September 18, 2009

2009 Season is under way...

So I finally got out to Gainesville, FL this past weekend to kickoff my own personal Gator Football season! After missing the first home game, a 62-3 romp of Charleston Southern, to spend time with Great Grandpa & Great Grandma Gator in St. Petersburg, I was able to attend the Florida vs. Troy game with my good friend, Pimp Gator, better known as Greg Blose in professional circles. (BTW - I recently learned that my great grandmother attended Troy University, so you can see how my allegiances were torn...It was really hard seeing them get beat up)

We headed out bright and early from Ormond Beach, meeting up at the local Wal-Mart to carpool to the stadium. We blasted across the state on State Road 40, which passes through the lovely Ocala National Forest, onto I-75 North and eventually into Gainesville. The drive takes about 1 1/2 hours depending on traffic, so it was plenty of time for Pimp Gator and I catch up. It has been about 6 months since the last time we got to hang, and the Gator game is always a good reason to spend time!

Stopping at ABC, we grabbed some last minute ingredients for a proper tailgate, then headed for the fun! Our tailgate is one of the best, having been put on in some fashion for the last 15 years. The "TailGator" gang is comprised of several leading Gator families from the Daytona Beach area that have been going to games together for decades. We have staked our claim to a prime piece of land located on University Avenue, directly across from/and between the Swamp restaurant and the Grog House. We have a custom-built, gator-decorated tailgate trailer that carries all our gear (2 20x10 tents, flat screen TV, satellite dish, BBQs, Deep Fryers, etc.) as well as has a built-in bathroom.

Of course, we had to do some Gator shopping, loading up on some new gear for the 2009 season. We stopped at Gators Plus, located on University Ave, next to the Florida Bookstore. I grabbed a license plate for myself, a mirrored-one with my favorite, the "Charlie Pell" UF logo. Check it out -

Of course, I don't need to tell you what happened in the game, the Gators romped Troy 56-6 on a rainy day in Gainesville. and continued their perfect season.  This season, as the Gators continue another BCS Championship run for their third in fours years, I will be sharing more and more of our experiences with the Tailgator Gang and my Gator Buddies.

Next weekend. Florida Gators vs. Tennessee Volunteers, 3:30pm kickoff in Gainesville.
See you there! - GD

September 4, 2009

Knee Dragging with Uncle Gator

So this last weekend, I got to take an overnight camping trip with Uncle Gator (Mark Demma to his friends) for his first track experience on a high-performance Sportbike. We loaded up the truck, hooked his bike (2009 Honda CBR 600RR) into a friend's sweet racing trailer and headed north to Jennings, FL for a closed track day with the Daytona Sportbikes crew. In Jennings lies the Jennings GP, a motorcycle-only track of epic proportions - 13 turns in a 2 mile stretch.

Uncle Gator's first ride was a few escorted laps led by one of the 5 "expert" riders within the Daytona Sportbikes crew which he did well on (little slow compared to the other "rookies") focusing on his technique over speed (highly recommended BTW). After 2 sets of escorted laps, Uncle Gator was set loose on the track, to see what he was made of:

Notice how VERTICAL he his in this lap! By the end of the day however, Uncle got a little more comfortable on the track and bike, getting more and more aggressive into the turns. Check him out here:

All and all it was a great mini-trip (36 hours total) for both of us, well deserved since we are both expecting our first "Little Gators" this year (His Little Albert in Sept., My Little Alberta in Dec.). While many couples like to celebrate their final "alone" time prior to their weddings (bachlorette & bachelor parties come to mind), I find that all the guys I talk to that life doesn't get serious till your first child arrives. We took this trip together to take one last "fast lap" before we slow down, get serious and get on with "real" life.  Thanks Uncle Gator for a great weekend, I enjoyed seeing one of your dreams come true, and look forward to many more in the coming years! :) - Gator Daddy
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