Two California retirees visit the world-famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska.
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"We're going to Anchorage to watch the beginning of the Iditarod race. We really want to be a part of all the excitement and to experience (briefly) what winter is like in Alaska."—Carroll Melnyk, El Centro, Calif.
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Carroll and Basil Melnyk have spent nearly their entire lives in warm weather—mostly in the Texas Panhandle and then, after retirement, as full-time RVers who pass the cold-weather months outside San Diego. "I've always wondered what winter was like," says Carroll. So they decided to visit the start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, in which competitors race teams of sled dogs across more than 1,000 miles of Alaskan wilderness, from Anchorage to Nome.
The day before the race, the Iditarod committee enrolled Carroll and Basil in a dog-handling course, where they met former Iditarod musher Shawn Sidelinger and held the reins of his friendly, if overexcited, dogs. "They aren't big, but boy, are they strong!" says Carroll. The Melnyks also received VIP access to the prerace events and ceremonial start in Anchorage. "Even the governor didn't have a better spot than we did!" says Basil. They then chartered a plane to visit three of the race checkpoints, where they got an up close view of the mushers passing through. "It was fun because we had met so many of them," reports Carroll.
Many thanks to...
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, whose organizing committee gave the Melnyks VIP access to the prerace events and the ceremonial start. The annual event is held in March; for more information, see iditarod.com.