Friday, August 31, 2007

August 31, 2007 Gordonsville, VA

Today was a slower day. We started out by going to Charlottesville, VA to shop at a Sam's Club. Then Carol did housework around the rig and I finally repaired the TV antenna. Having an RV means either paying through the roof to have a dealership take care of a problem or learning to do it oneself. I am learning to do more now. The guy with 6 thumbs now has a couple more fingers and one less thumb. The repair went well. Sis and Bro are now here. They checked into the lodge and came over to the campsite. We spent a great evening together - Judy brought over a home made peach pie to celebrate my birthday. It was uncooked and so they cooked it in the convection oven. It was great. Carol and I both shot our diets to heck and loved it. They also brought a CD that they made when John rewrote Happy Birthday and they sang it karaoke style with a full orchestra. It was so funny and great that I had tears in my eyes. 67 years old and getting soft. Tomorrow we return to the Civil War tour and will have them with us. We will go to Fredericksburg and from there try to see The Wilderness, Chancellorsville and Spotsylvania, as well as Fredericksburg. We look forward to the journey.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

August 30, 2007 Gordonsville, VA

We had no idea that "touristing" was so much hard work. After running around Gettysburg for several days extending our "2 hour tour," to what seemed to be the better part of three days and then driving here, we didn't do much around here except enjoy the nice surroundings. We went into town for a few groceries and found this bike with an unusual side car. The side car even has its own side view mirror. I didn't get the things done that
I had planned on doing today but one of the nice things about being retired is that I can work all day at doing nothing and end up only half done. I think we heard that from our friend, Glenn, but it just sounds so right. Sister comes tomorrow to spend a few days at this resort in the lodge. This is a really beautiful place. We have just scratched the surface of what they have to offer. With Judy and John spending the weekend in the lodge, we will no doubt learn so much more. We just discovered that the laundry facilities here are free for guests. Carol has been using our built-in w/d but we may go there for larger loads, like the bedding. it would be so much faster.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

August 29, 2007 Gettysburg, PA to Gordonsville, VA

We left the Gettysburg Battlefield Campground today and took Monty for a three and one half hour cruise south on US 15 to Gordonsville, VA. This was a beautiful, green, horse filled trip. We are now set up at the Shenandoah-Crossing Resort, outside of Gordonsville. This is a huge plot of ground. Besides an RV park, it contains a beautiful, old restored lodge, a manor house that was originally built in 1742 that is updated and open for rental for weddings, reunions, etc., a marina, horse stables that allow riding throughout the wooded, mountainous area, a golf course, a put put golf course for us, restaurant in the lodge, and we are just beginning to discover what else is here. We saw a turkey gobbling at a cat near the stables. On the trip here, we saw tons of deer. We crossed from Pennsylvania in to Maryland and then into Virginia.The manor house is shown next. Then comes the lodge, where sister and bro are staying when they come to join us for Labor Day, then the bothered turkey and the bored cat. Tomorrow will be a day to clean up on and around the rig and maybe some battle sites observations.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August 28, 2007 Gettysburg, PA

Today we finished our "two hour tour" taking another four hours. We have seen most everything at least once, now, and some things more than once. We are still in awe at how tens of thousands of men could move through the mountains, valleys, farms, rivers, rocks, boulders - all the while being shot at by cannons, muskets, rifles, pistols, and stuck with bayonets and blinded by heavy smoke - and still be able to fight. General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army of 75,000 men and General George G. Meade with 97,000 Northern soldiers took part in this battle. Each army was made up of enough people to populate a good sized town. This battlefield is approximately 25 square miles. Pictured is a farm house with bullet holes still showing in the siding, a stone wall on Culp's Hill, a view from the top of Culp's Hill showing the town of Gettysburg in the background, one of many monuments erected to show where the Michigan units fought, in this case it was the 1st Brigade Michigan Horse Artillery Cavalry Corps, and Cemetary Hill. Culp's Hill was a tall, very steep hill originally held by the Federals. Parts of were overrun by the Confederates and retaken several times, each time with many casualties. We discovered that the Rebels only know which way to go in the thick smoke by moving uphill. They could not see until right in the faces of the Union troops. This hill is next to Cemetary Hill. These hills and Big and Little Round Tops were wooded, steep and rocky. When the Confederates were shoved back down Culp's Hill, it began the end for this battle. The entire battle lasted three days and two nights. On the third night, the confederates began their final retreat under cover of darkness, heading back to Virginia through Maryland. We leave for Gosdonsville, VA tomorrow morning. This is in the middle of the area including Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness and Spotsylvania. We hope to tour the battlefields there, also.

