Friday, September 30, 2011
Minute Man Education
Today we put on some miles, but not before making a good stop at Minute Man National Historic Park. You know, it's a funny thing learning U.S. geography at the same time as you're learning its history. Growing up in the west, I really had no firm grasp of eastern states geography, let alone the historical development of the states as it aligned with historical events. For SOME reason, a clear disconnect, I thought (as a child) that the battle of Lexington was held in Kentucky! After passing my written tests (Shock!) and moving on, I never gave it another thought...until today.
So there were were walking the Bay Road down which the battle of Lexington/Concord took place. We stood on Old North Bridge, walked the road, stood where Paul Revere was captured, learned he didn't ride alone but was joined by none other than John Hancock and Dr. Samuel Dawes (fresh off a night of courting). It's a beautiful, serene setting now, and both difficult to understand and sad to understand that so many men died along this stretch. The battle fields are, to me, very sad places. From a strategic standpoint, I'm sure many would find it interesting. And the girls and I talked about the exhaustion and fear the soldiers on both sides must have felt as they traveled and fought and died on this road.
I'm thankful for the National Parks Junior Ranger Program which slows us down to really take a look at places we may otherwise skirt a bit. Honestly, given the history I don't think I would have spent as much time here were it not for the junior ranger program. I'm glad we made the stop, talked to the "tavern owner" ranger, listened to the ranger talk at the bridge and walked the road. It would really be a shame to skip all that.
We also stopped at the Wayside, where several authors lived at some points in their lives, not the least of whom was Louisa May Alcott. That was particularly appropriate since we recently finished listing (ala Librivox.org) to "Little Women." We also stopped by Orchard House just down the road (walking distance) where Alcott lived while writing "Little Women."
When we returned to our trailer, we found a little huddle around it. It's really not that unusual to find folks walking and talking around the trailer. The map by the back door is a great spark for starting conversation. We often walk up to find people talking with each other about their own adventures, pointing to points on the map as they show each other their travels. The trailer itself is an attraction. Lots of questions about its size, its vintage, its travels. While sometime it would be nice to have a cushy, comfortable rig like we often see on the road, I'm glad to have something affordable to tow, very maneuverable and a great conversation starter. We've met loads of nice people thanks to "CJ," our 1972 Compact Jr.
We wandered into Mass. cranberry territory just in time for sunset over a bog where the berries have been floated and readied for collection. We've seen cranberry bogs in Washington, but nothing like the gigantic bogs here in Mass! The deforestation is apparent, as is the complete change of the lay of the land. Check out the photos (far background) to see just how those gently rolling forest hills are turned into bog plains.