A great, great time yesterday. Road trippin' to Buffalo is something I highly recommend to all Patriots fans. Tickets are usually plentiful and prices are affordable for travel/lodging/food, etc. Plus, we usually can expect to win in the Belichick era. I've made the trek three times and it's always been a blast. Travel: I always drive. It's a straight shot down Interstate 90 the whole way, about seven hours from the junction of Route 495. It seems more like three hours, as you cruise in a straight line the whole trip with no city traffic to contend with. The drive home after the game is a breeze. The game was over at 4 p.m. and I was home in Lowell at 11:30 (this included stops for gas and eats en route). Lodging: I stay at a motel in Batavia on Saturday night, just off I-90 about 40 minutes from the stadium. (So your first day's drive is six hours.) The motel is $74 including taxes. Parking: Parking at or around Ralph Wilson Stadium is $5 to $15. We spent $10 to park a mile away and zipped into traffic immediately after the game. Lots of tailgating going on if you want to seize the opportunity. The stadium experience: Not the nicest or most modern place, but serviceable with a sort of blue-collar atmosphere that Gillette lacks. Like at the Meadowlands, they hand you a free game program when you walk through the gate. The concourses are dark and sort of cramped and the in-stadium vending is pretty basic, but prices are cheaper by roughly $1 per item compared to Gillette. One HUGE plus is that no matter where in the stadium your seats are located, they allow fans to gather in the first rows of the lower bowl during warmups so you can get close to the players. It's fun to get a good look at the Pats and their coaches just a few feet away. During one warm-up drill they had the linebackers run toward the sideline and attempt catching a pass over their outside shoulder one-handed. Half the time they'd drop or bobble it, but I saw Roosevelt Colvin let out a holler when he snagged the ball with his left hand. There's only one replay screen, above the north end zone. Most of the seating is individual chair-type, but other parts of the stadium have aluminum benches with chair backs. The place holds noise well and can get loud. The Pats were loudly booed when they came out of the tunnel and the noise during third downs early in the game when New England had the ball was up there. So were the boos directed at the Bills when the first half ended. It rained off and on during the game but that was no problem if you came prepared. My heavy duty rain suit was a great investment! Our seats were in section 217, mid-level next to the sideline club seating. Three of the Pats' four touchdowns were scored at our end of the field, which was great. The fans: Buffalo fans are OK folks but you can tell they really are frustrated. Late in the game a bunch of them in our section began to loudly chant, "Let's go Sabres!" (Buffalo's hockey team). One funny guy who decided he'd had enough midway through the fourth quarter stopped by my buddy and me to say, "Sorry for boring you the last three hours." On the way home we tuned in the 550-AM postgame show. Both the announcers and fans calling in were merciless in their bashing of the Bills. It was hard not to feel sorry for them. One caller complained about the large number of Pats fans at the game. The end zones were pretty much full of Patriots fans and the cheering during Pats scores and big plays was pretty loud. One final thing to add: There were two Bills fans sitting in the row in front of us, a young couple, and the young lady was pretty attractive. Then my buddy pointed out to me late in the game that she was chewing tobacco! I looked a little closer and sure enough, she had a chaw under her lower lip and was spitting into a cup. Not to be a regional chauvenist or anything, but I'm pretty sure that's one sight I'll never see in Gillette ... at least, I hope not.