FAR . . .
2006 was a very busy traveling year and 2007 is shaping up to be the
same or even busier. Having attended the Iditarod for the past 6 years,
I decided to skip it this year and go to the Yukon Quest instead.
The YQ is the OTHER long distance sled dog race and the only one that
straddles two countries. One year it leaves from Whitehorse in the Yukon,
Canada and finishes in Fairbanks, Alaska. And the following year it
reverses the route. I flew to Whitehorse and had a hotel room that was
literally right on the start line.
Drove out of town to visit Hugh Neff's Laughing Eyes Kennel and was
pleased to set old friends Lance and Tonya Mackey, who were staying
there. They were all cutting wood and stacking it in the dog trucks,
to use at the campsite in Dawson City. Attended the start banquet
and had a really good time.
Huskies snug in their dog boxes
Start of the race in Whitehorse,
Colorful Dawson City
Trying to keep warm in -50 degrees
The start of the race was exciting and because it was right in the
center of town (and there were not the same crowds as with the Iditarod
Ceremonial start), you could stand just a few feet away from the trail
leading out of town. Get up close with all the mushers and their dogs.
Also visited Takhini hot springs about an hour out of town and it
was fun to be in the hot steamy water with snow all around you.
While waiting for the flight to Dawson City at the Whitehorse
airport, I made the acquaintance of Karl Scholz a helicopter pilot
from Dawson. My Canadian girlfriend Lee and I stayed at Bombay Peggy's,
a unique hotel that had been a former brothel. I had the gold
room with an amazing bathroom. As Dawson City is where the mushers
take an obligatory 36 hour break, I was able to take Lance and Tonya
Mackey to dinner and Karl took me sightseeing in his truck. The checkpoint
was a great place to hang out, good snacks and always something going
on with teams coming and going.
On my last day in Dawson City Karl told me to cancel the shuttle
bus to the airport and took me up in his helicopter; we flew over
the frozen Yukon River, saw the musher's camp on the other side of
the river from the town, flew up the YQ trail leading out of town
and could also see the Top of the World Highway that is closed in
winter, except for snowmobiles. It leads into Alaska. Since he had
told me to bring my suitcase with me, I was deposited right at the
Dawson City airport in time for my flight back to Whitehorse.
Lance Mackey won the Yukon Quest for the third straight year and then
ten days later, entered the Iditarod with many of the same dogs, and
won that too! This is the first time any musher has ever won both
sled dog races in the same year.
I had only one day back in Los Angeles before we set off by car to
Casa Grande, Arizona for a Weeks family reunion. There were
26 relatives for Jim to meet and get to know!!! He had only met a
few of them before and it was an amazing two days of food and stories
and friendship. The family tree, dating back to the great grandparents
in Finland was spread out on a long table and everyone added any updates
they could to it. We also had the chance to visit the Casa Grande
historical site of the Hohokum Indians, which was inspiring.
On the way home we went through Yuma and drove up one side of the
Salton Sea, stopping for a delicious date milkshake, located in wonderful
old building in the midst of the date palms.
Everyone knows I love animals so not being allowed to have any live
ones in the apartment I live in, I collect stuffed ones, from all
the countries I visit. I have a lemur, a bat-eared fox, a road runner,
a rattlesnake, a wombat, a penguin, a lama, a yak, a turtle, a killer
whale, a buffalo, a panda, a merino sheep, a puffin, a kangaroo, meerkats,
a hyena and the one that started the whole collection
But Jim thought I should have some dogs, so he bought me white Scamp
(who barks and cuddles, etc because of a computer chip in him), then
tan Scruffy whom we found at dog show, followed, I bought Pinky, a
love dog as a Valentine present for Jim while I was away
at the Yukon Quest and Little Husky was from the Iditarod. All these
dogs live at the bottom of our bed on the Iditarod blanket. Lately
they have been getting into acrobatic stunts on the bed. They surprise
me every day.
Scruffy, Scamp, Pinky and Little Husky in front
What those dogs get up to!!!
I wanted to do something special for our second wedding anniversary,
so we went to Bangkok. Although Jim had worked in Asia, he
had never been to Thailand. First we stayed in a nice hotel right
on the Chai Praya river and did some sightseeing of temples, etc.
We explored up and down the took the river day-pass and then on another
day the sky train day-pass and also attended a marvelous show, which
included dinner. Sort of a Thai Cirque du Soleil with hundreds of
performers and animals on stage. I got to feed bananas to one of the
A toast at the Oriental Hotel
Visiting the Wat Po, where we
had massages at the school
on the temple grounds
Jim enjoying Thai beer
For our last two days in Bangkok we moved over to the Oriental
Hotel, (also on the river) my favorite hotel in the world and
a hotel that is usually first or second on many lists of the best
hotels in the world. I had told them it was a sort of honeymoon and
they very generously gave us wine and chocolates and snacks and put
flowers in our room. What a splendid time we had. Pinky did too, as
we brought her along on the honeymoon, much to the delight
of the Oriental Hotel staff. Im dreaming of going back to Thailand
and trying out the newest Oriental Hotel which is in Chiang Mai.
In May we went back to the Gator by the Bay Cajun/Zydeco Festival
again. We're getting better with our slow Cajun waltz and really enjoyed
the music and the food.
Because Jims sister Shirley and her husband Bill couldn't join
the Weeks Family Reunion in Arizona, and I heard they were coming
to California for a brief visit, I decided to organize a mini
Weeks family reunion. Jims daughter Val flew in from Idaho for
the weekend and I was able to get two sets of cousins who live in
Southern California to join us for a wonderful lunch.
Jim played golf in the Women In Film tournament in Malibu in July.
We also visited Joe and Sylvia Karcher in Hemet. They showed us spectacular
new man-made Diamond Lake and it's accompanying museum and scientific
center which features many bones of Wooly Mammoths and other pre-historic
animals. These skeletons came to light when the lake was being dug.
Were packing for an August trip to Norway and Iceland
with Joe and Sylvia. We'll be traveling by plane, train, ship (up
the Norwegian coast) and car.