Iditarod: Ceremonial Start

“Got the laptop working?” says Spence. “Barely,” says Admin. “And who knows for how long. First – and we’re so grateful that Rebecca of Snowhook – ” “Our team!” ” – is taking the time to give us updates. Yesterday was the Ceremonial start, and today the actual race begins – I believe at 3 p.m., local time. You can follow the race at www.iditarod.com. As you’ll see from Rebecca’s report, they’ve endured another setback, but their spirit is just amazing. And down at the bottom, we’ll post a picture of AJ and Twigs wearing patches that make us very proud. Here’s Rebecca:” Last night ended this morning and today started at 5 am. The Ceremonial Start is always a long day, and for us it has turned into a long night. I started writing this email from the vet emergency room where I took Rory, one of AJs main leaders late this evening.  She is having emergency spleen surgery.  We are awaiting word and keeping our fingers crossed. This is another blow to the team that is already down two main team members. Ceremonial Start: AJ and I toured eleven miles though the streets of Anchorage today with our Iditarider, Jan.  Individuals from all over bid for the eleven mile ride with their musher of choice in an auction. To buy the seat in the sled outright costs $7500. AJ was chosen by our Iditarider for our Greek last name. Yesterday was the dress rehearsal, Sunday is go time. We will enjoy breakfast with friends of the kennel, load up the dogs and head to the starting line. If a prize was given for shortest commute, we would likely win it; the eve starts across the street from our property. We will be honored to have a VIP (very important Plunderer), Charris join us for the restart tomorrow. AJ and team will be counted down shortly after 3 pm. And, then it is good-by.

Note about photo: We’re having some trouble posting it properly. 

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This entry was posted on Sunday, March 4th, 2012 at 10:52 am and is filed under Chet The Dog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

225 Responses to “Iditarod: Ceremonial Start”

  1. Siber-H
    10:58 am on March 4th, 2012

    Good Morning Everyone! How can I be the first to the blog this morning?

  2. Riö – The Evil Pug
    11:04 am on March 4th, 2012

    Rory!…Oh no!…sob!…Not another leader gone…sob!sob!…What will AJ do I wonder?…sniffle!

    Photo!…That is a great photo, if only just a little crooked…snuff!

  3. Tupper and Gilly
    11:04 am on March 4th, 2012

    Siber – we know – how cool is it to be among the first. Usually Bee and Melanie beat us all.

    Good morning all – best prayers for Rory

  4. BearSpiritDog
    11:07 am on March 4th, 2012

    Rio: I just woke up. Gulp. What are you saying???

  5. Siber-H
    11:08 am on March 4th, 2012

    Rory, We are keeping you and Snowhook in our prayers. Snowhook has had more than it’s share of hardship this year, but they will overcome this last setback. “Our team” is the best! GO SNOWHOOK!

    That is a great photo and I see the patches. All you have to do to see the photo is turn your head to a right angle.

  6. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    11:11 am on March 4th, 2012

    Some of us were here before Spence, so we posted on yesterday’s blog.

    I am heartsick to hear about Rory.

  7. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    11:14 am on March 4th, 2012

    Bear, please check your SDD.

  8. Masquers
    11:16 am on March 4th, 2012

    Don’t pay any attention to Bear. Maybe one of these days he will learn to read before he says something.
    Rebecca & AJ: I am so sorry to hear the news about Rory. Heartfelt prayers for his quick recovery and for both of you who have gone through so much this past week.

  9. Siber-H
    11:22 am on March 4th, 2012

    Hoping to hear soon how Rory is doing, but I know Snowhook is busy and tired. This is heartbreaking and I know AJ and Rebecca are really worried.

    Wolfie, Thanks for the info on the iditablog. It is good that some are you are searching for different Iditainformation on the internet. I appreciate it.

  10. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    11:25 am on March 4th, 2012

    Listen guys, while we are waiting for an update on Rory, I wanted to tell you about a fabulous website / app that mom just found.

    It is called the iditablog, and it has live tweets, webcams, podcasts (going back to 2010) and all kinds of information. Go check it out!

  11. OleyHowlers
    11:35 am on March 4th, 2012

    Wolfie, we read your earlier post, and installed the app. We’ll take a look at it later. There is going to be a photo shoot here real soon, so we won’t be able to catch up until later.

  12. BearSpiritDog
    11:35 am on March 4th, 2012

    Thanks, Wolfie: I have responded to your SDD.
    We will be checking iditablog out.

    Rebecca and AJ: Sending a Wave of Prayers Snowhook’s way. Stay strong. The Plunderers are here for you to lean on.

  13. Tupper and Gilly
    11:38 am on March 4th, 2012

    Howlers – a photo shoot? Have we missed something while our sick little computer was away?

  14. Alice M. Johnson
    11:49 am on March 4th, 2012

    Staff thinks she turned the photo, before Melanie got to it. snicker…

    nice looking patches there….

  15. B.Stover
    11:49 am on March 4th, 2012

    SH: You are the first to post at 10:58 AM EST because today’s post wasn’t available until 10:52 AM EST. (Mumble %$#@**& Grrrrrrr.) On Chet’s Facebook page I told Chet to grab Spence and Admin by the pant leg. (Get a new laptop Spence. Toshiba is a very good brand….so is Dell.)

    I’m so sorry about Rory. I hope he’s doing well. Go Snowhook.

    Good late morning all.

  16. Alice M. Johnson
    11:52 am on March 4th, 2012

    grrrrrr.

  17. Alice M. Johnson
    11:53 am on March 4th, 2012

    well phooey! good luck Melanie, I am going to take a nap!

    sniff…

  18. Snowhook Bella
    11:54 am on March 4th, 2012

    It has been a long night. During feeding time we noticed that Rory wasn’t acting right. I brought her into the house to observe her. Perhaps bloat? Oh, not again. AJ was outside packing his sled. I called him into the house to let him know my concern. Not long after, I drove Rory to the ER, leavin AJ behind so he could get some much needed rest. He insisted. I insisted more.

    I stood in the exam room as the vet told me the three possibilities of why Rory was so I’ll. It ranged from a torn spleen to cancer. If ever I needed AJ, it was then. The cet said there was nothing we could have done to prevent any of the possibilities I was told that surgery was the only way to know for sure and without surgery she would certainly die.

    I called AJ and immediately started trying to figure how to cover the cost. We were blessed—stepping outside of policy, the vet asked the owner if we could pay over time for the surgery. To everyone’s surprise the answer was yes.

    I was able to see Rory before the surgery. Dogs always look so small when they are ill. Rory was no different. I told her mama loves her and to never forget she was loved from our first day.

    The vet called me from the O.R. While during the four hour surgery and said it was a torn spleen, the best of three possibilities. She called again once the surgery was over. She said Rory isn’t out of the woods yet, but is soon better. She will say at the hospital for several days.

    What you should know about Rory—she is special. She is a rescue dog who turned out to be a lead dog, one of AJs main lead dogs.

    Three main team members out of AJs team won’t be in the trail now. This worries him. It worries me, too. Worry and the competitive fire in his soul are battling with each other. Please pray for AJ, the team and our Rory.

  19. Siber-H
    12:05 pm on March 4th, 2012

    We are praying, Rebecca. Please, please, please, get better, Rory. We want you to be able to enjoy living a good life once more. sob, sob, sob
    AJ and the team…This is tough. Stay Strong. You are in all our prayers.

  20. Tupper and Gilly
    12:07 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Rebecca – never fear. Prayers were going up long ago and will continue. We are with you.

  21. Melanie
    12:11 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Prayers going out for Rory! As I have said before, I have no doubt that Snowhook’s four footed team will step up and fill the booties of those on the sick list.

    Loved the video of AJ. Dan is having a blast sharing this with me.

    Let’s try that pic now.

  22. dawson
    12:11 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Snowhook Bella: Rory is in my non-stop prayers. What a heartbreaker for all of us. Please get better, Rory. Many pats, scritches and hugs.

    C.Harris: Your surprise is fantastic news! You and Rebecca are the best secret keepers ever! A Plunderer is at the Iditarod to represent us all. Thank you, thank you, C.Harris.

    A.J. and The Snowhook Team: Prayers are happening.

