Atlanta, Georgia

Day 259

     Atlanta is built on the territory stolen from the Indians in 1821. James McConnell was one of the first white settlers to establish a homestead after the Indian removal. Originally called Terminus, the name Atlanta was adopted December 26, 1845. It is the capital of the State of Georgia.

     Confederate Colonel John C. Pemberton, who was wounded in the Civil War and became addicted to morphine, began a quest to find a substitute for the problematic drug. The prototype Coca-Cola recipe was formulated at Pemberton’s Eagle Drug and Chemical House, a drugstore in Columbus, Georgia.  The first sales were at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886. It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass at soda fountains, which were popular in the United States at the time due to the belief that carbonated water was good for the health. Pemberton claimed Coca-Cola cured many diseases, including morphine addiction, indigestion, nerve disorders, headaches, and impotence.  The drink’s name refers to two of its original ingredients, which were kola nuts (a source of caffeine) and coca leaves. Coke’s headquarters are here in Atlanta. 


Big Shanty, Georgia

Day 258


     The Western and Atlantic Railroad led to the establishment of several towns along it’s route, including Big Shanty, which eventually became known as Kennesaw, Georgia. The settlement was the highest point between the Etowah and the Chattahoochee rivers. The high ground and water supply encouraged the railroad workers to build houses, or shanties, basically a house built with slaps of wood. In 1850, the railroad acquired land around this area to establish a depot and hotel for travelers along the rail line, in which a farming community eventually sprang.

     Big Shanty became famous as the scene of the Great Locomotive Chase during the Civil War. On April 12, 1862  James J. Andrews and a band of Yankee spies boarded the northbound train at Marietta. This train was powered by the locomotive, The General. At Big Shanty, the crew and passengers left the train to eat breakfast at the Lacy Hotel. In plain view of the soldiers at Camp McDonald, Andrews and his men stole The General and headed north to destroy the Western and Atlantic Railroad. But they did not count on the persistence of William A. Fuller, the conductor of The General, who chased The General first on foot and then on the locomotive Texas (which ran in reverse) before running it down north of Ringgold, Georgia, 80 miles away. This incident forever placed Big Shanty on the map. 

     James Andrews and his men became the first recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. 


Kennesaw, Georgia

Day 257


     After leaving Chattanooga, General Sherman headed toward Atlanta, Georgia. At that time Atlanta was the major industrial city of the Confederacy. Taking Atlanta would cripple the South. The Confederate Army came to stop him. Heading that army was 57 year old Joseph E. Johnson, the highest ranking officer of the US Army to resign his commission to fight for his home State of Virginia, and the South. Of course, I already told you the end of this story in Day 249.

     The two armies clashed at  Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Cassville, New Hope Church, Pickett’s Mill and Dallas. Each time Sherman was able to outflank Johnson. 

     Finally, Sherman reach Kennesaw Mountain on June 27, 1864. Although the mountain was only two miles long, Sherman was spread thin and could not outflank Johnson. Johnson at the top of the mountain, Sherman at the bottom. The battle raged on for 3 days. Then all of a sudden, Johnson left. Was it a tactical error? Who knows. Johnson thought he could better defend Atlanta by the river. 

     Johnson lost 800 men, Sherman 1,800. A senseless battle, as nothing was really gained (but weren’t most of the battles senseless?)

     From the top of the mountain, you can see Atlanta. 


Cumming, Georgia

Day 256


     James Edward Oglethorpe, born December 22, 1696, was a British soldier, Member of Parliament, and philanthropist, as well as the founder of the colony of Georgia, (February 12, 1733), the last of the original 13 colonies.

     The area now called Cumming Georgia, where we are camping, was first inhabited by Cherokee tribes. The Cherokee and Creek people developed disputes over hunting land. After two years of fighting, the Cherokee won the land in the Battle of Taliwa. The Creek people were forced to move south of the Chattahoochee River.

     The Cherokee coexisted with white settlers until the discovery of gold in Georgia in 1828 (bet you didn’t know Georgia was the first gold rush). Settlers that moved to the area to mine for gold pushed for the removal of the Cherokee. In 1835, the Treaty of New Echota was signed. The treaty stated that the Cherokee Nation must move to the Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi River. This resulted in the “Trail of Tears” which led to the death of over 4,000 indians. 

Technical Stuff:

Blacksburg, VA to Cumming, GA 219.9 miles

4 hours 26 minutes

10.3 MPG

Diesel: $2.20

Blacksburg, South Carolina

Day 251

     I mentioned in previous posts (Day 234) the Battle of Kings Mountain, the revolutionary war battle that changed the course of the war. Today we hiked the mountain and the battlefield. The Battle of Kings Mountain was a decisive victory in South Carolina for the Patriot militia over the Loyalist militia. The battle took place on October 7, 1780 and lasted only 65 minutes. 

     The interesting thing about this battle, no British regulars or Continental Army regulars took part in the battle. It was fought by British Loyalists (Tories) and Patriot Frontiersmen, the Over-Mountain Men (Whigs). 

