Congressmen wrap up bipartisan road trip, arrive back in Washington

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 36 hours after it started, the bipartisan road trip has ended and two Texas congressmen are back at work.

Republican Rep. Will Hurd and Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke started their trip in San Antonio Tuesday morning and have livestreamed the entire ride on Periscope and Facebook Live, calling their trip a bipartisan town hall. They put on their ties and pulled up outside the Capitol on Wednesday evening with minutes to spare before a 6:30 p.m. House vote, welcomed by around 30 well-wishers, staffers and media.

The two rented a Chevrolet Impala in San Antonio on Tuesday after attending a veterans' town hall together and Hurd's flight was canceled due to bad weather in the Northeast. O'Rourke proposed driving the long distance and Hurd agreed, after some consideration.

O'Rourke told viewers at the outset the trip would be "a chance to get to know each other, answer your questions and functionally do a cross-country town hall."

RELATED: Democratic and Republican congressmen take 1,600-mile 'bipartisan road trip' to DC

At the Capitol, he said his favorite moment was stopping at Graceland in Memphis around midnight, even though it was closed, and ending up at a doughnut shop where they talked to people about politics. The two went on to Nashville, where they slept for a few hours before starting again.

On Tuesday, the live videos had around 300-500 viewers. After some media coverage of the trip, Wednesday's viewership ballooned to more than 3,000.

The two discussed issues they agree on, including more services for veterans and opposition to President Donald Trump's proposed border wall, and issues they don't, like health care. Viewers also watched the two somewhat comedically deal with streaming difficulties, stop at fast-food drivethrus and sing duets of country and classic rock songs.

They joked with each other, talked to media outlets and chatted with several of their colleagues, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

About 30 minutes out, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called in.

"You two are going to be changed permanently by this," Gingrich said. "You'll know each other at levels that, sadly, very few members do."