By the time I'd gotten back to the Kennel and checked to see that all the dogs were doing fine, then defrosted my camper, stowed my gear, had something to eat, posted the update about winning the Humanitarian Award and gone to bed, it was about one o'clock in the morning.
Then, I had a dream…
My phone rang a little after three o'clock. It was Aliy saying that Big Red had broken down on the highway between Delta and North Pole. A busted water pump was the likely culprit. Could I drive my truck down and help get some dogs back to the kennel. I heard myself reply, "Of course."
I pulled on all my clothes to tackle the -30 and worse temps, then fired up trusty Darth and hit the road. By four-something I was fueling up in North Pole and could swear I saw Ray driving by in his truck. I got back on the road.
By five-something I had reached the broken down convoy. Big Red was pulled off onto the snowy, icy shoulder. The smaller dog truck was behind it, and Ray was parked behind that. Allen, Aliy and Bridgett were assembling dog crates and shifting dogs from Big Red into them. Bob came up to my window and asked, "What do you think about towing Big Red back to North Pole?" I heard myself reply, "Darth and I can hook you up!"
I got a tow hitch, tow strap and clevis pin out of my truck box, then Bob and I made the connection. By the time I got back in my truck, there were three large dog crates in the back, each with two dogs in them. When I climbed into the driver's seat, I was greeted by Petunia, Teddy and Dingle in the back seat. They were checking out the leather upholstery and looking at me as if to say, "Nice truck, Dude, let's roll!" I marveled at how much dogs love trucks, even Alaskan Husky sled dogs who have never been in one before. It must be in their genome.
Ray pulled out with 6 dogs inside his truck, plus Doug and Bridgett who had to get to the airport to fly back to Nome. I put Darth in drive and off we went. Allen and Aliy brought up the rear in the little truck, flashers blinking to alert overtaking traffic we were going slowly.
For the next two hours, we drove at about 25 miles per hour, my foot on the gas, Bob's on the brake. We stopped about every half hour so Bob could scrape the frost off the inside of Big Red's windshield. He had no heat, no power steering, no power brakes. A cold, miserable ride. The dogs in my truck lay down on the back seat and were so quiet I almost forgot they were there. We listened to Billy Joel.
A little after eight o'clock we'd reached North Pole and pulled into the parking lot of an auto service place where Bob knows the guys. We had a little meeting in my truck: Bob, Allen, Aliy, Petunia, Teddy, Dingle and me. Our best plan -- our only plan, really -- was for Allen and Aliy to stay there in the little truck to explain the situation to the repairmen when they opened in a little while. Bob and I should drive my truck and dogs back to the kennel. So, that's what we did.
Shortly after nine o'clock this morning we had reunited the dogs with the ones Ray had brought back and all their other pack mates who hadn't made the trip. Aliy called to say she and Allen were on their way to the kennel, and that Big Red would maybe be fixed later today. I drove Bob home and bid him adieu, then back to my camper. It was still dark outside. I crawled back into bed at about ten o'clock.
I woke up a little while ago, a bit stunned by how vivid my dream was. It was so vivid that I thought I'd share it with you. Now I'm going to sweep out some husky fur I just found on the back seat of my truck.