Our troop of ten college students and three leaders left the church at about 10:45 p.m. on March 3rd. In our three vehicle caravan we tried to stay awake with stories, singing, and just talking. It worked until about 2 a.m. when each one of us four passengers in Scott’s car floated off to a half hour of much-needed sleep. Scott was fine driving without a chatting companion (thank God!). We made it to Crown plaza where we parked our cars and took a shuttle to O’Hare airport. We arrived at our gate with four hours to bum around.
[[we were at the church for Bible study the night we left, so since all of us were already there, why NOT head out?]]
Somewhere between eating the overpriced airport food, walking around, playing ‘Settlers of Catan’, and reading, the time had passed and it was flying time.
Snow became a major sight for hours…our flight was taking forever…it seemed as if J.P., Stormy, and I tried to solve that crossword puzzle for at least three hours!
After taking a nap, I was told that we were about halfway there…
Our plane safely landed and we were welcomed by immense amounts of humbling mountains. I was the first to hug Jerry and Melissa (the couple from Calvary Baptist of Anchorage, who drove us to the church)
There were a total of sixty-three of us continental U.S. volunteers–most of whom were from down south.
The cook was one of them, she made some AMAZING food.
I loved the fact that I had to travel up north to eat down south.
Yay for biscuits & gravy, grits, chicken and SWEET TEA!
We went for a few nature-watching adventures while we were up there. The mountains definitely are a sight for sore-eyes; I could never get sick of gazing at them.
Many evenings I stayed up and played guitar with Scott–he is a great guy to discuss theology with. I was very intrigued by the many stories he had to share. I got to know him like a brother, and so I gladly accepted him as so.
Saturday, the 5th, we drove to Willow, where we would stay the night at a church [[sleeping on pews and the floor]]. We helped a little with some pre-setup for the Iditarod. Sunday morning we woke up at 4a.m. and headed out after a hearty breakfast. We arrived at Willow Lake, where the Iditarod start takes place. It was the coldest I had ever been…my boots were not good enough for this freezing hour of the day! I had to go in to the warming cabin twice to dry off my boots and socks, switch-out toe warmers, and re-hydrate.
Throughout the dark morning hours, we helped set up the fences, marking off the mushing trail toward Long lake. We assisted in any way we were needed.
Most of our group of thirteen were security–keeping people off the mushing trail, and from crossing when the mushers were coming.
Kyle [a leader] was media security.
Ashley [Kyle’s wife and a leader as well] handed the announcer his papers, which told him the biography of different mushers, which he then spoke on for about two minutes.
Joey and Eric aided in VIP parking [definitely tested their patience]
I had a completely different job–cooking and serving the volunteers food!
…I cooked with this guy, Mark, who I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with…
(tune in next post, when Sarah has more time available)