Alas, hubby and I were waitlisted for tickets. But 2 weeks ago, I got an email letting me know that in fact we DID get tickets! We were very excited and our parents offered to watch the Monkey and Small Fry so that we could spend the day going.
On Thursday, we packed up overnight bags for the boys, and dropped them off with their respective babysitters. (I forgot Small Fry's milk at home, so I need to publicly thank my dad for driving 30 minutes each way to get his food!!).
We knew we weren't going to drive to the stadium, since the parking would have been insane, and we thought taking the Light Rail (our local public train system) would be the best option. We hopped on the train at the very start of the line, and waited for our historic journey to begin. About 3 stops from the stadium, we started hearing whispering...apparently the stadium stop was too busy, so they closed it!
Yup - we got to the stop before the stadium and were told if we weren't handicapped, we had to get off. So, we did, along with about 200 or so other people and we started walking. There were two "lines", and we guessed wrong. Apparently if we'd stayed in the line that looked SO long to us (it was actually tiny compared to what we ended up in), we'd have only been about 45 minutes from getting into the stadium. Instead, the wait was over 4 hours.
I included a little map of where we had to walk from (I circled the station we should have gotten off if it hadn't been closed - only about a 5 minute walk to the stadium). Instead we walked up on to a major street (thankfully it was closed already by the secret service), we walked down a few more streets, behind a bar, in an alley, into a HUGE parking lot filled with people. The line spiraled from the center outwards in another long line waiting to get through security into the stadium. (Click on the picture below to see a larger image).
We followed hundreds of people into CHAOS, disorganization and complete craziness. Eventually the line got worked out, but I took some photos of what was the "line" in the parking lot.
So, we got into line and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. We arrived at the light rail station at 3pm. We were inside security and into the stadium at 7pm. Yes, we waited for FOUR hours. It was not fun, but people were in surprisingly good moods, everyone knowing they were fortunate just to be able to attend, and so many of us thought if we at least got in in time to hear Obama speak, we would be great. It just about worked out that way.
The parking lot where the "end" of the line was - took us quite a while to find the end in the sea of people!!
Finally, a distinct set of lines started to develop!
We got a truck full of free water once we'd waited in line for about 2 hours.
Once we finally got in, we headed up to our seats in the nosebleed section. We missed a lot of speakers, like Al Gore, but we were honestly super happy just to be in the stadium. It was an a amazing set up, with all the delegates on the field level, along with dozens of news stations and their tents and set ups.
Our view of the center stage.
We heard some personal stories about people who were affected by the Bush administration, and republicans who were going to vote for Obama. We also heard Dwight Eisenhower's daughter speak, which was neat.
There was some time to check out the stadium, and I thought the security stuff was SO cool. There were snipers on the top of the stadium all the way around, and a helicopter patrolling the skies (actually I believe there were two). Also, they closed the highway near the stadium from 5:30 pm to just after 9 pm. We could see the highway from the stadium, and it was blocked off with dozens of snowplows and police cars - amazing!
There were snipers all around the top of the stadium, even in the scaffolding where the lights were!
In the distance, you can see orange snowplows blocking the highway. Also, you can see snipers standing on the stadium next to the bucking Bronco.
Then, Joe Biden came out to speak, which was so cool to hear. And then, after a short video, Obama came out. It was an amazing and inspirational speech and my hands hurt from clapping so much.
After the speech, we decided to head out right away to avoid the crowds (hah!), and just as we were standing up in our seats, the fireworks started to go off and they were RIGHT over our head! It was all so neat to see though, and even though it was 90 minutes getting out of the stadium back on to the train, hubby and I agreed we'd do it all over again.