One Pack. No Turning Back.
Number of miles driven today: 217
Total miles driven on road trip: 2,914
Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts? No sign of Dunkin' since Yuma, Arizona
Number of days on trip won by Starbucks: 13 out of 13
Cheapest gas I saw today: $2.39
Number of states visited overall: 5
Number of red states visited overall (as of 2012 presidential election): 3 (Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma)
Number of blue states visited overall: 2 (California, New Mexico)
Funniest message seen on a store marquee today: "New fleshlights"
Number of reps I benched today (155 lbs) with Randy Ready spotting me: 6
"When's the last time you listened to the Beastie Boys?"
Still panting from a hard set of pull-ups, Randy Ready walked over to where I was curling a 40-lb bar. He took out one of his earbuds.
"They're so funny, man" he said, cracking himself up. "Shit, I don't even know why they came on just now but they're good."
"Check-ch-check-check-check-ch-check it out" he sang along to one of their hits.
We were at a Gold's Gym in north Dallas, where Ready works out on the days when he's not doing a 6 AM yoga class.
"Not Bikram, but it's still hot. Vinyasa flow," he explained.
This is the beauty that is Randy Ready. He's equal parts Bay Area (yoga, eating at organic cafes) and Dallas (hunting, fishing), a mix of jock, outdoorsman, and sensitivity. Above all else, he's a dad, having raised six kids, all boys.
After five days in the car without working out, my body felt gnarled and stiff, and I had asked Ready if we could work out in the morning after he laid waste to me in bowling last night. I got to the gym 10 minutes early and texted him to let him know I was inside. The soup that is a humid Dallas morning already had settled in and I sought the cool refuge of AC.
A minute later he came striding in, his tawny hair flopping sideways without any gel, wearing full workout gear. He saw me sitting in a chair and dismissively waved at me.
"Morning kid," he said, shaking my hand, then turning to the group of trainers and gym managers for an audience.
"What time did I tell you to meet me here?" he asked me. "9:00? And what time is it now?" He leaned over and looked at the clock, exaggerating every move. "Ten of? Ten of? And you're already sending me text messages. You're so high maintenance," he said, cracking everyone up.
We walked towards the free weights in the back of the room, and he said, "So what are you working on today? I'm not working out with you, I'll tell you that right now. You do your own thing." The impish grin covered his face as he talked out of the side of his mouth.
We each did our thing, Ready shuttling between equipment, gabbing and teasing the trainers. He lights up the room with endless energy and positive thinking. The tragedies he's endured have tested that optimism--when he was only 15, his dad dropped dead of a heart attack, and his first wife had a brain aneurysm that left her in a vegetative state. He was still early in his baseball career with three kids, all three years old or younger, when that happened.
But Ready has never looked for excuses. He's never hid from reality. He has not been afraid to ask for help either, from his friends, family, or God.
Life's thrown him plenty of curves. And he's always been ready.
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Day 13: Dallas, TX to Oklahoma City, OK, 7.1.15