Lot's of people and things are "off" today. Aliy Zirkle, Allen Moore and the rest of the SP Kennel team are off to Anchorage. They are actually getting a late start compared to many Iditarod racers. Karen Ramstead left from her Two Rivers training site yesterday and I understand that other Two Rivers mushers left over the weekend. I was able to visit with Aliy for just a few minutes before she took off on some last minute errands. She's in great spirits and looking forward to traveling across the State by dog team. Allen was off doing one last 50 mile training run so I missed him.
Once the race is finished, Aliy and Allen will be off to do their annual touring gig, basing their annual north slope trips out of Nome this year. In the past they have launched their annual tourist trips off the Dalton highway.
According to an A.P. story in the newspapers, Lance Mackey is apparently planning to take next year's Alaska mushing season off. Instead, he plans to take off for the Lower-48. "Mackey says he wants to experience such events as the 345-mile International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race, which goes to 10 Wyoming towns before ending in Utah. But Mackey adds that if he wins his fourth consecutive Iditarod this month, it would be "pretty hard" not to return next year."
In the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, there is the story of a local fellow who must be off his rocker, or perhaps off his medications. "A Fairbanks man is accused of trying to purchase a $28,000 pickup truck with a forged check for the fourth time this year. He still faces more than a dozen other charges stemming from the previous incidents, and had been out on bail for only about two weeks when he allegedly tried to pull the scam Monday at Seekins Ford." An alert employee felt like something was a bit off, so he checked the guys background.
I'm sure you are growing wearing of hearing me complain of our lack of snow this winter. According to another News-Miner story the snowfall total for the winter stands at only 23.2 inches, the lowest snow accumulation in Fairbanks in almost 60 years. The odds of receiving any significant snow fall in March are very poor, and it will only take a few days of above freezing temperatures to force us off the trails.
In sad news, a local 11 year old boy fell off of a snowmachine and into an open lead in the Chena River where the current dragged him under the ice. Searchers were looking for his body as the local newspaper went to press last night. The boy is presumed to have drowned.
Now I need to sign off, to I can finish my coffee, feed and scoop the dogs, and then take off to town to sign the paperwork for the loan I need to build the handler's cabin this summer. When Aliy and Allen finish their arctic dog sledding adventure they plan to take just a couple of weeks off before starting the project.