Zooming GPS Tracker & Logistics

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Temperature Nikolai 3.8.11, -2 degrees F according to the round thermometer on Schnuelle’s sled

Follow me using my GPS tracker and when I’m flying, I’ll be zooming. You can see what checkpoint I’m staying in, too. Compare my speed to racers’ speeds. I carry my tracker in my backpack. It weighs about 2 pounds, and is the shape of a brick, or close to that size. I don’t have to reset it, and it transmits every 15 minutes. I’ve had emails from schools and on the Iditarod Trail Committee Facebook page about how interesting it is to “see” where I’m going. Today I flew to Nikolai and back–the return trip was with a few dropped dogs. They slept on my feet and legs, and one was sitting where the right seat (copilot seat) would have been–the seat was removed to make room for dogs.

I’ve followed the race for a few years, now, but it is another experience entirely to be here watching it unfold. The logistics of getting volunteers, supplies, vets, and so on are incredible. Penair caravans (cross between cargo and passenger planes) and small planes are scheduled almost constantly during the day to organize flights to checkpoints further along the trail, and a few earlier checkpoints, too. Cargo includes rakes, generators, food, people, awards, shovels, and more. Flights aren’t scheduled after dark as the pilots only fly in daylight hours. The weather has been great for flying, and great for aerial photos.

I had moose stew for lunch in Nikolai today–it tastes like beef stew. Think about it–why would the village make moose stew instead of beef stew for mushers and visitors?

Martin Buser arrived first in McGrath, winnng the Penair Spirit of Alaska award. He was there only for a couple of minutes before heading on to Takotna. Mackey, Schnuelle, Neff, Redington,Jr., Seavey, and Bundtzen did the same.