Summer Road Trip!

I know you are knee deep in the hectic back to school schedule, so I thought it would be fun to take a breath and think back to your summer vacation. I hope you were able to spend quality time with your kids, even if it was just beating the heat at a local watering hole or a full-blown, pack-the-suitcases-and-head-to-the-airport kind of vacation.

My kids and I did a combo of celebrating my birthday (and my dad’s birthday) by visiting my dad and their cousins in Ohio and also allowing me to get some work done.

It ended up being much more than that!

On the Road Again, Again

If you are a regular reader of my blog, first of all, thank you! Secondly, this article will sound a bit familiar because my kids and I have done this kind of a trip before.

My dad’s birthday is August 1, and mine is August 7, so I decided this summer the kids and I would make the road trip from Tulsa to Dayton, Ohio, to visit with him. At the same time, my kids were able to see their cousins, and I was able to get some work done plus see some old friends that I grew up with in Ohio.

Oh, and also rock out at a couple incredible concerts!

I had this trip planned for months and, just like the last time the kids and I were about to embark on this 2000-mile road trip, my car boned out on me just two days before we were supposed to leave. I took it into my Lincoln dealership only to find out that  they could not even look at it for 2-3 weeks. So I took it to a different dealership, one at which I had recently gotten an oil change, and they were able to run a diagnostic on it immediately. However, they came back with some bad news, that it would cost as much to fix my car as my car was worth, so instead I ended up buying a new car.

I didn’t want to buy a new one for obvious depreciation reasons, but it was great to have that new-car smell and peace of mind for the whole trip, knowing that the car was in tip-top shape and safe for me and my kids.

Itinerary Changes

I have most of my radio work in Tulsa, but I also do some radio work in Dayton, Ohio, that I am very excited about, so I decided to make it a working vacation.

I am a DJ on an ’80s-based radio station in Dayton, so when Stevie Nicks and Billy Joel perform a nearly sold-out concert at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, and just a few days later, Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard also perform at Ohio Stadium, it’s a pretty big deal.

The kids and I were super excited about hitting the road, so we dropped off the dog at Camp Bow Wow and, as always, I played Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again” as we pulled onto I-44 heading east. As usual, we first stopped at the world’s largest McDonald’s in Vinita.

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We continued on to St. Louis, where we spent the night. That’s a solid five- to six-hour trip, which is pretty easy for me to drive. However, the 11- to 12-hour trip to Ohio is a bit much for me with my two kids. Traveling alone, I would not hesitate to drive it in one trip, but until Atticus is old enough to drive and can take over while dad snoozes, we will continue to stop midway. Plus, the kids love staying at hotels and having a free breakfast, as most kids do.

My initial plan was to go straight to Dayton to visit with dad and then go to Columbus to visit my sister and then come back to St. Louis, then Tulsa. However, just before we left for our trip, I found out that I had free tickets to go see Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks at Buckeye Stadium, so we went to Columbus first and then Dayton to visit my dad, and then back to Columbus to see Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard at Ohio Stadium.

While visiting my dad in Dayton, I spent a couple hours at my radio station and visited with my program director and staff there, which was really great!

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The main point of my whole trip was so that my kids could see their aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandfather, who is 85 years old and basically confined to his bed.

When we arrived, he was in great spirits as always; he never admits that he is in pain, but clearly he was. Since the last time we visited him, he had moved his bed into the living room so he could look out the big picture window and also watch TV. I told him what an awesome setup that was and then I looked at my kids and said:

“As soon as we get home, kids, I’m moving my bed out into the living room!” Lol.

Old Friends

Icing on this vacation cake came in the form of seeing two friends that I grew up with. The first was being able to see someone I hadn’t seen in over 30 years.

In previous blogs we’ve talked about “first loves.” Mine was in high school. Do you remember me talking about Sarah? I hand-made her a heart-shaped pizza on Valentines Day, the day I got up the nerve to ask her out.

Well, because of how easy it is now to get in touch with old friends via social media, I decided to reach out to Sarah, who still lives in Findlay, and asked if she could meet me in Columbus and go with me to see Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks. I was super excited (and totally nervous) when she said yes!

Sarah wanted to meet my kids, so it was great to be able to introduce them, even for just a few minutes. My son Atticus is at that age that he is asking about girls and falling in love, so now he was able to meet my first true ❤️! The kids were able to go out to dinner with their aunt Angie, uncle Paris and cousins PJ and Miguel while Sarah and I went to the concert.

Amazingly, given all the last-minute changes everything was going very well! In fact, better than I could have hoped for.

Yes, our seats weren’t the greatest, but still a super-fun night!!!

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We very much enjoyed the concert, but it was afterwords, when we found a quiet place to have some drinks and get caught up that was the most special part of the night to me.

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And Then!!!!

A couple nights later I reached out to one of my best friends that I’ve known since we were 5 years old, Jeff Brunner. He lives in the Toledo area. Even though it was a weeknight, he was able to arrange it with work and join me in Columbus to see Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Alice Cooper at Ohio Stadium! The same thing as with Sarah, the concert was great, but it was afterwards, having drinks and laughs at a bar that I liked the most. We were those two drunk old guys at the end of the bar full of college students! 😂

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Family and old friends, life doesn’t get any better than that. A vacation that was a true blessing.

Here’s my kids with their Ohio aunts, uncles and cousins:

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And the man who taught me the importance of “mi familia,” my Dad:

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Dads Rock Summer Road Trip Pin

Categories: Dads Rock!