"And Miles To Go Before I Sleep"

Novelist Walter Kirn describes his commute:

Eight times a year or so for the last four years I've made the 1,200-mile trip from Livingston, Mont., where I live, to Los Angeles, where I often do business. I ought to fly, common sense tells me, but I drive because I'm hung up on the Beat-era idea that it's my duty as a writer to bypass the streamlined realm that I called Airworld in my novel "Up in the Air" and stay in touch with the gritty "real America" of perpetually flooded truck-stop men's rooms and quickie meals of stale tortilla chips doused in liquid cheese dispensed from pumps.

The amazing part: he does the drive straight through.