As predicted, snow has continued to fall overnight and it looks like I will indeed be spending more time on the tractor and dealing with the heater in the cabin.
I've called Total Toyo and proprietor Dave Black will be coming out to work on it later. It's an issue that is better diagnosed in a situation where he can examine the entire installation and frankly, I'm tired of dinking around with it. It will cost me more money, but sometimes one just has to bite the bullet and spend the money.
The expensive little tractor has been earning it's payments, and I'm really pleased to be able to keep the driveway open. Several of my neighbors haven't been quite so lucky. I was up late last night helping a friend dig her car out of her driveway, and this morning my new handler isn't able to help feed because his truck is stuck in his driveway.
Out on the Iditarod trail it looks like nearly all the front runners have decided to take their mandatory 24 hour layover at Takotna, though we shouldn't be surprised if someone from the middle of the pack tries to gain some advantage buy moving on up the trail. I suspect the front-runners are hoping the snow will soon pass and maybe set up a bit before they have to go back out on the trail. With deeper than typical snow on that portion of the trail, and the next two checkpoints at what are essentially ghost towns, there isn't a lot of intervillage travel in that region, and any sort of base under the trail is better than no base at all.
Currently Takotna must be a really interesting place to hang out, as some of the sports most respected racers are now camped in that little village. Aliy Zirkle came in first, a good 40 minutes behind last year's Champion John Baker. Mitch Seavey has moved up a few places to arrive in Takotna in third place, followed pretty closely by Jeff King, Dallas Seavey and Ray Redington, Jr. Paul Gebhardt, Hugh Neff, Aaron Burmeister and Sonny Lindner round out the Top-10 at this point, though Gerry Willomitzer was not far behind Sonny.
I just learned last night that several of the dogs on Sonny's team belong to Abbie West, so are fresh off an excellent Yukon Quest run. I know that Sonny bought some great dogs from Abbie a couple of years ago, so it's possible that quite a few of his dogs may be current or former "Cosmic Canines."
I need to keep this one short, there are lots of things to be done before Kyle Belleque and his Two Rivers 200 team arrive at the place tonight.