Dr. Greg & Milledue try to make sense of the Civil War...

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Dr. Greg, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. Spirit_Rider

    Spirit_Rider Been here awhile

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    "John said that his father told him, "...every animal has just enough brains to tan its hide.."

    And the joke is some animals have more brains and do not get caught.
  2. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

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    You'll do fine at Shiloh. Certainly you are numbed by now. I didn't visit it until a few years after G'burg, so it struck me once again. But whatever, it is a very different field. Compact, and the slaughter was swift as it was desperate... Go home Doc Greg. You're done here. Us too probably. Maybe use that trail bike you have home a little more.

    Can I interest you in Smokey Mountain Road, just north of the Glen Canyon Dam to Escalante? Another is Seven Springs Road to Bloody Basin road loop out of Carefree AZ. Both are a little over 100 miles and just a few hours stress. I have a few more. These are more do-the-route and then do other things.

    Most importantly, I think you should try very hard to do the Alcan5000 rally in 2014. $2k entry, but it includes lodging, chase trucks, fuel trucks and luggage hauling. Even a few meals. You couldn't do it much cheaper solo.

    Seattle, to the Arctic Circle, then over the top to Fairbanks. Then we finish in Anchorage. Lots of dirt. This event is right up your alley. It is a competition we can still do on a motorcycle at our age. If you want to win, you can do that too. It just takes work.

    I'll nag you again on it because I really think it will be a good adventure for you. Mrs. Doc can participate too. Check the 2014 Intinerary in the link. I can put you in touch with the man in charge if you want. We visit.

    www.alcan5000.com

    -P
  3. -GREG-

    -GREG- Been here awhile

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    Great to meet you Greg! Have a safe trip and stay in touch. :freaky
  4. llamapacker

    llamapacker Mr. Conservative

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    $2000 is right in there. I took 21 days from Louisiana and back, 10,006 miles, camping 2/3s of the time, $2100. That included lodging/camping food and gas.
  5. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

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    Nice Doc, get home safe n sound.
  6. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Hey wait a minute...I'm retired now! You must be in league with Mrs. Greg.

    As always, thx for the info. Had quite a day today, but it all worked out. I'll get the RR updated later this evening.

    Sigh...my poor ol' body...

    --Doc

  7. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Man, it was MY pleasure. I enjoyed our time together more than you can imagine. Hopefully not the last time we meet...

    --Doc
  8. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Hey, DCrider...I Still feel bad about not hookin' up with you. But there are always more rides ahead.

    Around noon today in Memphis I'd have given you even odds on me gettin' thru in one piece...but I made it!

    Full report later tonight.

    Thx for all your support.

    --Doc
  9. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Omigosh. I don't even wanna think about this...

    --Doc
  10. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Thursday 10/11: Savannah, Tennessee - Conway, Arkansas

    After around two weeks on any (ADV-type) trip I've taken, I tend to wake up (preferably in a tent, but this trip hasn't gone that way) and wonder "...where the heck am I, and WHY am I here?" And yes, I am getting that feeling now. What that feeling tells me is that IT IS TIME TO BE HEADING HOME! So that's kinda my attitude, as you will see...

    ...but there is still some useful historical and scenic topography to cover. Which I shall.


    A Pretty Sunrise...Good Omen or No?

    Upon poking my head out this morning, there was a pretty sunrise:
    [​IMG]

    Let's see, what's the old saying..."red sky at morning, rider take warning...?" Hmmm.....

    Crossed the Tennessee River (er, "Lake") yet again. Even given the TVA, it always impresses me with its, um, BULK, I guess...you gotta realize, my benchmark is the RIO GRANDE, which is kind of a joke.
    [​IMG]


    Shiloh National Military Park

    I had stayed last night in Savannah, Tennessee, which is just a few miles from the "Shiloh National Military Park." I had been advised that this was a good site, and it didn't disappoint.

    Upon turning into the Military Park, the first thing I saw was some "cannonball" sites. I was reminded of Edward Abbey's (one of my favorite authors, BTW) disparaging comments on the Eastern "Cannonball" Parks...well, I understand, but here I am as a Westerner touring the "cannnball" parks with quite a bit of interest. Depends on your POV, I guess. Abbey came from the PA mountains, and in his later years (once he got his gonads under control) reconciled with the East. Of course Dr. Greg got HIS gonads under control much earlier than Abbey (OK, okay, Mrs. Greg, I'll control myself...)

