San Antonio Journal - Day One

The Gator Country crew has hit the road for what will amount to a twelve day adventure. As the days draw near for the Gator football team to reach Arizona, your Gator Country ambassadors are already 2/3rds of the way there in San Antonio ready to cover the US Army All-American Bowl. From here on out, we'll bring you some perspective of life on the road with a championship team and recruiting.

Our first day on the road started like most of our trips -- late. Luckily I banked some fudge time to get to the airport in Jacksonville but we actually arrived about an hour before takeoff. This time it wasn't my fault. Franz has had his plate full getting the big party ready in Scottsdale and he forgot he was driving us in his car to the airport (a minor little detail). So, we he arrived at my house with his parents in tow to drive his car back home, he had to do a 180 and take his parents back home and come back in his car.

On the trip we have one of our new writers, Cody Jones, with is and he got his first taste of our resident eccentric, Franz. Cody quickly learned that Franz is not the most politically correct person in the world and that he loves to sing to the music on the radio in the car at the top of his lungs. At least (in a relative sense) the drive was just an hour and a half to the airport.

Once at the airport I was proud of myself for checking all my stuff, including my laptop, so that all I had was a small carry-on bag with incidentals in case we didn't make it to San Antonio, what with all the weather delays. That pride flamed out when I ended up being the only one of the three that had his carry-on bag flagged for inspection by airport security. That meant opening up the bag, checking every container in it, and actually swabbing the inside of the toiletry bag for stuff that shouldn't make it on the plane. (Note to those traveling, if you take bathroom stuff on the plane with you, put all of the liquid containers in a plastic bag and separate). Once done, I turned around to see Franz and Cody laughing at me for having the only bag that was scrutinized.

We finally departed Jacksonville and the flight was pretty uneventful. We left on time and arrived on schedule in Atlanta. While we were there, we kept seeing this small group of Iowa fans all decked out in Black and Gold, At the same time we were in a sports bar at the airport watching the Iowa and Texas game being played in the Alamodome in San Antonio. As it turns it, they were supposed to be at the game but due to bad weather the night before they were delayed and actually arrived in San Antonio after the game. They found out in mid-flight that the Big Ten is over rated and their beloved Hawkeyes were losers.

When we loaded the plane for San Antonio, I happen to catch a glimpse of Miller Safrit,'s Southeast recruiting analyst. As it turns out, Miller was also supposed to already be in San Antonio, but a delay on a connection to Atlanta caused him to miss his flight. He was bumped up to first class for his inconvenience.

On the airplane, one of the waitresses was flirting with Franz for a while. If you guys didn't know it, Franz has been everywhere and actually lived everywhere. Like most flight attendants with any time on the job, Franz can share a nugget of information about exotic lands and ventures from afar. This nice young lady was a frequent flier to Europe and Franz was able to talk right along with her about a lot of places. He even got a free glass of wine out of the deal. Yeah, Ray "Mr. Frugal" Hines isn't flying us first class, so the wine was an extra perk.

As we unload the plane, Franz is like the kid that can't wait at Christmas. My big butt is trying to keep up even with my smaller bag, but Franz quickly loses Cody and I as he heads to baggage pickup to wait a while.

While waiting I made it over to the rental car office to go ahead and check in for the car we had booked. The lady at the counter was nice enough, but she had a real problem with listening to what I was saying. After repeating myself numerous times and hearing her say, "Oh yeah, you already said that", I finally got through it all. Our Chrysler Pacifica is a nice roomy vehicle, with one little flaw...

While we are driving, the phone charger and radio seem to short out. No worries there, as Franz continues singing even when the radio quits. However, the first stop in the morning is to exchange the car because our poor ears only have so much tolerance for what might amount to an American Idol reject.

After we got to the hotel and checked in, it was time for our favorite restaurant in San Antonio, Mi Tierra. Of course, Franz tried to park a car in my name and on my credit card in a loading only zone. He had his first tantrum when I wouldn't let him stay there. Cody got his first taste of what Franz called "The best Mexican food in the world, in San Antonio." It certainly didn't disappoint.

That was the end of day one of our journey. The All-American high schoolers start showing up tomorrow and then the fun begins! Stay tuned.

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