Anyone have an idea of where to stay on the night before the start? Since we have to be at start by 10:30 am, I would assume it needs to be reasonably close.
I would suggest contacting the hotel of your first night. I sometimes speak to sales office and arrange an extra night. It sometimes also allows for them to extend the group rate for additional night and not have to change rooms.
You obviously didn't take the time to read the itinerary. There are NO hotels the first night.
Looks like you are on your own then.