Brenda's 2003 Daily Iditarod Coverage
Countdown to Iditarod 2003 Restart — Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
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March 4, 2003
Today in Manley. Back of the Pack Mushers into Checkpoint.

The drive out to Manley Hot Springs took about 4 hours. The road was not too bad in most areas, although some spots were covered with about 6 inches of snow. The scenery was beautiful but we did not see any wildlife really....just a few ground squirrels running across right in front of us. Must be a universal squirrel thing. Manley is located about 160 miles west of Fairbanks on the Elliott HIghway. We passed the town of Fox, climbed over Wickersham Dome, saw the Trans-Alaska Pipeline along the way, passed through the mining town of Livengood and crossed through some overflow on the roadway and then began to have engine trouble. The oil pressure dropped, the temperature started to rise and engine noise began. The outside temperature was around +20 degrees but we were gettingn worried that we were about to be stuck out there. Luckily the truck made it on into town and we were able to see many teams at the Manley checkpoint.

Teams were scattered all around in the afternoon sun resting in the checkpoint. We saw Karen Ramstead and her team first. They were all doing nicely. Karen Land was concerned about the punchy trail and worried about her dogs, although they were doing great. Cali King and Tyrell Seavey were still resting and tending their dogs. Jim Gallea, Mike Williams, Palmer Sagoonik, Debbie Moderow, Russell Bybee, Frank Silher and Ellen Halverson were among the teams resting. The dropped dogs were resting out of the wind along a snow berm in the sun. Among those was Feather, one of Frank Silher's dogs that ran in Jordan's Jr Iditarod team last year. Blake Matray, Adam Scott Gibler and then G.B. Jones came in bringing up the rear while we were out there. Adam was carrying one dog, Blake had two in his sled bag and G.B. set a record unofficially, because he had three in the bag. All were just sore and were quickly examined by the vets on duty.

Our friend and Manley resident, Cap Chastain, met us at the checkpoint. He took us on a tour of Manley, where we saw the Roadhouse, the Post Office, the air strip and Cap's cabin. Most residents of Manley are self-sufficient, independent souls who want to preserve the rural lifestyle they have in central Alaska. We met some of Cap's neighbors who had a really neat wood stove going in their cabin. Another neighbor had a bird feeder out that was experiencing late afternoon traffic and I saw a Boreal Owl sitting in the tree overhead, although I heard that the vole population is up this year.

Next stop was the Community Center where the official checkpoint is. They had sandwiches and moose soup, hot coffee and cookies for the mushers and veterinarians. Adam, Ellen, Blake and Lachlan Clarke were inside taking a nap while we were there. G.B. came in for some soup and his nap too. The vets began to retire for the evening and the mushers under the tables and on the couch were snoring loudly when we turned in for the evening. If the weather holds, we plan to fly to Ruby on Wednesday.

Click here for the latest musher standings.



Lance A Barve as returned to the Manley Checkpoint to nurse his knee and give his dogs some more rest. Lance called his wife for words of encouragement and declared his 24 hour layover.





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