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Alaskan Adventure!

So last week was a busy week for a couple of reasons. We were in Atlanta, which is always a busier time just because I don't spend as much time there. So, when I'm there, I try to meet with the team leads and meet with my managers who are in Atlanta, and my COO. I spend a bunch of time there. And then I'm also usually trying to visit with my family and Holly's family. I ended up on Tuesday going to the range with my dad for just a quick a little bit. Usually, when we go, we go for about 45 minutes to an hour. I think there are some studies out that say after you've shot about 50 to 80 rounds, you start to get a little fatigued and your accuracy gets worse. And I'd have to say I agree with that. Looking at how I did and shooting mine, I can definitely see by the tail end of it you're just not as accurate as you are in the beginning.Image (47)

But the big thing we were working on last week was getting ready. Me and my wife are part of EO Entrepreneur Organization, and they had scheduled a trip to go up to Alaska to see the Northern Lights. So, we were trying to get all our packing and everything ready there. We'd seen the temperature was going to range from zero to 20 degrees, which is wicked cold if you're from Atlanta. So, we were sort of concerned about how cold it was going to be and we bought lots of warm clothes, but fortunately the place we were going to said they had items you could just rent, the super cold weather parkas and snow pants and things like that. Holly had gotten a pair of moon boots that she was going to wear up there and I had a heavy jacket and of course we had scarves, face masks and gloves as well.

Now where we were staying was about 45 minutes outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. To get from Atlanta to there, we had to fly up to Seattle and then from Seattle up to Fairbanks. I usually try to fly direct on Delta, but that wasn't an option. I ended up flying Alaskan Air. I think we could have flown Delta to Seattle and then jumped over to the different airline of Alaska Air. We decided to just go with Alaskan Air the whole way. It just looked like a better option, especially for baggage and luggage and all that. It is a super long flight. I think it took about three to four hours to get to Seattle and then from Seattle up to Fairbanks was another two and a half. I guess I didn't realize quite how far North Alaska was until I actually just sat down to look at it. I mean it is super far from Seattle too. You fly through parts of Canada and go up there.

Image (56)So that was just a long trip. We left on Thursday morning and got there on Thursday afternoon and then we took the shuttle from the airport to the base camp where we were staying. All of this was to try to see the northern lights. We were at the late end of the season though, so it was harder to see them, and it wasn't like the big massive green ribbons throughout the sky, although we did get some of those pictures. But it was through a camera with a longer exposure. Just to the naked eye, it was sort of much more subdued and smaller and it would come and go. I thought from looking on the internet that it was up all the time for hours, but that's not the case. It comes and goes and depending on the cloud cover and how bright the moon is and things like that, whether you can see it or not, we did see it some.

The big thing we also did though was we went dog sledding and snowmobiling. We really enjoyed the dog sledding. Met someImage (49) really cool and interesting people. Our guide and his family have been doing dog sledding for three generations and he's been in some worldwide competitions. And as we were talking to him, he told me his wife was going to race in about two more years. So, she's been training to do it also, which I think is super neat.

And the thing about the dogs there, well it's a breed of dog, the Alaskan sled dog. It's not like normal dog breeds where the line is super clear and they're looking for just a look. They're breeding for a healthiness and speed and things like that. So, they track the breed, and they track the genealogy of the dogs, but they may look totally different. And it depends a lot on what kind of dog sledding you're going to do. Are you going for the 300-mile dog sled, which those dogs are a little heartier, have better stamina, or are you going for the sprint competition, which is what the guy we were talking with did. And they only go four to 12 miles, so it's superfast compared to the 300-mile one and the dogs look a little different.

Image (50)What was crazy to me is when I was talking to him, it said the dogs are super comfortable being outside in zero or 10 degree weather. They're just out there all the time. To me from Georgia, it seems mean to just leave your dog outside in 20 degree weather. I wouldn't even think about it, but those dogs don't even care. Now they have a little box, a little house they can sleep in, but he said they're totally fine up there. It gets a little weird when it drops below negative 20 degrees. He said they'd bring them into the big communal type of garage or barn type place if it drops below that, which happens every year. But that part was really interesting to me.

On the dog sled, you can go anywhere from zero to 30 miles per hour, I guess, maybe 25, but it was smooth, so it wasn't really bumpy. And as you take turns, you lean with it. And he even showed me how at certain speeds, if you drop below it, you can kick to help the dog sled or help the dogs push more and go faster. And that's one of the ways they bond with the dogs, I guess. And he said how you speak to them while you're racing is really important, giving them encouragement to push. So, we saw some of that.

Also, when we were there, the dogs were super excited to go run, and they would bark, and they would yep and almost shakeImage (57) with adrenaline because they really wanted to go race and did not want to be left behind. And the ones who didn't get hooked up to go run would actually bark and yell or howl because they were frustrated, and they wanted to come back and get them.

Our guide trained them the old way, I guess, or the native Alaskan way. So, he said he didn't even have words for stop and go faster. It's just all about your encouragement. They were itching to go, and it looked like they could just keep going. So, if you ever have the opportunity to go dog sledding, I will highly encourage it. I don't know if I would want to go for four or five hours, but it was certainly super fun for us.

Image (52)Did the snowmobiling as well. That was much bumpier. They had said part of it was because they didn't have the right snow for that. They said to really have fun snowmobiling, you want two to three feet of powdered snow versus snow that's been there a while. While we were there, it was the place we were staying. You could hear every night multiple times the ice would break off the little igloo-style buildings we were in and fall to the ground, but it didn't really snow, so it was just condensation in the air I guess, would freeze and then it would fall off as it got warmer from our little igloo. So that was neat.

Took some interesting pictures. Scenery was really a gorgeous, although harsh, that's what I wouldRegionalsToolkit_2024_1x1_Mid-Atlantic-2 say. So, we had a great time. Probably the worst part honestly was flying back. We left Alaska at 1:00 AM Alaskan time to get to Seattle and then to get to Atlanta and we didn't land in Atlanta until four o'clock in the afternoon with all the time changes in the distance. So that was a hard day coming back. I forget how much I disliked just sitting in a plane, but it is amazing to me that we can travel as far as we can in airplanes.

We are so excited to announce that we made the Regionals list on Inc. 5000 of the fastest-growing privately held companies! We are number 120 in the Mid-Atlantic! Check us out here! 

So that was our week. Had a great time. Would encourage if you ever get a chance to go dog sledding, you should do it. Talk to you soon. Always remember, in pain, call Shane!

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