Back to Sledding
I don't like to think that one day can make up for the next -- to do that
would be to invite some really crappy days running the dogs because most of
them, despite public opinion surveys, are sublime. This was one of those
Singer has never been hooked to the Sacco cart. Hence I had never sized a
harness for her. Got that our of the way with no catastrophes, hooked her
in, and she immediately flipped on her back and flipped the cart with her.
No, not really, but its what you expected, wasn't it?
She looked over her shoulder at me and frowned. And stood still while I
went to get Tom. She was still there when I got back. And so was the
cart. And everything was AOK. Mmm, maybe they are setting me up.
Hooked Tom in. Leashed to him, full brakes, walked down the driveway with
them. Halfway down the driveway I had a flash of yesterday's mess, so I
stopped them, sat in the cart the way it is supposed to be sat in, put the
brakes full on and we went the rest of the way down the driveway.
There is an infamous 90 degree turn at the bottom of my driveway where it T's
into a 4-lane monstrosity with an additional center turn lane called HWY 27.
This is the same corner that has seen no less than 6 new mailboxes since I
started sledding/carting. Yes, my own danged suicidal mailbox keeps
leaping out in front of the team to subject itself to a quick, if not painless,
This is also the corner that permanently wrecked a friend's knee when he
borrowed two leaders from me and followed me down the driveway. When my
team leaders were given the command to Turn HAW onto the bikepath on the
shoulder of the highway, his two leaders were about even with a huge ditch and
since they heard me say turn, they did. Into the ditch (I didn't loan him
my SMART leaders and I made no claims as to their abilities, now or then),
So with yesterday's brouhaha in mind and three times as much pulling power in
front of me (if you have 1 dog who can weightpull 2200 lbs and his sister who
pulls 1600 lbs and you put them together, it is reasonable to expect that they
can pull half again as much as they did individually -- 200 lbs of me and cart
should not really strain them that much).
So we come to the flat before it slopes up to the highway and I realize I have
steering. OK, this is another thing I knew/forgot. But my feet are
on the steering bar and I tell Tom to Turn HAW and I push the steering bar with
me feet and can you see it coming? I didn't. They TURNED.
Gasp. I mean they did what they were told and there were no screams,
splashes, thunks, or crashes.
We were running on the flat next to the ditch next to the highway.
Smoothly. Effortlessly (at least for me -- I'm sitting on my butt on the
Sacco the way I had envisioned it in some delusional fantasy probably inspired
OK. Well there is a small ditch coming up. And I am braced and ready
to bail out and well, we went over it just like the video showed we would.
The dogs put there heads down and pulled us up and out and then eased up into a
trot on the manicured hayfields of my grandmother's front lawn. And
there's another ditch!
Only when I told them to Easy, they did. And we bumped over it and out the
other side and now we're over the drainage ditch, and there are no accidents, no
injuries, no contusions, no arterial blood squirting...
Something is wrong with this picture.
We get on the bike path and pass a group of Sunday morning motorbikers who have
gathered in the shade to gawk at the nut and her dogs. Oh, that would be
me. Only the stories they have heard seem to be wildly exaggerated because
we go smoothly sailing passed.
And when it comes time to go across the highway there is no traffic and clear
skies and I get to give verbal commands and let them work it out in their heads.
And we get across with no ambulances being called or highway patrol lane blocks
or lifestar helicopters.
And then we are on the Firehall road that dead ends at the Firehall unless you
zoom around the side of the firehall, precipitously close to the creek that I
have dumped the 3-wheeled training rig into on more than one occasion.
But not today. And we manage to miss the 500 gallon propane tank behind
the hall -- which has been repainted from last year when someone scraped a swath
of paint off the side right where you might think a dog cart would slide if the
front of the team took off before the back was around the hairpin turn.
But the Biker Beaver Babe is ahead and Singer can not resist a challenge, a
threat, or a dare. So I am prepared. I have my bike helmet and my
snorkel gear and the BBB is nowhere in evidence and we sail smoothly passed that
spot as well.
The sun is coming over the ridge behind my house as we come up into the driveway
and I realize that I have been running these dogs in the absence of terror and
pain and shock and surprise and consternation and embarrassment and maybe, just
maybe, I'll remember this run the next time things go normally. So I guess
I won't hang up my harnesses today.
(You also think they are lulling me into complacency, don't you? Well so
do I. Tomorrow I'll wear combat gear and Kevlar.)