    Oh yeah, back to the "cannonballs"...I snapped this pic cuz it had the name TUTTLE on it...that's Mrs. Greg's maiden name, and her father (Professor Orville "Frank" Tuttle) was an internationally-known geochemist (Department Chair & Dean at Penn State, and Department Chair at Stanford...recipient of the famed "Roebling" Medal). Anyway, that's why the interest in TUTTLE:

    [​IMG]

    And a close-up:
    [​IMG]


    The Shiloh National Military Park

    I punched up "Shiloh National Military Park" into the GPS, and it led me there. I swear, I couldn't find anything without it. But here I am (sorry, no support for tripod, so no self-portrait):
    [​IMG]

    Just to make sure you know that the Northern soldiers have an advantage:
    [​IMG]
    However, in one of my readings I recalled that an observer noted that---despite the Southern' troops lack of materiel---they conducted themselves with a bearing and carriage that belied their lack of tangible assets.

    Y'know, I've complained about the weather, but I've gotta admit that it has given me a much more realistic view of what the soldiers had to endure. I'll probably mention this again a couple more times in today's report.

    Northern Commanders:
    [​IMG]
    Well, Ulysses Grant we certainly know (my buddy "Gale" from Pagosa Springs, Colorado, always referred to my Buell Ulysses as "the General"...bless you, Gale!).

    But the other Union Commander was Don Carlos Buell. As the owner of a couple of Buells, I've always wondered about any lineage between Erik Buell and this guy. Could be...?

    Southern Commanders:
    [​IMG]

    Albert Sidney Johnston (left above) was held in VERY HIGH regard by CSA President Jeff Davis. General P.G.T. Beauregard also. But Johnston in particular. Unbelievably, Johnston was KILLED at Shiloh due to a wound to the artery in the back of his knee...he BLED TO DEATH! That strikes me as a terrible way to die...not that there is a good way, I guess.

    I know less about Beauregard. I guess with a name like that...well, I don't know.


    More Tools of War...

    I couldn't resist (dunno why?) taking more pics of these aweful shells, etc. These terrible shells that detonate to enhance their destructive capability. I know, these are "child's play..." Well, I guess I'm becoming a CHILD. As I've said, what must it have been like to have the guy next to you hit by one of these things?
    [​IMG]

    And another "artillery" pic for those "artillery-heads" among you (you know who you are!):
    [​IMG]

    This was a NAVAL round of some sort, but (naturally) designed to blow apart and hurt even more human beings (sorry):
    [​IMG]

    Here's a photo of old man TUTTLE...remember the "cannonball" pic I showed earlier? This might have been a relative of Mrs. Greg! Annie, whaddya think about this guy?
    [​IMG]

    And this is ol' Lew Wallace, usually held up for his authorship of...what was it?...not Quo Vadis, but...dang it, I can't remember.
    [​IMG]

    "The Robe?"...no, I give up. Well, what I REMEMBER HIM FOR is his rebuff to "Billy the Kid" after he said he wanted to meet with THE KID to give him a break...pardon my French, but IMHO the true test of your character is how you deal with the LITTLE PEOPLE (like Billy) rather than the big government honchos. Humph. So I'm not a big fan of Lew Wallace.

    And I STILL can't remember the name of his book...oh yeah, in proofreading this text, I looked at the pic...Ben-Hur! Sorry, Paul Newman. No, it was Burt Lancaster. No, Clark Gable...oh, I give up. Charlton Heston?

    I never knew that "SHRAPNEL" was actually somebody's name...yikes! Lt. Henry SHRAPNEL, for goodness' sake!
    [​IMG]

    Just to show you that I actually got back outside the Visitor Center:
    [​IMG]

    BTW, there is a 16-mile (or so) "auto tour" route at Shiloh. I took that kind of route at Vicksburg and Gettysburg. I just wasn't up to it at Shiloh. Both because (1) I didn't want to spend the time, and (2) those "auto tour" routes are kind of a pain on a motorcycle...gotta get your gear on/off all the time, etc. Anyway, I passed it up. Sorry...