Monday, August 27, 2007

August 27, 2007 Gettysburg, PA

We started the auto tour today of the Gettysburg Battlefield. I say started because, after we left the Visitors Center at about noon, we started the tour with the assistance of a CD that explained the tour. At about 8:00PM we decided to stop because it was getting too dark to see the monuments or the lay of the land. We will finish it tomorrow. We took our time so that we could visit the various Michigan monuments that we came across and also get the lay of the land so that we could understand what took place here. It is awe inspiring to see and feel what occurred here. There were 51,000 casualties in this battle alone. We can see the mountains, high, steep hills, rocks, boulders, ridges, creeks or runs, large copses of trees, great open fields and the strategy becomes more apparent, once explained by the CD and having read extensively about before arriving here. Of course, the "best laid plans of mice and men" can be tripped up because of the spirit and courage of simple men who refuse to quit. That was done here. We saw where tactical edges were not able to be taken advantage of because the opponents said "No more." There were buildings that still bear the holes of musket and cannon fire. Carol found a piece of iron in a boulder on Little Round Top. The first gentleman that you see here is Abner Doubleday, who later invented baseball. He was a hero in this war. Next is the iron in the boulder on Little Round Top. Next is The Devils Den as seen from Little Round Top. Next is Little Round Top from Devils Den. Next is Devils Den. We shot over 60 photos today and will try to get some more into this blog later. Little Round Top had the high ground over much of the battlefield and thus was a jewel of a position for the Federals to hold. From here, they were able to fire upon Devils Den, a large mass of gigantic boulders that the north and south traded possession of over the course of the battle. We are in information overload now and, after finishing the tour tomorrow and returning to several spots, we will try to sort out what we learned.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

August 26, 2007 Gettysburg, PA

We watched a reenactment today with reenactors from Maryland, 2nd Maryland Infantry, Company A, CSA performing what we used to call short order drill when I was in the army. Before the drill, we were invited into their camp and they explained that they were living as people were living during the war, even wearing clothing from the same patterns and materials (wool, etc) as was worn in the 1860s CSA Army. They explained that there were many engagements at Gettysburg involving Michigan troops. The campground that we are staying at was part of the battlefield during the war. We then went to an area of the battlefield called The Wheatfield. Here we located monuments for several Michigan units. We found monuments for the 4th Michigan, mustered in Adrian, the 5th from Detroit, and the 1st, from we know not where yet. We will take a more extensive tour tomorrow and try to locate more. Little Round Top and several other locations were defended by Michigan Troops. There is a lot of Michigan blood at The Wheatfield. This was a battle that swayed back and forth for parts of two days. The Federals held the open areas and the Rebels came into and out of the woods, sometimes looming up within feet of the enemy. We learned that, in The Wheatfield alone, over 4000 men were killed or injured. The area was described as being covered with red wheat. Tomorrow we will return for more. This is a very sobering place. So much carnage and destruction.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

