1159 miles LAWRENCE, KS

by Sonja Kramer Haag


After the 10+ hour drive yesterday through rough weather and long. awful boring stretches of road where I found myself arguing with myself about pointless, meaningless banter about idea’s of improvement and non-improvement (don’t worry, I won). I needed to come back to center and find that driving inspiration again to propel me westward with the excitement that anyone who has yet to make this type of journey assumes exists each mile of the way. It doesn’t…

I stopped for the night in Lawrence, Kansas. Clinton State Park to be exact to set up camp and crash for the night. I got in late and had to set up by car light but things went smoothly and within 10 minutes I was cozy in my bag and I let nature do what it always does for me. The soul cleansing process began, I closed my eye’s and for once allowed myself to let go of all thought and just focused on the sounds around me; owl, coyote, bird, cricket, raccoon and the couple having sex in a tent not far off in the distance, I laughed, I FINALLY laughed with myself since I began this trip, and it was good.

Needless to say, I had the best sleep I have had in a long while. Slept through the night and woke not quite with the sun but the exact time I had hoped to get up. Camp was packed and I was back on the road again. First though, I needed coffee and i needed breakfast. After having salami on a kaiser roll with Swiss cheese and stone ground mustard (sounds great, I know!) for breakfast, lunch and dinner with an apple for desert I was craving something hot and fresh. A decision had to be made, I could travel the 5 minutes to a somewhat okay coffee shop that resided in the middle of a strip mall and make it quick or I could take my time.

Time, this was one of the arguments from the day before. This whole trip began with the idea that time was only going to exist in the case of my gas tank, my stomach or my bladder. But I came upon a deadline for when my west coast folly had to bring me back home. I was now thinking about time when it came to whatever it was that I was doing; I don’t want to get to the campsite to late, I don’t want to get to Irzyk’s to late, that detour is going to add 30 extra minutes onto my drive time, I need to be to California by then, I need to be out of California by then and so on…

I finally put a short end to those anxieties today, and I feel that Isaac Sherman needs to take a little bit of credit for this part. When I had posted about being in Lawrence, Isaac suggested I stop at this record store in town. My first thought was ‘awesome, thanks for the tip, Issac. But, Sonja, are you really going to have time for that?”

“You know what, Sonja, fuck you and the time bandit you road in on. How often will I find myself in Lawrence, Kansas? And, if a friend suggest you stop and check something out it must be worth it. Plus, I could use some new music for the road. And, shit, I gain and hour today!” (sorry to all the other friends who had suggestions of places to visit, I really do need to get to Vail tonight and I do need to make the trip sober *sheepish grin*)

So, here I am, enjoying a better than could have ever anticipated breakfast at the Global Cafe, and I now have 3 new albums for my passage west. But that’s not why I need to write about Lawrence. Why do I need to write about Lawrence? For the same reason I needed to write about Nashville. It is all about the people and the communities that reside in these towns and cities and it is these people who I need most.

Taylor and Katie at Love Garden Records hooked me up! You walk into a record store like Love Garden and you know these people live, breath and fornicate with good music. So instead of thumbing around with records and CD’s that I could pretend I knew anything about I went straight to the source. All I had to do was use the words new, album and road trip and both girls were instantly on it. I mused Taylor by giving a listen to her first two suggested albums but I didn’t really need to confirm that they were going to be beyond the realm of exactly what I needed. They knew better than I did.

I have to remind myself that people understand me more that I give them credit for and that they do give a shit. They are interested, like the two sitting outside of the cafe who, because of whatever urge, chatted me up for a good 10 minutes. I am learning that its okay to stop and talk even when you have nothing to say, its okay to ask for help from a friend when you have nothing to give and its okay to not feel okay about something and to understand you will find a way to work through it and come out the other end with new music, new friends, a full belly or your appetite for the road, back and hungry enough to eat a bear.