Anyway...the weekend was fantastic. I can't tell you how much I love these road trips. It's what makes college football so great. Seeing a totally a different campus, totally different traditions, and, in this case, one of the best tailgating atmospheres in the country. I can't even imagine what fans from places like...say...South Carolina think when they come to Ole Miss or our campus..."So what you guys tailgate in the middle of a beautiful old Southern university...we got train cars, and a fairground, a newspaper plant, AND a truck shipping depot...USC! USC!" So on to the trip (All photos courtesy of Dave Akins and Meimi Hartman):
Packed the car, had a few bites of a stupendously delicious Chik-Fil-A chicken biscuit (for those curious...I have not gone soft on my hatred of most things Chik-Fil-A but I will acknowledge... that biscuit was the stuff) and hit the road. The drive west from Atlanta to Tunica doesn't yield, shall we say...the most awe-inspiring sights in the world. We saw a handful of run down motels, the big city of Birmingham, an "Omelet Shoppe"...and that's...about....it. As a tip to future travelers, if you are low on gas or a bit peckish when leaving Jasper, AL on US-78 and making your way to the Mississippi border...for the love of God, STOP! There is not a single solitary gas station or even a Hardee's for the next 70 miles or so...only eerie exits with roads that go nowhere like in the last scene in "Cast Away" where Tom Hanks is at the crossroads. Alas, we did make it to Tunica and stayed at the Grand....
Sort of like the Parkview but without the drug addicts sleeping naked in your room.
We checked in, got a refresher course in Blackjack from "Diamond" Dave and Josh "The Sledgehammer" Massey and hit the casino....where we stayed...and stayed...and stayed. Luckily yours truly resisted the temptation and bet sparingly leaving the bulk of the debauchery to Mrs. Stanicek who got us back to even and allowed us to leave the casino without bones or dreams of any kind being broken. I did witness a fellow gambler place $70 worth of chips on 23 at the roulette table and hit...only to find out that he had been doing that for hours and according to one woman (who incidentally was a Doral away from talking through a voicebox) "just won $2400 but had lost $3000 through the day". Some called the man's methods stupid, I call them courageous...and stupid. I also witnessed one member of our group forgo dinner in lieu of a steady diet of bourbon and roulette spins. All in all...a great night.
Managed to be on the road around 9:30am or so for the hour drive to Oxford. Stopped at a killer Kroger in the quaint town of Hernando, MS (highly recommend it, ask for Alice behind the deli counter...she hates us because we got there at 10 am and asked for 24 pieces of fried chicken...her evil stare will forever be embedded in my brain...so why did I just recommend it? No clue). Hit Oxford just around 11am and set up directly across the street from the Grove, next to the famed Walk of Champions with some great Ole Miss fans who know how to tailgate.
Wait...what are they the "Champions" of again?
Tent City Comes to Oxford
Guess what?! Ole Miss = No Adams so we were allowed to use an outlet on the outside of a campus building! At UGA that would earn you instant castration.
So tailgating commenced...and it is here that Ole Miss earns its only strike...apparently the campus is "dry" and the campus police still pretend every once in awhile like that rule is being enforced so we were encouraged to put our beers in plastic cups and pour them with our backs turned to shield the offense from over-eager cops....but it wasn't a problem for us or for anyone else. We were pleased to welcome Coach Richt's wife and Loran Smith to Tent City (in actuality they were at the tailgate next to us but if you carefully examine the Official Code of Tent City Annotated Section 12-9-7 you will find that anyone within a 30 foot radius is technically part of the tailgate. Several of the more adventurous of our group satisfied their Magellan-esque urges and went out to explore campus....
The Lyceum...now a part of happier times
Heard's dream becomes reality...the goat lives...
As for the rest of us...well, those Milwaukee's Best Light were not about to drink themselves...we had to work to do and we stayed behind at the tailgate. As the evening closed in the group enjoyed a rousing new addition to Tent City, the Cherreshinksi trivia contest in which your knowledge and stomach lining is put to the test...
Doesn't Carrie's face just scream..."MMM...love those Cherreshinskis!"
But gametime approached and with it the Ole Miss "Walk of Champions" during which the Ole Miss players walk through the throngs of packed-in drunken masses on the Grove. We waited patiently to watch this spectacle and were not dissapointed...it's true...Ed Orgeron is one horrifically scary looking man...unfortunately due to his hideousness pictures of the O are strictly forbidden, here's what we could muster:
In an attempt to avoid a savage lashing, Carrie makes nice with Colonel Reb
Go get Dex-tah Mah-Cluh-Stah!
So we packed up TC-Oxford and got ready for the game, but not before what should be the cover of the next issue of "American Loitering Monthly":
Just to let you know...I won that argument.
As for the rest...you know what happened...UGA's offense looked miserable but we're still 5-0. I will say that I can't remember a time when we were surrounded by a drunker or filthier collection of UGA students/fans. Things didn't get better when I attempted to scout out a spot to move and was met with the crabbiest, nastiest bunch of older UGA fans I had seen since Jacksonville a few years back. Seriously, why are UGA fans so nasty to each other out on the road? Aren't we in this together? Anyway, we made it out of Oxford and into Tupelo where some of us stayed and for others...a whole new story began. I'll leave that to be told at this week's TC in Athens against UT. To wrap up...a few more pictures from the game...
Curved bill hat...Ole Miss 3-0...Straight billed hat UGA 14-6...I rest my case
True Georgia fans...just don't ask Meimi what her hat says
Satisfied with yet another UGA win...or is something missing? Dave's face almost says..."can we get nachos...EXTRA barbecue please".