Sunday, October 29, 2023

Shawnee SP to Gettysburg to Virginia

We left you last as we had just arrived at Shawnee State Park in Pensylvania.    We had stayed here for a few days about 8 yrs ago, and I thought that it might be a pretty place to spend some time in the fall as we worked our way south with the changing fall colors.

It turned out to be a good idea.

Originally we had reserved site #65.   Upon arrival we realized that the park has sections for dogs and sections without dogs.   We had reserved in the latter.   I brought this to the attention of the camp host and he was fine with it - but being Saturday - he mentioned that when the ranger came in on Monday he might not be ok with it.     Long story short - on monday we moved to site #73.    The park was 90% empty so there were plenty of sites to choose from.

Site 73 Shawnee State Park

About 15 miles west of the park is the Flight 93 Memorial so we took the drive over to see it.
You might recall that flight 93 was the 4th plane hijacked on 9/11, but the passengers resisted and the plane crashed in Shanksville, Pa - about 20 minutes flying time from Washington DC where the terrorists had planned to take it.

It was a cold and windy day for our visit which added to the somber mood.
Below, the black wall on the left marks the edge of the debris field.   Further ahead you can see the white wall of remembrance which is under the actual flight path.

The stone in the field marks the impact point of the aircraft.

The wall of rememberance has the names of each passenger and crew onboard.   One to the names below is Todd Beamer who is remembered as the passenger who said "lets roll" as they headed forward to storm the cockpit.

The wall of rememberence is oriented in the same direction as the flight path.
Seen from the visitor center (two white pillars in the distance) and beyond is the boulder marking the impact point.

A close up of the above photo.

Looking back in the direction from which the flight came.   It barely cleared the ridge we are on.

In a different section of the park is the "Tower of Voices".   A stone tower with 40 wind chimes, each tuned to a different note - to signify the voices that will never be silenced.

Another day trip was to a nearby covered bridge.   This one is the Colvin Covered Bridge outside of Schellsburg, Pa.

When we arrived a funny thing happened:

I started to walk across it to the other side.   There was a couple, perhaps 50’s,  with what I thought might be a younger adult daughter carrying her baby.   She was patting it like she was burping it

The couple started to walk my way and we passed each other mid bridge.  I got to the other side and saw the younger girl and it was obvious that she was severe Down syndrome.   I thought it was brave of the couple to trust her with such a young infant but I'm not real familiar with the illness so what do I know?

So minding my own business I’m taking some pictures and I notice the girl is now putting the infant on the concrete bridge abutment where the baby could fall into the stream.     Hummm…. I think.   This does not look good.

Now the girl starts to back up - leaving the infant sitting right on the edge so that she can take a picture.    Ok - I cant just stand here now so I start to quickly move closer to go near the baby before she can fall into the water, and as I get very close (and photobomb her picture)...... 

I realized the baby was a doll!

Colvin Covered Bridge near Schellsburg, Pa

Well I had a good laugh at myself. 😂

The leaves were getting closer to near peak colors but had not quite made it when it was time to leave and head a bit south to Gettysburg, Pa.       There were some nice colors as we drove east thru the mtns on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Fall Colors on Pa Tpk. (I-76)

Meanwhile inside the coach our puppy craziness continues.   Annie & Phoebe have turned out to be such great friends.    Again, we only had Phoebe for 5 nights prior to getting on the ship, and thier 7 days in the kennels did such good work bonding them.

Annie in mid-air playing with Phoebe

And of course - the changing scenery, and the people walking by keeps them busy "observing".

We've been to Gettysburg numerous times, so this time we were a little more relaxed with the need to tour the battlefields.   Downtown drew us along with the fall colors and the scenery.

A neat thing about downtown is that many of the buildings have plaques outside explaining the part the building played during those horrible days in July 1863.    Some were field hospitals, others hid union soldiers etc.    The town was a strategic location in that it was where numerous roads met like the hub on a wheel.

On the battles first day, the union Army was pushed back and retreated thru town to set up positions on the high ground to the south and east.   Townspeople panicked and remained inside as the army streamed thru the square.   It's position was basically all that was standing between the rebels and Washington DC

The Gettysburg Square.   Numerous roads meet here.

