My Empty-Nest Cross-Country Road-Trip to College with Ford

Category: Weekly Columns

I woke my son up to show him the just-arrived 2013 Ford Flex we got for our trip!

I’m about to embark on a road trip. Not just any road trip but one with my first-born son across America from Los Angeles to Boston to begin college. Not just any road trip, but also a huge journey from childhood to adulthood for him, and from a clingy loving dad to empty nester for me. Yes, I will have my other son at home, but the first one to leave is big. Our home will not be the same and our family dynamics will not be the same. Ford has generously loaned us a fully loaded brand-new 2013 Ford Flex for the drive. We are going in style!

Let’s start with the itinerary:

Friday, August 24 – Leave Los Angeles. Drive to Las Vegas. Stay overnight.
Saturday, August 25 – Go to The Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Moab. Stay overnight.
Sunday, August 26 – Head to Denver, participate in fundraiser for Shot@Life, play tennis with Brian Vickery, stay overnight.
Monday, August 27 – Go to Des Moines, stay overnight.
Tuesday, August 28 – Go to Chicago, stay overnight.
Wednesday, August 29 – Go to Detroit, visit FORD factory and FORD execs, maybe visit family, stay overnight.
Thursday, August 30 – Head to Cleveland and go to Newstalk 1420 WHK and do my radio show, visit the execs there, and go to the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Do #DadChat that night. Stay overnight.
Friday, August 31 – Visit Niagara Falls and stay overnight in Buffalo.
Saturday, September 1 – Visit Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame on way to Boston.
Saturday, September 1-5 – Boston. Arnie stays and starts college at The Berklee College of Music. Bruce flies home on the 5th and is sad.

I’ve never done a road-trip this extensive or this far. We’re clearly going to be doing a ton of driving, but having the incredible 2013 Ford Flex will make it very comfortable, safe, and fun. We also needed a car with LOTS of space on the inside ‘cause my son is taking his drums AND guitars! This car is loaded with safety features, the latest technology, a frig inside it – REALLY – and so much more it would take several columns to begin to describe its awesomeness.

Emotionally, this trip will give my son and me eight days to let go, have a great adventure, and create lifetime memories. Given all my Social Media activity, I will be blogging, tweeting, Instragramming, taking photos and videos galore, visiting people, places, and sites, and document it all in every form of new and old media that I work in. Oh, and there will be two Because I Said So comic strips…one already up – Dad’s Empty Nest – and the next on August 23.

My son will be using the Flex’s incredible Sony Stereo system to full advantage, playing music from his iPhone, listening to Sirius, and exploring all those great audio features. I’ll be wearing earplugs most of that time, I’m sure.

One challenge I will face is maintaining my vegan diet cross-country. THAT will be interesting and I expect I’ll lapse here and there or go hungry if I try to stay too vigilant. We’ll see.

Okay, time for full disclosure! Ford has given me the Flex in exchange for my Social Media efforts. I’m not getting paid. Further disclosure: the Flex is the car I would’ve chosen for this trip and has been my son’s favorite car for years. So, I consider this a lucky win-win, where I get to have the comfort, pleasure, safety, and fun of a 2013 Ford Flex for this arduous drive simply in exchange for doing what I do anyway!

Speaking of doing what I do anyway, we’re going to be having a very special #DadChat on August 23rd in which the topic will be “The Empty Nest Syndrome” as it affects both dads and moms. Ford will be there and will be available to answer questions about the Flex or any other Ford product and they’re generously giving away FIVE gift-packs to lucky winners. The gift-packs will consist of a Ford Flex computer friendly backpack, a Ford Flex 32-ounce water bottle, a Ford Flex pen, and a Ford Flex foldout blanket. But, the focus (get it?) of the #DadChat will be on our topic of dealing with The Empty Nest.

All right, enough of the disclaimers. I am really going through emotional handsprings, as my son’s start of college gets closer. I feel just like the sappy moms we often see portrayed when the subject of The Empty-Nest comes up. Why am I surprised when I so often espouse that we dads have the same feelings, needs, and issues around parenting as moms?

The cliché that time goes by too fast when you have kids couldn’t feel more true for me. I think of the lyrics to the “Fiddler On the Roof” song, Sunrise Sunset when it says, “Wasn’t it just yesterday when they were small?”

My mind tells me this is all a good thing, that I’ve done my job if he’s heading off to college and, in this case, The Berklee College of Music is one that suits his interests perfectly. My mind also does handsprings over the extraordinary costs associated with college and I pray he takes full advantage of all they offer.

But, bottom line, I’m almost as scared as he is. It’s a big transition for both of us…

Please join Ford, our great #DadChat community, and me this coming Thursday, August 23 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. PT where we can chat about this in real time!