Bloodiest Battle

Standing in PA, New Jersey and New York is seen.

We left Massachusetts on Sunday and headed to Maramoras, Pennsylvania for the night. Driving down 1-84, we were surrounded by truck drivers and rolling hills. Years ago, while Brad and I were driving to New York, we drove through the northern part of Pennsylvania in the wintertime. As we drove down the highway this time, we saw the real beauty of Pennsylvania. The trees were changing colors and surrounded both sides of the highway and the hills were all around us. The campground we stayed at for the night was in an area called Tri-State, in reference to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York.

We took off again on Monday and settled in at Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. We stayed at Granite Hill Campground and had our first issue of being too tall. Pulling into our spot, the tension wire above was too short so our 5th wheel was pulling on it! It was a good thing that I noticed that happening as one of the employees had to climb onto our roof to hold up the wire.

Campground view at sunset
Campground view at sunset.
One of the many cannons on the battlefield
One of the many cannons on the battlefield.

We set up for the day and headed off to check out Gettysburg National Military Park. Since the only plans we had were to see Gettysburg and D.C., we decided to tour different sections of Gettysburg each day and go to D.C. on Saturday. Gettysburg is known as the turning point in the Civil War and was the site for the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil. We walked along Cemetery Ridge and saw where the fighting occurred on the third day of the battle. It was busy but quiet in the park. Standing on top of a hill and looking out in the distance, the land is flat with mountain tops in distance. It’s amazing to think that solders ran across the open field while being shot at with no protected area for shelter. With the sun setting on the battlefield, there was reverent silence around the park.

Protective barrier on the battlefield
Protective barrier on the battlefield.

The next evening, we walked a trail behind the wheat fields and peach orchard and saw the other side of the battlefield from the day prior. To look out and see where the Confederate soldiers ran across the open field, we had an appreciation of the distance they ran and how fearless they were. It doesn’t matter if you support the Union or the Confederates, what both sides went through is seen as bold and brave. As the sun was setting, we proceeded to Little Round Top, a small mountain that was key to the Union defense. We walked the length of where the soldiers were lined up for battle and saw remnants of a rock barrier they’d made as a defense.

Day 3 of the battle. The Confederates ran across this open field.
Day 3 of the battle. The Confederates ran across this open field.
View from Little Round Top
View from Little Round Top.
Headstones of the soldiers.
Headstones of the soldiers.

Early one morning, we went to Soldiers National Cemetery, which is the burial site for Union soldiers and where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address speech. The sun was rising and we were the only ones at the cemetery making it a tranquil scene. Walking around, we saw many tombstones marked as “unknown” that saddened me, for the families of those soldiers do not know where they are buried and those soldiers deserve to have their names seen by all who visit. Later that day we went to the Eternal Light Peace Memorial and went up an observation tower to look out over the land. Seeing the battlefield from up high gave a new appreciation for the distance the soldiers traveled.

Vietnam War Memorial Wall.
Washington Monument.

Saturday we went explored DC on a time crunch. Michigan State was playing one of the most important football games of the year against Michigan and watching the game was top priority. Luckily, we had both been to Washington, DC as kids so we knew what monuments we wanted to see. Straight from the Metro, we went to the National Archives Building, which is the home of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. We were waiting in line outside when we met a nice couple from Ireland. They told us they come to the U.S. every year to visit their son and this was their first visit to DC One of the great aspects of the trips is meeting pleasant and friendly individuals that we would have never met before. Brad and I always have a great converstation starter when we are asked where we live. We then went to the Vietnam War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and saw the White House in the distance. One of the many things I love about traveling is checking out the different culture. For DC, this meant lunch at a food truck…which is where we grabbed lunch on our way to the National Air and Space Museum. We walked our way to Capital Lounge, the Michigan State bar of the area. We got there early enough to get seats at the bar and met another nice couple who live right outside the area. We enjoyed watching the intense game among allies and we all enjoyed the victory win together. Wow, what a great game ending at was! Go MSU!

Since we have seen so many beautiful places on this trip, I decided to start a SmugMug page to feature my photos. Check it out at We are off to Virginia for the next two weeks. We look forward to getting settled, not only to explore but to get a few items checked off the to-do list. Till then!

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