Finally, The Rest of the Cool Fam Road Trip [photos]

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Cool Boy getting his exercise over the Arkansas River.

Once upon a time, we took a road trip that put 3,000 miles on our loyal car over the course of 20 days. That was over a month ago and I need to finish blogging about it so we can all move on with our lives. This story ends NOW. Or at least after I get in a few hundred words.

After upending the sleeping arrangements at my friend Trey’s house for a few nights, we headed south to mythical Austin. I say ‘mythical’ because it’s a promised land of sorts among some friends in New York, a more affordable Brooklyn sans blizzards and crowded, delayed subway trains. 

The original plan had us getting a hotel a night in Austin and then working our way back to NYC. Then I remembered we had friends in Houston and shot them a text to ask if we could visit. They said they were in San Diego and wouldn’t be back until the day after we were passing through. We hadn’t seen them for years, so we pushed our plans back a day to catch them.

In Austin, we met Cool Mum’s aunt and uncle for lunch, and they insisted we stay with them. I’m not one to look gift shelter in the mouth, so thus began Occupy Austin: Cool Fam Edition. Going into the third week of the trip, we still hadn’t paid for a night of lodging.

What we thought would be a quick stay, poking around Austin for things to do, turned in three days of being generously blessed and cared for by family.

We went to Houston for a quick visit, but of course, we ended up crashing there, too. I was tempted to feel guilty about this last-minute sleepover, but our friends told us that we were “sent by God,” as we talked with and encouraged them on things they were dealing with. I was so thankful to hear that, and it helped me understand the point of this trip and the Cool Fam’s role in this world in general.

After Houston, we started the long trek home. We stopped in Little Rock, hometown of our Cool Roomies from the Cool Duplex, for dinner. We finally paid for a hotel in Jackson, TN. And I set up an impromptu breakfast to meet some of our first blog friends, Tam and Brent, for the first time, in Nashville.

We stayed the night (planned!) with my band’s first bass player, Simon, and his family in Louisville. As reminisced about those old awkward years, I laughed myself to tears, which happens way too infrequently these days.

The next day, we pushed through one last 14-hour stretch, this time bringing us home around 2am. By noon, we were at Brooklyn Bridge Park for our friends’ toddler’s birthday party. No rest for the (wannabe) cool.

Cinnamon Roll pancakes at Kelbey Lane Cafe, Austin. I think of them fondly.

Cinnamon Roll pancakes at Kelbey Lane Cafe, Austin. I think of them fondly.

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Learning zoology.

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Our solution for letting both boys see the movie at the same time.

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Newbie savoring the moment.

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Checking out LIttle Rock’s Riverwalk with Newbie.

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My future self brought back this photo of my band 50 years and still going strong. Or this is the jazz group that entertained us in Little Rock.

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Cool Mum making friends.

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Cool Mum and Tam Hodge (@tamhodge)

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A snapshot from when we played at the Homecoming parade at UF.

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