In a previous newsletter we reported on a trip “North to Alaska” undertaken not long ago by Aramcon annuitant Fred Bobb (a.k.a. “Camelman”) and Barbara. This week we wish to share with you additional images and tidbits from their northland adventure. No trip to Alaska is complete without a taste of mushing. We’re not talking about bowls of breakfast gruel here; we’re talking about dog-punching, dog-sledding—the sort of thing you read about every year when the famous Iditarod Race is staged, starting in Anchorage and ending in the Arctic outpost of Nome. The race commemorates an event in the winter of 1925 when Nome was struck by an outbreak of diphtheria. With no serum on hand to stem the spread of the disease, a local doctor feared the entire community would become infected by the deadly ailment. A call for help was telegraphed to Anchorage and, thanks to a daring, heroic January sled dog relay across nearly 700 miles of frozen Alaska wilds in sub-zero temperatures involving twenty drivers and over 150 sled dogs, the town was saved. The heroes of that race were the Norwegian-born musher, Leonhard Seppala (actually of Finnish descent), and a lead dog on loan from Seppala’s kennel named Balto. Balto led the final sprint into Nome with the life-saving serum and was rewarded afterwards with a Hollywood movie, a tour of the U.S. and a bronze statue in New York City’s Central Park. Balto and Seppala were not available when Fred and Barb visited a sled dog operation on their recent trip, but a cute little Alaskan Malamute named Heart was there to welcome them in their place. Heart took a powerful liking to Barbara as you can see from the accompanying photo.

The Continued Arctic Adventures of the Camelman

Members of Fred and Barb’s team of 16 sled dogs were all named after rock-’n’-roll stars from the ’60s and ’70s: Joel, Crosby, Nash, Neil, Simon, John, George, Paul, Ringo, Bono, Bruce, Mick, Herman and a few others. They really loved to run, and did they ever bark up a storm when they were told to stop!

The Continued Arctic Adventures of the CamelmanI can't believe I ate the whole thing!

Hungry after a day filled with Alaskan-style adventure, the happy couple sat down at a local eatery and feasted on mountains of freshly-caught Dungeness crab. Fred’s comment after completing the feast was, of course, that old line from a vintage Alka-Seltzer commercial, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!” We can. The accompanying picture proves it. Congratulations to Fred on his latest gastronomical achievement. It is surely one for the record books.

The Continued Arctic Adventures of the Camelman

Between spending quality time with crabs and malamutes, Fred and Barb managed to take a fascinating side trip by rail from Skagway to Whitehorse on the narrow-gauge White Pass & Yukon Route Railway.