Follow along with the Bobcats Go West Blog this week as the Lees-McRae College women's basketball team embarks on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Fairbanks, Alaska to play in the North Star Invitational, hosted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Monday, November 25
Monday for the Lees-McRae women's basketball program had no designated start time, but it was a busy first full day in Fairbanks.
Some made it to breakfast before it shut down at 9 a.m., but everyone was ready to go to lunch around 11:30 a.m. with our local host, Chuck Fogle. He took us to the May Flower restaurant where the team got their fill. The buffet featured Chinese and Japanese food items, with a great selection for all. While there the decision was made to go to Chena Hot Springs (http://www.chenahotsprings.com/) for a dip in the spring-feed rock lake and other bodies of water.
We left our hotel, the Westmark (http://www.westmarkhotels.com/fairbanks.php) around 1:30 p.m. to make the 60 or so mile trek to the northeast. Fogle had warned us that the road would be rough, but little did we know it would be as rough as it was. A combination of the cold weather, frequent traffic by locals, and stretches of un-cleared snow left the road feeling like a gravel road in spots. The scenery was magnificent though! Some of the team wanted to see a moose on the road, however the only one seen was on the moose crossing signs.
We did see a gentleman training a dog sled group of 20 dogs and was able to stop and snap a few photos as well as learn more about the craft. Fogle explained how Fairbanks is a hub city, meaning that roads lead out of town to places like Chena and others, but roads do not connect the other suburbs. Meaning to get from Chena to a town to the south, you had to come back to Fairbanks then take the road to that city. The road to Chena ended exactly when we arrived. We could not go further by car or truck. By dog sled or snowmobile, yes.
Onto the hot springs, where the team took a few minutes to look around the area before going into the warm water outside with snow on the rocks. The outdoor temperature did play tricks on us. If your hair got hot, then the water would freeze on your hair! Some of the team experienced this phenomenon a few times, but rest assured, no one tips were left behind. The team was able to relax in the water after traveling for a day and before a Tuesday practice session. After a couple of hours of various water activities, it was time to head back on the snow covered road to Fairbanks.
For supper, Fogle contacted a friend of his at Los Amigos for a great Tex-Mex meal. Everyone got their fill, and it was well needed after the time in the hot springs then back to the hotel.
It might be around 9:30 p.m. local time when this is being wrote, but we all are fighting the four-hour time difference so it feels like 1:30 a.m. It might be safe to say, some of the team has already turned in, unless they have to turn in an assignment before the Thanksgiving break. That was a topic at supper, who had what projects due. Some worked on projects on the plane a day earlier, while others took advantage of the business center here at the Westmark to work as the players know that they are students first.
What will Tuesday hold? We shall see when the sun rises.