Yesterday, this happened:
That envelope contains (half) a payment for a brand new, custom made Arctis dog cart. AHHH! I've wanted one of these rigs since I first started mushing, but a brand new one (plus shipping it across the country) isn't cheap. It was hard to justify the expense, when I accumulated two (mostly) functional rigs over the past few years.
After acquiring my fourth dog, I could safely say I'm in this mushing thing for several years to come. As I mentioned, I have two rigs already, which work. But, there are a few reasons why upgrading makes sense:
Consolidating Equipment - The 90 pound dog cart I currently have does not fold up. I cannot mount it on my bike rack. In order to transport it anywhere, I needed to buy an 8' long trailer and ramp. This currently sits in my garage 99% of the time, taking up space I'd rather use for my truck. The Arctis folds up and easily loads on my truck's hitch, so I won't need the 90 pound cart or trailer.
Safety First - My existing rigs are old. The 40 pound cart is older than I am. It's a typical Chambers Rig, with a strange bar for steering. It works well enough, but it will never compete with bike-style steering. The 90 pound cart has better steering, but I could use something with better brakes. The Arctis has better steering and even better brakes: hydraulic disc brakes and a 4-prong "digger" earth brake when I need to get off the cart.
Mush with Friends - My cart will come with a detachable "jump seat". While this probably won't get much use with a three or four dog team (except for short runs around the neighborhood), I plan to hang onto this cart for a long time. One day, when I have more space, I hope to run with five or six dogs. Then a passenger will be able to go a lot further with me - and I'll have a comfortable place for them to sit.
Construction on my new cart doesn't begin until November, so the bulk of this season will still depend on my current carts. I may even keep my lightweight rig for races -- I haven't decided yet. Still, I look forward to optimizing my dog gear collection and putting many, many miles on three shiny, new tires.