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Team Silvia

Rookie meeting in Alaska

Posted 5.1.2012

Silvia went for a 2 day(!) trip to Alaska for the preperations of The Iditarod 2012.

Many roads leading to Nome

… and so as well to the Iditarod meeting!

This meeting was in Achorage/Alaska. For the mushers, who lives around the corner maybe not a problem, but I am living in Rauland on the Lake Møsvatn…

Møsvatn is in Norway, a wonderful area with the best training conditions I ever could imagine.

"Rookie meeting"

And just now, when it started snowing- when it got colder, I must spend 5 days to hear how to put booties on, how to behave at the trail, how to overtake and which Parka is the best if it’s cold… things that I already knew.

The only thing I was really excited about was the presentation of Dr. Stu Nelson, the chief veterinarian of the Iditarod.

It’s always exciting listening to him, asking questions and getting complete answers.

A long journey ahead

Now there was a long journey waiting for me. First I had to get from Varmevoll to Varland – there was my car!

This is a scary mission – now when the Lake Møsvatn freezes up- and because I took my boat already out of the water, I hoped that my neighbor Sondre could drive me over the lake.

Thank god, he was so friendly to do that. Exactly at 7.30h he was there. It was snowing like hell, the streets were slippery and frozen but I was on time, after 4 hours to Oslo Gardemoen. From here I had to go by airplane. First with Icelandair to Reykjavik and only 30 minutes later off to Seattle. .

United States of America, always an experience

And what can I say-to enter USA is always an experience. Good that I knew before about this, otherwise I would miss my connection flight to Anchorage. There was a big cue in front of the counter. 2 officers checked the passports – I asked a passenger in front of me if I could pass- done.

Now I had to explain to the officers that I was in a hurry to get my connection flight. (Everybody who traveled already to the USA would agree that this was maybe not a good idea, but there was nothing else for me to do.)

With my sweetest smile I tried to explain my situation to an officer, apparently he had a good day because he allowed me to go first. But there was the lady at the counter; she had surely not a good day.

Lara Croft

A person like Lara Croft asked me, while chewing a chewing gum, what I am doing here.

– I am on the way to the Rookie meeting in Anchorage.

– o.k. And with what are you earning your money?

- Like you, I am working. (maybe not the best answer but I was really a bit pissed off) I can’t understand why the Americans always believe that everybody wants’ to immigrate into USA.

Norway or USA?

I live in Norway and this is as beautiful as the USA – I want to live in Norway – I only want to take part at the Rookie meeting in Anchorage…. After my eyes got scanned and all fingerprints given, she asked me again:

– when did you last travel to the USA.

So I told her to have a look in my passport which she was holding in her hand. She looked at me very serious but I could go through….At least.

More security checks even in transit

But this was not the end of the story. Oh no – again Security check. Take shoes off, suitcase get scanned again (hello! From where the hell should I get a bomb?

I am coming from another airplane!) but there is no chance to escape..so shoes off, backpack through the scanner and after that running to the Alaskan airlines counter – only 5 minutes to go- and till nothing eaten.

Inside the aero plane first of all, sit down- take a deep breath and relax. I think I was already 24 hours on the way and the only thing I had eaten was a salad.

Finally at Nome!

Finally – around 9 h pm I arrived at Nome. Gwen waited for me – I knew her from facebook and she offered to pick me up.

Super cool and thanks again to Gwen. This was very kind.

The first day

The first day was like I expected it. Got interesting information from Stu. The second day was also like I thought. it was a nice day– everybody can build his own thoughts about that. Because my flight back was on Monday morning,

Gwen, Diane Johnson and Kirstin finished the meeting with a wonderful dinner.

Getting back home

The flight back was then a lot better. Of course it took as long but it wasn’t that stressful.

Arrived back in Norway I was a bit worried about my way back home. But I was lucky, Sondre’s boat was still there (for the last day) and he could ship me over.

About the Rookie meeting I would say in summary:

I traveled 17.000 km to take part at the meeting. I didn’t learn or heard anything new but I met a lot of very friendly people and that’s why it was worth it.

A special thanks to Gwen, who didn’t only pick me up and invited me for dinner – she also gave me an envelope with money to support me. Not very much – she said. But every support from people who believe in me and what I am doing means a lot to me!

This support is my motivation to work hard for my goal………….

to pass the finish line in Nome!

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