Well, he has made the finish line! At 3:46 on March 14th Travis pulled into Nome in 9th place. “Our main goal this year was a top 10 finish and that’s what we accomplished,” He said. After arriving to Nome, we brought the dogs to the Nome Dog lot where warm beds of straw waited for them to curl up in.
After the final vet check, which is used to help determine the winner of the Leonard Seppala Humanatarian Award, left to take a shower and a much needed nap! A huge thank you to Sophie DeBruin of Stump Jumpin’ Kennel for her and her family’s endless hospitality in Nome. While Travis went to get a much needed nap, I stayed with the dogs. From when the dogs arrive to when the dogs are drugged tested is approximately 3 hours. This gives the mushers (or their help) time to get a meal into the dogs so they can pee when needed.
This year, teams were required to select an individual to stay with dogs until drug testing on the dogs was performed. As I had missed the team immensely and knew the dogs, I volunteered for the job. I gave the dogs a nice snack before laying down some straw and a sleeping bag for myself to hang out in the warm afternoon sunshine with the tem. I curled up with Dolly, who was on my 2016 Iditarod team, and Gremlin.
Around 7:30 pm the Iditarod drug testing program came over to our team, walked dogs, and took samples. Watching grown adults try to catch dog pee in a little plastic bag is more than a little hilarious! After our samples were collected, I gave the dogs a big meal consisting of beef, chicken skins, a chicken fat blend, and some fish. They drank it down!
After one final pat on the head, it was off to see Travis. When I arrived back at the house, he was already napping. He wanted to be woken up after about a 2 hours sleep.At 9pm I went in to our room “Travis,” I said gently nudging him. “It’s time to wake up.”
Travis had some trouble opening his eyes from how tired he was. “Is that you, Sarah?”
“Yes, it’s me.” I got the distinct impression he wasn’t quite sure what was going on. “Do you know where you are, Travis?”
“I’m in Shaktoolik. Why are you here?”
“Honey, you’ve already finished the Iditarod,” I reminded him.
At that, a huge grin broke across his face and he chuckled. “Oh, right. I knew that.”
We’ve spent the last 24 hours since Travis’ finish playing with the dogs, getting him caught up on sleep, and enjoying our friends and family who are with us in Nome. We really appreciate all the well wishes from friends near and far on Travis’ excellent finish. We look forward to sharing more fun stories and even some videos from the trail in days and weeks to follow.
2018 Iditarod Finishers
Krum has graduated to the main racing leader this season. She’s a rock solid dog up front who is frisky, fun, and knows how to get the job done. She’s one of the younger dogs on the team at only 3.5 years old but she finished in the 2015 and 2016 Iditarod with Travis and ran to a 7th place Iditarod finish last year with Ray Redington. When Krum isn’t leading the team, she can often be found lounging on the couch inside. Krum is joined by her sisters Granger and Havoc on the team! I expect Krum and her sister Granger will lead a majority of the race!
Blue! She’s the young gun of the team at 2 years old. She’s done an impeccable job all season, finishing in every race she’s started without a problem. In fact, she’s so good she can be easy to overlook once she’s in the team because she is so smooth and steady. We expect big things from Blue in the years to come, for now, her primary goal is to get as far along in the race as possible, ideally the finish line. I expect if she has any issues, Travis will drop her immediately due to her age. Though she may be small, this little lady is fierce!
Gremlin is 6 years old and one of the smaller females on the team. She has raced and finished in every Iditarod with Travis. She’s a dependable little dog who works hard and knows how to get the job done. Gremlin loves belly rubs and the occasional stint indoors where she can visit with her sister, Goblin. She’s a funny little dog who is like the energizer bunny: she just keeps going and going. Gremlin typically runs in swing but can lead if called upon. I don’t expect her to do much leading but she gives a boost of confidence to the lead dogs when they know she’s right behind them.
Havoc is a quirky, expressive dog who graduated from Sarah’s 2016 Iditarod team and believe me, she’s come a long way since then! Havoc wasn’t always a hard worker — she’d travel down the trail well enough but she didn’t pull. Not anymore! She’s learned how to work hard while still maintaining a fun, carefree attitude. Havoc stands out for her extremely expressive “Yoda” ears and her gentleness. This lovely lady is a real gem!
Mongoose or “Goose” has always been excited to run every day of this season. He’s put on strong performances in the 2016 and 2015 Iditarod. Now at 4 years old, he’s a dynamite force, a solid leader, and a dog capable of charging the team with an electric current of excitement! Goose is also a dog that constantly makes us laugh. He loves rubbing up against things. He also has a very goofy toothy aligator grin. He’s a little on the shy side and prefers to be around people he knows and works with routinely. At dog mushing events, he’s the dog whose feet you can see sticking out from under the trailer.
A graduate off of Sarah’s 2016 Iditarod team, Dolly is a phenomenal leader and all around go-getter. She’s one of the most excitable dogs in the team. She’s 4 years old and has single led some of the tougher portions of the race thus far. She’s a fun dog but can be a total pain in the butt: she’s good and she knows it and can sometimes be a little ornery with her teammates. I expect Dolly will do big things for Travis on the coast. She’s always been a real stand out to me, though it’s taken time for Travis to come around to her and let her train with his team. I expect she will be the dog he didn’t know he needed on the coast!
Kip, like his brother Mongoose, has been ready for Iditarod all year. Each training run he greats with so much enthusiasm that even though he runs in the middle of the team, we often have to hook him up close to last. His excitement spreads quickly to the other dogs. More importantly, Kip is a steady worker who always gives his best. He’s a gentle soul and a rather agreeable dog so he often runs with Dolly as he can put up with her sassy attitude.
Fidget is THE leading lady, the go-to girl. She has been there every step of the way for Travis in every Iditarod and is the leader he has always been able to count on. When the going gets rough, Fidget gets tough! This amazing lead dog will single lead through the nastiest conditions Alaska can offer and do it with an attitude that says BRING IT ON! This is one tough dog. She’s pretty well known in Iditarod circles because she is THAT good. Travis felt a pang of pride at vet checks when one of the guys on the insider crew asked: “Where’s Fidget? She’s my favorite dog on the race.”
Check is goofy. He’s a happy go lucky carefree dog. He reminds me of someone with headphones in, grooving to their own beat, walking down some city street. Check does his own thing with a smile on his face. He isn’t the hardest working dog in the team but he is the type of dog who will always find the finish line. Check will lead if he has too, but his carefree attitude and march-to-my-own-beat style don’t always make him a good fit up front.
Rowdy is, well, rowdy. Although he is one of the smaller males on the team, what he lacks in size he makes up for in sheer enthusiasm. At the end of a run, Rowdy will be the first dog on his feet saying “WHY ON EARTH HAVE WE STOPPED!” Rowdy will be the dose of pep to the team that they need when the trail gets long and tough.