Most of the fighting took place just barely outside of town;  to the south, southeast, and southwest.

Old farmhouse on the battlefield

The below pictures were all taken in the general vicinity of the center of the union lines, site of the infamous Picketts Charge.     

In the distance is what is referred to as "the high water mark of the Confederacy".   It was pretty much as far as they advanced in their quest to break apart the union.  From here, although almost 2 more years of fighting remained, they were only able to conduct mostly defensive moves as they were pushed back to their eventual defeat and the preservation of the union.

The net result of the 3 days of fighting were over 51,000 casualties!   
After the battle, over 7,000 dead soldiers littered the fields during that hot July. 

The number of soldiers who died between 1861 and 1865 is generally estimated at 620,000.  It is approximately equal to the total of American fatalities in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, combined.   It just burns me up to hear people today talk about the possibility of Civil War again in the US.    They need to shut up and study history first.

Local reenactors fire a cannon near the site of Picketts Charge.

The loud boom did not bother the dogs all all.

Below is the center of the Union Lines.  This is looking across the battlefield towards where (the trees in the distance)  the Confederate lines would have been located.    The focal point of Picketts Charge was the grove of trees just showing on the right side of the photo.

Below, the Codori Farm.   Standing during the battle, here is an interesting story about the owners. 
Located right in the middle of the battlefield, if walls could talk.

The RV Park we stayed at is our favorite in the area:   Artillery Ridge Campground.   It is located right behind Little Round Top and would have been filled with encamped soldiers during the battle.

Fall colors near the Peach Orchard

Being at Artillery Ridge over the weekend was interesting.    This time of year they have all sorts of Halloween things going on so the campground was full of families and those little creatures....  you know the ones about 3 or 4' tall who scream and play a lot.

There was trick or treating, pumpkin carving contests, costume contests, hay rides, etc etc.

The park did issue  everyone a pumpkin, so it is now traveling with us for decoration.

4 nights later we were on our way south.   Our next stop was Shenandoah River State Park just north of Luray, Va.    We had visited here about 8 yrs ago and promised to return during leaf season so that we could take some nice rides up on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.

Site #3 in Shenandoah River State Park, Va

Our experience with Va state parks is somewhat limited but the parks we have been to have all been very nice.    This one has 50a service and water at our site.     A dump station is located on the way out.

Fall colors in the campground

Site #3 in Shenandoah River State Park, Va

During the week we waited for the right weather, and we took the promised drive up on Skyline Drive.
The colors were great!   Not quite peak, but still very nice.     

Skyline Drive Colors Oct 24, 2023

Skyline Drive Colors Oct 24, 2023

Skyline Drive Colors Oct 24, 2023

The road runs along the ridges of the mountains and there are numerous scenic pull offs where you can be treated to wide ranging views to both the east and west.

Skyline Drive Colors Oct 24, 2023

Skyline Drive Colors Oct 24, 2023

We exited Skyline drive and dropped back into the Shenanoah Valley at Luray, Va.

Fall colors near Luray, Va

Friday Oct 27 it was back on the road heading about 2.5 hrs south to Pocahontas State Park outside of Richmond, Va.     Along the way we were treated to some nice fall colors on US15

Fall colors on US15 Va

Like Shenandoah State Park, Pocahontas also has 50a and water at the sites.   We stayed here in 2018 when we had arrived back from the UK and were on our way west.

Site 108 Pocahontas State Park, Va

Not quite an Arizona sunset, but one of the very few that we've had in 6 months.

Sunset in Pocahontas State Park, Va

Well its Sunday Oct 29.   The weather has been unseasonably hot.   

We have the AC running when we should be enjoying having the windows open.    A cold front is headed this way however, and some rain and sharply dropping temperatures are in the forecast for Monday night.  We might even have sub-freezing temps come Weds night.   Fortunately we'll be leaving just before the real cold weather arrives. 

Tomorrow we'll head to Costco for some supplies.    Then Weds we'll be on the road to Gaffney, SC where we will be getting some work done to the bus.    We are scheduled to have the Serpentine belt and all water hoses replaced as well as  a normal annual service.

As always - thanks for all your comments and for riding along!

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