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But surely Daniel Hawkins is the luckiest road-tripper of all. The recent Princeton University graduate received $27,500 in fellowship money from his alma mater to travel around in a van with a tape recorder and a cello, recording local noises and ultimately producing “Road Songs: An American Sound Story.” The road is his medium, he said recently.

“You learn things there you can’t get anywhere else. It’s that impulse to go to a place and sink into it, where you really get into the soil and dirt of the place.”

And please. Let us know if they have clean restrooms and decent chicken-fried steak, sir.

Jennifer Harper covers media, politics and rickety pickup trucks for The Washington Times’ national desk. Reach her at jharper@ or 202/636-3085.