First Stop: West Point Military AcademyThere are a few things at West Point we missed on our last visit.
I strolled Lexie and Ozzie around leisurely while Wayne busied himself with history. We snapped a few photos.
|West Point Cadet Chapel was dedicated in 1910.
It has a cross-shaped floor plan, soaring arches and ornate stone carvings.
This chapel hosts the largest chapel pipe organ in the world with more than 23,000 individual pipes.
|Looking out over some of the main buildings of West Point from Cadet Chapel.
Finally, we spent some time around West Point Military Academy's Michie Stadium.
|The USMA football equipment truck. Nice.
Second Stop: Carlisle, PennsylvaniaThat's where we took on our first hitchhikers -- the dreaded brown marmorated stink bugs. They became an immediate nuisance and caused us to keep the coach windows closed. While we worked hard to keep them out, we knew they were getting into the coach at every opportunity.
Third: Manassas, Virginia --
Catching Up on Forty-Two Years...Another bonus in retirement is having time to look up old friends. Another bonus in retirement during this particular time in history is having access to data at your fingertips and cell phones. Through membership in one of those "people finding" groups, Wayne gained access to names and telephone numbers of old high school friends, Army buddies and college buddies.
To this point, he's surprised his old Army Sargent in Franklin, North Carolina and now he's found another of the guys with whom he served at Grand Isle, New York. He was thrilled to hear his friend Richard Drake's voice on the phone and couldn't wait till we reached Manassas, near Richard's home.
What a great reunion this would be!
|Richard (L) and Wayne in Richard's fabulous gourmet kitchen.
|With the Devil Dogs
|Blurry but beautiful, Kim, Richard and Wayne
Our campground is at nearby Haymarket not far from the significant Civil War battlefields of First Manassas.
First ManassasThe First Battle of Bull Run, known as First Manassas by Confederate forces, was fought on July 21, 1861. While there, we returned to the battlefields and re-studied the Civil War during that time. We're both always saddened at this part of our country's history.
|Looking out from Henry Hill Visitors Center toward Brawner's Farm property.
|This poster puts America's war casualties into perspective.
Each red soldier represents 10,000 deaths.
Notice how the Civil War casualties dwarfs those of World War II.
There's plenty to do in this are to 'while away' a few hours. We explored the museum and saw the displays of uniforms, weapons and field gear. There's a 45 minute film shown at the Visitors Center, but we didn't watch it this time. We did browse the bookstore, but left without a purchase.
There's also a self-guided one mile battlefield trail that we didn't walk as lunchtime was drawing near and that's an event we just don't miss.
Another "to do" item at the Battle of First Manassas is to pay honor and have your picture taken standing alongside the statue of Stonewall Jackson.
|"There stands Jackson like a stone wall" -- statue base inscription.
The dreadful mormorant stink bugs, first encountered in Carlisle, Pennsylvania have overcome the family farm campground at Haymarket. The awful boogers literally will fly into your mouth. I'm sure all the coach openings are invaded and we'll have stink bugs to fight for a long, long time.