Snowhook (More)

OK. Yesterday was actually the ceremonial start, the actual Iditarod – greatest sled dog race in the known universe – beginning tomorrow. Meanwhile, here’s the first of our overnight reports from Rebecca, CEO of Snowhook Kennel, our team in the race. Below is a picture of musher AJ with star dogs Chet and Bernie (yes!) and one of Bernie alone, wearing an outfit reflective of Hawaiian pants (readers of the series will get the reference. For non-readers of the series, here’s a reason to plunge in.)

Most people sleep in on Saturdays, but not us. Not this Saturday. The work day came early after working late into the night to complete a long list of must-be-dones. We awoke to five inches of heavy, wet snow slushing form the sky. Having loaded up the dogs, we fishtailed our way on the highway until the snow turned to rain as we neared Anchorage for the Ceremonial Start.

It gets quite busy right before the race, and then it gets even busier with race requirements and race festivities. The Ceremonial Start, where teams travel eleven miles through the city streets greeted and cheered by spectators and fans is similar. There is down time, some socializing, photos, official race tasks of verifying dogs, and then it gets very busy, very quick. In a matter of minutes, AJ and I harnessed the dogs, bootied each paw, hooked the team to the line, and waited for a race official to countdown our path to the starting line, “Savidis, two minutes.”

Five…four…three…two…one! The starting line held the best snow we would see during the ceremonial stretch. Warm temperatures and rain turned the trail into less than suitable for mushing. It was a slog. We expected patches of pavement. We expected correctly. We anticipated stopping the team a lot to give them a break from the warm temperatures. We stayed true to our plan. We guessed there might be some slush on the trail. We only get partial marks for that guess. Yes, there was slush, but we had no idea we would be dumping water out of our boots at the end of the run. With some puddles deeper than our boots are high, we returned home waterlogged.

As we prepare to leave for Fairbanks—the location of this year’s restart, we have added drying out gear to that list of must-be-dones. Due to the change in the race course this year, Sunday serves as a travel day so mushers can transport their teams to Fairbanks. Tomorrow will be another long day in a string of long days.

The restart will be held on Monday morning at 10:00.

Both AJ and I want to say a special thank you to the Plunderers who are traveled to cheer for AJ and the dogs (and have given a go at handling) as well as those of you cheering us on in spirit. We are honored to be called ‘your team,’ and hope to make you proud. Thank you for your continued support and friendship.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, March 8th, 2015 at 9:13 am and is filed under Chet The Dog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

73 Responses to “Snowhook (More)”

  1. B.Stover
    9:58 am on March 8th, 2015

    Excellent report! Harnessing and booting the dogs in minutes. Wow! I wish I could transport some of our Michigan snow to Alaska.

    Love all of the pictures and stories from yesterday.

    Safe travels Snowhook.

    Good morning all.

  2. B.Stover
    10:04 am on March 8th, 2015

    I really like Turtleman’s strategy.

  3. O'Howlers
    10:51 am on March 8th, 2015

    Morning, Bee et all. Great report from Rebecca, and nice pictures of Chet and Bernie, the Race Dogs, not the private investigators.
    Jeff Schultz posted a photo of a sled that tipped over in all of that water and slush. Yuck!
    What is the game plan for today? Are any of the Way Up North Plunderers venturing on to Fairbanks?
    By the way, Meashka says Rico is still open for funding, as are Chet and Bernie (HINT to Admin and Spence).
    Email her at

  4. Barb, Maggie and Lucy
    11:11 am on March 8th, 2015

    Good morning all. Happy Sunday and Egg Day. We here are having pancakes and sausage, since Lyla and Jack are joining us for breakfast.

    Can’t remember how far it is to Fairbanks. Can one of the more informed remind us?

    Wish we could send snow from here too, but by the end of the week it will probably be gone. Can already see some patches of grass in some southern exposures.

