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Old 10-04-2012, 07:01 PM   #91
Dr. Greg OP
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Thursday 10/4: Hagerstown, MD - Chambersburg, PA

Like I said yesterday, it was sort of stupid of me to ride almost as far as SoPaRider's place, but stop so close. Well, turns out that wasn't the ONLY stupid thing I did...

It was only a 25-mile ride from Hagerstown, MD to Chambersburg, PA where I stopped briefly to chat with SoPaRider. We agreed that I'd ride over to the Gettysburg National Military Park for the afternoon, then come back to his place for the evening. And that's what I did.

OK, as for the really stupid thing I did...okay, maybe not stupid, but...


A "Near-Showstopper" for the PIC Content of this Ride Report

My camera battery was slowly discharging, as one would expect. "No sweat," I told Mrs. Greg over the phone yesterday, "I'll charge it tonight, or maybe put the spare battery in." So last night I looked for the charger and spare battery...HEY, THEY AREN'T THERE!! Now, remember that early pic with all my stuff spread out? The charger and extra battery were in that pic! I KNOW IT! So I checked again. Nothing. Hmm, this could be ugly. "Plan B" would be to take pics with the iPad, which of course I can't do while riding ("yay," says Mrs. Greg).

So I told myself when I got back to SoPaRider's place I'd thoroughly check through ALL my gear...


A PIC-Less Description of the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center

So I rode over to Gettysburg and thought I'd visit the "Visitors Center" at the National Military Park. That should be "do-able" in an afternoon, right? Well, turns out that it was. I paid my money (too much!), sat thru the film, then checked out this big circular painting (the "Cyclorama"), then visited the museum.

And it affected me profoundly. Mainly the museum.

BUT...I can't adequately share my thoughts with you because I can't post the pictures. And I can't post the pictures because I REALLY DID FORGET MY STUPID CAMERA BATTERY!! So my camera went "dead" before I was really finished taking pics at the museum.

And now that I'm back at SoPaRider's house working on the RR, I can't upload the pics, so I can't talk about my profound feelings, and...I'M VERY FRUSTRATED!


SoPaRider to the Rescue!

But SoPaRider said, "hey, there's a camera store in Chambersburg, PA...let's go over there and see if we can't get you a battery." Well, he drove us over there, and turns out they DIDN'T have a camera battery, but...EVEN BETTER they had a CHARGER! Even better, cuz if I had bought a battery it might not have been fully charged. Teach a man to fish...

So anyway, I'm back in business! I'll upload what pictures I WAS ABLE to take at the Visitor Center, and do my best to comment on them.

But I just don't feel like doing it tonight. Too late.


Tomorrow's Agenda at Gettysburg

So tomorrow morning I'll update the RR, with pictures and everything. Sorry (in advance) that I had to forego taking some pics I really wanted, cuz of the dead battery. That's life.

Then after that I'm hoping to ride back over to the G'burg National Military Park and riding the 24-mile "Auto Tour" route (or at least some part of it). I'll try to take what pics I can, and update the RR at SoPaRider's place when I return.

I don't honestly know how this will all work out. Tomorrow (Friday) is supposed to be nice, but the weather is going to degenerate again, and I'd like to get out of here (to the South) before the rain hits in earnest.

So I'm very happy that we found a solution to the camera battery issue (now I wonder where my original charger/battery are...Mrs. Greg says she can't find them, and I KNOW they made it home from China).

Looking forward to a good night's rest and a good day tomorrow.

--Doc

PS. I'm just about of the opinion that all future Civil War re-enactions should be performed with live ammunition. That's the only way I can "make sense" out of the whole affair. Nuff said.

PPS. This would be a good time to discuss the "Dr. Greg" LOGO on my T-shirts. But too late for that, too...
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:15 PM   #92
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Looking at the weather, maybe you need to stay with Jeff over the weekend. Once you get through this weekend you have 7 days of sun scheduled

Then between rain showers this weekend Jeff can show you what us "Eastern Yankees" love to ride.
Jeff has hundreds of miles of beautiful stone roads that run through the mountains, right across the street from his castle. Sorry I will miss meeting you, I can't be out that way this weekend.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:39 PM   #93
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How cool is it that SoPaGuider and I can be part of Dr. Greg's ride report while it's happening. We've all turned in for the night and we both look forward to spending another day and night with "The Doctor" tomorrow; stay tuned for further updates as they occur!

Jeff (SoPaRider) & Karen (SoPaGuider)
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:42 PM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creggur View Post
Loving this!
Yeah, so am I!

...most of the time.

