Day 1 – Saturday Oct 8

This year for my annual trip I am ridiing solo from Philly to Dallas.  Well not quite solo since Willi G nome joined me. I left bright and early Saturday morning, October 8.  I am used to taking these trips in the summer, so I was not quite expecting the temps to be a brisk 48 degrees.  Thank god for heated gear since it does not take up much room, otherwise I would have had to repack.  This was mainly a travel day and I only stopped once for a quick picture. While on the PA Turnpike I saw fog in the valley near Bedford PA.

Ended the day in Terre Haute IN, 742 miles later

Day 2 – Sunday Oct 9

Sunday was a much more relaxed day where I took some smaller roads stopped quite a bit. Still was cold when I left, but was in the 50’s so I did not need my heated pants. I started the day heading south on US 41.  Pretty much was small towns and corn fields. At US 50 I turned back west and headed towards Illinois.  I stopped at the George Rogers Clark memorial in Vincennes IN and then crossed into Illinois and stopped at the Lewis and Clark Historic Site.  Aftercrossing into Missouri I stopped at Ulysses S Grant’s farm just outside of St. Louis, and then got back on the interstate and ended in Saint Robert MO.  Ended the day with 408 miles, 1149 total.

Here are the pictures for the day

Typical fields in Indiana, this one has been harvested, however some looked like they had not yet. This was on US 41

Stopping at the George Rogers Clark memorial was cool. His claim to fame was taking British forts in the west during the Revolution. Because of him, the US was able to claim the boarder of the US with Canada was the Great Lakes, rather than the Ohio River.  Our map would be quite different if it were not for him.  His little brother was the Clark from Lewis and Clark.

The memorial

His statue inside

The photo the ranger took of me in the memorial

The paintings

The far side of the grounds

At the other end of the grounds was a bridge over the Wabash River that looked pretty cool

The bridge had some cool detail to it

Next to the memorial was an old church with this marker next to it

Just over the bridge in Illinois there was a monument indicating this is where Lincoln crossed into Illinois when he was 21 to start his career

Down the road in Illinois was a sign for a historical marker.  Of course I had to check it out. It was for an old Army Airfield from WWII

US 50 in Illinois was similar to Indiana, however some different crops.

Part of 50 ran next to the old road. Here is an old bridge I spotted.

In Illinois I stopped at the Lewis and Clark Historic site which was on the Mississippi river near where the Missouri joins it.  Nearby was the site of Lewis and Clark’s camp River Dubois. At the historic site they had a recreation of that camp

And the marker near the site

The Mississippi where the Missouri river joins

Crossing into Missouri, I stopped at Ulysses S Grant’s farm which was just outside of St. Louis.  I have to say I expected something a little bigger.

And the back

After spending most of the day on US routes, it was time to get back on the Interstate.  I stopped for gas about 30 miles west of St Louis on I 44 and saw a sign for route 66.  I didn’t realize I 44 paralleled the old route.

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This pretty much sums upmost of Missouri that I saw today. The road to the right is route 66.

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I got to my hotel in St. Robert and decided to do some exploring.  Found another part of route 66 and went for a ride.  Saw a marker for Devils Elbow

Railroad bridge just off to the side

And here is the post office and pretty much most of the town

And the bridge just past the center of “town”

Day 3 – Monday Oct 10

Monday was also relaxing since I took some smaller roads again today, however I made less stops. It was a little warmer when I left, but it was also dark since I left at 6am.  I headed north to US 54 and then pointed west towards Kansas. US 54 was a great ride. I stopped in Fort Scott KS and checked out an old fort. From there I got back on 54 west and then got on I 35.  From there it was a quick trip south to Oklahoma where I got on US 412 and headed west.  Stopped in Enid OK to visit my aunt and uncle, but they were not home.  Guess I shoulda called first!  Back on 412 to head to see my other uncle 80 miles west in Woodward OK.  About 1/2 way there are the Glass Mountains which I had seen many times when I made this same trip when I was a kid heading to visit my Grandparents.  Climbed the hills and they were taller than I recall. From there it was an easy ride to Woodward where I met up with my cousin and visited with my uncle. Ended the day with 538 miles, 1687 total.