  5. O'Howlers
    11:18 am on March 8th, 2015

    We have so much snow here, and it is so deep, we won’t see it disappear for a long time. But, the cold weather is gone gone gone. It is going up to 45 today, and is supposed to hit 50 by Wednesday.
    The next season around here is not Spring. It is Mud Season. In Alaska, they call it Break Up.
    BM&L, we seem to remember Hobbit telling usthat the drive to Fairbanks from Anklrage is 8 hours, but we could be wrong.

  6. O'Howlers
    11:19 am on March 8th, 2015

    And please ignore our typos.

  7. B.Stover
    11:43 am on March 8th, 2015

    I looked it up: It is 359 miles (6 hours and 17 minutes) from Anchorage to Fairbanks.

  8. B.Stover
    11:48 am on March 8th, 2015

    There is a Google Doodle for International Women’s Day.

  9. Herd of Hounds' Mom
    12:02 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Good morning B&M&L, O’H and B, Sunny Sunday to all. While Snowhook goes north today so do Dawson (with wings) a bit later and the HOH’s peeps. Maps say 350+ to Fairbanks. Long stretches with no communication but a good road.
    We are about to get on the road and are waiting for the sun to rise and shine. Once we get north we will try to get more fotos. Watch out reindeer, here comes the DDD. Watch our Fairbanks, here come Dawson and the HOH’s mom.
    We will miss CHobbit, Staff, Mr. Fireslippers and Nana.

  10. O'Howlers
    12:09 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Safe travels, HOH and Awesome!

  11. O'Howlers
    12:14 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Love the Google Doodle, Bee. Thanks for the tip.

  12. C.hobbit
    12:30 pm on March 8th, 2015

    After dropping Dawson at the airport, the rest of us will head south along the inlet to Girdwood, Portage Glacier and maybe Whittier. Whittier would be a big maybe. Mostly blue skies today which means the temperatures are dropping.

  13. Wolfie
    12:31 pm on March 8th, 2015

    I’m so glad that Plunderers will be a the restart! We are enjoying the photos and the live reporting. Safe travels, everyone!

  14. BooBear
    12:35 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Good Sunday morning, all! We are loving the plunderer coverage and pics of all things Alaska and Iditarod. Keep them coming.

    Meashka, please check your donation SDD!

  15. O'Howlers
    1:25 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Dawson is being dropped at the airport? Is she flying to Fairbanks?
    HOH, if you go to Whittier, Mom will be laughing her butt off at you.

  16. O'Howlers
    1:33 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Philip just posted his lineup for the Snowhook B-Team:

  17. O'Howlers
    1:46 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Who is Larry? We are wondering if that is a communication breakdown and if Philip actually said Lefty, and someone heard Larry.

  18. Meashka
    1:57 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Rio, HOH, and BooBear have all sent money toward Rico’s sponsorship. BooBear also sent money toward Chet and Bernie, the Race Dogs not the P.I.s.

    Woo Hoo! Plunderers rock!

  19. Meashka
    1:58 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Mom said she will give $ toward Chet and Bernie too.

  20. DDD
    2:05 pm on March 8th, 2015

    We are on the road to Fairbanks.

  21. Herd of Hounds' Mom
    2:08 pm on March 8th, 2015

    The way he said that I feel we’re a Bob Hope Bing Crosby Road show.

  22. O'Howlers
    2:10 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Who is driving and what kind of car is it? We hope it is 4-wheel drive.

  23. BooBear
    2:14 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Could someone post the link to the race dogs and the otherwise dogs again, please?

  24. Meash
    2:15 pm on March 8th, 2015
  25. Meash
    2:16 pm on March 8th, 2015
  26. BooBear
    2:21 pm on March 8th, 2015

    We have done so well with dog sponsorship but it just amazes me how many aren’t sponsored. We just have to realize we have done our best and that Luna can keep the others from feeling slighted. All are important.

  27. Meash
    2:25 pm on March 8th, 2015

    BooBear, Mom promised that as soon as she buys her winning Powerball ticket, she will sponsor all of the Snowhook dogs. Until then, we do what we can.