  23. Gus & BooBear
    12:19 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Wow, who knew so many things could happen all at once to 1 small kennel???? We’re sure that some of the “want-a-be” leaders will step forward and shine for AJ! Maybe WhiteyLance or Junior??

    We didn’t get to watch the ceremonial start yesterday but hope to go back and view all the activities later? One of you smart timezone guys, what time is the start in central daylight savings time so we can get Mom at the computer right on schedule?

    Go Snowhook!!

  24. Siber-H
    12:26 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Gus&BooBear, The real start today will be at 5:00 pm, your time.
    I don’t think you are on Daylight Savings Time yet, but if you are, I can correct my start time.

  25. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    12:37 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Okay, deep breath.

    Today is the start of the race. AJ and his team will prevail, because he does not go alone. The power of prayer is limitless, beyond reckoning.

    CHarris is there for Rebecca, as are we all.

    There is still much to celebrate!

    Go Snowhook!

    Go AJ the Giant!

  26. Melanie
    12:38 pm on March 4th, 2012

    I think for us Eastern types AJ will be starting at 7:12 pm. I think. Maybe. Dog knows.

  27. B.Stover
    12:40 pm on March 4th, 2012

    I just sent an email to Josh at Iditablog.com telling him about Snowhook and Chetthedog.com blog and the Plunderers’ sponsorship. I asked him to mention Snowhook on his blog. (Great job Wolfie!)

  28. B.Stover
    12:46 pm on March 4th, 2012

    It is 8:44 AM Alaska time right now, 12:44 Eastern time. The race starts at 2PM Alaska time (according to the email I received from the Insider), which means that the race starts at 6PM Eastern Standard Time.

  29. BearSpiritDog
    12:47 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Rebecca: Thank you for the update on dear Rory. Bless the vet and owner who stepped up to save the day. The Quilt is over Rory, the Kennel, you and AJ to comfort you at this stressful time. I have a strong feeling there are some team members waiting in the wings, eager to assume their places on the team. This we believe.

  30. Siber-H
    1:05 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Melanie, Your time is correct for AJ, and thanks for “fixing” the photo. I am very glad Dan is enjoying the race with you.

    Stover, Good thinking on your part to send that email. Thanks!

  31. Masquers
    1:07 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Hi to C.Harris. Thanks for being there!!!
    Oh, and Melanie, thanks for tweaking the photo.
    The Race starts here at 3 pm…prelims at 2:30. We are ready.

  32. Natasha the Nefarious Borzoi
    1:09 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Is true – vill be many heroics from team. Ve vill vatch over them on trail. And ve say prayers too.
    And since ve are reporting from Alaska, ve vill also say that CHarris is very slender and beautiful. She is most vonderful agent for Plunderers at Iditarod.

  33. Gus & BooBear
    1:09 pm on March 4th, 2012

    SiberH, you are correct. Daylight savings time starts next weekend. And thank you for the race start time. Do NOT want to miss that.

    CHarris, NEVER been to Target before???? OMD, that’s un-American!! One of Mom’s favorite stores. Thank you for making that hard trip to Willow to represent us at the start of the race. And, did we read correctly? You have to drive back tonight and teach tomorrow? Kids can just read something or watch a film, right??

    Hope there are still 16 strong dogs for AJ to start the race with. We feel sorry for the dogs not sponsored by the Plunderers. They didn’t get a patch. They probably feel like second choice. Next year, Rio will work on us getting that up to snuff.

    Go Snowhook. We’re off to the Insider to watch videos.
    G&BB

  34. Masquers
    1:15 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Bella: Sorry for the typo. I know Rory is one of your girls. That was another iPaw error.

  35. C.harris
    1:23 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Prayers indeed for Roy, AJ, Rebecca and the team. Snovwhook is blessed with extraordinary owners and we are so proud to sponsor them. Thank you Siber-H for cluing us to them last year. There will be a very special and heartfelt prayer tonight I am sure from T&G. May I ask to be put on the list for a prayer of safe-keeping? The drive home will be much longer as I drive slower at night especially if there is no moonlight. One of the hardest sections of the road is the hour between Nenana and Fairbanks and I will be reaching it when I have already been up 13 hours and I’ll have another 2 or more hours of driving to do. It is an all mountain road with winding twists and turns and sharp ascents and descents. Once I get out of it, I will be ok.

    I made 2 posters before I left work to bring with me and laminated them. They say PLUNDER ON and lists all of our names and then ends R (heart icon)s R W/U. One folds up and can go on the trip if AJ can fit one more piece of paper on the sled. The other can hang on the wall of AJ’s and Rebecca’s home for her to look at in the days ahead.

    I dressed this AM in layers and now need to wear my fat pants, but I should be warm.

    this message takes so long to type that I just got off the phone with Rebecca. how does she sound so awake after the night she has had? and why aren’t my capitals showing up? She said that the vet called this morning. Roy won’t be out of the woods for another couple of days. I am sure prayers will help…

  36. C.harris
    1:42 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Target was AMAZING, I think I even got a little tears-eyed when I walked inside and the store just seemed to go on and on. But why are there beach hats and beach bags when I am looking for a winter hat? Don’t they know that we have two more months of winter still to go? And why am I looking at coffee grinders and coffee pots when I don’t drink coffee? Opps I have been here so long that a customer asked me to help him. Someone is shopping in pajamas–tacky or smart and time-saving? Why, yes I’ll sign up for a Target card. Hmmm these four chairs are perfect for work but maybe I should have measured the inside of my car first. How important is it anyway to see out the back window?

  37. dawson
    1:49 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Belly laugh!
    C.Harris, I needed that!
    Maybe you have a new job at Target.
    Can’t you call in for an Iditarod Day off tomorrow?
    In Alaska, Iditarod Day should be a holiday.

  38. Masquers
    1:52 pm on March 4th, 2012

    C.Harris: Pajamas? lol. Are you sure you’re not in Wally World?

  39. BearSpiritDog
    1:55 pm on March 4th, 2012

    C.Harris: Never mind Target. YOU are amazing! We here are looking so forward to having our very own reporter on location.

  40. BearSpiritDog
    1:57 pm on March 4th, 2012

    p.s. I’m with Dawson. Take tomorrow off as a Special Holiday. The Iditarod doesn’t happen every day!

  41. C.harris
    2:01 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Heading out soon. Natasha, thanks for the compliment and calling me slender. Photos will show otherwise. Since I needed to wear my fat pants after two layers and they still had room, I added another layer. Pillsbury Dough-girl am I. In Alaska, it is hard to be fashionable.

  42. OleyHowlers
    2:07 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Rebecca, poor Rory. She was the scared little rescue that you had to take much time with, to build her trust. And now to have this hapen to her Iditarod hopes is so sad. But Snowhook and the Plunderers thrive on adversity. This too shall be overcome. We will be praying extra hard for Rory, along with our prayers for AJ and the team, and for brave heroine C.Harris.

  43. Mollypop's Mom
    2:34 pm on March 4th, 2012

    I’m back from Sam’s and all caught up on all that has gone on. Snowhook will start racing soon and then C.Harris will start her long hard trek home.

    Godspeed.

  44. B.Stover
    2:36 pm on March 4th, 2012

    SH: It was Wolfie’s idea.

    Thanks for the photo Melanie. AJ is wearing a patch also!

  45. Tupper and Gilly
    2:45 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Quick check in during the midst of a crazy day. CHarris – we vote for you taking a day off too – better to drive in daylight after a good night’s rest. And face it girlfriend – you deserve a day off. The world will continue if you are not there for just this once.
    (but if you really do have to go, we understand, and yes, you will be in our prayers tonight)

    And now, back to the hamster wheel of life – we will be back tonight.

    And GO SNOWHOOK!

  46. B.Stover
    2:47 pm on March 4th, 2012

    CHarris is cracking me up! Please drive carefully on your return trip.

  47. Melanie
    2:57 pm on March 4th, 2012

    The next time I go to Target I will go with C.Harris’s outlook!

  48. Melanie
    3:10 pm on March 4th, 2012

    HOLY CARPOLA!
    I just discovered I can watch all the videos on my upstairs (7 year old) computer!!

  49. Barb & Maggie
    3:14 pm on March 4th, 2012

    C Harris, If you must head back, then our prayers will be with you during the drive. How exciting that you got to go!

