Blue & Grey Campaign Day 9: Tired Campaigners
Several times today I heard members of the ride say how nice it would be to sleep in their own beds again. I agree. Eight straight nights in hotel rooms, along with 1,926 motorcycle miles, and, of course, untold hours spent walking through and exploring museums, historic sites and battlefields, earned everyone a well-deserved rest in their own beds with at least one morning to sleep late.
While I think everyone would like to have extended the trip by many miles and more historic sites, they were also ready to decompress in the quiet of their own homes for a few hours or a few days. Most days on this trip started with alarm clock reveille before 6 a.m. and ended each day well after 10 p.m. Between reveille and lights out, each day was a full day of riding or walking or both. Don’t get me wrong. No one complained. No one asked for fewer miles or shorter days or fewer visits. And each morning–without fail–when we met for our pre-ride safety briefing and historical synopsis of the day’s planned activities, all campaigners were ready before the appointed time.
We couldn’t visit all the sites in the Eastern Theater of the Civil War. That would take months or even years. But in nine days we managed to visit eight of the biggest and most important sites. Each person, including me, has finished the Blue and Grey Campaign with a much better understanding of the men and women who argued, debated, cried, fought, bled, and died and the causes which led them to suffer unspeakable pain and unfathomable loss during those bitter and bloody years. In fact, several members of the campaign returned home with a pile of books they will read to continue to expand their newly-gained knowledge of the Civil War. And they all returned with tales–Civil War, motorcycle and after hours–to tell friends and family (and even strangers who get cornered and are forced to listen to their “war” stories).
Today’s ride, which began with Willie Nelson crooning “On the Road Again,” was uneventful, and rain that had been forecast for today several days ago never materialized. It would have been hard to find better weather for riding than we had today. But it was just 360 miles down the asphalt ribbon, swerving around the occasional South Carolina road breaks and potholes and keeping an eye on 18 wheelers and motorists in a hurry. Lunch, a couple of gas stops, and a final Dairy Queen break to extend our time together, made for an unremarkable ride home.
Each campaigner now has an assignment: A brief essay that records their view of the Blue and Grey Campaign to be provided to the task master Road Captain/blog author/book editor. The essay will be their contribution to history, at least for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren who inherit the book to be published using the contents of this blog.
For now, the blog posts come to an end again. But, as long as unridden roads remain unexplored, I’ll make other rides and, no doubt, contribute more scribblings to memorialize those exploits. I hope everyone who followed along the past nine days enjoyed the Blue and Grey Campaign as much as the campaigners did. It was a good ride.