22 March 2015. 4.00PM. 45F Sunny
Having survived my first 100 mile race, it was time for the main reason for my trip to visit Jacob and the city of Whitehorse. Sadly, Jacob insisted we had to go straight back to his place – it seemed my dreams of fresh coffee and donuts from Tim Horton’s would have to wait just a little longer to be fulfilled.
Having taken care of my travelling dogs, and had a refeshment or two, the rampaging horde got brought into the house for some puppy chaos and mayhem – after everything between floor level and 2 feet high had been tidied away. The pups charged around, investigated us all and happily chomped on the newcomer. Even their mother was relaxed enough to only gave me a couple of suspicious glances when I had a puppy climb up onto my lap.
The next morning I had the difficult task of deciding which of the pups would be making the long drive back to Alaska with me. At that young an age, I pay less attention to structure and dimensions as I do to character and temperament. In the end, the puppy chose me. Jacob took the 2 that he was keeping out of the little yard we were in, leaving me with 2 to chose from. Puppy 1 scrambled after Jacob and stood at the gate screaming. Puppy 2 watched this, wandered around a little, picked up a stick, ambled over to me and climbed up onto my legs. He then lay there, chewing his stick, while his brother screamed the place down. Decision made.
Having done the hard part, we then had to drive the pup into town to get his health certificate for importing him into the US, buy him a travel crate, and, most importantly, fulfill my craving for some Timmies.
A fun evening with a wonderful dinner with great people rounded off my stay in Canada nicely. Early the next morning, I loaded my dogs into the truck, did my best to tidy up our parking area in Jacob’s driveway and slid our new pup and his crate onto the passenger seat of the truck before setting off for home. Davaar, as the pup is now called, was an excellent travelling companion. Aside from his occasional bout of travel sickness………..
It was fun to drive the stretch of highway from Haines Junction to Kluane Lake and spot the road crossings used during the race and to marvel at how much easier it is to go uphill when one is powered by a 6.7 litre engine. My drive/rest schedule was amended a little by Davaar’s requirements, but I felt like we were making good time and had my dog drop routine down to a fine art. However, as they say, pride comes before a fall and so it proved. As I filled the truck’s fuel tank in Beaver Creek, I noticed that the door on one of the storage areas was open. A quick mental backtrack placed my last stop about 2 hours earlier, which meant that somewhere in the preceeding 100 miles or so, there was a good chance that someone had to take avoiding action to escape a flying poop shovel, scoop and bag of recycled dog food.
The next part of the adventure would be the border crossing. Having done this several times, it has always been different, from a full on interrogation to a genial “welcome home” and almost everything in between. This time, I was ready, the dogs’ papers were in order, filed alphabetically and presented in their binder, along with the puppy’s certificates and records. And of course, they weren’t asked for – seems the more prepared I am, the less requirement there is.
Passing through Tok, grabbed a quick bite to eat and filled the truck’s fuel tank again, before pulling over at Chistochina to drop the dogs. It was there I discovered that the poop handling equipment weren’t the only items that had made a bid for freedom when the door had been left open earlier. A frantic search revealed that I was also missing all my dog bowls. That made giving the dogs a drink somewhat tricky. A few of them drank their soup from the ladle, but most seemed highly suspicious of this new tactic. Opting to feed more meat and fish, I figured that would be a sufficient source of moisture for the last leg of our journey. It also made the decision about whether to take a more leisurely pace over the final 200 miles, much easier. Pushing on, I made it home without incident and had all the dogs back in their own houses before midnight.
Many thanks to Jacob and Gwen for their hospitality and for trusting us with Davarr.