College football season is finally here! For the next three months, the Wandering Dawgs will be making the drive to Athens, Georgia to watch our University of Georgia Bulldogs play on Saturdays in Sanford Stadium.
Along with thousands of other UGA football fans and students, our favorite route to Athens is along Georgia Highway 15. One of the familiar sights of the trip is an old barn beside the highway in Tennile.
About eighteen years ago a message about Georgia Football had been painted on the sign for the first time. Ever since then, the message changes a few times during the year. Now whenever we travel that way we look forward to seeing what new message will be there.
The festival was held on the beautiful grounds of historic Bethesda Academy. Ancient live oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss surrounded the event field. The salt marsh was a perfect backdrop for Highland Dancers. Scottish clans, societies and organizations had their tents set up under the trees. And of course there were food trucks and vendors.
With so many events going on at the same time, we had plenty to keep us entertained. Pipes and Drums music, Border Collie demonstrations, Highland Dancing competition, and Celtic music performances were all taking place at the same time as the Heavy Athletics. In addition, there were tents with information about genealogy and many different Clans.
The Heavy Athletics competition included several fun events to watch. The Caber Toss is a fan favorite. In this event the athlete lifts a twenty foot caber weighing over one hundred pounds, runs a few steps holding it upright, and then tosses it. The object is to have the caber flip once and land straight in front of the athlete at the 12 o’clock position. We also enjoyed watching the Clachneart (Stone Put) and the Sheaf Toss. We didn’t get to see the Throwing of the Weights or the Hammer Throw.
The Pipes and Drums were beautiful to hear.
I have Scottish ancestors on both sides of my family. I enjoyed stopping at a couple of tents to see if I could learn anything about my families. I found out a little about my father’s side of the family but didn’t discover anything new about my Scottish roots on my mothers side. And I still don’t know what our Tartan is. A little more research is in my future.
After the games we stopped to check out the roses at the Savannah Botanical Gardens. Stay tuned for more coming up about that in my next post.
Henry and I have only been following NASCAR for two years. Ever since the first time we watched the Daytona 500 on TV in 2016 I knew I wanted to go. So this year we went. And it was even more fun than I thought it would be.
NASCAR stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. The biggest race of the year is at the beginning of the NASCAR season. Every February, the Daytona Speedweeks is held at the Daytona International Speedway. The Daytona 500 – the Great American Race- ends a fun filled week of entertainment on the midway and qualifying races for the Daytona 500 as well as two other NASCAR races.
We arrived in Daytona on Thursday afternoon. During the next few days we went to three races, drove along A1A on the way to lunch at Racing’s North Turn restaurant in Ponce Inlet, had lunch at Caribbean Jack’s on the Intercoastal waterway, watched the Thunderbirds practice, and didn’t have time to catch our breath until Monday morning.
Old photo from when the race was held on the beach
Car on display at Racing’s North Turn Restaurant
Our first NASCAR race was the Can-Am Duel on Thursday night. Here’s a short video to give you an idea of how fast these cars are going and how loud they are.
Our second race was Camping World Truck Series race on Friday night. We arrived at the track early so we could wander around the midway to see some of the exhibits and do a little shopping. We entered the grandstands with plenty of time to walk around for different views of the track.
The trucks were fast and loud and the race was exciting. A great way to spend a Friday night!
After two night races in a row, we decided to take it easy and skip the Saturday Xfinity series race. Instead, we watched the United States Air Force Thunderbirds practice in the morning before enjoying lunch at Caribbean Jack’s on the Intercoastal Waterway.
The USAF Thunderbirds flew right over the campground during their Saturday practice
Beautiful day for lunch on the deck overlooking the Intercoastal waterway
Sunday was the day of the 60th Daytona 500 and a long day at the track for us. We had tickets for the Fanzone so we arrived in the morning to have plenty of time to go out in the middle of the track and get up close to the pit area, see the cars, and enjoy some of the pre-race festivities.
