The last time MSU was in a Rose Bowl was in 1988 and after watching MSU beat OSU in the Big Ten Championship, the plans for the Rose Bowl trip were in motion. There were five of us including my husband, daughter, and in-laws that booked the trip through Classic Travel who offered a package through Al Brooks Rose Bowl Tours which included 4 nights and 5 days at a 4 star hotel, continental breakfast, various guided tours on a comfortable motor coach, the Rose Bowl parade, and the Rose Bowl game. In addition to it being one of the most exciting football games in MSU history, the 5 days in the Los Angeles area before the big game day were fun-filled. The tour package was a great way to experience the Rose Bowl as you didn’t worry about driving, figuring out directions, where to park, or fighting traffic.
Arriving Saturday evening, we had a day on our own before the tour started to visit Manhattan Beach. About a block from our hotel, we caught a shuttle called the Ocean Express for only $5 a person round trip. Since the weather was beautiful, we were able to walk along the boardwalk that borders the beach. Manhattan Beach is a great beach town with beautiful views, a variety of specialty stores, and a good selection of both upscale and casual restaurants. After a long walk including the pier and along the boardwalk that borders the beach, we found an Irish pub with an outdoor patio to enjoy the sunny 70 degree weather.
The next day started the official tour which included a visit to the “Float Barns” where the actual floats for the Tournament of Roses are created and assembled and a coastal tour that had stops in Venice Beach, Malibu Beach, and Santa Monica. One of the days also included a visit to Beverly Hills and Hollywood including stops to walk around and see Rodeo Drive, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and Hollywood Boulevard. What made the tour days special was everywhere we went, it appeared MSU had taken over every city or beach town we were visiting. MSU Green and White could be seen up and down every street with the frequent cheer or someone yelling “Go Green” and the crowd responding “Go White”!
Part of the package included transportation to and from the pep rally which was held in L.A. Live, an entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles. The MSU basketball game was being played on a jumbotron screen while more than 27,000 Spartans filled the streets getting ready for the pep rally. Athletic director Mark Hollis, Coach Dantonio, and former MSU QB Kirk Cousins rallied the large crowd and it was by far the best pep rally we’ve ever been to.
After a few days of touring the various area attractions, it was finally time for the big day. We were off to an early start to attend the Rose Bowl parade where the tour included reserved stadium seats providing a great view of the parade. After seeing a great parade, we were off to the Rose Bowl stadium, surrounded by the majestic San Gabriel Mountains. The beautiful Pasadena setting, the anticipation of the game, and the fans getting ready for the big game was everything you would expect and more. From the moment the game started to the amazing fourth-and-1 stop by MSU’s #1 defense in the country to win the 100th Rose Bowl and the fireworks and celebration that followed, it felt like we were in a Hollywood movie where you didn’t want it to end!
The Rose Bowl trip was an experience of a lifetime that we’ll never forget. Go Green!!!