On May 19, 2019, on a beautiful day in Burlington, Vermont, I watched my daughter, Sydney, graduate from the University of Vermont. As Sandi and I proudly watched her walk across the stage, I recalled the road trip we took to move her up here four years earlier. In the five days we took to cross the country, my little girl went from a teenager to starting the first chapter of her adult life.
Now, as she accepted her diploma that she worked so hard for, we were about to embark on another road trip to head back home to San Antonio. Shortly after the graduation ceremony ended, we packed up the car, and Sydney and I headed out on the open road.
It took five days on the first road trip when we moved her up to Vermont, but I wanted to get as much time in with the new college graduate as possible after four years apart, so we took the long route back home.
Over 11 days, we visited nine states, spent 52 hours in the car, and traveled 3,258 miles.
Road trip for the books
“Epic” doesn’t even begin to cover this road trip. Sydney and I decided if we were going to do this, we wanted to really go for it. Instead of staying in hotels in every city, we decided when we wanted to stop each night and found the nearest campground to set up shop. Each night, we camped under the stars and each day, we took in the beautiful sights of our country. What a gorgeous country we call home.
The weather kept us on our toes as we saw temperatures from 30 degrees to 90 degrees. We literally experienced all four seasons. Not even the rain stopped us — we were prepared with heavy duty camping equipment that can withstand even the heaviest storms.
As a county commissioner, I can’t help but compare San Antonio’s infrastructure to those in the cities and states I visit across the country. It’s safe to say the state that had the worst traffic and infrastructure by far was Ohio. We spent more time in bumper-to-bumper traffic there than any of the other eight states we visited.
Reconnecting on the open road
The silver lining of the mind-numbing traffic was the opportunity to talk to my kid — and I mean really talk to her. Of course she’s come home to San Antonio and we’ve visited her in Vermont many times since she graduated from Antonian, but this was the first time we’d had uninterrupted and quality time together in years. Sydney and I covered every topic under the sun as the miles added up on the odometer. It was as if no time had passed at all.
This road trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I don’t take for granted.
It was such a treat getting my little girl back, if only briefly, before she starts her new life. Just as the first road trip took her from a teenager to a college student, this 11-day road trip showed the transformation of my eager college student to a confident, educated, ready-for-the-real-world professional. I am so blessed to have such a close family, and this trip was a priceless reminder of that.