The Iditarod Ceremonial start in Anchorage was Saturday, March 6th. The actual start was Sunday, March 7th in Willow Lake. Lance Mackey won his 4th straight Iditarod on Tuesday, March 16th around 3 PM.
Shishmaref got off early from school on Wednesday, March 17th and we had no school on Thursday or Friday that week (some spring break, huh?). So Wednesday evening I headed into Nome. 23 mushers made it into the finish line before we arrived.
I stayed with 2 other teachers, Bea and Sue. We stayed at the Polar Arms in a suite. Let's say that it is a little less than classy, but it was cheap! Haha! It actually wasn't as bad as I was expecting, but I definitely wasn't going to take a soak in the bathtub like I would've if I was staying at the Aurora.
Front Street runs parallel to the ocean and is basically the main street in Nome. The finish line is on Front Street. The mushers are out on the ice and then once they pass Subway, they come up onto the street and into the shoot. They have a big wooden arch in the middle of the street. During non-Iditarod time, it just sits all lonely in on the side of the street.
Our room at the Polar Arms looked right over Front Street. We could see mushers come in from our window. It was kind of nice. Here is the Jamaican musher coming down Front Street. This photo was taken from our window.
There are lots of fun things about Iditarod weeks in Nome that make it fun. Obviously, Iditarod. Mushers coming in, seeing the dogs, meeting the mushers, etc.. Also, a huge basketball tournament at the rec center. There were several Shishmaref teams entered and a huge Shish cheering section, so it was fun to go to the games. Also, bars and restaurants expect lots of extra people in town, so they have special events, extended hours, and other stuff. It's always a treat to be in Nome (2 grocery stores with things you expect your average grocery store to have, restaurants, adult beverages), but during Iditarod, it's even better.
Thursday night, the Polar Bar had a "Make Your Own Bikini Contest". No, I did not enter, but I did watch. One of the judges was Lance Mackey himself. I got my picture taken with him!
I went to lots of basketball games too. I spent a lot of my time playing with two and a half year old Loretta.
She used to cry when she saw me. A lot of small children are scared of white people because their experiences with them are people who come to the village to give them shots, or when they are really sick and need to go to Nome to be poked and prodded by white people. So, at the beginning of the year, Loretta would scream when she saw me. By November, she was starting to warm up to me. Would let me hold her and such. By February, we were good friends. About that time, we decided that she thought Amy meant "white person". Usually after we had been with her awhile, at a birthday party or something, she would call Colleen and me both Amy. Now she loves me and knows me and my name. She'll see me from across the gym and giggle and say "AMY!!!!". So cute. I just love her. Her brother Landon will be in my class next year. Anyway, pretty much all of my pictures of the basketball games were taken by Loretta.
I didn't get to go to the musher meet and greet because of when my plane was leaving, but I did get to see some mushers and dog teams come in.
Jim Lanier and his team just came into the shoot.
One of Jim Lanier's dogs, anxious to get going again!
Lanier's dogs chillin' out.
Lanier being interviewed.
Tamara Rose just onto Front Street.
Tamara Rose's lead dog may take a detour at the Chinese restaurant.
Rose down Front St. to the finish line.
Tamara Rose is almost there!
Art Church, Jr. stopped right before coming on to Front Street.
Church rearranging dogs before the straightaway.
Art Church, Jr. setting up the dogs to head to the finish.
I really have no idea why he was rearranging the team now, with (probably) less than a 1/2 mile to go. But, I am not a musher, so who am I to judge?
Getting the dogs ready to go.
Art Church, Jr. and his team, almost ready to head down Front Street.
Church and his team headed down the street - finally!
Me, waiting for one of the mushers to come into the chute. They announce over a loudspeaker when there is someone coming soon. There is also an Iditarod hotline that you can call to find out when the next musher is expected in and who it is.
Dave DeCaro and his team coming into the chute.
Dave DeCaro at the arch.
One of DeCaro's dogs.
Another one of DeCaro's dogs, taking a rest after a long trip.
Dave DeCaro's team resting up while he is interviewed.
Not a good photo, but this is one of the booties from one of the paws of one of Dave DeCaro's dogs! The mushers usually pass them out the the crowd and I got one!
So, this may be the longest post ever, but it was (hopefully) worth it!
For more information about the Iditarod, visit the website: www.iditarod.com