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)

Sleeping in places you're not accustomed to is always a little strange and sometimes scary because you're stepping out of your comfort zone. Being woken up by the sound of a loud fire alarm in one of those strange places is even more frightening. The hotel staff did a great job getting everyone to evacuate their rooms and told us that the source of the alarm was some severely burned toast made by a guest. I found this hysterical and laughed about it for a while but also, as my friends and my family know, I am not a morning person. If I’m going to wake up early I usually prefer a more gentle approach. The fire department arrived and found the burnt toast story funny, and we were let back into our room. We decided that since we were already up we might as well get ready to go to our next destination, which was one of our big ones, Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville was Samuel’s choice because of his love of music (ask him about Patti Smith). We were set up to stay with Mark’s friend David, who he met at summer camp. On the way to Nashville we experienced another downpour. This time Mark was driving and I was backseat driving trying to make sure he didn't hydroplane because that's one of my driving fears.

We made it through our third storm of the trip safe-and-sound and stopped at a coffee shop called the Barista Parlor, which was huge! Inside there were four or five full-sized motorcycles along the windows and in front of tables, which was random but interesting interior decorating. Another intriguing thing about the setup of the shop was that the counter space was in the middle of the room. If you picture any coffee shop, the registers are normally against a wall. Samuel and Mark ordered coffees, and we talked for a while. Then we decided to head to David’s workplace, a vegan restaurant where we planned to eat dinner called the Sunflower Cafe. They have a large selection of meals and daily specials. I opted for the veggie burger, which was made with a black-bean base, and some roasted potatoes. Samuel did not look at the menu long enough before ordering his meal so to his dismay he spent $20 on food. The food was very good and Mark got a chance to say hello to David. Then we headed over to David’s apartment next to Belmont University to wait for him to finish his work shift. When he arrived, he introduced us to all of his friends and roommates and his dog! I was so happy to see a dog and be able to play with it for multiple days. Our sleeping space was on the ground because the rooms were modestly sized so there was no room for another bed, and although this was relatively uncomfortable it didn’t bother us too much because we were excited to start our exploration of Nashville the next day.