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50 States Day 196

  50 States Day 196  Hagerstown to Antietam, Harper's Ferry,  80 miles
"Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs."
~Henry Ford

 Suppose it's September of 1852 and you're Samuel and Elizabeth Mumma. If you're a man, be Samuel-a woman, you know the drill.

You're working a farm in Maryland, a couple miles off Antietam Creek. Then one day the Civil War comes to your doorstep. Twenty four hours later, your fields are crushed and the crops consumed, dead bodies litter the entire area, and the Confederates burned your house and barns so the Union couldn't use them for their effort.
You are having one bad day.

Even so, not as bad as the troops, with 23,000 casualties-dead, injured, missing. Antietam marks the battlefield of the largest casualties in one day in the history of the United States, with a soldier dying every two seconds for the entire period of daylight.

I missed history in school somehow, and now watch, absorb and learn with a ravenous appetite. And Antietam makes for a fascinating story, that if told in fiction no one would believe it. Soldiers fighting within a few feet of the church. Five hundred men holding back over five thousand. A river running with blood. Amputation the most common method of doctoring.

The battle actually accomplished little-hard fought battles for bridges, fields and high ground yielded almost no progress for either side, and the carnage was debilitating.

QG and I toured the battlefield and tried to imagine the scene, and even with conditions preserved almost exactly to the original condition, we still found it difficult to get our brain cells around it. I think perhaps a tour guide would have helped, like at Gettysburg, but they only provided personal guides at $75 per hour. Not happening for Mr. and Mrs. Cheap!
By afternoon we'd seen enough and rode through Shepherdstown and on to Harper's Ferry. Riding the Gold Wing on this road was a treat. This road was built with picks and shovel, no D-8s carving smooth paths through the hills. The result is a roller coaster with blind hilltops, sharp curves and plenty of farms, trees and houses on either side of the ribbon road.
Then, bonus! I stopped the bike and backtracked. 

Parked in the front of a Lutheran Church sat eight Studebakers, a '51 Commander, a couple of Hawks and even two ugly Larks, and then...the car that helped them go out in style...two Avanti's. Wow. We stopped and I slobbered over them while QG waited patiently, like I do at a quilt shop. We both give a little. No one around for me to ask questions, but those cars, all drivers, were in really good condition.

We mounted up and rode to Harper's Ferry National Historic Park and did a brief tour, as Mr. Sun dipped toward the horizon. Back through the same road, winding and following the fog line, a line that swings around more than the Dow.
And the Mumma's? After the war, the United States compensated people for their damages. However, the Confederates, not the Union torched the place, so no comp. Fortunately, their neighbors pulled together and helped them rebuild, as neighbors should.

Now, a good neighbor indeed, Quilter Girl!
Antietam is an incredible place.  It is a peaceful farming country with rolling hills, the Potomac and Antietam Creek running through it.  The casualty numbers are so high they are hard to relate to.  The ranger who spent 30 minutes relating the day long battles said we don't even want to know what the battlefields looked like.  I think he is right.  It was a sobering day.
At Burnside Bridge we met a group of guys who were touring together.  They were going to make some sandwiches with bread made by one of the group.  He gave us each a piece of the bread that had lots of different kinds of grains and seeds.  What a treat, it was delicious! It helped us last to dinner.

We looked for a place to eat on the way back from Sheperdstown, but not real hard until we got to Hagerstown because it was getting colder.  We ended up near the motel at Texas Roadhouse that we saw near the Bob Evans.  It was 4 when we stopped for dinner, but the place was packed.  They had peanuts in the shell on the table and brought us homemade rolls with cinnamon honey butter.  Very good stuff.  I ordered country fried steak that came on its own platter.  I have never seen such a big piece of meat.  I ate less than half and brought the rest home along with the whole baked potato.  Kevin had half a roasted chicken.  He ate his potato and brought the chicken home.  Tomorrow we will be eating in!  

Stay tuned for Church Surch tomorrow, where I'll check out-either one church or another. See ya then.



Mel Nason said...

I didn't know you were such a Studebaker nut, Kevin. I have a '51Champion just like the one in the picture, only in better condition. It has never been out of its original "Highway 61 Collectibles" display box and is prominently displayed in my office. My friend, Tom, gave it to me at my 50th birthday party 10 years ago this month. That's right... you were there! You even let me beat you in the go-cart races, but we've long forgotten about that... right?

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

I'm not a big Studebaker fan, but seeing a bunch of them in a random parking lot was pretty cool. But those Avantis were awesome. Leather dashboards and bucket seats. I forgot about your birthday gift and I sure forgot about you beating me in the go carts. Got any photos or results to help us remember?

Mel Nason said...

I had tons of photos and score cards from that race, but can't remember where I put 'em. The local TV and Radio Stations and Newspapers seem to have lost all their stories of the event as well. You'll just have to trust me on this one...

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

Okay, we'll that was around three crashes and head traumas ago so I'll take you at your word.