that we are WAY behind in training I was really impressed with these guys.

So - who was on this incredibly awesome team? Here's the line-up:

Torus (10 years old) and Amazing Grace (45# three-year-old, one of the smallest dogs in the Stardancer team)
Capella (only 15 months old and 52#) and Nels (3 year old Hedlund Gray Husky)
Sheenjek (10 years old, but a hulking 75# powerhouse) and Seamus (4 years old, 68#)

I made sure they got extra treats and hugs, and from their behavior I think they knew they had done something really special. Bless her young little heart, after all that work Capella wanted to play when I took her back to her house. I obliged her for a good, long time.

What's Next?

Damned if I know. I need to try to find another four-wheeler to borrow or rent so I can work these dogs. They NEED the exercise and conditioning, preferably before we finally get enough snow to get up on sleds.

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