--Doc
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:46 PM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TowPro View Post
Looking at the weather, maybe you need to stay with Jeff over the weekend. Once you get through this weekend you have 7 days of sun scheduled

Then between rain showers this weekend Jeff can show you what us "Eastern Yankees" love to ride.
Jeff has hundreds of miles of beautiful stone roads that run through the mountains, right across the street from his castle. Sorry I will miss meeting you, I can't be out that way this weekend.
Ahhh...not sure he'd tolerate me. He seems like a much classier guy than this hick from the backwoods of SoCal.

But 7 days of sun, eh? Time enough to get back down to DWalt!

--Doc
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:52 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jposttx View Post
Hey doc- enjoying your trip - ur on one of bucket list trips would love to follow that civil war trail
In addition to the non fic you have read - I love all those series but really love Shelby foote - by the way

I would strongly recommend killer angels about Gettysburg

Reading a bio of Bedford forest ( the devil forrest ) right now - not sure if I recommend it yet.

Would recommend a monster that is the 'offical' multi volume series of after action reports
Got it on the shelf .....I'll fetchit here shortly
Look fort in bargin bins or at a half price book store...wait here I'll go look
Battles and leaders of the civil war
Hey, I've been intrigued by the "Wizard of the Saddle," lemme know whatcha think of that book. Thx.

--Doc
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:55 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by kitesurfer View Post
take the $28 bus tour of G'burg. it's well worth the money! There are some things there that go bump in the night. I camped at caledonia state park which is about 10 miles outside G'burg--saw my first 'orb' there.
Do you think the bus tour is better than riding around the Auto Tour route by oneself?

Thx.

--Doc
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:48 AM   #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Greg View Post
Do you think the bus tour is better than riding around the Auto Tour route by oneself?

Thx.

--Doc
i couldn't do the auto tour on the bike because of no cd player on the bike. but the tour guide i had was a wealth of information. we did follow much of the auto tour i think, judging by the people each time we stopped..they seemed familiar. i was there july 2/3rd and it was totally hot, so the big bus with cold air was great for me. after the tour i rode it all on my bike--for reflection. this entire battlefield has not been changed..it's all original with nothing removed and nothing added. same treelines/paths/roads...it was a very moving experience for me. as a side note, there is a liquor store 100 yds from the Subway :)
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:05 AM   #99
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Thanks. Well, obviously I don't have a CD player either. And it's not gonna be hot today. Plus I don't really know my schedule, cuz I have to update this stupid RR first

So I'll probably just ride the bike around the Auto Tour route and make the best of that. Again, thanks for your insights.

--Doc

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitesurfer View Post
i couldn't do the auto tour on the bike because of no cd player on the bike. but the tour guide i had was a wealth of information. we did follow much of the auto tour i think, judging by the people each time we stopped..they seemed familiar. i was there july 2/3rd and it was totally hot, so the big bus with cold air was great for me. after the tour i rode it all on my bike--for reflection. this entire battlefield has not been changed..it's all original with nothing removed and nothing added. same treelines/paths/roads...it was a very moving experience for me. as a side note, there is a liquor store 100 yds from the Subway :)
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:35 AM   #100
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Doc - After all the reading you've done, the self guided tour is plenty. I suggest you start at Culp's Hill and orient yourself. Then move clockwise to the 'Angle' just below the crest of Cemetary Ridge. You can visualize Picket's Charge across Emmitsburg Pike from Seminary Ridge that foundered below the wall. Something like two miles of charge without cover.

From there you can move south to overlook the Peach Orchard. Then ride to both the Round Tops and the Devil's Den below them. I'd cross over to Seminary Ridge and work my way north examining where the Confederates launched from. You end up skirting nortwest of the town with plenty more to see and then into the town.

You should be able to get a battlefield map to help. I like to start around Culp's Hill because you can visualize the Union rush up the Baltimore Pike to dig in on Cemetery Ridge and set their artillery. After getting that done, they basically sat for three days moving units around to reinforce their lines wherever they were being assaulted from across the valley. Brutal!
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:49 AM   #101
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Another book suggestion

Sorry to say I had not seen this report before today and this may be a repeat:

For some interesting information on the Gettysburg battle may I suggest "These Honored Dead" by Thomas Desjardin.

It is not a description of the actual battle but addresses many of the stories/legends/myths that surround it and tries to provide the facts. I found it quite well done.

Certainly hope you enjoy the remainder of your trip.

Ned
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:54 AM   #102
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Thursday 10/4: Gettysburg Nat'l Military Park "Visitor Center"

With my camera battery again fully charged, I was able to upload the pics I took at the Gettysburg National Military Park "Visitor Center" yesterday. Unfortunately the time elapsed has caused the memories to fade slightly (as you get older you'll understand...) but I'll do the best I can at commenting.


