Sunday, March 18, 2012

National Parks Tour - GA, AL, MS & TN

Part of:  NPT - Southeastern States ride
SpotWalla Map
GPS Track (Garmin Connect)

Got up at "O-dark-thirty" and know it was going to be a great day.  You see, I spent then night in a Holiday Inn Express.  My goal was knock out several passport stamp locations before arriving in Memphis TN.  A IBA comrade had invited me to stay at his place in Memphis.  I plugged all the stops into my Garmin zumo 665 and it showed a 18:30 arrival time.  With the route set I headed out. 

 Andersonville NHS was my first stop on this leg.  I had visited this important historical site in the 1970's when I lived in Columbus GA.  Since then the site had gotten a huge facelift owing to the establishment of the National POW Museum.  I was very impressive and very well maintained.  Of course, the absolutely perfect early morning spring day made the visit that much more rewarding. 
 The Tuskegee Airman NHS was next on the route.  It's always a thrill to be at the spot of such historical happenings.  Being a retired US Army soldier I feel a special affinity for the warrior class.  The National Park Service must be in the middle of upgrading the site.  I was disappointed at how run down it looked.  I hope the new film about these great American Fighting Men will boost interest and visitation. 
Heading over Mississippi and the Tupelo NHS on the Natchez Trace Parkway.  I had ridden the parkway once before on a trip to Milwaukee WI.  It is a scenic highway winding through the south.  So, a quick stop at the Visitor's Center to document the location allowed me to capture 4 stamps in my passport. 
 A short ride up the parkway took me to Brices Cross Roads NBS.  The Confederate victory at Brices Cross Roads was a significant victory for Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest, but its long term effect on the war proved costly for the Confederates. Brices Cross Roads is an excellent example of winning the battle, but losing the war.
The Shiloh NMP was the last passport stop before the RON in Memphis.  The National Military Park is very well maintained with Civil War cannon lining the meandering park roads.  Being one of the bloodiest battles of the war Shiloh NMP memorializes the fallen in a way that gives ever lasting meaning to the battle.  Remember, to quote Plato, "Only the dead have seen the end of war." 

Memphis was a short 1.5 hour ride to arrive at the home of my rally mentor.  This comrade has encouraged me to participate more in the cerebral aspect of long distance endurance mororcycling, the themed rally.  I enjoy a delicious baked catfish meal, home made beer and some great company.  Thank you, Doctor H and J Esq, for your warm hospitality.

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