Here is downtown Fort Scott.  Cool town

The parade grounds at the fort

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The fort’s jail

Inside of the fort’s jail

And for those that really ticked someone off

Veteran’s monument with an old blockhouse from the Civil War in the background

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After that is was a hard ride due south into Oklahoma where I turned west again.  Here are a few shots of the Glass Mountains.  Note the red Oklahoma dirt

Day 4 – Tuesday Oct 11

Tuesday was a busy day.  Was planning to be on the road at 7 am, however when I went to check out I found breakfast was included and they were making omlets.  I decided to sit for a bit and have a good breakfast, so I got on the road at 7:30.  I spent much of the morning stopping every few minutes when I saw something catch my eye.  I got to Cheyenne about an hour late and thought I could make it up by making the visit short.  Wrong!  I got caught up reading all the info on the battle, walking their trail, and checking out the battlefield.  Custer and the 7th Cavalry got wind of the Indians being camped in the area so they attacked and more or less massacred the indian village.  Something I had never read about before but am going to read more about now that I have seen the site.  After that I was on some state roads into Texas, and then mainly state roads all the way to Fritch TX to see the Lake Meredith National Recreation Area.  It is way up at the top of Texas.  Not much to see there, but since I had continued to make stops I ended up further behind.  I made up an hour since I didn’t stay, however I was still way late and was supposed to meet friends in Dallas.  From there I headed due south until I got to US 287 which is a four lane highway which runs south east towards Dallas.  Since the speed limit was 70 I made good time and I got to my hotel around 8:30. Approximate mileage for the day was 580 miles, and the total trip so far is about 2270.

It didn’t take me long to find a historical marker of interest.  About 10 miles from my starting point I found this one in Fargo OK detailing how the cattle trails from Texas to Kansas used to pass nearby.

Here is a cool scene I saw near the town of Arnett OK

Further down the road I came across this one marking the California Road which was the route taken by those headed to California during the gold rush

At the Washita Battlefield there was an old marker placed there years ago.  It was moved into the visitor center when the site became a park

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There was also an interesting story of Custer smoking a peace pipe, and then having the ashes dumped on his boots and being told by a chief if he ever attacked or lied to the Cheyenne again he would die.  Looks like it was true…

Information on the attack

Depiction of the attack

The actual site of the attack

Texas and Oklahoma have lots of oil.  While passing through Texas I caught this oil rig in the process of being setup

Also saw this oil well along side the road

Driving through Texas I passed through the town of Mobeetie, population of 101.  I saw a sign for the old jail so I stopped for a look.  This is from the 1800’s and was the first jail in the entire panhandle area of Texas which is the part that sticks up west of Oklahoma

Info on the jail

And this was the flag pole from Fort Elliott that used to be in the area

As I was riding down the road near Pampa I saw this black area. As I got closer I realized it was cattle, thousands of them

A common site in this area of the country are grain elevators.  Saw this one while I was waiting for a long train to pass

One of the roads I was riding on this day.  This was Texas Route 152 about 5 miles east of Borger Texas

In Fritch Texas I saw this sign and considered giving it a try, however it was 30 miles in the wrong direction and somehow I don’t think I could ride after eating that much

Saw these markers when I was headed to Dallas explaining how the first oil well and first rotary oil rig in the panhandle area of Texas were nearby.

As I was closing on Dallas I caught this view of the sunset in my mirror

Later that night I met a couple of friends in Strokers bar in Dallas.  And of course Willi is hamming it up in front of us.