We had a great view of the whole track from our seats in the upper section. After a concert by Rascal Flatts and the driver introductions, each driver rode around the track in a pickup truck.
2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series champion #78 Martin Truex, Jr
Danica Patrick before her last NASCAR race
After the national anthem, the USAF Thunderbirds performed a flyover.
Drivers, start your engines!
The race was exciting with the lead changing several times. A huge wreck near the end of the race knocked out all of the leaders and #3 Austin Dillon was the winner.
Watching a race on tv is fun, but nothing compares to seeing it in person. I was fascinated seeing all the things that go on before the race, at how well organized and perfectly timed everything was. The sight and sound of the cars going by at almost 200 miles per hour is mind boggling. Most fans have a favorite driver and it was fun seeing them all decked out in their favorite driver’s gear.
In case you are wondering, our favorite driver is #78 Martin Truex, Jr. He was in second place until the last wreck but he did finish the race.
I’ve already made reservations at the RV park for next year!
On Saturdays in the fall when the Georgia Bulldogs have a home game, all roads leading to Athens are lined with vehicles flying their Georgia flags and the entire campus is filled with red Georgia tents and fans dressed in red and black.
We have had season tickets to Georgia’s home games since 1980 and our fall weekends revolve around home football games. This past weekend was the SEC showdown between UGA and visiting University of Missouri. We usually stay in a town about 50 miles from campus but we decided to take the fifth wheel closer to Athens for this game. Last year we discovered Pine Lake campground in Bishop, about 15 miles from the UGA campus. With spacious wooded campsites, a lake, and even a small waterfall it is a well run private RV park that feels more like a state park.
The SEC Nation pregame TV show was broadcasting live that morning just behind our tailgate area. Crews were in the process of breaking down the set when we arrived. Several semi tractor trailers were still there but we just missed seeing Tim Tebow, Paul Finebaum and the other announcers. It’s amazing how much equipment is required for these broadcasts.
After a fun afternoon visiting with friends, eating delicious food, and enjoying an adult beverage or two, we headed to the stadium for a 7:30 kickoff. It was a great night for the Georgia Bulldogs as the Dawgs won and went on to become the number 3 ranked team in the country. Go Dawgs!
If you follow SEC college football you know that our favorite team, the Georgia Bulldogs, are not having a good year. That’s all I have to say about that.
I have to say that except for the game on September 24, we had a great time in Oxford during the weekend of the Georgia – Ole Miss football game. The people of Oxford were gracious, the Ole Miss fans friendly, and the atmosphere in town on Friday and as we wandered through the Grove on Saturday before the game was like no college football game I’ve ever attended.
Our home for the weekend was John W. Kyle State Park on Sardis Lake, about a 30 minute drive from downtown Oxford. All through the campground were RV’s displaying their team colors. We didn’t spend much time in the campground but I was able to get a sunset picture over the lake on the first night.
Friends of ours were staying in Oxford within walking distance of downtown and the stadium. We met them Friday afternoon to browse the shops around the courthouse square and have a fabulous lunch at City Grocery. As we were enjoying our meal we noticed not one but four James Beard Awards on the wall! The food, service, and company were all excellent.
Kickoff was set for 11:00 a.m. on Saturday so we left the campground early in hopes of beating the traffic. We planned it perfectly and met our friends in time to eat a quick breakfast before heading to the Grove.
The Grove is a large area in the middle of the University of Mississippi campus. On game days it is transformed to a sea of tailgate tents lined up side by side with fans from both teams walking elbow to elbow on the pathways between the tents.
Did I mention it was HOT the whole time we were there? The temperature was in the upper nineties on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.
If your favorite college football team ever plays against Ole Miss in Oxford, get some tickets and go! It’s a one of a kind experience. And hopefully, your team will do better against them than my team did. And I hope I never hear the Ole Miss Hotty Toddy cheer ever again!