From late Wednesday night…
A quick apology for not getting to the computer sooner… It has been a busy day here in Nome, Alaska! We caught a couple of hours of sleep last night from midnight to 2 am and then headed down to Front Street to watch Lance cross under the Burled Arch delineating the Iditarod Finish. Of course it was thrilling, and a wonderful crowd of supporters and spectators were there to mark history. Jeff and the team finished just over an hour later and looked fantastic!! Lots of congratulations and kudos to Jeff for a brilliant job. It was so exciting to watch them come up the chute looking so alert and energetic. A fabulous finish to a fabulous race!
Jeff was mobbed by the media and we whisked the team away to the holding area a few blocks away. After bedding down on fresh straw, having their harnesses removed and bowl after bowl of kibble and water, the entire crew was finally willing to rest. At the same time a team of veterinarians was examining and assessing the health of each dog. This information is used to determine the winner of the Leonard Seppala Award, the humanitarian award presented to one of the top 20 mushers who the vets vote to have exemplified the highest degree of dog care. Then at 7:30 am, our good friend Lisa Frederic assisted the “Pee Patrol” in collecting urine for drug testing.
The morning was busy for me as I arranged the flight for the dogs and collected the kennels that had been shipped to Nome last week. After his (not-long-enough) nap, Jeff joined me in assembling the kennels and coordinating the pick-up with the Alaska Airlines crew at 10:30am. Off the team went to fly to Anchorage where Jason and Dave were anxiously awaiting their touch down. The gang was back in their warm beds at home by 10:00 pm. Breakfast at Fat Freddie’s (including two banana milkshakes for you-know-who), back to bed for Jeff, a trip to the Crafts Fair for cousin Randy from Minnesota and me, arranging various flights out of Nome. etc. brought the day to the 5:00pm Channel 2 news segment filmed live with Jeff and Lance at the finish line and an hour and a half of “wrap-up” interviewing for the Insider. Dinner at Airport Pizza with the “Cabela’s Guys” topped off the day. We stopped by the dog lot to pick up Angus and Lobben fresh in from White Mountain. Due to poor flying weather, planes had not been flying in and/or out of that picturesque village until later this afternoon. These two will fly out tomorrow morning with our close friend and rabid Iditarod fan, Rod Keift. Ellen has been all over town, but mostly in the Mini Convention Center playing cards with the Buser Clan.
Is it still really only Wednesday??
I promise to corral Jeff tomorrow and get the run down on his team. I look forward to hearing an organized evaluation of the team. Of course, we have been hearing stories from the trail including intimate views into moments along the way. However, I always look forward to the complete and unabridged version of the doggie report card after the race.
Wet Buns, arm-wrestling, Safe Sex Parties, Idita-fairies and other wet clothing are all available as entertainment options to the collection of Iditarod fans here in Nome. It is much busier here than it has been in years; a good thing for the Nome economy. The activity calendar is filled with a conglomerate of distractions that only this old Gold Rush town can provide.
Stay tuned for more to come….