Yesterday was a busy day in Fairbanks for Dave and us handlers, starting with the handlers meeting. Dave had a beautiful luncheon with his Quest guest, Betty, who has known Dave for the past few years and is super excited to be riding with him for his last race. We ended the day with a wonderful and fun banquet with a table full of friends and fans. Handlers Kirsten and Brad, Brad’s girlfriend Andrea, Lee, Dave’s girlfriend Theresa, her friends Tracy, Sarah, Margaret, his Quest guest Betty and her son Chris. There was some good stories and a lot of laughs. Dave’s speech was great, thanking the sponsors, the Quest, vet team, handlers and all in between. Today we have a “down” day before the race to pack up the dog truck and Dave will take the team of 14 dogs for a short practice run of only 3 miles, the temperature has dropped again in the negative -20s, then we head to Lee’s for the night and wake up bright and early to head to the start.
Two more days till Dave’s final start of the Yukon Quest! Meet the mushers went great for Dave and he got to sign A lot of posters in a special way! Dave Made sure he put his 30yrs and final race on each and every one! 🐾
….And we are even closer to the start! Saturday was vet check and every gang member looked great! The veterans knew the drill as the few rookies looked to them for guidance. Waylon, a veteran, was definitely the vets favorite, as he wagged his tail non stop, even during his temperature check! 🤣 The Yukon Quest media team and Lee, Dave’s closest and one of his longest Quest friends and past handler for some races earlier on, got some great pictures of Dave, the 4 legged gang members and his 2 legged “fans”. It was a great day ending with our usual spot for some good company, conversations and warm food in our bellies. Next to come is “Meet The Mushers” on Wednesday!
This Saturday was the food drop in Fairbanks. “A small army of volunteers under the supervision of the Race Manager takes over as the bags are sorted and put on pallets for shipping. The supplies from Alaska-based mushers destined for Yukon checkpoints will be shipped to Whitehorse, while all bags from Yukon-based mushers destined for Alaska checkpoints will be transported to Fairbanks. Bags are then distributed to the ten checkpoints, themselves, before the first dog team takes off on Saturday, February 1st. The philosophy behind this is that mushers should be independently able to care for their dogs and themselves. This is where Dave brings in all the bags that will be sent off to each check point.” As you can see in some of the pics below, the bags have his last name and the check point that bag needs to go to. All together from start to finish, there is about 11 check points. When Dave and the gang comes into each check point, 10 not including the start, the bags will be waiting for him to grab and he will have dog food, dog blankets, jackets, booties and so much more packed up in each bag. Dave and handler Brad worked hard last week preparing all the bags for Saturday. Dave’s smile tells me he’s pretty glad this part is over! Now we have vet check next weekend! 🐾
The Yukon Quest will be here before we know it!! Here is a little peek of what’s happening at the Dalton Gang Kennel! Lots of meat cutting for drop bags and of course taking the dogs out for training runs.