Now that I’m back from Alaska and the great race I want to post some things about this experience. I’m not going to cross every “T” and dot every “I.” Just some uncut thoughts for you to ponder.
So, after a grueling trip from the East coast to Anchorage we arrived to temperatures of an average of “0” Fahrenheit. That’s a far cry from 65F short sleeve weather. Along the way was delays due to storms, lost luggage, and missed connections. It didn’t matter because the goal had been set. We would do whatever to make it to this event.
The four hour time change was the first challenge I faced. It may not seem that big of a deal but I was always thinking about my huskies I left behind. They are my children and of course I worried about them. I wished they could have come with me to the lands that bred them. One of these days I’ll take them home to a place they have never been before. The place of their birth for thousands of years. The lands that made them what they are.
The first night was a private dinner with 4 time Iditarod champ Lance Mackey. $120 dollars a plate dinner and it was worth every penny! I met a legend of a man who beat 4th stage throat cancer and came back to win 4 Iditarods in a row. That is something that has never been done before and may not ever again. His kennel name is, “The Comeback Kennel.” Well played Lance!
He is an animated man. Full of fun and living wild and free. He is a survivor of many things. I suggest you check out his movie, “The Great Alone.” It’s a great movie about his life challenges and how he was saved by the dogs.
I had a surprise for him. I did a painting of his famous lead dog named “Larry.” Larry was his lead dog who finished 8 Iditarods, and two Yukon Quest. He won two Iditarods and two Yukon Quest back to back.
I presented Lance with the painting I did of Larry. He was blown away and said I almost made him cry. That is the best compliment I could have hoped for! I told him to take the painting on his race this year packed in his sled bag for good luck. He told me that wasn’t a bad idea. I’m not sure if he did it or not but he’s currently running in the top 10. Maybe my painting of Larry is on the Iditarod trail? I guess I’ll know in a few more days.
The intimate dinner at Club Paris had great food, and Lance spent time with everyone signing autographs and just being him. It was grand for a dog freak like me. I was in the presence of mushing royalty and I loved it. The people I met in Alaska all share one trait, and that is they are real. They don’t hide anything. They love you or hate you and you always know where you stand. An honesty that I can live with from a people who know about hard work, surviving, and rolling with the punches life gives you.
So, in this first part I’ll show you some photos of my first encounter with Lance Mackey.
Lot’s more to tell, but this was the first day.