Over the Ice to Koyuk

As the situation in the United States becomes more tenuous, there is still a dog race underway.

So much has happened and is happening and it’s been quite a day.

Today I awoke to Pete and the Team heading North. I’ve been contemplating whether or not going to Nome was a good plan. It’s been advised against, but I was thinking of going because I could cover the finish for those who couldn’t go.

Well, in the end, I decided against it and had to rush-rush-rush to get supplies for my trip back home to Bethel. I had been hanging in Anchorage waiting for the best time to head to Nome, but now it was Bush Mode and that changed everything.

Living in the Bush has it’s advantages and disadvantages. It is an awesome place to live, but unfortunately prices are a bit expensive so it’s common place for “Bush People” to stock up on the way back home. As you drive around Anchorage you can see us all over. We stick out because we are the crazy people packing load of groceries into plastic totes that are exactly 50lbs. We take all of our goodies back to Bethel as baggage. Bush luggage is Rubbermaid Totes, or a case of papertowels, or egg boxes full of groceries. In any case, once I made the decision to go, I had to get to the grocery stores to load up. Problem is that with all of the coronavirus things happening, the stores were full and some supplies were limited. There isn’t a shortage, but people are buying like there is and it’s just a madhouse!!

So in all of that activity, I had no time to post!!

Now back in Bethel there are stories to tell.

The biggest news is our friend and trail partner, Richie Diehl withdrew from the race and headed back home to Aniak. His Team picked up a bug on the Trail after Ruby and just couldn’t recover in a timely manner. After a couple of days of rest and recuperation the Team will be ready to “Rock and Roll”, but by that time the Race will be over. This is Richie’s first scratch and as much no one ever wants that to happen, everything about dog care is about the health of the Team. It’s a bummer not to be able to continue, but Richie will be back again on the runners in no time. Real Diehl Racing had a great run for the 2020 Iditarod. Bum luck has nothing to do with great dog care. See ya again soon!

Meanwhile Pete and the Team began to recuperate after similar trouble. After a good long rest in both Unalakleet and Shaktoolik, they appear to be having great trail times. Speeds have picked up and Ron is pleased with the performance. “Times look good and he appears to be moving well on the trail,” he said.

Some interesting movement at the front of the pack. After laying low for much of the race, Mitch Seavey has started to increase his speed and is now in second place! I’ve been watching his trail times from Ruby and his race is the perfect example of what I posted earlier– Keep your Team in position to take advantage of another Team’s trouble. Mitch is certainly doing this and having speed at the end is really impressive for the Seward musher.

Pete is now 20 miles out of Koyuk. After a long night on the ice expect him to take a good break before heading for all points West.

Mushing weather for this evening: Clear- 28 degrees and light winds. Let’s hope it doesn’t get any warmer!

As our Country braces for the impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) please use precautions recommended by the CDC. Practice self-isolation if you have been traveling, stick with the 6 foot separation rule, don’t shake hands or hug, wash your hands often, and don’t touch your face. We are in for a tough trail with this one, but if everyone practices good hygiene it will hopefully lessen the impact.

See ya in the Morning. Go Team Kaiser!

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