JDR will show up soon with a great post about Alex Smith, and I predict he’ll illustrate it with a pic of the fine QB defiantly appearing before the cameras wearing a black SF Giants hat.
Spring training’s going fine — couple of injuries, but a lot of impressive play, too. Pence’s first hit today apparently cracked some boards in the OF wall. Etc.
Meanwhile, the Iditarod started yesterday. I saw that race begin in 1991, on either 3rd or 4th Street in Anchorage. Actually, the downtown start was ceremonial. The racers and their dog teams headed out to some place 40 miles away, on the edge of the wilderness, for the real start. Check it out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iditarod_Trail_Sled_Dog_Race
In 1975 I stumbled across one of the Iditarod way stations in late March (or, maybe, early April). I was working at a remote lodge with about half a dozen other guys, felling trees and getting the place ready for the fishing season. We received a message (via the AM country station’s “bush pipeline” feature, broadcast at dinner time every night) that the owners had flown a bunch of lumber to the airstrip near Skwentna. They didn’t dare try to land on our river, the Talachulitna, because the ice was getting thin. For the same reason, we didn’t want to take the snowmobiles to Skwentna during the day. We had to leave at midnight, when the temperature dropped well below freezing, and then try to get back before noon.
Yes, the moon was full, the snow was white, and Crazy Jack and I were full of brandy. He was a local hunting guide who knew the way. We stopped at a small abandoned log cabin on the Iditarod Trail. It wasn’t a checkpoint, but some sort of in-between spot. Inside we found a case of beer. Initially, we were delighted. Then we both realized at the same moment that the bottles were full of ice. Obviously, we were both still full of brandy. We roared on up the snow-covered river.
About dawn, when we got to Skwentna, a hunting guide friend of Jack’s, who lived in a two-room log cabin, woke his family and invited us to breakfast. After we ate, Jack and I went outside to help the host’s eight-year-old daughter feed the dogs who helped her run her trap line. We found two huskies huddled together in the snow, under a tarp. Those strong dogs got very excited as Jack and I took axes to the frozen moose shanks and knocked off big chunks of meat for them to eat. The little eight-year-old girl laughed with delight as her dogs enjoyed their meal.
The trip back to our lodge with the lumber piled up on trailers we pulled with the snowmobiles wasn’t so much fun. In fact it was 20 miles of pretty scary sledding over melting snow and ice. But we got it done. And I developed a tremendous respect for the racers and their teams who brave the 1,100+ wilderness miles of the Iditarod.