Happy New Year! Winter has arrived at Denali – below zero, new snow and fast dogs!
If I don’t win the Iditarod this year it won’t be because I didn’t take a good enough vacation over Christmas! Donna, the girls and I all went to Kuai and kicked back for a week. Sand, sun, and bikinis! I even got a massage (wasn’t worth what they charged, ugh..)! It really was a wonderful Christmas break, however I am very happy to be back and extremely excited about the coming races. We had a little staff meeting this morning (Carrie made monkey bread!!) and realized that it’s just over a month until our Iditarod food drops are due. Wow, does that hit home!
Lead female handler Jennifer, will be racing next weekend representing Goose Lake Kennel in the Cantwell Classic. Check out their website at www.cantwellclassic.com. (I told Jennifer that if she beats Rohn Buser she gets a bonus!) I’ll be on the trail helping haul food drops and grooming trail.
As soon as the race is over, early the next week Dave DeCaro and I are headed out to the Delta – to the mushing mecca of Bethel and the famous Kuskokwim 300. A long list of serious mushers make up this years competitive field. Their website is up to date as well at www.k300.org. Check it out!
We are considering some other events before Iditarod… but nothing too serious. The All Alaska Sweepstakes, taking place after the Iditarod, continues to drain any extra energy for logistics and preparations.
It has been so fun to hear from so many of you who have listened to our audio book of “Cold Hands, Warm Heart”. It was really fun to do, and it makes it very satisfying to know that so many of you are enjoying it. The print version, which includes 40+ pieces of Donna’s fine art and an additional 40 photographs, as well as 16 chapters, is on schedule and being printed in Canada as we type this. I was assured today that they were to be shipped to me for distribution before the end of January. We would be happy to autograph anything purchased through Husky Homestead, and if you have special requests run them by us and we’ll see what we can do.
Seems one reader was fascinated after seeing hand scrawled messages in black magic marker under the bill of my hat in numerous photos taken during the 2006 Iditarod. It is kind of a funny story… Years ago, at an Iditarod start banquet, a couple of young boys were soliciting autographs from mushers at the nearby table. With a sincere effort to be well meaning, I offered my signature to their coveted poster. Politely, and a little embarrassed, they responded “No, Thank you.” I recall asking them why didn’t they want my signature, only to find out it was the young Buser boys who were self conscious getting the signature of one of the few people who have beaten their father in a dog sled race. We have laughed for years about the awkward and cute loyalty the young boys had. And as the young boys have grown into young men, I regularly tease them about that moment from the past. So, in 2006 at the start banquet, with the young Buser men walking past my table, I sarcastically asked if they wanted my autograph. They laughed and said “No, thank you”, and I replied “Can I have yours?” Not to be outdone, they agreed and I had them sign the underside of the bill of the hat that I was wearing, and told them that I intended their signature to be my good luck charm for the 2006 race. Lo and behold – I won! Last year Martin tried to get my daughters to sign his hat. No way man.
Check out all of the photos of a wonderful Hawaiian vacation, and stand by for a couple of exciting months of dog sled racing!