August 25, 2007 Champion to Gettysburg, PA

Today we left Roaring Run Campground in Champion and went to Gettysburg. This was a short hop of about 145 miles. The drive was very mountainous. The first half was on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the last half on US 30. 30 was mostly two lane and had many very long, steep grades, both up and down. When we got off the turnpike we went immediately into a 3 1/2 mile steep upgrade followed by 3 1/2 miles of steep downgrade. From there, it became quite hilly and mountainous. While on the turnpike we saw massive windmills producing electrical power and also drove through a tunnel through The Allegheny Mountain. The day was sunny and extremely hot and humid. The temperature was in the high 90s. We arrived and set up at The Gettysburg Battlefield Campground. The people working in the registration office were very friendly and helpful. We were led to our site and it is a large site where I can finally try to set up our satellite dish in the morning. There are civil war reenactors here and we heard their battle while we set up. We will watch them perform tomorrow. Tomorrow is supposed to be the last day of a very hot, humid stretch here in Gettysburg. The visitors to this area are many. The streets and sites are packed. We will look around tomorrow but probably mostly do our shopping and maintenance around the rig, in addition to seeing the reenactors. Tonight, when we went out to dinner, the wind and rain came up quickly, cooling the area off nicely. Coming back from dinner, we took a short peek into the battlefield area. Pictured are Big and Little Round Top Hills and a view of the hills that the Confederate forces came from in their attack on the Federal forces.

Friday, August 24, 2007

August 24, 2007 Champion, Ligonier, and Latrobe, PA

Today, our last day in Champion, we took a scenic drive up to Ligonier. This is a town that was settled in the early 1700s. A young George Washington led troops here for England. The town has an old fort from those days and, of course, a thousand arts and crafts shops. The fort was flying the old English flag. Of course, they had both old and new English flags as well as old and new American flags on display. We then went to Latrobe, the hometown of Arnold Palmer. There, we went to an Amish gift shop and discovered some real finds. Once again we used a mapping program to direct us through the mountains and were very fortunate not to have been towing Monty. Steep, sharp curves, interesting scenery - all meant to slow us down considerably. We leave for Gettysburg in the morning.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

August 23, 2007 Champion, PA

Today was a hot, humid, partly sunny day. We are under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning now and it keeps getting extended, time-wise. Looks like Ohio and other areas of the Midwest are to be hit again, too. Hopefully people will take the warnings seriously and take the proper precautions. The sun is shining and there are dark clouds mixing in the sky. We hear thunder and the weather radio tells us "If you can hear thunder, you can get struck by lightning." We traveled to Greensburg today and got the part of the vent that was destroyed when we struck a limb "escaping" our last campground. Greensburg is a larger mountain town along US 30. But, because of its relative location to our campground, it took us about an hour to go 25 miles. The drive was beautiful and very steep in some areas. We took the route suggested by our computer map program and discovered one lane roads up and down the mountains with scenic vistas and tight squeezes when oncoming vehicles desired to drive past us. We saw animals including the above llamas. Jeannette Pennsylvaina was named after our daughter so we took this shot of the Jeannette Hospital sign . Coal was being mined and traversed the road we were on in this tubular conveyor. They took out stone and coal and this depicts where it comes out of the ground and where it is then piled.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

August 22, 2007 Newcomersville, OH to Champion, PA

We left the rocky, hilly, rain soaked Grand Haven RV Resort in Newcomersville this morning. To use the exit one must make a sharp right hand turn right into a narrow lane between a guard shack with cement filled poles and rocks and evergreen trees. I had asked earlier at the office about another exit and was advised "Oh, no. That is the only one and they do it all the time." So, we tried it and a hidden limb struck a vent cover and broke it. We didn't realize what happened until we got to a rest area along the roadway. We passed some of the tallest corn that we have ever seen. I am 6'4" tall and it was much taller than I. Ohio was flooded all around us. We photographed a very angry river on our way out of the campground. It is totally brown, filled with debris and very high. We drove into West Virginia on I-70 and then, a short time later, into Pennsylvania. We are in the Roaring Run RV Resort. This is southeast of the Donagal exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, for those of you who know the area. We are in the middle of the mountains and this park is very hilly and rocky. There is a lot of green grass here and is a nice looking area. We located a new vent to replace the damaged one. It is located about 20 miles from here and we will get it tomorrow. This area is full of things to see and do. There is also an adventure golf course that sis and bro-in-law will like when we meet here in September. There are some fine festivals in this area also during the time we will be here to scope out Johnstown, PA, as discussed earlier.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

August 21, 2007 Newcomerstown, OH

It is still raining. Today we got information on what was needed to fix the tv antenna. We drove to Cambridge, OH and got the part. When the rain stops we will repair it. It is too slick up there now with the wet roof and wet leaves. We also saw some more Amish homes and people in this area. We leave tomorrow for Champion, PA. That should be a beautiful journey through the West Virginia and Southwest Pennsylvania mountains. The rain that we have been having is nothing compared to what most of the midwest is now experiencing, including just several miles from our location with heavy flooding. The rain made for some hazy photos.

