"I Must Be Insane"
Sunday morning I did not check the roads before I headed out of my driveway with a 17 dog team. Long story short the roads were icy from the packed down snow and I got my ATV hung up on our street sign. I ended up doing a short 8 mile run because of the conditions.
Monday & Tuesday I had to work so I did not train, but I was looking forward to doing a long run on my day off. I heard about the snow storm, and I decided that I would get up at 5:30 in the morning and head to Hill so I would not be killed by a snow plow and I could avoid our big hills. I got home from work Tuesday night at 9:30 and got the truck ready.
Wednesday morning it was already snowing when I got up. Scott was getting ready for work at the same time he looked at me and said "Why did we decide to move to the cold snowy north and run dogs?" and I smiled and said "because it is fun!"
I arrived at Old Hill Village safely. Got my cranky ATV going and off the trailer (she really hates the cold), I hooked off to a tree and went to retrieve my gangline... only to find out I had left it at home. I stood there looking at the back of my truck, hoping the line would appear, and I told myself "It was busy at work. You were tired from working on the huge shipment." but nothing made me feel better. I got my ATV back on the trailer and drove home.
On the ride home I convinced myself that my roads would be safe with the freshly falling snow. You can laugh and shake your head at me all you want, but I do love training dogs and I had my heart set on taking out a team.
I got my ATV off the trailer, and got everything all set to go. I took the dogs out of the box one at a time, put on their harness, and hooked them to the line. It took forever, and for some reason my well behaved team was screaming like they had never been hooked up in their life. I pulled my snubline and off we went. I had that moment of pure pleasure that you get when you pull your line, but Mannie kept looking back at me, I found this odd because Mannie never looks back. All of a sudden I realized what he was saying to me "Are you out of your f**king mind?" and I smashed side ways into our mailbox and landed in the ditch. Somehow I got the ATV out of the ditch and told myself "that really was not that bad" but despite my low gear I was going sideways down the hill. I knew the brakes would not work, but I tried them anyhow, and that made the team go faster. I collected my head and did what any sane musher would do, since my ATV was facing the ditch I gave it gas and drove myself into the ditch. It worked because the team stopped and nobody was hurt, although, my ATV was on it's side. I still did not panic because, after all, I had Valeska in lead and she can do a come haw with ease... only Valeska did not feel like doing a come haw at that moment in time because she really really wanted to just head down the hill and kill me. I got off the ATV and hand turned the team, but two of my yearlings kept turning around backwards because the did not understand. I kept it cool and tried to get them all lined out. I did happen to catch Mannie's eye and said to him "I KNOW!" and I swear he laughed a little. While trying to get them all facing the right way, the plow truck came down the hill. I ran up the road at him waving my arms to get him to stop. He did stop and waited for me. Now I was sweating, the dogs were all facing the right way, but I could not get my ATV off it's side. The plow truck driver just sat in his truck and patiently waited for me to get out of my dilemma. I'm certain that tonight he is going to go home and give his wife an extra kiss for being a little more sane than the woman with the dog team blocking the whole road. I finally got the ATV off it's side, and turned around, so I headed for home, but once again I was not going straight and I had no control, the team turned into the driveway and I rolled my ATV into the ditch. I crawled out from under my upside down ATV, and unhooked the dogs two at a time and walked them down the driveway back to their homes. The dogs still wanted to go so they all screamed and banged in harness.... I should not say "all" because Mannie sat there and waited for his turn to go back.
Once the dogs were put away I walked back down the driveway to my ATV. I just stood there with my hands on my hips and looked at it. I was thinking I might just walk away and leave it there, when the plow truck driver came up the hill and asked if I would like a hand. With much effort we were able to get it back up right. It took a lot of outward groaning from me, and a lot of inward groaning from my helpful friend. I would like to think that he wanted to help me because I was in distress, but he probably did not want to wreck his plow by hitting my ATV at some point during the day.
I had a heck of a time getting harnesses off the dogs. I would pull a leg out and they would put it back in. They were all disappointed in me. When I got to Mannie he would not come out of his dog house, we played tug of war, which I eventually won. Once he realized I was taking off his harness and not hooking him up he relaxed and was his normal self.
I can only hope that this storm stays snow and we can take out our sleds.