Monday, February 23, 2015

Of Vet Checks and Mushers

A busy kinda day.

After breakfast the trailer was dropped off to get repairs to make it all brand new like.  At least make it so we could drive it on upcoming so called crappy roads as we follow Randy on his adventure.
It took all day but Rob gave the company here in Prince Albert a two thumbs up (name inserted here when I find it out).
 Crippling into Prince Albert
McGrubers, or McGivers, or clever musher
Repairs are given a two thumbs up from Rob

Vet checks were next on the list and everyone was given great scores and were given the AOK to run tomorrow. Each dog is checked and then marked.
 Gums are checked for dehydration
 Joints, such as shoulders, hips and wrists are checked for stiffness or other issues
 Feet are checked for cracks and splits

 The afternoon was then spent running errands from looking for sleeping bags to getting snacks.  It also included a run around trying to find ski poles for Randy that he forgot back at home.  It's all about the little things.

Randy and I then were dropped off at the exhibition grounds for the Musher/Handler meeting where rules and an overview of the trail were discussed.

Then off to Meet the Musher.  A chance to meet those running and to do some visiting.  
It was fun to meet up with those that I met a few years back here in Prince Albert  and to chat face to face rather than Facebook with other friends.
 Team colours 
 Laquasha with Melissa and Sara
It was very nice to actually meet them in person and I felt tremendous relief to see they made it here.
Laquasha left before they had a chance to call the mushers up for a group picture
I don't blame them for getting out of there to get to a well deserved bed!!
That's okay, she will be in the finishers picture!

It was also time to pick the bib numbers.  Randy chose #5 meaning he will be fifth out of the chute at 12:08 tomorrow afternoon.

Back to the hotel to drop and feed the fur dudes and time to send the musher off to bed for a good long sleep (hopefully)  I now sit and wait to drop the kids one more time before us girls head to bed for our well deserved sleep.

I apologize for the thrown together blog.... I will do some writing in my paper journal starting tomorrow as I will be off line for a day or two before being able to put something up.  I promise something with a little more meat next time.

For those that are wanting to follow along head to the Canadian Challenge web page for more information or go to their Facebook page which will also give regular updates as well.

Vehicular Challenge

We are here.

And by that I mean that team Controlled Chaos has made it into Prince Albert.
Short a couple of wheels, and with a genius side of the road middle of nowhere moves, Rob and Randy managed to piece back together the crippled trailer.
(pictures to follow)

Bed time wasn't until 1 AM which could make for a very long day or one filled with hilarity.  Let's hope for the latter.

After travelling with Rick and Dena from Didsbury which took us about 9 hours I said goodbye to the team by giving each one a good scratch behind the ears and an added bonus butt rub... the fur team members that is... and sat back to wait for Randy.
Sitting in the lounge I met Gerry Walker and his wonderful wife Brenda and instantly took a liking to both of them.   I think anyone who loves their dogs as much as the mushers I have met so far have to be incredible people, and they are.

Randy arrived around 11pm with his entourage or his dog sled groupies and driver. Dena has dubbed him Rock Star Randy.
Melissa and Jessica are two young veterinarians from Fort Mac who wanted to come along and cheer the team on.  And what a bonus if anyone is dropped from the team for any medical issue, this made me feel so much more at ease with the care of the dogs.

They will not be allowed to help during the race but I can certainly ask any questions or voice my concerns if there happens to be any.

Rob the driver is a tall bush man (my first impression) but after breakfast today I'm convinced he is more of a gentle teddy bear.  I'll let you know as I get to know him better.

The human team has head to Canadian Tire to pick up last minute supplies and see if repairs can be made on the trailer before tomorrow.  I have hung back to write a quick word and maybe close my eyes for a short moment.

Vet checks are at 11:15  with a meeting at 4:00 and then meet the musher at 6:00
Tomorrow the race starts at 12 noon in down town Prince Albert.

I am still waiting on word from the young lady Laquasha Laviolette.  They have had the worst luck on their trip out here.   I do hope they make it with plenty of time to spare so that she may get a good sleep for the big day tomorrow.

I will get out with my camera today to get pictures of the team, human and fur dudes, and will get back on here with a report on how the vet check turned out.

In the meantime I'm going to close my eyes for a bit, I do believe sleep will be lacking after today.

Rick getting organized for supper while DeCar supervises
 Fry waits patiently for dinner.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Canadian Challenge, Lets Go!

I spoke to Randy last night confirming our meet up this Sunday in Prince Albert.

So it all begins.

I am a bit of a Facebook fan user addict and follow many mushers from those that are close friends, to those I have never met but love reading of their adventures, and it struck me as to how many I have actually met that will be at the Challenge this year.

Randy was in good spirits during our phone call, looking forward to the race.  There have been a few set backs from crappy weather/training conditions to a virus that spread through his team, however all is well now he confirmed.  In fact my call interrupted his packing and sorting of booties.

When we get together Sunday I will be meeting for the first, time his driver, Rob.  Also a couple of young ladies from Fort Mac. will be joining us as the cheering squad..... if anything it will be a week long party.  I have never had trouble getting along with others and am looking forward to making new friends.
Photo Credit: Tracy Holland 

I am also looking forward to seeing and hanging out with current friends, musher friends who I only get to see once a year and meeting friends I've only ever spoken to via social media.

Randy and his team, Controlled Chaos, will be my main focus and will of course be the team we cheer for the loudest.... however it will be hard to not cheer for everyone.

Rick Wannamaker is not only who I am traveling to Prince Albert with (and hanging out with his wonderful wife Dena) but I also had the privilege of helping run his dogs as they prepared for this race.  Many of these fur dudes and I are 'friends' (run Fry run!)
Photo Credit: Mike Forhan

A young lady by the name of Laquasha has entered the race as well.  She has amazing dreams that include the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod.  Her team of beautiful huskies are making their way across Canada from Quebec as I write this, however sad news came this morning from her dad, Steven, as he reported that due to vehicle issues he will not be running along side with his daughter this year as was planned.  A fathers love was very present as he helped re-pack and send her off with her mom so that she could carry out her dream.
Photo Credit: from Facebook Page of Steven Laviolette

Another young lady who I was honoured to have met in 2013 at the Yukon Quest is Christina Traverse.  I live vicariously through the youth wishing I could go back and carry out the same dreams they have.  Yes it is possible to have the same goals, but there are years missing with less time to follow through with them.  
Christina in Carmacks 2013

The other racers entered in the 12 dog are Stefaan De Marie,  Kyle Job, Jillian Lawton, Laura Neese and Gerry Walker. (I've heard so much about Gerry from Rick that I almost feel as though we have met)

There is an 8 dog category that runs at the same time as the 12 dog and there are two mushers running that I am looking forward to meeting up with again, and cheering them on.
Anna Bolvin a lovely musher who I would like to run with one day (just need my team of 8 dogs first!!)
Photo credit: Scott Knudsen

AND Greg Scrivener who was the most down to earth musher I have ever met.  He also was a good sport and let me revel in my third place win at the Rosebud Run.
Photo Credit: Mike Forhan

Looking back I have met many wonderful people through the love of dogs.  I count myself among the luckiest out there.  Money is a very low priority in my life, but to be surrounded by good people is very high and this mushing community is full of many which has made me feel very rich indeed.

Off to pack myself now...  I'll be back once we've arrived in Prince Albert this Sunday night.