Nearing D.C. with Marine One flying over head, our journey from the quiet crevices of Clifton Forge to the nation’s capital was nearly complete. The excitement that had been building as we got closer and closer to the Rally to Restore Sanity quickly disintegrated as traffic moved 1 mile per hour as soon as we got 5 miles outside of the city. The time was 10:45 and the rally began at noon. Had our journey that began at 5:45am come to a sudden and tragic end? The combination of McDonald’s sweet tea and the ghastly traffic did not bode well for our patience or our bladders, and the idea of missing the rally, attended by 200,000+ people, seemed more and more plausible.
Pulling into the metro station did nothing to alleviate the frustration. There was no parking to be found, and people lined up in the thousands made matters even worse. After driving farther in to another metro location, we were able to find parking, but the lines were still excessive. After walking around for a bit, we decided that we had come this far and should go ahead and attempt to enter D.C. We waited for 45 minutes as the metro line slowly dwindled down, and by 2:00pm, with and hour left in the show, our chances of making it to the rally on time were dwindling. The most frustrating part was knowing that we were so close, but that there was no way to make it there any sooner. Still, we decided that a road trip was a road trip and being in D.C. is still fun, so we resolved that we would make the best of it watching the crowds that would surely be in the city and exploring the sights.
Not long after we accepted that we wouldn’t see the show, we were finally able to squeeze onto the metro! With this new stroke of luck, we wondered if we would be able to make it to the last bit of the show after all. With each stop, we would look at our phones, hoping that we would get there to see part of the rally. After arriving at the station about 20 minutes later, we practically ran to the National Mall, making it there with a half an hour to spare. Crowds were backed up a mile back, and there was no way to see or hear much of the show. The best part, though, was seeing the characters in the crowd. Every person in the crowd seemed to have either a crazy costume on or a poster with a funny slogan. We were overwhelmed by the amount of wittiness that people could create out of political scenarios. Most people in the crowd seemed to have the similar mindset of humor mixed with a serious political message. From a guy dressed as Jesus to a poster with Mr. T, everyone had their own twist to what was going on in the country. After walking among the crowd for about an hour and getting as close to the stage as possible, we made our way behind the set after the show to catch a glimpse of some of the celebrities who would be exiting. To our excitement, we saw much of the cast of the Daily Show, Rosario Dawson, Mic Foley and probably the most exciting–the back of Stephen Colbert’s head!!!
Elated with our success at making it to the rally, we walked around D.C. for a while and finally head back to the metro. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea because the metros were as packed as we had ever seen them, with people packed into the cars like sardines. After letting 5 metros pass through packed to the brim, we knew that we would simply have to squeeze our way in if we were ever going to get out. So, we endured the most uncomfortable metro ride of our lives, with sweaty people packed on each side of us (with more than an interesting fellow yelling conspiracies about George Bush to our left), we finally breathed a breath of fresh air 20 minutes later. Seeing the crowds and being able to say that we were a part of the Rally to Restore Sanity was worth all the wait!