Ahh, September, the most wonderful time of the year. Cool breezes and changing leaves signal the start of autumn while caravans of SUVs haul the kiddies off to school, much to the delight of parents everywhere. Weekends devoted to raking endless piles of leaves are interrupted by high-fives and belly-bumps as the clock is reset for America’s favorite past time – and we’re not talking about baseball.
College football is in its second week and fans are anxiously watching as teams shake off the cobwebs of summer in pursuit of a division championship or a bowl bid. More exciting than the play on the field, however, is the action in the parking lot before kick-off. Tailgaters everywhere have dusted off their grills, cleaned out their ice bins and stocked up on bratwurst in anticipation of another great tailgating year.
ESPN’s Road Warrior counted down the best places to tailgate for the 2010-2011 college football season and some of the best places to don your team’s jersey and down a few cold ones, it just so happens, are also some great places to locum. So break out your lawn chair and hang out your shingle for football season.
The first stop on our our list of best tailgating spots is the pristine mountain setting of Colorado. With three universities of its own, the towering Rockies and thinner air are an ideal setting for any die-hard fan pumped up to watch the pigskin fly. A rugged, wild west aura permeates the parking lot as fans grill everything from elk burgers, to buffalo dogs and even fresh Rocky Mountain oysters. With the Coors Brewery just a few miles away in Golden, you can bet the beverages come fresh from the factory and are ice cold to boot.
The University of California Los Angeles is home to the Rose Bowl. With a football legacy steeped in tradition, this venue has all the trappings of a memorable pre-game experience. California sunshine, tanned co-eds, and lean turkey burgers on the grill give even non-fans a reason to cheer for the Bruins. With a laid-back, beach bum mentality, it’s not uncommon to see tailgaters in flip-flops and tank-tops. Plus, a win for the home team includes a change of venue to a sandy beach for a bon fire and a night cap.
Finally, the University of Washington offers tailgaters something altogether different. While the main tailgating venue is pretty much what you’d expect, it’s the stern-gaiting that has everyone talking. Sail up to Husky Stadium while dining on Dungeness crab or wild salmon and sipping on a bottle of Red Hook or a glass of Chateau St. Michelle. Keep the beverages cold in the galley fridge or simply submerge your six-pack in the cool waters of the Pacific Northwest. When the final whistle has been blown pull up anchor and set sail – let everyone else deal with the traffic.
Each college town has its own nuances and unique traditions just waiting to be discovered. Locum in one of these and you're likely to be knee-deep in a pile of nachos or port-side on a 20ft. schooner watching the scoreboard though binoculars. You game?