NO, JEN, DON’T!!!

We need that memorial!
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Thank you Mary

Mary is the woman from Senator John Kerry’s office who put me in touch with the right person at the White House. If it wasn’t for Mary’s help, I probably would never have had the opportunity to meet the president and deliver the books of messages. I can’t say Thank You enough to her.
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Sightseeing in DC

Besides the Lincoln Memorial (one of my faves), Jen and I saw the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial (in the last few years I’ve gotten to know a man here in Worcester County who worked to make that monument a reality the early 80’s), the Martin Luther King Memorial (opened just the previous month), the Korean War Memorial, the foodtrucks in Farragut Square, and The National Geographic Museum.
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Jen

My girlfriend Jen flew from Boston to Baltimore and met me in Washington DC on Wednesday afternoon. I hadn’t seen her since I left Worcester on four weeks before. She had rented a room at the Beacon Hill on Rhode Island Ave, perfectly just a mile from the White House and a mile from Kate’s apartment. This is us in front of the Lincoln Memorial, one of my favorite spots in Washington.
I really can’t say enough about Jen. Throughout the walk, it was she who made sure I had a place to stay (especially while walking though storm-ravaged CT) and made sure I iced my ankle and made sure I was taking the correct streets through cities. It was Jen who made sure I had my suit and dress shoes and a new and fashionable (but not TOO fashionable) tie. And most importantly, it was Jen who made sure that I arrived at the White House at exactly 11:15 on Thursday morning. I’m pretty bad at being kn time, and she knew this was one of two events in my life that I didn’t want to be late for.
Yeah, I’m pretty lucky to have a pretty good girlfriend.
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Lisa

My friend Lisa, who lives in Cambridge, happened to be in DC the weekend I was there, so we met up for an afternoon and along with a few of her friends visited the special galleries at the Library of Congress. One of the exhibits was on satellite imagery (which she was interested in) and another was on editorial cartoons (which I was interested in). Washington has so much to see, which makes it one of my favorite cities.
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Vaughn

I arrived in Washington on Tuesday night, pretty much as I had scheduled, and had set aside all of Wednesday to complete some errands before I handed the books over to the president on Thursday morning.
This is a pretty cool story… my first stop on Wednesday was at the headquarters of the Corporation of National and Community Service. The new Director of the National Civilian Community Corps, which was part of the CNCS, had heard of my walk and learned I was a NCCC alumnus from 2001. She invited me to the office to meet the staff and film a short video clip. I took a taxi to the building on New York Ave, got on the elevator, and when the doors opened, I heard some men talking in the hallway. For a second I thought, Man, that voice is familiar… and when I turned the corner there was my old NCCC Unit Leader (equivalent to my boss’ boss). I hadn’t seen Vaughn in ten years and one month – our last day on campus in Denver was November 2, 2001. Normally he’s based in Colorado, but coincidently he just happened to be in Washington and at the office the day I came by. AmeriCorps roots run deep, it was really good to see a friendly face there.
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On hiking poles

When I walked across country in 08, I didn’t think of using hiking poles until fellow cross-country walker Jodi Beth Harrington recommended them. I purchased a set of aluminum (?) telescoping sticks in Virginia, lost them in Connecticut, and borrowed a pair from Couchsurfers Matt and Lauren which carried me into Boston. It took me about one day to get used to walking with them, but once I was accustomed to coordinating my arms and hands with my feet and legs, the poles really helped to both establish rhythm and take the strain off the knees and hips. The only downside (especially in winter) was to do anything – take a photo, hand someone the book, send a text message, the poles I had to put the poles down, take off my mitts, take out the phone or book, then, when I was ready to move on, put the phone or book back, put on my mitts, pick up the poles, etc. The poles were helpful but not convenient.
Anyways, during this walk I chose to walk with poles again, and used one pair from Boston to DC. After a month of pounding pavement they were in pretty rough shape. One pole couldn’t collapse like it should, and since I couldn’t fly with them extended, I asked Kate to drop them in her trash for me. Before she did, though, I took this photo of the pole tip. When they were new, the rubber covering extended to the tip of my thumb. After 450 miles the rubber had worn down to this stub. Even the metal which made up the pole itself was filing down. Had I kept walking eventually I would have needed longer arms – hahaha.
But seriously, if 450 miles of constant thudding against concrete did this to rubber and metal, I wonder what 4700 miles did to my ankles, knees, hips and back.
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