Marilyn Foster: Alaska adventure awaits at Iditarod Race 2020

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If you are a fan of the Iditarod Race held each March in Alaska, this is the trip for you. Even if you don’t know what the Iditarod Race is, the itinerary is full of interesting adventures that could make you a future fan.

It’s not often one has the chance to see one of the “last great races on earth,” where beautiful huskies and mushers work as a team to race along the Iditarod National Historical Trail to be the first to finish the arduous 1,000-mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Those who know the history of this race know the race was started to honor the sled dog culture and the Alaskan huskies and to preserve the trail between Seward and Nome where these hardy dogs were once used to pull sleds to deliver mail, people, supplies and more. The race is another bit of Americana history.

Since the race is held in March, not only will you see and experience the thrill of the race and meet the dogs and mushers, you’ll also experience (weather permitting) the Aurora Borealis and have the pleasure of traveling between Healy and Anchorage via the world-famous Alaska Railroad after spending time at Denali National Park. Caution: This is not a trip for those with mobility issues and is considered Level 4. I’ve enjoyed time at Denali and loved the scenery.

This incredible Mayflower Cruises and Tours adventure begins with two nights in Fairbanks where you can learn about dog mushing and tour the city. Then, it’s south to Denali National Park where you might have the chance to snowshoe. After spending the night in Healy, there’s a scenic train ride to Anchorage on the world-famous Alaska Railroad, domed car and all.

You’ll probably be the only one on your block to have ever attended a true musher’s drawing banquet where mushers are assigned their starting order. The banquet is the official start of the Iditarod festivities.

Fans of the race will have heard of Happy Trails Kennel where champion huskies are boarded and trained. This is the home of four-time Iditarod Champion Martin Buser and up to 60 dogs that love to be petted. Here, you’ll learn how the dogs are trained and experience a mini race. And, the stars of the kennel are the puppies introduced to guests at the end of the tour as part of their socialization program. While winning the race four times, Buser is most proud of being a five-time winner of the Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award for Best Dog Care.

On day seven, our tour will enjoy a great viewing spot for the ceremonial start of the race on 4th Avenue in Anchorage where you can watch each team take off every 2 minutes or enjoy the festivities of the race before swapping stories at the farewell dinner. The next day, it’s off to Willow for the entire day for the restart of the official race to cheer on your favorite team.

Mayflower Cruises and Tours is known for its not-so-ordinary itineraries and this trip will be anything but the same ol’ run-of-the-mill tour. It’s for the adventurer and sled-dog racing fan. Sign up soon, for space is limited. Come experience the excitement of these hardy dogs firsthand.

This tour and other Mayflower trips will be unveiled at the forthcoming free Chamber Travel Club meeting scheduled for 11:30 a.m. June 22. RSVP is a must by calling 775-882-1565. You can check out this tour and others on the Travel Club page at shown on the homepage under Spotlights.

I just returned from a wonderful trip to Kentucky and Tennessee and highly recommend this tour for those who want to see beautiful scenery and learn more about our history. I can now say that I enjoyed lunch at the Biltmore Estate and was delighted with the Dolly Parton Stampede where food was so plentiful you need not eat for days. The tasting at the Wild Turkey Distillery was worth the trip and seeing the beautiful horses at the Kentucky Horse Farm in Lexington was a particular highlight. And, there’s nothing like the Grand Ole Opry where I enjoyed a Goo Goo Cluster (and learned that Goo Goo refers to Grand Ole Opry.) And, now you, too, know.

There’s so much to see, and I am already seeking new adventures and invite you to join me.

Marilyn Foster is 90, loves to travel, and always has a suitcase packed for her next trip.


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