On March 18, over 150 Anaheim Ducks fans woke up early and piled onto 3 buses heading to San Jose to watch our Ducks take on the Sharks. We parked our cars at the Honda Center, and took off roughly 7:30 am, not realizing that our road trip would become quite the adventure.
I was in Bus A with my friends, and the road trip was going well until we made it to Burbank. Apparently Bus C was having power issues, so they had to swap out the bus. Fortunately, the replacement bus was pulling up, just as we were pulling off the freeway.
The trip continued onward, and we played a bus filled trivia game. Team “If you’re not right, you’re Wong” consisting of my friend Sandy, Wally (Wong), Karen and Judy won with 19 correct answers. As winners, they got swag from the Ducks, which include the stylish orange Duck sunglasses. We made it to Kettleman City, where we stopped for lunch. Stephen and I chose In-N-Out Burger, and had to inhale our food because we had to leave to make up for the loss time at Burbank.
After lunch, the “Die Hards” official sweatshirts were distributed. Then, about a half hour after departure, a loud buzzing sound emits from Bus A (my bus). The driver said it could be someone in the lavatory needing assistance. Ducks leader Ryan goes to the back to investigate, and opens the lavatory. There’s no one inside. He pushes the “stop” button and the sound stops, but then a cascade of water starts falling on the passenger side of the bus. The bus driver pulls over and calls the company for help. She was told not to move the bus, and to keep the passengers inside. Eventually, we had to evacuate Bus A and consolidate onto Bus B and C. Twenty passengers, including the Ducks Group Leaders, had to stand for the remaining 2 hours to San Jose.
We finally made it to San Jose, and had to quickly check into our hotel room. The keys were waiting in the lobby, and we literally tossed our bags in our room (no time for room photos?!) and left for the SAP Center for the pre-game hosted event.
Upon arrival at the SAP Center, we were given our game tickets. Fox Sports greeted the bus, and captured tired, but cheering fans disembarking from the bus. Being in the heart of Silicon Valley, naturally things has to be “high tech”. The SAP Center has automated ticketing scanning, so you scan your own ticket at the entrance.
The staff from the San Jose Sharks heard about our ordeal, so they were very sympathetic to us. They directed us to an area for our pre-game meal (a buffet of salad, pasta, and chicken) before moving us to the Alaskan Airlines Club area to relax with our drinks.
At 5:30, Justo, one of the Ducks group leaders asked if I wanted to be interviewed by Kent French, a Fox Sports tv guy. Along with another fan, I was interviewed in the media room, which actually did make it on the air. Here’s the feature:
At 6:00 pm, the Sharks staff told us the arena was open to the public. We wandered the one level concourse before heading to our seats. Stephen spied a plaque of Bruce Jenner, before she became Caitlin Jenner.
My seats were upstairs in section 221, behind the goal. The fans were scattered around the arena, but we made our presence known as we cheered loudly against the Sharks fans who were rudely chanting “Ducks Suck”.
The Ducks did prevail and beat the Sharks 2-1. After the game, we were told to gather at section 114, where we got to take a group photo at Center Ice. While waiting, former Duck player Todd Marchant came to thank us for coming.
The next morning, after an early breakfast at Deluxe , we left San Jose at 9:20 am, and made our way back to Orange County. We had so many obstacles getting to San Jose, but it all worked out in the end and the victory made it even better.
Looking forward to the next Road Trip.