Artillery Ridge Campground, Gettysburg, PA – 7/16/2017

So you ask, where have we been since the last post? It’s really quite simple. We have been pushing across middle America, where there is lots of corn and lots of flat land. From Rock Cut State Park we traveled south of I39 to I74 and then east to I70. One on I70 we traveled around Indianapolis to a busy little campground and resort on the east side of Indianapolis and just north of I70, Cornerstone Campground and Retreat. The campground was filling up fast when we arrived Friday evening and has been having lots of problems as a result of all the rain they have been getting. While we would normally boondock, the 85-90 degree weather has us seeking shelter in the form of electric hookups so we can run the AC and cool the camper down. There are no pictures because, frankly, there wasn’t much to see but flat land, corn and more corn. We did stop at the REI in Indianapolis to exchange a hat for Helen. As usual, REI’s customer service is second to none and the exchange was done in minutes.

On Saturday we pushed again to make time across the midsection of the country and went from the Indianapolis area through Ohio and made it a short way into Pennsylvania. We decided we would boon dock at the Cracker Barrel in New Castle, PA but after an hour of steady cacaphony from the interstates that intersect there we decided to move along to what appeared to be a safer choice, the Walmart in Latrobe, PA, just a few miles up the road. What we thought would be a nice quiet spot turned out to be the Saturday night hangout for the motorcycle and hot cars gang from Latrobe and parts thereabouts. From 2200 to 0030 we were treated to squealing tires, firecrackers and loud pipes on chopped motorcycles. Not a good sleeping night!

The morning evidence of the evening hooliganism. But we never felt threatened or unsafe. They were loud and foolish but weren’t really harming anything other than the quiet of the evening and their own tires.

From Latrobe we traveled PA 30 to Gettysburg where we are this evening, in Artillery Ridge Campground on the edge of the battlefields.

On the way to Gettysburg we unexpectedly came across the Flight 93 Memorial and stopped to pay our respects to the brave souls who lost their lives bringing Flight 93 down before it could complete its mission to crash into the Capitol.

Each white panel is engraved with the name of one of the passengers from Flight 93.
It is a somber and moving place, reminding me in some ways of the Vietnam Memorial. Different wars, different memorials, same results – death, sorrow and destruction.

We made it to Gettysburg around 1100 and decided to try to do the battlefield tour today rather than waiting until tomorrow, where thunderstorms are in the forecast. We purchased a CD and did the battlefield tour with the CD narrating the various events of the Battle of Gettysburg. The casualty figures for the three day battle are staggering – 51,000 soldiers fought and died at Gettysburg over three days. The carnage is hard to imagine. But we found the tour educational as well. And at the end of the day it would take many more days than the short time we have left on our journey to truly explore all the aspects of this great turning point in the Civil War.

While it is peaceful and bucolic now, it isn’t hard to imagine the chaos of the war.
There are monuments and markers everywhere tracing the ebb and flow of the battle and the units that were involved.
The losses on both sides were staggering.
Finally we found what we were looking for…
our own state’s contribution of souls…
“Put the Vermonters Ahead was the order of the Union’s VI Corps Commander. Major General John Sedgwick, to his chief of staff, Lieutenant Colonel Martin T. McMahon on the march to Gettysburg.”

The 172nd Infantry of the Vermont Army National Guard carries on the tradition by keeping that phrase on the unit crest. And Vermonters have served in significant numbers in every conflict since.

Tomorrow we begin to turn north and start the journey home. We have no designated destination for tomorrow but hope to pass by the Lancaster area on our way to visit a smorgasbord in the Penn Dutch country as a way of remembering a romance that was kindled over 38 years ago in this same area and that still burns strong today.