What a wonderful trip. I covered five states, two family groups, a chunk of the American Civil War, and experienced the joy of living closer to the earth than my California home allows. Here are the highlights (hover over pictures for additional information):
- I’ve talked about the recipe for pan bread I got from Robert Thomas’ Western series. My sis and I tried it out. It was yummy!
- If you follow this blog, you know my daughter is a dynamo. There’s never a problem that frightens her, never a person who intimidates her. Or a sign! We planned to eat at a local restaurant. The sign said it didn’t open for ten minutes. I turned to leave (as did several other potential customers), but my daughter tried the door. You got it–it opened.
- I have read a ton about the American Civil War, but nothing brings it to life like walking in the steps of the warriors.
- Many battlefields have what are called ‘Witness Trees’, those that survived the battle and continue to this day. Here’s one:
- A monument was established with an eternal flame to honor both sides of this mammoth war and their passionate belief that what they did was right.
- A cannon ball during that time could reach two miles–a full mile with accuracy.
- The last person receiving pension money from the American Civil War died just two years ago, in 2020. She was the daughter of a soldier. If you think the Civil War is ancient history, think again.
- My two thirty-something kids were by far the youngest on the battlefield tours.
- Interesting fences. The ground was too rocky to dig post holes so this is how they built them:
- The Battle of Gettysburg was the most deadly battle ever fought on US land.
- Horse statues cover the park to commemorate the warriors. Legend has it (and is mostly true) that if the statue has four hooves on the ground, the commander didn’t die. One hoof off the ground meant he was wounded. Two hooves off the ground means he died. Here are two examples:
- George Custer from the famed Little Big Horn battle against the American Indians fought his first battle (victoriously) in Gettysburg. It is said that Gettysburg was his first stand and Little Big Horn his last.
- The Battle for Monacacy was just outside of Washington DC, America’s capitol. Though the Union lost, it is said to have saved the capitol because it gave the Army time to establish its defense.
- The Battle at Antietam was often fought in cornfields. The American National Parks reseeded this area as corn to provide a better feel for what the soldiers went through during the battle.
- There were lots more important details about this battle, but two stuck out:
- There are too many gnats. We had to keep our mouths closed and still they got in our ears and noses.
- My phone went from LTE service to 1x to SOS. I have never before seen a service level of ‘SOS’.
- Beyond our battlefield tour, I caught up on family stuff. My daughter is in love with Formula One Racing. Something about engineering maximizing thousands of variables to get a hundredth of a second (she was the ACE (Assistant Chief Engineer) on her ship so that makes sense), the athleticism of the driver, and that the car and driver perform at a really high optimal level.
- My sister’s home includes a forest in the back. There, I saw deer and ground squirrels.
- …and she has chickens, four of them who mostly provide an egg each every day.
- We spun honey from her bee hives. That is a lot more work than I expected!
- My sister loves pets. She has a pet cemetery behind her house. We buried three of her beloved pets:
Those are the highlights of my trip through five states, three time zones, and vastly different worlds. I can’t wait to go back.
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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Man vs. Nature saga, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the acclaimed Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Fall 2022