Reagan Trip

June 2004

Part Three

* * * Part One * * * Part Two * * * Part Three * * *

We didn’t have much free time on the morning of the 12th. Checkout time was at noon, and we had to shower, have breakfast, and pack all in two hours. Luckily, we were able to get it all done, and with time to spare. Around 11:30, my dad pulled out of the hotel parking lot and headed toward the Washington National Cathedral, which holds the remains of Woodrow Wilson. We could only pray that the structure would be open to the public that day. Miraculously, we did not run into the same troubles that some other grave hunters did. The cathedral was open, and we were able to find Woodrow Wilson within mere minutes. Once we got the photographs out of the way, we retraced our way back to the pew area. The cathedral had been host to Ronald Reagan’s funeral just the day before, and thus there were wreaths with goodwill banners scattered all over. I walked over to the front row chair that President Bush had sat on the previous day and took a minute to sit down myself. While Helen Keller is also interred at the cathedral, we could not find her on the map. We didn’t feel like getting lost in some crypt trying to find her, so we exited the church and headed toward S Street, where president Wilson’s house is located. Unfortunately, we became confused by some signs on the street and eventually became lost, so we had to give up and head home.

In the van, my dad had an atlas of the United Sates and to occupy myself, I took a marker and began to circle the locations of every presidential grave. My dad then told me to turn to the New Jersey page to find the location of Princeton. It wasn’t too far from the highway, so my dad decided that we would drop by and try to visit Grover Cleveland as well. The sun was almost setting by the time we reached Princeton Cemetery. There wasn’t much time left, and we knew it. We quickly rushed over to the metal box near the gate and pulled out the last map of the cemetery. Within ten minutes, we had found the Cleveland family, near a fence close to Witherspoon Street. Not wasting any time, we took our photos, and moved onto the next priority: Aaron Burr. About five minutes and a few hundred feet later, we found his simple tombstone. It was just in time too, as the sun had started to go down. Having taken our photos, we exited the cemetery triumphantly, having conquered three new president graves (plus Kennedy's) all in one trip.

Not long after, we were back on the road and headed for home. It had been a very stressful week, but if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would. The “Reagan Trip” as we call it, my favorite trip, was done.

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