Cool Fam Road Trip Recap: Texas, Part 1 [photos]

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(Our road trip was 20 days long, and it’s taking me just as long to blog about it.)

So, due to the embarrassing reality that a self-driving car that could carry us the 24+ hours to Yellowstone from Indy doesn’t exist yet (really, automakers? it’s 2013), we scrapped the trip west and stayed with our friends a few extra days. How do you know when it’s time to leave your friends’ house, especially when they said to stay as long you like? Look for one of these signs:

1. The ice cream runs out.
2. The restraining order says so.
3. You have a visit with other friends planned.

To make sure my lame humor doesn’t reflect poorly on Ben and Polina, the ice cream did not run out, and no restraining order was served. I’m just speaking from prior experience.

We said goodbye on Wednesday morning as our hosts left for the day, and we started packing our car. And then we said “Hi!” when they got home six hours later. As any parent knows, the process of packing to leave the house with kids, especially for a trip, is akin to a filibuster. Plus, I was having too much fun bombing Cool Boy with rolled up socks from upstairs to bother with actual packing.

We’d planned to leave Indy around 1pm. We pulled out of the driveway around 7 and started the 16-hour trek to Texas. Then it was decision time: do we stop for the night at a midway point like Memphis, or do we drive through the night? Stopping sounds like a no-brainer, but again, the kids. If we drive through the night, that’s 8+ hours of the trip they’ll sleep through. If we stop, then they’ll be awake for most of the 16 hours of driving the next day. Plus, I didn’t want to have to unload our car of valuables for its overnight stay in a Motel 6 parking lot. We pushed southwest into the night.

By late Thursday morning, we were cruising through north Texas, but we didn’t know where to stay that night. My friend Trey was taking Friday off work, so the original plan was to arrive then. We were now a day early, and what kind of thoughtless people would impose on their friends the day of, a day earlier than planned?!

As we passed Dallas, Trey called me back. I made it clear that we were going to spend the night in Dallas or Austin, but just in case, would y’all prefer us to come over? Trey and I grew up together, and we’re still of the same mind: “The more time we spend together, the better.” More cynical minds might think that I put him in a situation where it was impossible to say no. I choose to believe one of my best friends wanted our families to hang out as much as possible.

Trey and his wife Jessica have two kids about the same age as the Cool Bros, and over our four days together, we played, went to a cave, visited a train museum, ate Texas BBQ and attended church. One night, us guys reminisced about (the utter lack of) high school romances as the wives provided color commentary. And for comic relief, when I was picking up heat about a certain love interest, the chair I was sitting in broke. Too many Taco Bell stops on the interstates of America.

A few photo highlights:

We were allowed to touch this cave formation.

We were allowed to touch this cave formation.

The tour guide called it a sumo wrestling eating an ice cream cone.

The tour guide called it a sumo wrestler eating an ice cream cone.

Ol' fashioned train pump car. Glad to have not been smacked in the face with the lever like in so many cartoons.

Ol’ fashioned train pump car. Glad to have not been smacked in the face with the lever like in so many cartoons.

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Anticipating BBQ.

Anticipating BBQ.

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Photographing BBQ

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Busted.

The kids portion of the service at Trey and Jessica's church.

The kids portion of the service at church.

Next: Famously weird Austin

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