Ok, feel free to vote me worst blogger ever! It’s been 4 days since the 8-28 rally in Washington, DC and I’m just now getting around to blogging about it. In my defense, I have been recovering ever since then. And if that’s any indication of the time I had, it’s pretty telling! Let me first say that the 8/28 Restoring Honor rally was not a political gathering, nor was it hostile, violent, partisan, or discriminatory. It was peaceful, nonpolitical, and massive. With an estimate of 500,000 attendees or more, it was without question the biggest crowd I have ever been a part of and the most people I have ever seen gathered in one location. I had planned to have a Washington, DC restaurant review to go along with this post, but unfortunately, it wasn’t in the stars that day.
Let’s start from the very beginning: 1:30AM arrival at the bus station in Newburgh
Dustin and I tried to adjust our sleeping schedule to accommodate this trip, but we failed. We ended up waking up at noon on Friday and decided to stay up all the way to boarding the bus for the 4-6 hour bus chartered bus ride later that night. I foolishly took a 40 minute walk that day, trying to tire myself out to nap on the bus. The tour we booked cost $75 per ticket and promised frequent rest stops to and from the event. Our bus was scheduled to leave at 2:00AM and arrive in DC at 8:00AM. We arrived at the bus station at 1:30AM and found a large group of people waiting in line to board the tour bus that was in the parking lot. To our dismay we learned that there was a second bus in the tour, but it’s running about 45 minutes late and we couldn’t board the bus that was already there because the second bus had the list of attendees. We waited there for an hour before the second bus arrived with people already on it! Finally, they started calling our names and we took our seats. The bus was new and clean, but tight. The child in front of me all of 4’5″ tall decided that he needed to have as much cubic footage as possible and reclined his seat all the way back into my knees. Dustin politely asked them to put it up a bit, but the doting mother gave us a look like we should be coddling her child or something. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s rude and unreasonable to expect someone to be uncomfortable in their seat for hours and hours in the middle of the night. From what I could see, no one else was that intrusive. We even made sure that the people behind us had enough room, it’s just common decency as far as I’m concerned.
We finally pulled out of the station at 3:00AM and figured we’d catch a few ZZz’s on the bus down there. Everyone else had the same idea as the bus went silent, except for the seats parallel to ours where two chatty-boxed 20-something girls sat talking loudly. They were the only ones talking, and loud enough to be heard anywhere on the bus, so you can imagine how loud they were right next to us. Sleep wasn’t happening. After an hour they finally shut up and one started snoring. I can live with snoring, it’s a natural restful sound. Hearing about your career hopefuls is not. At that time I had to tinkle and I was looking forward to the first rest area because I REALLY did not want to use the bathroom on the bus. Before we departed, I asked the driver when the first rest stop would be and he said, “In about an hour or 2.” I smiled and said, “An hour would be great!” An hour or two ended up being 3 hours before we finally stopped in Delaware. Good thing I skipped my diuretic that day or I’d surely have been miserable. I nodded off for a few minutes, but for some reason, I just can’t stay asleep on my back. I wake up every few minutes. I was delighted to find that the rest stop was modern and cleanly with a abundance of places to eat, not old and dingy like *cough* NY and PA rest areas. Dustin and I had an egg and cheese croissant from BK and bottled water. We didn’t really plan on eating at the rest stops, I brought snacks with us, but we realized we were hungry and it would be our last chance to eat anything substantial until much later in the day. So, when in Rome…
Two hours later we were in Washington, DC. With one stop, it took 5 hours from where we left in NY. Not bad, considering. On each bus seat was a program that explained where we would be dropped off and when we’d be leaving, along with instructions on how to get to the event. We had no idea what was in store, the web site didn’t mention any of this in the description or when we called to buy the tickets. Our bus parked at RFK Stadium, about 4 miles from the Lincoln Memorial. We were told to take the Metro, but the closest station was at the Smithsonian and from there it would be a mile walk to the event. Ok, that’s not all that terrible. Until you get to the Metro and realize the line to buy a ticket is an hour long! I kid you not. We finally got our passes at 9:00AM and went to wait for the train along with thousands of others. People that already had tickets were able to go through right away, but the bus company never mentioned ahead of time that we’d need train tickets or else we could have bought them in advance. *sigh* By then, the subway station was stuffy and getting crowded, but this was still only the beginning.
When our train pulled up, it was already FULL and no one was getting off, but more people piled on. Standing room only, body to sweaty body with total strangers, one of the worst social settings I can possibly imagine. We were packed in like sardines. But everyone was in good spirits, we just grinned and bore it. Overfull trains in August are incredibly stinky. This was not something I was anticipating. Not the reality you’d hope for after a long sleepless night on a bus.
