Travel

The Road to College Station by Steven Johnson

It's going to be about a 14-hour drive from Gainesville to Houston with a stop in New Orleans on Friday.

It's going to be about a 14-hour drive from Gainesville to Houston with a stop in New Orleans on Friday.

It's football season again.

It's road trip season again.

Every fall, my 2007 Jeep Patriot gets an extra workout through the Southeastern Conference. From stadium to stadium. From BBQ to gumbo to brisket to fried chicken, football season means that while there are many hours ahead behind the wheel, there are many great meals to be had and many great games to be photographed.

I have a special relationship with the South. Born in Atlanta, raised in Orlando and earning a degree from the land grant institution that is the University of Florida, 

Fred Grimm and Joe Goodman compare notes as Grimm prepared to leave Louisiana and turn over the reporting to Goodman.

Fred Grimm and Joe Goodman compare notes as Grimm prepared to leave Louisiana and turn over the reporting to Goodman.

I got my first big break as a journalist while covering the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Meeting with Fred Grimm and Joe Goodman from The Miami Herald to begin my lengthy journey throughout the South to report on one of the largest disasters ever to challenge the United States.

But, I've never spent much time in the Lone Star State. I've changed planes in Dallas and Houston. Most recently on my journey to London for the Olympics.

This will be my first time driving through and staying in Texas. It is going to be the longest drive I've done in the SEC - until Missouri.

Luckily, we have a few stops along the way...

Port of Call on the corner of Esplanade Ave. and Dauphin St. in New Orleans.

Port of Call on the corner of Esplanade Ave. and Dauphin St. in New Orleans.

While New Orleans is known for their sea food, there is a little bar, Port of Call, that Joe took me to during my first night in The Big Easy to introduce me to the city he frequented while growing up in Alabama.

Hands down the best burger in the south - served with a baked potato and Neptune's Monsoon (one helluva a drink).

We have a great weekend planned in Houston. HHonors has, once again, taken care of us. And Professor Mike Foley's daughter Corey, (radio personality on 100.3 KILT in Houston) has taken care of us with some great restaurant recommendations.

... And then there is College Station. Texas A&M has an amazing stadium filled with traditions that are now a part of the SEC.

And what goes West must come East.

Again, we have a few great stops for the trip back.

Dreamland BBQ in Mobile, Ala. is on the list and, like all trips heading home, will be filled with back roads and local flavor.

So once again, the mileage on my car will skyrocket along with my cholesterol intake.

Stay tuned for updates from the road.

My Bag for #London2012 by Steven Johnson

​Covering an event on a scale the size of the Olympics is a feat which many organizations spend years planning and bring it dozens of photographers, writers and editors to coordinate a seamless effort from the lighting of the Olympic Torch to the closing ceremonies.

But what if you’re story was not any team from a represented nation? What if your story was on the single largest group to ever travel to an Olympic Games?

This is my assignment for London 2012.

The University of Florida Gator Band has been in the planning stages of their Olympic dream for over a year now - and I have the task of covering it.

I have no producer, no assistant and no television studio to back me up.

What I do have is a backpack.

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