Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Leaving Alaska

Thursday, March 12

The teams left at different times today.  We had them all through lunch and by dinner time we were just down to 12 or so people.

Anchorage had really cooled down when we got back from Fairbanks.  We needed some milk for Howard to make some pies.  We walked over to the local convenience store to get the milk. 




The last airport run was made at 11;30 at night.  Some of the younger staff said they would take us out of town a ways and maybe we would see the Northern Lights. They had seen them Wednesday night.  We bundled up and rode about an hour out of town to a place that would be a good viewing area.  Well, guess what.  We stayed out until 3:00 am and never saw any!!!  I was so disappointed.

Friday, March 13

We did not have to have breakfast ready, so we slept in some.  We did go to the mall for a bit.  It was warm in there.  I got some pics of Ships Creek.  It of course was all frozen.







Saturday  March 14

Today was our youngest son (Matt 33) and our youngest grandson's (Clayton 9) birthdays.  We talked to both of them.

We got most of our packing done and we decided to go out to lunch.  Anne wanted a good halibut sandwich so we went to the Arctic Roadrunner.  We decided not to eat outside, like we like to do in the summer.  I wonder why? Doesn't look too inviting with the frozen creek.

They have the best halibut sandwiches around.



It felt good to sit in the sun!  We decided to take one more ride Saturday night to see if we could see a moose.  Anne thinks she is jinxed, because we never see a moose with her around.  Scott likes to tease her about going all the way to Fairbanks and back and never seeing a moose.  Well, guess what? We didn't see one Saturday night either.  We did see a nice sunset though.



We did see the star up on the mountain.  There is a star lit on the mountain when the Iditarod starts.  It will stay lit until the last team comes in.   We are still waiting for the first team to come in.

Some of you have asked what kind of ministry GraceWorks Alaska does in the winter.  The teams that come all have ministry assignments that they do.  They were cut short two days because of the travel that we had to do.  The teams go into the parks after school and have sandwiches and  hot chocolate for the kids when they get off the school bus. The teams also ministered to the children at the Boys and Girls Club of Anchorage.  They also helped at the soup kitchen for the homeless.

I want to thank you again for all of your prayers for us.  We really felt it when we had to get up so early and prepare meals.  God gave us the strength to do our work.  Also my back did not hurt at all while we were gone.  That was a real answer to prayer.

Sunday, March 15

You know when we lead mission trip teams we talk all the time about being flexible.  We put that into practice on Sunday.  Our plans were to go to Wasilla for church Sunday morning, It's about an hour away.  We like seeing the people we minister with during the summer.  Anne was not able to go the first Sunday we were there.  As we were leaving Howard suggested that we grab blankets.  We were getting a few snow flurries, and we didn't know what the day would bring forth.

As we were riding along, I kept telling Howard that the car was not putting out any heat!  It was 0 degrees outside. The car was getting cold!!  All of a sudden the radiator started steaming.  We pulled off.  Sure enough, it looked like the radiator hose was leaking.  We called Jerry back in Anchorage.  Jerry is in charge of all the vehicles.  We were about 20 minutes out.  It did get cold in the car.  We were very thankful for the blankets we grabbed.




Don't let the smiles fool you.  Brrrrrr

Jerry and Melissa were there in about 30 minutes.  They had a nice warm car to get into!!  Jerry put coolant in the car and we followed him.  He drove it part way, and couldn't go any further.  We left it parked by the side of the road.  We found out later it was the radiator was that leaking.  We thank the Lord for His protection.  We were disappointed we didn't make it to Wasilla, but we could have been a lot further away from Anchorage when it happened.



I had to take this picture and text it to Anne.  She was in a different terminal and I don't think they had one there. 

We left for the airport about 6:00 pm.  Our flight was to take us from Anchorage to Chicago and then to Nashville.  I do not like red-eye trips.  Airplanes are so crowded any more and I don't sleep well on a plane.  There was a medical emergency on the plane and we were diverted to Fargo, ND.  Because there was not enough oxygen on the plane, we all went into the terminal until they could get oxygen.  I guess Fargo didn't have enough so we had to wait until a plane came from Chicago to pick us up!  7 hours later we were in the air again.  I will say United did a great job with rerouting us.  When we got off the plane in Chicago, they had new boarding passes waiting for us with new connections (There was also a $7.00 meal voucher attached).  21 1/2 hours after we left the church in Anchorage we were walking in our house!!  Needless to say, we showered and went right to bed!









Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fairbanks trip

Sunday March 8

Sunday morning it was an early to rise and shine day! We got breakfast ready for the teams and then we loaded up all the kitchen supplies and food in the trailer to take up to Fairbanks.  The teams were very helpful in loading things up.  We had to have our personal things ready also.   I think we pulled out about 7:45.  The staff rode in one van and each of the teams had a van to ride in.

Two of our teams went up on Saturday, so they could put up fencing for the Iditarod.  Because the restart got moved to Fairbanks, a lot of people that signed up to volunteer, did not come up to Fairbanks.  In fact GraceWorksAlaska were the only ones that set up about 2 1\2 miles of fencing, in below 0 temps.



Here is part of our crew doing the work.  The chute had to be fenced off as well as the route to keep people from getting on the trail.  They also had to fence in the mushers parking area.  Hurray for GraceWorks.  The team members had some great chances to witness also.

Meanwhile we were driving up.  What we planned on as an 8-hour drive, turned into a 10-hour drive.  When we got to Wasilla we hit blizzard-like  contitions .



We rode in the Grizzly.  Each of our vans have animal names.


That soon cleared but there were area's of icy roads.  The views were stunning.  We had bright sunshine part of the way and got some good views of Mt. McKinnley (Denali).

These pics were  taken from the car as we were riding.





At one point we stopped along the road to get out for a few mintues.




The trees were beautiul.







At one of our pit stops, there were some mushers on their way to Fairbanks.



We pulled off at Denali National Park.  There was a science center opened and they graciously let us come in and eat our lunch in one of their classrooms.



When we got to Fairbanks we went directly to the Pikes Landing Hotel, where  the Iditarod was headquarted.  Everyone got regiestered.  Some of our teams worked in security, some on registration, some as dog handlers.  Howard and I were not able to get back to the hotel once we left.  We got our tag and hat, but stayed at the church.



The church that most of our team stayed at, did have supper waiting for us when we got there.  Howard, Anne and I were very thankful for that.



A lot of the teams stayed and helped at headquarters.  I had a team of girls stay at the church to help us set up.  They were wonderful.  They inflated all the air mattresses, put sleeping bags, pillow and a towel out on each one.


This was the kitchen area and we slept at one end of the kitchen.



Monday March 9

Monday was the day of the race.  It started at 10:00am.  A lot had  to be done before the start.  We fed our first crew at 4:15 am. They had to leave by 4:30 to go back to headquarters.  We fed the  rest of the crew about 5:00.   By 5:30 they were all gone.  We did not have a vehicle to go over and see the race.  Part of the road was cordoned off and no one could come back for us.  

There were 79 teams racing this year.  They were started every two mintures.  When the race was all over, our teams had  to take everything down.  All the fencing had to be taken down and rolled up to store until next year.

We cleaned up the kitchen area, took showers and we also took a nap.  Then we played the waiting game. Howard and I did venture out  for a short walk.  I think it was like -4 or -5 degrees.  




Our teams were out all day in it.  They really needed to protect themselves.  
 
We had a nice beef stew ready for them when they came in.  They were very thankful for the dinner.

Tuesday March 10 

We started packing up everything in -26 degree weather!  That is cold.



We gathered around and had prayer and started on our return trip back to Anchorage.


We had beautiful scenery on our way home.  We did have ice for some of the way, but most of the way the roads were clear.  


We got some nice views of Mt. McKinnley again.  We were so blessed.





All of the volunteers were given a free meal at Golden Corral.  We chose to go there on our way back into town.  It was great for us. We all stopped and then came back to the church and showered and crashed!

Wednesday, Marcn 11

Anchorage was cold today at 9 degrees, but we don't have the snow here.  One of our teams left tonight, and the rest of them are leaving tomorrow afternoon and everning.  We are then going to take two days to relax before we head home.  We are planning on going back up to Wasilla Sunday morning.  Anne will be with us this time.  It's nice to see people that we worked with last summer.  We fly out on the "red-eye" on Sunday evening.


























Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Anchorage, AK

March 3  Tuesday

Today I got some laundry done and Howard and I made a shopping list.  We had a staff meeting at 10:30.  Scott went over all the things that will be happening this week.  The teams will be doing ministry when we are here in Anchorage, before and after we go to Fairbanks.

We fed the staff lunch, and then we picked up Anne at the airport.  When we got back to the church We met Jerry and Melissa at Sam's and we did a big shopping.  I need to rework my list and we will go to Costco tomorrow.

Reheated lunch for dinner and just sat around and talked with Jerry and Melissa.

March 4  Wednesday

We went downtown today and looked at the ice sculptures.  They were pretty good, I  think.



This one was called Alaskian beach bums


This was Billy Goat Gruff




We then went to Costco and WalMart and finished up our shopping.  We got all of our food, for the week, we think.  We are going to take the food for Fairbanks from here.  Not sure if we will have a vehicle while we are up there.

March 5  Thursday

Today, my youngest brother turned 60.  How can that be?

Our teams started coming in this afternoon and evening.  Some are coming in late, but all will be here for breakfast.  We made a big pot of chili, so some of the people coming in late can have a bowl before they turn in.

We had some visitors.  When Howard and I were first married we taught the jr and sr high Sunday School class at church in Michigan.  One of those fellows was here today.  They are going to be going to the Iditarod in Fairbanks.  We saw Don and his son Jordan 11 1/2 years ago in CA.  In fact when Don saw me he said, "Last time I saw you, you didn't have hair."  He also reminded us of the time we crammed 13 junior and senior students into our VW bug to take them to several places for a progressive dinner.  They spent Thanksgiving with us in 2003 and I was in treatment at that time for breast cancer.  Howard, Don, Jordan and Anne all went to the same church camp in the Thumb area of Michigan.  We had a great visit with them this afternoon.  Jordan is with "Young America" and travels quite a bit.  When Jorden first joined Young America as a college student he was in S. CA.  We would have him over to the house from time to time.


             Don               Howard              Ann               Anne


                                         Jordan   and Don  Mantey

We are suppose to get snow tonight, so maybe tomorrow I will have some snow pictures.  The yards have a lot of grass showing at this time.

March 6, Friday

Today was a FULL day!  All of our teams were here for breakfast, except for one team of seven that comes in tonight.


Some of the people chatting before we had breakfast.  They are still on their home time zones, so are up early.  When we do three meals a day, it keeps us hopping.

Anne and I did make a WalMart run today.  For breakfast we had pancakes with blueberry syrup and reindeer sausage. For lunch we fixed hot chicken salad sandwiches and tonight we fixed pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, broccoli, tossed salad and home made rolls.  This is just an example of the meals that we fix.

Today night after dinner, 19 people fixed their lunches for tomorrow.  They are leaving to go up to Fairbanks and help put up 3 miles of fencing.  The rest of us will leave on Sunday morning.

Do you want to see our snow?

Not much around here!!  

Saturday, March 7

The teams going to Fairbanks left about 8:00 this morning.  We fed them breakfast first at 7:30.  We had made a list last night of everything we need to take to Fairbanks.  We are taking food and utensils for everything we will need.

We did get a chance to go downtown Anchorage to see the Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod.  They haul in snow and all the teams start down 4th street.  There are 79 teams this year.  They start a team every 2 minutes. GraceWorks had a van that would drop us off and pick us up.  They ran it every 30 minutes.  We took some time and went down.


I couldn't get real close, but got some pictures.


The snow that was hauled in.  This is one of the main reasons they are moving to Fairbanks to start the race.  The snow is almost non existent this year in the lower elevations.


The dogs are ready to leave.  There are volunteer dog handlers that hold the team back until they are ready to leave.


 

Tomorrow morning we will be feeding the teams at 7:00 and need to be ready to pull out at 8:00.  We have to load the trailer in the morning.  I"m sure we will have lots of help.  Howard, Anne and I are looking forward to the 8-hour drive, to do nothing but ride.  The church in Fairbanks that we are staying is providing dinner for us tomorrow night.  We are very appreciative of them doing that.

Pray for us Monday.  We have to have a cooked breakfast ready for the teams to eat at 5:00 am.  This is after we lose an hour sleep tonight.  Pray for our strength, and that we will keep our servant attitudes.  Thank you so much for remembering to pray for us.  I won't post again until we get back.