Diehards See Motorcade

It was an inauguration Day like no other, Pennsylvania Avenue was nearly deserted. Only a few diehards brave~d the icy winds to see a presidential motorcade serve as a wan substitute for The marchers and bands, the horses and riders of the canceled inaugural parade.

On the grounds near the Capitol there were 26,000 empty seats spread out eerily before a barren platform where President Reagan was to have taken the oath of office. Spectators huddled instead inside warm hotel rooms and crowded restaurants to do what they would have done back home--watch it on television.

Ten miles away, the Capital Center, instead of going through its routine metamorphosis from hockey rink to basketball arena, was hastily converted to presidential parade grounds. Thousands who had planned to march in the parade-that-never-was settled for watching each other in a scaled-back inaugural rally attended by Reagan. Five of the 33 bands that would have marched down Pennsylvania Avenue got to show their stuff on national TV.

And some catering trucks destined earlier for lavish parade-watching parties were rerouted to soup kitchens and homeless shelters, after many of the affairs were. called off.

The villain in the piece was the weather. Bone-chilling winds and temperatures that plunged to four below zero, paying no heed to the fact that this was the nation's 50th inauguration.