Although the thought of buying and building a tailgate vehicle may seem absurd to some (Although, I'm not sure who!), it can seem like a worthwhile expense in the quest for the world's greatest tailgate party. However, shopping for a vehicle that will strictly be used to tailgate before games is a bit different from buying your standard Honda Civic. Below are a couple points to consider when shopping and planning for the mega-beast of tailgating:
1. Plan out everything you want in a Tailgating Machine First.
Some people want a big outdoor deck while others want the most indoor space as possible. Some groups like roof racks while others are not so fond. Some groups want to sleep in the vehicle on roadtrips while others prefer not to take it on road trips at all. All of these minor decisions need to be discussed before making the leap of actually buying a vehicle. Make sure that the vehicle your buying to modify can accommodate for all of your group's tailgating needs.
2. I know it isn't fun, but you need a budget.
I know it's fun to dream of a tailgating vehicle with a perfect paint job, a great stereo system, large flat screens all over the inside, and beer taps with free beer flowing, but is it affordable? I know. That's a really boring part of the otherwise exciting plan of building the ultimate tailgating machine, but it must be done. A lot of people have champagne taste and a beer budget, and unfortunately that won't get the machine built. You have to decide how much you can spend on the original vehicle, work needing to be done to it, TVs, stereo equipment, tailgating accessories, paint, graphics, and don't forget the engine maintenance either!
3. Schedule work weekends for all of the owners and friends to come work on the tailgate machine.
Now, you've got that tailgating machine (pre-construction) and are looking to get it on the road before the end of August for the kickoff to football season. How do you do it? Most people can't do it all themselves. You have to schedule a work weekend where everyone going to be using the bus comes, and gets their hands dirty working on their part. Some of your friends may be welders, painters, or mechanics. Make sure to use their skills and knowledge so they can do the best work on your creation. For the others that have no useful skill set working on the vehicle, have them do various non-technical jobs like sanding, cleaning, or pouring beer for the real workers. :)
4. Test it out before game day.
It would really suck to get on the road at 7am heading to the stadium for the first game with all of your friends, and to find out that driving it around your yard didn't give the engine enough time to overheat and leave you stranded. Take it out a week or two before the first game and drive it into town for dinner or something. I know it won't be easy to park or maneuver, but let's face it: You'd rather be broke down on Friday night on the way out to dinner rather than Saturday morning on the way to the football game.
5. Some RV's and buses require commercial driver's licenses.
If you have a Bus or RV in mind, make sure that it does not require a commercial driver's license to operate. The last thing you want is to be pulled over hours before game time because your friends will most likely not bail you out till after the game.
6. Check lot restrictions before buying a parking pass.
One of our readers sent us a story on how they spent 8 weeks converting their tailgate RV into the monster of all tailgate RV's. However, when they arrived for the first game, they found out no RV's were allowed in their lot. Needless to say finding a parking spot for the behemoth was not a fun adventure. Learn from their mistake and make sure you have the proper parking pass.
7. Insure your vechicle.
Win or lose, the potential for an accident is ever present with the craziness and stress once a game or event has let out. That is why it is important to purchase auto insurance for your tailgating mobile. Even though you normally only take out the vehicle once a week, and it seems kinda silly, it would be worse to get caught in a fender bender without insurance.
Our friends at GatorTailgating.com created this article for your enjoyment. Visit their page at http://www.gatortailgating.com/