     As you might recall, the Over-Mountain men were Frontiersman from western North Carolina (now parts of Tennessee) who did not partake in the Revolutionary War because of their remoteness. However, Maj. Patrick Ferguson was assigned to protect the left flank of Cornwallis’s army, who was trying to capture North and South Carolina. Ferguson sent out a declaration that if any frontiersmen interfered with him, he would come over the mountains, hang their leaders, and put their homes to the sword and torch. This pissed them off. They gathered, bringing their hunting rifles and horses. They were experienced fighters from their conflicts with the indians. Ferguson chose the top of Kings Mountain as his vantage point. However, at the time there were no trees at the top of the mountain, and the silhouette figures made excellent targets for the frontier sharpshooters. 

     The mountain was not named for King George, but for Samuel King, an early settler in the area. 

      Tidbit of information: John Crockett, father of Davy Crockett, fought in this battle. 

Technical Stuff:

Mebane, NC to Blacksburg, SC 168.3 miles

3 hours 29 minutes

10.9 MPG

Diesel: $2.40

Tobacco is King, North Carolina

Day 250

    Washington Duke was born on December 18, 1820 in eastern Orange County, North Carolina. In 1852, Duke built a homestead on land in Durham, NC his father gave him when he married. He was drafted into the Civil War in 1864, and when he returned in 1865 he became interested in growing tobacco. By 1890 he had the largest tobacco company in the world, The American Tobacco Company. In 1911 the company was broken up by the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

     We toured the Duke Homestead, but because of the rain, we did not go to any of the out buildings, only the Tobacco Museum.


     The museum had a section on the history of spittoons and cuspidors. Barbara does not think I should go into great detail on that subject.

     They did have this replica of the Liberty Bell built of Tobacco Leaves.


     Tidbit of information: In 1924, Trinity College becomes Duke University.

     Of course, you remember the logo of Lucky Strike Cigarettes, LS/MFT? 

Durham, North Carolina

Day 249


     Most believe that the Civil War ended with Lee surrendering to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. Not so. Lee was forced to surrender as Grant had him surrounded. At that time Lee commanded only 29,000 troops. The surrender that actually ended most of the fighting occurred on April 26, 1865.

     After Lee’s surrender, the Army of Tennessee, commanded by General Joseph E. Johnson, remained in the field. He met with Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy, who did not want to surrender, but disband the army and reform to fight gorilla war fare. Johnson, realizing the war could not be won, disobeyed this order and asked to meet with Maj. General William T. Sherman to discuss a peaceful surrender. They decided to meet at the home of James and Nancy Bennett, which was about half way between their two armies.    


     After negotiating for some time, Johnston surrendered his army and numerous smaller garrisons to Sherman on April 26, 1865  Johnston’s surrender was the largest of the war, totaling 89,270 men.



     However, that still was not the end of the Civil War. The final battle of the Civil War actually took place at Palmito Ranch in Texas on May 11-12, 1865. The last large Confederate military force was surrendered on June 2, 1865 by Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith in Galveston, Texas.

Mebane, North Carolina

Day 248

     Mebane, North Carolina was named for a Revolutionary War General, Alexander Mebane, Jr. He must have been undisguised as a General, as there is no information on his battle, if any, engagements. He was one of the founders of the University of North Carolina. Stopped here on our way South to warm weather. 


Technical Stuff:

Ashland, Va. to Mebane, Nc.:   192.4 miles

3 hours 40 minutes

11.4 MPG

Diesel: $2.28

Ashland, Virginia

Day 245

     Finally, we are back on the road. I was hoping to leave right after the first of the year. Actually, I didn’t want to come home at all, after all, we do have Skype and FaceTime. But Barbara wanted to see her family. 

     It was nice that a lot you came over for a tour of The Sphinx. 

     The delay of leaving was mostly Barbara meeting with friends and relatives. Now we are back on the road, trying to escape the cold weather. Our first stop, Ashland Virginia is about 20 degrees warmer than Fallston. We will stay here a few days until the rain stops, then further South until we get to warm weather. I am exhausted from all the holiday parties and visiting with friends and relatives, so I am taking these few days to just to lay around and do nothing. 

     We did map out our proposed itinerary. This is a general outline as we do not hesitate to change our plans if something cool shows up. Our general destination is New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We will be stopping to see some of Barbara’s relatives on the way. From New Orleans to Florida where we will meet our son and granddaughters at Disney World. Then to St. Augustine, as Barbara has never been there. From there we will meander toward home for a Wedding in May. Then off again toward Albuquerque, New Mexico, where we have campground reservation for the Hot Air Balloon Festival. We just made arrangements to join 20 other RVers in Montana in May 2018 where we will caravan for 3 months to Alaska and the arctic circle. Other than that, we will probably just lay around and do nothing. After all, we are retired. 

     Some of you did not understand my numbering system. The day listed at the top of each post is the day number we traveled from February 20, 2016, our first day on the road for our 5 year journey.  It does not include the days we spend in our driveway when we come home, although we still live in The Sphinx. So our last day on the road in December was 244. Although we spend a month home, today, back on the road is day 245. It’s actually the Flux Capacitor. 

Technical Stuff:

Fallston, Md. to Ashland, Va. 177.1 miles

3 hours 59 minutes

10.6 MPG

Diesel: 2.39