Monday, January 16, 2012


It's Monday again, and time for me to prepare to return to my workplace.  I just got off the phone with my counterpart, and have been warned to expect a busier than normal time - and a normal time is more than busy enough nowadays.  Oh well, forewarned is forearmed, or so they say.

I did my typical "pre-return" trip to town for my monthly haircut ("make me look like a Republican"), a few last minutes items from the store, fill the car with fuel and so forth, all of which costs money.  I hauled the garbage to the dumpster station and checked my postal box one last time and headed home, hopeful that my checkbook could remain in my back pocket for a while.

Hope was in vain, however.  I had been home for just a few minutes when a 'visitor' pulled in.  A very expensive visitor.

Cha-ching.  At $3.84 per gallon this is NOT my favorite visitor.

The cabin, heated with a small monitor stove, required only 65 gallons, but the tank for the house took 532, so the end result is nearly $3,000.00 worth of #2 heating oil.  Since the forecast isn't showing a warming trend anytime soon, I'm afraid this winter's fuel bill is truly a budget breaker, especially when combined with my winter electric bills.  Oh well, groceries are way over-rated anyway.

My friend Aliy Zirkle posted a good description of her experience with the Copper Basin 300 sled dog race and the cancellation of the event on the SP Kennel blog.  Aliy wrote "Now, I have heard some silly rumors that some folks believe that I should have "toughed it out" and put on my snow shoes for 30 miles at 40 below and put in my own race trail. But, you are simply wrong. I certainly have the ability to do that - and have done so on many camping trips, North Slope adventures or training events but this was a race. In saying that, please remember that I am mentally prepared for a race, my sled is packed for racing conditions, as is my personal gear. I was not carrying the extra 75 pounds of dog food, fuel, camping gear and personal equipment that I would want if I knew that I would be out breaking trail for 30 miles.

So, anyone who cares to take a hard core attempt at trail breaking or thinks that the Copper Basin Trailbreakers are "sissies", I welcome you to try your luck.
Here are some simple directions:
  • Come to Alaska.
  • Drive to Meier's Lake Lodge on the Richardson Highway
  • Take the trail from the lodge off to the Southwest
  • Follow this trail for 12 miles until you come to it's end
  • Start snow shoeing
  • Call us when you are done and we'll have a race!"
I certainly haven't heard anyone who was actually there criticizing the race committee's decision.

I do know it's going to make things difficult for some of the rookies who want to run either the Yukon Quest or the Iditarod this year.  At least 3 Quest rookies are in danger of not meeting their prerequisite qualifications, and I have no idea how many I'rod rookies may be in the same boat.  While I do have some sympathy for them, I also have to shrug a bit.  It IS Alaska, it IS winter, and if you are going to play in Alaska during winter you are going to have to take what you get, do the best you can with it, but respect the fact that She can slap you down at any given turn.

Alaska isn't the only place where mother nature makes and enforces the rules.  Earlier today the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in Minnesota was cancelled, due to lack of snow.  There are still a few options out there for folks needing to finish their qualifiers.  The John Bowers Memorial Sled Dog Race is still accepting entries, and if someone were really lucky and really hustled s/he might be able to get into the Kuskokwim 300.

It's all moot for me, though.  The only place I need to get is outside to feed the team, and then into the kitchen to clean up, and back downstairs to finish packing.  If circumstances permit I may make a post here and there while at work, but if not, I'll see you in a couple of weeks, most likely with fun news to share.

1 comment:

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed Aliy's blog comments.

    Next, puppies!!!!!