With excitement building for Sunday's Super Bowl, we in the newsroom wondered aloud on Thursday: What would it take to get to New Orleans from Lodi, get a ticket to the game, and find a place to sleep? At this late date, would that even be possible? Reporter Sara Jane Pohlman agreed to explore that fanciful challenge. This is her report. — The Editor
So you want to see the 49ers take on the Baltimore Ravens at Super Bowl XLVII? That's an ambitious adventure — but it can be done. Only it will cost you about $7,000 and you should have left yesterday.
The first challenge is finding transportation to New Orleans. Round trip to the game is just under 5,000 miles.
You only have a few options at this point to get to the Big Easy.
You can rent a car with better gas mileage and more expensive insurance than your own and hole up in a couple of hotels along the way.
Try a Toyota Prius. With 50 miles to the gallon, the speedy import will run you about $160 in gasoline to get to NOLA. You can rent one from Enterprise for five days for $229, plus $625 for going well over the mileage limit.
But if you haven't left already, it may be too late for this plan: You'd have to drive eight hours on Thursday to Blythe on the California border and stay at the Motel 6 for $48. Then drive 15 hours to San Antonio today, and stay at the Crowne Plaza for $78. If you've made it that far, it's another eight-hour drive to New Orleans tomorrow, but you should be there just in time to grab a meal and fall asleep.
And there's another problem. You can't drive a rental car that far from home. Maybe your friend has a Prius you can borrow? Maybe not. His insurance doesn't quite cover the road trip you have in mind.
A more feasible idea is to rent an RV this morning, stock up on snacks and bottled water, and drive night and day until you arrive in Louisiana.
Renting a 29-foot RV in Lodi costs $1,249, plus $800 in gas. If you alternate drivers, the vehicle doesn't need to stop until Saturday afternoon.
You have survived the long drive, but where are you going to put that RV?
The closest KOA campground is 10 miles away, but owner Mike Fedderman is offering a $20-a-head shuttle service to and from the game. It costs $104 to park the RV for Saturday and Sunday nights.
Unfortunately, Fedderman's wife Roberta said they were sold out of spaces on Thusday afternoon.
You can always try to hitchhike, but there's not a Yelp.com page offering reviews of that guy driving a Mack truck.
Or you can hop on a flight to Louis Armstrong International Airport. Jump on a plane leaving Sacramento at 11 p.m. tonight, and you'll get to your destination by tomorrow morning. It will set you back $1,000 a person, but at least you will have a full day to enjoy the city.
What to do when you get there
The second challenge: Where are you going to stay? Prices leap skyward during a major sporting event. You'll pay $1,000 a night for a standard room at the Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome, within walking distance of the stadium. For a Comfort Inn located 8 miles away, the tab is $645 a night.
The prices don't improve from there. What about something historic in the French Quarter, like the Hotel Monteleone built in 1886? Yeah, those sold out a month ago. The chain hotels might not have the same character, but at least you'll have a bed for the night.
Next challenge: What's for dinner?
Don't bother trying to eat a nice meal to top off that dent you just put in your credit card limit.
Antoine's on St. Louis Street is fully booked for reservations, so try not to get your hopes up for spending $115 on a plate of Chateaubriand. (That's a dish of centercut beef tenderloin with fried potatoes and sauces that you might be able to glimpse from a window.)
Same goes for Emeril's New Orleans and the Crossroads Restaurant at the House of Blues. Snoop Dogg might be playing at 1 a.m. show, but you aren't getting a table to enjoy Chef Aarón Sanchez's street tacos.
However, if you aren't dead-set on having your own seat for dinner, Bourbon Street offers a selection of takeout options, from seafood and oysters at Bourbon House or burgers at the quirky Clover Grill. Both run at about $12 a person for dinner.
If you get really desperate, there's a Denny's about 8 miles from the city center. You already know the menu.
Getting tickets to the game
OK, so you're there. You made it to Louisiana. You have a bed for the night. You have food in your belly. But do you have a plan to make it past the gates?
Final challenge: You'll need some tickets to get into the game — or to even get anywhere near the stadium during the event.
Try a first-class box seat with an open bar and a chance to run on the field with the winning team as they celebrate after the game. You can pick those up from the Ticket Guys, an online ticket broker based in Illinois. They run $7,800 per person.
Row 20 in Level six, otherwise known as the nosebleed section, costs $1,399 per ticket.
When all else fails, email Jeremy on Craigslist New Orleans. He didn't give a last name, but he'll sell you two tickets for $2,200. Only the post didn't say where the seats were in the Superdome.
Maybe Jeremy isn't to be trusted.
Making it to the Super Bowl less than three days before kickoff is possible — though a little tricky.
Your wallet may be empty at this point. But if you really love football, you might not even notice.