ďSince we couldnít make the trip to California to visit my sister when the rest of the family went, Tonya said she would pay our way out whenever we could make it,Ē Judy Bork, Paynesville, said. The Borks were gone Dec. 27 to Jan. 5.
ďThe Rose Parade and all the festivities were unbelievable. It was a great experience,Ē Bork added. ďOn Thursday night, before the parade, they held a big party along the parade route. People were throwing marshmallows at passing cars.Ē
Judy said they watched the parade with curb side seats. However, to get those seats Shawn Blakesley marked off the area with chalk on Tuesday, Dec. 27. ďWe needed an area big enough for 20 people,Ē she added. ďA friend and his family slept at curbside to save the area the night before the parade. Once an area is roped off, people didnít seem to bother anything.
ďSince our spots were towards the end of the parade route, we had plenty of time to get to our seats. We were in our spots in time to see the first float pass.Ē
Judy said all the floats had to be designed so they could collapse to at least 15 feet. The floats had to be able to get low enough to make their way through an overpass on the parade route. Their viewing spot was located near the overpass so they had the opportunity of seeing all the tall moving parts on the floats move back into position. ďAll the floats had hydraulic lifts to move them up and down,Ē she added.
They saw the Good Witch on the Wizard of Oz float do a back bend and then go back into position and an astronaut go face down then back up again once it was through the overpass.
ďI had never seen so many different plants and flowers,Ē Judy said. ďAll the floats had to be decorated with organically grown things. We saw oranges, all types of grasses, cabbage heads, lemons, rice, and more on the floats.Ē
All the floats were left intact and placed on display for two days following the parade.
Judy said they only stayed about an hour and a half at the parade because Bryan and Justin had to leave for the start of the Rose Bowl game between Wisconsin and UCLA. The weather was sunny and 75 degrees for the game.
Because they were with friends from California, their football game tickets were in the UCLA section. ďBryan sat quietly cheering for Wisconsin. Justin didnít care, he loudly cheered for UCLA since all the fans around him were for UCLA,Ē Judy said.
According to Judy, there were 94,000 people in attendance at the game. ďOnce the national anthem was sung, five F18 fighters flew over the stadium. The last one broke off from the group and went straight up and did an aerial spin,Ē she added.
While in California, they visited Universal Studio, went to Venice Beach, and the Santa Monica Pier. Tonyaís friend Shawn Blakesley owns a small plane so he gave them an airplane ride over Catalina Island and points of interest in Los Angeles.
While at Santa Monica, the kids had the opportunity to talk with Tom Hanks on the beach. ďThey were really thrilled,Ē Judy said.
The Borks were expected to arrive home by Jan. 3 but due to the snowstorm in Chicago, they werenít able to arrive back in Paynesville until Jan. 5. ďInstead of flying into Chicago, we had to fly to Dallas and then home,Ē she said.
ďThis was a trip the family wouldnít forget for a long time,Ē Judy added.
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