Raced home from work for a quick change and ham radio install in the Subie. Ate a little along the way since the only thing I could stomach all day was an absolute delish fritter that morning (thank you!).
The sun was setting in a pink, gold, and finally orange marmalade way while Peter and the 4H crew shoveled snow on Midnight Run trail. They made the race trail into a shoot through the S-curve over the railroad tracks. Then the trail groomer came along. Figures.
The first teams were almost 15 minutes later than last year. This was actually good because a train also came through just before the leaders. A few teams dragged their mushers after popping off their sleds over icy bumps, but all continued on their way. The last team was having difficulties with inexperienced lead dogs. I can only assume another train coming along right next to them while they waited wasn't helpful either. The musher did not want assistance leading through this tricky corner, and the rest of the crowd watched as the train screeched to a halt past our location. Some said they saw a tail light and then a crash.
At this point I'm thinking why me?
Priorities: get the dogs through, call our County Dispatch to ask if anything was reported by a train, let race control know all teams accounted for at this location, put more clothes on and start trudging down the tracks with a fire fighter from our Township that happened to also be at this spot.
Our Dispatch called me back to say the train hit a snowmobile. Reaching the end of the train, we find out from Dispatch that the snowmobiler was able to get clear of the tracks but the snowmobile is in a ball. With that I tell Dispatch I'm turning around since I have yet to even see the front of the train. They say a deputy is on his way and I make it clear that it's a very long walk.
Then the train starts moving. Let Dispatch know so they can find out if they're leaving and where the snowmobiler might be going if so.
Getting closer to the clearing, we see a car stuck on a snowmobile trail. First thought, I have a tow strap and can this night get any better? Well, yes it could, because before I get back a bunch of people of varying intox levels have decided to surround the patrol car, lift and push it off the banked trail.
The patrol car leaves down a dead-end road to find an easier way to the train. There is no easier way to the train, which was my point expressed to Dispatch should anyone decide to trek the long distance. I tell the deputy that maybe a snowmobiler coming through here can pick up the person up the tracks. The fire fighter asks the sled dog snowmobile sweep to go pick up the person and I see this as my chance to escape!
I'll go work a crossing for a little bit today, then come home and make food for tomorrow, maybe find a quick snooze and finally work race communication at Race Headquarters from 9 to midnight tonight.
Tomorrow is party at the Welcome Center - stop by! Shift starts at noon and food will be hot and served a little thereafter. (chili, hot dogs, brats, brownies, etc.)