Samuel navigates on his phone while Mark drives the car through Memphis.
Mark at the wheel and Samuel at the navigation station.

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 drove from Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee, in the morning. It was another quick drive, and arguably the prettiest. I had a hard time keeping my eyes on the road because we were driving through valleys with open fields and hundreds of bulls walking around, eating grass, and laying under canopies of trees. We arrived in Memphis at around 3 p.m., the earliest we have ever arrived at a hotel. I was wiped out from a bout of insomnia the night before so I decided to take a quick nap... that happened to be two-hours-long. I woke up hungry, like always, so I looked up barbecue places in Memphis. A restaurant called Central BBQ in downtown caught my eye. It was 20 minutes from our hotel and we decided it was worth the drive because we needed to get authentic barbeque while in the south. The restaurant was great. They made their own ghost pepper hot sauce. We decided to get a slab of ribs which comes with four sides. We got green beans, homemade pork rinds, mac ‘n cheese, and onion rings. Mark said, "That was the quickest meal of my whole life," because we wolfed down the meal in probably seven minutes.

While we were driving into downtown Memphis, Samuel noticed that we were on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Many of the states we have been through have paid tribute to MLK for his civil rights work in the United States, but Samuel reminded us that King was assassinated in Memphis. It just so happened that the Lorraine Motel, where King stayed while supporting the sanitation workers strike, was right across the street from the barbeque restaurant. While standing on the balcony in front of his room at the motel, King was shot and killed. We walked to the motel, which now serves as a historical site, and watched a short video about King and his assassination on a little video player outside. We left the motel with a heavy feeling in our hearts after hearing testimonials about King’s contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and the extreme sadness felt by all after his loss. In the car, we discussed how significant it felt to be in a location that impacted history in such a tragic way. We were grateful to be able to learn more about the history of our country. Growing up in Marblehead, Massachusetts, I have seen a lot of physical colonial history by living near sites like the Plymouth Plantation. I am grateful that this trip allowed me to have a more dimensional understanding of United States history.