*rrrrrringgggg! rrrrrrrringgggg!* The phone screams at around 5:30 AM. My buddy David rolls over on the bed, still half-dead, picks up the phone. mumbles something then drops it back on the receiver, and rolls over towards me, telling me that was our wake-up call. I sit up slowly and scratch my head wondering what the day will bring. Then it dawned on me, we have our segway tour of D.C. today! I leapt right up out of bed, well tried to, and caught my leg twisted in the sheets, and kinda just tumbled face-first to the carpeted floor. That was easily the low of my day, no literally, that was the lowest I was all day, laying face first on the ground. We met downstairs around 6:30 and had breakfast then loaded into the bus with Pedro, our busdriver. Pedro took us to the Capital building where we got some great photos of the building still with all the chairs and confetti lying around. Pedro was apparently very excited to see the Capital building up close because he cut-off a trolley going into a roundabout and kinda scratched up the side of the bus.
After the group picture was taken at the Capital building, we piled back on the bus, this time hoping not to excite Pedro too much, and went to the Iwo Jima memorial. The sight of the giant statue of those heroic soldiers kind of gives you an idea what it was like. After the tour of the Iwo Jima memorial, we headed down towards the Department of Agriculture to a Segway tour headquarters. We watched a video on the Do’s and Do Not’s of riding a Segway, which was mostly common sense but some stuff was pretty educational.
We headed outside where the Segways were parked and were assisted getting on them, well, everyone but myself and the guides. We were then separated into groups and began to ride through the streets and side-walks of Washington D.C. It’s kind of amazing, you drive by these monuments and statues in a car and they just kind of sit there. When you’re on a Segway, it’s as if they almost move with you. Now, I gotta admit, the Segways were a total blast, but there was one drawback, everyone’s hands were freezing and soon we couldn’t feel them. If you’ve ever gotten really really cold hands and tried to run them under hot water to warm them up, it doesn’t work, it just hurts extremely bad. We stopped at The Jefferson Memorial and all of us were quick to hop off our Segways and get inside to warm our frozen little paws up. While there, a few of us took a “selfie with the homeboy T. Jeffersizzle,” as put by my friend Pete. Once we could actually begin to move our fingers again, we opened up hand warmer packets and stuck them in our gloves and went back outside to our Segways.
Picture this: You’re working at a local hot-chocolate stand when some kids pull up on Segways, all bundled up in jackets, coats, gloves, and even the occasional scarf, and individually roll up to the window to buy some hot chocolate. Yeah, the woman working the stand didn’t seem too happy with the fact that we did not have to move our feet to get around and she did. After drinking our hot-chocolate, we rode over to the Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial, one of the best-kept secrets of Washington D.C. After the FDR memorial, we rode all the way around the river to the Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. memorial, which had been finished about a month before we arrived. It was really cool seeing all these people of different religions and races, socializing and taking funny pictures together. Actually, if you could’ve picked a moment on the trip to represent what America means, that would’ve been my moment.
We eventually made out way to the Lincoln Memorial where we took a group photo. Have you ever tried to get pets to pose for a picture? If so, picture that except thirty-three teenagers on Segways riding around as if we owned the memorial itself. After about 15 minutes of directing traffic and separating a few people, we were able to take the group photo. Immediately after the photo was taken, everyone raced towards the Lincoln Memorial as fast as possible. I got 2nd and kind of took out my buddy Steven on the start. Sorry about that dude. After the picture we checked out the Lincoln Memorial, got back on our Segways and made the group journey back to the headquarters.
Not even 100 ft. from where we had started, our group had an accident. We were about to cross an intersection when our guide suddenly stopped, causing me to jump off my Segway in alarm and causing my friend Taylor to freak out and bail off of her Segway. She landed with a thud but assured us all that she was perfectly fine. After we got back to the headquarters, we turned in our Segways, thanked the guides for taking us out, and got on the bus. We said goodbye to our tour guide for the trip and Pedro drove us to the Baltimore Airport.
Riding on the plane back to St. Louis, we were all tired and groggy. Since most people were asleep, I had the chance to try and sum up the trip in one single sentence. The trip to Washington D.C. was probably the greatest trip I’ll ever take because I was in awe of how much every one of us started to bond and become actual talking friends and not like “creepy Facebook friends” and we all got to watch each other and explore what made us who we are. If you ever get an opportunity to go to the Inauguration of The President, definitely go. Just being in the nation’s capitol at that time you’ll feel this oversoul surround you everywhere you go. Who knows, maybe in the next thirty something years, I’ll be able to take my kids to go see the Inauguration, and maybe you can too.