'Little Blue' goes looking for Orange...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by mbabc, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    This Spring I began thinking it would be fun to take my WR250R on a long weekend camping trip. My klr has proven to be a great long distance bike, but I've been following the ‘Minimalist Touring Thread (250cc and under)’ thread and decided my WR250R would do the job just fine (after a few modifications). First thing was a Seat Concepts seat under my sheepskin to log some serious miles. Next was a smallish Cee Balies wind screen to take a little wind blast off and I also purchased a set of Wolfman Expedition Dry Saddlebags and racks. I had recently added the 3 gal. IMS tank which would push my range out to 150+ miles. With 'little Blue' all set, all I needed was a destination.

    Since it's the 150 anniversary of the Civil War I began re-reading some family history of my great-great-great grandfather Orange's experiences back then. He was a soldier in the Union army and he saw action in Tennessee and Georgia (plus he took a little additional side visit to Virginia). All this being just a couple states away from my home in Louisville, KY. my plan was coming together. Since I was on a mission of sorts, I decided it would be best as a solo ride where I wouldn't be holding any riding partners up with too many stops to look at obscure roadside markers.

    A little work with MapSource and Google maps I came up with a 1500 mile route on back roads of Kentucky, Tennessee, one little corner of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. Of course I had to include the Blue Ridge Pkwy. on my way up to Virginia. I also added lots of camping areas along the route as waypoints in my Garmin Oregon but I didn't make any reservations. The plan was to ride and camp as I pleased and just let things work themselves out.

    Anyway that’s my intro to my big Spring adventure. May 18th was departure day. More later…


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  2. De Eee

    De Eee Been here awhile

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    Cool trip.

    What forum is that "minimalist touring" thread in?


    Found it!
    #2
  3. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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  4. Bryn1203

    Bryn1203 Dances with spaniels

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    mbabc

    Sounds fun & interesting - nice history theme too :clap
    Get arty with the pics and I need to see food - I'm hungry :D

    3 gallons - 150 miles - thats US galls of course so I suppose about 60mpg - not very good for a small engine - is that what 250's return generally ?

    :D

    subscribed
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  5. mhm2a

    mhm2a Adventurer

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    I see your gonna pass through my hood (Murfreesboro, TN). There is a bunch of civil war stuff in our area. If you have any issues or need a garage to wrench in just let me know.

    I have also been smitten by the lowly Wr250 and would like to know your thoughs on the windscreen and the 3.1 gallon tank after its all said and done. I almost purchased the 4.8 IMS tank but I am leaning heavily towards the 3.1 and using some MSR bottles for a back up.
    #5
  6. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    I actually went on my ride about 3 weeks ago. Thanks for the offer of help, beautiful part of Tennessee for sure! I think the wr makes a fine light adventure tourer. Just need to pack carefully and keep off the Interstates in my opinion, though I've done that too. Windscreen keeps just enough of the blast off for me.
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  7. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    My great, great, great grandfather Orange Cotton Babcock was 34 when he left Youngsville Pennsylvania with his younger brother Merritt (24) to join the Union cause. He was a farmer and teacher in the Fall of 1862 when he signed up with Independent Company C (infantry) of the Pennsylvania Volunteers.

    This image shows him in from what I've been told, a Sergent Majors uniform. They were the only NCO's that were issued swords. We don't have any pics of Merritt.


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    We’re not sure why, but in December 1862, both Orange and Merritt were transferred to the 18th Infantry Regiment USA, 2nd Battalion. This light infantry unit was part of the regular Union forces, not volunteer state regiments, which made up the great majority of Union troops.


    Here's Orange in his frock coat with Hardee hat.


