Thursday, January 07, 2016

Happy New Year!

We were away for New Year's this year because LLB and Captain America were marching in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. We couldn't miss this bucket list item!  So, we packed it up, jetted out to LAX, rented a car, and made our way.

Our first stop was the beach -- we joined the VMI Band for a party at the Pacific. It was breezy and chilly, but some of them were in the water. It was way too cold for us, so we just watched. The band played a rehearsal on the beach after dinner - that was pretty awesome! The sunset over the Pacific was simply stunning...

Our hotel was in Pasadena, so we braved the horrible LA traffic and headed north. We discovered that google traffic in DC is very different than in LA. When it comes up as red in DC, it's stopped. In LA, it is still moving. Imagine that!?  Our hotel was in a convenient location for the parade, had no coffee, and had a noisy heater, but was clean.
We woke up in the morning and headed to Bandfest. I'm really glad I reserved tickets, because the line was out the door and around the corner. VMI was the smallest band there, but they were great! LLB had a solo - which she rocked! We are so incredibly proud of her! Our seats were pretty good - we sat next to a local whose best friend happened to be a VMI Grad. He told us what we should see while we were there.
We took his suggestions so after Bandfest (and lunch with friends), we headed off to see the Rose Parade displays at the convention center. It was terrific! We sat in on an hour presentation by a float designer - his float won best animation this year! We saw displays about the history of the parade, got our pictures taken, listened to the Air Force Jazz Band,  held a grenade launcher, and basically had a great time.
The next day - New Year's Eve - we decided to see The Getty Museum. It was awesome! They had a display of Louis XIV's tapestries. They were amazing - the colors, the detail, the workmanship.... We saw impressionist paintings, furniture, photography, sculpture, and more. The museum is terrific -- and big! We missed a couple of exhibits, but we were tired and we still had to get back to Pasadena. That night we decided to have an early dinner in Old Town Pasadena. We ended up at The Cheesecake Factory because our first choice restaurant was closed -- it was New Years Eve, after all. We had a lovely meal which we finished off with cheesecake!
We woke up early on New Years Day and headed off to our parking spot right behind our grandstand seats. We arrived early enough to get a good spot, get some breakfast at the McDo right next to our grandstand seats, and watch the parking guys Tetris the parking lot. (That was worth the price of admission!) We sat with the VMI alumni. They are a really fun group!
The floats were gorgeous! The bands were great. The VMI Band was terrific - as expected! LLB was on our side of the street and Captain America was in the first row. We saw both of them, took a bunch of pictures, and had a really nice time!
We tried to see the floats after the parade, but the lines were crazy and they were late opening the venue. We decided that we would rather go back to our hotel, take a rest, pack for our return home, and watch the reruns of the parade on TV. That night's dinner was sushi! We found a really nice place not too far from our hotel.
The next morning, we headed home. It was definitely a fun time...