Tusk to Tail: Taking a cooler to Dallas in case a game breaks out

I love it when a good plan comes together. Everything but the outcome of the Auburn game went as planned, and pretty much on time. Those of us on the road crew had a great lunch in Little Rock with some friends who couldn’t make the trip before we headed out.

We had a quick and uneventful drive through Memphis before the worst of their rush hour traffic. It was an even easier three-hour drive into Birmingham for a quick check-in, then back out for a bite of dinner at a neat local pub named Black Market.

On Saturday we had time to take advantage of the free hotel breakfast before hitting the road for Auburn at 7:45 a.m. We rolled into town by 9:15, stopping at Publix for supplies and then on to Chick-Fil-A for a tray of nuggets. We picked up our parking pass and began setting up the tailgate by 10:20. In the past, we would have moved that entire schedule up at least an hour if not more. However, we knew it was a going to be a long day and perhaps an even longer game, so we had already decided to pace ourselves with a later start.

In Auburn it was as hot and humid as initially expected, but we had a nice crowd of 25 Hog Fans enjoying the shade and the games on TV under our tents. The Heirloom Market BBQ from Atlanta was awesome and a place you want to visit on your next trip to the ATL. As the day wore on, we did wonder if we would be the only Hog fans in the stadium.

We did not see as much red on campus before the game or the drive down as we usually encounter for an Auburn trip, so we were a little concerned. But, the Hog fans did turn out, just not in the usual number for an Auburn game. Perhaps just 1,500 or so made it into Jordan-Hare stadium to witness the Hogs’ lack of special teams play. Most Hog fans began leaving by the end of the 3rd quarter as the game began to slip away from the Hogs. Overall though, there was improvement in some crucial areas that leaves a crack in the door for some possible wins later in the season.

On Sunday we headed out early again considering we didn’t make it back to the hotel after the game until 12:30 a.m. By 7:45 a.m. we left Birmingham, bound for Memphis and lunch at Gus’s Fried Chicken. After lunch we hammered down as best we could on Interstate 40, pulling into Little Rock at 2 p.m. and I made it on up the mountain to Fayetteville by 4:30 p.m. That is about as good of time as you can make without getting a ticket.

I get the feeling this week’s game in Arlington will be more of the same when it comes to attendance. Hog Fans do love them some Big D, but it seems the losing is taking its toll on the fan base. We had a few in our crew who decided to not the make the trip this week and it has thus far been impossible to find someone who will even take the tickets for free. Then came the expected 11 a.m. start which pretty much sealed the fate of those extra tickets.

With the early kickoff and rain in the forecast, we plan to just do a bit more on Friday night rather than Saturday morning. We hope to grab dinner from the Pecan Lodge BBQ restaurant located in the Deep Ellum district of downtown Dallas. The line can be long or they could even run out of BBQ by the time we can get there, so that is a real concern.

On Saturday we only expect 4-6 of us, and the threat of rain is forcing us to scale down the plans. We may just take a cooler and a few chairs to pass a little time before the game. It’s nothing fancy but it will be easy to pack in case it does rain.

One thing to consider are the liquor laws in the Dallas area. Stores close at 9 p.m. on both nights and don’t reopen on Saturday until 10 a.m., so plan accordingly. Bring your booze with you or buy it before dark on Friday.

Lastly, some of the larger liquor stores in Dallas have great case pricing on most items. So if you have a couple of brands your tailgaters enjoy all season long, stop in one of them to take advantage of their deals. My personal favorite is Specs as they also have a lot of tasting stations set up on most Friday evenings.

Enjoy Jerry World, and let’s hope the Razorbacks use this week to continue further improvement. Go Hogs, Beat Aggies!
Editor’s note: Welcome to the seventh season of Tusk to Tail – the sport of tailgating as organized, performed and perfected by a group of Hog fans who have been tailgating together sober and otherwise for more than a decade. Tusk to Tail is managed by Talk Business & Politics and sponsored by the River Valley Smile Center … because it’s another dang rebuilding year and you’re gonna need a good smile to get through the season. The diehards may also be followed on their Facebook page. Or follow the crew on Twitter — @TuskToTail