Blue & Grey Campaign: Getting Ready
Tomorrow at 6 a.m. ten Orange Park Harley Owners Group (OPHOG) members will roll into the starting location to begin the first day of a nine-day, 2,000+ mile ride: an adventurous campaign to eight Civil War battlefield sites. Everyone is ready. Some have been packing and repacking for six months since the ride was first announced. Others (Marilyn and I) started packing yesterday. But tomorrow everyone will be packed and ready for a 6:30 KSU (kickstands up) departure.
This special ride is a first for OPHOG. Our chapter has never organized a multi-day, multi-thousand mile group ride. This will definitely not be your average 100-mile lunch ride. Despite months of careful planning and route selecting, not all will go according to plan. As generals well know, the best battle plan begins to fall apart when the first shot is fired. But this intrepid group is up to the challenge. We’ve met several times to discuss rules of the road, safety issues, routes and historic sites along the way. Oil has been changed and fresh rubber mounted as needed. For riders new to this kind of ride, veterans have offered packing tips and suggestions to make the ride more comfortable. Now all that’s left is to fire up the V-Twins and roll down the road.
Our campaign will take us to the site of the first shots fired in the Civil War–Ft. Sumter in Charleston Harbor–then on to Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Manassas, Harpers Ferry, Antietam Creek, Gettysburg, and, finally, to Appomattox Courthouse where General Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to General Grant, effectively ending the war. All the historic sites we will visit are run by the National Park Service and have extensive exhibits and preserved areas to explain the battles and honor the men who fought and died there.
Each night after the day’s adventures have ended, I’ll post some notes and some pictures on this blog, sharing the day’s activities so chapter members (and others) can follow along with their comrades on the campaign. When the ride is done, I’ll convert the blog posts and pictures into a small book for the campaigners.
Not much left to do now but re-check the packs, tighten the cinches and wait for reveille tomorrow morning. I don’t know about everyone else, but I can’t wait to get on the road again.