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Takotna: Pies and lucky charms

Casey Grove

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From Casey Grove in Takotna --

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The checkpoint building was busy with mushers and volunteers last night, mushers swapping stories from the trail, volunteers and locals chatting. And all were eating pie.

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A game of cribbage was in full swing about 8:30 p.m. while those finishing dinner tore into pieces of the famous Takotna pie. Mushers Dallas Seavey and Pete Kaiser talked about run times, not just on the Iditarod, but in general.

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Dallas said his father, Mitch, who was outside feeding his team, never thought his son was getting it just right.

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“If I go faster than him, he says I’m going too fast. If I’m going slower than him, he says I’m going too slow,” Dallas said.

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The men at the mushers’ table laughed.

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Robert Sorlie sat with a contingent of Norwegians at another table, including some covering the race for news outlets back home. Sorlie looked much better than in Nikolai, where his voice was hoarse and his walking was stiff.

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Sorlie said he is wearing a gold-colored necklace in the style of Mardi Gras beads that a girl threw to him as he left the restart in Willow. He plans to wear them for the whole race.

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Sorlie asked fellow Norwegian Kari Jager for the right English word.

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“My lucky charms,” Sorlie said, of the necklace.

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Is that what got you through the treacherous Dalzell Gorge and Farewel Burn? I asked.

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“Yes,” he said, nodding

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“You eat well,” he told me later, laughing as I finished a piece of raspberry pie.

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“Maybe he could use you in his team,” Jager said.

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Sorlie said he had gone for the blueberry pie. There was also peach, pumpkin, raspberry-cherry, and more. Musher Curt Perano said he liked pumpkin the best. Nathan Schoeder said he favored blueberry.

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Volunteer Jesse Grady was just starting a 12-hour shift helping leaving teams get their dogs from the lot to the checkpoint.

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“You have to drink six cups of coffee and eat a piece of pie to get through 12 hours,” Grady said. “That’s the tried and true method established -- when Bobby?”

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Grady looked to an older volunteer, Bobby Miller.

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“1978,” Miller said.

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Later, Grady admitted he wasn’t drinking that much coffee. “I can’t drink six cups of coffee.”

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“I can!” Miller said.



Anchorage