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    The 18th was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland (Gen. Rosecrans), XIV Corps (Gen. Thomas), 1st Division (Gen. Baird), 3rd Brigade (Brig. Gen. King). By the time Orange got to Chickamauga, GA. he was under Capt. Haymond in the 2nd Battalion. His unit fought at the battle of Stones River at Murfreesboro, TN.,

    http://www.nps.gov/srnc/index.htm

    but I’m not sure if Orange and Merritt fought in that battle seeing they were just transferred in early December and the battle was Dec. 31 – Jan. 2 1863. Maybe they did bring in replacements that quick?? Pretty sure he must have stopped in Louisville on the way to TN. since the Louisville & Nashville railroad was a major supply line to the Federals. The Stones River Nat'l Battlefield was my first main goal.

    My ride plan was to leave Louisville after work Wednesday and get 150 miles in. I left from work on Wednesday about 4:30 and rode in light rain/drizzle down to my first nights camp at Dale Hollow State Park. Good to be on the road again!


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    'Little Blue' ready to go...


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    Headed south through Bardstown...


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    Made it down to Dale Hollow State Park right on the Tennessee state line just before dark.


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    I had the campground to myself and it started to clear. Good thing, 'cause I'm solar powered and I need some sun tomorrow!

    First nights camp pic...


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    I got up everyday at around 6:00 and tried to be rolling before 8:00.
    Going to be a fine day!


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    Took Hwy. 53 through central TN., beautiful state and roads. "Old times here are not forgotten"...


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    Lot's of neat little old towns along the way. Later in my ride, I rode the Blue Ridge Pkwy from Cherokee, NC into Virginia. Spectacular road and I really enjoyed it, but I really like going through these small towns. Waving to folks on their porches, seeing the yards sales, nice lawns and gardens.


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    Center Hill Dam...


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    Took the 4 lane (70s) from Woodbury into Murfreesboro to the Nat'l Cemetery at Stones River.


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    Our family history says that Merritt was wounded in action and died April 24 1863 at General Hospital #6 Murfreesboro. Maybe he did fight at Stones River and died 4 months later of his wounds?? Uncle Merritt is buried at the Stones River National Cemetery. Paid him a visit and left a card and flag from his many grateful nieces and nephews.


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    The railroad is still a major supply line between Nashville and Chattanooga...


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    They were having a hatch of these red eyed devils while I was there. Had them back home several years ago. My dog loved them, said they were very tasty...


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    Beautiful place...


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    #7
    andy29847 likes this.
  8. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Imbecile

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    In.

    :lurk
    #8
  9. mhm2a

    mhm2a Adventurer

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    I guess if I could read I would have figured that out.....but hey its the thought that counts right!
    #9
  10. DualHabit

    DualHabit Been here awhile

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    Looks like an excellent ride Mark. I'm IN.

    -Jerry
    #10
  11. ghostdncr

    ghostdncr Burnin' daylight...

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    Excellent RR, Mark!

    First pic above, I'm pretty sure I've stopped there for fuel a number of times. Is that just south of Albany, KY? Then again, maybe a lot of KY/TN gas stations look like that.

    Second pic, well, does anything that cool warrant additional commentary?

    Third, these things are indeed the Devil's work. Pretty sure their incessant whirring racket explains the madness so common amongst the great Southern writers.

    Wanting a WR like I do, following this RR is not going to be helpful. :lol3
    #11
  12. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    mhm2a -

    Here's a pic of the Cee Baileys shield. Good product. Thick plexi, I have a tall touring one for my klr and like it, so figure I'd go that way for the wr.


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    I also got in on a group buy for a Seat Concepts seat. You use your pan and they send the foam/cover. Staple it on yourself or have a shop do it for $30 or so. A buddy had monel staples, so I did it myself. Pretty easy and VERY comfortable, adds needed with for my middle age spread. Used my sheepskin on top too.


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  13. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    Thanks John. Great meeting you last week. I found this wr relatively cheap on craigslist in Illinois. Keep an eye out for them...

    The pic is on SR-61 south of Burkesville.

    Get that KTM sorted out soon!
    #13
  14. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    From Stones River I went south on Manchester Pike (Hwy. 41) which parallels I-24 to the little crossing of Beechgrove, TN.


