SNOWMOBILING -- Don't bother driving your snowmobile -- or your sled dogs -- to Alaska in search of good snow conditions.
Bob Jones of Kettle Falls drove up the Alaska-Canada Highway with his son in law, Josh Rindal, to make another 1,000-mile run on their sleds to follow the famous Iditarod sled dog race. Jones chronicled his 14th Iditarod expedition in 2012 in this diary series.
At the end of last year's odyssey he said he'd sold his snowmobiles and was over his obsession with following the route.
Nevertheless, he's back.
"But all you see is brown from Rohn to Nicolai. The race will start in Willow. Here's a report he filed last night, with some interesting obervations about the changes to the Alcan.
About an hour ago I was sitting on the frozen Knik Lake, looking for a snow pile to unload our two machines onto in the morning. There were NONE. It didn't appear that any snow had been plowed on the ice on the lake all winter! There might be 2-inches at most on the ice. We'll just jerk them off the trailer onto the ice in the morning. We almost decided to go the easy way from Deshka Landing to Skwentna tomorrow, but the Historic Iditarod.
Trail out of Knik is going to be our choice again this year: After all, it IS the Iditarod Trail! The real kicker was the reading on the temperature gauge in my truck: FIFTY DEGREES in Wasilla!!! Holy S...!
The top of Rainy Pass was much warmer than Kettle Falls today. So I can't imagine what's going to be in store for us up the trail: Probably not much good! We came close to 'scratching' here in Wasilla, but decided to make a run for it. There is NO snow around Nome, and they had a "freezing rain alert" in Golovin for today.
Hopefully we will get some good old cold weather in a few days. We can always come back to Knik......well, maybe.....and we can quit at McGrath or Unalakleet and fly our shit back to Anchorage.
I had a great trip up the Alcan. There were two major changes which have occurred in the 12 years since a drunk
like me was allowed into Canada: First, oil exploration has made a major city out of little Fort St. John. And, second, the area north of Whitehorse, to the Alaska Border, is now such a boring freeway that it isn't even fun to drive it anymore. Perhaps the most over-built highway on the planet! Good old Uncle Sam just gave the Canooks a big blank check and they made the most of it. The most disgusting part of the whole thing is that the Canadians have NO sense of the great history of the Alcan. There are NO signs left along the road depicting any of that. What a shame! And I mean not a single sign for 300 miles telling anything of the highway: Zero!