Monday, March 23, 2015

Open Water

Each morning John, Joanna and I and the dogs (Sabre and Scarlett) head out on the snowmobile trail we made from our house along the river and up to the lake for a good three mile walk.  The river is pretty much all open due to the current and warm weather, but our bay is still covered with ice except for the narrow portion where the strongest current runs under the bridge. 

The nights are still quite cold which has slowed the thawing process.  That is fine with Joanna who still wants to run her young dogs in a team and get them familiar with running in a harness.  With the longer, warmer days, the sun is melting the snow which makes it very slippery for walking.  I choose to use my poles from cross country skiing to support me while walking to prevent a nasty fall.  It makes for a much more relaxing walk. 

We sure are thankful for being able to live in such a gorgeous, quiet, environment, far away from crowded, hustling, bustling city life.  The air and water are fresh and clean and the sky a rich blue.  What more could a person ask for?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Eggs and Chicken Ban

 We wanted to give our guests a heads up on a new ban when coming into Canada this summer.  As of right now, because of cases in the U.S. of Avian Influenza, Canada has placed a ban on these certain items.  The quote is as follows...

"Travelers should know that, due to this outbreak, all raw poultry and all poultry products and by-products that are not fully cooked, including eggs and raw pet foods, sourced, processed, or packaged from the states of Minnesota, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington are under restriction until further notice. You may not bring these items into Canada."

Monday, March 9, 2015

CopperDog 150 in Calumet, Michigan


 This is Joanna's account of her last race of the 2015 season at the Copper Dog 150
Joanna is number 4 on the right.  Frank Holmberg is number 14.  He has been one of her closest competitors in the races and finished fourth place ahead of her. 

 We had a GREAT time at the CopperDog 150 although we had a few vehicle hiccups along the way, plus I felt a bit weak yet from being sick, and was still coughing and keeping stocked up on kleenix!!! smile emoticon Our Tahoe was at the garage in Dryden as they had to order parts and didn't want us driving it so we took the diesel instead. It is old but powerful! We always stay in Superior, WI on the way down and on our way to our hotel our blinkers quit working! We had had a weird experience just before when we had done a bit a shopping and dropped dogs in a remote corner at the Duluth Miller Hill mall parking lot. We had our truck running with all the lights on and inside the trailer to see plus we had parked near a parking lot street light. Suddenly it went black, the parking light over head and all our truck/trailer lights went off! Pretty weird. My dad thought it was maybe a power surge or something but whatever it was it must have messed up our blinkers! So, the next morning we spent half the day in Superior getting the blinkers fixed and the door had kinda been seizing up so got that fixed also. Whew! Onward to Calumet, MI! The temps were really perfect for running dogs, not too cold, not too warm and it was great to see everyone again for our last race of the season!!! I have to say that night run was one of the most beautiful runs, I really loved it!!! We had maybe a 3/4 moon but it was so bright!!!! Absolutely beautiful night to run dogs!!! The dogs were cruising and I mainly was trying to hold them back a bit to not run them too hard on the first leg. Lots of power with 10 dogs so quite a rush!!! It was hard to hold them back enough on the downhills and on one sharp corner to the left that immediately was a steep downhill I didn't handle the corner well and tipped over to the right, clinging to the side of the sled as I dragged through the snow on the bank. I was stabbing for the brake with my left foot as we were half up/half down and somehow got my foot stuck between the brake and the sled! Ugh! Got that freed then stomped the brake and somehow my right leg while dragging got tangled up in my snow hook rope! I have no idea how that stuff happens! lol Anyway got myself untangled and off we shot:) Had a great first leg placing 5th for that run which I was shocked at! I had come to this race hoping to just place in the top ten to help pay for the trip a bit, as there are so many top teams here that it's like running with the "big boys"smile emoticon The second leg, which is the hilliest and has the most of what they call "back country loops" (meaning soft and punchy:), the dogs were slow to warm up into the run and then Frank Holmberg caught up to us maybe a quarter of the way into the run? We ran with him the rest of the run passing a ton of teams, it was fun and it seems to be a habit these last few years for us to run together lol:) Unfortunately roughly halfway through the run one of my point dogs came out of a twisty/rough section of trail limping from a sore shoulder... I dropped him when we got to the checkpoint and the rest of the team looked great and ate/drank well. We had had a very good run and placed 4th for the day and moved up to 4th overall!!!! Our host family, a wonderful couple that hosted us last year also and whom we have gotten to be very good friends with, met us at the finish of day two and while standing by Suzi noticed our trailer hitch didn't look right, it was slanting downward!!! She pointed it out to her husband Mike who is a mechanic so he got down under there to take and look and said,"Oh boy this isn't good!" Apparently when my mom had been driving from the start to the first checkpoint in the dark that first night she had hit a rough spot on the road fairly hard even though she wasn't going that fast, but it really rocked the truck/trailer I guess. Its fairly rusted underneath and the metal framework that supports the hitch had partially broken off it was rusted so thin... thus the downward slant of our hitch! Thankfully our wonderful hosts had driven their truck to their lake home instead of their car and he hooked up his truck to our trailer, and made arrangements for a guy in Calumet that he knew to fix our truck first thing Monday morning so we could go home safely!! We spent the night at our host's beautiful home and enjoyed the most delicious filet mignon I have ever had plus many other delicious dishes!!! They sure spoil us!!! Early Sunday morning Mike drove his truck pulling our trailer to the start in Copper Harbor, (and then on to the finish in Calumet) my team of 9 dogs looked very amped and ready to roll and off we went for the final 41 miles of the race! Climbing Brockway Mt. is always a great work out only this year without the snow and high winds I could actually see the amazing view and how much higher I had yet to climb! yay:) It was great though and I made it through some coughing fits, hoping no photographers were around to see my runny nose!!! yuck! The dogs did fantastic and while we had a few stops for various reasons, like me dropping my ski pole and running back to get it cause I knew I would need it, it was a pretty good run! We did lose a spot as some other teams had some fabulous runs and while we did make up some time on others, it wasn't enough but I was more then thrilled to place 5th for the day and 5th over all!!!! Very pleased with the consistent runs we had! The dogs looked great at the finish, strong and some were screaming to go!!! Absolutely scarfed down their snacks and drank good too! At the awards banquet I was only half listening as the head vet was talking about the best cared for team award until suddenly I heard, "and this year the award goes to.... Joanna Oberg!!!" I think my jaw literally dropped:) I was totally blown away as did not expect that at all!!! It is truly an honor and I know the vets have a hard time deciding as everyone is exemplary with their dog care! It was a very emotional moment for me and I want to thank my mom again for all her help handling and the great job she does and also my dad for all his help with the care and training, they do so much and in this sport you need support and they give it!!! I was blown away with how well my dogs have performed this year its been an exciting, fun and adventurous ride and I have loved every minute of it!!! Well... almost every minute lol:) Hawk and Vader led every step of the race as my female leaders were in heat:) They did a phenomenal job, very proud of the whole team, Echo, Vapor, Venture, Viva, Swift, Tango, Vashti and Layla!! Wish we had some more races to go too... we'll miss seeing all our musher friends:( Until next winter I guess!!! Now I am training pups and just having fun... ran 21 dogs yesterday!! (not all at once!) Looking forward to some super new additions to the team for next year! Happy Trails everyone! Thank you God for a safe, fun and great race season!! So thankful for all His many blessings on my life!!!