Monday, July 20, 2009

National Park Stamping after MOA Rally

Yesterday I visited the Carl Sandburg home and Cowpens revolutionary war battlesite, and today I'll visit another revolutionary battlefield site - Ninety Six - and will try to get a few more stamps along the way to Alabama.

I was in no hurry to get on the road, since I had just a short ride to the Ninety Six National Battlefield site. My route took me through the beautiful town of Clinton and home to Presbyterian College. Beautiful old homes sat on spacious green lawns shaded by old-growth Live Oak trees.

I passed through the town of Ninety Six and continued another couple of miles to the Ninety Six national park. I watched the short film and learned the connection between this battle and the ones at Kings Mountain and Cowpens. This park preserves the star-shaped earthworks of the old British fortification and a one-mile walking trail goes out to this ground structure and to a reconstructed garrison fort. It would be fun to come back when a live reenactment is underway.

My next stop would be the South Carolina Heritage Center in Edgefield. I was here in 2008 to get this stamp and would be going right past it on my way to Augusta. Bike parked, passport book in hand, I got to the front door of the beautiful white house near the center of town only to realize they were closed on Mondays. I took a photo, but didn't get a stamp.

The road would cross over I-20 and continue into Augusta where I hoped to find an Augusta Canal stamp at the Canal Interpretive Center at the historic Enterprise Mill. I rode into the downtown area and let the GPS lead me to the supposed address at Greene Street. Not knowing what I was looking for, I rode right past the large factory-like structures on my left. I continued around the block and pulled over to check the map on S&T. I went around again, and finally gave up and asked a sheriff who was pulled up next to me at a red light. She directed me down Broad Street to 6th Street, where there was an Augusta Historic Museum. I parked and walked inside and could see that this wasn't where I needed to be. The nice lady in the Information store didn't think there was a place where I could get a national park stamp, saying that she'd had others ask the same question. Undeterred, I got back on the bike and headed back over to the general area where the GPS was sending me. The city is constructing a bypass highway through here and it was a mess of gravel and cones. I wanted to turn left across the large gravel swath of construction but was reluctant to do so. So, I blew this one off and continued. I had already wasted more than an hour trying to figure this out.

Up onto I-20, I continued west to Atlanta to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Wow! Talk about easy off-easy on to get there! Right off of I-75/I-85 a couple of right turns, and I was pulling into a large, well-marked parking lot. The tours of his birth home were all full so I walked through the exhibits before getting my stamp and then leaving. The stamp was being held behind the counter and I had to ask for it...guess this stamp might be a "collectible."

Traffic was a breeze getting through Atlanta on I-20 and before I knew it I was on the west side with a decision to make. I had planned to get the Horseshoe Bend National Military Park stamp then continue south to I-65 and continue south. But some quick calculations told me that I'd be cutting it very close time-wise. So, plan B was put into action. I continued west on I-20 with the plan to stop for the night in Tuscaloosa then continue west to Vicksburg. By skipping Horseshoe Bend, I was not only losing another AL state stamp, but the chance at the Gulf National Seashore stamp near Biloxi. I needed a MS state stamp.

When I got to Tuscaloosa, I headed for my usual Pilot gas stop and Sleep Inn, but the Pilot was packed with cars, with lines waiting at the pumps, so I u-turned out and headed the other direction, under the interstate and got gas then pulled into the Comfort Inn, with a Cracker Barrel right next door.

Tomorrow: Vicksburg National Battlefield and home to Houston.

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