Sam Shepard: “Wyoming: Highway 80 East”

By James Calemine

Sam Shepard did not like to fly. He drove everywhere. In his 1977 Bob Dylan book (The Rolling Thunder  Logbook), Shepard explained to Dylan’s manager his aversion to flying.

Many of Shepard’s short stories involve travel. “Wyoming: Highway 80 East” counts as a good example. It’s not necessarily Shepard’s best story, but it captures his emotive method. The story was published in Day Out of Days: Stories during 2010.

The first two story sentences set the tone: “The long haul from Rock Springs to Grand Island, Nebraska, starts out bleak. After two runny eggs and processed ham I hit the road at 7:00.”

I pulled out a McNally map and traced his route. Shepard proved an expert of the highest order regarding visual writing. Shepard describes nineteen degree weather, freezing snow, jackknifed eighteen-wheelers and only one radio station with a preacher declaring the world went to hell in 1961.

One can easily web search Shepard’s accomplishments, but the devil’s in the details when you get down to his stories. Shepard died in 2017 at 73. A long drive with Sam Shepard can still be enjoyed if you read his work.

You can discover more about Shepard as well as his travels with Bob Dylan during the Rolling Thunder Revue tour in Insured Beyond The Grave Vol. 2.

Take the highway…

Insured Beyond The Grave

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