I just spoke with Jeff from Ruby. He and the dogs were already fed and, after working on their feet, he was headed in for a nap. Though he didn’t say it, I’m sure that he is taking his 8-hour break there.

He has taken to calling his team “Fine China”. He admitted that he is amazingly happy with them overall. They are all sound, carrying the correct weight and (every musher’s dream) their stools are firm “just like in the yard at home”. He has been feeding out a full cooler of food on every run. He said that when he stops on the trail, the team starts turning back to the sled in “attack mode”. He has to rush out in front with the chow to avoid a big tangle. Bronte and Kilarney, along with others, were barking to leave Cripple last night/this morning. The team has a lot of energy left, so much so that every time they see something along the trail that interests them, they bolt like a Fur Rendezvous (the big sprint race held in Anchorage in February) team. They did just that in the last mile or so coming into Ruby when they saw a cameraman hiding in the brush.

Angus is having a great race. “Jon’s dogs are all studs” was Jeff’s report. Dublin is also a “stud” but not much fun. He is like a hard- pulling robot. The Vets hate him because he bites! (Not a typical behavior here at home but many dogs do become wired when racing and getting poked by Vets can be a nuisance….). Deets (from the Lonesome Dove litter, brother Call is also in the team) has fulfilled Jeff’s expectations of being tireless. He loves to lead and is perfect gee/haw. Deets and Dickens made a brilliant trail decision this morning on a winding trail where Jeff couldn’t see what was happening around the corner up ahead. They made the correct choice of trails on their own avoiding a deep area of overflow.

I told Jeff how cool it was to see him leave Cripple with 16 dogs.
“Well, I’ll be leaving Ruby with 16.” he replied.