Most of the first 30 mushers into the Takotna checkpoint on the Iditarod trail have declared their 24-hour layovers. Just four mushers have gone beyond.
Those that stayed had great things to say about the hospitality.
"When I got here, they fed me a steak. When I got up, they fed me a breakfast burrito. I said, 'Do you do this for everybody?' (They said) 'We've been doing this for years.' I must have been a fool for the last 20 Iditarods not stopping here for the 24,” said four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser, who was the first team to the check point.
“Hot water, cold water, showers, breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s like, how stupid can I be not to stop here for the 24,” Buser continued.
Sebastian Schnuelle, who finished second in 2009, said that laying over in Takotna is also good race strategy.
"The fact that there's Ophir some 20 miles out, if you leave here with a dog in question, you can drop it. That's my thinking. I like to stay somewhere, where if I have a jam...if I stay in Ophir, and if I mis-judge something, then yeah, bang, you have a dog in the bag for 70 miles,” Schnuelle said.