Thursday, December 25, 2008

14 Sep 08

The temps were around 47 and overcast with a hint of rain in the air. Wepacked everyone up and headed for the trails. As we left the house, theclouds opened up and down came the rain in buckets. So we continue on ourquest hoping that the rain will stop or just maybe it isn't raining at thetrails. As we pull into the staging area, it's still raining, but there aretwo other dog trucks there. It was the same two trucks from yesterday.Everyone is busy getting 4 wheelers unhooked, gear sorted and dogs dropped.The rain continues with no sign of letting up. I noticed Karin Hendricksonis wearing her fishing waders again. Smart idea. Karen is signed up forthe 2009 Iditarod. Mary and I get the first team hooked up and off we go.The other folks are running larger teams, so it is taking them longer to getout.Team 1: Bear and Zia in lead with Alli in swing and Thursby and Tolby atwheel. The puddles have expanded, but that's too be expected with therecent rains. The trail isn't too muddy, but I am keeping a watchful eye onthe team so as not to injure anyone. Uneventful run.Team 2: Bogey and Velma in lead, Amizette at swing, Apollo and Timber atwheel. We manage to get a head on pass with Karen's 16 dogs. On the wayback in she caught up to us and I let her pass. It was two nice cleanpasses. Apollo isn't too sure about the puddles and tries to go aroundthem. Team 3: Luna and Gabby at lead (to start), Hawkeye at swing and Lasar andCyphers at wheel. This run took a little longer. Gabby wasn't running herbest at lead and was thrown off by Hawkeye running as far to the left sideof the trail as he could get. The leaders were running on the far rightside. Needless to say Hawkeye kept getting tangled in the gangline. Themost frustrating part was having to run up to him to get him untangledwithout falling on my backside in all of the mud. It's a good thing this isa small team or there could have been some damage to Hawkeye. I finallycan't take it anymore and I am looking at my leader options. Hmmm 2 rookiesand Lasar. Lasar is the tallest dog in the yard and a great wheel and teamdog. To my knowledge he has never run lead. He came to us from JulieCapps. There's a saying from work "When the going gets crazy, the crazyturn pro". So I say to myself "self, let's get crazy and put Hawkeye upfront". I have a saying "What looks get in theory is usually crappy inapplication". This is true in this case. Hawkeye is on the right side, butleaning so far to the left that he is pushing Luna into the left side of thetrail and throwing off the rest of the team. I stop the team and run up tomove them over and then comes a team for a head-on pass. I held the leadersuntil they were safely by and then moved Hawkeye back to wheel and movedLasar up front. The team was moving and looked like a sleddog team. I'llhave to remember this combo. As we come around a bend, I can see anotherteam coming at us and they are all over the trail. As the leaders meet eachother the other driver stops his team. This is the worst thing you can doduring a head-on pass because now his team is bunched up and completelyblocked the trail. Dog fights and tangles between teams usually happen.Not today. Luna moves the team completely off the trail to the right andboth Lasar and Luna kept the team moving and we pass without incident. As Ilooked back at the other driver, I could see his jaw bouncing off theground. He couldn't believe what just happened. It was a nice clean passand brought a tear to my eye watching Luna take control of the situation.My only input was a couple of "on-bys".We get the team back to the truck and loaded and back to the house to cleanup equipment and get out of the wet clothes. Training was suppose to happen this Wed, but the exhaust pipe for the dogtruck came in so it's in the shop getting fitted. I may have it back totrain tomorrow, but there is an issue with the way the gas nozzle wasmounted. Thus I might have to cancel training while the guy who did thewelding fixes that problem.

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