Anyone who follows me on social media or has read some of my blog posts knows that three of my favorite things in the world are food, travel, and football. Toyota recently gave me the opportunity to experience all three by providing me with a brand new X-Series 4Runner Gunner to drive Tuscaloosa, Alabama and tailgate at the Alabama vs. LSU football game!
I’ve owned Toyotas since 1987 and this X-Series 4Runner Gunner has been my favorite tailgating vehicle so far. Of course the cargo capacity of the 4Runner is perfect for carrying all the tables, chairs, grills, coolers, food, tents, and decorations necessary for a fun-filled day of tailgating. The X-Series accessories package with the black billet grille, blackout badge overlays, black gunner ultra wheels with BFG rugged terrain tires, and the oval black running boards adds a badass element that lets the world know that I’m as serious about my tailgating as Alabama is about its football.
Here’s a photographic recap of our tailgating adventures.
Tailgating requires planning. So before embarking on our road trip to Tuscaloosa, my wife, Denise and I did a trial tailgate in our back yard just to make sure we had everything we needed.
Even if you don’t drink beer, you’ve got to bring beer to your tailgate for a successful experience. Beer is like a currency among tailgaters and is great for bartering – it also helps ease the pain should your team lose. We were able to trade some beer for some BBQ ribs and potato salad with neighboring tailgaters. Just for fun, we took bets on how many bottles of beer you can line up on the 4Runner’s oval black running boards. FYI it holds exactly 28!
We arrived in Tuscaloosa the day before the game and drove to Bryant-Denny Stadium for a photo op with the 4Runner. It would have been useless to try on the day of the game because vehicle access is blocked off and is accessible to pedestrian traffic only.
Set Up Camp
The most difficult part of the whole adventure was finding the right place to set up camp. So many of the tailgaters seem to have legal rights to particular spots that they have purportedly laid claim to for generations. It’s like visiting a church and being politely warned that you’re on so-and-so’s pew. We finally found a spot about 6 blocks from the stadium and set up camp there.
After a day of grilling brats, bartering with beer, watching other football games on TV, and making new friends with other tailgaters, it was time to grab out tickets, put on our game faces and head to the stadium.
We arrived in our seats just before the pre-game festivities which included U.S. Army Rangers parachuting into the stadium carrying the Flag.
I must admit I got goosebumps listening to Alabama’s Million Dollar Band play the National Anthem.
Of course watching a good Division 1, Southeastern Conference football game was the perfect ending to a perfect day – especially since Alabama won 24 to 10. #RollTide
Check out the #ToyotaXSeries hashtag on Twitter to see some of my tweets from my day in Tuscaloosa and some tweets of other bloggers who planned their own adventures with Toyota.
Share what you love most about tailgating in the comments below!