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Outside Corvallis, families of the Oregon State players lined the route, waiting patiently with provisions and quick embraces as the train passed through the small towns of eastern Oregon. In Hood River star left halfback Bob Dethman's father, Alfred, generously put two boxes of apples on board. In Baker guard-linebacker Martin Chaves's family waited patiently to give their boy a proper send-off, and not just in anticipation of the cross-country trip. Chaves, who had been voted captain for the Rose Bowl by his teammates, would, like many of the players, be entering the military almost immediately after the game.
On Dec. 20 the train arrived in Boise, Idaho, where Stiner had the team run sprints up and down the station platform to get in some exercise. Back onboard, the team played bridge, told stories and had study sessions with their coaches. In Omaha members of the University of Nebraska's N Club gave Stiner a good luck horseshoe. The coach didn't need luck, he needed a practice field. He worried about "days of railway and hotel lobby" training. As it was, his team had been unable to practice much as heavy rains had drenched Corvallis for most of December.
The Beavers arrived in Chicago on Dec. 22, and Stiner welcomed an invitation to work out on Stagg Field at the University of Chicago. The train with the Beavers' equipment and uniforms had not arrived by practice time, so the boys wore maroon warmups borrowed from Chicago during their kicking and passing drills. Their colors arrived just in time for Chaves, Dethman, halfback Don Durdan and back Joe Day to dress in full pads for press pictures.
Later that day the team reboarded the train. After a stop in the nation's capital for practice at Griffith Stadium—home to the Washington Senators and Redskins—and a tour of the capital, the Beavers rolled into Durham on the morning of Dec. 24. Dressed in woolen jackets embroidered with the Rose Bowl logo, they were greeted by a throng of about 2,000 ready to show true Southern hospitality. The Durham High School marching band lent some pomp to the circumstance, and Chaves was made honorary mayor of Durham.
Over the next seven days the Beavers ate at Turnage's Barbecue, had a traditional Southern Christmas dinner at Duke, watched a polo match at Pinehurst, visited the state's cigarette manufacturing plants and attended too many fancy luncheons.
Wade, too, had appearances to make in addition to planning details of tickets and traffic while preparing his team for a football game. He created the most talented scout team in the country to simulate Oregon State. One of the best triple threats in the country was Duke graduate George McAfee of the Chicago Bears, who had played in the 1939 Rose Bowl, and since he was a lefty, he did a great impersonation of Durdan in practice. Jap Davis, another Duke graduate who was coaching the school's freshmen, suited up too. Even Dick Watts, a senior at rival North Carolina State, joined.
Everywhere he went, Stiner was swarmed by well-wishers and strangers, reporters and businessmen, and he embraced the scene. When approached with an offer from a Durham banker to cash his checks, the coach quipped, "The way the boys have been borrowing money from me on this trip East, it looks like I'll be seeing a lot of you."
It is the Zero Hour,
For the Victory Rose Bowl Game.
It is a splendid circumstance,