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 days.
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, death.
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 by concussion.)
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.)