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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 04/03/13

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

THE IDITAROD, THE LAST GREAT RACE ON EARTH! PART 1!!!












 You can't compare it to any other competitive event in the world. A race over 1150 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain Mother Nature has to offer. She throws jagged mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast at the mushers and their dog teams. Add to that, temperatures far below zero, winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility, the hazards of overflow, long hours of darkness and treacherous climbs and side hills, and you have the Iditarod.
From Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast, each team of 12to 16 dogs and their musher, cover over 1150 miles in 10 to 17 days.












    It has been call the "Last Great Race on Earth" and it has won worldwide acclaim and interest. German, Spanish, British, Japanese and American film crews have covered the event. Journalists from outdoor magazines, adventure magazines, newspapers and wire services flock to Anchorage and Nome to record the excitement. It's not just a dog sled race. It's a race in which unique men and women compete. Mushers enter from all walks of life. Fishermen, lawyers, doctors, miners, artists, natives, Canadians, Swiss, French and others, men and women each with their own story, each with their own reasons for going the distance. It's a race organized and run primarily by volunteers, thousands of volunteers, men and women, students and village residents. They man headquarters at Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Nome and Wasilla. They fly volunteers, veterinarians, dog food and supplies. They act as checkers, coordinators, and family supporters of each musher.





Northern Route






The Spirit of Alaska! More Than a Race...a Commemoration

    The race pits man and animal against nature, against wild Alaska at her best and as each mile is covered, a tribute to Alaska's past is issued. The Iditarod is a tie to a commemoration of that colorful past.
    The Iditarod Trail, now a National Historic Trail, had its beginnings as a mail and supply route from the coastal towns of Seward and Knik to the interior mining camps at Flat, Ophir, Ruby and beyond to the west coast communities of Unalakleet, Elm, Golovin, White Mountain and Nome. Mail and supplies went in. Gold came out. All via dog sled. Heroes were made, legends were born.
    In 1925, part of the Iditarod Trail became a life saving highway for epidemic stricken Nome. Diphtheria threatened and serum had to be brought in...again by intrepid dog mushers and their faithful hard driving dogs.
    The Iditarod is a commemoration of those yesterdays, a not so distant past that Alaskans honor and are proud of.





Southern Route




An Event for All Alaska

    Anchorage is the starting line...a city of over 250,000 people, street lights, freeways and traffic. From there the field of dog teams which grow in number each year run to Eagle River, Checkpoint #1. After a restart in the Matanuska Valley at Wasilla, the mushers leave the land of highway and bustling activity and head out to the Yenta Stations Roadhouse and Skewentna and then up. Through Finger Lake, Rainy Pass, over the Alaska Range and down the other side to the Kuskokwin River...Rohn Roadhouse, Nikolai, McGrath, Ophir, Cripple, Iditarod and on to the mighty Yukon...a river highway that takes the teams west through the arctic tundra.












    The race route is alternated every other year, one year going north through Cripple, Ruby and Galena, the next year south through Iditarod, Shageluk, Anvik.
Finally, they're on the coast...Unalakleet, Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Elm, Golovin, White Mountain and into Nome where a hero's welcome is the custom for musher number 1 or 61!
    The route encompasses large metropolitan areas and small native villages. It causes a yearly spurt of activity, increased airplane traffic and excitement to areas otherwise quiet and dormant during the long Alaskan winter. Everyone gets involved, from very young schools children to the old timers who relive the colorful Alaskan past they've known as they watch each musher and his team. The race is an educational opportunity and an economic stimulus to these small Alaskan outposts.












    The "I" logo, a trademark of the Iditarod Trail Committee Inc. and the Iditarod Race, was designed by Alaskan artist Bill Devine in the early years of the race. The design is done on a white background with blue thread for the dog and inner outline. The Outer outline is done in red. The design is used on a shield and was used on wooden trail markers in the earlier races.

On the Trail

    Every mushers has a different tactic. Each one has a special menu for feeding and snacking the dogs. Each one has a different strategy...some run in the daylight, some run at night. Each one has a different training schedule and his own ideals on dog care, dog stamina and his own personal ability.











    The rules of the race lay out certain regulations which each musher must abide by. There are certain pieces of equipment each team must have...an arctic parka, a heavy sleeping bag, an ax, snowshoes, musher food, dog food and boots for each dog's feet to protect against cutting ice and hard packed snow injuries.
    Some mushers spend an entire year getting ready and raising the money needed to get to Nome. Some prepare around a full time job. In addition to planning the equipment and feeding needs for up to three weeks on the trail, hundreds of hours and hundreds of miles of training have to be put on each team.
       There are names which are automatically associated with the race...Joe RedingtonSr., co founder of the classic and affectionately known as "Father of the Iditarod". Rick Swenson from Two River, Alaska, the only five time winner, the only musher to have entered 20 Iditarod races and never finished out of the top ten. Dick Mackey from Nenana, who beat Swenson by one second in 1978, to achieve the impossible photo finish after two weeks on the trail. Norman Vaughan who at the age of 88, has finished the race four times and led an expedition to Antarctica in the winter of 93-94. Four time winner, Susan Butcher, was the first woman to ever place in the top 10. And of course, Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod in 1985.

