The Long Road…

10:50 p.m. EST – Students with blankets, pillows and suitcases showed up at the Tom Oxley Center on the Boca campus as early as 10 p.m. Thursday night.

As they arrived, students signed in and received a yellow or white paper bracelet identifying their bus – we got the white one. The bracelet, which Co-Trip Advisor Jose Herrera said must be worn for the entire trip, is our ticket on the bus for transportation to, from and in New Orleans.

12:09 a.m. EST – After we were given our nifty bracelets (strapped too tight – but that’s okay), students were handed a bus survival package in a paper fold-up FAU box, cleverly called “The Box,” provided by the Student Alumni Association. The Box included assorted candies, snacks, Mardi Gras beads, an FAU tattoo and key chain, prOWLers cup, pompoms and other FAU game gear.

Looking forward to the game, but not the bus ride, we boarded the busses and waited to take off. At a quarter to 12 – an hour and 45 minutes later – we were on our way.

12:36 a.m. EST – The charter bus is a bit shaky and the lights above the seats don’t work. In fact, even the lights in the bathroom don’t work. That’s right, you have to pee in the dark. Fun.

The good news, we’re watching Superbad.

1 a.m. EST – We stopped to pick up two students at the FAU Port St. Lucie campus. Except there weren’t any more seats on our bus so both students had to squeeze in with two others in a two-seater. Student Government representatives were nice enough to share their seats.

Turns out our second bus driver is passed out in the back row taking up the two seats. He’s supposed to get off at the next rest stop.

1:40 a.m. EST – The movie Superbad just ended and the group decided to take some quiet time to sleep. Twenty minutes later, we got bored and put in the movie The Departed.

3 a.m. EST – We stopped at a rest stop called Turkey Lake somewhere in Orlando. The second bus driver (who was asleep in the back row of the bus) got off and the two students sharing seats got their own chair.

Fifteen minutes later, we got back on the bus – with coffee in hand – and we were on our way.

4:32 a.m. EST – The movie is over and just about everyone else on the bus is asleep. Maybe we shouldn’t have bought that coffee back in Orlando…

It’s also incredibly foggy outside and we have no idea where we are. Oh, and some guy is snoring.

5:45 a.m. EST – The bus stopped at another rest area somewhere off Interstate 10 near Tallahassee. And damn, it’s cold – like I could see my own breath cold.

6:47 a.m. EST – We hit a McDonalds for some breakfast somewhere in the Panhandle. The facial expressions of the five Micky D’s employees when they saw two charter busses pull up and 108 students walk in were pretty funny. Once inside, we noticed the time changed over to central time. Oddly enough, we ended up leaving at 6:53 a.m. CT.

7:57 a.m. CT – We got situated and popped in Transformers.

9 :55 a.m. CT – The bus stopped at another rest area in Alabama. The leaves were changing and there were pine cones – we were officially out of Florida.

Back on the bus, Co-Trip Advisor Jose Herrera jumped on and asked us all to sing the FAU fight song. Three attempts at the later, the group finally picked up the words to the song. After that, we put in Grandma’s Boy and we were back on the road.

11:37 a.m. CT – We stopped – to many students’ disgust – at a gas station in Mississippi so the yellow bus could fuel up. Not really sure why the two busses didn’t fill up together at the last stop, but oh well.

When we hopped back on the bus, the driver said we were 97 miles away for the Big Easy. Yah!

11:59 a.m. CT – We hit traffic. So much traffic, in fact, the bus driver actually put the bus in park. Yuck. Bored out of our minds, we stuck in another movie: Knocked Up.

12:29 p.m. CT – We’re moving again! We actually moved about 15 miles in the last half hour… but we’re back on the road now. It’s also pouring…

1:33 p.m. CT – It’s still pouring and foggy but we just saw a sign for New Orleans. Twenty-three miles to go.

2:30 p.m. CT – We arrived! And it’s still pouring…

Read more New Orleans Bowl Game coverage.