Obama’s Inauguration – One Long Bus Trip

Call it Pete and Ted’s excellent adventure. 27 hours, 28 degrees, millions of people and a few major technical issues. All just to “be there.” A group from New London chartered a bus down to the inauguration. When asked why they were enduring the pong trip and cold temperatures, many repeated a common sentiment: They wanted to be there, to be a part of history, even if meant standing over a mile away looking at a far off video screen and listening to a distorted and echoey audio feed.

obama

Reporter Ted Mann and I made the trip, hopping on the bus around midnight. I shot some photos on the rie down, and Ted wrote a blog post. I was planning on sending some photos, but my laptop battery was dead. I managed to transmit one image froma rest area in Delaware around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. I found a power outlet next to the Sbarro bussing station.

Ever the brave reporter, Ted kept a running commentary on Twitter, including a camera phone image of a sleepy looking photojournalist on the Metro.

I alternated between audio recorder and still cameras. I had a video camera in my pocket, but couldn’t realistically make three devices work and still do a decent job.

After lots of walking, lots of standing around in the cold, and about 538 photos later, we were heading back on the bus with no way to send back photos. Ted got his story sent off before his battery died. Meanwhile, I edited on my cameras’ LCD screens and wrote cutlines by hand in my notebook. Sometime after 8 p.m., we pulled into a rest area in Maryland. We had 20 minutes. I sprinted inside and sat down on the floor next to the first power outlet I found. It was under the payphones next to the door. Lots of people stared at me, not sure if it was the fact that I was sitting on a dirty floor with a laptop or my unwashed hat hair. Anyway, I got 11 photos FTPed and everyone was happy.

Didn’t manage any significant sleep on the bus, so oI logged all my audio and got ideas together for a slideshow. We got back to the office around 2:30 a.m. and I cranked out the Soundslides production. Had the slideshow on the Web by 4:30, home and in bed around 5.

I’m pretty sure that’s the longest I’ve ever gone without sleep. If you ignore a few minutes of dozing off on the bus, I was awake from 10 am Monday until 5 am Wednesday. 43 hours.

My slideshow

Ted’s story

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