    Target is much better than Wally World. Barb has to drive 60 miles to the nearest Target. Today she stopped in at Walmart, which is much closer. As she was checking out she noticed she was the only one in all the check out lines that had a reusable bag. Another reason to say thumbs down to Walmart shoppers!

    We were tearing up when we read about Rory. We know she will make it thru.

  50. Gus & BooBear
    3:16 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Does anyone remember when Rio’s map with the sponsorship was posted? Mom wants to make it her wallpaper too but can’t find it! Help, please!
    G&BB

  51. AJ
    3:17 pm on March 4th, 2012

    It’s 11:15 and in a minute we’ll go out and load the dogs for the race. Before we do that though I wanted to take a minute and say one last thank you for everything. We wouldn’t have gotten this far without you all.

    See you on the trail.

    AJ

  52. Gus & BooBear
    3:24 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Good luck, AJ!! Enjoy the ride. We’ll help Rebecca with the watching and worrying.
    Gus & BooBear

  53. B.Stover
    3:31 pm on March 4th, 2012

    G&BB: Rio reposted the map on the “Snowhook Update” post of Friday at 10:47 AM….first page.

    Thank you AJ!

  54. BearSpiritDog
    3:33 pm on March 4th, 2012

    AJ: You are so welcome!!! You, Rebecca and the furry faces in the kennel are our family and families support each other no questions asked. When anything happens to one of the Plundeers it happens to all of us.
    God Speed on the trail.

    (whispering) Rebecca: I know you are very, very busy right now, but whenever you have a moment to breathe, could you tell us who the final 16 team members are? No hurry.

  55. Wookie of Chevy Chase
    3:36 pm on March 4th, 2012

    AJ — Just remember that all the Plunderers are with you on this ride. And we will help take care of Rebecca and Rory. Wookie

  56. Masquers
    3:51 pm on March 4th, 2012

    We are using the photo of AJ and the team on the trail for our desktop. Looking good!!
    GO SNOWHOOK!!!

  57. Masquers
    3:53 pm on March 4th, 2012

    The checkpoint map is right at hand. Ready to pull up at a moment’s notice.
    Thanks again, Rio, for doing this.

  58. Siber-H
    3:58 pm on March 4th, 2012

    CHarris, Mom agrees with Melanie. She will try to have more of your attitude when going into Target. We are so glad you are having a good time and giving us a big laugh. Gosh, I would give up the dog park for a week (honestly) if you could take tomorrow off. Maybe I could call the school tell them that. Maybe a Siber calling from NM would impress them.

    We are going to get out our map of Alaska and say big prayers for you on your trip home.

  59. Siber-H
    4:02 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Godspeed AJ We will be on the trail with you. You are welcome for everything. We love you guys!

  60. Gus & BooBear
    4:06 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Thank you, B. Found it.

  61. BearSpiritDog
    4:12 pm on March 4th, 2012

    We love Rio’s map! It fills the whole computer screen.
    It’s on standby at one of the tabs at the top.

    C.Harris: Nana was laughing at your account of this mornings Target visit. You definitely have a bright future as a writer to look forward to after you retire.
    Looking forward to the 700 pictures. lol.

  62. Melanie
    4:42 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Big slobbery Newfie kisses to AJ! (I’ll just hug him, don’t want Best Damn Handler Wife mad at me!)

    AJ, You can never let us down, because you’ve gotten to the start line. What happens will happen. We are all praying for you and the team. God Speed.

  63. Melanie
    4:42 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Temps at right now.

  64. OleyHowlers
    4:44 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Run smooth. Run fast. Run strong. GO SNOWHOOK!

  65. Macy the Min-pin
    4:52 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Rebecca, we have all seen stories of the ingenue waiting in the wings, when, suddenly, s/he is thrust into the spotlight and turns in an amazing performance. Here’s hoping that you have that rookie in your kennel. Perhaps an “underdog”. BTW, I’m thinking that one of those stylish jackets with the Chet patch on it might bring a pretty penny in a bidding war.

    In case you can’t tell, the sled is being pulled by kats.(don’t anybody sell the picture, I just had to share it)

  66. Riö – The Evil Pug
    4:53 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Knots!…Here at my house all of our stomachs are in knots…sniff!….Except for her mother’s, she is quite oblivious about everything…grunt!… I have to say I am very worried about AJ and the Team out on that trail with 3 of the main leaders missing…wuffle!… We are all hoping and praying for a safe, fun and moose-less trail for our Giant and his team….snorkel! ….I won’t stop worrying about them till its all over though…wuffle!

    Melanie!…When you mentioned seeing AJ in a video, did you perchance mean anything besides the Ceremonial Start video?…snort!…Am I missing out on sumthing?..grunt!

  67. OleyHowlers
    4:55 pm on March 4th, 2012

    We just re-watched Guiness…yep she sure is FOCUSED.

    Ready to re-watch Snowhook’sCeremonial start.

  68. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    4:56 pm on March 4th, 2012

    The ceremonial start is on video, part 1. Our team shows up at approx 40 minutes in.

  69. OleyHowlers
    4:58 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Rio, if you have Insider, you go to Featured videos, and scroll down. There is an interview of AJ.

  70. Riö – The Evil Pug
    5:02 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Target!…I hope C.Harris remembers to leave Target and watch the start of the Last Great Race….heh!….She is having way too much fun in that store…sniff!

  71. OleyHowlers
    5:03 pm on March 4th, 2012

    OMD! We could see Chet the Dog patches so clearly. On the lead dog (was that Rory), on Rebecca’s right arm, on AJ’s right arm, and a HUGE one on the Iditarider’s lap!

  72. Siber-H
    5:08 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Macy, that is a cute cartoon.

    Rio, Go watch the video of AJ

    So far, so good, with the Insider this year. The live stream worked and they put up that wonderful video of AJ.
    Last year, the live stream did not work for over half of us.

  73. Jasper the Poodle
    5:14 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Tranquil day here in the middle of the mitten. Greetings plunderers, Rebecca and AJ. Happy thoughts and prayers for you and yours winging your way.

    Had a nice long nap with mom today, got groceries for the week and are settling in to watch the NASCAR race.

    Plunder on, Showhook, plunder on.

  74. BearSpiritDog
    5:16 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Macy: That cartoon is perfect! (even if it is kats)

    O.Howlers: The team members sporting the patches were Plunderer sponsored.

    We left one of the Insider pages on AJ’s video. Now we have this great picture of our favorite musher looking back at us. Very nice!

  75. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    5:23 pm on March 4th, 2012

    CHarris,
    I think that you should put safety first and take a personal day off tomorrow.
    It would be too dangerous to drive in those road conditions that late at night.
    At least, that is as good excuse as any!

  76. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    5:26 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Macy, love the cartoon!

    Jasper, love the photo!

  77. Rose
    5:29 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Hey youse guys!

    Just caught up on all the blog news.

    Rebecca: My heart is broken to hear that Rory has taken ill. But if anything, Snowhook is quite resilient, and in my heart, I know Rory will bounce back.

    AJ: No thanks needed. We Plunderers are family. We look out for each other, just as we will look out for Rebecca, and for you on the trail. Just as Rebecca will be traveling in your heart, the Plunderers are traveling with you offering encouragement, love, and strength! I know you and the team will Plunder on!! Go AJ, go team, go Snowhook! We are here for you always and forever!

    Rebecca and CHarris: OMD, you can keep a secret. I have been laughing at your exploits CHarris, and I’m so proud you are there to represent us. Take tomorrow off!!!

    Godspeed to Rory, Rebecaa, AJ, Rory, and the team.

  78. Macy's Mom
    5:30 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Wow, CHarris, I would not attempt that drive in ANY weather. Those steep grades make my stomach do dipsy-doodles. And everyone knows that if anyone in the car leans too much, gravity may just fling the car over the side. Just ask, my girls, who were always told while we were mountain driving, “lean in, lean IN”. And I was not even driving. (but I WAS doing my best ‘leaning in’.

  79. Riö – The Evil Pug
    5:33 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Oley!….Thanks for the heads-up!…snort!….I loved that interview with AJ – but it was way too short….heh!… AJ is such a great guy! One can see why Rebecca loves and adores him…snorkel!

  80. BearSpiritDog
    5:36 pm on March 4th, 2012

    The pre-race is on!!!