Destination: Lincoln Memorial
I held onto Dustin with one arm and a metal bar with the other. You really can’t fight momentum. Trying to stay standing and not plummet into a sweaty stranger was a struggle, it was like a strength training session, especially because I could barely reach the bar above me. After 5 stops, our train reached its destination. Around the corner, the Washington Monument was in sight.
From the train, it was about a mile walk to the event. The hour I spent doing my makeup and hair was in vain, Dustin and I looked like we just ran a half marathon. Just getting to that point took 2 hours from the time our bus arrived. Did not expect that. We imagined our bus would at least drop us off closer. We would have prepared better if we had known. The first concession stand we spotted, we bought some cold drinks. I had a half bottle of lemonade and a whole bottle of water. I was SO thirsty; we’d been trekking through crowds for the better part of 2 hours by then. It was 10:00AM and the rally was starting, but we weren’t even at the Washington Monument yet. We had a ways to go and a lot of competition in our path. There were so many people, it was surreal. We really didn’t expect that many people to be there. We were in awe. And tired. Virtually no sleep, now 2 hours of walking, train balancing, and sweating, and now several more hours of walking lay ahead of us. Nonetheless, we trekked on.
By the time we reached the Washington Memorial it was obvious: we weren’t going to get anywhere near the Lincoln Memorial or even the Reflecting Pool. Hundreds of thousands of people were already there and moving to the front would be extremely difficult at that point. So, we conceded that we would have to settle for any view we could get. We walked around the sides of the park for an hour or two, there just wasn’t anywhere we could see from. We could hear the speakers, but we couldn’t see any of it. Not even the jumbo trons they had setup. This also wasn’t the place to be 5 foot 3; I couldn’t even see over the people in front of me, much less the main event, lol.
After two more hours of shuffling around the crowds in the 90+ degree bright sunny weather without so much as a glimpse of the main event, I needed to find another concession stand. I needed water desperately. The shady areas were few and far between, mainly because people were occupying them. There weren’t many vendors AT ALL or even water fountains! I couldn’t believe it. The few stands that there were had lines with hour-long waits. Dustin got on line to find one and I sat down on a bench, but it was right in the sun and I was feeling a little out of it. Remember: we had been up for 24 hours at that point. I couldn’t take the hot sun anymore, so I walked to Dustin and told him I was going to the bench by the shade, which was pretty far away from where we were. I made my way there, but this is when things started to get really bad for me. The benches were occupied, so I leaned up against a tree. I was feeling nauseated and dizzy, I was obviously dehydrated. Dustin was still standing on line and couldn’t even see where I was from there. Then my worst nightmare happened: I vomited the water + lemonade I drank earlier. I don’t think many people were paying attention to me, I tried to be discreet. As discreet as I could be on the verge of collapse. Thankfully a bench was free and I went to sit down immediately. In a few minutes, my prayers were answered when Dustin was coming over to me. But he was empty handed. He said the line wasn’t moving and he didn’t know how long it would have taken. He didn’t want to leave me too long, and I’m glad that he didn’t, because I was pretty scared.
I told him what happened and he felt so bad. He spotted a cart vendor on the other side of the trees and made his way to it as quickly as possible. He came back much faster this time, with a bottle of water, 2 bottles of lemonade, and a snow cone. That’s all the vendor had, but I was so grateful. I drank both bottles of lemonade and half the bottle of water within 2 minutes. Then I nursed the snow cone for about 20 minutes while we sat in the bench. I was feeling much better. Are there many things more embarrassing than getting sick in public surrounded by half a million people?! It gets worse.
We were still far away from the train and even from the Washington Monument. I still wanted to try to see something. I didn’t want this to be a completely wasted trip, so being I was feeling better we started walking again. It was hot, so so so hot and humid. We made it to the WWII Memorial, I was feeling pretty good still.
I wasn’t up to being in pictures, but Dustin humored me when I wanted to take some.
How awesome is he? He didn’t hesitate for a second to carry my heavy pocket book in the midst of hundreds of thousands of people. LOVE him! <3 Wish I had packed some snacks + drinks in my bag, but I also didn't anticipate there being so few places to buy drinks. I thought for sure there would be a vendor every 10 feet, but I was horrified to realize that wasn't the case in the least. Talk about poor planning!
So many people. So many lovely, well-behaved people. It was quite an experience.
We moved up to a place that allowed us to take some pictures of the main event, albeit from a distance. Dustin took some video, too. I had to stand on my tippy toes just to get this not-even-close to decent picture:
I was really disappointed to not be able to get a good line of sight for a few pictures or video, but we tried. These pictures aren’t my own, but I thought I’d share them. (source)
8/28 Rally: Restoring Honor
Alveda King, niece of MLK Jr.
