Brenda's 2003 Daily Iditarod Coverage
Countdown to Iditarod 2003 Restart — Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
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March 18 , 2004
Mushers Still On The Trail Headed For Nome
Today was a busy one with mushers coming in all during the day. First thing we heard the sirens go off and word on the street that two mushers were heading in. Joe Garnie and Nils Hahn were coming off the Bering Sea near where we slept last night, in the Bible Baptist Church of Nome. We got some good photos I think, of these two guys, then headed over to Fat Freddie’s for breakfast. Freddie’s is not just a restaurant but also THE hangout for seeing folks. The tables were all full and the waitresses were running behind. Nearby us sat Jeff King and Mitch Seavey, along with their families and at another table, Charlie and Robin Boulding with Dee Dee. Anna Bondarkenko was having breakfast with hubby, Jim Lanier and their son, Jimmy. Lots of people came and went while food was being served. People would order a meal, hear the siren, run outside to see the musher and come back in to have their now-cold meal zapped in the microwave and try again.

About 2:00PM some of us met at the Post Office to help former Mayor Leo Rasmussen with the mail cachets. Each musher carries a packet of 50 specially designed envelopes as part of their required gear on the trail. They are signed and post marked in Anchorage and then the stamps are added and cancelled in Nome with the date and time of the mushers finish. David Schwantes is pretty much the Official Cancellation King during Iditarod. At the finishers banquet, the top two finishers mail will be auctioned and the others will be sold to raise money for the Nome Kennel Club and Iditarod.

After mail duty was complete, Bill and I walked over to the Arts and Crafts Sale at the church. Lots of pretty fur, beaded and carved items were for sale. Each year the sampling gets more elaborate, with more local artists selling their wares. We met the veterinarian who has been treating Popeye as he was going in and we were going out.

More mushers were coming in as the day wound on. The streets were pretty much empty between teams but when the siren would sound, folks would line the chute and cheer the next team. Bill Pinkham, Aliy Zirkle, Mike Williams, Bob Bundtzen, Frank Sihler, William Hanes and Cindy Gallea were some of the teams we watched. Frank Sihler still had Snowball in his team, all the way to Nome. Snowball trained with Jordan at Bob Morgan’s kennel in 2002. A big surprise was waiting for Cindy Gallea as she came down Front Street. Her son, Jim Gallea, had flown in from college to watch his Mom cross under the burled arch. He hid behind the uprights of the finish line, with his parka pulled up around his face as she entered the chute. Even while she was being interviewed, Jim was standing behind her just about to burst with laughter, waiting to surprise his Mom. Of course, once he did, there were tears of plenty of hugs and tears of joy for them as well as the audience. What a great finish for Cindy!!

For dinner, we walked up the street to the Senior Center with Earl, where the Christian Pilots Association was having a reindeer stew fundraiser. Church service was at 7:00PM. Bill gave a bit of his Cool Dreams speech to the kids who were there and then we walked back to the mini convention center to update this page, size photos and catch conversations with mushers as they wandered in and out. Card games were in progress, people were reading the newspaper and checking email, and generally hanging out until it was time to hit the hay. Our plan for the morning is to leave here early and fly towards Fairbanks where our truck is parked. Weather permitting, we may stop at Elim or White Mountain but we’ve been in Alaska since February 25th and it is now time to head for home!!


Follow the Action Here: Our good friend's at Cabela's Current Stats and Iditarod's Current Standings. Be sure to look at the "update time" on each. Sometimes one is more timely than the other.

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Cool Dreams Photos Page

for more 2004 Iditarod Photos


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Iditarod FINISH LINE (View One)
Iditarod FINISH LINE (View Two)
Iditarod FINISH LINE (View Three)