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When she gets back, someone remember--I probably won't--to ask her about Buser's training and how he keeps his dogs in relation to that. Her account to me of visiting him a year or two ago was fascinating and unlike anything I had heard of.

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We need to have her give us a full accounting of her adventure, his training and conditioning and feeding, and all things relevant!

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I've been to the Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla a couple times many moons ago. They have Togo, one of the original diphtheria-run lead dogs mounted and on display. I was surprised how small he is. It is very neat though, to stand next to a hero dog from so long ago. :)

 

You can keep Alaska, though. I much prefer the heat of Texas. :P

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She's not done having it yet! She's flying up the trail all the way to Nome and the finish with my friend Lori (who owns SkyTrekking Alaska). I was able to find her two moose - three, if you count the one in the parking lot at Willow Trading Post - and Hobo Jim. We all should cross our fingers that she gets to see some good Aurora activity so her trip is complete.

 

I'm going to TRY to do I-rod updates in the Coffee Break section - but you'll have to rely on Eileen for the accounting of her own adventures. :)

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No - my boss is, and we can't spare us both.

 

I met Eileen and her husband at Martin's open house (where I found moose #1 for them and a little gang of other people who had never seen a moose.) That one was browsing among the naked birch trees up on a ridge and admittedly didn't look musch like a moose from down at the house. It kind of looked like a big brown rectangle. At first the ghirl from Switzerland looked at me like I was high when I pointed it out and claimed rashly that it was in fact a moose. But eventually it moved and people could see it was browsing. From where I was standing, I took it to be a big bull, but it might have been a huge cow. Still, it was a bit of a distance away, so not as impressive as it might be despite its size. (I had passed another, "better" one on my way to the open house, perfectly posed against blue sky, but hey - a moose is a moose, right?)

 

Moose #2 was in my neighborhood, handily displayed on the corner of my street, up close and personal. She was still there on the way out again, bedded in.

 

I also cannily tracked down Hobo Jim (Alaska's State Balladeer). Hobo's website is rarely updated with his tour information, but he always sings for I-rod, so I knew he'd be here somewhere. He was at the Willow Trading Post, a little dive of a bar with great food and a floor so uneven that you don't have to wait to get drunk to feel like you are. He is SO much fun live. He's an excellent showman, and has tons of little anecdotes and Alaskan and I-rod history that he slips in between songs, so it's quite an education - and very funny. Also, certain of his songs are a) politically incorrect, so perhaps not on any of his CDs, and B) MUCH more entertaining in person, either from audience particpation or Hobo's antics on stage. I've seen him play so hard that he breaks a guitar string mid-song. Rather than stopping, he keeps singing while he yanks the old string out and puts in a new one (with the audience carrying it when he needs to bend his head away from the mic.) At any rate, Willow is a bit of a trip (as they say) this year: The TP is buried snow about 3/4 of the way up its windows, and the sign that says "Willow: Dog mushing capitol of the world" is only about a foot above the snow (the sign is normal street-sign height). There was moose #3 in the parking lot while we were eating diner, but I could not be torn away from my excellent steak to go look at it.

 

Anyway, Hobo Jim did not disappoint (me, at any rate). He never does. He sang all my favorites except Mackinaw Mush (and may have sung that one, but we had to leave around 10 or 10:30 because Eileen had Iditariding to do, and I had to work the next day.) It was a great evening for me, but you'll have to ask Eileen for her impressions. I don't want to try to tell her stories for her - and I'm sure I couldn't do them justice anyway.

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