Genesis 1:31
"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (New International Version-NIV)

Truly Gods vast creation, landscape, wildlife and man is beautiful beyond description.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, Westchester, Ohio

Hello everyone. Made it back to  West Chester. Had a wonderful day at Gettysburg and finished about 4 o'clock was feeling good so I came on home. Praise the Lord for traveling mercies. Will have a long post tomorrow. Good night and I love you all.

Grandpa Bill

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012, King of Prussia, PA.

Good evening everyone. It has been a glorious day. Early this morning I was not sure where I would be spending the night. Whether it would be in this area or on closer to home. By the time I had breakfast, loaded Lady Blue and said the goodbyes it had cleared off and has been a wonderful warm and dry day. It was a nice drive down to Valley Forge as traffic was not bad. The area is beautiful with all the fall colors. I called Joyce and told her I have finally found the beautiful fall colors I have been looking for. I am tired tonight. There is a road that takes you around the Valley Forge National Park but to see everything up close you have to park and do a lot of walking and that I did. First I hit the visitor center to get my passport book stamped and looked through the gift shop and then took in a 17 minute movie about Valley Forge. Following that I went with a group on a 45 minute Park Ranger led tour followed by presentation by another Park Ranger. After that I took off on my own and led myself on a tour and walked myself to death. I have tons of information and pictures so I may have to end up doing several posting especially since I plan to visit Gettysburg tomorrow and that should produce a lot of interesting material. So we will just get started and see how far we get before I fall to sleep.

Valley Forge is a mystery to most people. First place they wonder how it got the name Valley Forge. Simply in a near by valley there was a commercial iron forge built in 1740 hence the name Valley Forge. People think of a group of soldiers suffering through a sever winter and that is about it. Its like the Ranger said when he started his presentation when he asked us to guess what are the most often asked questions. 1. Where is the bathroom. 2. Where was the battle fought. Truly there were no major battles fought at Valley Forge. There may have been small fights as patrols came across each other but very few of these. Valley Forge was an encampment for General Washington and his troops. General Washington had suffered several defeats against the British during the American Revolution which occurred 1775 - 1783. In 1777 the British had a plan to capture Philadelphia which was the capital. To do this the British landed about 17,000 troops up in Chesapeake Bay. To counter this move General Washington move his 12,000 troops. Washington and his troops lost this battle and the British captured Philadelphia. As winter approached General Washington looked for a place to camp for the winter of 1777 - 1178. His troops were not well equipped and had poor clothing. Many with the cloths on their back and many without shoes. When you hear of the troops being naked they meant they only had the raged clothing they were wearing. General Washington chose Valley Forge which was about 20 miles from Philadelphia so he could keep an eye on and some pressure on the British and at the same time be far away so the British could not pull a surprise attack. Besides physical needs the most pressing need for Washington's troops was training. This encampment provided time to do this training. Now it is one thing to march 12,000 troops into an area but it is something else entirely to set them up to spend the winter. Shelters had to be built. Trees had to be cut down to build the shelters and provide wood for heating and cooking. They built a city of about 2,000 huts ( shelters ) laid out in city like arrangement. They also constructed miles of trenches, five earthen forts ( called Redoubts ) and a bridge over the Schuylkill River. By the time all this building was accomplished some of the troops reported they had to forage up to 5 miles away to find fire wood to cut. Incidentally the city they built for this encampment was the 5th largest city in the country at that time.  Perhaps in the earliest days when they were cutting trees the weather may not have been so severe but it got worse. Now when they got the huts built and well heated they had 12 men to a hut and when one got sick generally they all got sick. Even with the heated huts during the day they had to go outside to train, dig trenches and other defenses and cut fire wood. Over the winter months General Washington's troop strength dwindled as a result of desertions and death due to illness. The cold winter and lack of food was not the biggest problem. Disease was the main concern. It was reported that of the 2,000 men who died about 2/3 rd of them died during the warmer months of March, April and May when supplies were more plentiful. The most common cause of death was influenza, typhus, typhoid, and dysentery. Washington's troops came out of the winter a more professionally prepared army who proved their battle prowess as they defeated the British in one of the major British offensives of the war the battle of Monmouth, New Jersey.
Fall Colors
Beautiful Tree
More Color
Colorful Trees
Ranger Giving Presentation
Soldiers' Huts
Recreated Soldier Hut
Inside Of Soldier's Hut. There Were Four
Bunks Like The One In The Corner. 12
Men Lived Here. Note Fireplace.
Officer's Hut
Inside Officer's Hut
Inside Officer's Hut
Volunteer Explaining Flint Lock Rifle
Volunteer In Period Uniform As A Doctor
Explaining The Methods And Tools Used
Basic Tools For A Doctor
More Beautiful Trees
Four Shades Of Color. Beautiful
Eagle Atop Monument
National Memorial Arch
Inscription On National Memorial Arch
Inscription On National Memorial Arch
Inscription On National Memorial Arch

General Washington Winter Quarters
General Washington's Guards' Huts

Another Beautiful Tree
Walk Way Down A Step Hill To
Washington's Winter Quarters
Von Steuben

