Ten hours after they departed from Baltimore for the Women's March on Washington, they returned to the bus Saturday as the sun fell, exhausted, proud, exhilarated.
Many of them were first-time marchers. They showed up on time for their 7 a.m. ride, which left from Paca Street downtown. They carried signs and had pink hats in hand. Friends had flown in from Oregon and London; a family had driven in from Pennsylvania. There were three generations of one family on the bus and a handful of men.
Not all of them liked to say it — they were trying to stay positive — but they were there because of President Donald J. Trump, worried about what his administration would mean for women, minority communities, the environment, the free press and democratic norms.
"This just got me so bad I thought 'I've got to do something,'" said Cyndy Ronald, 57, of Phoenix in Baltimore County, the organizer of this trip.
Ronald read about the march on Facebook and assembled two busloads — 110 people, well above her original goal of 40.
Her sister, Roseanne Wyatt, 60, booked her plane ticket from Oregon immediately after the election. Wyatt led a cheer on the bus for her sister, who had made the plans while recuperating from surgery.
As the bus set out, Ronald warned her fellow marchers to be wary of instigators. She watched with anticipation as bus driver Michael Gorham deftly rerouted around backups.
When they arrived near Union Station in Washington, the group posed for photos before setting out, joining the masses of people streaming toward the National Mall.
Kimmith Jones, 54 and his husband Saro Dedeyan, 57, of Baltimore were lucky and found a spot near the Air and Space Museum, where they could watch the festivities before trying to head toward the White House.
"We ended up walking 7.3 miles," Jones said.
Sally Barker, 71, of Phoenix had less success, getting stuck in a mass of people that packed tighter and tighter, running into dead ends as she strained to see the television or catch some of the speeches. Still, she was satisfied at the end of the day.
"We waited a long time in big crowds," she said. "The good news was that it's because there were so many people that they couldn't move."
Dorothy Wells, 58, of Baltimore headed for a street where people could still walk to take in the crowd.
"We watched the whole country go by," she said.
Ronald also missed many of the speakers.
"We missed seeing stuff, but I still think our presence was more important," she said.
The group met their buses at 5 p.m., breaking out granola bars and red wine as they sank into their seats and looked to see how the day was being reported.
Wyatt said the march had exceeded her expectations.
"I just felt for the first time since November that I had a sense of hope again," she said.