Friday, May 8, 2009

Tennessee to Virginia to Gettysburg

We've had a couple of long travel days. We stayed in Northern Virginia last night at the home of my step daughter and her husband. Brian is a Major in the US Airforce stationed at the Pentagon. He's pretty busy these days.

Travel was beautiful through the Shenendoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains. We loved the green mountains and the sweeping views.

Today we lingered in the DC area listening to the fire news streaming from Santa Barbara online from KTYD. I posted my latest podcast for The Homecast Show. By the time we got back on the road we discovered just what a nightmare the traffic around Washington can be on a Friday. It was gridlock on I-95. We ran east to an alternate route north and arrived in Gettysburg, PA. tonight. I'm writing this just a few blocks from the new National Park Visitor center. The photo above is the main street of Mercersburg, Pa., a beautifully preserved and lived-in old town. We saw a bit of what the area looked like when Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia invaded the north in July of 1863.

The modern approach to Gettysburg is quite different. The modern buildings and retail centers have covered the route that part of the sourthern army took into town.

Sisnce we were in the area, we made a side trip to the birthplace of 15th president, James Buchanan. He was born in a log cabin at the foot of Tuscarora Mountain. It's a beautiful spot.

So how do professional historians rate Buchanan? I happen to be traveling with one so I asked him. "He stank" was the verdict. Buchanan was the 15th president. Lincoln was the 16th. I was thinking of all the comparisons between Lincoln and Obama. Ironic that in those terms, Buchanan compares to Bush. Peter added, "Buchanan is now the second worst president".

Peter explains the legacy of James Buchnanan to Annie. My dog loves history. Whenever we stop at places like this, she gets to run around and chase squirrels.

Tomorrow morning we have a few hours to visit Gettysburg. Then we have to streak north.
We're running out of time!

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