Welcome to "Our Life"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where Does the Time Go?

Ok so it has been more than a week since I posted. Sorry.....

As I sit here thinking about writing this blog it has dawned on me that it was 2 years ago today that we left Ohio. Wow.....some days it seems like yesterday and others it seems like it has been forever. So much has happened in the last two years. Most of what has occurred has been chronicled here on this blog. The good, the bad and the ugly......

Anyway back to what has been happening. The last post was pretty much about the Iditarod so I will try and pick up from there. I continued to work at the Skwentna Roadhouse part time and Roger spent lots of time on the snow machine hauling freight and also doing tours. I will let him tell you of his adventures. 

I made another trip back to Ohio in March which was unplanned. On the 17th I received a call that my dear friend Louise was in the hospital and it did not look good. She had been battling breast cancer for about ten years with metastasis to the liver and spine. I made arrangements to go to Ohio flying in to Anchorage on the mail plane on the 22nd. I was hoping to get to Ohio before she passed away but it was not to be. As we were at the airstrip in Skwentna waiting on the mail plane I received the call that Louise had passed. I went on to Ohio with a heavy heart to celebrate her life with other friends and family. The one great thing out of that trip was spending time with the grandkids and kids and being there for Easter, coloring eggs with the kids, Easter egg hunts, going to the park and ball practices. I returned to Alaska on April 10th, did a little shopping and flew back out here to Skwentna on the 12th. 

April 14th Roger and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary. We went over to the roadhouse where Cindi fixed us an awesome dinner of king crab and halibut cheeks with sides. It was great. The snow was slowly starting to disappear, the river was still OK, not good enough for freighting anymore but still able to cross.

We made a couple of trips down to our cabin to get the "last" of our stuff during the first part of April. I think we may finally be moved in here but we all know what thinking does. We have finally gotten everything out of the totes and put away. My craft stuff is "organized" and I have been able to do a few cards. Roger has been busy working on things around here, getting a boat repaired and usable, cutting and splitting wood, sorting stuff and the list goes on and on. 

The ice on the river went out on April 29th this year. The dogs actually had crossed the river that morning and came back about 2 hours before the ice moved out. Whew.....that was too close for comfort in my book. 

Here are some pictures of our location.
View from the front porch of the house

The above picture was taken standing on the front porch of the house. The buildings from left to right are the "old house", wood shed, post office (way back in the trees, just barely visible in this picture) the cache with the gen shed/workshop behind it.

The "Old House"

The Wood Shed with PO in background
The old house is the Iditarod checkpoint headquarters for Skwentna. This is where the cooking, planning, etc takes place. 

The Cache and Generator Shed/Workshop
As you can see there is still a lot of wood to be split and stacked into the wood shed for winter. 

Roger has been busy pulling snow machines out of the woods around here and amazingly many of them started! 

The Mutts
The picture with Roger reaching up to the window was taken on May 20th. As you can see there is still a small little bit of snow there on the ground. The snow right here had been so high that Hans was able to look at us through the window and we could see his paws about where Rogers hand is. Part of the depth was due to snow sliding off the roofs right there but the snow was deep enough when packed that you could not see this porch that Roger is standing by. The snow in the yard is finally all gone and we are looking at getting a spot tilled up for our garden in the next day or two. I have some plants started and Roger is going to pick a few up in town next week when he goes in to get his fishing supplies. That is something I am not going to get for him! No way no how!!!!!!!!!!

The house with guest cabin in background
This past Tuesday we went down to our cabin and got our boat, visited with the neighbors there and I did my first solo in the boat. Roger had taken our 4 wheeler over to where our boat was and he and Tom got it put in. He then came around with the boat and got me from our cabin with the boat as the trails where MUD, MUCK, YUCK! He had trouble getting through and there was no way I was going to do it as I am not "aggressive" enough on the 4 wheeler so I ended driving the boat around to our landing while Roger brought the 4 wheeler back. And then I drove the boat back up here to Skwentna following Roger in the boat we had gone down there in. That was my first solo in the boat and the boat came through unscathed! I will be using one of the boats to go across the river to get to the roadhouse this summer so I better keep practicing. especially my "docking" and securing the boat. It really sucks when a boat goes for a trip without anyone. 

May you all have a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend.  Thank You to those who serve and have served our country. 

Thank you to for taking time to share our life with us. Talk to you soon,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Busy Busy Busy

Ok so it has been brought to my attention that there hasn't been a post in quite some time. Sorry about that.....things have been crazy busy. 