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    After the battle of Stones River which was pretty much a draw as I understand, Gen. Bragg and the Confederate Army of Tennessee withdrew 20 or so miles to the south and built a fortified line along the Duck river from Shelbyville to Wartrace. Gen. Rosecrans and the Union Army of the Cumberland mean while resupplied and rested in Murfreesboro. The powers in Washington were putting pressure on Rosecrans to move south and engage Bragg and keep his forces from helping relieve the siege of Vicksburg to the southwest. Rosecrans resisted for almost 5 months before making a move. The Confederate line was more easily defended by rugged terrain to the east with gaps through the mountains and the majority of troops to the west where it was more open ground. One important thing the Union forces did these 4 months was train an elite calvary force supplied with new 7 shot Spencer repeating rifles commanded by a Col. John T. Wilder. On June 24, 1863 Wilder's 'Lighting Brigade' spearheaded an advance into Hoovers Gap through which the Manchester Pike passed. Following in support was Gen. Thomas and his XIV Corp. Grandpa Orange and the 18th Infantry were along for the ride...

    Gen. Thomas's forces soon overwhelmed the Confederates and they fell back to Tullahoma and soon thereafter, Chattanooga. This ended up being a major Union victory and some say lead to the victories at Atlanta and beyond.


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    More backroads and small towns on the way south...


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    Saw this enclosed marker and had to stop. Doesn't seem too controversial? Why the chain link and barbed wire?


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    Gen. Bragg had dug in at Chattanooga, a vital railway and gateway to the heart of the Confederacy. Bragg concentrated his forces to the northeast of the city defending the crossings on the Tennessee river where he expected Rosecrans to attack. I continued to ride south, generally following the advance of Gen. Thomas and his XIV Corps to the southwest of Chattanooga.
    Bragg again withdrew, this time into northern Georgia.

    I crossed the Tennessee river into the northeast corner Alabama and then into Georgia.


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    I started to see the damage caused by the tornado outbreak that hit this area in late April.


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    Next stop was the Chickamauga battlefield just to the south of Chattanooga. Gen. Bragg gathered reinforcements and his forces grew to over 66,000 men. He made his move September 19, 1863 along Chickamauga creek. This was a heavily wooded battle ground and commanders on both sides had difficulty directing their troops. The 18th Infantry under Gen. Thomas made the best of a bad situation and held their ground. Gen. Thomas earned the nickname 'Rock of Chickamauga' for his efforts, but the Confederate forces ruled the field this battle. The Union forces this time withdrew and retreated into Chattanooga. Unfortunately for Orange, he was captured by the rebels and soon found himself on a train headed to the prisoner of war camp in Danville Virginia.


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    I headed east and the north on Georgia back roads and back into Tennessee. My seconds night camp along the Ocoee river. Neat but rustic camping at Ocoee River Rats. Again I had the place almost to myself.


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    A full day at 372 miles...


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    Fire...good...beer...good...


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    A few beers and some beanie weenies and I'm done.

    Tomorrow it's up to Tellico Plains and on to the Blue Ridge as I make my way to Danville, VA.
    #14
  15. ClearwaterBMW

    ClearwaterBMW The Examiner

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    what a terrific thread
    a fantastic ride through history
    love the pictures and the words behind them
    the UNCLE MERRITT portoin of your ride report is a stand-out contribution
    thank you for sharing with us
    #15
  16. Sourjon

    Sourjon TAT'erd

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    Great RR Mark! Love the history.

    John
    #16
  17. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    This days goal was to head northeast to the Blue Ridge Pkwy and make towards Danville, VA where Orange was a POW.


    Breaking camp...


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    Ocoee dam...


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    Reliance, TN on the way to Tellico Plains...


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    When in Tellico you have to stop at Tellico Motorcycle Outfitters. Picked up a couple accessories and visited with some riders passing through.


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    Bear on the tricycle...


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    Also got directions for a nice gravel loop just to prove I'm not a complete poser. Bald River Rd. I believe...