And here are our bikes

Day 5 – Wednesday Oct 12

On Wednesday I had another ambitious plan, to ride east from Dallas to Louisiana, head 75 miles south to check out a National Park, then turn north through Arkansas and try to get close to Memphis by dark.  Those plans were shattered when a thunder storm woke me at 5am.  At 6 I was hearing reports on the news about all kinds of car wrecks, over turned cars, etc.  I finally ventured outside at 7am and got my rain gear out and started to pack the bike.  Probably didn’t leave unto 8:30 or so.  It was a light drizzle at the time.  As I fought my way through Dallas traffic and turned east it started raining harder.  By 30 or so miles east of Dallas it was raining pretty hard, and continued all the way to the Louisiana border.  The tough part was I could see blue sky to my left (north).  I turned south as planned and about 20 miles later it started raining again.  I said the heck with it and turned around.  Around Shreveport I saw blue sky and once I cleared town I got out of the rain gear.  I stopped once in Hope LA to visit Bill Clinton’s birthplace which just became a Historic Landmark.  Since it was raining so much and I was way behind schedule I didn’t take many pictures.  Total miles for the day were 565 miles, and the total trip so far is 2835.

Somewhere in Arkansas my bike hit 70,000 miles

And as I was traveling east on I 30 I saw a rainbow

Day 6 – Thursday Oct 13

Thursday started off early.  Started packing to go around 6:00 am, however since I had done laundry and had to repack the all my gear I ended up leaving around 7:15. I noticed that it had rained overnight again. My route had me riding southeast to Tupelo MS to see the civil war battlefield of Brice’s Crossroads, north to visit the Shilo battlefield in TN, east to Bridgeport AL to see the Russell Cave National Monument, and finally southeast towards Atlanta.  The entire day I could see that I was following the rain.  As I got further south it cleared, however when I turned north east it looked like I had gotten ahead of the rain.  I got a little wet in Alabama but nothing like the day before.

The visitor center for Brice’s Crossroads is also the visitor center for the Natchez Trace Parkway, which is a cool scenic road.  I only rode part of it due to my schedule.  The battlefield for Brice’s Crossroads is mostly intact.  Due to my schedule I did not have time to read each marker, however it was a typical civil war battlefield.  I found it interesting and hopefully I can get back down here to spend more time.  Making my way to Shilo I was surprised to see markers far from the battlefield.  Quite a few were in residential areas. The battlefield was big and would probably take days to see.  For the most part I had been on highways all morning except for maybe 20 – 30 miles.  From Shilo I had a long ride to Bridgeport AL and a good part was on local roads which was great. The cave at Russell National Monument was ok, but nothing great.  They had a walkway up to the cave, and some exhibits depicting those who had lived in the cave over the last few thousand years.  It was rather small and I spent 15 minutes there.  From there it was more small roads for maybe 20 miles, a bit, but then I got on the interstates all the way to my hotel 20 or so miles outside of Atlanta in Cartersville GA.  I checked in at the BestWestern and decided to go get food and a beer. I unloaded the bike, changed my shirt, brushed my teeth, opened the door and saw pouring rain!  What timing, however I was starving and there was nothing in the hotel.  15 minutes later it stopped so I ventured out.  After I got back to my room I hear some noise outside and when I looked out it was raining again.  I guess today was my lucky day for missing the rain.  Miles for the day today were 554 and total trip to date is 3,389.
This is the monument at Brice’s Crossroads. At this location when the battle started was a house owned by someone named Brice.

Close up of the actual monument

Marker with info on the house

Information on the battle

And information on the entire campaign

On the road leading to the crossroads I saw a number of markers.  I stopped at one and it marked to site of the first shots.  It was maybe a mile or so away.

From there it was an hour or so to Shilo.  Once I got there I saw many markers, far too many to read with my schedule.  Those I did read were indicating which units were where which is meaningless without an understanding of the battle.  Sadly, I did not see a marker with the info on the battle.  Here is one of the markers I saw

Leaving Shilo I passed through the town of Crump.  I spotted a helicopter on the side of the road so I stopped for a quick picture

This is what much of the roads headed from Shilo looked like

As I was getting on a highway in Huntsville AL, I spotted something tall and white which looked like a rocket. As I got closer I saw it was a NASA Visitor Center and the home of Space Camp.  Sadly no time to stop.

