This blog is a reprint of my internet journal from 2001 to 2002 in which I documented my "vagabond" solo journey in a Chevy Conversion Van tracing my roots. I not only traced their paths and found their homes and final resting places, but I did extensive genealogical research in court houses, libraries, historical societies, genealogical societies, cemeteries, and talked to the local people. I traveled with a laptop to upload my notes and photos, and use e-mail. It was a fantastic journey which lasted two years. I had no other home except my van to sleep in...just a bed and video player. My household goods were put into storage for two years. My mail was delivered to me at general delivery when I phoned "MailBox, etc." and told them where to send it. At night I stayed in campgrounds, motels, friends' backyards, friends' homes, and those of the few living relations I've tracked down. As I traveled I collected so much genealogy information, that I had to get rid of items that I had originally thought essential to my travels (like a microwave oven). Between ancestral sites, I visited any tourist sites I could find and got to know alot about the USA. This was a trip of a lifetime and I'm still sorting through all the wonderful memories, photos and invaluable genealogical data I found. I will post to this blog as I can - one or a few days at a time of that journey from 2001 to 2002

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Ancestor Tracking 31 May 2001

31 May 2001         Gettysburg, PA---- Hershey, PA

Picketts Charge field - Gettysburg
 Another chilly night in my Vagabond Van, but I slept well, and left the campground by 7:30 am to start on my battlefield tour by audiotape that I purchased yesterday.  It started at the site of the July 1st engagements to the West of Gettysburg and continued with the battles on July 2nd and finishing with Pickett’s Charge on July 3.rd    3000 Union men died and 4,500 Confederate soldiers died. 
Robert E. Lee Statue -Gettysburg
This is the "Copse of Trees"  -Gettysburg

Maj Warren at Little Round Top - Gettysburg
Gettysburg from top of Little Round Top - Gettysburg
There are supposed to be 1000 statues in the battle fields.  I didn’t believe that at first, but after today, I do believe it.  I’ve never seen so many monuments dotting fields and roads, commerating divisions, brigades, and regiments and where they were positioned for the various battles.

1863 photo of Devil's Den - Gettysburg
2001 view of Devil's Den - Gettysburg
  I saw the “Cyclorama” - a circle painting made in 1880 which depicts Pickett’s Frontal Assault.  By the afternoon I felt quite knowledgeable – or at least sufficiently knowledgeable to depart from the war and take the tour to the Gettysburg Farm of President Eisenhower.
         The retirement home of the Eisenhowers is just west of Seminary Ridge and was in a photo I took from one of the battle observation towers earlier.  It was good to see the home of a President who was alive when I was alive.  In fact I have a 1952 “I like Ike” scarf from the campaign.  I was VERY little at the time, of course.  This farm tour was excellent.  It's a part of the National Park Service.  The home remains just as Mamie had left it when she died in 1979.

Eisenhower's Gettysburg Farm

The Eisenhower Rose
After an identical meal  as yesterday at McDonalds (chicken salad, fruit yoghurt, and tiny hamburger) I was off to Hershey, PA to find some of the famous chocolate.  Finding the $35 Red Carpet Inn was a struggle, but I did find it.  After seeing it I didn’t wonder why it is half the price of the other motels and not listed in my AAA book.  But he said I could use the phone line after 10pm to connect with the internet, so I checked in.  You know it’s pretty bad when the only thing I can find on TV is a Jane Fonda movie.  I ate the McDonalds’ fruit parfait and am waiting until 10 pm to upload this journal entry to the internet.  Tomorrow I’ll go to Chocolate World.  I tried to get there after I checked in, but – I felt like what’s his name, Chevy Chase?, in the movie “Vacation,” or something like that, with the family going across country and finding Wally World closed, so was Chocolate World closed for me.  I'll be back in the morning!  Maybe I'll find Willy Wonka.

Hershey Chocolate Factory, Hershey PA