East Central Iowa · Family Adventures

The Iowa City Expedition-Part Four: An Express Ticket to “Farmageddon”

It's go time! Really....the train is about to leave.... GET GOING!
It’s go time! Really….the train is about to leave…. GET GOING!

Coralville, IA: Johnson County

Iowa City, IA: Johnson County

3/5 of Team Goodvin left from our home in Hills, took a train in Coralville, unloaded in University Heights and walked to the stadium in Iowa City. That’s right, four towns in 30 minutes. And the drive, from Hills to the Coralville, was the longest part. Thanks to one of college football’s best fan-friendly experiences. The Hawkeye Express! https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Hawkeye-Express/336859452890

Park....pay...climb in....and 10 minutes later...Historic Kinnick Stadium! The Hawkeye Express on the Coralville Strip (2nd Street) next to the Comfort Suites.
Park….pay…climb in….and 10 minutes later…Historic Kinnick Stadium! The Hawkeye Express on the Coralville Strip (2nd Street) next to the Comfort Suites.

There are many disagreements between Iowa fans and their rivals. But one thing that every football fan from Ames and Big Ten country admits is that the Hawkeye Express is one of the most convenient, charming, and stress-free ways to get to any venue across the football landscape. Let’s be honest, many college towns have traffic nightmares during pre- and post- game. And many of them can only hope that their visitors won’t spite the town or university when it comes to the opportunity of making a return trip. Luckily, there’s a community and an athletic department that figured it out. That community is the Iowa City Area and fan bases far and near are jumping on the train more and more with every season.

Some people are brave and ambitious enough to walk a country mile to points A, B and XYZ. I'm not. At the Kinnick Stadium Hawkeye Express depot.
Some people are brave and ambitious enough to walk a country mile to points A, B and XYZ. I’m not. At the Kinnick Stadium Hawkeye Express depot.
A break from the cold. Inside one of the passenger cars of the Hawkeye Express.
A break from the cold. Inside one of the passenger cars of the Hawkeye Express.

It’s “Farmageddon”. Two loyal college football legions know exactly what that mean- the annual Iowa-Nebraska game. This year it’s on our turf and we welcomed the Husker invasion from the western front of the Big 10 Conference. These two states- with no professional sports teams- have citizens that will support their state schools through thick and thin and on many occasions through bitterly cold weather. Why sugar coat it? It’s late November in the midwest! Time to breakout the funky looking- and smelling- overalls and prepare your kiester for aluminum bleachers that do an amazingly great job of absorbing sub-zero temperatures. It also showcases two groups of fans that agree on the single most important part of our well being and our crucial placement in this place we call Earth. One team named the Corn Huskers and the other that places an ANF (America Needs Farmers) sticker on their helmets. That’s right…..Agriculture. If every farmer, from Iowa and Nebraska, takes so much as one day off at the exact same time…..Well, you and millions don’t eat. You may not be a fan of either of these schools, but I suggest you take a moment and watch their proud football teams and cheer for the fans in the stands that travel week after week and support these two great programs.

The Hawkapalooza crew! Near Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.
The Hawkapalooza crew! Near Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

After just 10 minutes on the train, we arrive at the Kinnick Stadium depot. A few stairs later, and a 1 block walk, we’re at the usual tailgate spot. A spot nicknamed Hawkapalooza and a group of some of the finest Hawkeye fans in the land that’s anchored by my big bother Jon and his lifelong friends that I’m still trying to stand up to. This group is loyal, boisterous, and some of the most welcoming group of folks you’ll ever meet. They’ve been meeting for every home game for nearly 30 years! The food is always delicious, plentiful and unique each week. Team Goodvin contributed Thanksgiving leftovers to the tailgating frenzy. A cold turkey salad with fresh dill, toasted pecans, and cranberries served on dinner rolls. There were walking tacos, breakfast burritos and southwestern chili. South of the border and its tropical temps must have been in the subconscious of some of the cooks’ minds on this day. We happily ate, grabbed some beverages, and huddled together as we waited for kickoff. I even felt a little naughty when I exchanged eye contact with a few Nebraska fans.

You know its butt-cold when you're willing to cozy-up next to this guy. Near Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.
You know its butt-cold when you’re willing to cozy-up next to this guy. Near Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

Just a 5 minute walk from Hawkapalooza is our main destination for the day. Historic Kinnick Stadium. From the tailgate spot, we hear the band descending to the field, the early public announcements, and the familiar feverpitch of the fans. Gametime. The Nebraska game, 2014. Start to imagine now….

A great crowd piles in to Kinnick Stadium on black friday for the Husker game. We could have worn team colors, but it's a little cool outside. Trust me, I had my Herky boxers on.
A great crowd piles in to Kinnick Stadium on black friday for the Husker game. We could have worn team colors, but it’s a little cool outside while Charlie and the Old Man make our way up the tunnel. Trust me, I had my Herky boxers on.
We made it to our seats on the 40 yardline. By this time the sun was shining and Kinnick was coming alive!
We made it to our seats on the 40 yardline. By this time the sun was shining and Kinnick was coming alive! Monie and Charlie had enough warming packets attached to themselves to power the whole Iowa City metro area.
TOUCHDOWN, IOWA! A perfectly timed photo of ole Chuck Wagon celebrating a Hawkeye blocked punt and touchdown.
TOUCHDOWN, IOWA! A perfectly timed photo of ole Chuck Wagon celebrating a Hawkeye blocked punt and touchdown.
Charlie and Old Man observing the Husker comeback. Iowa's lead went from 24-7 to......well, nevermind.
Charlie and the Old Man observing the Husker comeback. Iowa’s lead went from 24-7 to……well, nevermind.

The outcome of the game wasn’t Hawkeye friendly. A 17 point Hawkeye lead went to a 3 point Husker overtime victory. Iowa finished the regular season 7-5. Far from the newly formed playoff system and the coveted Rose Bowl invitation. But, Team Goodvin didn’t suffer. Yes, we live near Iowa City. Yes, I grew up on Iowa City’s Northside. Yes, the Hawkeyes have been a major part of Saturdays for over 36 years. But there’s more football culture to absorb in my proud state. And The Gallivant has plans! We already look forward to another season as this one closes. We managed to get down some late afternoon pancakes near the Coralville Hawkeye Express Depot and went over the 2015 schedule. We’re going to be busy. The optimism from a 10 year old football fan can keep anybody excited for the impending football future. Charlie’s 2015 tour will include Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. An Iowa high school’s precious indoor state championship venue called the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls. And a Cedar Rapids trip to the annual Coe-Cornell game which is one of the country’s longest running rivalries. Nebraska 37-Iowa 34 (OT). The Iowa Gallivant still undefeated and accepting of new recruits. I have no guarantees what the Iowa record will be in 2015. But I’ll be banking on the Hawkeye Express taking Team Goodvin to and from Kinnick Stadium. It’s basketball season, anyway. Tell me about this “Hilton Magic” that you speak of….

The trip back. Time to reflect. Thank you Hawkeye Express!
The trip back. Time to reflect. Thank you, Hawkeye Express!

Please take time to visit….

http://www.easterniowatourism.org/
http://www.easterniowatourism.org/
http://www.traveliowa.com/ https://www.facebook.com/IowaTourism?fref=ts https://twitter.com/Travel_Iowa
http://www.traveliowa.com/
https://www.facebook.com/IowaTourism?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/Travel_Iowa

One thought on “The Iowa City Expedition-Part Four: An Express Ticket to “Farmageddon”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s