New Orleans had always been a colorful, vivid dream of mine; it was constantly on my list of places I absolutely needed to visit. The trip was planned on a whim, when my boyfriend, Michael, and I both discovered we wanted to go there, somewhere around our sixth or seventh date. We decided to make it a road trip, because that somehow made it more adventurous. It didn’t really sink in that it was actually happening until Michael texted me that he had booked the hotel one day, while I was at work. That’s when I started making more plans for the trip, and we added a side trip to Nashville for a night to make the drive down to New Orleans split between two days. We left the day before we planned originally, right after I got out of work. After we picked up my luggage, we were on the highway, Nashville-bound. We listened to “Bossypants” by Tina Fey during the drive, and stopped for McDonald’s for dinner in the town of Whiteland, IN. A couple of hours after dinner is when the ride started to seem forever long. I tried to keep Michael entertained by singing all the best songs 80’s hair metal had to offer, though I’m not sure he enjoyed the show. We arrived in Nashville at exactly 1:00 AM on Friday morning. The Days Inn that was to be our bed for the night was fashioned like a motel, with the room doors facing out; the kind of motel that will forever remind me of the movie “Joyride”. I briefly considered sleeping with my pink Schick razor under the pillow just in case I heard anyone whisper “Candycaaaaane” in the middle of the night. Michael saw the look on my face and immediately piled his luggage in front of the door and gave me a knowing nod.
The next day, or later that morning I should say, we discovered a new horror. The continental breakfast included in our stay was really just a small counter with dry cereal dispensers and a coffee maker on it. I do love cereal, but I was also starving, so we opted for the Waffle House across the parking lot. It was both of our first times trying Waffle House waffles, and they did not disappoint. Plus, I love a good diner atmosphere; diners always have the best coffee and the best stackable coffee creamers. It was exactly the fuel we needed to propel us the rest of the way to New Orleans. But first, a pit stop at Third Man Records, which was 99% of the reason we chose to stop in Nashville. Jack White’s record shop and recording studio was tucked into a side street in downtown Nashville. Michael, who is a part-time musician and full-time obsessive music fanatic, was so excited to be there that he almost vibrated right out of his Chuck’s. When we entered the store, he drifted directly over to the selection of records, while I wandered around taking it all in. The store was full of whimsical knickknacks, like a coin operated band of monkeys and a wax press machine that made a mini guitar similar to Jack White’s. The main attraction there seemed to be a phone booth in which you could record an album and it would be pressed right there for you to take home. Sadly, Michael was too tall to fit in the recording booth with his guitar, so he passed on the opportunity. Instead, we bought a couple records and got back on the road. Needless to say, Nashville was a lovely diversion on our way to our destination.