So we left the market pretty quickly, and headed out to hunt for Sarah!!!! Sarah Palin that is, just in case you weren't paying attention! haha Straight down this dirt road, past the flags (of course!), is the gated, and guarded, entrance to her home. I thought the "please" and "thank you" on the No Trespassing sign were a nice touch.
We couldn't see anything beyond the gate so we swung around to the lake side, stepped out on the dock of a Best Western, and took these pics. Those 2 houses in the 1st pic are hers, and she looks out on the lake and mountains in the 2nd pic. She usually has a sea plane out on the water, but we think she was out hunting moose or something...so she must have taken it with her! haha (We are pretty sure that is Russia just beyond those mountains, but with Sarah not being here, we can't be sure!)
Anyway, as Sarah wasn't home to visit with, we headed over to the Iditarod Headquarters to check out the dogs. They use Alaskan Huskies verus the Siberian Huskies we expected to see when running the Iditarod, because they are bred for endurance and stamina as opposed to the Siberians which are bred for strength...like a marathoner versus a weight lifter they told us.
They have a very small museum that includes the story of Togo, the famous lead dog that led teams of mushers rushing a serum needed in Nome during a diptheria outbreak. They went 674 miles from Nenana to Nome and took less than 5 1/2 days to do it. There is also a statue outside of Balto, another dog involved in the same trek...at least Ellen tells me that's what the Walt Disney cartoon said! haha
All the winners are on the walls, with Susan Butcher featured as the all-time winningest woman at 4 wins under her belt, and the overall winningest musher ever, Rick Swenson, who won it 5 times and 17 times placed in the top 10!
The Iditarod is a race run over 1049 miles, using up to 16 dogs per musher, and the dogs are very well taken care of. They have an EKG and blood work done before the race, and are checked out by a vet at every one of the over 20 mandatory stops during the race that can take up to 16 days. They can run up to 125 miles a day, and generally eat 10,000 calories per day, per dog!!! The harnesses they wear are dictated by race rules, and each musher also has to have a certain amount of dog booties at each stop in case one or more of the dogs need them.
A couple bumper stickers I liked.
So with some information under our belts, we headed over to pick out the dogs we would leash up to take us on a ride. A quick fun fact: These dogs truly are marathoners...their resting heart rates average 40-50 beats per minute, versus a regular dog at 120 BPM. So, again, they are bred for racing, and seem to really want to get going. Ellen and I are getting our cameras ready while Cathy cues up her camera from the sidelines.
Here Cathy is capturing us on the take-off.
Here I am taping from the carriage end...notice the dogs sort of chomping at the bit to get going, and also notice and listen for Ellen's almost guttural laugh as we pick up a little more speed than we anticipated. haha
Finally, 1/4 mile around the track later, we come into the finish as the ultimate winners!!!
This was fun to end the day with...with the Farmer's Market being a bust and Sarah not being home, we needed a pick-me-up, so the Iditarod ride was welcome fun!