    Finally, I watched the "movie" at the Shiloh Visitor Center...I thought it was excellent. I thought about these 18-year old kids (on both the Union and CSA sides) who had their initial battle at Shiloh. I thought about the night between the Saturday and Sunday battles when there was a fierce lightning storm, then torrential rain at midnight (with leaky tents, of course). What must it have been like to have been there? What would be going through your mind?


    Miserable in MEMPHIS...

    After leaving Shiloh, I had a delightful ride on TN hwy 22, and a few others. Finally made my way to I-40. After dire construction warnings (overestimated...this was as bad as it got):
    [​IMG]

    BTW, I have NO PATIENCE when it comes to construction delays, and closed lanes, etc. I probably saved myself a half-hour by ignoring those kind of "warnings." If you ever ride in Europe or Asia you can't let yourself get suckered by those things. Motorcycles have an advantage...USE IT!

    OK, okay, so why was I "miserable in Memphis?" Because of the FRIGGIN' RAIN!! About 10 miles EAST of Memphis the rain started POURING down (didn't even have time to get my tank bag cover, or glove covers, or...). It continued just DRENCHING me all thru the Memphis "freeway" area...all the maze of (unknown) ramps and interchanges, and...folks, I was SCARED and COLD and UPSET...I mean, the timing was HORRIBLE!

    I finally made it across the Mississippi River and pulled off on an off-ramp and got some lunch. By then the rain had mostly stopped:
    [​IMG]

    At this point I had no idea if this weather was gonna last the rest of the day, or what!? So I phoned Mrs. Greg (she's always somebody I can complain to...) So I complained. WAAH, WAAH! I whined. POOR ME! She was very gracious, as usual...

    Then I thought for a minute. What was my "plight" compared to, say, those 18-year old kids at Shiloh? Or RTWDoug on his Cannonball ride? Or...how many thousand other ADV riders who have suffered thru a rainy day (or night, or week). So I figured...c'mon Dr. Greg, you're riding a stupid motorcycle, for goodness' sake. Whaddya expect?!?! Attitude adjustment time.

    Funny thing...about then the weather began to improve.

    And it kept improving on into Arkansas; until Conway, where I finally stopped for the night. Now it was beautiful.


    Gettin' Closer to Home...

    So from Conway, AR it's 850 miles to Albuquerque. Some of my friends would think nothing of doing that in one day (not me!) I'll try to get a reasonably early start in the morning and cover perhaps the majority of those miles tomorrow (Friday). Then on SATURDAY I'll get home to Albuquerque!

    I'm gonna be on I-40 the whole way. BTW, I-40 isn't that bad...yeah, there are a lotta trucks, but you can get BETWEEN the packs of trucks (and cars) and have CLEAR ROAD for a long ways in front and in behind. That is, if ya cruise at 65-70 mph like I do with my cool 15-42 gearing.

    Cheers,

    --Doc
  11. 10 Man

    10 Man Long timer

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    they need to retest memphis drivers on their skills driveing in the rain ...........tough city in the rain glad you made it through ok .
    I always take a 30 mile detour around memphis when it rains .
    might be good you didnt take the battle field tour at Shiloh ..I visit once a year and always get man tears from the way the battle field is set up ...I always wonder if I could have been brave there myself ..it was a lot to ask of a man /boy
    The Rebs had the yankees whipped the first day there and could have won the battle if they had fought through the night .
    yankee reinforcements came during the first night by the river and gave the Rebs a supprise when the sun came up enough to turn the tide..
    some of us southerners call Shiloh the battle over the boots ...the yankees had a warehouse full of new boots not far from there in Corinth Ms....they were much needed by the south... had the south won the battle the boots would have been their prize .
  12. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Interesting insights (both on the Battle of Shiloh and Memphis drivers...)

    Yes, I think it was good that I DIDN'T take the "auto tour" route of the Shiloh Battlefield. For various reasons.

    I'm coming to grips with what I've seen re the Civil War...I'm now able to think about it and read about it, etc. I may write up my thoughts after I get home.

    Anyway, thanks again.

    --Doc

  13. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Friday 10/12: Conway, Arkansas - Erick, Oklahoma (almost in Texas!)

    Gettin' close to home now. Some of my buddies would do the 850 remaining miles in one sitting, but my butt is not made of IRON. Not even close. So I'm gonna take two days. On I-40 there's not much to show, but I took a few pics, and have a few words.