The rally was scheduled to end at 1:00PM, so as you can imagine, the way back to the bus was brutal, even worse than getting there. 8/10 of a mile walk just to get out of the park. We decided we would try to get a taxi instead of getting on the 2-hour-wait line that was the Metro. We had no luck getting a taxi and we didn’t have cell phones with us. We didn’t think we’d need a phone being we were on a group tour, we hardly ever use our phones. Weird, I know. We finally conceded that we would have to get on the Metro. More walking, more standing in the blazing hot sun, and two hours later were on the train once again packed in like sardines. I was feeling nauseated on the train, the constant rumbling and then the thrust of taking off and stopping was more than I could handle. I thought I was going to vomit on the train, but I tried to keep my composure as best I could and I didn’t–THANK the powers that be. The lady that I was hovering over graciously offered me her seat, but I declined. I didn’t want to inconvenience her, but I clearly wasn’t thinking straight. I should have sat down, but I didn’t want to burden anyone.
We reached our stop and I stumbled off of the train. I couldn’t wait to get to a bench in the station. Instead of continuing to the stadium where our bus was parked, we sat on the cool subway station bench while everyone else hurried by us back to their bus. I couldn’t go on, I was just exhausted and there weren’t any vending machines to buy a drink from. We chatted with a lady next to us on the bench that lives in DC and she said that every other station has vending machines. How unlucky to be in one that didn’t. Figures. After resting for awhile, I felt like I could continue on. I just wanted to be back on the air conditioned bus. We made our way through the station, which seemed to be simmering down a lot. Then we reached the escalators that bring you to street level and wouldn’t you know that the escalators going up were out of service? So after walking and sweating for hours and hours straight in extremely warm, muggy weather with minimal fluid intake we had to climb 60 stairs just to get out of the train station. I wasn’t doing well, I don’t even know how I made it up the steps, but I did.
When we got to the top, I started feeling out of it and felt like I was about to pass out. My ears felt like they were filled with water and for a minute I couldn’t hear anything. I was starting to black out and honestly, I thought I was going to die right then and there. I couldn’t even tell if I was breathing or not, I felt nothing. There was a K-9 police officer with his dog at the top of the steps. Dustin went to him for help while I leaned up against the fence. When the people around us overheard what was going on, a nice lady gave me a bottle of water that was half-frozen and another group of people let me sit in one of their portable chairs and another lady who was a nurse came over to check my vitals and put a damp cloth on me. The cop was also amazing. First he offered for me to sit in his air-conditioned truck, which was about a block away. When he realized I wouldn’t be able to make it there, he radioed in for a paramedic. After I sat down and drank the water, I was starting to feel better again. I was so scared, though. About 5 minutes later the paramedics showed up. I was suffering from extreme heat exhaustion and they were concerned that I had heatstroke. My ears weren’t cloudy anymore and I felt like I was returning to normal by then, but they checked my blood pressure; it was 128/80 — normal. Then they did a blood sugar test to make sure that my sugar wasn’t too low and it was 148. That freaked me out, I’ve never seen my sugar that high before, but I’ve only tested it when I was fasting. The paramedics assured me that it was good, but I still thought it was high being I hadn’t eaten all day. Although, I did have 2 bottles of lemonade (60g sugar each!) and part of a snow cone about 2 hours earlier, so I imagine that would spike my blood glucose considerably. After I did some research at home, I found out that dehydration/heat exhaustion can make your blood sugar higher when your blood is concentrated and when your body is under stress of any kind.
I signed a waiver not to go to the hospital. I probably should have gone, but I was honestly feeling much better after resting + drinking water. The police officer and his doggy talked with us until he was sure I was ok. He brought me another bottle of water from his truck and I had a drink with his dog. The cop was sweet enough to pay me a compliment during my near-death experience, lol. When he was calling the paramedics, he said, “I’m sorry I have to ask how old you are.” So, I said, “I’m 30″ and he said, “Ok, sorry, had to ask. You don’t look it.”
The paramedics were also very kind and professional. I was very impressed by Washington DC’s public service heroes, they were awesome. So thankful for all the helpful people that day, I wish I knew who all of you were. I’m not going to lie, not everyone was kind and considerate. There were some downright rude, pushy people at the rally, but that’s a given for any crowd. It was eyeopening for sure.
