Take Me Home Country Roads

This a placeholder for my trip to Morgantown for the Baylor/WVU game.

But I just got back to the hotel more than 12 hours after I left it. And I'm catching the red eye in a few hours.

Edit; I'm home. Next morning. Landed at 8:20 a.m. 

  • After my awful experience with Google Maps trying to get to Canton on Thursday, I took no chances. I researched and researched my route. The game was to kick off at noon, and Google told me the trip would take an hour and a half. I don't trust you. So I checked other sources. Their time might be right but they were using highway numbers that were changed four years ago!  I'm apprehensive. 
  • I left at six a.m. (Hey, I've come here for a reason. Let's get after it. ) I finally made it through an incredible tunnel that led out of Pittsburgh and was headed down I-376 looking for an exit a few miles away (I even had tracked down the exit number. I'm all over this. ) Life is good. It's Saturday. I'm headed to a college football game in Morgantown!
  • Uh. oh. Detour. This was insane. Overnight construction had shut down the highway and everyone was routed off into (and I'm not kidding) a residential district. I promise this would be the equivalent of  I-35 being routed into a residential district in Fort Worth. I'm driving blind now. Just following the car in front of me -- at least when we moved. 
  • When they finally dumped us back on the highway (30 minutes later?), I'm back on I-376 but past my designated exit. Ugh. I put my faith in Google maps again and it finally came though. Back on track.
  • I was now headed south on a freeway in Pennsylvania that doesn't end! It's a clean shot to Morgantown with great navigational signs that even I couldn't screw up. 
  • A big smile broke out on my face when I saw the "Welcome to West Virginia" sign that read the state was "Wild and Wonderful!"
  • I arrive in Morgantown around 8:00. 
  • Four hours is a lot to kill, but I love walking around college campuses prior to games like this. Problem: The stadium isn't on the main campus.  It basically looked like a hospital district under construction. I shall not be discouraged. 
  • I did find this statue, however: 
  • It appears to be a Mountaineer with students from early history to modern days at his feet. But the modern day gal has a big laptop. You know, in time, that'll be really cool.:
  • They've got a monorail! Not sure where it goes. You can see the little bus (?) on it . . . 
  • I had heard about tailgating at WVU but this was insane. Here are two pics take taken around 9:00 a.m. as I pan from right to left from the base of the stadium:
  • The weather? A comfortable windless 60ish degrees. But hang on. 
  • I roamed around the tailgate area for a while. Festive stuff. And game time is still three hours away. Funniest overheard comment: "They wanted to keep my ass locked up until Wednesday! Man, I had to be at work on Monday. So I called in and told 'em I was taking some emergency sick days." His buddies were all nodding their understanding. 
  • Lots of signs put up that read. "Be Respectful. Be a Mountaineer".
  • I kept hearing people talking about improvements to the grounds (i.e. sidewalks.) It sounds like they have been spending their Big 12 money to upgrade the place but they have a ways to go. There are gravel walkways within 30 feet of the stadium in places.
  • I noticed this huge concrete staircase and at the top of it was their law school. Heck, I've got time to kill - I'll walk it. It was massive and steep.
  • A view from the top of the stairs of the stadium and tailgaters:
  • Their fancy College of Law had a gravel parking lot: 
  • Remember I talked about the weather? Well, as I'm at the top of those stairs (I heard someone said the last time they were there they were wooden) a cold front comes through. Rain. 30 mph winds. It didn't last long, but it was brutal.
  • I made it to cover by the stadium and then spotted their mascot. Or he spotted me. He's got a gun and looking at me. (He's the guy in the coonskin hat in the background). 
  • How in the world does the back of the stadium's press box not have signage or a logo? 
  • Later, I waited for the gates to open. A very excited student/fan (maybe he knew something) was there as well:
  • Into the stadium. They sell beer. A lot of beer. But by every beer stand they have a sign warning of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Wild and Wonderful indeed. 
  • My seats were fantastic. $109 bucks on Stubhub. 19th row. 40 yard line. That's cheap for that location. 
  • If you have never sat as a fan in the middle of a crowd for the other team, you've got to do it. It's insane. But I feared ugliness. I'll give them this: That crowd was the nicest bunch of drunks I've ever seen. 
  • (I'll leave out the game thoughts. Baylor deserved to lose. But I will point out that one guy next to me yelled, "Finish them! Finish them!" in the fourth quarter. It was like he wanted WVU to kill an Offensive Dragon before it could come to its senses. He got his wish.) 
  • He was kind of like this guy (actual gif I found from yesterday): 
  • We lost. But I knew to stick around to listen to the crowd sing "Take Me Home, Country Roads." A couple of things. They actually play the John Denver song for the crowd to sing along to it. All of it. Also, after a rabid crowd was still hyped up over beating Baylor, it might have been one of the most amazing stadium experiences for me ever. (And I've been in a lot of stadiums.) I found this clip of the moment from yesterday on the Internet:

  • Heck of a moment. I hated the loss but I didn't come all this way for a game. I came for an experience. I got one. 
  • Oh, and then the students "rioted" later that night and cops fired rubber bullets and tear gas.