Sunday was left as a travel day. The teams had to load up the trucks and drive everyone and everything to Fairbanks for Monday’s Official Restart. It’s about a six hour drive for the teams. I had it easy, I hopped on a plane at 7am for an hour long flight!
Pike’s Landing Lodge and Restaurant is the Iditarod Headquarters for the Fairbanks portion of the race. By the time I arrived, things were in full swing: the store was set up and there were planning meetings happening.
There has been lots of talk about how the Fairbanks Restart would be in comparison to the 2015 start; the last time the race was run out of Fairbanks. One thing predicted to be the same? The cold. It’s COLD in Fairbanks. Really cold. Like Alaska in the winter cold! What is different is that they are going to take a different route out of town… they are going to go right between the hotel and restaurant, taking a sharp right hand turn then a sharp left hand turn to head down on to the river.
My main job for today was to help my good friend Sara check in volunteer dog handlers for the restart. Sara’s official Iditarod job is the Restart Dog Handler Coordinator. In addition to the Musher Handlers (handlers who help out specific mushers and are arranged by the mushers themselves), the Iditarod arranges for ITC Handlers. These are volunteers who will help several teams get to the starting line. There are ITC Handlers who helped out at the Anchorage Start, but with the move to Fairbanks, we needed a whole new crop of handlers. And Fairbanks delivered about a hundred people or so volunteered to be ITC Handlers. As they checked in I gave them the list of rules:
- no tennis shoes, cleats, or spikes
- no things dangling around necks or from their ears
- meet at at the truck in the musher parking lot at 8:30 the next morning
Sara and I wrapped things up for that day at about 6:00, had some dinner, and then tried to get some sleep so we would be all ready for the next day!
I am sitting in the Seattle airport, for my second of two four-hour layovers….. but I had to pop in to tell you about my ride to the airport this morning.
My third graders especially will love this story…..
The very nice gentleman who drove me to the airport needs to be a student in 3A for a while. He asked where I was headed on my trip, so I explained that I was going to Alaska.
He was a little surprised and a little confused.
He wondered why anyone would go to Alaska in the winter, so I explained I was going for the Iditarod and how I have been using the race as a teaching tool and how excited I was to go back and see the race start for a second time. He had never heard of the Iditarod, so he got a little lesson in the history of the race.
Then he asked…. “Is Alaska a part of America?”
Well, as you can imagine, the rest of the car ride seemed more like a Social Studies class then a car ride.
He now knows probably more than he ever wanted to know about the history of Alaska! I wish that my students had been there. They could have probably taught the “lesson” themselves!
The time has finally come for me to bid farewell to the Greyhounds for a bit so I can head to Alaska and hang with the Sled Dogs!I knew it was real this morning when exactly 24 hours before my flight my email dinged to tell me I could officially check-in for my flight!
For my students, amazingly enough I will be following the same pathway our packages took to Alaska! Remember how strange we thought it was that the packages of centerpieces and blankets flew south before heading northwest? Well I am doing the same thing. I will be flying from Baltimore to Atlanta, Atlanta to Seattle, and then Seattle to Anchorage.
Our current hallway display: The map on the left shows the pathway our packages took to get to Alaska, the map on the right is where we will track our musher
I challenge you to figure out how many miles I will be flying tomorrow!
Here’s another challenge for you….
My first flight leaves BWI at 9:00am. I arrive in Anchorage at 11:47pm. How many hours will I be travelling? Dont forget – Anchorage is four hours before us due to the time change!
Email me your guesses and I’ll let you know who gets it correct!