Everyone knows that Austin is a sport-loving town, especially when September comes around and the city turns burnt orange during home-game Saturdays. This weekend, folks will be heading to the areas around the stadium to get ready for the game against OSU. It’s an afternoon game, so you can bet that there will be some food cooked in preparation of the big event. If you’ve ever walked down Manor Road or through the LBJ Library parking lots, you know that the food can be very elaborate (entire smokers transported!), the beverages plentiful (everything from coolers to margarita machines), and the clothing Longhorn-themed (what outfit will be hot this year? Are burnt orange sundresses and cowboy boots passé?).
How does all that stuff actually get there? Dedicated tailgaters have found that not all cars are created equal, and the perfect vehicle for a tailgate party is useful, strong and large. Texans love their trucks, and a truck makes for a perfect tailgating vehicle (in fact, it wouldn’t be called “tailgating” without the truck); it’s an easy way to load up all those grills, coolers, lawn chairs, tables, generators, and any folks who just don’t fit in the cab.
Howdy Honda, one of Austin Fit Magazine’s advertisers, suggests the Honda Ridgeline, which they call the “Swiss Army knife of tailgate-worthy vehicles,” as a perfect parking lot party truck. The Ridgeline is a truck that also has a trunk, which makes it pretty unique. Because it’s drainable and watertight, the trunk can actually be used as a giant cooler. (You could probably use that trunk to store your sweaty workout clothes if you’ve run or biked to work, though the danger would be in opening the trunk after one of our 100+ degree summer/fall days.) There’s also a composite cargo box with a locking cover (a great place to leave valuables when you walk over to the stadium or someplace to keep an extra pair of running shoes, bike tools, and maybe some swim gear…or even your car tools), and flip-up rear seats. The tailgate itself can flip down for that extra seating for which the parking lot party is named or it can swing out to the side.
Perhaps the only question you might have about the Ridgeline is whether or not it comes in burnt orange; stop by Howdy Honda as early as 8:30 a.m. on any Saturday to find out. And you’d still have plenty of time to put together a pre-game meal. Here’s a recipe worth considering: Grilled Romaine Hearts and Sliders from the AFM September 2011 issue. Nothing says cookout like a burger, and these fun sliders can fill a small portable grill while the romaine adds a nice healthy veggie touch. Here’s to a perfect fall football Saturday, no matter what your team!