Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stoner Mountain, LA

No idea why this park has the word Mountain in it....on the banks of the Red River. Just went down for a quick ride and it turned into an 90 minute scamper. Actually, a nice ride for a downtown trail. Shreveport, LA. Tight out and back loop that follows the river.

Helmets optional.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vicksburg, MS National Battlefield

Had a couple hours to take in the Vicksburg National Battlefield.

Basic overview of this battle. Vicksburg was the last city on the Mississippi controlled by the South. Grant got here and tried to take it, but as the city is on the bluffs 300 feet above the Mississippi, the boats and soldiers were sitting ducks for the cannons. Grant tried trekking through the swamps to the north to get to Vicksburg, that didn't work as he was turned away. So on a huge gamble that even his most loyal Officers didn't think would work, Grant took his Army all the way around to the West, crossed below Vicksburg, then make his way back to Vicksburg from the rear. After a couple futile charges, Grant just waited out the South and after 40 days they surrendered.
One day after Lee lost at Gettysburg. These 2 battles sealed the deal, the South couldn't come back from these 2 defeats.

Was the Civil War worth the deaths? Was preserving the Union needed? Would having 2 Countries instead of one United States be such a bad thing? Did the South need to make a stand on the Slavery issue and try to secede? When is States Rights worth making a stand for? Tragic it had to come to this.
In my opinion, one has to see what the issue is before one can invoke States Rights. In the end, Slavery was and is wrong and the price paid to not allow States Rights in this case was, although horrific, justified by President Lincoln and backed by the North.

A lot of history here, of course.
Figured I'd high-light on WI. There were monuments every where for all of the States that were represented in the battle.

This goes with the monument below this pic.

Statues on each side of the WI Monument.

Union soldiers stormed across this open hill-side, twice. Crazy.
Illinois had a huge monument.
Navy Monument.

Union Ironclad that had sunk during the battle. It sank near shore and therefore preserved. It was raised in the 1960's with many articles intact.

Drying my laundry as I rode through the Park. the back of a Subaru, no less.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lincoln Parish Park, LA

Had a fun ride at Lincoln Parish Park north of Ruston, AL.

Met James (left), Park Manager and head trail designer, builder and race director. I chased him for a lap. Bill, (on the right) was on the ride, as well. Works at LBS, see above. Well worth the effort to make it to the trial if you're anywhere close.
Be careful, my GPS link did not take me to the trailhead. Written description is correct.
GW holding back the hernia. James was able to get a new tire off of Bill, though.
Gentle section....the only stop in 10 miles. Hard to get any pics with this crew...push, push!! Was really fun to have a rabbit.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ridgeland Trail, Jackson MS

A very good IMBA trail. Lots of side hill scampers, rollers and climbs with plenty of recovery. They sure made the most of the land they have.

Most places this rock would have been rolled off to the side a long time ago to avoid the roots. Nice to see some trail building respect.

Sweet berm. High and solid.
If you blow this up, you can see 4 trails, 5 counting the top. Nice spiral swing to the top.

Some nice armoring.

Natchez Trace

What Is The Natchez Trace Parkway?

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile drive through exceptional scenery and 10,000 years of North American history. Used by American Indians, "Kaintucks", settlers, and future presidents, the Old Trace played an important role in American history. Today, visitors can enjoy not only a scenic drive but also hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping.

Taken from their website. It starts in Nashville and ends at Natchez, MS running pretty much straight south. No stop lights or stop signs, billboards, or a buildings for that matter. Straight through all the towns. 50 mph speed limit though on a narrow road. Many pull overs for historical information or rest stops. There are a number of opportunities to pull off for food and gas in the neighboring towns.

Really a must do drive or bike ride. Beautiful country and scenery. 444 miles without a billboard, just think of it.

By Jackson, MS.

Along the way met Wayne and Deborah from Birmingham. Had a nice chat with them.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Shiloh National Battlefield

Shiloh, meaning "Place of Peace" in Hebrew.
American Civil War National Battlefield. Tennessee. It was the first major battle of the war occurring in 1862. 24,000 men were killed, wounded or missing after 2 days of fighting.

Basically, the North had penetrated to southern Tennessee. The south gathered up 20,000 men to attack to push the North back. The North held the line in the Hornets Nest before getting surrounded and 2,000 surrendered. But the Northerners stand, that withstood 11 attacks and 162 cannons lined up 400 yards away, gave time for the rest of the North to dig in behind them and also allow reinforcements to come in.
The next day, with the added troops, the North took back all the ground it lost the day before and more as the South turned and retreated.
Another lost opportunity to severely cripple the South by the North not attacking the retreat?
Also, the South made some tactical errors that could have swung the starting the battle one day before, which would have meant the reinforcements would not have been there to swing the battle. Interesting.

Rode the bike for the tour...13 miles and took me 4 hrs. at a very leisurely pace and covered it all. 20 official stops.

The line the North held, called the Hornets Nest.

Day 2.
From the homeland, WI.

The death of the highest ranking officer America ever lost on a Battlefield. Leg wound, died of loss of blood.

Shiloh total Casualties. Missing? Deserted?
Something interesting I found from further reading:
President Grant died (throat cancer) deep in debt after being defrauded by Ferdinand Ward, a business partner of his son Ulysses. But Grant's wife Julie was saved from bankruptcy when his memoirs were published and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The day before I arrived the first eagle chick hatched. 30 minutes before I got there the 2nd chick hatched. Watched the male and female race out the river and return a few minutes later with some lunch for the chicks, fish from the near by Tennessee River.

Shiloh Indian Mounds burial grounds. Was never plowed under like most mounds across the country. It was preserved mainly due to the Battlefield was preserved. Was inhabited from 1,000 AD to 1450 AD.
Largest mound is right on the Tennessee River.
The Village Commons taken from the River Mound.
25 ft of elevation.

National Cemetery. Originally, all the dead were buried out on the battlefield. One mass grave of Rebel deaths is ported (not proven) to contain 700 bodies. Then the North was moved to a National Cemetery. This was the primo spot....all men from WI tombstones.