  28. dawson
    2:53 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Bernie, the 4 legged, is very handsome in his Hawaiian shirt, just like Bernie the 2 legged. By the way, it is hard to tell the difference between Chet and Bernie (4leggeds) unless Bernie is wearing his Hawaiian shirt.

    Happy International Womens Day!

    I’m flying to Fairbanks at 2 o clock.

    WhoooHoooo! Go Snowhook! I hear the conditions are fine for running dogs in Fairbanks. The sun is shining on us today.

    Thinking of Golinka and Storyteller at their show and hoping people open their wallets and purses.

  29. Wookie's and Teddy's Dad
    3:27 pm on March 8th, 2015

    While anxiously awaiting the real start of the Iditarod, Teddy and Zeta continue their own efforts to become East Coast sled dogs. Here they are running through the snow along Seneca Creek. Note Teddy’s ear flaps — if they flapped any more, he would probably be airborne. Ears.MOV

  30. Wookie's and Teddy's Dad
    3:29 pm on March 8th, 2015

    And in honor of the Snowhook Team, here is Teddy along Seneca Creek (and yes, he did go in swimming, the snow and temperature notwithstanding) wearing his ceremonial green booties.

  31. B.Stover
    4:09 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Go Teddy and Zeta!

  32. Riö - The Evil Pug
    4:37 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Teddy!…You are insane!….gah!

    Nana!…I see that Nana has been working hard on improving her signature photography technique….sneeze!

  33. Riö - The Evil Pug
    4:39 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Drews!….The Drew Sisters with Chet and Bernie!…snort!snort!…To be fair, Nana took this photo as well….heh!

  34. dawson
    5:00 pm on March 8th, 2015

    I’m at the airport where I purchased the March issue of “Alaska” magazine because it has a picture of AJ, old dog truck and some Snowhook dogs, circa 2010.

  35. dawson
    5:10 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Nana’s picture of me, Staff (2 leggeds) and Chet and Bernie (4 leggeds) ensures that I will forever think she is great photographer!

    Teddy and his ears are winning the race! Both are number 1 in my book.

  36. Meash
    5:21 pm on March 8th, 2015

    How did Staff become such a Giant (next to Dawson)?

  37. Meash
    5:24 pm on March 8th, 2015

    We all had a fabulous day. There was lots and lots of snowshooing, a fire i. The firepit, and apri snowsooing beer. Now we are eating freshly made bread and awaiting our beef roast.

  38. Riö - The Evil Pug
    5:29 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Honestly!….I have no idea where I am or who I am with…snuffle!….Does this ever happen to youse?

  39. Barb, Maggie and Lucy
    5:37 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Meash, We are of one mind today. We are also having roast, with onions, potatoes and carrots. Such a good Sunday meal.

    Nice pictures again. Someone said the Chet and Bernie were twins, and they certainly look like it. Are they identical by any chance? Rare in dog litters, but it happens. Either way, we think they are beautiful. Who are their mama and daddy again?

    Just saw two young boys in sweatshirts, kicking a soccer ball down the street. A true sign of Spring.

    Barb is taking an extra shift again tomorrow. Too bad her extra 5 days this month are all going towards her deductible. Bummer!

    Dawson, are you catching up with Sharon and the DDD again in Fairbanks? Are you all flying out at the same time?

    Another great video from the young Master Teddy. Zeta’s mom sure gets some good workouts! Glad she is young and sure-footed.

    T & G, how did the folks do at the big Shew?

  40. Riö - The Evil Pug
    6:29 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Socially!….My friend just sent me a text asking me where I was and how I was doing….sniff!…I replied that I did not know. Then she sent me a text saying she was watching the facebookie movie about Mark Zuckonit….grunt!…She said it is disturbing on so many levels and she is very glad I am not with her to watch it….gasp!

  41. Mpop's and Loulou's Mom
    6:52 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Reminder: the blog time won’t change to DST until April 5th.

