Random tips for your trip to the Inauguration

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Are you going to the Inauguration? Lucky you, to be among the thousands — millions? — of people who will be able to say they were in DC the day the first African-American president was sworn in.

Well, after spending a day in DC, here are some random tips you might want to keep in mind as you begin your adventure.

• Plan ahead for the weather. Unless you want to come back looking like a homeless person (exposed skin to the cold will do horrible things to your look, trust me), make sure to wrap a scarf around your face and sport the hat, gloves, pea coat, long johns and extra socks. Otherwise, you'll be hunting down a CVS to buy extra warmth: A hat, scarf and glove set is $7.99, by the way. I learned the hard way.

• If you happen to take highway 29 to highway 58 to get to Virginia (to avoid that long stretch of 85 that will most likely be the main route travelers from our area will be taking), please keep in mind that there are long stretches of road where cell phone signal is nonexistent. At least, not if you're on AT&T, the network with "the best coverage." And if you're driving late into the night by your lonesome, and you're a scaredy cat like me, this might not be the best idea. Hello? Anything can happen out there!

• If you're planning to stop for a quick bite on your way up, don't get your heart set on Taco Bell. McDonald's and Wendy's are the most popular fast-food restaurants located near the highway.

• Pack good CDs for the ride. Once you get into the wooded areas of Virginia, there's not that much going on in radio land.

• Make sure you research your planned method of transportation to actually getting to the inauguration itself. Some Metro stations will be exit-only stops, roads will be closed, and — hello? — there will be so many people there, it'll be easy to get confused. Here's some more information.

• If you easily get motion sickness, I recommend making sure you choose a seat on the subway facing the direction the train is going. Otherwise, you will be traveling backwards. Here's more information on the Metro.

• Bring your walking shoes. I somehow doubt the pedicab people who gave me a ride up to the Capitol Building from the Union Station Metro stop will be around that day. They might, though.

• I know DC can be a little intimidating, but leave your mace and pepper spray at home. It's not allowed. In fact, just be prepared to go through all kinds of security check points. Did you expect anything less? Here's a site to find out what other items are prohibited.

OK, that's my list. For more information on getting to the inauguration, click here. And good luck!

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