Yesterday was a great ride, if a little cold! I made it from Harrisonburg, VA to Woodstock, VA quite quickly. It was only 51 degrees, breezy, and at times a little rain was spitting. I had to stop at a local outdoor shop for a light windbreaker to stay warm!
I'm losing altitude as I ride down through the Shenandoah Valley following the river. I'm following US Route 11 that is also known as the "Old Valley Pike". As I read on one of the history plaques, the Shenandoah was heavily contested during the Civil War and there were a number of actions throughout the valley. Those included Stonewall Jackson's valley campaign of 1862 and the late war actions taken by Grant to hit the Confederates on many fronts. The people of the Shenandoah saw many troop movements both North and South.
One of the late war actions was the Battle of New Market on May 15th, 1864. I was passing the battlefield on Route 11 so decided to take the 1.5 mile detour to check it out. In this battle, the commander incorporated cadets from VMI and 10 of them were killed as a result of the action. The Confederates won the day and the Union Army had to retreat back north. My greatest takeaway from this visit was the fact that they built Interstate 81 directly through the middle of the battlefield. I was both surprised and a little saddened that they had done that. But, I suppose the world goes on. It was interesting that they must have made some concessions as the main site is on the west side of 81 while the "Bloody Cedars" are on the East Side of 81 right next to the "Old Valley Pike" as you can see in my video. Somehow, you can walk the length of the Battlefield as I was able to see the paths. They must have built a tunnel under the highway for the path. Read more on the Battle of New Market.
Last night I was lucky enough to have my brother Richard and his wife Cheryl stop in and stay at the same hotel I'm at. They are driving to SC to help out Cheryl's brother with a rendition of old time songs at his last college class of the year and her mother as she moves into a new assisted living space. Thanks Richard and Cheryl for stopping in!
There were many other markers and information on Stonewall Jackson, Rude's Hill and more as I was riding north yesterday. I'm riding into Harper's Ferry today, so I'm certain that I'll be running into more historical markers along the way. That may make my ride a lot longer in time. Luckily the days are long. I'll try and get on the road by 10 AM. Long ride today - 60 miles, so it will take about 6 hours on the bike. I'll see you on the other side.