When I began painting “Tailgating Through The SEC”,  the SEC consisted of 12 schools.  I had nearly finished painting the last 2 schools when the SEC announced they were adding Texas A&M.  Soon after  the University of Missouri was added to the conference.  At first I thought I would stick with my original deadline.  I quickly decided that to not include the 2 new schools would immediately date the project.  By delaying my timetable I was able to add a couple of great road trips!  James and I made plans to attend the Texas A&M/ Florida football game, A&M’s first game as an SEC member.  We knew spirits would be high.

 Flying to Texas meant we could not take our usual tailgating supplies.   James and I departed from Pops’ Place in  Gainesville with my UT (University of Tennessee) rolling cooler,

Kathy & her Big Orange, Tennessee rolling cooler photo by Kathy Miller

a surprise birthday gift from James.

Now we would have liquid nourishment wherever we tailgated.  I used it for my “carry on” bag for the flight.

We decided to include a few side trips to see TEXAS.

We flew to Austin, Texas.  It was 101 degrees.  When we picked up our rental car, the rep said, “We have a special on BMW convertibles for just $50 more per day.”  I looked at her like she was crazy and said, “even in Florida we don’t drive with the top down in this kind of heat.”  James and I just laughed and drove off in our comfortable mid size car with the air conditioning blasting as high as it would go.

First stop, San Antonio.  I had never been to San Antonio, but knew what to expect based on hearing all about  the Riverwalk.  James expected a river slightly bigger, wider and deeper.  When we arrived at our hotel on the Riverwalk, he looked out over the outdoor seating area and said, “where is the river?”

Riverwalk San Antonio Texas photo by Kathy Miller

 I laughed and said, “right in front of you.”

River Walk San Antonio Texas bridge photo by Kathy Miller

All joking aside, the city has made wonderful use of the river and provided protection from flooding.

River Walk San Antonio Lone Star on umbrellas photo by Kathy Miller

San Antonio boasts many great restaurants and outdoor cafes with lots of colorful umbrellas.

River Walk San Antonio Texas multi colored umbrellas outdoor cafes photo by Kathy Miller

We enjoyed a boat ride tour of the river.

James & Kathy River Walk San Antonio boat tour photo by Kathy Miller

Being a Tennessee “Volunteer” , I had always wanted to go to The Alamo.  More Tennessee volunteers died defending The Alamo than from any other state;  one of the reasons Tennessee is called The Volunteer State and The University of Tennessee goes by Volunteers.

The Alamo, San Antonio Texas photo by Kathy Miller

Tennessee fans like to say, “Remember The Alamo.”

The Alamo button from my extensive button collection photo by Kathy Miller

One of my favorite buttons.

We toured The Alamo and I donated $10 to the mission and told James that $5 was for the padres to pray for a Florida victory over Texas A&M and the other $5 was for a Tennessee victory over Florida the following weekend.

I also purchased a sheriff’s star badge that said, “Alamo, Kathy, Ranger”.  Remember I always wear buttons to football games.

Alamo Kathy Ranger sheriff's badge for the Texas A&M game photo by Kathy Miller

We ate dinner at a wonderful restaurant, Boudro’s on the Riverwalk and then spent time at Howl At The Moon, a dueling piano bar.  For those of you unfamiliar with dueling piano bars, the routines are similar in most places.  Requests are made for certain songs to be played and slogans to be posted on mirrors behind the pianos.  Money is involved and the price goes up as the night goes on.  The $5 mirror states “Phrase of the Night” and goes up a dollar with every new request.

 We arrived to friendly bantering between Gator fans, Texas fans, and Texas A&M fans.  Florida colors are ORANGE AND BLUE.  Texas is BURNT ORANGE.

The $5 phrase on the mirror was “Texas + Aggies= Gator Bait.”

Howl At The Moon dueling piano bar San Antonio Texas + Aggies= Gator Bait photo by James Miller

Someone had raised it with “Real Football is played best in Burnt Orange-

Texas Longhorns”

I could not resist, paying a whopping $7 with my request,

Remember The Alamo Tennessee Volunteers...A Better Ut and a better Shade of Orange photo by Kathy Miller

Remember The Alamo. Go Tennessee Volunteers…

A better UT and a better shade of orange. (Notice the piano player misspelled Tennassee.  I promise I did not misspell it on my request.)

I won’t tell you the $8 bid, but it was not a flattering comment to UT.  Maybe they meant the other UT, Texas.

We loved San Antonio and I took lots of pictures to one day be painted.

Next stop, Austin, Texas.  James college friend, Rachel, works for a US senator from Texas. She gave us the grand tour of the State Capitol.  What a beautiful building.

Texas State Capitol Austin Texas photo by Kathy Miller

Rachel & James Texas state Capitol Austin Texas photo by Kathy Miller

I couldn’t help but start singing “ooh I love to dance the little sidestep, now they see me now they don’t”  from an infamous Texas Broadway show and movie starring the late Charles Durning as the Texas governor.

The dome in Texas Capitol photo by Kathy Miller

Dinner at Moonshine served traditional Texas cuisine with a twist.  Chicken Fried Steak and the most unusual Mac and Cheese.

Moonshine Restaurant, Austin, Texas photo by Kathy Miller

Had dinner with Rachel’s friends; some Gator fans, some FSU fans.

Rachel's friends outside Moonshine  before Rainey Street photo by Kathy Miller

After a nightcap on Rainey Street I turned in ready for the next day drive to College Station and Aggieland.  Stay tuned for Tailgating in Aggieland…Alabama fans may want to see my next post as they are playing the Aggies in College Station this weekend.

I welcome your comments,  recipes and any inside information on your favorite tailgating spots.

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table.


  • Laura Huffman says:

    Fun post Kathy! Years ago, on one of our cross-country trips home from NC, we stopped to visit friends who lived in San Antonio. We loved the Riverwalk – so pretty! And seeing the Alamo was fun. You helped me re-live that fun trip! Thanks for the memories, and for sharing your fun trip!

  • sec1fan says:

    Thanks Laura, Rembeber The Alamo! Will be watching Texas A&M take on Alabama this weekend. Tennessee at Oregon. Another good weekend of football.

  • Charlie Albright says:

    Kathy, you make my day. Football Saturday. Does not get any better. Love your photos of River Walk. Been here many times. Love SEC lot all even though my heart is in Big 10. Need to put your toe in the water in Ann Arbor. 115,000 in stadium, amazing tailgating, and more living alumni than any School. See you soon. Charlie

  • sec1fan says:

    Charlie, I definitely must plan a trip to Ann Arbor. I have never been to a game there and know it is something special!!!! I know Tennessee has battled Michigan for largest on campus stadium for years. Michigan has that title now.

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