The bus was still pretty far away from where we were, I think about a mile? We painfully made our way back to the stadium parking lot only to discover that our bus was one of the few that wasn’t letting people back on yet!!! They had a policy: The bus doors had to be locked for at least 8 hours, so we had to wait for another hour before we could ever get back on the bus. We found a shady ledge in the tunnel of the stadium. Firemen drove by once in awhile and passed out bottled of warm water. We couldn’t wait to go back home. Oh, and I had to tinkle. My only options were public porta potty — EWWWWW !!! Or the bus, EWWWWW too. *sigh* The bus wasn’t that bad, it was clean and had hand sanitizer. I wanted to bathe in a vat of bleach by this point. Never thought I’d be so thrilled to be back in that bus seat. Heck, that annoying kid in front of me could have sat on my lap all the way home for all I cared at that point.
So, we boarded the bus at 4:00PM and everyone was on it, except for 2 people. We ended up having to wait an hour and a half longer for 2 people that claimed to get lost on the way back. Obviously the bus driver had a no passenger left behind policy. We were the only bus left in the parking lot. I was too tired to even moan and groan about it, I just wanted to go home. On the way home, the bus driver put a movie on for us. There were 4 options and leave it to the majority to choose the worst movie for that day: Marley and Me. REALLY? A tear jerker? As if I needed to lose more electrolytes and water?!?! UGH! Sure enough, I couldn’t help but cry. One of the saddest movies I have ever seen. It makes Old Yeller look like a happy ending.
We ate some snacks on the bus, I had PB+J crackers. I actually wasn’t feeling too hungry, I was water-logged and exhausted and sore from head to toe. We stopped at that same rest stop in Delaware about 2 hours into the trip home, but we only had half an hour to use the restroom and eat. The food lines were SO long, we would have missed the bus! So, Dustin and I settled for some sandwich shop with a European name that eludes me at the moment and shared a turkey + bacon sandwich. It tasted good. We also stopped in the convenience store on the way out where I bought another ham + cheese sandwich. Oh yeah, I wasn’t holding back on the sodium that day. I needed it for the first time in my life. I wish I would have anticipated what kind of day it was going to be, I would have brought our snacks with us to the event. I never dreamed that there wouldn’t be any accessible snack stands! I also didn’t know we’d be doing THAT much walking. We assumed our bus would at least drop us off somewhere close to it, not 4 miles away. In our opinion, they definitely could have dropped us off closer, at least closer to another train station. Oh well, what can ya do? heh
I can’t express how happy I was to get back to our car. It was a sight for sore eyes. We got off the bus feeling NASTY! I didn’t even want to sit in our car, that’s how bad we smelled and looked, lol. When we got home, I put my clothes right in the wash and went straight to the shower. I didn’t even want to sit on or touch anything. We were gross! I’ve never felt so disgusting in my life, LOL. A shower has never felt so good. It was absolutely heavenly. We slept over 10 hours that night, it was good to be home. And clean.
So yeah, that was my experience at the rally. If we had gotten a better view, it all would have been worth it–heat exhaustion and all. Unfortunately, we didn’t get that luxury, but it was still cool to be part of such a spectacular event. I’m sure it will make for some funny stories in the future.
I was still concerned about my glucose reading on 8/28. I know 148 isn’t that high, but I wouldn’t overlook it, either. I had my mom go out and buy me a glucose monitor on Sunday so I could take it after fasting the next day. I bought an Accu-Check Aviva. It doesn’t even come with test strips, the test strips were $56!! That’s insane. Anyway, I tested first thing in the morning before I ate or drank anything. That’s when your blood sugar is highest.
80-120 is a normal range, but I still feel like 102 is a little high. Every fasting test I’ve taken at the doctor’s office has been 89 or less. However, my body went through a traumatic experience on Saturday, so I figured it would take some time to regulate itself.
About the same, but going down.
Much better! I’d still like to see it between 80 and 90, though. I’m going to the doctor this week to
Oh, and I came home to a computer infested with ransom-ware (trojan). It had to be lying dormant somewhere in my system and decided to slither to the surface when I wasn’t around. So annoying. I had to backup everything and install a new operating system. Just the thing I wanted to do after a day like Saturday, LOL. Blah. I lost some emails, so please resend if you haven’t heard back from me from a message you sent in the past 4 or 5 days. <3
Life seems to be back to normal now, I feel much better, lost a few more pounds during that ordeal and have even kept off the other 10 lbs I lost from last month’s experiment. Yay! 4 days later and my legs are still sore. I’ve been taking it easy, probably a little too easy, hence no blogging, lol. I have a lot of blogs to catch up on, sorry that I’ve been MIA!! But I’m infinitely grateful to be here to have the opportunity to catch up.
Have you ever exhausted yourself at an event? I’ve definitely learned my lesson!Like this post? Share it, e-mail it or print it:
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