The Road To Roanoke : Blog Of The Nation Spend four hours in a minivan with Sarah and you just might learn something.
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The Road To Roanoke

Last week around this time Barrie and I picked up a set of matching minivans to drive the crew to southwest Virginia, as you may know by now. One of the vans — the one with Ken Rudin in it — was much as Scott imagined, though with more Madonna, more dancing, and more juice boxes. That was not my van. My van had a more senior set of passengers (and by that I mean both in age and esteem), and though we spent a bit of the trip working, much of it passed in relative silence. It may sound boring, but for me, it was perfect — southwest Virginia is a region close to my heart; I've spent 28 of 30 Thanksgivings outside Roanoke with family friends, had a best friend graduate from Virginia Tech, and met my first boyfriend in Blacksburg. I spent a lot of time staring at those gorgeous mountains awash in red, gold, and green foliage and thinking about all the good times I've had there, peppering Neal — riding shotgun — with random memories. As we entered Buchanan County, I dropped some local knowledge on him: "Hey Neal, just so you know, this Buchanan isn't Bew-chanan, it's Buh-chanan." He likes to know about that kind of stuff because he takes calls from everywhere, of course, and what do you know, the very next day during our show in Roanoke, we got this call:

CONAN: And let's see, we got another caller on the line and this is Kirsten. Kirsten is with us from Buchanan in Virginia. Did I pronounce that right?
KIRSTEN (Caller): Yeah, you did actually. Thank you. Both my name and my town. That's great.

Score one for strolling down memory lane with Sarah! I tell ya, pure genius at all times. Really.