Follow Sendero travelers on their adventures using accessible GPS.
Weather, which impacted both of the Olympics in Vancouver, also dampened the celebration at the White House today, April 21, 2010, planned for the south lawn. Instead of all the athletes and delegations being outside, we broke into small groups in separate rooms in the West Wing of the White House.
Soon after arriving and being escorted to the West Wing lobby by the Secret Service, I was joined by Bonnie Saint John, an amputee skier from the 84 Paralympics and then by Peggy Fleming from the 1968 Olympics. Bonnie commented that Peggy looked stunning and must have been 9 years old instead of 19 when she competed. We had a great time visiting and then we were escorted to the "Map" room, quite the appropriate place for a GPS guy to meet the President. Our little group was joined by Iraqi veteran, Heath Calhoun and Shani Davis who won bronze and gold medals both in 2006 and 2010. Other dignitaries trickled in while we got situated for our meet and greet.
With great gusto, the Obamas and Bidens congratulated all of us, we chatted individually and took formal and informal photos together. When hugging Michelle Obama, I was surprised how tall she was. I reminded the President that we had met in July and passed along greetings to them both from Stevie Wonder who I hung out with last night in DC.
The Bidens were very gracious and I was struck how lively the Vice President could be. You could tell he would be fun to adventure with.
After they all moved on to the next room with more Olympic athletes, we got a quick tour of the Oval office and then made our exit. I dashed for Union station to make a train to Harrisburg for a conference Thursday and then back out to the "left" coast for the CTEBVI conference. I did rather enjoy taking a taxi with Peggy Fleming, guiding the driver to her hotel and then to the train station. Starting with my spontaneous trip to DC for the inauguration last January, I keep being surprised when two, three, four and now five visits have transpired for White House related events in 15 months. What a privilege and how fun to reflect back to the first visit in 1984.