Bloggers Daniella Maney, ‘20 and Mark McPhillips, ‘20 embarked on a road trip this summer with their friend Samuel Piller, ‘20 before coming back to Conn. We will publish a series of posts about what they experienced along the way.... (Read Post 1)

I'm writing from the back seat on a Kindle Fire tablet that my dad told me to buy as insurance for my normal computer in case of theft. It was a small price to pay to give my dad peace of mind. However, it does add a level of complexity to my typing: I wedge the Kindle between my legs to hold it up as I use a Bluetooth keyboard to type. I will be in the back seat for about eight hours today as we drive from Saint Louis to Wichita, Kansas. While on the way to Kansas, Mark noticed that all of the Panera Bread signs said "Saint Louis Bread." This is how we learned where Panera Bread was founded. I was disappointed in myself for not knowing this already because it is well known that I am an avid Panera fan (mainly for their chicken noodle soup, which I could eat for every meal). I was doubly disappointed because we stopped at a Jack in the Box right before learning that we could have had Panera from its birthplace, a big loss for me.

After passing the Panera, we continued onto Kansas taking a pit stop in Kansas City, which is actually in Missouri (there is a Kansas City in Kansas though). We ended up in another very artistic/hipster area of the city, a motif of our trip, which makes sense as late-teen, liberal arts students. I got a great iced mocha coffee from Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters, a local coffee shop and tavern. Every time we have stopped in a nice diner or coffee shop we always tell each other “THIS is how our diner/coffee shop is going to be.” Like our road trip dreams, our trio frequently daydreams about our fallback plan of opening a small diner or coffee place because we all love food and both Mark and I are crazy about coffee. We took a lot of photos around Kansas City, and stopped into a cool record store called Josie Records. Josie’s had a great selection of vinyls that none of us bought because we all lack record players, but I know Samuel was seriously considering buying a Patti Smith album.

We left and headed toward Wichita , making a pit stop at Lake Shawnee Campgrounds to take in some of the natural sights Kansas had to offer. We probably circled four times trying to figure out where we were supposed to park before a campground employee came out with a confused look. We were told to park on the grass then saw some rental bicycles and decided to take a short (emphasis on short–all of us are admittedly not in our best shape) ride along the bike path. This was one of the most fun parts of the day. I loved feeling the fresh air as I sped down some hills and slowly made my way up other hills. The bike I picked was NOISY so I know I scared a lot of people we passed by with the loud Psycho-movie sound effect that was screeching from my breaks. We arrived in Wichita late that night. We’ve consistently arrived to all of our hotels past my bed time so I almost immediately passed out as soon as we have stepped foot into each room.

Travel Seasoned (after traveling for 5 days) Dani’s Advice/Rules/Fun Facts

  1. My modest bed time during work, 9 or 10 p.m., is not as obtainable when you are traveling for 10 hours a day.

  2. Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?”audiobook is very funny and a great listen.

  3. Showering in a different place every day is strange.

  4. Regardless of location, a good shower makes everything feel better.

  5. Taking shifts driving, taking turns sharing beds, and paying for tolls/gas keeps everyone happy.

  6. Having a friend, Mark, with a good camera is a plus.

  7. Fast food still all tastes the same.