The morning started cold and clear. Walked one block over to watch the Iditarod race begin. Had to have hot cocoa in hand as the temperature was in the mid 20s. We stood along with other well-wishers and waved and cheered the mushers on. At least 24 of these mushers come from 7 other countries and 9 other states. This year the winner gets $50,00 and a new Dodge truck. Last year the winner received $69,000 and a new truck. The economy has taken a toll on the "Last Great Race" as well as everything else. We were both surprised at how low the prize money was for the winner considering all the expense and length of time spent training these dog teams. It was very exhilarating to be standing witness to the beginning of this historic race. Luckily, we were on Cordova St. watching this race instead of on 4th Avenue. It was less crowded on our street and we were able to stand right next to the trail. Since this was the ceremonial start, the teams slid by at a slower pace. They left the starting line in 2 minute intervals. However, tomorrow they will bolt off that starting line in Willow at the official start of the race. It will be all serious and business as they set off on a treacherous journey.
The close picture of the musher is 3 time defending champ, Lance Mackey. He seemed to be the crowd favorite as he whipped by.
After returning to the room to warm up, we braved the weather to walk over 2 blocks in a snow shower to get pizza. Lots of snow but very small stinging flakes. By the way, that $10 deal for any Pizza Hut pizza is not applicable in Alaska. Here the special is $13.99 for any Pizza Hut pizza. Still, it was delicious and semi-hot when we returned to the room. Greg thought that was quite the bargain as pizza was $5.00/slice over at the mall.