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.

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