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

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

  1. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Saturday 10/13: Erick, Oklahoma - Albuquerque, New Mexico (HOME!)

    I arose this morning with unusual enthusiasm...I was gonna get HOME today! Been lookin' forward to this day for a while. Before I start on "today" there was actually kind of a pretty sunset last night...whaddya think?
    [​IMG]


    Gloomy Weather Till the End...

    Like I said, being near the edge of the time zone meant the sun didn't rise until rather late. When I walked out to the bike the first time I saw STARS!! It couldn't be clear, could it? Uh, noo...I snapped a pic of I-40...socked in as usual. It wasn't too cold, but I could smell rain in the air.
    [​IMG]

    For a brief moment a little later I caught a glimpse (just a glimpse, mind you) of actual blue sky:
    [​IMG]

    The blue sky quickly degenerated in a SCARY patch of FOG...FOG, mind you, in the Texas Panhandle! C'mon, you've gotta be kidding! I slowed way down and didn't hit anything...
    [​IMG]

    As I approached the New Mexico border it began to clear up. Now I KNOW the nearest "mountain" range is hundreds of miles away; nevertheless this cloud bank looked EXACTLY like a fairly high mountain range. The pic doesn't really show it, but...
    [​IMG]

    (BTW, I was unimpressed as usual by the Texas motto: "Drive Friendly--the Texas Way! Don't they know "Friendly" is an adjective, and this phrase is ungrammatical!? Sheesh. And we expect our young people to learn grammar correct.


    New Mexico (and BLUE SKY!!)

    As I entered New Mexico the skies were a welcome blue...
    [​IMG]
    ...uh, and the wind was a welcoming W blast at about 30 mph (typical on the Eastern NM and West TX plains). Remember the old saying: "...the only thing between Amarillo and the North Pole is a barbed wire fence?" It kinda felt like that today. But it was OK...I was headed HOME!


    Dr. Greg & Milledue Safely Home...

    So here we are:
    [​IMG]

    I know that "modern" engines are pretty tight, but it always amazes me that the Testastretta 1198 uses absolutely NO oil. I had the 22,500-mile service done just before I left, and here's the oil level after 5,041 more miles (the length of this trip):
    [​IMG]

    Didn't use a drop!

    In conclusion, I'll be brief (I've "typed" a lot over the last 3 weeks, and I'm kinda beat). The thing I remember most about this trip is the PEOPLE I stayed with (you know who you are!) They were all WONDERFUL and I thank you again.

    I'll be home for just a week, then the Dr. Greg Family (along with 3rd son Mark and new wife Zoe) are off to Pagosa Springs, Colorado for a week at a resort (might hook up for dinner with inmate Gale B.T. while there). Anyway, "bye" for now. Hope you enjoyed the trip...I sure did.

    Cheers,

    --Doc

    PS. Gotta go to the UNM library next week and re-check out "Battle Cry of Freedom" by James McPherson...best Civil War book I've read. The trilogies (Catton & Foote) are too much for me. Now that I've seen some of the country I'll enjoy re-reading BCoF.
  2. davesupreme

    davesupreme grand poobah

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    the Shelby Foote trilogy is really something else. after your trip, you should really read it.... pretty much from the confederate point of view though, which is interesting, as you know who ends up writing history......
  3. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Well...I'm halfway through Foote's trilogy (i.e. midway thru v. 2)...took it with me on the iPad. Like Catton's trilogy, it was just too much. Too many names, too many places for my little old brain to absorb :gerg

    Perhaps after I've re-read McPherson's book (which I found much more "readable" than either trilogy) I'll resume Foote.

    Thanks for your comments.

    --Doc

  4. SavannahCapt

    SavannahCapt Long timer

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    Enjoyed your report. I'm glad you're home safely.:clap
  5. eye.surgeon

    eye.surgeon ...riding California

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    Glad you made it back safe, and thanks for posting. Nice to see some miles put on these multistradas :clap
  6. hdawg

    hdawg Adventurer

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    Doc.

    Enjoyed this report almost as much as the Lewis and Clark one. Glad to see you made it home safe.

