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Sarah Tomlinson

Conor Oberst Is My Co-Pilot

It’s true. I listened to nothing but Conor, all the way from Los Angeles to Nashville. And he was an excellent companion. Not a back seat driver at all. More like a back seat therapist.

Mostly the trip was lovely. Except for the rain storms in Arizona during the first day. But, hey, it’s just like that saying: you’ve gotta break some eggs if you want to make an omelet; you’ve got to have some rain if you want to see some rainbows. And I saw six.

When the newspaper arrived outside my hotel room in Albuquerque, the lead story was about rest stop serial killers. I opted not to read it, since I didn’t want those dark thoughts in my mind while traveling alone. But my dad did. And was plenty worried. If you read it, don’t worry. That human head they found in the bag in Barstow was not mine.

Highlights: Eating BBQ at Big Vern’s in Shamrock, TX. Getting good news in OK. Stopping at Loretta Lynn’s dude ranch on my way into Nashville. Coal Miner’s Daughter was my favorite movie when I was little. I loved that scene where she hit her husband in the hand with the purse. There was real poetry in that moment for me as a child.

Now that I’ve arrived, I’m officially stepping out on Los Angeles with Nashville. She’s so pretty. And such a good flirt. I arrived at Traci’s house last night, bearing a pumpkin I had bought earlier in the day from a farmer with three teeth, who told me about his adventures putting up chain link fences in Long Beach in the late ’70s, just in time to get dinner. The most amazing collard greens of my life. And Cowboy and so many other lovely people welcomed me to their city with all of the music talk and food talk I could possibly want. It helps that I’m staying with the best hostess, ever. My friend Traci can open a can of whoop ass just as gracefully as she cans peaches. Now that’s a true Southern Lady. I’ve been in her big, beautiful back yard all afternoon, hanging out with the wonder dogs Willie and Lucy and enjoying my favorite past times: writing and dreaming.