And lastly this is one of the two caves at Russell Cave National Monument

Day 7 – Friday Oct 14

Friday was a short day since I only had to ride from the Atlanta area up to Spartanburg SC.  I had plans to meet someone from work in our Atlanta office but they could not make it.  I now had a few hours to kill so I slept in and took my time packing.  My plans were to visit the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield in Georgia and then head up to the Spartanburg South Carolina area to visit the Cowpens Battlefield and then hang out with a friend for the rest of the day.  I had plenty of time since my friend would not be home from work until 6:30.   I found a brochure for the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw Georgia and since I had time to spare I figured that would be a good place to visit.  It was a cool museum with lots of interesting information in it.  There was an old locomotive manufacturer called the Glover Machine Works and they have a nice display including many of their old patterns and one of their engines. They also have a train called The General which was involved in a chase when it was stolen by some Union Soldiers during the Civil War.  It was a great museum and I recommend a stop if in the area.  After that, I went to visit the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield.  It was interesting as well if into the history of the Civil War.  I saw they had an auto tour including a road up to the top of the mountain so I figured I would go take a look.  Somehow I missed a turn and drove around for a while before finding it.  Once at the top I walked along one of the hiking trails to the very top and what a view.  It was then that I realized my error in timing.  I had to stop in the visitor center at the Cowpens Battlefield for a stamp in my National Parks Passport, and they closed at 5pm.  I was just going to make it.  I headed out for the 180 mile ride north and as soon as I got on the highway traffic came to a stop.  After sitting in traffic for almost 30 minutes I came to the realization that I was not going to make the visitor center at Cowpens.  No matter, was still having a good time (other than being caught in traffic for the first time).  The trip up to Spartanburg was uneventful.  Miles for the day were only 228 and total trip to date is 3617.

Here are the pictures for the day

Display of patterns from the Glover Machine Works

Mockup of their machine shop

One of their locomotives.  They left it torn down after it was restored

And here is the locomotive’s story.  Essentially it was sold in the 1920’s and then repossessed.  It then sat in their shop for the next 70 years and was saved just before the building was torn down in the 1990’s

They also have Georgia’s French 4-40 boxcar from WWI

Info on the 4-40 or “Merci” boxcars

And here is “The General”.  It is a really cool looking locomotive and a cool story that I plan to look up when I get home

The Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield was similar to many others.  At the top of the mountain they have the familiar cannons found at many sites, however the earthworks around them are original

The view from the top of the mountain.  That is Atlanta in the distance

Day 8 – Saturday Oct 15

Saturday was my final day. The route was simple, I 85 north to I 95, and then north to home. Because I hung out with a friend till midnight and I had gotten into Spartanburg too late to visit the Cowpens Battlefield I delayed my departure until 9am.  First stop was at Cowpens 15 miles up the road and checked out the visitor center and rode along the perimeter road.  This was a revolutionary war battlefield and the fist thought I had was this was much smaller than a civil war battlefield.  However, that makes sense since there were only 1000 men on each side during the battle, compared to tens of thousands for the civil war.  After checking out the battlefield, I started for home. Miles for the day were 652 and the total trip was 4269.

Not many pictures for the day since it was mainly a travel day.  Here is what I took:

Sign at the entrance to Cowpens Battlefield

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Monument at Cowpens. Unfortunately the sun was right behind the monument

Painting of battle in Visitor Cenr

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Scruggs House built on the Battlefield 50 years after the battle

Actual battlefield (Yes, that’s all of it!)

While traveling through North Carolina I saw a sign for a Vietnam Vet’s memorial, so I stopped.

General shot of the memorial

Close up of the marker

Far wall with the names engraved

And thats it for this trip.  Thanks for reading

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