The Frazier family prepares to board the bus.
After weeks of preparation and mounting excitement, nine members of the Frazier family of Marquette Park left this morning on their "Road trip to the White House."
But they say anything worth having is worth waiting for.
And after weeks of preparation and mounting excitement, Pamela, her two children and six grandchildren, would have to wait a little longer -- three hours, to be exact.
One of the two Trailways buses broke down en route from Rockford to pick up their tour group at 87th & the Dan Ryan. Trailways then drew the group's ire by promising to get the second bus to them within an hour -- which turned into two hours and then three hours.
The Fraziers and their group wait out a three-hour delay leaving on their "Road trip to the White House."
Purely Destinations owner Ivory Cotes, the 25-year-old, South Side tour operator who organized the three-day event for 103 people, worked overtime to calm frazzled nerves from dashed expectations, holding the first bus until the other was close.
"I'm just as frustrated as you are," Cotes told her increasingly antsy travelers over and over. "As badly as you want to get to D.C. is just how badly I want to get there."
Finally, what started in November 2008 -- after Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's historic landslide win inspired matriarch Pamela Frazier to declare she was going to the inauguration and taking her children and grandchildren with her -- culminated with their bus pulling off Monday, onto the Dan Ryan and toward the I-90 Skyway and the East Coast.
Cheers went up. "Obama, here we come!" the Fraziers shouted.
Then prayer went out, as 57 heads bowed in unison.
"Heavenly father we just thank you for this opportunity. Please take us to our destination safely," Gwendolyn Martin, 50, of Roseland, said, leading the group in prayer.
"Let us be filled with gratitude for the occasion we are about to be a part of.
"And please bless our new president."
Pamela and her two daughters, Lataunya Frazier and Marquita Wright; and six grandchildren, Ryaan, Semaja, Michael III and Mylon Frazier; and Asia Wright and Bryan Jackson, had arrived at 8 a.m. sharp at 87th Street. Whole rolls of film had been used up even before they'd gone one mile, and not the three-hour delay nor snow on the way could dampen their enthusiasm.
"We're so excited. We've been up since 5 o'clock this morning trying to get out of the house," said 58-year-old Pamela.
"We've been packing all night long, and we've been shopping all week, buying everything we need so we can stay warm in Washington, because we plan on staying all day in Washington tomorrow, trying to get a glimpse of Obama," she said as the bus rolled, the movie "Eye On The Prize" beginning to play.
"Me and all the family, we're just having a great time. This is the trip of a lifetime."