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    Friendly locals helping with directions...


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    Wish I'd had more time to explore the area, but I'm on a quest. Spent a long weekend here several years ago at a KLR rally and I'll be back. After the gravel loop I gassed up and took the Cherohala over to Robbinsville, NC.


    On the way to Cherokee, these guys were stopping everyone checking ID's...


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    I haven't been on the BRP in 25 years.


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    Met some cruiser riders down from Indy who snapped my pic. Traffic was pretty light and most seemed to be south bound.


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    Crabtree Falls was my destination for the night...


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    Just a few campers at Crabtree Falls campground...


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    I like to eat pretty simple when I travel, so here's the food pic...


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    316 miles today...


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    Day 4 was to continue up the BRP into Virginia and then over to Danville. Going to be a nice sunny day!


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    Beautiful road, gentle curve after curve...


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    On a detour off the Blue Ridge I started to see more & more dual sports. Seem I happended upon the ADV Eastern Rendezvous at Laurel Springs. Snapped a couple pics and I was on my way.


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    This nice couple were from Oklahoma on a Ducati tourer...


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    After crossing into Virginia I left the BRPW at the Meadows of Dan and took the slab east to Danville. During the Civil War, Danville was recommended by Robert E. Lee as good location for prisons to house Union soldiers. Danville was relatively isolated and had escaped many of the hardships experienced by other Virginians. Know for it's tobacco industry, there were 6 warehouses used for prisons. One still stands today...


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    As you might imagine, conditions in Civil War prisons, both north and south were at least intolerable, Danville was no exception.

    A report from a Confederate officer;

    “The prisons at this post are in a very bad condition, dirty, filled with vermin, little or no ventilation and there is an insufficiency of fireplaces …. It is a matter of surprise that the prisoners can exist in the close and crowded rooms, the gas from the coal rendering the air fetid and impure. [A single pot-bellied stove was installed on each floor of the building.] The prisoners have almost no clothing, no blankets, and a very small supply of fuel …. The mortality…about five per day, is caused, no doubt, by the insufficiency of food…and for the reasons…stated above. This state of things is truly horrible….”

    From an article on the Danville prison;

    During the fifteen months, between December 1863 and February 1865, that Danville housed Federal prisoners, brutally cold weather and sweltering heat exacerbated the suffering of the men. “Like starving dogs” the Northern men fought for pitiful food dumped on the dirt- and excrement-encrusted floors. They whittled down wooden warehouse rafters to the breaking point to obtain slivers of wood which they boiled to make “coffee.” They attempted to stomach “rat dung in the rice, pea bugs in the peas and worms in the cabbage soup.” They fought a smallpox epidemic, the scourge of scurvy, and the disgusting battle of diarrhea, worsened by the humiliation of restricted latrine privileges.

    Orange Babcock's name first appeared on the prison role Dec. 1, 1863, and he went in and out of the hospital several times and was paroled from Danville on April 30, 1864.


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    Orange was discharged from the Army of the United States in August 1865 and returned to Youngsville to resume his life farming with wife Cathaline and 4 sons. They had one more son after the war and he lived to the age 58. His grave today still displays the marker of the GAR. The Grand Army of the Republic.

    I still had quite a few miles to travel today as I turned west to start my ride back to Louisville. I dipped back down into North Carolina before crossing back into Virginia just north of Mt. Airy.


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    MapSource can't tell you about the bridge being out...


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    Tonight camp was at Grayson Highlands state park. Quite a few more campers tonight. Had to take an RV spot...


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    Big day today, 410 miles and another tomorrow as I come back full circle.


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  18. ClearwaterBMW

    ClearwaterBMW The Examiner

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    i'm enjoying all of this very much
    thank you
    #18
  19. TooTallRacing

    TooTallRacing Been here awhile

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    This is Really Cool

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    #19
  20. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    Hey Mike! We need to take a ride again soon, been awhile.

    I'll finish this RR tomorrow.
    #20