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Big yard sale planned for Saturday, that’s Aug. 7. It starts at 10 a.m.

Pretty much everything is for sale, so if it isn’t on my inventory list, but you see it at the sale, ask me if it is for sale. It probably is. I know I’ve overlooked something.

Here’s a link to a Google Docs spreadsheet listing my inventory and prices.

Look, we’re having a lot of fun here. Changing things up. I’ve sold the dogs, and have decided to hit the road. We’re hoping to move out-of-state this fall and take our time traveling down the road visiting family. Our destination is — gasp — central Texas, but who knows where I will settle. I love Alaska and would live out my days right here at the slightest provocation. I also love dog mushing, distance racing and sled dogs, so there’s nothing negative sending my family south.

It’s just the next step: Kind of my family’s own personal Iditarod or Yukon Quest or (insert favorite race here). The immediate goal is to sell our house and land, buy the right truck / travel trailer combo and hit the road some time in October.

I just posted a blog about the art of racing young dogs in this year’s Tustumena 200 sled dog race. Here’s the link.

I guess I’m saying that to myself as well as the rest. There’s some great, competitive teams here for arguably the most arduous (if not toughest) 200 mile race in distance sled dog racing.

I’ll be running 11 yearlings and three old leaders, so my race will have a personality all its own. It will be a little like my Knik 200, where I ran 10 yearlings and two adults.

Needless to say, I’m packing straw again for this race. I’ll run about 50 miles, pull over and put straw down, heave out my cooler with two gallons of water and a sack of dog food, and feed those youngsters. They’ll nap for about an hour before I put fresh booties on them all, and we take off for another five hours. There’s a mandatory eight-hour break at the halfway point. My aim is to have them run the 100 mile return leg without stopping except for snacks. The point is to teach these young dogs what it is like to race, even though they are not physically capable of keeping up with older dogs.

Yearlings go out with tons of power and gusto, but they don’t have the stamina of older dogs. Hence, I pull over at 50 miles and make them rest.

The five or six teams that are gunning for first place should do 100 miles in nine to 10 hours. If I’m doing well, we’ll make the first 100 miles in 12 hours (which includes my two hour mini campout.)

Trails are excellent to near perfect in the places I’ve been. It’s sunny with highs about 10 to 15 above lows in the zero range. That’s ideal for the dogs and mushers. It’s a hilly race.

As of 9 p.m. Sunday…

Updated, real (and corrected) Copper Basin standings, FACTORING IN TIME DIFFERENTIALS OF MANDATORY REST: Jeff King was still first out of Paxson. Allan Moore is 22 mins behind King, factoring in mandatory rest that needs to be taken.

Then Dan Kaduce, 55 mins behind Moore; Jay Cadzow, 7 mins behind Kaduce; Sven Haltmann, 6 mins behind Cadzow; then Aliy Zirkle, Sonny Lindner, Ray Redington, and then a three way tie with Sass, Steer and Neff. Only 10 mins separate those six. Then Josh Cadzow, Normand Cassavant, Mike Ellis, Gerry Willomitzer, and Darrin Lee. That’s all I’ve got so far (and there could be mistakes).

Leaders expected into Chistochina any time.

On Halloween, I tested the waters as a dog “driving instructor,” giving a one-on-one seminar on how to camp with a dog team. The class went so well that I’m considering opening it up to anyone interested in becoming more efficient or just gaining confidence in taking a trail break, whether inside or outside of checkpoints.

I sat down with the musher for two hours on the night of the 30th, going over what she knew and what she needed to learn. And the next day, she was on her own to pack her supplies (cooker, straw, booties, etc.), and head out on a training run to a spot where I could meet her. She set about doing all the routine dog duties while I watched and we talked about her routine. After a two-hour pitstop, she turned her team around and drove them back to her dog truck.

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I had to post a link to this article about sled dog psychology, and specifically recognizing burnout and fostering a happy attitude in your kennel. Even if this is nothing new to you, it’s a good reminder as the fall training grinds on and the miles get longer as we wait for decent snowfall. It’s probably a good read for non-mushers and non-pet owners as well. Works with people as well as dogs. Here’s the link…

Team Ineka Blog

I’ve added a page showing some images of the guys and gals I’m working with this winter. It’s under the heading of “The Crew.” The page is not comprehensive yet. It will include the adults and maybe a few puppy shots.

Also, yes, some of the images are blurry, so I will work on improving some of them.

Contrary to popular belief, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race does not end when the nose of the first dog crosses the finish line. There’s 35 other teams out there still “racing” at that point.

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Lance Mackey’s 15 dogs looked so good coming to the finish line that it was almost inconceivable that they’d just raced nearly 1,000 miles through some of harshest weather the Bering Sea coast can dish out.

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Word from Zack Steer, who got a call from his puppy team in the race, Jake Berkowitz, was that a bunch of teams are holed up at Grayling because the wind overnight blew in the trail. The temps have plummeted and the trail is obliterated. They’re hoping for a snowmobiler to break new trail for them. The tracker verifies this. You can see about 20 teams camped at Grayling. Makes me wonder what those teams between Eagle Island and Kaltag are enduring right now with winds and drifting snow; those guys are still moving.

Also, stay tuned with Sebastian Schnuelle. Video of his team looked good, and he’s plainly making a move to reel in Mackey, who also has a sharp looking team. Seavey’s and King’s teams looked awesome in the video, too.

Got an email from someone wondering why I’m not mentioning one particular musher. Just an oversight. I’m not out there covering the race, so I’m focusing on what I can see in the numbers.