Tuesday, October 24, 2006

On the Road…

No Kerouac I, but the past week has been spent on a road trip that mixes business and pleasure. After a brief stop by Gainesville last Friday to load up my tail gating gear, my Ford truck, straining under the weight of suitcases for wife and baby, as well as coolers, chairs and tents for Jacksonville, has been headed north towards enemy territory. The weekend was spent in the mountains of North Carolina, where the temperatures dropped into the twenties by Monday morning. I left the mountains and drove through the Smoky Mountains on my way to Tennessee early Monday. In the lower Smoky Mountains the leaves were a brilliant array of gold, amber and scarlet. In the upper Mountains, much to our delight, there was a snow flurry as the temperatures outside reached the low twenties.

We came out at the intriguing tacky town of Pigeon Forge, and turned north towards Knoxville. When you are in or around Knoxville, as well as most of Tennessee for that matter, the white on orange “T” of the Volunteers is everywhere – cars, signs and buildings. We laughed aloud at a Hardee’s sign in Knoxville that said “Skinny burgers are for Gator fans”. I wonder if they, considering the girth of their coaches, realize how funny that really is.

We spent the night in Nashville across from that other Tennessee school – Vanderbilt, which has one of the most attractive campuses I have ever seen. After a day’s work south of Nashville, this missive comes to you from just outside lovely Columbia Tennessee.

When driving the south, I always notice how prominently drivers display their school colors and affiliations. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi State – at one time or another I think I saw them all.

Tomorrow we are on to Atlanta for two days, then to Jacksonville for the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

Being on the road has not given me much time to dwell on the upcoming game, which I suppose is a good thing. But I know that, come Saturday, that cooler in my car will be full, and with Orange and Blue on, another great October match-up between the Gators and the Dawgs looms.


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