  81. bluecat
    5:36 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Was #34 the team with handlers wearing matching jumpsuits and a handler for each dog? No matter. AJ and Rebecca have the Plunderers with them and we have matching patches and huge doggie and kat Spirits!!!

    Godspeed, all.

    C. Harris – awesome, girlfriend. We’ll be with you as you drive home.

    Later, ‘gators, at 9 this evening and nights following. Keep breathing, Everybody.

  82. Siber-H
    5:43 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Another cute cartoon, Macy, and more cute pug photos from Jasper. It is good to be entertained while waiting.

    I am assuming that Rio Jr. is in the team now. I know AJ doesn’t have time for this on the trail, but I hope sometimes Jr. can have the blanket with the baseballs on it. He is, after all, Rio Jr.

  83. T.C.
    5:46 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Mommy and I are watching live stream of the pre-race, snuggled up in our Snowhook quilt. I love AJ, almost as much as Daddy.
    We also have our GPS up already.

  84. Gus & BooBear
    5:57 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Here we go!!!

  85. Masquers
    5:59 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Hmmm…I don’t like these announcers as much as the two yesterday. Less upbeat somehow.
    CHarris: Stay until tomorrow. Enjoy this special time with Rebecca.

  86. OleyHowlers
    6:03 pm on March 4th, 2012

    The feed keeps breaking.

  87. Gus & BooBear
    6:05 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Are any of you having problems with the live streaming? It keeps showing the same thing over and over.

  88. Siber-H
    6:08 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Yes, the feed keeps breaking.

    Masquers, I don’t like these announcers as well as yesterdays either. We will see what they say about my kind.

  89. Masquers
    6:11 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Breaking up. Same here. But it happened yesterday also.
    Siber: I’ll forgive them if they say something nice about AJ.

  90. OleyHowlers
    6:12 pm on March 4th, 2012

    And what they say about AJ

  91. Macy's Mom
    6:26 pm on March 4th, 2012

    I was breaking up at the beginning, but now all is well. Lots of barking, not sure what yarking sounds like.

    Maybe the announcers could look at the graphics on the screen. It DOES tell how many races they have run.

  92. OleyHowlers
    6:42 pm on March 4th, 2012

    We kind of like these announcers. Knowledgeable.

  93. Melanie
    6:55 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Watching!!

  94. dawson
    7:02 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Dallas Seavey’s team #34 coming up…

  95. BearSpiritDog
    7:03 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Same here. The announcers are growing on me…saying all good things about the mushers and the teams.

  96. BearSpiritDog
    7:09 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Almost time for AJ!!!
    GO AJ!!!
    GO SNOWHOOK!!!

  97. dawson
    7:10 pm on March 4th, 2012

    And now…here comes Justin and the Snowhook Kennel doggies!
    Whooo hoooo! Go Snowhook! Plunder on! We love #38!

  98. Macy's Mom
    7:13 pm on March 4th, 2012

    We were not impressed with the descriptions of AJ. The wheel dogs were really pretty. I can’t wait to hear who is on the team.

  99. Siber-H
    7:14 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Dogs look Good!! Onward Snowhook!!
    Good shots of AJ and Rebecca

  100. BearSpiritDog
    7:15 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Hey! Was that you, C.Harris? WoooooHooooo!

  101. Gus & BooBear
    7:20 pm on March 4th, 2012

    We did NOT like the way the announcers spoke about AJ!! Like he was a second rate musher who should be happy to end up in the 30th place. While we will be proud of him wherever he places, we know he runs to win and do what he can to get there.

    Go Snowhook and AJ!! (Think that is the 1st time we’ve seen Rebecca without her StormyKromer).

  102. Riö – The Evil Pug
    7:25 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Fun!…That was so much fun and so exciting to see AJ and the A-Team leave the start….wooooo!….I sure hope Rebecca is doing okay. She looked sort of sad to me. I can’t imagine how she is coping with everything right now….wuffle!

    CHarris!…Do youse guys think that was C.Harris in the blue jacket with the short hair?…snort!snort!

  103. Gus & BooBear
    7:28 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Is AJ’s tracker working? My tracker shows no mileage for him!

  104. C.Harris
    7:28 pm on March 4th, 2012

    AJ is off! Am at the library and scored a computer for 11 minutes but it took 4 minutes to connect so can’t say much. They are closing. Fabulous day and it was just as wonderful to meet AJ and Rebecca as you can imagine. The team looks great–ready to run. Lots of pets. Took 230 photos; 200 of our team. Face is sunburned from the sun as I forgot to pack sunscreen. Rebecca’s back was hurting so add her to the prayer list. Met some of their friends and they all thanked the Plunderers for all we have done. If you can ever manage to come up here, it would be a trip of a lifetime. Will post a few photos everyday and will ultimately make a disk that I can send people. Hiking to car and then heading home. Weather is great but I am glad I decided on the 3 layers. Hoping to see Mt. McKinley on the way back so I can take a photo for Siber-H. Have to go.

  105. Melanie
    7:29 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Tried doing the screen grabs from the big screen. Didn’t work as well. But Zoë was watching with me and needed to be able to see SNOWHOOK! When they put the video up tomorrow, I’ll try it again.

    C.Harris: If you want to email some pictures to me to put up, I’ll be glad to primp them and send them back to you and Rebecca and put them on the blog. Let me know.

    The Lead Dogs!

  106. B.Stover
    7:30 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Rebecca didn’t look as though she felt well. Probably nerves. The dogs were happy.

  107. Melanie
    7:31 pm on March 4th, 2012

    AJ and Rebecca. (And yes, I think she looked a little sad too)

  108. Melanie
    7:32 pm on March 4th, 2012

    And AJ is off! Here’s to Snowhook!

  109. Siber-H
    7:34 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Take care, CHarris and thanks for checking in with us.

    Hey Fellow Sibers, Did yu see how fast we moved out of there?

  110. OleyHowlers
    7:45 pm on March 4th, 2012

    We agree that the announcer sure under-estimated AJ.

    C.Harris, that had to be you in blue!!! WooHoo!

    Rebecca was either sad, worried, stessed, or hurting. Definitely did not look herself

    Siber, our giys were booking! Zowey!!!

  111. BearSpiritDog
    7:45 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Yark! No, those announcers sure didn’t do their background work on AJ and Snowhook. We are back to our original opinion of them.
    Rebecca looked sad to see her Heart going off without her. So until he reaches that halfway point and begins the return trip back to her.
    Vaya con Dios, AJ and God Speed to you and the team.

  112. OleyHowlers
    7:46 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Guys that is. Grrr

  113. Melanie
    7:51 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Also, I don’t think Rebecca has had any sleep and she has a cold. C.Harris was that you?

    For Siber-H and OleyHowlers: 2 of 56’s Sibes

  114. Macy's Mom
    7:51 pm on March 4th, 2012

    We were just looking at the map, it appears that CHarris has to go right past Mt.McKinley. Yikes, at least she doesn’t have to drive OVER it.

  115. Kirby T. Penworthy
    7:52 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Hey, everybody! Mom and Dad spent the whole day out and just got home, so Mom and I are finally catching up on the excitement of the race! She’s reading over my shoulder, which is she knows is rude, but we were anxious to see what everyone has written in our absence. We were so sorry to hear about Rory — I hope all is well at the v*e*t’s office.

    We were so excited to see that CHarris got to go to the race! And Mom actually gasped when she read the part about CHarris never shopping at a Target before. That’s one of Mom’s and my girl’s favorite stores, so we were glad that CHarris’s dream came true! Now our thoughts and prayers are with her on her drive home.

    Go AJ!!!

  116. Siber-H
    7:54 pm on March 4th, 2012

    I wonder how long it will take CHarris to get home. I am worried about her.

    The Insider is really getting those videos up.
    Fellow Sibers, There is one up of Karen there now. I wish they would get one up of Hank Debruin soon because he is a nice guy.

    The announcers did good on dealing with the two teams of Sibers, but they don’t get a passing grade on AJ.

  117. OleyHowlers
    7:55 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Thanks for the Sibe picture, Melanie.

    C.Harris was at her own checkpoint, so we expect to see Dan, Zoe, and Melanie at the next two checkpoints.

  118. Masquers
    8:00 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Safe drive home, C.Harris.
    Thank you again for representing us.
    Please check in with us as soon as you can.

