{Tsuga Siberians}
October 31st, 2008 - "A Long Drive"

Loaded and ready!
At Uncle Bob's in Chicago..


Hello all, from Two Rivers, Alaska. We finally pulled in here Halloween afternoon after our 4689 mile journey from home. October 14th, the day we left New Hampshire, seems like a long time ago. The trip went pretty well and it was a bit easier this time, as we’ve learned a few things about how best to get across the continent with a fully loaded dog truck. This was the third time in a year and a half that I’ve driven from NH to the far northwest of North America. Thanks to all the family and friends that put us up along the way, we arrived here having only spent three nights in motels over the course of nearly three weeks of travel. We need to thank my Mom, my Uncle Doug and his family, and Sue’s Uncle Bob and his family for hospitality early in the trip. Farther along in Alberta, Mark and Karen Ramstead put us up for two nights and let us borrow an atv for some training on their excellent trail system. When we got to Moe’s house, where we spent last winter on Annie Lake Road in the Yukon, we stayed a whole week and trained every day. Thanks to that stint, we arrived here in AK with a team in much better shape than we left NH with! Now, with snow on the ground and temperatures cold enough (-20 this morning), the team is so ready to go, we’ll have to be careful to not go too wild here in the next couple weeks…

Northern Rockies Lodge in B.C.
Crossing the Canadian Rockies.

Highlights of the trip definitely included the family stops early in the trip. The Cabela’s store outside of Minneapolis was a fun diversion from the Friday evening traffic jam, although we didn’t spend a dime there. The border crossing in to Canada was not so much fun as our number was up and they spent two hours emptying our truck and having their dog sniff through everything that had been so carefully packed. Then I spent five minutes cramming it all back in to the truck and we were on our way again. The Ramstead’s home, an hour north of Edmonton, was like an oasis for us with good food and conversation and the ability to run the dogs. Up on the Alaska Highway, we had another great stay at beautiful Northern Rockies Lodge at Muncho Lake, BC. Thanks Uncle Bob and Aunt Pam!! The next day we got to Annie Lake Road (aka – mushers’ paradise) and spent 7 days running the trails we spent all winter training on last year at Moe’s, and the dogs knew exactly where they were. We also found out why Moe couldn’t commit to handling with Sue for the whole Quest, she is going to run the Quest 300 with her own team! You go girl! From there, we made our way up the most remote sections of the Alaska Highway to Tok, where we stayed a night, before finishing the last 200 miles of the trip to Fairbanks and out to Two Rivers and the home of Bill and Sandy McKee, where we will spend the winter. They have a separate cabin that has running water, electricity, and a propane Monitor heater, not to mention internet access. Our digs are quite different than last year. It’s also quite a bit more social around here and in the first few days we’ve been here, we’ve already had more visitors than all of last winter. What we’ve given up in solitude, we’ve gained in amenities. We look forward to the variety and change.

In Alberta, Canada.

Although we’ve only been here three days, we’ve already built new dog houses, repaired a few extras that McKee’s had, moved in to our temporary “home”, and gone for that first big grocery shop to fill the kitchen. Today we’ll finally move the dogs out of the truck and into their new home in a shared dog yard with Bill and Sandy’s team. We’ll also go out for our first training run here and start to learn a whole new trail system. There is enough snow to slide a sled here right now and we could control a small team most places, but we’ll use an atv for now so we can run bigger teams with more control. We can’t wait to get out and get some longer runs on our very rowdy dogs. After spending nearly three weeks in and out of the dogtruck, they are ready to explode out on to the trails.

Sue training at Moe Better Kennels..
Under Needle Mtn in the Yukon.
18 Dogs.

So, we’ve got to get to it! Thanks so much to all of you who have helped us get here with donations and/or just good wishes. We really appreciate the help.

Thanks again and take care – Mike, Sue and TeamTsuga.


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