Geaux Tigers!

27 10 2008

Field trip #2 was my first ever trip into the state of Louisiana and my first ever SEC football game: Georgia at LSU. For the non-SEC people out there (God bless you all, and hold onto your innocence and bliss for as long as you possibly can!!!) this is a BIG DAMN DEAL. First of all, I live in Georgia (duh) which makes the “G” and UgaVII and Dawgs everyday occurrences in my life. On the other hand are my dear friends Sunni and Brian – life-time Baton Rouge-ites and LSU Tiger fan extraordinaires. Sunni even cheered at LSU. Big time, these two are. Somehow they got some tickets to this SEC Game of All SEC Games, and seeing as how I am the luckiest little girl in the whole world, I got to go!!!

I was inundated with stories and suggestions and warnings right from the get-go. Things like “LSU fans are nasty to opponents’ fans” (this one from the Georgia folks) and “The only thing better would be a night game at Tiger Stadium” (this one from the LSU folks) and “You’ve never experienced anything like it [SEC football]” (this one from all SEC people everywhere). Everyone who was going to Baton Rouge exchanged cell phone numbers in hopes of meeting up at a tailgate somewhere, and everyone who wasn’t going to Baton Rouge was insanely jealous of those of us who were! It was a great week of anticipation and frenzy-building!

Brian and I had a 7-1/2 hour drive together full of bonding-time, as Sunni had flown home the day before to meet her brand-new nephew. We left right after work, and since I came in super-early that morning that meant we hit the highway at 3:30 p.m. We spent the time as most road-trips require: music, politics, sight-seeing, a 20-ish minute nap (mine, not his!)… and before we knew it, we were there! And the fun began immediately. They took me to have boudain balls (rice and spices and probably some assorted other things all balled up and deep-fried – yummy!) and blackened alligator – also quite tasty, sort of like chicken 🙂

Saturday was Game Day! It was a chilly morning by Louisiana standards, and I was grateful for the long-sleeved purple “Best in the West” Tigers t-shirt loaned to me until we made it to the Bookstore. But believe me, by the time we got to campus and imbibed on a few game-day-cocktails (ie: beer) I was more than ready to change into my newly-purchased souvenir t-shirt. It’s yell-O (Go Ducks!.. except a more goldenrod color, not so high-lighter in hue as those UO spirit tees!) with “LSU” in purple (in the same font as the LSU in the endzone below) on the front and “Geaux Tigers” (the reason I chose this particular shirt) on the back. Geaux Kristen.

The game didn’t end up particularly well – if you were on the LSU side of the line, that is. But win or lose I was in for delicious “real” beignets – the ultimate in Louisiana treats – in the morning. The drive home felt much longer than the trip into town. Probably because of the wrong-direction time change this time around. Traveling east is the pits. Major kudos to Brian for driving the whole way.

Truth time… The tailgating aspect of the day was ASTOUNDING! Tents and campers, barbecues and meat-smokers, coolers, mini-fridges, and big-screen tv’srunning on generators of every imaginable type and size. And all of it right there on campus. As in outside of your English class. They were right about one thing: this WAS like nothing I’ve ever experienced. That being said, once we got into the stadium, I was unimpressed. Yes – the fans were all decked out, but Oregon fans get all dUcked out, too. Yes – the place was packed, but Autzen fills up to the brim on Saturdays, too. Yes – it was loud, but I never did get that ear-ringing that happens so often at Autzen. And that’s with 30,000 fewer people involved! It was validating, more than anything, simply to feel once again justified in my loyalty to Pac-10 Football and my Oregon Ducks!


My favorite place in Georgia

18 10 2008
I’ve recently been on a field-trip kick. As in I CRAVE them. And since I’m really the only one I have to answer to on my two glorious and ever-too-short Kristen-days each week (hmmmm: clean the toilet, or go on a field trip?), I end up getting to indulge more often than not! I woke up on a beautiful Saturday morning in the wake of my dear friends’ sadness over the loss of their grandfather. And suddenly I just could not tolerate being indoors, or even in the city of Atlanta any longer. So I google’d “day trips from Atlanta” and found many options that deliciously hinted at satiating my wanderlust. I chose brilliantly, I must say, with Red Top Mountain State Park. Located north-east of Atlanta, about 35 miles outside the perimeter, it was a simple decision by which the day’s To-Do List easily developed: 1) put on a pot of coffee and rinse out the travel mug, 2) dress for the out-of-doors, 3) gas up the car, and 4) hit the road.
Forty minutes from my driveway and the $3 daily parking fee later, I stepped out of the car and took the first of my many soul-cleansing breaths of the day. The photos will speak for themselves as far as the weather goes, I’d say.
*loooooong soothing exhale*
Thank goodness for the auto-timer… and that there was no one to bother me all afternoon!
I somehow ended up with a lovely amateur digital photography session…
About 15 minutes into my Field Trip I was doing the math in my head, trying to decide whether it was economical to upgrade to the Annual Pass. Since my analytical brain was on a very long-overdue vacation, suffice it to say that it took me the better part of the afternoon to finally come up with my answer. I decided that even though Red Top Mountain is now my ultimate favorite place in all of Georgia, and I really want to go every weekend forever, it is very much more possible that I’ll come back once or twice more between now and next October, so it’s smarter for me to just pay the $3 daily parking fee on those occasions.
Interestingly enough, I actually AM going back up there this season! One of my friends from work (Hillary, the Recreation Therapist) and I are going on November 8th. This trip won’t be quite so impromptu: we have plans for a picnic and perhaps a boat rental. Those of you who are long-time blog-readers will recall (or scroll back to re-read!) my adventures with boat-renting last year on Lake Lure! I hope this water-based adventure is met with just as much laughter and fun as the last one!