  42. Diane C
    7:00 pm on March 8th, 2015

    A late Happy Sunday to all and thanks for the excellent photos and videos (I especially enjoyed Bernie’s shift and anything involving the opossum–Ricky Lee Bubba, was it?).
    Not that I know anything about it, but it does look like there is ample snow there–why are they moving the start elsewhere?
    (It is currently 80 degrees here, so any amount of snow looks quite arctic and suitable to me; please forgive my ignorance.)
    I should be either in class or on my way there when the real race starts, but my heart will be in AK with y’all.

  43. Mpop's and Loulou's Mom
    7:42 pm on March 8th, 2015


  44. Mpop's and Loulou's Mom
    7:43 pm on March 8th, 2015

    We are on the correct time! Yea Mike Baker!

  45. Tupper and Gilly
    7:50 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Here we are – just catching up after the show. Mama and the Storyteller are sprawled out on the couch, feet in the air. The show was in a big exhibit hall with concrete floors and very little heat.
    But, the producers loved their booth and invited them to come to the (already sold out) Christmas season show. So, it’s all good.
    Thanks to all the great reporting and pictures from Alaska. We couldn’t catch a break today to check in, but we are up to speed now. Praying hard for lots of good snow on the trail, and happy running for the puppies.
    Teddy – you da dawg!
    Mama says we will be posting the First Night Prayer tomorrow at standard plunderer time. And she would like to have an SDD from any of you that can take on prayer duties while she heartlessly abandons us for the joys of New Mexico and green chili stew.

  46. Riö - The Evil Pug
    8:00 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Tupper!…Tell yer maw and paw to ship some Hatch Hot Green Chilies home so she can make my friends recipe…snort!

  47. dawson
    8:35 pm on March 8th, 2015

    CHobbit with tne lovely long legged Harris:

  48. Rose-the small and meek
    8:41 pm on March 8th, 2015

    RIO! I spend most of my day figuring out where I am and who I am with. Every time I look at your picture on the Plunder On! calendar, I smile to myself and think “this is what Rio must look like after Auction Central.”

    B,M,&L, I could be wrong, and I often am, but I think Chet and Bernie’s parents are Bonnie and Orion. Best to check with the Pixie.

    Thanks to the traveling Plunderers for all the great photos!

    Heh! Just saw footage of the Idiatrod ceremonial start on the Westchester local news.

    Dawson, thanks for the kind words about the WosenGrizz sled. It makes Grizz and I very happy to have been able to show our gratitude to AJ and Rebecca for their kindness and hospitality during our visit. (whispering) Were you able to steal back Bell Starr’s sparkles from the Pixie?

    Punching out. Sweet dreams to all.

  49. Meash
    8:42 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Dawson, Are you in Fairbanks?
    We are hitting the hay now. Mom says we must all wake up an hour early tomorrow morning. Grumble

  50. Riö - The Evil Pug
    8:46 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Found!….I just learned I am with The Giants on the way to Fairbanks. It is 16 degrees and I hope I have my black hat on…grunt!…Someone shared half a sandwich with me on the way up – that is totally not enough. I am wasting away…wheeze!

  51. dawson
    9:13 pm on March 8th, 2015

    I am in Fairbanks now where it is much colder and much more snow than Anchorage.

    There is a small picture of Justin lifting up Louisa Mae to touch the burled arch in Nome in the Alaska Airlines magazine. Seems he is becoming well known.

    HOHo and DDD will show up when they get here. We are on the same floor at this not 6 star but not bad hotel.

    There was a snafu with my credit cards so they let me pay cash.

    In the air:

  52. Riö - The Evil Pug
    9:31 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Dawson!….Amazing! That looks just like Cape Cod!…snort!…Please take lots and lots of photos in Fairbanks…wheeze!

  53. dawson
    9:34 pm on March 8th, 2015

    I am in Fairbanks now where it is much colder and much more snow than Anchorage.

    There is a small picture of Justin lifting up Louisa Mae to touch the burled arch in Nome in the Alaska Airlines magazine. Seems he is becoming well known.