  119. Melanie
    8:01 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Ummm, get right on that OleyHowlers … packing as you write.

    What is this thing about only guys who are 5’5 or 5’7″ and weigh nothing can do well in the race? I hope this guy has to eat his words.

  120. Macy's Mom
    8:02 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Yeah, yeah, I know, refresh, read….You can zoom in so much on the map, you can almost look in CHarris’ window, but the curtains are closed, lol. I would almost rather run the race than drive that highway. Take is EASY, Ms. C.

  121. Riö – The Evil Pug
    8:07 pm on March 4th, 2012

    CHarris!…Drive carefully and stay awake!…grunt!…Why oh why can’t that girl spend the night with Rebecca and leave early in the morning?…sniff!…Now I have to worry about her all night long…wheeze!

  122. Kirby T. Penworthy
    8:10 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Mom’s storytime went very well. The kids — and even the parents — were asking great questions about the race. They all thought it was pretty cool that Mom has a friend in the Iditarod. She showed the booties that she won in the auction, and explained that they were worn by one of the dogs when they crossed the finish line in Nome. They were amazed to know that more than 1,000 booties were ordered for the race, and how much everything costs. I think they got the idea that the race is run for the love of the sport, not to make a profit!

    I’m going to try to post the map that Mom made. It’s on the back window at the library, so it was behind Mom during storytime, and she could point to the various places while she was talking about them.

    http://www.chetthedog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Map.docx

  123. Kirby T. Penworthy
    8:12 pm on March 4th, 2012

    She’s also going to put a little version of AJ and the team on the map and follow along with their race so the kids can see how far they’ve gotten!

  124. Melanie
    8:14 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Hmmm. Interesting map there Kirby T. If I could read computerese it might help!

    They were just playing “Who Let the Dogs Out”. Snicker

  125. Siber-H
    8:17 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Melanie, It isn’t true about the little guys winning. John Baker is a very big guy and he won last year.

    Kirby, I am sure that the story time went well and that the kids loved it.

    I finally got around to turning on the GPS tracker. It is much different than what we have had before. I am sure it will be fine and I will be brave.

  126. Melanie
    8:19 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Cool, I just figure out who to do the GPS thingy.

    AJ is at 8.6 miles and due for another update in 7 minutes.

  127. Melanie
    8:21 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Siber-H I did try to google the heights of the Iditarod winners. Seems they don’t have that info on hand. snicker

  128. Siber-H
    8:24 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Wowie!! AJ and the dogs are moving fast. That is fast for a sled dog team.

  129. dawson
    8:29 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Snowhook Bella: Hoping you get some sleep to rest your mind and your back. In lieu of that: cheesecake!
    C.Harris: Safe trip back. It is so cool that you got to be there for the start of the Iditarod. Looking forward to all those pictures over the next week.
    Kirby: I’m glad the storytime went well.
    The prayer coming up is well anticipated.

  130. Melanie
    8:29 pm on March 4th, 2012

    AFter the update:

  131. Siber-H
    8:30 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Good omen…AJ’s tracker updated just like it should.

  132. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    8:32 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Wow, Kirby, that is one fantastic map! Your mom is amazing!

  133. Riö – The Evil Pug
    8:34 pm on March 4th, 2012

    GPS!…Okay, I am going to go try the Tracker!…snort!…Not sure I can have both the Blog and the GPS thing going at once, so later gators!…heh!..Paws crossed I can post on this here blog and watch AJ moving…sniff!…Keep moving 38!(is great!)

  134. Kirby T. Penworthy
    8:34 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Sorry about that — the map worked for me, but I guess not for everyone else. When Mom goes back to work tomorrow, maybe she can download that photo and another one properly, instead of the ones she sent to herself in her email!

  135. Macy's Mom
    8:36 pm on March 4th, 2012

    So,the green grape says to the purple grape “breathe idiot , breathe!!!

  136. Kirby T. Penworthy
    8:36 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Wolfie: You could see it? It doesn’t sound like anyone else could!

  137. Melanie
    8:37 pm on March 4th, 2012

    KirbyT: I’ll be up until a little after nine. Do you want to ask your mom to send it to me?

  138. Siber-H
    8:41 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Melanie, You got that map by zooming way in, didn’t you?

    I am having to get used to this new style of tracker because unlike the old one, everything operates on a hair trigger.

  139. Melanie
    8:41 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Okay, GPS has me confused. The map showed AJ has moved but the mileage hasn’t changed. HUUUHHHH????

    It does have him going .1 m/h faster. So maybe it does the speed and where they are on the map, but it’s tied to a certain area so it says 8.6 until he gets past a certain spot and then will read 14.2?

  140. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    8:42 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Yup, I guess I have the magic touch, lol!

  141. Melanie
    8:43 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Yes Siber-H, I also did the satellite view. What’s weird is they do green until you get really close then all of a sudden, SNOW!

    Whoops they’ve just updated again.

  142. Melanie
    8:44 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Okay, now he’s jumped to 14.2 miles.

  143. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    8:44 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Macy, I am a retard. I do not get the joke. Help!

  144. Melanie
    8:47 pm on March 4th, 2012

    I believe that AJ has passed two teams. Numbers 29 and 35.

  145. Melanie
    8:49 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Wolfie: Check your SSD

  146. Alice M. Johnson
    8:50 pm on March 4th, 2012

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn0g-7sAT1o

    Aliy Zirkle and the ‘steps’ 2010. Something to do while waiting for the race to progress.

  147. Siber-H
    8:50 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Melanie, I guess that is the way it will update speed and mileage. We will know after we have watched it a few times.
    GAH GAH GAH I am having to get used to a whole new way of gps tracking.

  148. Masquers
    8:53 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Yes! C.Harris got to be at her very own checkpoint! How kool is that.
    Siber: So far so good on the new Insider set-up.

  149. Melanie
    8:54 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Good update. Go Snowhook!

  150. Kirby T. Penworthy
    8:55 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Melanie: Check your SDD.

  151. Siber-H
    8:57 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Masquers, yes, so far so good on the insider, but I am having to practice your breathing exercises.

    Prayer Time in 3 minutes

  152. Tupper and Gilly
    9:00 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Creator – you have blessed us with a glorious day. The air we breathe is our medicine; the trees sing music that lets our hearts dance. You have set us in your world with teachers to guide us on our way. Open our hearts to their lessons – let us learn their ways of living in harmony with this earth. Let those teachers guide our friend AJ on his journey. Let them protect him and his team with the wisdom they provide.

    We ask for the spirit of the Buffalo, for he is tenacity. He is power and strength. Buffalo will not be moved from his path by storm or fence. He moves to his destination with dignity and determination. We ask you to bring these gifts of the Buffalo to AJ. Let there be no obstacle in his path that can slow him, nothing to keep him from the finish line.

    We ask for the spirit of the Mountain Lion, for she is swift and steady of foot. She runs with grace and agility over all terrain, unaffected by rough ground. She runs in harmony with her path. We ask you to bring these gifts of Mountain Lion to the members of the team that their footing is sure and swift on their path.

    We ask for the spirit of Bear for he is confidence. The Bear moves through this world, respected by all. Not needing aggression to clear his way, Bear is sure of his power; all others move aside to let him pass. We ask you to bring this gift to AJ on his path. Give him the confidence and surety to know that others respect him for who he is and that his race will be an honored event.

    We ask for the spirit of the Hawk for he is all seeing. His vision guides him through the skies and in the trees. Able to navigate through storms, obstacles and dusky light, his eyes keep him on his path in safety. We ask you to bring this gift of vision, both of eye and spirit to AJ on his journey that he may avoid any difficulties. Let the Hawk also guide our friend CHarris home safely in the dark

    We ask for the spirit of the Spider for she is the healer. She weaves webs that cure both body and soul. We ask that her medicine be in AJ’s hands as he massages tired muscles and weary legs. Let the healing ways flow through him to his loyal team and let this medicine keep him safe and healthy on his journey. We also ask the healing ways of Spider be with Rory; that Spider draws from each of us our prayers for this special dog that she may recover quickly and be strong to run again.

