Monday, March 3, 2014

Alaska in winter

It hardy seems it has only been a week and one day since we left Nashville.  Howard was sick before we left but went to the Dr on Friday and got two antibiotic injections plus an oral antibiotic.  He felt fine when we got here. We left Nashville Sunday afternoon and flew into Minneapolis.  We had a short layover there and then flew into Anchorage.

We were asked to come up and cook for the teams coming to work for GraceWorks.

I had an infection before we left and there was a mix up getting my prescription, so I had to wait until we got up here to get the medication.  I was able to get it Monday.  We went out to breakfast with Jerry, Melissa and Scott and Connie and did a little bit of shopping.  There was not food here.  We are the first teams here for the year.  I spent most of Monday in bed sleeping and all that night, too!  Tuesday was a planning day, so I took it easy.  Tuesday night the CPAP machine kept stopping on me.  We finally figured out in the morning to take the humidifier off.  Not sure what the problem is, but it works.  We did buy a humidifier for the room.  It is very, very dry up here.

Wednesday was our major shopping trip.  Before we went shopping we stopped down to see some of the snow sculptures across from the Ulu factory.  They were interesting.

Ship Creek

Our baskets at Costco.  This doesn't show what we got at Sams or Fred Meyers!

We were not real clear on what the teams do this time of year, but now have a better picture of that.
We have 69 here this week, counting he staff.  We do the meals for them.  We are here to serve these teams while they do ministry.
They are working with the homeless centers, going to the parks and meeting the kids when they get off the school buses with hot chocolate and sandwiches.  They also stay and hang out with the kids.
The main ministry this last weekend was to volunteer to help with the set up for the Iditarod race.  There was a ceremonial start in Anchorage on Saturday. We fed our teams breakfast and lunch and then we packed up everything in the trailer to take up to Willow, where the Iditarod restart takes place.  Because there is no shopping there we have to take everything up with us.

Friday was an extremely busy day for us. It was a 14-hour day.  We had to cook for the teams here in Anchorage plus get everything ready to go up to Willow.  We tried to prepare as much ahead of time as we could.

We woke up Saturday morning to "ice fog".  It was beautiful.  

We got everything loaded up after lunch and headed up to Willow.  It is about a 90 minute drive.

All of us are volunteers for the Iditarod.  We got hats and our badges to wear.  We worked out of a SMALL church in Willow.  It was a tight squeeze to house and feed everyone there.
This is the trailer we took everything up in.
First Baptist Church of Willow

 It is a small kitchen but functional.   The tight part was when the three of us cooks put down air mattresses and slept in the kitchen!

Our teams were a major part of the volunteers that work at the Iditarod.  They worked all day setting up for the race.  The race starts on the lake.  The orange fencing you see was all set up by our teams.  They have to drill holes in the ice to put in the stakes and then attach the fencing.  

We had chicken pot pie, apple salad, rolls and cookies waiting for them when they came in for dinner!  They were cold and hungry.  That evening we had chapel and then bedded down for the night.  Believe me they were tired--and so were we!
The next morning after a hearty breakfast they were back at the lake.  Our people worked security, parking,  and anywhere else they were needed.

We got the kitchen all cleaned up, and everything loaded back into the trailer and headed down to the lake.  It was 12 degrees when we left the church.

Scott was very good to us and did not assign us any task at the race.  We spent the time walking around the lake and seeing the mushers.  

It was interesting to me to see the different rigs and sleds there.
  The volunteers had a place to get hamburgers and hot dogs, water bottles, juice and snacks.  

The race started at 2:00. 

The teams are getting ready to start.  They have 69 teams starting this year.  They start the teams every two minutes.  Those dogs are ready to GO!!  Notice the booties on the dog's feet?  I don't know how often they have to be changed.

Notice the six men holding the sled until they take off.  And then there are more helping to hold the dog teams back until it is time for them to start.

We stayed for about four teams to start and we headed back to Anchorage to get ready for our people to come back.  After the race they had to help take down all the fencing and load it up.  Believe me they were a bunch of tired people that came in last night.  We served dinner from about 8:00 to 9:30 last night.  They got caught in traffic coming back to Anchorage.

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