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Rolling Into Roanoke

Posted on Sunday, September 28th, 2008.

After spending the summer working in StoryCorps’ Brooklyn office, I gave up my little apartment, sold all my belongings, and hit the road.

Before I left New York many people asked me, “How does the Airstream trailer get from one location to the next?” In the old days (like 3 years ago) the MobileBooth was towed by brave Facilitators and StoryCorps staff in a truck. Today, we hire drivers, who usually come with pets. Mike, our fearless driver and his beefy sidekick Brandy, a 120 pound rottweiler, picked up our roving recording booth Sunday morning from the Basketball Hall of Fame parking lot in Springfield, Massachusetts, and delivered her safely to our new spot in front of the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, Virginia on Monday afternoon.

I met up with the MobileBooth East team (Jeremy, Chaela and Whitney) in Springfield to help get the booth ready for our transition south to Roanoke. We said a tearful goodbye to Chaela, who was heading back to the Brooklyn office. Then Jeremy, Whitney, and I set off south. Two CDs (on repeat), one episode of “This American Life,” a stop at the Cracker Barrel, one hilarious waiter named Zak who thought we worked in “fashion,” a few hours sitting in Red Skins traffic, an overnight in a swanky Country Inn in Fredericksburg, Virginia, breakfast with a tour bus of senior citizens, a quick jaunt to the Airstream Dealer to fix the MobileBooth steps, a bathroom break at White’s Truck Stop (which serves up a lovely strawberry, rhubarb cobbler), one order of fried catfish, and a few hours of chatting later, we found ourselves in Roanoke.

Life on the road is all about firsts. Roanoke is the farthest south that I have ever been. The city is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, which words fall short to describe: jarring, impressive, stark against the blue sky. Roanoke is known as Star City because of a giant, neon star that lords over the city from Mill Mountain. However, the original name was the Big Lick because of an abundance of salt in the area. Roanoke was and still is a railroad town, many rail lines have crossed through the town, the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad, the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio Railroad, and the Norfolk & Western Railroad, to name a few. Each morning we can still hear the box cars rushing past the museum. The singer Wayne Newton was born in Roanoke and the African American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux was a resident.

We look forward to bringing you more stories from Western Virginia!

7 Responses to “Rolling Into Roanoke”

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  • I love this entire post. Especially the party about beefy Brandy, she looks awesome. I’m so glad you guys came to Roanoke!

    Comment from Allie Hasson on October 16, 2008 at 3:22 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Jeremy is king of the Cracker barrel game. I was left with four pegs. And he won. I think twice.

    Comment from Nina on October 9, 2008 at 11:34 am - Reply to this Comment
  • did anyone beat the peg game at cracker barrel? i gave up about ten years ago but i have faith in you guys.

    Comment from mike d on October 8, 2008 at 3:16 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Nina, you make the very ordinary business of hitching a trailer and pulling out of town so much fun to read about. Looking forward to more great posts and pictures from you. Have fun out there!

    Comment from Mike R on September 30, 2008 at 12:19 am - Reply to this Comment
  • Nina,

    What can I say?

    You give some good hyperlink, girl.

    That song has been stuck in my head all day!

    Comment from Jeremy on September 29, 2008 at 2:37 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Nina, your links are phenomenal and educational.

    Comment from Whitney on September 29, 2008 at 11:16 am - Reply to this Comment
  • Welcome Nina! Roanoke sounds AMAZING already!

    Comment from Alex on September 29, 2008 at 9:24 am - Reply to this Comment

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