Oh, the best laid plans.. we were finally checked in at our hotel near Washington-Dulles airport, with a pizza for dinner, at midnight! After a quick three-hour “nap” we were up and headed to Union Station near The Mall.
We (a group of four) felt like we had plenty of time to walk to the Lincoln Memorial, but decided that we might need to speed up the process to get a good place to sit. We hailed a taxi, and that was one of our smarter moves.
When we arrived at the Memorial, there were already thousands of people milling around and getting situated in their folding chairs or on blankets. We found a good spot under one of the beautiful big trees that provide shade back from the edges of the Reflecting Pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Huge video screens allowed everyone to get a view of the people on the stage; and an ample speaker system made everything audible.
The program began on time at 10:00am with a video highlighting the beauty of different areas of the United States. Glenn Beck explained his purpose in planning such a rally, and the program began in earnest. There were a number of nationally-known personalities who spoke, and some who were not as well-known to the general public.
Speeches and presentations followed the theme of God and country, highlighting the words and actions of many of the early presidents to present-day leaders and soldiers. Highlights included: * Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides college education for the children of Special Ops soldiers who died in service to the country.
* Sarah Palin, as the mother of a combat veteran, introduced Marcus Luttrell, Eddie Wright, and Tom Kirk, men who suffered devastating injuries in combat but whose faith carried them through tragedy to be productive citizens.
* A Merit Award for Faith was presented to Rev. C. O. Jackson.
* A Merit Award for Hope was presented to Albert Pujols.
* A Merit Award for Charity was presented to Jon Huntsman, whose charitable contributions exceed $1 billion.
* Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, spoke about the legacy her uncle left.
The rally included hymns, including “Amazing Grace” led by bagpipers, prayers, and videos. It concluded with a speech by Glenn Beck about the need for each of us to reflect on our world and the person within.
We considered the rally an unqualified success with an enthusiastic audience of hundreds of thousands. The eclectic group of ethnically and socio-economically diverse Americans ranged from infants to elderly and represented states all over the nation.
Following the rally, Jodee Messina and John Rich provided musical entertainment.
Four chartered buses gathered at the commuter lot at I-35 and 122nd Street to pick up 200 people for a weekend trip to Washington, D.C. This rally is billed as “Restoring Honor” and is said to be non-partisan.
As we gathered and registered, Mary Fallin, Oklahoma’s Republican candidate for governor, arrived to greet the people and thank them for taking the time to represent Oklahoma at the rally. She is a gracious lady, as I’m sure her opponent Jari Askins is, and November’s election will produce Oklahoma’s first woman governor.
We left Oklahoma City at dinnertime and made a short stop at what used to be known as the Glass House, the midway station of the Will Rogers Turnpike, between Vinita and Miami.
Back in the bus for a long night, the tedium of riding broken by a couple of movies. A stop in Springfield, MO around midnight allowed for a change of bus drivers. No stop for 200 people can be accomplished in 15 minutes, so we climbed back aboard, knowing that we were running behind.
According to our itinerary we would be in Dayton, Ohio for breakfast between 7:00am and 8:00am. In reality, our breakfast became lunch when we arrived near noon. It is notable that the staff at Bob Evans restaurant was prepared for our breakfast arrival, but couldn’t have been more gracious in taking our lunch orders and serving us quickly.
All in all, the trip has been a good one so far. Tiring? Yes, of course. The Timelines bus is as comfortable as one could be under the circumstances, and it offers electrical outlets and wireless Internet, a miniscule galley, and a tiny bathroom. But as one friend sitting in front of me described it to her husband when talking to him on her cell phone, “It’s like a flight to Australia, only worse.”
Only six more hours to our destination, a Hampton Inn in Washington, D.C. Oh, how nice that bed is going to be!
We are off on another trip and I’m reminded that sometimes we seem to do things backwards. When our children were young — actually before the third child was born — we decided we could travel more economically by purchasing a small travel trailer.