    We ask for the spirit of the Otter, for she is joy. She plays and celebrates the wonders around her. Every day is a new adventure to be faced with delight. Let her laughing spirit be a part of AJ and his team. Let them rejoice in the glory of the race, the beauty around them, and the camaraderie of their effort. Let happiness lighten the weight of the sled and ease their journey.

    We ask for the spirit of Wolf, for he is protector and guardian. As each Wolf will fight to protect their pack, the pack is always stronger knowing that their unity will protect them. Let the Wolf be watching over AJ and the team as they run, keeping all dangers at bay. Let Wolf watch over AJ and the team as they rest, so their sleep is restorative, deep and peaceful.

    Creator, finally we ask for the spirit of the Elk, for he is the keeper of love medicine. Let the love of Bella keep warmth in AJ’s heart and soul. Let the knowledge of her love make the hardest parts of the journey easier, knowing that he will soon be home. Let the love that they all share as team mates, and the love and admiration that they receive from friends be a shield protecting AJ and the team from the loneliness of the trail.

    To honor of the many gifts you have bestowed on us, our gift will be the warmth and comfort that this quilt provides. We will shelter within the folds of our quilt all of our friends and family members who need support.

    Creator – we lift this prayer to you in unison. We ask you to hear our love and concern for our Circle of Loved Ones. We ask you to grant our requests and be with AJ and his team, Rebecca and each one of us in our needs.

    Creator –you have blessed us with a glorious day. The air we breathe is our medicine; the trees sing music that lets our hearts dance. We have been surrounded this day with your love. We know we are most fortunate to live in your world.

    Amen

  153. Barb & Maggie
    9:02 pm on March 4th, 2012

    We have been having trouble signing on. Hope C Harris lets everyone know when she gets past the dangerous part of her drive. Paws crossed for her.

    Boo to that announcer! What a dweeb.

    Hopefully we can get back on.

  154. Siber-H
    9:05 pm on March 4th, 2012

    That’s a Beautiful Prayer. Thank you sniff

  155. Melanie
    9:06 pm on March 4th, 2012

    So Mote It Be!

  156. BearSpiritDog
    9:06 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Amen.

  157. Masquers
    9:08 pm on March 4th, 2012

    And so it is.

  158. Melanie
    9:09 pm on March 4th, 2012

    From KirbyT:

  159. BearSpiritDog
    9:10 pm on March 4th, 2012

    To The Storyteller: Thank you for this most beautiful prayer and for bringing us all together as ONE.

  160. Melanie
    9:11 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Close up:

  161. OleyHowlers
    9:12 pm on March 4th, 2012

    T&G, thank your mama for that beautiful and graceful prayer. We are humbled and we are now at peace.

    Alice, the video of Ally on the steps was heart-stopping thrilling. Thanks for posting it.

  162. Siber-H
    9:13 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Kirby, I am impressed! That is so neat with all the books out there. All of it looks so nice. Wish we could have been there.

  163. BearSpiritDog
    9:14 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Kirby! We are VERY impressed! That map is beautiful!!! (Look at all the sled dog books on the shelf)
    Thank you Melanie for posting it!!!

  164. Melanie
    9:17 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Dear Royals’ Parental Units. Magnificent! Powerful stuff there.
    I think it’s a good thing that you guys didn’t get the GPS tracking, it is enthralling.
    So I will make like the next picture from KirbyT and head to bed.

    Rebecca, take care of you and all the others at home. C.Harris, get home safe.
    AJ? God Speed.

    TTFN

  165. Tyb
    9:18 pm on March 4th, 2012

    I need some help with the grape joke too.

  166. Riö – The Evil Pug
    9:22 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Incredible!….snort!….Incredible prayer. We will say/read this every night while AJ is on the trail. Thank you to the StoryTeller and Golinka for their wise and kind hearts….wheeze!!…

    GPS! … Tracking!….Woooo!…. I’m so happy I can have the GPS tracker up at the same time as this here blog….whew!

  167. dawson
    9:23 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Amen to that spirit-restoring prayer!

    Kirby: Tell your mum that is a great display, map and books. The kids are lucky to have her inspiring them to read.

    Staff: I’m going to look at that link now. Did you pick a SK hat?

  168. B.Stover
    9:24 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Kirby: I know that the students are enjoying this!

  169. Tyb
    9:26 pm on March 4th, 2012

    T & G,
    Thank you for that beautiful prayer.

  170. B.Stover
    9:28 pm on March 4th, 2012

    The green grape thinks the purple grape has stopped breathing because it’s purple. (At least I think that’s it.)

  171. Riö – The Evil Pug
    9:29 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Purple!…Ever heard the saying, Holding your breath till you turn Purple?….snort!…Hence the green grape to the purple grape…..sneeze!

  172. Riö – The Evil Pug
    9:33 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Rebecca!….I sure hope she checks in with us tonight…sniffle!…I want to know she is okay. I also really hope she has help taking care of all the guys who are left behind in the kennel tonight….wheeze!…It seems her work is never done…wuffle!

  173. Siber-H
    9:36 pm on March 4th, 2012

    OMD Alice’s Video! It is beautiful…the dogs and the snow and you get to experience the Steps all the way from the top to the bottom. No crash this time.
    Notice the camera crews set up along the route. They love to get video of the crashes on the steps.
    We are watching it again.

  174. Kirby T. Penworthy
    9:40 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Thanks, Melanie! That second photo she posted was the craft that all the kids made. The photo on the bottom was thanks to Rebecca, and it’s of Twig just after AJ and the team crossed the finish line in Nome last year. The kids glued everything together, then added their own name to it. Then they could decorate it with pawprints and snowflakes. Since I wasn’t there, Mom put my name on the doorhanger for me! That way, if I want to sleep in I just have to hang it on my doorknob and Mom and Dad won’t disturb me! At least that’s the idea!!!

  175. Alice M. Johnson
    9:43 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Dawson, No I never picked a Stormy Kromer hat. I would choose teal if I did. You do know that a package from SK came here 2 days ago don’t you? Maybe you missed the post. The box has your name on it so I added it to the pile awaiting you in the quilt room.

  176. Alice M. Johnson
    9:45 pm on March 4th, 2012

    OOPs Staff posted with my ID again the doofus.

  177. bluecat
    9:50 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Thanks, all, for wonderful library maps and videos and beautiful words of prayer.

    The GPS is way cool.

    Macy – it took me a minute, but I got it. Good one.

    May Rebecca and C. Harris enjoy quiet dreams tonight after an incredible day.

  178. Tyb
    9:51 pm on March 4th, 2012

    B.
    You’re a genius. Your answer makes me laugh even harder at how slow I am rather than at the joke which is a good one.

  179. OleyHowlers
    9:54 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Kirby, the map looks great, and we love all the great sledding and Husky books out front. It’s great that your mom is getting the children interested and involved in the Iditarod.

  180. Barb & Maggie
    10:04 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Thank you to T & G’s mom and dad for that awesome prayer. It was truly wonderful! Thank you again.

  181. dawson
    10:10 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Alice! Tell the Doofus that she can have first pick of a hat out of the SK box. Happy Iditaroding! If it doesn’t fit…her head is too big. Heh!

  182. B.Stover
    10:14 pm on March 4th, 2012

    The GPS shows that AJ is going 0.0 MPH. What does that mean?

  183. dawson
    10:15 pm on March 4th, 2012

    B.Stover: It is getting late. That is my excuse for not getting that joke until it was explained to me.

    The Steps video makes it look not-so-scary. In real life, though, I bet it is just a tad too exciting.

    Kirby: Twig looks like he is going to sleep for a long time. Do Not Disturb!

  184. B.Stover
    10:16 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Now it shows that he’s going 8.9.

  185. Siber-H
    10:16 pm on March 4th, 2012

    TYB I never got the joke until B. explained it. Even if my mind weren’t on other things, I still wouldn’t have gotten the joke. It is a good joke. Dad will like it.

  186. Snowhook Bella
    10:21 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Plunderers: I arrived home from the restart not long before prayer time, yet was late in participating. The prayer is beautiful, meaningful and I am sincerely grateful for its words and power.

    Friends joined us for breakfast this morning and then we made the last minute preparations for the race—we intended to make them last night, yet with Rory were delayed.

    Not long after we arrived on the ice (staging area), I heard an unknown, but friendly voice say, “I’m C. Harris.” I did it! I met a real live Plunderer from this here blog. Charris was wonderful and happy, and I don’t think she has any idea how much it meant to us to have her make the journey to Willow. AJ was able to meet her as well as he was pulled in this direction and that by fans and race officials and volunteers. I pray that she will return home safely and will have the strength she needs for tomorrow.

    I road the runners with AJ from our dog truck to the starting line. The team felt powerful and required at least a dozen handlers to hold them back. I was able to say good-bye to AJ as he took his footing on both runners and the seconds counted down. It was the dreaded good-bye before our welcome reunion. I may or may not have shed a tear—I do every year. Why? Because I am so proud of him and thankful for the dogs.

    If I didn’t look like I was feeling tip-top it wouldn’t surpise me. Yes, there was the good-bye, but my back started spasming during the day. Not the little spasms I could ignore or pretend didn’t exist, rather it’s the kind that impacts my ability to stand easily, and makes me sick. AJ helped me into the truck so I could hide a little bit until the worst subsided—I felt bad because I wanted to spend more time with Charris. I wouldn’t hear of not riding the runners to the starting line with him—it’s our thing, it’s our last moments together.

    I am home now. The first of many prayers have been said and the first of many miles tracked.

    Thank you to each of you for everything you have done for the team.

  187. Siber-H
    10:22 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Stover and you guys, Don’t worry when you see a speed of zero mph.
    It could mean he is snacking the dogs or whatever.
    8.9 is still a rather fast speed…we will see lower, steadier speeds usually. If you see even slower speeds, it might mean the team is going uphill.

  188. Siber-H
    10:31 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Ok, Good, Rebecca is home safe and must get some rest now.
    It meant a lot to all of us for CHarris to be able to go. We are very proud of her because we know it wasn’t an easy trip.

    Long Story short on speed…It is not somethng I worry about because you will see it vary so much.

  189. Kirby T. Penworthy
    10:33 pm on March 4th, 2012

    SiberH: We don’t have the GPS or any of the other stuff — Mom hates watching videos on our computer because it’s so slow and they keep stopping and restarting. But on the Iditarod site they list the top five racers. Are those the ones who started first, so AJ and the others who started later are still at a disadvantage? They make it up somewhere down the road, right?

  190. Siber-H
    10:39 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Kirby, Those are basically the ones that started first except for maybe one. Whatever order the mushers are in now has absolutely no meaning to the outcome of the race. I would say no one is at a disadvantage right now. They do correct everyone’s time somewhere down the trail. I don’t know where and I don’t know just how they do it because I don’t have that many toenails to count on.
    You don’t need GPS and all that stuff…just stay tuned to the blog.

  191. Kirby T. Penworthy
    10:42 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Rebecca: I hope you can take care of your back. Sometimes Mom has back problems, too, and I’ve seen how painful they are. I’m sure it’s hard on you, especially, because you do so much for your dogs, which means a lot of bending and lifting — oh, and tugging. One time Mom hurt herself when one of us guys — not me! — tugged so hard on her leash that Mom fell down. So tell your guys not to do any tugging! So get some sleep and eat some cheesecake — not necessarily in that order! — and know that we’re all standing by to pick you up at a moment’s notice!

    P.S. Mom wanted me to say thanks again for all your help with her storytime. Everyone thought it was pretty neat that Mom knows someone who’s in the Iditarod. And they had lots of questions about the booties. Mom told them that when she put them on me, first I walked funny, then I wouldn’t walk at all. The kids thought that was pretty funny, but I was just glad that I wasn’t there to be embarrassed by Mom!

  192. Masquers
    10:44 pm on March 4th, 2012

    For some strange reason Bear actually got the joke right away. I think it surprised even him.
    Golinka and the Storyteller: The power of that beautiful prayer is beyond words.
    Did C.Harris say how long the drive is? I hope she checks in as soon as she reaches home safely.
    Bella: Please get some much needed rest. It has been a long week for you. I hope you feel better in the morning.

  193. Staff
    10:49 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Dawson,
    You mean there are two hats in that box and one of them is mine????
    Whoop! I guess I better go open it then. Good thing I came back for one more peek at the blog.
    BBL

  194. Snowhook Bella
    10:49 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Rode, not road the runners. Spelling while sleep deprived and on a pain pill will do that to you every time.

    KirbyT: The map looks great. You need to keep that when story time is complete.

  195. Kirby T. Penworthy
    10:50 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Thanks, SiberH. I figured that with most everyone else having the Insider stuff, we’d be able to keep up with the latest, even if we couldn’t see it with our own eyes. Mom usually doesn’t put stuff on here when she’s at work, but she tries to check on the blog whenever she gets a chance. And now she has a good excuse since she has to keep track of AJ for the map, which makes it work-related — she’s pretty devious, isn’t she?

  196. Riö – The Evil Pug
    10:52 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Rebecca!…My pug heart goes out to you tonight and I’m sure it will every night during this race….snuffle!… You are hurtin in more ways than at least 5, so please take care of yourself…(((sigh)))… Please take care of your back and your heart. You need them and we need YOU!…snort!… So get comfy, get some food, get some sleep….heh!…SiberH and his Siber friends will probably be manning the GPS all night tonight, so you can go eat and rest. Or rest and eat, whichever you prefer…wuffle!…Myself, well I like to snack first sleep later…sniff…That is neither here nor there right now…heh!…Just take care of yourself and as AJ says, “It is what it is.”…chuffle!

  197. Staff
    10:59 pm on March 4th, 2012

    (((whispering)))
    Plunderers. There were FOUR, hats in that box. Maybe I should eBay them or something. snicker. I am choosing the dark green one. It makes my hazel eyes look mossy green. (In my own private world anyway)

    Thank You Dawson! Whoo Hooo

    Now I am really off to bed.

    Thanks for the prayers, T&G, I will sleep strongly tonight I know. The prayer comes at the same time I am supposed to take my anti-rejections drugs so my timer will alert me every night that it is prayer time.

  198. Snowhook Bella
    11:03 pm on March 4th, 2012

    KirbyT: Tell your mom where it shows the top five mushers under race standing that she can see the standings for all the mushers by clicking on ‘more.’ This was the way the race was ‘watched’ before the GPS tracker. It may be a long time between updates, because they are done manually, but you can check and see which checkpoint AJ has arrived at or left, how many dogs he has, etc.

    Rio: Eating! That is what I’m forgetting to do. Eat. Certainly, I will feel better after a little bit of food. But, what to eat, what to eat? Cheesecake anyone?

  199. B.Stover
    11:04 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Rebecca: When I have back problems I lie on the heating pad. That often helps. Hope you feel better soon.

  200. Masquers
    11:06 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Drat! I missed Alice. I wanted to tell her how much we enjoyed the Ally Cam going down the Steps.
    Now if we only had a Giant Cam…..

  201. Siber-H
    11:07 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Well, actually, I shut down the tracker awhile ago because there is no point in watching it right now. All the mushers and teams have to start sorting themselves out before the tracker becomes of much use to us. This is the way it always works.

    Rebecca needs to go to sleep. No GPS Tracker for you tonight, young lady. Lock the doors.

    We are turning in, but will turn on the computer as soon as we get home from the dog park in the morning. We are anxious for CHarris to arrive home safely.

    Night All

  202. Riö – The Evil Pug
    11:09 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Anti-Rejection!….snort!….If I had some Anti-Rejection drugs I would be King of the World right now….heh!…Or at least this here blog…sniffle!

  203. Riö – The Evil Pug
    11:14 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Doors!….snort!….LOCK THE DOORS Rebecca!…grunt!…We all will remind you for the next 2 weeks about THAT!…gruffle!…What are you eating right now??…sniff!…I am starvin’ marvin’ and my bowl is empty…wheeze!

  204. dawson
    11:26 pm on March 4th, 2012

    I had no cheesecake so I settled for mashed potatoes and gravy – the ultimate comfort food. Well, perhaps I will have some ice cream for dessert.
    AJ and doggies are headed to Dan and Zoe’s checkpoint, perhaps getting their feet wet. I wish them well tonight.
    Get some sleep Rebecca, it will help your back and your cold. And hydrate! Siber H, Rio and all the rest of us insist!
    I will go to bed with Leonard’s prayer on my mind – sending it to AJ and the dogs on the trail. Goodnight to Rory, too. Lock your doors!

