Vicksburg

February 11th, 2009

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During our trip down the Natchez Trace, we took a daytrip a bit west towards Vicksburg. Jenn and I are both into museums and historic attractions, but neither of us is all that into the nuts and bolts of particular battles. So, why would we go to Vicksburg, where you spend several hours driving around the battlefield and reading about the intricate details of the battle including the number of casualties at each battery of guns? Well, mostly because we have an America the Beautiful pass and hate to pass up a chance to get into something for free that might entertain us for the day.

The military park really is a pretty drive and not a bad way to spend the day. However, after the first six or eight miles, I think we were both pretty well bored with the dry descriptions of troop movements and casualty counts. Don’t get me wrong, this era of our history is very important and shouldn’t be discounted, but I really had a hard time reading similar descriptions repeatedly, none of which you could really sink your teeth into except perhaps the description of tunneling into earthworks in order to blow them up, which is something I thought had died out a few hundred years earlier. This same area had the wonderfully colorful description of a slave who was ‘blown to freedom’ when a mine was touched off below him.

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Karst-O-Rama 2008

July 23rd, 2008

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We made it back from Karst-O-Rama alive! We met some really amazing folks that were happy to bring along complete novices, loan equipment to complete strangers and give lots of advice. Jenn’s parents and her nephew came along in her parents’ Class A. The road getting in and out of the Great Saltpetre Preserve was… interesting… for the 35′ motor home, but we made it without any mishaps.

The general format of Karst-O-Rama is caving all day and partying all night. The electric sites are smack in the middle of the party camp, where there are no quiet hours as there are in the family camping area. It was awfully hot, hitting the 90’s every day and we were glad to be underground during the heat of the day.

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Happy Independence Day!

July 4th, 2008

Gadsden FlagDon’t let me take you away from your 4th of July celebrations, but when you have some spare time, sit back and read the Declaration of Independence again. In fact, read as much American Revolutionary history as you like. Its fascinating stuff; full of smugglers and privateers (pirates!).

It’s not something you hear about terribly much, but for nearly half of our country’s existence, we employed privateer ships as part of our naval force. In fact, both sides of the conflict used privateers during the Civil War. Countries with a large naval power refused to recognize privateers as prisoners of war when captured and treated them as common pirates.

What’s my point in all of this? I don’t really have one except to remind you that the price for independence was paid in a large part by privateers, smugglers and first and second generation transportees. We’ve put on a lot of airs in the past two centuries, but when you get down to it, most of us are just plain folks.

Like my flag? Chris Whitten has an excellent article on the history of the Gadsden flag.

Now get outside and blow something up! If the neighbors come out to yell at you, I’m not saying you should hit em with a bottle rocket, but a warning shot across their bow might be in order.

Winchester, VA

May 4th, 2008


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We dropped the camper off with the Northwood guys around 7:30AM and needed to kill some time. Luckily, as the factory was very nearly closed, they allowed us to leave the cats in an unused stairwell for the day.

Wednesday evening, we had stopped at a Civil War battlefield next door to the Opequon church where we ran into a retired teacher who proceeded to fill us in on the history of the church and the surrounding area for about an hour as well as suggest a few things to see in town the following day. On advice of our Presbyterian tour guide, we aimed to get out of town before the festival got started if possible as we have had our share of festivals and fairs.

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Free At Last! Free At Last!

May 1st, 2008

After far too much time spent planning, preparing and waiting, we are finally on the road!

We spent a few hectic days cleaning out the remains of our storage unit and some work on the truck. Friday afternoon, our Bodiak front end receiver came in along with a receiver mounted cargo carrier. Unfortunately, the cargo carrier stuck out an absurd amount from the front of the truck… roughly 14 inches past the receiver before the basket portion even began! With some fiddling, I found that we could use the holes drilled for people that wanted it to stick out even further (I have no idea why) to reverse the basket so that it would mount over the raised portion of the carrier support. This still left about a foot of useless steel sticking forth, which I was tempted to use as a battering ram. Instead, I waited until the welding supply shops opened on Monday (I blame Murphy for using all my gas on Thursday) and cut it down to a manageable size. See? Everyone really needs an oxy-acetylene torch in their rig!

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