    Good luck
    Hdawg
  7. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

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    Well not in your case Doc, seems like everyone you met or almost met likes ya and appreciates the stories, keep them coming.
  8. TheRoss

    TheRoss IBA# 522

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    Thanks for taking us working stiffs along on your adventure. I enjoyed the report, enjoyed meeting you, and you are welcome to stay the next time you're through beautiful Lubbock, Texas!
  9. zoid

    zoid Dirty Old Hippie

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    I really enjoyed your RR, as I do most of the ones I read. Particularly enjoyed your historical depiction and how it affected you. Thank you.
  10. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    To Tie Up a Few Loose Ends Here...


    Hey, thanks Hdawg. This was a VERY different ride, and a different ride report. Nevertheless, both were enjoyable...although in different ways :wings. Glad you enjoyed it.


    Hah! Well, you should see what they think of me over on the Ducati.ms forum...I'm still trying to "re-ingratiate" myself over there, since there's lots of good info available. Actually, what I'm after is your respect!:thumb IIRC, I mentioned that I was surprised that Abraham Lincoln was not very highly regarded during his life; it was only after he was dead that people realized his worth. Sad to say, that seems to be pretty common...but thanks for any good thoughts sent my way (Ducati.ms people, take note!)

    BTW, DCrider, for all the correspondence we had and STILL never got together...I'm gonna make a special attempt to cross the Mississippi River next year just to shake your hand. Er, unless I can convince you to cross the M. River the other way...:evil


    Christopher, what can I say? You folks got my trip off to the best possible start! And I STILL lust after your GSA. Since Lubbock is about a "day's travel" E of Albuquerque, any trip when I head East (like several times next summer :wink: ) I'll be callin' your number...seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed our meeting, and hope that I see you again more than once.


    Thanks very much, zold. It was difficult NOT to be affected by those surroundings, lemme tell ya. And I didn't expect that AT ALL...


    Some Final Observations...

    1. Historical Content. Several times in my RR I mentioned the fact that I felt the Catton & Foote trilogies were "too much" for me. Actually, it's more than that. I wanted a greater overview of the conditions that LED UP to the Civil War, not just the actual battle strategies, tactics, etc. The book I've cited several times: "Battle Cry of Freedom" by James McPherson, is actually one volume in the Oxford "History of the United States," and as such has a wealth of information about the conditions pre-Civil War.

    For example, do you know about (1) William Walker, (2) the "Know-Nothing" Party, (3) the "Blood Tubs" (a gang), or (4) Preston Brooks? If not, better read McPherson! :rofl

    2. Use of iPad for Trip Updates... Taking along the iPad + bluetooth keyboard on this trip was very much an "experiment." It was a little tedious (uploading pics one at a time) but there was one advantage: in addition to Wi-Fi connections, I had a Verizon cell data connection that I could use when there was no Wi-fi. Came in very handy more than once. And the Verizon connection was faster than some "mediocre" Wi-Fi connections.

    3. Gonna Ride the Triumph Explorer 1200 Tomorrow! After months of expectation, I'm gonna test-ride the Triumph Explorer 1200 tomorrow (I think). Two things I like about the TEX are (1) Cruise Control, and (2) Shaft Drive. One thing I DON'T like about it is MORE WEIGHT (Duc is 520 wet on my scale; TEX is 50 lb more?) Also the "length" of the bike (I'll see what that's like when riding). The real test is turning it around in my garage...if I feel my ride test is noteworthy enough I'll post my opinions in this thread (if anybody's interested).


    Anyway, I guess that's it. I very much appreciate all the interaction. The Dr. Greg family is off to Pagosa Springs, Colorado for a week of R&R (no bikes!) starting Saturday. Hopefully ADVRider.com will survive my absence...:lol3

    --Doc
  11. davesupreme

    davesupreme grand poobah

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    thank you for the report!...

    i found the foote 'trilogy' in the library, started reading it on a whim.... not really much of a civil war student, but it really got me interested, i liked the guy's style, plus it was the southern point of view that i found interesting, really never knew... i've seen shelby foote on the history channel some, interesting guy........

    would love to see some of where you went, would bring it more to life.... was really some heinous shizzit.... gotta check out this mcpherson book.....
  12. Merlin III

    Merlin III Long timer

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    Those are my feelings also. There are two distinct historical subjects when talking about the Civil War. The history of what led to the war and the battles them self. The things that led up to the Civil War starting in 1615, more less, tell quite a story. I mentioned at the beginning of the report a book entitled American Nations, by Colin Woodward. In Woodward's book he traces the history of the eleven rival regional cultures of North America from the time of the White man's colonization of North America in the 1600s to present day Red-Blue States.

