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Monday, January 02, 2012

Day 2 - Rose Parade And Rose Bowl

Harry and Lulu walked to the Rose Bowl from the parade area. It was a little over 2 miles. They posed for this picture and really experienced the Roses. They both got scratched up pretty good by those bushes.

Every since we were kids - New Years Day was not complete without watching the Rose Parade and a bit of the Rose Bowl. In the 1960's - anything "California" was magical - from Hollywood - to Disneyland - to the Beach Boys. Anything new always started on the West Coast.

Usually on Saturday - ABC Sports carried two football games - one from the East Coast and usually UCLA or Southern Cal from the West Coast. There was something special about the USC cheerleaders and their tight white sweaters.

Lulu always wanted to go there for New Year's - but she hoped it would be some day when Florida State played in the Rose Bowl. When she was invited to present at a convention in Hawaii for this week - this set the great planner in motion. She booked our plane to Honolulu through Los Angeles. She got some hotels - parade tickets - parade parking -and everything else needed for this big day.

We flew in yesterday and drove to our hotel on Colorado Boulevard. Then early this morning we drove the last 5 miles to our parking space and seat in the bleachers. The weather was perfect - about 48 degrees at dawn. By parade time at 8 AM - it was 55 degrees - not a cloud in the sky except for a few words by the sky writers. A flyby of the B2 Stealth Bomber signaled the parade start.

Our bleachers were high enough to see over the sidewalk crowd maybe 6 deep. You were allowed to camp out overnight and claim curb seats - and more than half of the 700,000 viewers chose that free route. For $55 - you could have a raised reserved seat. The parade had 100 units (floats and bands). The parade route was 5.5 miles and the whole thing took 2.5 hours to pass us by.

The parade was sponsored by Honda and was led by a new Honda Fit Electric Car.

After the parade - many in the crowd walked the 3 miles to the Rose Bowl. The parade was over by 11 - and we had a nice lunch at a downtown Mexican cafe. After that we hiked to the Rose Bowl.

By game time the temperature had risen to 80 degrees and we had peeled off two layers of clothes.

When we arrived at the Rose Bowl - we were surprised that face value for tickets was $150 and $175. We were also surprised when very few people were selling extra tickets. Finally we bought a pair of $150 tickets for $45 each. They were located with the sun at our back and near the goal line - we took them.

The Rose Bowl is a very old stadium - the first bowl game. It is truly a bowl - very wide and not very high. About 2/3 of the seats are below surface level. The stands appear low from outside. Inside - you could tell that one time people must have sat right on the concrete. The seats are very close together - and the space between rows is difficult to navigate. The tunnels underneath are narrow and jammed to gridlock many times. In some places - the seats were easily 100 yards away from the field.

The surrounding mountains are spectacular - and the air was crystal clear. The sound system is excellent for such an old stadium. The scoreboards are very simple and straightforward - no ribbon boards - or anything flashing. I was surprised how filled it stayed the whole day.

Oregon beat Wisconsin 45 - 38. The game was in doubt to the very last second. Wisconsin was 10 yards away from the goal as the clock ran out. It was the highest scoring Rose Bowl ever - that is in 101 years!

It was easy to see the different sections of fans - because the Badgers wore red and white and the Ducks wore green and gold.

We drove to our Hyatt near the airport - ready for the big flight to Hawaii tomorrow morning. Lulu got this room for free from bonus miles. She was given a bonus when she complained about a flaw in her last Hyatt stay. This place is really nice - and includes supper and fast. We got a suite - living room - bedroom - kitchen - bath.

We will get to the airport early tomorrow - hoping to get a bump - that is - they will give our seats to someone else and give us another free plane ticket. We have been very lucky on trips to Hawaii.

Rose Parade bleacher seat tickets $110
Covered parade parking $20
Rose Bowl tickets (bought on street) $90
Wonderful memorable day - Priceless

Kenny G opened the parade on a float with his clarinet.

Every inch of the float must be covered with flowers or flower petals. They also must be powered - not pulled.

Many floats won trophies for color - texture - animation - theme - etc.

That hand with the blue cuff - waved at every float during the whole 3 hours parade.

This float had lots of moving parts.

This picture shows the campers across the street from us - some people squatted as early at noon the day before. They had blankets - chairs - stoves - mattresses.

Each float had a sponsor - 91 floats and bands total. Lulu bought a program so we could tell the players.

Crestview Florida is near Tallahassee. They were the only group in the parade from Florida. There were bands from Sweden and Japan.

The floats were "flowered" the day before. One could volunteer to help put flowers on.

Dinosaurs and movie themes highlighted the parade.

Roy Rogers - his son and grandson were on this float and singing "Happy Trails."

Note the different color sections - white and red - green and gold. The sun was behind us - and the mountains were so clear.

At kickoff - the players seemed very small. I was easily 200 yards away from this play. Fortunately - the sound system was excellent.

Lulu planned this whole day - she looked forward to it even more than Hawaii. It was something new - and lived up to its expectation.

Before the parade -we strolled Colorado Boulevard right up the middle of the street. You can see the Rose logo and our bleacher seats in the background.

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