It was really quite nice, by the standards of those days, with a kitchen and bathroom and adequate sleeping space. When our third child was born, however, it was too small and we sold it.
As soon as the baby was old enough for vacations, we purchased a pop-up tent camper. Combining that with the back of our station wagon, we could manage pretty nicely. We had several very nice trips that way, including one into Canada.
Within a few years, our lives seemed to get busier and we had less time for camping trips, so we sold the tent camper. That left us with no way to camp out on an occasional fishing trip, however, so we bought a regular tent.
Most people would have begun with a tent and worked up to a travel trailer, I imagine, but not us!
Now we are seasoned travelers but are heading backwards again. Three months ago we took a transatlantic flight and cruised around Italy for two weeks, the height of luxury traveling.
Last month we flew to Baltimore to attend a family wedding in the Chesapeake Bay area and stayed in a Holiday Inn Express. That was not quite so luxurious, but we did have clean sheets and a bathroom and a swimming pool at our disposal.
In contrast to these experiences, we left today on a tour bus, headed for Washington, D.C. We will drive straight through and arrive in D.C. tomorrow night. We will have a short night at a Hampton Inn (yea for clean sheets and a bathroom!) and head to the Lincoln Memorial very early Saturday morning for a rally.
Although this trip is obviously going to lack the niceties that the other two trips had, we are going to be richer for the experience, I’m sure.
Recently we took a weekend trip to the Chesapeake Bay area to attend a family wedding. This kind of trip has its own minor challenges, coordinating family arrivals at several area airports from different locations.
One of the more important events aside from the wedding was celebrating a four-year-old’s birthday in the midst of all the other festivities. The father of the bride was also celebrating his birthday the week of the wedding, so the storyline of “Sixteen Candles” came to mind more than once during the weekend.
As the airlines continue to find ways to supplement income from ticket prices, it is important to pack with care wherever you are going. In an effort to reduce the charge for extra baggage, we put all the things that would not pass through security into one suitcase. The only problem is that we didn’t decide to do that until we were in the line to get our boarding passes. Trying to keep unmentionables “under wraps” while pulling out cosmetics and nail scissors, etc., and people in line fuming because of the delay was a cartoon I’ve seen somewhere but didn’t find so amusing at the time!
Upon arrival in Baltimore we picked up a rental car that had been reserved. Observing people at the car rental counter who did not have a reservation made me glad we hadn’t made that mistake.
There is only one bridge that connects from the Washington, D.C. area to the east side of the Chesapeake Bay, so we were prepared for a lengthy drive during rush hour traffic. With construction delays and the usual rubber-neckers, we made the trip just in time for the evening’s social hour and rehearsal dinner at a lovely bed-and-breakfast outside of Chestertown.
Now we’ve made it to Saturday with a four-year-old who needs to celebrate his birthday. How to do that encamped in a Holiday Inn Express? The advantage of it being a wedding weekend is that all the cousins were there, so they and their parents were invited to the indoor pool at the motel for a swim. Hurriedly-purchased small gifts (that could be easily packed for a return flight to Oklahoma) and a tasty birthday cake from a nearby Walmart made it seem like a carefully planned party and a good time was had by all. The birthday boy certainly didn’t feel neglected!
The wedding followed at 5 p.m. with guests seated facing the bay on the grounds of the bed-and-breakfast. While the weather was quite warm and humid, guests were provided Chinese fans to help with the heat. A social hour followed under the trees, and huge fans cooled the air in the tent where a dinner buffet was soon served. An evening of speeches and visiting and dancing topped off a wonderful weekend.
While the Chesapeake Bay area temperature was no warmer than what Oklahoma was experiencing, the humidity made it feel warmer. The men were more than happy to remove their coats and ties, and my lovely purple dress showed the effects of the humid heat.
If you should plan a summertime trip to that area, be sure you take light-colored, lightweight clothing that will help you feel cooler. And if a child’s birthday celebration is in order during a vacation, it isn’t hard to accomplish a party that makes him/her feel celebrated!