If the idea of unprecedented security and uncountable crowds didn't keep them away, not finding a place to sleep wasn't going to stop them either.
"I don't think it really matters whether I'm going to see him," said Donaldson. "It's just being there with four million other people that believed him when he said that voting for him was bringing something new to this country."
She met Kennedy in a political science class last year at UConn Torrington.
"No matter what we were discussing, Chelsea found a way to work Barack Obama's name into the discussion. And when I decided to make this trip, Chelsea was the first person I called," said Kennedy.
She hopes to drive her Toyota Corolla, but not to Washington. The closest motel room she could find to the inauguration that was also on a commuter railway is ninety miles away in Martinsburg, West Virginia.