With a full stomach from eating at the restaurant my cousin is an assistant manager for, I headed down towards Houston. There was another friend from my days working with Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) program that I would be able to see.
He had taught a resilience course that provided me with an introduction into that aspect of the training we provided. We had since been in similar circles. He was recently relocating to Houston, but towards the beginning of my journey, he had reached out to me and looked for ways to offer up help. -I am gratefully for his initiative on this, shows some genuine kindness. One such way was connecting me with Evolution Athletics in North Carolina from his time in that area.
While traveling, he had extended an offer for me to stay which I was grateful for. When the hurricanes hit, I was in touch briefly as it was around the time he was moving. Luckily it didn’t impact him or his family. All was set for my destination for the night.
It was about a 6-hour drive ahead, nothing too crazy for me on this road trip. I listened to some tunes and the Godfather on audiobook, along with some thinking. As I was driving, I saw some cop lights from a distance in my rear-view mirror and thought they got someone.
I checked my speed and I was right around the speed limit, maybe 1 mile per hour over, if that. I had really worked at avoiding speeding since I got a speeding ticket back in South Dakota. I didn’t want to get more than one speeding ticket on the journey.
The lights were getting closer and I was in the right lane cruising. As they came more into view, I thought no way it could be for me, at least not for speeding. Well shortly after that it was clear I was meant to pull over! So, I pulled over, lifted up my sunglasses, put down the window, and then kept my hands on the steering wheel.
Curiosity is what I was experiencing. I had no idea why I would be pulled over. I had seen numerous other speeders that would make a better target. I didn’t think I had any other car issues either. The policeman comes up to the window and as he looks in says they received a call that there was a small child sitting in the front seat of my car.
I was completely puzzled, glanced over to the empty seat and then back to the officer and said no, it was just me. He seemed confused as well. He then said he got a call and the description from the person matched my car, even down to the writing I had on the back window (I had in white lettering 42/50 states and @liftnbrews to sort of advertise the journey). Again, being puzzled, I said there was no one here, and maybe they saw my pillow in the back seat and thought they saw a kid. I didn’t know.
He asked me to get out and I said sure. He looked and didn’t see anything. I’m standing there perplexed and wanting to show I have nothing of the sort relating to a small child in my car, offer if he wants to see the trunk, just to see that I’m not hiding anything. He said no because if a kid was in the trunk, then the caller wouldn’t have said the kid was in the front seat. That was a good point I said. He then apologized to me for the misunderstanding and emphasized that they have to take such calls seriously for the kids’ sake. I said it was understandable and we said bye.
Getting back to the long drive I thought about how weird of a situation that was. Was someone trying to mess with me? Did someone really make that bad of a mistake? Was there something else at play and that was the “reason” to pull me over? I didn’t know, but I thought it was amusing to add to the tales of the journey. I have since told the story to the reception of perplexed faces and laughter which makes it all worth it.
The rest of the night was much less eventful. I got in safely and saw my friend and got set up for the night. He had some stuff in the morning for work as I also wanted to try to get meetings in, but we agreed that we could meet up for some lunch.
In the morning I tried the pop in approach for some meetings. The first one was another case of yes if I come back later, which I could certainly make happen. I then went to CrossFit Consummate where they were just finishing up a workout. I had a moment to talk about my journey and had a shaky reception. I didn’t do as good as I could’ve communicating the purpose of the journey at this point, but there was still an agreement to hear me out.
Also, at play was my knowing I had a place to stay in Austin for the night, so I was looking to get meetings done so I could move on. The owner agreed to hear some questions and then once we got started it went smooth and seemingly enjoyable and I heard that by being thorough in considering your environment and programming, you can make fitness safer for all.
Feeling happy I got a meeting in, I headed back to the first gym, CrossFit StoneCutter and heard of the importance of knowing your why. Meaning, know why you do everything you do. This reminds me of the popular Simon Sinek TED Talk where he discusses the need to start with why as it is more powerful for employees and customers.
The morning had proved to be quite productive and so I then headed to lunch with my friend at a taco spot. It had a trendy hip sort of vibe in my opinion. It was kind of my friend to cover the meal and it was exciting to talk with someone so thoughtful and knowledgeable about the field of sport psychology. I remember telling him how nice it was to hear refreshing ideas and to connect better as we had not really had opportunities before, despite knowing each other.
The rest of the day meant a 2.5-hour drive to Austin and hopefully another meeting first. In Austin, I would be staying with a brother of a friend of mine and his cousin. As it turns out, my friend has multiple brothers who I had met at his wedding, and this would be brother number two I’d be staying with on the journey!
Before the drive, I went to 11 Below Brewing and one of the owners was there helping to pour beer. I told him about the journey and he said he could answer questions while helping others. He offered up some beer to me which I happily took and then began to answer questions. As customers came he would pause and help them as I quietly waited by the bar.
Throughout the experience, I heard how you need to give beer the time it needs to be ready and not rush it. It is important to maintain the quality at all times. It was a fun experience, truly taking in the atmosphere during my time there. There was some pulling at me though as the night grew later, it’d mean rolling in later to my next destination. That being said, I try to hide that in order to fully be in the moment and receive the shared wisdom. It was kind that I was sent off with some beer to share with friends as well!
I headed off to Austin and got in rather late, around 1130pm. It was ok though as I was in touch and my friend who was at a bar with his friend. It was walkable from the apartment which felt good after the long drive. I got to the bar, had a beer and we chatted a bit catching up on times since the wedding which was nice. We then headed back to the apartment and had some late-night pickled snacks. There were some carrots and kimchi, courtesy of his cousin who acquired them from work. It was a bit different than taco bell or taco shops, but I didn’t eat much.
The next day I headed out rather early and I felt the energy of finishing the state and getting one step closer to finishing all 50. I popped into a brewery and had a great reception to the journey but was told the owner was out of town at the Great American Beer Festival. They gave me some stickers and I headed out.
While it was cool that the festival was taking place, it was greatly inconvenient for me! I popped into about 6 more breweries all to failures in finding an owner to meet with. It was taking so much time to drive around, find a place walk in and get a no. Not to mention, the constant rejecting starting to suck dry my enthusiasm.
I looked for another brewery and found one in an industrial area. I thought maybe this would be a smaller one where I would have a greater chance of finding an owner. I came across Orf Brewing and heard how beer is the blending of science and entertainment. Orf had some unique hybrid beers that he let me try and I’ve since recommended the unique and cool spot to people I’ve known traveling to Austin.
I had finally finished my last meeting for Texas and it was time to head towards New Mexico. On the way out, I had an appetite and saw a curious looking Texas BBQ place. I thought I had to get some Texas BBQ in and so I did. It was pretty good but being towards the end of the day they were out of some stuff. Plus, the portion sizes were smaller than I cared for, but that happens a lot for me at BBQ places. The price of meat is costly, and I can eat a ton.