August 8 - Washington D.C.
Today was the big day. Our amazing journey across the country was set to come to an end on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building!
We woke up bright and early with very little sleep, but it didn't matter because today having sleep didn't really matter. We were all so excited, the whole day just flew by.
We had a ten mile ride to get through before we stayed up for arrival. We got out there and marked every single turn to stage up it was such a short ride. The hardest part was finding a place to park.
We arrived at stage up which was on a lawn at George Washington University. We got there first, and shortly after Build America showed up. Quite a while later the other two routes showed up. We waited at stage up for quite a while. We circled up with all the teams and staff members and said one final team prayer. We then circled up with our team and said some final words and got pumped up.
Next we had to figure out how to get our 9 crew members on my van which was driving in the arrival. We squeezed in, and got rolling directly behind the cyclists!
It was a surreal way to see Washington D.C. for the first time. We passed the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, and Washington Monument, and then turned to see the Capitol. A wave of feelings hit when we saw the Capitol for the first time. There were crowds of screening parents, so supportive, I felt like a super star!
We got out of our van and walked through a path in the crowd to the lawn. The Build America team was already in picture formation and we began to line up beside them. We turned and saw the crowd of supporters eager to hug their children who had been gone all summer, the funny, and supportive signs, and the smiling faces.
The CEO of the Ability Experience "Basil" spoke, and then invited Mark Timmes the CEO of Pi Kappa Phi to speak. The Project Managers for each route then spoke. It was really emotional, it really hit us that this was the last time that we would ever be together as a team. I may never see some of these guys, who have become my best friends, again.
After we took our team pictures, the families rushed into the lawn and many hugs were given and photos taken. I found Ryker my chapter brother and we hung out a bit before leaving. We made sure to thank Kevin Bachar who convinced us to do summer events back in January.
We went to the hotel, and then headed to "Orphan Lunch" where the parent ambassadors took us to Johnny Rockets. After lunch Ryker and I went to the National Postal Museum. I was surprised by how big and cool the museum was!
Once we got back to the hotel some of the North team was gathering in a hotel room to celebrate. We said some of our last goodbyes, and then headed to the banquet. The slideshow they played at the banquet was super emotional. This truly was our last time doing anything as a team.
After the banquet a lot of people went to dinner, and then out to celebrate on the town. I went with Kyle Marpe and his girlfriend Justine to dinner at the Dubliner. By the time we were done eating the place was packed with people from JOH and BAM. It was really cool to see everyone celebrating together, even staff and the CEOs from the Ability Experience and Pi Kapp came out.
Ryker and I left The Dubiner and walked to the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. It was a long walk. We sat on the steps of both memorials looking towards the illuminated Washington Monument and reflected on our summer, and the year to come.
We then walked back to the hotel said goodbye for another two days, and I headed to bed.