I Come From the Land Down UNDer (Part 1)

After an eternal stay in North Dakota, and a seemingly endless flight back to Boston, I am finally home. I never thought that a four day trip would feel so long, but it did.

We flew out to Grand Forks on Friday morning with a layover in Minneapolis. I had my first "get me out of here now" moment of the weekend as we were landing. For those of you who don't know, North Dakota is flat. No, flatter than flat. So flat, it is the exact inverse of hilly. I'm pretty sure I could see all the way to the Rockies. In many ways, the landscape greatly resembled that of a quilt. In addition to the exceedingly painful flatness, the land also consists of giant squares of farmland. Each of the squares is the same size, but in different colors. It looks like the largest green, yellow and brown quilt one has ever seen. Another thing that came to mind is how terrible it must be to drive there. You have to drive straight for miles and miles and the only change in scenary is a different color crop. Although, at the same time, it would make for great cycling. There are no hills, no traffic and its near impossible to get lost.

Only car we saw in a while, so I had to take a picture of it

The second "get me out of here now" moment came at the Grand Forks airport. It consists of a single terminal with two gates. There is a single metal detector at security. And you literally step off the plane and the baggage claim is right there. The airport restaurant is a concession stand and there is one very quaint gift shop. The only company that flies out of the airport is Delta and should Grand Forks natives feel the need to get away, their only option by flight is Minneapolis (or at least, in order to get any where else, one must stop there first). On the plus side, there was plenty of fresh, albeit cool and crisp air.
Grand Forks Airport

From the airport, we went straight to the rink for practice. Grand Forks may be small, but they love their hockey as is evident by Ralph Englestad Arena. It is one of the biggest buildings in town and it is by far one of the nicest hockey arenas I have ever seen. In addition to the game ice, there is also a practice sheet of ice in the same building. Both of the hockey teams practice and play games there. For our game on Saturday, just over 2800 fans showed up for the game which is huge for a women's game.
Ralph Englestad Arena

Arena holds about 12,000 spectators

Jumbotron, on Walter Brown's wishlist for next year's renovations

Friday night, we had dinner at the hotel which consisted of salad, rolls, rice and teriyaki chicken. We were also given goodie bags from the hotel that contained more than a weekend's worth of snacks. Most of us were tired by that point and went straight to bed.

Saturday morning, we had breakfast at the hotel and just hung out until it was time to leave for the game. I had managed to get a run in before breakfast. My knee is progressing nicely. It is sore now because the only equipment the hotel had was treadmills, so I had to run every morning.

Saturday's game did not go quite according to plan as the team fell short, losing 5-4. What I didn't realize until Saturday morning was that the game was televised on the Fox College Sports Channel, so I made a few television appearances ;)

After the game, we went out for dinner at a local restaurant. I had a pretty decent flat iron steak, baked potato and a salad. I definitely can't complain when it comes to food when I travel with the team. I am never left feeling hungry all weekend and its usually pretty tasty food as well. I actually feel like I eat a lot, but I think part of that has to do with the fact that the games are usually in the middle of the afternoon, so we only have two meals per day, breakfast and dinner. I try to eat enough to hold me over until the next meal. It is not the healthiest eating habit, but I've somehow managed to keep from gaining weight through it all.

I am really busy again this week with another trip coming up this weekend. I will try to post Part 2 within the next two days.


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