    When Dr. Greg ALMOST Went "Back to the Land..."

    As I approached this exit in NW Arkansas, I was reminded of an episode from the mid-70s...
    [​IMG]

    AR 23 leads up into the Ozark National Forest, and is a fun road. I took this exit in 1975...let me tell you the story...

    My father (the legendary "Duke" Starr) ran a "Mom-and-Pop" grocery store in Valle Vista, CA; one of his customer buddies sold him 40 acres near Pettigrew, AR for $20 an acre! The guy was happy cuz he had bought it for $5/acre, so he made money. Well, Mrs. Greg and I were in a "back-to-the-land" phase, so my folks and us drove back to Arkansas to check out this 40 acres. Turns out it was on the south bank of Mulberry Creek, in the Boston Mountains, and was all hardwood forest. It was BEAUTIFUL! My nearest neighbor was 80-something farmer "Clero Mullins" who helped us find the property lines. Mrs. Greg & I were ready to drop out of grad school and move to the Arkansas Ozarks. Young neighbor Jerry Price (and wife Maryetta and daughter Eden) became lifelong friends.

    Alas, it wasn't meant to happen. Long, sad, story which I'll not recount here. Too painful. Suffice it to say I've reconnected w/Jerry Price on the Internet, and he may yet again enter our lives.

    So that's why this pic.


    My Tie to Oklahoma...

    As I entered Oklahoma, I felt compelled to document the event:
    [​IMG]

    The reason being that my father (the aforementioned legendary "Duke" S.) is from Northeast Oklahoma. The family to which he belonged fell on hard times during the Dust Bowl years, and did exactly the "Grapes of Wrath" story...sold all their stuff, bought a car, and headed for California. After a couple years of near-starvation, they moved back to OK (figured they'd rather starve w/people they knew). Then WWII broke out and everybody went in the military...so that's my tie to Oklahoma.


    My Standard 11:00 a.m. Downpour...

    Just like coming thru Memphis, around 1100 hours the Heavens opened up again...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Not sure why I took two pictures, but I'll use 'em both. It rained HARD for about 30 minutes. Lots of lightning, and very much reduced visibility. Those storms are SCARY! Honestly, it seems like I haven't seen the SUN in a coon's age (and we New Mexicans are used to endless sunny days...this is hard to take!)


    Ended up in Erick, Oklahoma

    After covering a mere 450+ miles today, I snapped a pic of an interesting cloud formation not far east of Erick, Oklahoma (7 miles from the Texas Panhandle):
    [​IMG]

    That's as far as I got. Tomorrow it's exactly 402.5 miles to home, so I'll get there. I'm sure there'll be something worthy of photographing...even if it's only my daily 1100 thunderstorm.

    Cheers,

    --Doc

    PS. The Duc behaved just like a Duck today...loved the rain!
  14. RickS

    RickS Been here awhile

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    Erick ok? Dang, if I was not in Dallas for OU - Texas I would have rode up and bought supper.
  15. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    How about a deal for next year?

    --Doc

    PS. Man, on the edge of the time zone like seems like the sun (if there is one) is never gonna come up...
  16. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Got home a few hours ago. Update tomorrow. Thx to all who helped me out.

    Cheers,

    --Doc
  17. RickS

    RickS Been here awhile

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    Sounds like a deal. Tell me about the time zone deal---when I go to NM I wake up in what seems to be the middle of the night.
  18. alzyck

    alzyck Been here awhile

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    U.S. Grant is interesting. He led the Union Army to victory in the Civil War when none of the other Union generals could. It's interesting because he failed at pretty much everything else he did in his life, both before and after the war, including being President.

    Some people make a similar argument about Lincoln's life before the war. Ordinary at best.

    Lincoln/Grant were two really flawed, ordinary people that came together to accomplish one extraordinary thing in their life at a huge cost.

  19. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Yes, very true. One thing that has surprised me in my Civil War reading is how UNPOPULAR Abraham Lincoln was during his term(s) in office.

    Sigh...I guess it's only after we die that we have a chance of people liking us...

    --Doc
  20. Boondoggle

    Boondoggle Gear Grinder

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    Dr. Greg,

    thanks for the great RR. Sorry your trip didn't end up bringing you to my part of Virginia, but I'm glad to see you had a good journey and a timely and safe arrival at home.

    You're still welcome here any time.