Real Life Book Tour by Bus: All Aboard

Maine writer Meriwether O’Connor is packed and ready to depart on a multi-state book tour. Instead of reading in bookstores and libraries, she hopes to share her work with her fellow Greyhound bus passengers. It’s a trip too good to pass up, so the Daily Yonder tags along

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Alden Jewell

Greyhound's annual ridership peaked around 130 million about the time this 1971 Scenicruiser was manufactured. Though many of Greyhound’s rural stops have been discontinued in recent decades, Meriwether O’Connor’s trip is reminiscent of an age when the bus line was synonymous with small-town America.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Writer, columnist and small-farmer Meriwether O’Connor of Maine is embarking on a book tour to promote her new collection of short stories, Joe Potato's Real Life Recipes: Tall Tales and Short Stories. Our interest was piqued when we learned that the author, who has rural Texas and Kentucky roots, planned to conduct her multi-state tour via Greyhound bus. She’ll leave the driving to the professionals (as the characters in her book do) and enjoy the company of her fellow passengers. She hopes to share copies of her book with other riders, in return for hearing some of their stories.

We asked Meriwether to take Daily Yonder readers along for the ride from Maine to (she hopes) Texas. In this article, Meriwhether shares a bit about the purpose and logistics of her trip. Then she provides a long-distance bus-rider’s to do list, which we hope will be of some practical value to Yonder readers, especially those of you who still enjoy packing your own food for a long journey.

But first, we asked Meriwether to explain why she was riding a bus on a multi-state book tour. Don’t authors usually prefer jets and limousines? Here’s her response.

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 To prepare for her trip, Meriwether put together this list of “to dos” and “to don’ts.”

To-Do

1.     Wash clothes so can pack clothes.
2.     GET MORE HAY AND FEED.
3.     Lady taking care of dog fancies rabbit for dinner, see that she gets one.
4.     Cook up chickens in deep freeze for bus trip.
5.     Chickens in deep freeze are frozen to rack, must have had power outage.
6.     Go to barn and get fresh chickens.
7.     More clothes to wash now.
8.     Boil eggs for trip.
9.     No eggs.
10.  Crave a beer.
11.  I don't even like beer.
12.  Consider taking up alcoholism.
13.  Wonder why I said I'd go on this trip.
14.  Do I really like America this much?.
15.  Memorize itinerary so I don't get left behind at 10 minute stops.
16.  Fail at memorizing itinerary.
17.  Brush teeth for bed.
18.  Okay, brush remaining teeth.
19.  CAN YOU PUT TEETH ON LAYAWAY?
20.  Remember to smile at America .

To-Don't

1.     Don't miss the bus.
2.     Seriously, don't miss the bus. Remember New York!
3.     Even if you think it's the wrong bus, get on anyway.
4.     Better to go the wrong place than nowhere at all.
5.     Besides, Central America is nice this time of year.

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