Sunday, December 07, 2008

Driving A Big Rig

Note: This is an excerpt from my contributions to the SP Kennel Dog Log

As I've mentioned before, there hasn't been much snow in the area yet, so the brakes on the sleds don't have much to dig into. As a consequence, it is hard for Aliy and Allen to control big dog teams.

The problem, of course, is that there are so many dogs to train at the Kennel and they all need to be run -- as you know from the "Training Schedule" video -- almost every day. As a result, I have been going out on training runs with Aliy, riding on a second sled that is literally tied to the back of her so that we can have more control -- double brakes, double weight -- and can run more dogs at one time.

For this run Aliy said, "We need to drive a big rig today... 18 dogs!" So, we harnessed up a huge team -- even larger than a full 16-dog Iditarod team! -- and headed out on a four hour, 40+ mile run. With two sleds -- each carrying two large bags of dog food -- and two humans, the total load added up to about 700 pounds. As you will see, these powerful Alaskan Huskies pulled this "big rig" like it was nothing!

About five miles out from the Kennel we passed by the entire town of Two Rivers where Aliy offers a bit of a guided tour. I'm sorry that the audio is so poor, but the speed of the dogs creates such a wind effect that it overwhelms the tiny microphone on my camera. I've added a few sub-titles to help you understand what Aliy is saying. (Note: I'm trying some experiments to fix this problem, but if anybody has a solution for it I would really like to know about it. Please leave me a comment!)

A little further into our run, Aliy put me in the lead sled where I was able to give you a bit of a true "musher's-eye view" then turn around -- with my back to the wind! -- to film Aliy looking forward for a change.

I hope you enjoy "Driving A Big Rig" with us!

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