morning was mostly taken up with mundane chores such as getting a
new hot water
heater installed and picking up our snowmachines from Big Lake. Once
the water heated up enough for showers, we got cleaned up and headed
up to Karen Ramstead’s Open House at the Norris’s kennel.
Karen is from Alberta Canada but moves her team to Alaska near Iditarod
time. There were Canadian flags everywhere. Karen trains all 100%
Siberian Huskies, those beautifully marked show dogs from North Wapiti
Kennels. Right about the time we arrived, a busload of Siberian Husky
Club members from Chicago arrived. Everyone ooohed and aaaahed, photographed
the pretty faces and grabbed a few doggie hugs.
Next stop, Martin Buser’s Happy Trails Kennels. Most of Martin’s
Open House was over but he graciously invited us in with the last
few fans that were there. Bill had a few discussions with Nikolai
and Rohn’s daschund-with-an-attitude, Lucky. This little guy
was not happy to have more strangers in his house. Martin took us
up to his study, which was totally decorated with Iditarod
trophies and memorabilia. There were lots of neat photographs, framed
mail cachets, posters and other remembrances from his past championships.
On our way out, we got a quick sneak peek at Martin’s new
Later in the evening, we enjoyed the Idita-Support Group dinner,
arranged by Jlona Richey, at the Sourdough Mining Company. We shared
a table with Bob and Maureen Morgan and had fun meeting up with
other members of the group from all over the country that we had
only known by their email screen name previously. Many members who
could not attend were represented by spirit signs and Flat Stanley
outs. These little paper-people had quite a good time. Dinner was
yummy with halibut, ribs, corn fritters and finishing up with an
ice cream sundae bar. Entertainment by some Russian folk singers
and Mike Campbell, a local singer who has written a great new Iditarod
song, made the event quite festive. Bill was the speaker for the
evening, giving a talk on his 2002 running of the Iditarod as a
rookie from Georgia. He told tales of G.B. Jones on their first
race together, the 2001 Denali 300, as well as gave lots of credit
to Bob Morgan’s wonderful support and advice. I was totally
overwhelmed when June Price presented me with a Paw and Hand statue
donated by Bonnie Lundberg!!
Our last stop of the night was to deliver 16 new collars to Judy
Merritt in Eagle River. She is staying there with relatives tonight
to be closer to town for the 10AM Ceremonial Start on Saturday.
Bill Merritt loaded Judy’s extra gear in our pickup and they
will retrieve these items at our place Saturday night when the final
packing of Judy’s sled will occur. And on the way to our place,
I typed this update on our laptop!!