A certain type of RVer comes to life in September.
Tailgating season is here – finally! – with college and professional football now ramping up.
We checked out the scene at the University of Washington, where the Eastern Eagles played their opener last Saturday, and at CenturyLink Field, where the Seattle Seahawks went after the Oakland Raiders last week in preseason action.
Both teams play again in Seattle this weekend. The Huskies take on the University of California Bears on Saturday and the Seahawks open the season against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Expect to see lots of RVers setting up camp, with plenty of beer-pong tables, cornhole tossing and copious amounts of grilled meat.
Last Saturday at Husky Stadium, the tailgating action was already in midseason form. Eastern fans were well represented, despite the team’s 47-14 loss to the Huskies. And this being the UW, a different kind of recreational vehicle comes into play – many Huskies come to the game and party aboard luxury boats.
“We brought the red wave today,” said EWU alumna Becky Carr as she partied with red-clad friends aboard the Big Dawg, a 90-foot yatch docked in Husky Harbor on Lake Washington. Carr, now living in Burlington, Wash., had the good fortune to know the owners of the Big Dawg who motored over from Mercer Island.
On land nearby, RVs crowded the E15 lot just east of the stadium, where donors to the UW’s Tyee Club have the most coveted tailgating spots.
Rich Weiss of Everett has been coming to Husky games since 1977. He was encamped with his 1998 Winnebago Adventurer, a 37-footer that he uses primarily for tailgating.
“I’ve only missed five games since ‘77,” he said proudly.
Along the Montlake Cut south of the stadium, tailgaters mostly crowded together in groups set up under picnic shelters. We ran into Sandy and Rick Ryan, Spokane-raised EWU alumni now living in Kirkland.
In the huge E1 RV lot north of the stadium, other Eagles were busy tailgating, including four members of the 1984 EWU baseball team, who showed off their EWU flag while standing atop a 2009 Trail Lite.
“I got it for my daughter’s track meets, but now we use it for everything,” said Steve Anderson, owner of the trailer. He was hanging out with buddies Brian Snavely, Vern Yake, and Jim Wasem, a teacher at Rogers High School in Spokane.
We also ran into Gary and Sue Hustad, Spokane-area residents who came to Husky Stadium in their 2018 Leisure Unity, a class B-plus they use primarily for tailgating.
The Hustads had stayed the night in the E1 lot, technically prohibited.
“We saw a few other people doing it and they told us it was OK,” Gary said.
Meanwhile, the scene is very different at CenturyLink Field. Tailgating takes place in private parking lots and on the street only if you can snag a spot.
We caught Bob Hill of Camano Island grilling some chicken on the sidewalk on Utah Avenue south of the stadium before last Thursday’s Seahawk game.
“We have to get here real early to get these spots,” he said, handing us a drummie to taste. Nice grill marks, Bob!
If you want a flavor of Seattle tailgating, but don’t feel like the hassle of trying to find parking in the city, consider going to Hawk Alley, a tailgating party in SoDo before every game. It’s located in a parking lot at 2200 Utah Ave. S.
For $20, you get six drink tickets and access to food in a rollicking atmosphere.
Hawk Alley will be going strong prior to the Seahawks 1:10 p.m. game on Sunday.
This week’s Going Mobile question
Let’s hear from the Inland Northwest’s snowbirds: Where are you spending this winter in your RV? We’re going to Palm Springs, among other places. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass along your destinations in the next column.