12/01/2014 09:13 am ET Updated Jan 31, 2015

20 Things I Learned from a Road Trip With my Father

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I went on a road trip with my 82 year old father. We started in Pflugerville, Texas, near Austin (I flew there from California) then stopped in Ft. Coffee, Oklahoma, near Ft. Smith Arkansas to see my 88 year old aunt, his sister, then next to Wichita, Kansas to visit my 74 year old aunt and then to Great Bend to visit my cousin, then to Kansas City, Missouri to visit another cousin. 5 states, 1500 miles, 3 hotels, a lot of time alone with my dad. Here's 20 things I learned:

1. My dad is packing, he informed me that he always carried a 9 millimeter gun when he travels.

2. I never knew there were so many toll roads in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

3. I really know that Texas is the Lone Star state. The star was etched in every surface on the highways, along with the image of the state itself.

4. I saw an inordinate amount of road kill, lost exact count but around 50 including a lot of deer.

5. The Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau also calls my birthplace "the little apple".

6. My dad hogs the lotion in hotels.

7. Relatives still call you your birth name even though you changed it 40 years ago.

8. My family could make some of the reality television families look functional.

9. All of the chain hotels have the same decorator.

10. I don't like getting trapped behind an 18 wheeler on a two lance highway when I can't pass.

11. Oklahoma has a lot of bodies of water. I thought I was in Minnesota at times.

12. My paternal great grandfather was a full-blooded Choctaw Indian.

13. I like driving a Cadillac.

14. I was traveling with phones from AT&T, Verizon and T Mobile and that was a good thing because despite coverage maps, service was spotty.

15. Starbucks is everywhere.

16. Don't dissipate funds. My dad says this is an engineering term, he taught it to me years ago and I retaught it to him when he wanted to get two hotel rooms instead of one room with two beds.

17. I went to a chiropractor when I was 4 years old to help with my asthma.

18. My dad held more than 22 titled positions during his tenure as an electrical engineer at IBM.

19. My dad retired from IBM at age 55 but was a full time professor at Austin Community College at 65.

20. My dad started working when he was 11 but lied and said he was 18.

Peace, love, compassion, and blessings.