JShu on the Journey

A Kansan takes on Missouri

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… I also suck at follow-ups.

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So yeah, I just realized I had yet to share my crazy inauguration adventure.

Somehow I managed to pack a ton into two days, and it turned out to be a really fun trip.

After about 8.5 hours of travel (6 by plane, including a 2-hour layover in Chicago, and two and half hours from Philly to Northern Virginia (or NoVa), I arrived at my friend Melody’s new home in the bustling suburb of McLean.

After unpacking a bit and getting my phone all charged up, I was able to take a quick tour with two other mutual friends who now live in NoVa too (I’m really jealous, fyi) and we packed into Melody’s car to head into the city for dinner.

Barricades everywhere.

Barricades everywhere.

Lemme tell you, that was probably not the best decision of our evening. D.C. by car during inauguration weekend…just say no. We went into the downtownish area (Metro Center, Chinatown, that area) and traffic was crazy every which way. Mostly because there were a TON of people in town, plus a lot of routes around the White House/National Mall were closed down for Inauguration festivities.

After about an hour and a half to two hours of trying to maneuver around, with no luck, we finally were able to access the 3rd Street tunnel (huzzah!) and get.out.of.dodge. We ultimately decided to go back to NoVa and do dinner in Old Town Alexandria.

We went to this really cool place, Virtue, and I nearly became delirious over a lack of sleep (I only had about two hours before I had to get up — dang late-night schedule/early morning flight combo!), but a good time was had by all. I seriously have laughed harder with those girls than I have in a long, long time. And I’ve had some good laughs in the last year, so that’s saying something. 🙂

GlimmerGlass colleagues/Olivetians unite!

GlimmerGlass colleagues/Olivetians unite!

We parted, and I tried to head to bed because morning was going to come too soon. I ended up waking up after 5:30ish, and was aiming to be in D.C. before 8. I think I got there a little bit after 7:30. I’m a crazy person, I know.

Compared to 2009, getting into the city was a piece of cake. There was no line at the park-and-ride area at the Metro stop (last time, we went to Vienna, this time I was a few in at West Falls Church), and the train didn’t really start filling up until we were in the city. I got off at Farragut West, when the train was really full (had to squeeze my way out…eek!) and then made my way to meet up with Brandon, a Kansas friend who was in town for a bit.

We finally found each other on Constitution Ave. and then made our way to a spot on the National Mall. I geeked out over the press areas, like these:

CNN's National Mall digs. Not too shabby.

CNN’s National Mall digs. Not too shabby.

Not too bad, either!

I know, I know: I have a problem. I must see what my brethren who make way more money than I do are up to.

So, after walking through several Inauguration volunteers who were dancing and waving and hopped up on legal stimulants and super excited to be there…we found our place not too far out, kinda by the Air and Space Museum/the National Gallery of Art.

Two Kansans in D.C.!

Two Kansans in D.C.!

The crowd!

Free inauguration swag!

Everyone got flags, too! And I’m so excited I’m using lots of exclamation points!!!!!!!!

So, after standing around for a long time, everything got rolling. We were thankfully able to hear everything through speakers and, when the super tall people didn’t step into my line of sight, I could see a monitor to the right of that last photo. It was really, really stinking cool. It made me a little sad that I didn’t have that experience in 2009, when I had tickets to be in a special section, but it was full by the time I got there (even though I got there before 6 a.m.).

Though my feet were hurting, it was really amazing to hear President Obama speak, and to be a part of the crowd. It was something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Even if Beyonce was lip syncing. 😉

After, Brandon and I went in search of food, then walked around the monuments a bit. We saw the MLK Jr. one, which was fitting for the day (MLK Jr. Day), which was really powerful. It’s a moving memorial.

Then, alas, I had to shuffle back to NoVa to get my stuff and head back up to Maryland, where I’d gotten a hotel room to be closer to Philly for my 6:30 a.m. flight (egad) to Chicago to Kansas City to work that afternoon.

Thankfully I had no issues (other than an intense security line in Philly) and got to work ok, and managed to not get too spacey that Tuesday, despite being up since 3:30 a.m. and working to 10:30ish. (I slept very well that night, that’s for sure!)

So anyway. Yeah, that’s my #inaug2013 story.

Written by Jessica

February 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm