Springfield, MO - When Jon Stewart announced his "Rally To Restore Sanity" in Washington, D.C. this weekend, Ron Honn wished he could be there.
"I thought it would be really cool to do go that," said Honn.
But Ron isn't a college kid in a dorm watching Comedy Central. He's a 52-year-old resident of Stillwater, Okla. And that's 1,300 miles from the nation's capital.
So when his girlfriend, Vicke Adams, asked him days later what he wanted for his birthday, he told her.
"He said 'I want to be on the mall, at the rally,'" Adams recalled.
So she rented a bus and hoped she could find 20 people to ride with them across the country, enough people to make it financially possible.
Today, they're on one of three buses carrying 121 people who wanted to join Ron and Vicke and head to Washington. Some were from Stillwater, some came from the western part of the state -- even some folks from Kansas.
"It was an incredible outpouring," said Vicke. "Something I never expected."
Their caravan is traveling through nine states and left Friday morning at eight a.m. -- they didn't arrive outside Washington until five in the morning on Saturday.
Ron Honn's reason is simple for wanting to embark on such a long adventure.
"We've had a lot of anger the last couple of years and not a lot of fun," says Honn. "I think it's an opportunity to have a collective voice for sanity."
The sanity he wants to return to is the one he saw signs of two years ago, before angry town hall shout-downs and signs invoking Socialism and Hitler started popping up at political rallies.
"We've got to learn to talk to each other and not be crazy and angry and let that be our only voice," Honn explains. "So if this provides us an opportunity to walk back some of that anger, it could only be good for America."
Obviously a few of Ron's neighbors agree. After a lunch of fried chicken, fish and ribs at Ryan's Buffet in Springfield, Mo., all 121 of Ron and Vicke's followers headed back on the bus for an afternoon straight-shot down Highway 44. Most of them found out about the bus trip from a press release that was sent to local news outlets when Vicke became worried about filling the bus.
Soon they were sitting together, many only knowing one or two others on the bus, sharing iPods, Wi-fi connections, and pleasant conversation - a caravan of strangers looking for comic relief.
Most of the travelers are over retirement age. Many are women. One retired woman named Luzmi is celebrating a year to the day since she became an American citizen after moving from Zimbabwe to America.
"I'm going to Washington with a lot of sane people," she says, laughing with her seatmates. "Since coming to America, I've seen a lot of crazy people."
She's referring to the cable pundits and radical voices that the rally is expected to satirize. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central's late-night anchors, announced the rally to not only be for "restoring sanity," but as Colbert's character hopes, "and/or fear."
"He's making fun of, in a good natured way, the way we've escalated our rhetoric at one another," says Honn, who plans to get right back on the bus with his fellow Oklahomans as soon as the rally ends. That means the trip will be a full 60 hours, with sleep only on the bus.
"We'll hopefully get a catnap, but we've got work on Monday morning, and we've got chickens and dogs and cats to feed," he says.
Vicke's glad so many people could join Ron and take part in her birthday gift to him. She hopes the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" will be a memorable one, not only for Ron and the rest on this bus, but for a country steeped in an uncomfortably hot political climate.
"Sometimes lessons are easier learned if you can do it with a sense of humor," says Vicke.