Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 2 of 14

What are they thinking?  In 1866 Mark Twain wrote "No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session."  I'm pretty sure that in 2010 the Alaska State Legislature is trying to prove him right.  Oh well, I suppose my ire will pass, probably about mid-summer a few months after the legislative session is over.  Of course, that's assuming the corrupt bastards don't spend me into oblivion.

It was a grumpy day at work, too.  I can't share any details because of the nature of my job, but I can say that the producers of the Discovery Channel's "Ice Road Truckers" have out lasted their welcome as far as I'm concerned.  It's time for them to take their damned helicopter, their damned cameras and their other damned toys and go back to Hollywierd or whatever other alternate reality they came from.

OK, that feels better.  Now to update the race.

Abbie West finally made it to Whitehorse, earning 9th place and an official corrected time of 10 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes.  A top 10 finish in one's rookie race is pretty darned impressive, especially with the caliber of competition this race provided us.  Rounding out the Top-10 was Normand Casavant, who is noted for singing folk songs to his team while running down the trail.

The race isn't over yet.  Sam Deltour, Dries Jacobs, Mike Ellis (with his beautiful team of purebred Siberians), Dave and his "Dalton Gang", and Kelly Griffen have all crossed the finish line.  There are still 8 teams out on the trail.  Eight very tired mushers with every nerve ajangle as they coax and curse, pedal, pole and push their teams along.  Eight very tired people removing and replacing booties, putting ointment on trail weary feet, spreading straw, melting water and cooking dog food, mechanically going through the process of caring for their precious charges as teams of canines and humans continue to trudge across some of the most remote and isolated country that North America offers.

Cindy Barrand, running Bruce Linton's Iditarod team is probably feeling a heavy sense of responsibility as they carry her down the last leg of the World's Toughest Sled Dog Race.  She drew a 30 minute penalty for making major repairs to her sled - probably replacing the brake that tore lose just as she was working her way over Eagle Summit.  She obviously proved her ability to control the rig in spite of the issue, and now is on course to show 13 of her original 14 dogs downtown Whitehorse.  Bart DeMarie is out there between Braeburn and Whitehorse.  So is 19 year old Peter Fleck, from England.  Nothing like starting adult life with a major adventure to give one a taste for living large.  Anyone who can get a team of sled dogs 1,049 miles to finish this race can do anything he, or she, sets mind to do.

Katie Davice, Pierre Antoine-Hertier and Jocelyn LeBlanc are all out of Pelly Crossing, soldiering on to Braeburn and still moving in spite of an obvious Red Lantern position, Terry Williams is out there somewhere between Carmacks and Pelly Crossing.

I may not be posting much more about the Quest.  Work is keeping me plenty busy and by this time of the evening my mind is more focused on my bunk than on my laptop.  Nonetheless, until the last team crosses that finish line each night, lying in a nice warm bunk after a well-cooked hot supper, I'll let my mind wander out to the trail and I'll say a prayer, asking the Spirits to watch over, bless and protect those who are traveling under a starlit sky 'neath the dancing Aurora and living their dreams in the company of their dogs.

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