Monday, August 20, 2007

August 20, 2007 Holmes County, OH Amish Country

Today we drove through miles of Amish farms and shops. On the way out of the campground, we came across a road called Yellow River Road. I can't make this stuff up, folks. It really is called Yellow River. We don't think we will drink the water from around here. The day started out very foggy and rainy and dark. The fog lifted and the rain stopped for a while and we were able to see a lot of activity. The farms had many kinds of well taken care of animals from bison to goats to horses to cattle and llamas. There were even several Cattle Crossing signs posted along the roadways. We have seen Deer Crossing signs before, even a Duck Crossing in downtown Brighton, MI but never saw a picture of a cow on a yellow sign until today. Monday must be wash day for these farmers. They hang their laundry on clotheslines just like we did so long ago. Their lines are in gazebos, front porches and on poles in the yard. Berlin, OH is an Amish tourist trap reminding us of Frankenmuth, MI. Arts and crafts shops, cheese factories, Amish made furniture stores, and, of course, candy stores and restaurants. Might this be because they are mostly German in both places? Don't know. These are a proud people. When we stopped in front of an Amish residence that had many beautiful flowers in the front we said to the lady who was at her mail box "That is beautiful" and she merely said "I know." So there, huh?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

August 19, 2007 Newcomerstown and Kimbolton, OH

It started raining last night and has rained off and on all day. We got a late start and went to New Philadelphia, OH for a belated birthday dinner. We were going to go to Millersburg and check out the Amish community there but decided to take advantage of the weather and get some things done inside the Monty. We'll go there tomorrow. We just added another day to our stay here because of the things we want to see and do here. (see the Amish community and do some preventative maintenance on Monty) Our tv antenna is not working properly so we are catching up on our reading and inside work. Great day! The rain sounds great on the roof. It is 9:00 and I am ready to go to bed and let the sound put me to sleep. Anyone knowing me would wonder - Mr Schedule is not scheduled at all. Our thoughts and prayers are with the miners and their families in Utah and the storm victims of this horrendous hurricane that it crossing the Gulf of Mexico now.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

August 18, 2007 Wapakoneta, OH to Kimbolton, OH

We are at the Grand Haven Resort near Kimbolton, OH. This was a real adventure just finding this place. The directions to the campground were written from the north on I-77 and we came in from the south. Our Delorme GPS mapper didn't take into account the fact that we were pulling 34 feet of 5th wheel and gave us a route that was at times a two track and/or one lane gravel road with steep grades and low trees. We finally were able to locate a spot in the road with a side road. We were then able to back into the side road and turn around. This area is the start of the Appalacian foothills and is rugged. It sure was beautuful, though. This area apparently has not been short of rainfall like Michigan has so it is so lush and green all over. Once we got back to the interstate, we traveled north to the exit suggested by the park and located it fine. When we arrived at the resort, there was a portion that was being used for a very well attended rodeo. We followed the signs to where we thought we were supposed to go and discovered that we were short of the campground portion. We then maneuvered our Montana around the rodeo parking crowd and were able to finally locate a spot where we backed up and turned around. From what we can initially see of this park, it is beautuful. Our site is kinda crowded with boulders, rocks and trees. With the great direction from Carol, I was able to get the rig positioned fine. We will wait until our next campground to lower our awning, though. This is fast becoming a birthday that I will remember for a long time. Gee, it seems like just yesterday I was only 66. I had grandchildren call and sing "Happy Birthday." That was so great. When we got married, we discussed what our life had in store - starting our life together later in life and trying to join two families. I just said "Hang on" and we have been hanging on gratefully ever since. Wonder what the next 27 years together and 67 years of life will bring - Nah, I really don't want to know.