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A Denali Destination

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Shake n’ Bake!!

It’s race week!! We’re busy preparing for the GinGin 200 race this weekend – while simultaneously recovering from our annual Solstice party….

One of our long-time handlers, Jason Reppert, and I will both be running teams in the 10 dog event. The trail begins in Paxson, Alaska; heads west across the Denali Highway; around the Maclaren River Lodge on the Big Su River – and right through the heart of our training grounds (I admit I’m a little worried how my dogs are going to react when they run right past our camp site during the race – they’re gonna want to stop for a snooze!) Should be great trail and over 50 teams are signed up. Check out the race website at www.gingin200.com.

The party! Whew! That was a fun time!! However, Cali and Ellen are stuck in Seattle in that ugly snowstorm and aren’t expected in until Thursday afternoon. We missed them at the party ~ but still managed to have a pretty good time. Fun was had by all!! Although, I’m pretty sure my crew had more fun than anyone else though – a picture’s worth a thousand words! Check out a few of our faves below….

Shake n’ Bake! Jason, myself & Dave… Solstice Party… ’nuff said!

Shake n’ Bake! Jason, myself & Dave… Solstice Party… ’nuff said!

Former handler all-star and Iditarod finisher 2006 – Jeff (JJ) Wells…. feelin’ festive at the party!

Former handler all-star and Iditarod finisher 2006 – Jeff (JJ) Wells…. feelin’ festive at the party!

Who says guys can’t dance?? Jason – gettin’ down! … in a burlap skirt… hand-cut fringe, man!

Who says guys can’t dance?? Jason – gettin’ down! … in a burlap skirt… hand-cut fringe, man!

Jeff (JJ) and Jason… got beer?

Jeff (JJ) and Jason… got beer?

Tessa’s boyfriend Jake, from Minnesota, was a hit as he sang an agonizing version of “oh, Holy Night”. And oh yes, those tears are real!

Tessa’s boyfriend Jake, from Minnesota, was a hit as he sang an agonizing version of “oh, Holy Night”. And oh yes, those tears are real!

Dance music was provided by the local band Loose Gravel. The lead singer is the Denail Borough Mayor, and the lead guitarist is our local fire chief!

Dance music was provided by the local band Loose Gravel. The lead singer is the Denail Borough Mayor, and the lead guitarist is our local fire chief!

Kris Capps and Donna ~ they have their winter coats on… hmmm ~ must not be doing enough dancing!!

Kris Capps and Donna ~ they have their winter coats on… hmmm ~ must not be doing enough dancing!!

David (Cranberry) Cranmer proving that he is more than just a dog musher! Woot woot Cranmer! (‘Cranberry” is his recently given nickname due to his unfaltering love of cranberries!)

David (Cranberry) Cranmer proving that he is more than just a dog musher! Woot woot Cranmer! (‘Cranberry” is his recently given nickname due to his unfaltering love of cranberries!)

Alright, moving on from the party…

The race dogs left yesterday for a quick 100 mile tune-up run before the race this weekend. Big Dave & Little Dave at the helm.

I drove to Wasilla yesterday to spy on Martin Buser, while pretending to buy an awesome dump truck from his neighbor “Happy”. It’s a 1995 GMC with a CAT Power Plant and chrome wheels!! We gotta get a picture on the blog – it’s soooo cool!

It’s been fun to answer questions over the past week or so on the BSSD (Bering Straight School District) Iditaproject Talk Forum. You can check out the archived thread by clicking here. It’s amazing the interest in mushing an how far and wide the comments came from.

I continue to be encouraged towards guarded optimism as my good friend and famous lead dog Salem seems to be good as new and has been training every inch of the more than 2,000 miles the team has logged this fall. Since the 2006 victory, he has not participated in a race due to a reoccurring and difficult to diagnose shoulder injury. Feel free to send your best wishes to Salem in hopes of he and I racing the 2009 Iditarod together to set new records as to the “oldest” musher and oldest lead dog to win the race!!

Have a very Merry Christmas!
Jeff & crew

Comments

  1. Best of luck on the Gin Gin this weekend… my best to Zoya, John and Jona!

    ~Pat H

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