    HOHo and DDD will show up when they get here. We are on the same floor at this not 6 star but not bad hotel.

    There was a snafu with my credit cards so they let me pay cash.

    In the air:

  54. dawson
    9:44 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Carpola! I just posted a double dawson with the 9:13 comment. Only it looks as if I put two links to the ” in the air” picture so it is being moderated.

    Rio: I will take lots and lots of photos but my video camera photos cannot be posted as sadly no one has the right equipment. I can post from my ipad so I will take as many as I can from it.

    I am going to try to be hands on with the dogs as much as possible so that may affect my ability to be a photographer.

  55. dawson
    9:53 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Rick Casillo’s team unloading in back of the hotel:

  56. Staff
    9:54 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Mama Meash, I am 4 inches taller than Dawson. That is why I look so tall. She is a munchkin. Heh. But Nana is taller than me!

  57. Barb, Maggie and Lucy
    9:56 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Get a good night’s sleep and have fun tomorrow, Dawson. Take lots of pictures for us Iditarod wannabees.

  58. Martha
    9:59 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Just catching up from a long weekend. I love the modern technology of today’s medicine. Zoe Had what seemed to be a very bad flu on Friday. She went to the ER and they thought maybe a bleeding ulcer. They did endoscopy, found it, and fixed it. She went home today.
    Now, let the race begin!

  59. Mpop's and Loulou's Mom
    10:05 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Rick Casillo – our local boy makes good. Josie who does my hair is friends with his sister.

  60. Staff
    10:06 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Staff at the marina in Whittier. We would not want to live there. It was blowing up a gale. I am trying to stay firmly on the ground.

    And Diane if you think this is snow, look at my feet. Mountains don’t count.

  61. Staff
    10:07 pm on March 8th, 2015
  62. Staff
    10:09 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Mr.Staff at the same place.

  63. dawson
    10:14 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Yikes! Zoe: Get better soon.

  64. Staff
    10:17 pm on March 8th, 2015

    A scenery view on the way to Whittier. Along the bottom is the road we drove in on. The road snakes along the base of the mountains just above the water. There were many beautiful views.
    No one else got out of the car to photograph them except me. The wind was biting cold even though the temperature was not too low at all (low 20’s)

  65. Staff
    10:19 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Nana, CHobbit and Mr.Fireslippers staying safe and warm in the Alaskan Sibaroo. Weenies!

  66. Riö - The Evil Pug
    10:20 pm on March 8th, 2015

    White!…At least the ground is white in Fairbanks….grump!…I need booties and quick…sniff!

  67. Riö - The Evil Pug
    10:22 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Staff!…Wow!…I am so glad you took that photo and not Nana…heh!heh!

  68. Staff
    10:28 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Martha, we have Zoe in our prayers. I know she will feel better soon.

    Rio, These are the problems you run in to when you insist on leaving the back yard. I wonder what Beau is telling your friend and her mother? Maybe he is telling some terrible stories about you.

  69. Riö - The Evil Pug
    10:30 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Zoe!…Please take care of yourself. You have newfs and a grand-kids and a great grand-kid who depend on youse…sniff!

  70. Beau - The Black Pug
    10:33 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Sneeze!….Rio has been abducted by dose Aliens an I am stickin’ to dat story till dey figure out he is a big pain in der Alien Ass an bring him back home…sneeze!snuffle!

  71. Beau - The Black Pug
    10:37 pm on March 8th, 2015

    Sneeze!…Forgive me Father for i have written a cussing word…cough!…I take it back an will never cuss against on dis here blogs….sneezel!…I do not even know if dose Aliens have Asses…sniff!

  72. O'Howlers
    5:45 am on March 9th, 2015

    We are loving all the great pictures. Dawson, we are thrilled tat you are in Fairbanks. Hopefully HOH will be joining you soon.
    Staff, please tell us you had that delish salmon burger in Whittier.

  73. Diane C.
    12:35 pm on March 9th, 2015

    Staff–I stand corrected. I hope you find a way to warm up.

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