It’s been an exciting couple of days! Mushers coming in left and right at all hours of the day and night! We watched most of them on Tuesday and knew another was coming in around 11:30 at night. I made the mistake of lying down just to catch a few z’s and when the siren went off chose to stay horizontal and they went without me. Big mistake. I missed the most exciting finish of the race! Ken Anderson literally won by a dog’s nose over the first female finisher, Jessie Royer. There was some controversy because he came up a sidewalk and cut her off somewhat going into the chute. I guess that’s part of racing! Knowing that the next mushers weren’t too far behind, Rhonda took Kevin and Pierce out the road to see them come in across the tundra. The LED headlamps are very bright, and they saw (from a distance) Ally Zirkle pass DeeDee Jonrowe. The teams then crossed directly in front of them. They quickly sped back to town and caught them coming up on the main drag by the Subway, then hopped back in and sped to the finish line to see both teams come in. Kevin said DeeDee’s interview was really neat and that she’s a very sweet lady, giving thanks to the villages and people along the way for their kindness and hospitality. She’s run this race quite a few times already! They got in around 2 a.m. Needless to say, no one even heard the siren go for the musher who came in at 4. Those are the ones Rhonda likes to make because very few people make it out to greet them. I’m told there were only five people waiting for that one :(
Today we saw Kelly Maixner come in, his wife standing on the line calling to Coconut and Ty, the lead dogs. I got that on video :) He was wearing a sparkly green hat (it is St. Patrick’s day after all!). It’s always sweet to see family greet the mushers. I caught part of his interview and he shared how they lost the trail at one point because of blowing snow and the dogs got confused and went around in a circle twice. He ended up sitting for five hours and then running with them for quite a few miles until they realized that yes, he did know where he was going, and then they got back into the groove. I can’t imagine what it must be like to run this in inclement weather. It’s been stellar the whole race, in fact the whole time we’ve been here! I think we’re to get a few inches of snow tomorrow night into Saturday. Can’t complain though!
Saturday afternoon there’s an autograph session and we plan on going. We also bought banquet tickets for the four of us to attend on Sunday. Pepper and Jenn told us there’s a church service the mushers attend on Sunday where they share their testimonies and I think that’s where we’ll go. Btw Jenn is a week past her due date (5th child) and we’re all hoping she’ll go soon! But she’s such a trooper. Today was a St. Patrick’s day parade and she made the kids costumes and was out there with them. She rarely misses a musher!
Btw earlier I said about Kelly having trouble on the trail. He mentioned that he was encouraged by Jay Petervary at one point, who passed him on his bike (he did the whole trail!). You can read about Jay at NoIdleTour.org.
I started this post early this morning but between mushers coming in and parades and everything it is now 3 in the afternoon! We are anything but bored up here, that’s for sure! It’s cooled off and the wind has picked up some. Funny how quickly we adjusted. I hear they’re to have 70 degrees back home! We’ll be riding snow machines one day and motorcycles the next! What a hoot!
Btw if you ever come to Alaska in winter, you just HAVE to have a pair of Yaktrax for your shoes/boots. Gets the pro model as it has a velcro strap that keeps you from accidentally losing them. It’s all kinds of slippery up here and we’d have been on our tushes more than once if not for these! Time to go! I’ll leave you with a pic from yesterday…