We drove to Palm Springs the day after Christmas and stayed there for two nights before driving over to California and meeting the group from Winnebago Outdoor Adventures for the Rose Parade Tour. We decided to see Joshua Tree National Park, so we drove over on the main roads but came back on a rough Jeep Trail. As you can see from the pictures below Joshua Tree is beautiful and the Jeep Trail was very rough but a lot of fun. We were not too impressed with Palm Springs. We are sure that if we could have gotten into some of the gated communities it would have been nice but the town has sort of a dated look.
We then drove to Pasadena and met up with the Winnebago Tour Group. After a welcome dinner on Sunday night we rose early Monday morning so we could be in the first tour of the day at Warner Brothers Studios. Josie and I had visited there before but it was fun seeing it again and this time Josie was delighted that we got to see the set of The Big Bang Theory. We revisited the Central Perk Coffee Shop set from Friends and as you can see from the pictures below we have not changed at all over the past 8 years.
We then attended the Rose Bowl Bandfest that featured some of the bands that would march in the parade. The best band in our opinion was the group from Veracruz, Mexico with their colorful dancers. The tour provided us with nice souvenir stadium cushions that made sitting through Bandfest and the parade much easier.
The next day we were up early again for the 70 mile drive to the Ronald Reagan Library. The highlight of the tour is getting to walk through Air Force 1. The trip over to the Library took us an hour and ten minutes. The trip back took three and a half hours. LA traffic was horrible every evening. We were glad we were not driving but in the bus.
On New Year's Eve day we visited two of the areas where they build the floats for the Parade. It is amazing how much work and how many flowers it takes to prepare the floats. Some of the floats are done by companies that will build and decorate the floats for a fee and some are done by volunteers for charitable organizations. No matter how it is done it takes a whole year from design to final product. The two floats that carry the cheerleaders for the two teams playing in the Rose Bowl are the same float every year but they have to wait to see what teams are playing before they can order the right colored flowers and decorate them. In the pictures below I have put a picture of the float being worked on above one from the parade. The Love Boat float had the cast from the TV series riding on it.
After viewing the floats, we went to the LA Farmers Market where we had a late breakfast and then over to Hollywood Boulevard where we took a tour of the Dolby Theater, where the Oscars are held. That evening we had a catered New Year's Eve Celebration in the campground meeting hall and watched the ball drop in Times Square at 9 pm Pacific time. We were in bed early since we had to be on the bus at 5:15 am the next morning to go to the parade.
On New Year's morning we were bused into Pasadena and served a box lunch breakfast while we waited for the sun to warm things up and the start of the parade at 8 am. It was the coldest Rose Parade on record, so we dressed accordingly and had plenty of hand warmers. Josie used 6 warmers two for fingers, two for toes and two for her ears. I ended up giving her two of mine after it warmed up. We had fantastic seats on the top row of the bleachers with the sun at our backs. I will post only a few of the 300 pictures I took below.
The final morning of our trip we had a catered breakfast and then packed up and headed east. At the last minute we decided to drive to Yuma, Arizona so I could go to the races at Cocopah Speedway. Two big names from NASCAR, Kasey Kahne and Rookie of the year Kyle Larson were in the field and Tony Stewart one of the promoters of the event, made an appearance but did not drive. We also looked at a couple of RV Resorts to see if we might spend next winter in the Yuma area. We are now back at Pueblo El Mirage and getting ready for my daughter Missy's visit. We were able to have dinner with Josie's son-in-law Scott our first night back as he is in town on business