The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: The Grand Entry


In a Native American Pow Wow they have what is called The Grand Entry. It is at the start of the pow wow and all of the attending tribes enter the grounds to the beat of Mother Earth (the drum) and the songs from all of the singers. The dancers are dressed in their best–you have the grass dancers, and the fancy dancers, and the traditional. You will see the little ones all dressed up ready for the festivities and you honor the old-timers. It is a sight to see.

Let’s re-focus a minute… This is a story about the threshold into the musher cabin I am trying to make a home. When you enter ones home you are met with a place that is often a representation of the home-owners character and flair. Most home-owners take great pride in welcoming people to their abode and they are proud to show off pictures and an eclectic mix of kick-knacks and curios.

We as DIY’ers know what it’s like to have a honey-do list a mile long, and my honey is 3200 miles away at that. Many of us are perpetual procrastinators and always find a way to put off a project for one reason or another. Mine currently is running sled dogs with new friends. Hey, that’s what I came to Alaska for right? Not to paint, sand, hammer and prime!

When Michele left to go back to Colorado almost a month ago she painted the first coat of the entry way a color that I am still insisting is the color of the character Reagan’s upheaval in the movie The Exorcist but, but Michele would say otherwise. That first coat stayed on the walls just as it was for the entire month. I insisted on not finishing it on everything under the sun– I needed a ladder, I ran out of paint, my wrist is sore (I had surgery on it almost three years ago now and it still hurts by the way) the dog ate my color swatches! But the fact of the matter is, it was just plain ole’ procrastination. I will admit, I was lazy and hey the game was on. Just wait until hockey season starts and the NHL Center Ice package kicks in on Direct TV. There are games on every night and I secretly sign up for it before the previous season ends so I can spread the cost over a few months.

Well I am pleased to announce, as of almost midnight Alaska time last night the entry way is officially painted and the little light switch covers are in place. The product-hawkers on TV are right–you CAN remove that blue painter’s tape without much fuss even after all this time. I will have to admit that it looks okay but it is not a grand entry way by any stretch of the imagination. It is about as big as a walk in closet and that is if you are a very slender man.

But one thing that I wasn’t counting on is I became a painting machine! I started painting the other walls in the place (yep, the same color) as fast as I could. My hands were moving like Johnny Depp’s in Edward Scissorhands. And did I mention that it was almost midnight and the lighting in the house is very poor?

Let’s just say when I went downstairs to admire the work this morning– I see that I have missed some spots. But hey, the DIY’er juices are flowing quicker than that old infomercial guy, Jack Lalanne’s. At least for now. What is that? Boise State is playing in prime time on Saturday Night against Oregon State!


I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please comment below.

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio


Robert Forto is the host of The Dog Works Radio Show and is the training director of Alaska Dog Works. Robert Forto can be reached through his website at