I’ve been wandering around this morning and checking out what is going on. Here are some snapshots of what I’ve seen to kind of give you an idea of what is happening. The mushers who are here are doing their 24 hour layover and if they aren’t staying they pretty much just come and go. If they aren’t staying and therefore will miss their steak, the community has bagged lunches for them to take on their way! No one misses out on Takotna’s hospitality!
- Karin Hendrickson is out walking her dogs. She walks them two at a time to stretch their legs after a good sleep. She later went in to get some breakfast. She remarked that she feel so much better today! She got a great night’s sleep and is smiling!
- Matthew Failor is also walking his dogs. Or maybe running them. Or maybe it’s that they are walking him! Anyway – for all my Ohio teachers and classes out there – I got a chance to talk to him and he seems to be doing great. I told him that I knew a lot of Ohio kids were following him and rooting for him and he said it’s great to have that hometown connection and suppot. He said the ride into Takotna was so much better then into Nikolai! He couldn’t believe how bad trail there was. But he seems to be in good spirits and is glad to be past that part.
- Dan Kaduce and Allen Moore left pretty close together. Finding the right trail out of the town seems to be a bit of a challenge for the dogs! They leave right out of the main street that crosses right in front of the checkpoint, but there are all sorts of snowmachine trails leading off of it. Those trails seem to be full of great smells that interest the dogs more than the musher shouting at them to “Haw” out of town!
- I went with the vets to visit the dropped dogs and feed the breakfast. They all had blankets from the blanket project that many schools participated in! Well, I should say they were all given blankets, but most of them had shrugged them off and were happy to curl up in their straw!
- The kids are out helping to rake up the used straw so that the parking spots can be used for teams still coming in. Last time I checked, thirteen teams were still due to come through Takotna.
- I’ve been using the downtime to catch up with some of my Skype in Education schools! That’s been a lot of fun! I’m hooked up with schools in Canada, the UK and all across the Lower 48. It’s super quiet here in the school – the press is all here and are had at work on their computers writing stories or editing pictures. Every time I start a Skype call they all turn around and look at me. They are smiling – so I guess they don’t mind too much! A special hello to the students at South Borough School in the UK who are following the race as part of the study on the Arctic! They have been asking great questions and are super excited to be following the race!
- Any guesses to what the second most common language is in the checkpoints? Norwegian. Not only are there several Norwegian mushers here, but there are Norwegian press people, Norwegian volunteers, and Norwegian fans. They are all here to support all the Norwegian mushers, but especially Robert Sorlie. They tell me he has an incredible team as he has paired up with another highly successful Norwegian musher and has brought the best dogs from both teams!
- I almost forgot to tell you about the cold. It is cold. Someone told me it was -16 this morning. It’s so cold that it hurts to suck air into your lungs and when you sniffle it feels like the inside of your nose is freezing. It’s so cold my camera took one picture before the battery froze up!
I’m packed up and waiting to hear where I’m headed next!