Monday, January 29, 2007

Dogsled Derby

So, Saturday we were off to the 6th annual Haliburton Highlands Dogsled Derby. I didn't sleep all that well the night before because I had a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. Still not wanting to disappoint, I got up early to get everything ready for the trip. Packed snacks, swimsuits (parents were staying at the Pinestone Resort where the event was taking place), snowpants, etc.

We were due to arrive shortly after 10:00am & were on course to do so. Still having the funny feeling I decided to top up the gas tank just in case we were stranded anywhere. Thank goodness I did because then this happened.
Now, we had already run into a few patches of black ice south of Minden & adjusted out of it just fine. I was already doing just the speed limit & even less on any road declines, but this one was a doozy. The car had no grip at all here (& yes, I have snow tires) & once it started to spin the only thing one could do was enjoy the ride & pray. We cleared the ditch & hit the side of the hill with such an impact that it pinched the tire off the rim flattening it (of course we didn't realize this until after it was dug out). In 20 years of driving, I've only spinning I've done was when I was 17 in my 1st storm.

Now of course I had the kids in the back seat. Samantha's reaction was one of fear, but Joe's was somewhat different. After asking them both if they were okay, Joe said,"all I can say is wheeeeeeee! Let's do that again!". Not exactly what I was expecting, but I'm sure it was just his nerves speaking (or at least that's what I'm telling myself because I couldn't bare to have a racecar driver in the family).

Thankfully, Mark had just put one of those emergency snow shovels in the truck a few days ago to which I was able to get & then get out the passenger door to start digging (as you can see the driver's door wouldn't open. A nice lady stopped to ask if I need a cell phone, but I told her that I already had one. I really didn't feel there was any point in calling anyone: Mark was on his way to work & my parents were at the dog races which I found out was only 2 miles up the road from where I was. Besides she was on the way to her son's hockey game; I assured her that we'd be fine. Once she left, I handed the kids a snack, took a couple of blog shots & started digging. I must say that it's amazing the energy one has when they're trying to do something in a hurry. It was the coldest day of the year & I was concerned that someone else was going to hit the same patch & come flying into us before we had a chance to freeze to death, lol.

About 10 mins later an older couple & their adult daughter turned around to help. They had a bunch of snow shovels in the back of their pick-up which was great. The hubby then left the girls with us so he could drive home & get some chains. When he arrived back, I had pretty much gotten under the van cleared while his wife & daughter had finished up the sides. We strapped the chain on & he pulled us up from the ditch only to discover the flat.

By some small miracle, up the road 200m was a tire garage. It was closed, but by another miracle the owner was dropping off some wood for his outdoor wood furnace. The couple left us there & the owner went home to get the shop keys so he could fix the tire. The man returned about 10 mins. later, checked the tires, filled the flat one (which unbelievably was fine) & we were on our way (yes, we continued the journey, I'm stubborn).

We arrived at the Resort 11/2 hrs. later than scheduled, but my parents saw us come in & took us up to their room. This is when I discovered that I was soaked & thankfully was able to borrow some pants. Although they weren't the most flattering & was just happy they were dry, lol.

On a better note, the event was great. If you ever get the chance to see the dog races in person, you should really do so. They will be at the Delta Pinestone Resort again next year. There's also another website called Winterdance that gives you lots of info. on the dogs, sledding, etc. & even has tours. Contrary to popular belief, huskies are not the only type of dogs used. There are whole teams made up of hounds & German Shorthaired Pointers too!

The dogs are run hungry so they get very excited about the race because they know dinner is waiting for them after. The noise they make at the start line is so cool; they bark & yelp & howl. They spectators make lots of funny noises too; the kind I can't describe & have only heard at this type of event. The teams are kept in little straw-lined compartments on the back of pick-ups when not racing. They are absolutely beautiful animals.

Mom & dad treated us to a snack in the hotel after we got there. None of us felt like eating much at the time so they treated us to a proper dinner later as well. The lady who 1st stopped to help me ended up working for the hotel & was so happy to see me. I really hadn't recognized her at first, but she said how she had hated leaving us & was worrying all afternoon so was thrilled to see that we were okay. It was nice to know someone cared :0). The dinner was lovely, mom & I enjoyed some knitting time beforehand & the kids got to have a swim.

The ride home was quite scary because it was like a blizzard from Haliburton until just south of Rosedale, but got better after that. I just drove slow & kept the emergency lights on in case anyone wanted to pass. As it happened though, I was the only nutter on the road crazy enough to be driving in those conditions. We pulled into the driveway & upon getting into the house, the kids each gave me a big hug. We were never so happy to be home.

Peace out, Boop


Boop said...

this is a test

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that you survived your off-roading with no serious injuries to you or the children. The pictures of the dogs are very good. Have you ever thought about a career in photography. Take care.