General Anthony Wayne
Washington Memorial Chapel
Wedding In Valley Forge
National Historic Park
I am getting sleepy but there are a few interesting tid bits I would like to share. First is a wedding party in the park. One key member of their party was missing and had not arrived and he was calling the party to find out where they are located. He kept asking for an address and the girl talking to him was screaming " there is no address we are in the middle of the national park. There is no address." I don't know if he ever made it or not but the bride and groom seemed to be happy and totally oblivious to what was going on.
The volunteer who was playing the part of a doctor was really a stock manager in some company in the area and does his thing here just for the fun of it. His explanation of the medical tools and how they were used was gruesome. They had to operate without any kind of pain deadening medicine this included cutting off limbs. The part that really got me was the explanation on how they did dental work. That is when I moved on to something else.
The Washington Memorial Chapel is on private property within the park and has an active congregation. The beautiful interior of this 1900s church honors George Washington's service to the country. Interesting they operate a used book store and a small gift shop and snack bar. I had my early dinner there. Hot dog and chicken soup. From what I paid and what others paid and as busy as they were they have a pretty profitable operation staffed totally by volunteers.
I found the park very impressive and it is free. Many of the plaques are very inspirational. The park is very neat and well maintained.
Well I will say good night to all you fine folks and trust to tell you something new tomorrow night. Oh by the way day after tomorrow I should be home in my own bed if the Lord is willing. Well if I get too involved at Gettysburg it might take me a day longer to get home. I love you all.
Grandpa Bill

Friday, October 19, 2012, Baldwin, New York

Hello from Baldwin, New York. After a whirl wind day of sight seeing and visiting yesterday we got up to the fore casted rain and did it rain. We took off for a 3 to 3 1/2 hour drive in a moderate to heavy rain to go to the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York in search for the fall colors I have been looking to find ever since I started this trip. Finally, I saw some beautiful fall colors but not able to get many good photos. Our destination was Shoken, New York 12481. At this point we boarded an old train for a 30 to 40 minute ride on The Catskill Mountain Railroad with the Esopus River ( Creek ) on one side and the mountain on the other side.The heavy rain let up to only a light rain and we saw some beautiful fall colors. It had rained very hard all day here so there was a lot of water running off the mountain and this made numerous little water falls which were very attractive. The volunteers which run the train said they had never seen so many water falls in the 10 years they had worked on the railroad. I suspect this was more for the benefit of the tourist ( there were about seven of us on board ) when you consider the comments about Hurricane Irene. They said that earlier in the day the train as packed because a couple of tour buses came in. This ride previously was 1 1/2 hours long but the 2011 hurricane " Irene " which came through here caused such flooding that it washed out a lot of their track. They are slowly working to replace the track but as you would expect with limited funds and nothing but a small volunteer work force it will take a long time to finish.
Old Engine Pulling Two Open Cars
And Two Coach Cars
Coach Cars We Rode In
Fall Colors
Yellow Leaves
Water Fall
Stream From Water Fall
Water Fall
Angry Esopus River ( Creek )
On the way back to New York City we stopped at a local fruit/vegetable stand for some local apples and other goodies. We then proceeded on in a heavy rain/impossible traffic trip back to New York City where we stopped at Bryan and Jana's apartment for a 4 generation photograph as follows. Pictured are left to right Grandpa Bill, My Daughter Joyce, Joyce's Son Bryan, and Bryan's Son & my great grandson Dylan. Now that is a proud bunch of adults.
Four Generations


Well folks that is about all for now. I am getting ready for breakfast, loading my stuff into Lady Blue and seeing if I can find Valley Forge. I am somewhat conflicted in emotions this morning. It is foggy and drizzly but suppose to be a nice day. In all honesty I have spent so many days paddling around in the rain trying to take pictures and see things that I don't want anymore. If during the day it doesn't clear up I may just point Lady Blue west and put her on autopilot and see if she can find her way home. At any point there should be another post somewhere on the road tonight so you can learn what I decided to do.

Thinking of all of you and as always I love you.

Grandpa Bill.



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sunday , Octobeer 16, 2012, Baldwin, New York

Hello everyone I am enjoying some private time with Layla ( Joyce's big white boxer ) as I wait for the family to arise. Well just as I type this Joyce came down so now the sun can come up. So this is the 18th and I am talking about the 14th so you can see I am still behind and as they say I am getting getting behinder. So on the 14th Joyce's whole clan went to see the New York Jets football team play the Indianapolis Colts and of course they took me along as if they could have left me behind. Now you have to understand modern day professional sport because the New York Jets home field is in New Jersey and the New York Giants call the same stadium home.  The stadium is named " MetLife Stadium ". For those of you in Cincinnati can you imagine the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cincinnati Reds sharing a facility in this day and time. Our seats were just a few rows from the top so we got our exercise climbing up to the seats. It was a beautiful day. Full Sun and no clouds with the temperature in the high 60s. So what follows are a few photos I took.
Met Life Stadium

Inside MetLife Stadium

New York Jets Entering Stadium
Through Fire Works Smoke

Pregame Ceremonies

Football Has To Have Cheerleaders

Final Score And Fans Left Early

Joyce And I At Jets Football Game

Thus concludes another saga of Grandpa and Lady Blue Travel only Lady Blue stayed behind. She is afraid of this New York traffic. Joyce is trying to get breakfast on the table and I am in the way so I guess I better move if I want breakfast.
Love all of you. Grandpa Bill