    He defines the eleven distinct cultures as First Nation (Indian), New France, Yankeedom, New Netherlands, Tidewater, the Midlands, Greater Appalachia, the Deep South, the Far West, the Left Coast, and El Norte. His heavily footnoted book describes how this concept of an American Union was somewhat of a myth.

    Leading up to the Civil War, the cultures were very much at odds over many issues. It was very unclear prior to actual hostilities who would side with whom if a war were to break out. One example being that 1/4 of the counties of Tennessee, the ones in Appalachia, didn't want to break away from the "Union" and were literally forced to do so. Another example being that New England planed to leave the Union in the 1830s, but due the ending of the war with England, decided that if there was a war with the other regions, they couldn't depend on England for help.

    Very interesting subject. Thanks for opening up the discussion.
  13. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Still think you should try the Alcan5000 in 2014. Ride the Uly. Mrs Greg meets you in Anchorage and you both tour Denali Park after. Plus, you'll enjoy Dawson for its place in history. Haul road to the Circle will be memorable. The Denali Highway, North Canol Road...awesome! -P
  14. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

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    Sounds good to me Doc, as for them Duc boys, well as it appears you've done all your life, ride your own ride :D

    p.s. I REAAALY want a red Ducati or the Tricolore S4RS in my garage one day
  15. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Woodward's book sounds extremely interesting to me. I'll definitely add it to the list. Thanks very much for your insights.

    I'll tell ya...the more I learn about history (and I've learned very little) the more I WANT to learn. Spent 50 years of my life in technical disciplines (which paid the bills to rear the family, buy the toys, etc.) but there sure is a lotta stuff I never had time to learn about...

    Well, now I've got the time! And I'm loving it!

    Again, thanks very much.

    --Doc

  16. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    I love RRs that combine riding with some introspection....so your's is now one of my favorites. I read a very interesting book a while back dealing with the Civil War from the perspective of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. I can't put my finger on the book just now but I think it was "Lincoln at Gettysburg" by Garry Wills. In it, the author explains how Lincoln's words indicate his beliefs about what America was. For example, IIRC, the opening words "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation" refer to the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and as far as Abe is concerned, that is when the individual colonies forged themselves into a nation, not from later documents like the articles of confederation or the constitution. And he believed that in forming this new nation the colonies had each given up their right to form individual nations; thus, references to "the insurrection" (not in the Address, but elsewhere). The book also goes into quite a bit of detail about it being Lincoln's vision of a government "by the people, etc" and that this was actually a fairly radical departure at that time. And to top it off there is a discussion of the "rural cemetery" movement of the 1840's or so that grew out of the Greek Revival. Prior to that time people were buried in graveyards, usually on the grounds of or near the church they had belonged to. But the ancient Greeks had a tradition of burying their dead in beautiful countryside settings, and of visiting the graves of the deceased and spending some time there in contemplation.

    I have often wondered how men willingly went into battles where they must have known only a minority would survive without physical wounds or death. There were examples on both sides of units taking over 80% casualties in a single battle, or even in just a few minutes of a single battle. I wonder whether, given that many Americans at that time believed in eternal life, soldiers believed that although their bodies might be killed their souls or spirits would live on in the other world. Perhaps this could account for so many acts of almost superhuman valor that permeate that war. As a "Torchwood" character once said "there is nothing more dangerous than a man who cannot die."
  17. alzyck

    alzyck Been here awhile

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    I've also seen some discussion that history of the Civil War can be divided as before the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and after the Emancipation Proclamation. Before the Emancipation Proclamation (including pre-war), the issue was Federalism vs. States Rights. Slavery was a big deal to the abolitionists, but not the professional politicians. IIRC, prior to 1863, Lincoln was OK with allowing slavery in the South as long as the Union remained intact. Lincoln's thinking changed from the Emancipation Proclamation on and eliminating slavery was just as important to him as uniting the country.
  18. Slow Toast

    Slow Toast pfft

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    Hey Dr. Greg,

    Somehow I missed this when you were writing it, but at least this way I got to read it all in one sitting.:norton



    I'd like to hear your thoughts about the Explorer.