To get from Cougar country in Santa Monica to Pasadena, you drive for half an hour on freeways that require such close attention to the traffic it’s possible to be unaware that your car radio is set on a Spanish-language station.
But Pasadena is worth seeing. There’s an abundance of distinctive architecture, siegelike parade preparation and, oh yes, that stadium.
Because of its sunken design, the Rose Bowl is almost unassuming when viewed from the outside. But Jason Brown wanted to see in. So, like many others Tuesday, he and his parents paid two bucks apiece to walk inside and look around.
“It’s big - I like it,” he said as he stared out at the sea of empty seats.
Brown, a ‘97 WSU accounting graduate from Puyallup, Wash., who now lives in Phoenix, drove from Arizona with his folks in an RV. They arrived about 3 a.m.
“I couldn’t miss this,” he said.
He’s got one problem, though. He doesn’t have a ticket to the football game.
“Yet,” he said.
Outside the stadium, crowds checking out a fairlike event called the Rose Bowl Family Festival offered a preview of the parking and Port-A-Potty adventures still to come.
A big high school band from Grenada, Miss., practiced playing the Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun.”
And Rob Tee, a fifth-year WSU pharmacy major from Fairfield, Wash., looked around for some people he was supposed to meet. He and a friend had driven 24 hours to get to Pasadena.
Could he see himself living in sunny Southern California?
“Absolutely,” he said, making a subtle hand motion calling attention to the fact he was wearing shorts and a T-shirt on Dec. 30.
Another guess: Bill Backstrom, a minister who lives near Pasadena, was staffing a Tournament of Roses information booth outside the stadium Tuesday morning when he got to talking about growing up near Freya in Spokane. “Actually, where we lived isn’t there anymore,” he said. “The interstate’s there now.”
His prediction for the final score?
“Washington State, 18-14.”
Overheard in a hotel lobby in Santa Monica (a woman in a crimson and gray shirt): “I kept seeing street names that reminded me of the O.J. trial.”
Line from a Knott’s Berry Farm press release that says it all: “Photography Available: Snoopy in Washington State Cougar Football Jersey.”
Today’s Slice question: Is it possible to maintain a holiday spirit after getting a sunburn?