Wow...where has time gone??? October has just flown by and I am behind in travel updates. We are going to try and get caught up with the next two posts, wrapping up our time out east exploring battlefields and lots of history.
After leaving Harpers Ferry KOA we rolled on down the road to another wonderful Boondockers Welcome location. We spent 3 nights at a wonderful spot in rural southern PA near Gettysburg. Our host couple was the sweetest Amish couple who warmly welcomed us and helped us get tucked in behind their house and even supplied 50amp hookups and water. The nights were peaceful and our days were filled with exploring.
While parked on a nice paved driveway, Rick was able to perform some annual maintenance. Last year we upgraded to the independant suspension and it was time to grease the zerk fittings. With the new suspension it made quick work since we went from 12 to 4 fittings.
Our main reason for picking this location was its close proximity to Gettysburg National Military Park. I had visited Gettysburg on my high school trip to Washington DC, but that being oh soo many years ago, this felt like a new experience. We took two days to tour Gettysburg. Fortunately, this visitor center was open and we toured the museum and bought tickets to see the movie and cyclorama. Rick was able to get some panoramic shots of the cyclorama depicting the battle but pictures really can't do it justice. It was really interesting how they made the cyclorama painting 3D with period props and landscape in front that sort of faded into the painting.
The next day we toured the battlefield via the auto tour. It is very well laid out and marked and it was amazing to see all of the monuments throughout the battlefield. The detail on some were so intricate.
The monuments for the WI Iron Brigade who fought at Gettysburg were not as elaborate as the NY and PA monuments but beautiful nonetheless.
The auto tour was well laid out and chronicled the 3 days of battle in early July, 1863. Some areas of the battlefield were pretty sobering, especially Little Round Top that overlooked Devils Den and Wheatfield where some 4,000 soldiers lay dead our wounded on day two.
The climactic moment was on Day 3 on Cemetery Ridge, famously known as Pickett's Charge where 7000 Union soldiers repulsed the bulk of the 12,000 Confederate soldiers and defended Copse of Trees, The Angle and Brian Farm. Total casualties for the 3 days totaled 23,000 Union soldiers and 28,000 Confederate soldiers. On July 4th, Lee's Confederate troops began retreating.
The final stop of the tour was the National Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address on November 19, 1863 at the cemetery's dedication.
Since we still had some time to burn in the late afternoon, we drove right next door to Dwight D. Eisenhower's home that he bought after he retired from the military after WWII. Earlier, prior to WWI he trained on tanks at the Gettysburg battlefield, which was strangely a tank training area prior to becoming a national park. He loved the area and wanted to come back. This farm is adjacent to the national park. Once retired, he hosted several notable dignitaries from his Supreme Allied Commander years at the farm including Field Marshall Montgomery, Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth, just to name a few. Once he became president he used the farm as his retreat. Due to Covid, we were only allowed to roam the grounds and could not enter the house or farm buildings.
On our last day at our PA Boondockers location we took a drive to Carlisle, PA to visit the US Army Heritage and Education Center located on the grounds of the Army War College for officers. This was a free museum to honor the American Soldier and preserve their experiences. They have an education and research center that has a comprehensive collection of contemporary and historical materials that are available for research and education opportunities. This portion of the complex was still closed due to the epidemic but the museum, inside and out was open to the public.
The outdoor Heritage Trail had several static displays of key points in Army history.
The WWI exhibit included a replica of the trench system and a German pillbox.
We did have many more pictures of the outside exhibits and the museum but for some reason they went MIA. The museum inside was dedicated to the military history from the viewpoint of the soldier and their families. It was very well done and a must do when in the area. Plus, did I mention it was FREE?!?!?!
From PA we traveled south of the Mason Dixon line to our next destination...D.C. More to come on that in our next post.
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