Good morning! I will not make any promises as to this type of post happening every day over the next few days, but I will give it a try. Here's a rundown of Memphis Trip Day 1...
Much to the credit of the students and their families, everyone arrived punctually and with all of their equipment on Wednesday morning. No one was at the door to greet me when I arrived at 5:20 a.m., but within a half hour there were chaperones and their children arriving. We managed to pull out about 12 minutes early with everyone on board and having lost only one Visa gift card between the building and the buses (a 20-minute life cycle, which may be a new record, but the good news is that the card was found by the student's diligent dad searching the snow after the sun rose...)
Alas, we were not destined to have a trouble-free trip! About a half hour (or less!) later we received word that bus #2 was experiencing some engine troubles. We pulled over at the rest area near Saugatuck (another new record for brevity) and waited for a replacement coach from Holland. After a 40-minute delay or so we were back on the road and headed for Memphis! (It's actually a good thing we were that close to Holland, where the Cardinal terminal is located. Had we been much farther away the wait would have been far more serious. Kudos to the Cardinal folks for expressing a new bus at 7 in the morning.)
Nothing much happened in the excitement department the rest of the trip except for changing drivers in Indiana somewhere, where we got our favorite lead driver, Charlie Bengtson, on board bus 1 and all became traditional Charlie has driven this band more than any driver we've had; he's taken us to Washington, DC, Detroit, Jacksonville, and places in between. I tell you this because it says something about our kids that he keeps agreeing to drive for us - he is Cardinal's most senior driver in the area, and he could easily turn down my request. For the record, I have threatened this year's group to not mess up our good relationship with him :)
Upon arrival in Memphis about an hour late, the kids got checked into the hotel and re-boarded the buses for the rodeo. I can't speak to their experience, as Andy W and I had a directors' meeting at the venue next door, but most seemed to have at least a decent time. We did find out, unfortunately, that the arena didn't accept credit cards at the concession stands, so we loaded everyone back into the buses a little early and had Domino's deliver 40 pies to the hotel!
After a 20-hour day everyone was pretty worn out and went to bed (well, I did, anyway). After a brief discussion with the all-night security guard explaining my stated goal of not wanting to see her again until the next day (and I didn't! Yes!), I got at least several hours of sleep. Now I'm waiting until the breakfast area opens so we can scope out how to feed 165 people in the lobby of the Hampton! (Hey, it's free breakfast - we'll make it happen!)
Have a great day. Check out the Twitter feed (@zhsband) and the band's Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Zeeland-High-School-Marching-Band-339133719554320/) for further updates and pictures. Happy New Year!
*Disclaimer: I have NOT given this post my usual 2-3 proofreads. Or even one... I hope it looks good.