Leaving Hagerstown...

When I awoke in Hagerstown, MD it was pretty gloomy outside...however it wasn't actually raining at the time.


On the way up to Chambersburg, PA I crossed the MD/PA state line, and stopped at the PA "Welcome Center." Decided to park about 200 yds beyond it and walk back. Guess I like to do things the hard way...


I asked about Gettysburg and was given the "Official Gettysburg Visitor's Guide" by the bored young lady working the desk. I thanked her profusely and sat down to take a look. What a disappointment! Nothin' but ads for one tourist trap after another. I waited till I got outside to throw it away...wouldn't have fit in my "map pocket" anyway.


The "Shoe" Confrontation

So I finally made my over to Gettysburg, went thru their quaint little "traffic circle" and found my way to the Visitor Center. The sign advised me to park a ways uphill, cuz the downhill lots were already full. Man, what must the parking be like around July 4?

I decided to park way over by myself; that way I'd "highlight" Milledue, making it an even more attractive target for anyone who wanted to check thru my gear.


After removing my riding gear (I wear walking shorts underneath so I'm decent) I thought "y'know, I don't really wanna dig down in my topcase to get my moccasins out." I'll just go barefoot. I go barefoot all summer long...drives Mrs. Greg crazy. So off to the Visitor Center I march (probably an apt term here...)

Well, upon getting inside (was gonna take a pic) I was overwhelmed...by the ticket prices, I mean! Everything was expensive! Then a guy came up and said "hey, buddy, you're gonna hafta get some shoes on." OK, he didn't quite say it like THAT, but that's what it sounded like. We had a little discussion with his supervisor, and the good Dr. walked back to Milledue...

Happy now?

While walking back down to the Visitor Center I decided that an "attitude adjustment" was in order...this was my VACATION and I shouldn't let them spoil it. So I strolled into the Visitor Center, got out my credit card, and bought my ticket for the movie, Cyclorama painting, and museum.


The Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center

The film---narrated by Morgan Freeman---was good, but somehow it didn't really "grab" me. That's OK. That's my problem, not the film.

But the Cyclorama (they gotta get a better name) WAS pretty cool! It's a 360-degree painting with way too many scenes to mention:


The "lighting" changes during their presentation (that's why this "violet" hue); I included this scene for all you ARTILLERY enthusiasts out there...


Here's a little info on the artis:


Next are a bunch of random pics of various posters, etc.


Somehow they don't make political cartoons like this anymore...


This description of a Civil War "canteen" used terminology that seemed surprisingly "high-tech" to me; anyway it tickled my funnybone...


Nobody can ever accuse General Lee of not having affection for his troops:


The redoubtable JEB Stuart kind of "blew it" at Gettysburg. *Perhaps he was too smug after all of his previous "circling the enemy" gyrations...


BTW, my "favorite" cavalryman is the dreaded Nathan Bedford Forrest. Although his political (and human rights) beliefs might be questionable.

And to think that I complain because I used to get up for work at 0450...(that's true, BTW)


Ah, yes, the dreaded HARDTACK "cracker", or whatever it was...infamous, that's for sure.


Seems like camping gear has made progress from then till now...


Seven Slides Depicting the Campaign: I snapped this sequence of text slides...they sort of tell the story of what was happening, I guess.












Even I've heard of "Pickett's Charge"


Another shot for you ARTILLERY enthusiasts...


This says it all...


Well, folks, this is where my camera battery went DEAD. But enough is enough...

I think the thing that affected me most deeply was an "audio" exhibit that discussed the AFTERMATH of the battle. It simply OVERWHELMED the little town of Gettysburg. The wounded and dead were stacked in heaps; the wounded moaning beneath the dead.

One woman was quoted as saying "any wound that could be made to the human body by iron or lead was in evidence..." It rained heavily on July 4, thereby hastening the putrefaction of the dead bodies. Hastily-dug graves resulted in the bodies coming back to the surface quickly after burial.

The town of Gettysburg dealt with the aftermath of this battle for seemingly endless months.

My spirit could barely perceive (well, really it couldn't) this degree of death and destruction. Although I think some other battles may have been even worse.

Sigh. Why can't we all just get along.

I'll end this by saying that, again, I'm coming round to the idea that future Civil War re-enactions should be done with live ammunition. And this is coming from someone who grew up with guns, who could go shooting off his back porch. I just don't know...


