It was a fun trip, with a not-very-fun result.
My one recommendation, if you’re travelling down to the Los Angeles area: if it makes sense geographically, try your best to fly into and out of the Burbank airport, because it is PHENOMENAL! It’s probably the smallest airport I’ve ever been in, which has to be about 95% of the reason by itself. I’ve never in my life had a quicker, smoother TSA experience. Even WITH the requisite pat-down and hand-wiping, I was through security in about two minutes. No line whatsoever, just a single 2-child family ahead of me. I’d say if there’s one downside to the Burbank airport – at least as far as my experience was concerned – is that the only restaurant was one of those Guy Fieri joints. I thought I’d play it safe and go with the barbecue buffalo wings (because if I can live my entire life not knowing what “donkey sauce” is, I feel I’ll have lived my best life), but they were more bone than meat! I don’t know what animal they got these wings off of, but I’m assuming it was something in the wren family?
I bought the tickets for this flight the night of the Apple Cup. I got the insurance – which I’m not sure I could’ve even used, had I needed to cancel – and just banked on the Huskies beating the Utes in the Pac-12 Championship Game. If we had lost, and I couldn’t get my money back for the flight, I still might’ve gone, but it would’ve been a pretty pointless little trip without a football game involved.
I flew out the morning of Monday, December 31st, arriving in Burbank around 11am. From there, I met up with some friends as we got lunch, picked up our Husky Alumni Tailgate tickets, and got a couple six packs of beer to drink while watching the other bowl games on TV. We ended up ordering in Thai food for dinner, and celebrating the 9pm Pacific Time ball drop with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine from the hotel bar. We had an early start to the new year in store, so there was no time to screw around!
We headed out to the Rose Parade around 8am, and were able to see anywhere from 60-90 minutes worth of floats and marching bands and whatnot. Considering we didn’t have tickets for the bleacher seats, I think we did pretty well for ourselves. Around 9:30am, we set out on foot for a good, long hike to the Husky Tailgate. From 10am to 1pm, it was all you can eat hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream, nachos, pulled pork sandwiches, and whatever else they had on hand. It was also all you can drink IPAs, Miller Lites, and whatever other alcohol they had in stock. I don’t remember what the tickets cost, but we more than got our money’s worth.
It was staged on a golf course near the stadium, and they really did it up right. Nice, large space, with plenty of booths and room to stand around. Lines were short for the most part, and things really went smoothly.
At some point in the one o’clock hour, we headed into the Rose Bowl, getting there in plenty of time for the game to start. At this point, I couldn’t tell you what actually happened on the field, because my brown out game was on point this day. I know I left during the game, presumably with the goal of finding some way to get back to the hotel room. It turned into me walking until I was sober enough to form coherent words with my mouth again, at which point I pieced together my destination from a photo of the hotel address I took the day before. I ended my New Years Day on the couch in our suite, having wolfed down a bunch of pizza, watching the end of the Texas/Georgia game, followed by a New Girl marathon on TBS.
The Rose Bowl in itself was what any of us could’ve predicted coming into this thing: the Huskies started off miserably slow, the defense pulled it together in the second half, allowing the offense enough opportunities to make a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, only to fall short thanks to an unsuccessful onside kick. Jake Browning had a whatever game, Myles Gaskin put in a Herculean effort with 121 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, but in the end we lost 28-23. Much like the Penn State game last year, if we could’ve chopped off the first quarter, and added a fifth quarter to this game, I think we would’ve won.
I’m sure I’ll have a more definitive recap of the 2018 Husky football season at some point in the coming days, but obviously this is a disappointing end. ALMOST as disappointing as my decision to take the 1:30pm flight back to Seattle yesterday. I can’t properly enjoy the final day of a vacation when I know I have to be at the airport, so I ended up getting there RIDICULOUSLY early and sitting around for about 3 hours before takeoff. At which point, I got to Seattle right in the heart of rush hour traffic, adding an unnecessary rush hour commute home to what was otherwise a delightful 9 days off of work.