CHOCOLATE ITALIAN CREAM CAKE, WHAT AN ITALIAN DREAM!


 The original recipe for Italian Cream Cake had no rivals. But then we stirred in a little chocolate!



Chocolate Italian Cream Cake
             

Ingredients

  • large eggs, separateD
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Garnish: pecan halves

Preparation

  1. Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  2. Beat butter and shortening until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
  3. Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in coconut, chopped pecans, and vanilla. Fold in egg whites. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cakepans.
  4. Bake at 325° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove cake layers to wire racks, and cool completely.
  5. Spread Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish, if desired.        

10 GREAT FOOD COMBINATIONS OF ALL TIME!


  Here are ten combinations of foods that seem to be a match made in heaven.   These food combinations are not in any order, they can all be easily interchanged. Feel free to add your own favorites to the comments.



10. Eggs and Bacon

















   Nothing starts the day off better than a couple of eggs and fatty bacon. The protein of the eggs and the grease of the bacon form a great mixture that powers you through the day. It should also be mentioned that bacon generally is great combined with all kinds of other foods as well.



9. Butter and Popcorn












   Popcorn was originally discovered by the Native Americans. Popcorn became increasingly popular during the Great Depression because it was relatively cheap, it’s use was especially popular in movie theaters. Now when you go to the movies the spell of popcorn almost seems irresistible, despite its now horrendously expensive price. Butter and popcorn was bound to be a match made in heaven, after all, what is better than fresh corn smeared with butter?




8. Pizza and Beer













    Let’s all face it, what is better than a nice pepperoni pizza and an ice cold beer? The hot grease of the pizza is nicely washed down by the refreshing beer. And to further enhance an already great evening, when dining on this lovely combination, throw in a movie, some buttered popcorn, and make a night of it! Just watch out for the calories – as delicious as this mix is, it was clearly designed by Satan himself to get us all to hell faster.




7. Salt and Pepper












   The combination of salt and pepper dates back to seventeenth century French cuisine, as it was thought that pepper was the only spice which did not overpower the natural taste of the food. All foods can be better with a little bit of salt and pepper. On their own both pepper and salt can be used in savory and sweet cooking – and in combination they can convert something bland into something wonderful. Every chef worth his weight will use these two together on almost everything he cooks.




6. Burger and Fries











   Although french fries may date back to the 1600s-1700s, their popularity sky-rocketed when they began to be sold worldwide through fast food chains, especially McDonald’s. Most fast food chains quickly paired the fries with burgers, creating one delicious meal. Did you know that it was American Soldiers who coined the term “French Fries”, when they tasted them for the first time in Belgium during World War I? In most other English speaking parts of the world they are referred to simply as “chips” and French Fries is considered an Americanism.



5. Spaghetti and Meatballs










   Some claim the combination began in the early 20th century, where Italian immigrants were making them in New York City. However, others claim that the pairing dates back to Old World Italy. Regardless of the origin, the two compliment each other and make for a great, filling meal – and an especially good one for the poor college student.




4. Cheese and Crackers















   The classic combination of cheese and crackers became increasingly popular with the development of the Ritz cracker in 1934, by Nabisco. The combo serves as a great snack, especially for small get togethers. Unlike most of the other entries on this list, this is a food combination loved by both rich and poor – whether you put cheap old cheese on store-bought crackers or the finest truffle laced mature brie on handmade crackers – the combination is simple, tasty, and unbeatable for parties.




3. Tortilla Chips and Salsa











   Although the combination of chips and salsa is typically considered to be Mexican food, the combo really boomed when tortilla chips began being mass produced in Los Angeles. Now the combination serves as one of the most popular appetizers and snacks. This is also a combination that can be as unique as it’s maker – as long as your salsa contains tomatoes, you can add virtually anything else and it will still taste great with tortilla chips.



2. Mashed Potatoes and Gravy













One of the ultimate combinations, the gravy moistens the potatoes and adds the little extra flavor to create the perfect combination. Letting the gravy poor all over the potatoes, seemingly completes the mashed potatoes. This is obviously such a popular combination that it is a signature dish of Kentucky Fried Chicken.




1. Oreos and Milk











   The Oreo was created in February 1912 by Nabisco in New York City. Oreos immediate popularity resulted in it being the best selling cookie of the 20th century. It has since been dubbed “Milk’s Favorite Cookie”. The milk seems to be the perfect match to the chocolate of the oreo, making the duo one of the best. But, despite the popularity of the oreo and milk combination, milk and any type of cookie is great!