My Wonderful Hosts at Gettysburg

I stayed with SoPaRider and SoPaGuider at Chambersburg (nearby to G'burg); here are Jeff and Karen at our dinner table (note Dr. Greg has a beer at the ready!). This is a lousy picture of Jeff and Karen, but they were exceptional. Thanks!!



The Gettysburg "Auto Tour" Route

So today I'm gonna ride back over to the Military Park and try to ride the "Auto Tour" route on Milledue. Not sure how that's gonna work out, but I'll see. The weather is gorgeous today, but it's gonna degenerate again tomorrow and Sunday. With any luck I'll start moving SOUTH on Saturday morning and maybe stay ahead of it. Probably not, though...

--Doc
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:32 PM   #103
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Your not too far from the national Civil War Museum as well. Just up the road in Harrisburg.

http://www.nationalcivilwarmuseum.org/
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:14 PM   #104
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There are artillery nuts here? Here is a little treat, my daughter gets pressed into service as a powder monkey at a re-enactment camp...! Sorry for the bad quality video, the cell phone that recorded this video has been sacked.



Hoping to hear from you Dr Greg, it'd be great to guide you around town, and maybe show you some Carolina Lowcountry. Did I mention I know the landowner of a CW battleground?
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:27 PM   #105
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Friday 10/5: Riding Around the Gettysburg Military Park "Auto Tour" Route...

What a day...

I better apologize in advance for the tone of this day's report. Riding around the Gettysburg battlefields affected me in a way that I DID NOT expect. I guess that's why we travel, right? To broaden our horizons...

The Gettysburg "Auto Tour" route is a 24-mile self-guided road that passes thru the significant points in the area. It is FREE (yay!) and---while there are bus tours, which may have been a better idea---I rode the entire thing on Milledue. Being "alone" while experiencing this may actually have intensified the experience.

I have the map of the route; I'll try to comment as best I can. Plus I'll plagiarize from the National Park Service documentation.


McPherson Ridge---Where it all Started...

The Battle of Gettysburg began about 8 a.m. to the west beyond McPherson barn as Union cavalry confronted Confederate infantry advancing east along Chambersburg Pike. Here are a few pics from McPherson Ridge:




(there are more monuments than you can shake a stick at...)


Hey, whaddya think of the "naked bike" look? Honestly, I could not tell a bit of difference in the way the bike handled/performed...



The "Eternal Light" Peace Memorial...

Pardon my cynicism, but whenever I hear the word eternal, I recall an old movie ("Forest Lawn" or something like that) in which the Funeral Director is discussing the virtues of "standard eternal" vs "perpetual eternal." Well, here's the Eternal Light Peace Memorial


Here's a rundown on another of the ARTILLERY GROUPS


And here's their artillery:



Pickett's Charge!

I THINK this is the field that hosted "Pickett's Charge." Imagine a group of guys a mile long, standing side-by-side...poor guys!


Here's the plaque for Pickett's Charge:


And here's another view of the associated battlefield:


General Lee took the blame:


Omigosh, I'm not sure what "monument" this is...sorry!


I'm getting tired...gonna quit with the headings. Here's the "Virginia Memorial" plaque:


And here's the memorial itself:


This "Alabama Memorial" kinda caught my eye:



"Little Round Top"---What an AWFUL Place!



Here's a view from Little Round Top


"Valley of Death"---can you imagine being there?



The Pennsylvania Memorial is the largest in the Park: here are two views...





This "Spangler's Spring"...one side caught the other side (honestly, I forget which!) filling their canteens, and ended up surprising them (I think; I may have this completely wrong)


I came across this big observation tower near Culp's Hill...


So naturally I had to climb it.


So let's end this day on a HIGH note (pun intended)...


My Reaction to All This...

My title to this RR was "making sense out of the Civil War." And my feeling today (especially during mid-day) was that "I never wanna see any more Civil War stuff as long as I live." I've calmed down a little now, but I honestly don't think I may visit any more Civil War sites during this trip.

War is SO HORRIBLE that I'm NOT sure it should be "glorified," studied, "monumented," etc.. Now, I would not have predicted that reaction to it on my part. But I was SO PROFOUNDLY affected by what I saw today (interestingly, Vicksburg didn't have the same effect) that right now I DO NOT wanna visit Antietam, Harper's Ferry, Shiloh, etc. Maybe I'll change my mind.

All I really wanna do now is visit my ol' buddy John, in South Carolina, then ride home to Mrs. Greg. I honestly DID NOT expect to have this reaction.

It's been a hard day. The weather for the next couple days doesn't look too good, but it is what it is. I'll try to keep up with the report as best I can.

Cheers,

--Doc
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