Tuesday got off to a rocky start.
The Spirit of St. Louis Marching Band was traveling in four buses in-and-around Southern California when the lead bus got on a freeway going south when it should have been going north. The other three buses followed.
The 208 student musicians, with chaperones, are in Pasadena readying for a primetime performance in the New Year's Day Rose Parade. The local group is one of 15 marching bands selected worldwide for the parade.
While the buses with students barreled southward, a couple of chaperones consulted the GPS on their cell phones and figured out the buses were all going in the wrong direction. Bus drivers turned around and started over, heading north.
A day earlier, one of the buses loaded with band members had engine trouble on the road to Santa Monica Pier. After a half-hour repair, the bus was fixed and back in business.
These sorts of incidents make for good stories afterward. Soon, the buses were back on track and took the Lindbergh students on a tour around Los Angeles.
"Our tour guide was named Judy and she was a lot of fun," said Joan Spink, a chaperone with the group who reported in from California. "She asked us trivia questions about Hollywood and everyone shouted out the answers."
After the bus tour, the students ate lunch and shopped for souvenirs at the "Farmers' Market." Then, the group moved on to a pre-arranged activity.
"The kids got to work on floats," Spink said. "They got to work on the floats of the two teams that are playing in the Rose Bowl. They actually got to put flowers in the helmets of those floats."
Texas Christian University plays University of Wisconsin in the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl football game which airs on ESPN at 4:10 p.m. in St. Louis. Rose Parade tradition features floats with the helmets of the teams that are playing. The parade begins at 10 a.m. St. Louis time.
At the float building warehouses, some of the Lindbergh students were seen putting water into vials for float roses and some of them pulled the heads off white pom poms and glued them to the floats.
"The kids were really excited about working on the floats," Spink said. Her son is in the band.
"I looked up and saw my son at the top of a float on some scaffolding and I quickly looked away," Spink said. "They had so much fun."
Spink reported that the students learned it will take eight hours to get the floats from the storage warehouse to their spot in the parade; they will be driving five miles per hour. The parade route is 5.5 miles long.
"We're a little worried because the tour guide told us they might have torrential rains," Spink said. "I hope it doesn't happen. [The kids] are supposed to spend the day at Disneyland."
It should be another early morning Wednesday as band members and chaperones gather at the buses. The students will be able to ride the rides and just have fun at Disneyland during the day. But at 5 p.m., weather permitting, the Lindbergh students will be marching down "Main Street USA" in the Disneyland Parade.
Lindbergh parents will line the parade route to watch, along with everyone else visiting the park that day.
Every day this week, Patch plans to post updates passed along by adult chaperones with the Lindbergh High School Spirit of St. Louis Marching Band while they are in Pasadena.