When Roger last posted we had just moved up here to Joe and Norma's place in Skwentna, and I was in Ohio to see the kids and grandkids which had been planned for a while. After Ohio I went to Florida for a week to see my mom and returned to Alaska on February 15th. I hit the ground with my feet running!
I got home to our place on Thursday the 16th and started working at the Skwentna Roadhouse on Friday! February and March is a very busy time of year up here with tourists, snow machine races and sled dog races.

Anyway the first weekend I was home was the Iron Dog snow machine race which goes from Big Lake to Nome to Fairbanks. About 2000 miles in all. There are a couple of "classes" that the riders can choose from: trail class which is a laid back kind of ride from Big Lake to Nome or the pro class which goes as fast as possible from Big Lake to Fairbanks hoping and praying to be the first ones there. The pro class rides in teams of 2 and both riders have to check in at each check point before they can continue on. 

Roger worked at the checkpoint here in Skwentna helping out and I was working my buns off at the roadhouse cooking for spectators. It was a bit of a challenge since it was my first day really working the kitchen there and I had no clue where most stuff was and Cindi was outside at the checkpoint! But hey we made it through and no one yelled too loud when things took a little longer than normal.

Roger stayed very busy this winter hauling freight on the snow machine and also shoveling roofs up at Shell Lake.....now any of you that know Roger very well should know that he really doesn't like heights! But he did good and only fell off one roof! The amount of snow they had up there was even more than we had and I know that we had 177 inches of snow here! I stayed busy working at the roadhouse and trying to get settled in here. 
River Crew "Planning Meeting"

The first weekend in March was the Iditarod Sled Dog race. The volunteers started showing up on Friday morning and I was kept busy running back and forth to the air strip with the snow machine and sled hauling people, supplies etc etc.... There is a group of ladies from the Anchorage and Mat-Su Valley area called the "Sweeties" that come out and cook all weekend for the other volunteers and the mushers. There is another group from the Tacoma, WA area that come every year called the "Darlings" aka "The River Crew". Most of these volunteers have been coming to this checkpoint for many years and it was like watching a well oiled machine at work the way they got things done. 
Getting Water for the Dogs
Saturday was spent packing down the snow on the river where the dog teams would be and gathering supplies that would be needed on Sunday. By the time we all sat down to the special "Pre-Hersal" Dinner that the Sweeties had planned for Saturday night for Kelsey (part of the Tacoma gang) and her fiance Carter who were getting married later in the month there was 47 people here! And then a couple more showed up on Sunday morning, another vet and the teacher on the trail. 
Putting out the Straws Bales for bedding down the dogs

The "Dog Food Depot"
Sunday......RACE DAY! While the Sweeties were busy cooking and cooking the Darlings got busy down on the river getting the checkpoint set up. This involves cutting through the ice to provide water for the mushers for the dogs, setting straw bales out for them to bed the dogs down on, putting up the checkpoint banner, digging out the steps for the mushers to use to come up to the building for some food and sleep if wanted and many other items that I am sure I am forgetting. 

And then you wait......watching for the first head lamp coming toward the checkpoint out of the night. This night though we had the Northern Lights giving quite an awesome display to entertain us while we waited. At one point there were hundreds of dogs just below us down on the river. Most all the 60+mushers start the race with 16 dogs and usually still have all of them when they get here as it is early in the race. We did end up with 6 "drop" dogs here that are then flown back to Anchorage until someone comes from that mushers kennel to get them. 
A team checking in

The checkpoint was busy busy from about 8:30 pm until noon on Monday. The first musher arrived shortly after 8:30 pm and the last couple of musher headed out around noon on Monday. 

Looking down on the "checkpoint"

Lance Mackey

One Tired Musher!

On Monday morning some of the vets and communications people started leaving which meant getting them and their gear over to the airstrip. All of the comms people and vets, dropped dogs and race judge were scheduled to leave on Monday but the weather turned and the Iditarod air force couldn't get all of them out so we ended up with no vets but still had drop dogs here. We did still have a couple of comms people and a great race judge who used to mush to help with the dogs. We ended up bringing the dogs up off the river on Monday night though as there were some wolves howling in the area and no one wanted the checkpoint to make the news for dogs being attacked by wolves. 

Monday AM Still have a few teams here
And exhaustion wins!

The "Darlings" Getting ready to head home

Finally got everyone including the dogs on planes just after noon on Tuesday and man was it quiet around here! It was a wonderful experience and I am so glad we were here to be a part of it. 

Well I think I will call it enough for now. There is much more to tell about what has been happening over the last couple of months and I will try to post again in the next week or so. Thanks for taking the time to read our blog and I promise we will try to get back in the habit of posting. 
Blessings to all, Myra