  205. Kirby T. Penworthy
    11:35 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Rebecca or SiberH or whoever else is still awake: I just checked the standings as Rebecca suggested. Three of the mushers — in positions 21, 22 and 23 — are in gold. What’s up with that? Also, the first 23 positions have an “I” with a dog in the last (Insights) column. When I put the cursor there it turns into a hand, but nothing happens when I click on it. What’s that supposed to mean?

  206. BearSpiritDog
    11:47 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Kirby: I’m going to borrow your door sign and head for dreamland.
    Happy mushing dreams to all.
    Good night everyone – Bear

  207. BearSpiritDog
    11:48 pm on March 4th, 2012

    Kirby: I don’t know the answer to your question. Good night.

  208. Snowhook Bella
    12:42 am on March 5th, 2012

    KirbyT: Those teams listed in gold mean that they were most recently updated in the race standings. Then next time the race standings are updated, you will see other teams listed in gold.

    AJ is in and out of Yentna—Dan and Zoe’s checkpoint. He should reach Melanie’s checkpoint within the next two hours.

  209. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    1:32 am on March 5th, 2012

    Once again, I am awed and humbled by the powerful prayers of Golinka and the Storyteller. I am aware of love that binds of to each other.

    This has not been an easy journey for Snowhook to reach the starting point, and yet, the difficulties – and the victories – have drawn us close together. Blessing have flowed in many different shapes and sizes, and we are grateful for each and every one.

  210. Snowhook Bella
    3:05 am on March 5th, 2012

    AJ is into Skwentna checkpoint, Melanie’s checkpoint. AJ will likely leave in the wee hours of the morning to move onto the checkpoint dedicated to Wolfie’s labs.

  211. C. Harris
    3:08 am on March 5th, 2012

    HOME SAFE AND SOUND and can get in bed before midnight. Glanced briefly at the blog… no I was not wearing a blue coat and while I was around while AJ and Rebecca were being filmed, I am pretty sure I wasn’t on camera. Thanks for your good thoughts about taking an extra day off but I have way too many deadlines plus in addition to being the school librarian, I am the backup sub and have been a math, English and history teacher when no subs are available. My school is at the edge of the district so subs can be hard to come by. But next year I will be retired and I already have big plans for the 2013 race.

    The best case scenario had me leaving Willow around 4 pm which pretty much happened. The roads were better in that there was no blowing snow today so while it was daylight, I did the 60 and 70 mph. After dark I dropped down to the 40s and 50s as it is just harder driving. The curves aren’t marked– I guess because drivers are just supposed to know that straight-aways are few and far between. I also tend to see “shapes” at the side of the road which throw me. Years ago during winter driving, a bear climbed over the guard rail and onto the highway. After I avoided hitting it my first thought was “I thought bears hibernated in the winter.” Every winter I see plenty of moose just before they start across the road so I am hyper aware of what is or might be in front of me. I’d rather hit a moose going 50mph rather than 70.

    I took several photos of McKinley while on the road. I could tell it was out before I left Willow and for the next hour I kept putting the flashers on my car and leaping out and taking photos. I tend to luck out seeing McKinley a lot but photos are hard to come by. I also took some “alpenglow” photos when I was nearing Cantwell. The road runs between two mountain ranges and I was racing the setting sun and losing daylight—this was between 6:30-7:00. But the neat thing was before the sun completely set, the “alpenglow” moved higher on the mountains until just the pointy tips were pink. The mountains ended up looking like they had pink flames on them for about two minutes.

    Nearling Healy, I was suddenly too hot in all my layers. I shut off the heat and rolled down my window. I hope the nearby moose enjoyed the Bon Jovi that was blasting on my stereo for the next hour. The temperature was actually 30 degrees colder than in Willow but the air is much drier which was why I was suddenly overdressed. (For instance, I have been colder at 0 in Anchorage than at –20 in North Pole because there is just more moisture in the air.)

    I stopped briefly in Nenana to walk around my car and stretch my back before I started the final mountain. I have a history with this mountain so I dread it. The ascent up took 45 minutes and the descent about 20 minutes. The moonlight broke through the clouds about 10 minutes into the ascent. I hadn’t seen it in the previous 3 hours so had kind of given up. Moonlight, me and the road = a magic bond that would help keep me safe. I was playing Sugarland which ended up being perfect for this section of the drive. If I hadn’t kept this trip a secret from you, I could have asked for your best recommendations for road music. (I can tell you that Celtic hammered dulcimer music makes the drive WAY too cosmic.)

    Again, it was a real treat to meet AJ and Rebecca and a very special day for me. I was glad to represent the plunderers and proud to be one. Over and out; more news tomorrow. Yes, Melanie the photos might need your magic touch but I haven’t looked through them yet.

  212. OleyHowlers
    5:56 am on March 5th, 2012

    Thank you, C.Harris, for letting us know you arrived home safe and sound. And Thank You Thank You Thank You for being at the Starting Line to represent all of us Plunderers!

  213. Kirby T. Penworthy
    6:50 am on March 5th, 2012

    Good morning, y’all! I just checked the standings, and it looks like AJ is starting to make up some time — he’s moved up into the 31st position. I’ve gotta help Mom make some cupcakes for one of the guys at work, but I’ll be back to check again later. I hope Mom leaves the computer on for me while she’s at work — this could get addictive!

    CHarris: Welcome home! What a great adventure you had. (I’d be jealous if it didn’t involve such small numbers on the thermometer!) Maybe AJ will let you ride in the sled during the race next year when you retire. You can hold all his gear on your lap, right?

    GO AJ!!!

  214. Tyb
    7:49 am on March 5th, 2012

    Thank Dog you made it home safely, Harris. We were with you all the way. Hang in there today though it might be a long hang. Thanks for making the trip and for keeping us informed.

  215. Snowhook Bella
    8:11 am on March 5th, 2012

    AJ has left Skwentna according to the GPS tracker, race standings aren’t updated, yet. Finger Lake checkpoint is dedicated to Wolfie’s labs, Winie, Honey and Paddy.

  216. OleyHowlers
    8:25 am on March 5th, 2012

    Mom feels like she is on that sled. And we are helping to pull. This is the most exciting thing. Ever.

  217. Rose
    8:34 am on March 5th, 2012

    Good Morning All!

    CHarris: I am so proud to be represented as a Plunderer by you!
    I am breathing a sigh of relief that you made it home safely.

    The Royal Mum and Dad: That was such a lovely prayer. I will be printing that and carrying it with me while AJ and the team are on their travels.

    Rebecca: Please take good care of yourself. Get good rest, eat yummy cheesecake, and remember the quilt is gently covering you. Rest well, you will need to be tip-top for AJ’s return.

  218. Rose
    8:37 am on March 5th, 2012

    Belle Starr:

    Please make sure you and your four-legged mama take good care of your two-legged mama. LOCK THE DOOR, and make sure the key is out of the lock when you’re inside!!!!!

  219. OleyHowlers
    8:54 am on March 5th, 2012

    Are the steps before or after Finger Lake?

  220. Snowhook Bella
    8:58 am on March 5th, 2012

    Howlers: The Steps are after Finger Lake. The Rainy Pass checkpoint will bring relief that the team made it through that particular challenge.

    Doors! Lock the doors! That is what I forgot to do last night when I arrived home. Let’s keep this between us, otherwise AJ is likely to turn the team around, run home, lock the doors and then head back out on the trail. Can you imagine what that would do to his race standings?

  221. OleyHowlers
    9:03 am on March 5th, 2012

    Thanks, Rebecca. So we will anxiously await our team’s arrival at Siber’s checkpoint.

    WE LOVE AJ !!!!!

  222. Rose
    9:10 am on March 5th, 2012

    The “Today” show just gave an honorable mention to the Iditarod!

    Alaska Dispatch site has a slide-show. There are a few pictures of AJ’s team. GO SNOWHOOK!!!!!!!!

  223. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    9:16 am on March 5th, 2012

    Well done, CHarris!

    I have every expectation that Honey, Winnie and Paddy are racing along beside AJ. Be fast on your feet, ladies, I miss you each and every day.

  224. Snowhook Bella
    9:32 am on March 5th, 2012

    Even our favorite author isn’t immune to computer problems, but SQPA has now been able to post for today.

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