Sunday, March 13, 2011

Iditarod Weekend 2011

Before we knew that we would be moving on March 7th, Steven's parents, Mark and Renee, planned a visit up to Alaska to see the start of "The Last Great Race", the Iditarod. They arrived on Wednesday night and headed out Thursday morning to Fairbanks to see the sculptors compete in the World Ice Art Championships. They told us that they experienced some real Alaskan temperatures for that area, -25 degrees! they returned Friday afternoon all bundled up in many layers, but having had a great time!

On Friday night, while I was getting the winter studded tires off of my car, everyone else got to go to the Clarion Suites for a "question-and-answer", "meet the mushers" event featuring two married mushers from the Fairbanks area, Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore. They are veteran Iditarod mushers and everyone learned a lot about the race. Their kennel's blog can be found here: SP Kennels. Check it out! They always have great videos and entries about the sport and their beloved dogs! After the event, we all headed out to eat at one of our all-time favorite restaurants, Simon and Seaforts.

After dinner, everyone had an early bedtime as we had lots that we wanted to see and do on Saturday. On Saturday morning, we headed out the go watch the ceremonial start of the Iditarod in downtown Anchorage. We actually went about 14 blocks from the actual starting line, as it was less crowded and we didn't have to fight for a seeing position. After watching and taking pictures, we went to the Peanut Farm for some Ice Bowling. As you might remember, Steven and I did this last year, but the Connors' had yet to experience this uniquely Alaskan winter sport. After Ice Bowling, we all headed back to the condo to get some packing done. The boys went to pick up the U-haul and also get a special box for the TV and us girls worked on getting the condo packed and cleaned. It was so overwhelming and it was great to have two extra people to help us!

After spending the afternoon packing, we headed out after dark to Talkeetna, AK where we had reserved a spot in the B&B for the night. We stayed at the Meandering Moose. It was really nice! We stayed inside the main house although they also have numerous cabins there that can also be rented out. On Sunday morning, we went out for a 2-hour snow machining trail ride, one of the last things that we wanted to do while in Alaska (#42 on the list). The views of Denali were amazing as we were lucky to experience clear, blue skies and lots of sunshine. We stayed pretty warm, although my toes were cold inside my boots!

After going snow machining, we headed back down to Willow, Alaska to watch the official Iditarod start. This was nice and I always prefer the Willow restart rather than the ceremonial start in Anchorage. We all bought some souvenirs and then headed back to the car. Unfortunately, Alaskans do not plan for events with lots of traffic. When leaving the parking lot, instead of letting us go south back through Wasilla to Anchorage, we had to go north on a back road and then south again. We were stuck in traffic for over an hour going the wrong direction! After returning to Anchorage, we had lots to do to get ready to move! Thank goodness that Steven's parents were there to help us! We had lots of cleaning to do and finishing up the packing.

We had such a great last weekend in Alaska!!! Just thinking back now, I sure do miss the state!


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