Tusk to Tail: The wheels on the bus go round and round … to Ole Miss

It has been a year of firsts for Tusk to Tail and for the Razorback football team we follow. We witnessed the Hog’s first game in several generations to be played north of the Mason-Dixon line at Rutgers. This season was the first time an Arkansas team has played five ranked teams in a row and sadly, it is the first time in a generation the Hogs have lost six games in a row.

For our crew, this weekend’s Ole Miss game offers the first time we have all traveled together in one vehicle to an away game. With Oxford being a relatively short drive from Little Rock, we thought it would be fun to rent a bus and driver.

The best deal we found is a 29-passenger mini-bus from Little Rock Tours. At $1,600 it is not cheap, but if you factor in the gas and hotel stay that an early game might include then the $80 per head is fairly economical.

We also figure the fun of us all being together and able to imbibe on the ride over also has a price that you can’t really put a finger on.

This weekend’s early kickoff time certainly complicated the decision to rent the bus. For an 11 a.m. kickoff, we might have been able to sleep a few extra hours by staying in Memphis the night before the drive to Oxford, but we would have had the expense of a hotel and night out in Memphis. With the bus, some can sleep if they want, or we can just have a relaxing trip over and back in one day and save the cash, all the while socializing with 25 of our closest friends.

We have decided to take three coolers on the bus, one for cokes and water, one for beer and mixers, and one for clean ice. The coolers are taking up three of our rentable seats, but seem well worth the cost. After all, it can’t be called a party bus if there isn’t a party.

The bus will pull out of Little Rock at 5:30 on Saturday morning and our first scheduled stop is in Helena. Let’s just hope all of our bladders can make it that far. By taking the southern route into Mississippi, we can avoid the traffic jam in Forrest City along Interstate 40. Little Rock Tours estimated it to be a four-hour drive, which is really only about 30 minutes longer than if we were in a car.

Some of our wives have chosen to join us this weekend, drawn by the allure of the Grove and pleasant fall weather. From past visits to the Grove, we know the Rebel fans generally choose to have their tailgates set up and running early, but the vast majority of Ole Miss fans arrive just in time for the game and then spend four to five hours after the game tailgating.

Tusk to Tail has some family and friends with large tailgates in the Grove that we plan on crashing before the game.

After the game, we just plan to load up and head back the Rock. I, for one, feel the Hogs will continue to play better so I’m looking forward to the game and I’m looking forward to the experience of the bus.

I really enjoy our tailgating crew, and we are running out of Fall weekends to share everyone’s company this season, as there is no bowl game to look forward to.