Next stop, Nome: Inside the Safety checkpoint
For mushers in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, reaching the Safety Roadhouse means one thing — just 22 miles to Nome.
The Safety Roadhouse is in Port Safety, Alaska. Better known as "Safety," it's the last checkpoint on the trail to Nome. The roadhouse is open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend every year and two weeks in March for the Iditarod.
Inside the Safety Roadhouse, scribbled-on dollars, photos and Iditarod memorabilia plaster the walls. A jukebox hums in the corner while Tyler Van Dan Acku is serving food and drinks to anyone who wants it. He describes the location as, “unique, relaxing and exciting."
“It’s got a lot of character,” said volunteer veterinarian Ron Hallstrom. He recognizes that, for mushers, the lone occupied building for miles is an encouraging sight.
“You’re really close to the finish line, so I would think, mentally, it’s a definite upper for them to hit Safety,” Hallstrom said.
Most mushers and their dog teams blow through, stopping only to get their veterinarian notebook signed and pick up their bib, eager to reach the finish line. Some mushers will leave a dog behind or rest the entire team before pushing forward to what awaits them ahead.
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