(I just need to take a second to show you the exciting informational images that were on one [and probably all] of the bus's ceiling hatches)
Jeff and I stayed with his college chum, Briana, just like we had over Labor Day weekend. And just like Labor Day weekend, we went to nearby Eastern Market for a Blue Bucks breakfast Saturday morning.
But unlike Labor Day Weekend, this time my Blue Bucks made a fool of me. But I'd rather lose my battle with a stack of pancakes than walk around all day feeling too full of pancakes.
But I compensated for this loss with a meaningful victory. Labor Day Weekend the owner and vendor of these paintings warned me not to photograph them. But this time, I got a photo of your flags, dude. What are you going to do about it? Begrudge me the internet attention? The internet fame? Don't you know my friends' parents' read this blog? What if, say, the Pritchetts decide they want to buy an impressionistic representation of our nation's symbol the next time they're in DC? What are you going to do when they walk up to you and say they saw you on the internet? Tell them they can't buy one?
And if anyone wants to buy this bunny, it's also available at the Eastern Market.
Walked home to Briana's via Lincoln Park, where your fancy cocktails are not welcome. You wouldn't want to drink one while cleaning up after your dog, anyway.
Our keynote activity for Saturday was a trip out to Fredericksburg, VA, just an hour and eleven minutes away from DC. Here's something I learned: We (meaning "The Union" as I, like you, like to imagine that's who I'd have been sided with back then) got absolutely served by the Confederate army in Fredericksburg. We might have trashed their town, but they absolutely wrecked us on the battlefield.
Hostess Bri, indicating our location on the map. We walked around the Sunken Trail battlefield. The other Fredericksburg battlefields are best visited, and seen, by car.
Magnolia leaves, correct?
A deservedly popular soldier from Fredericksburg is Richard Kirkland, a Confederate soldier who risked his life spending hours bringing water to dying Union soldiers. It's hard to hear his tale and not feel a stirring inside yourself. Try it yourself. When gunned down at a later battle his dying words were "Tell my pa I died right." You spend a little time listening to Civil War tales and a lot of the black and white of it drains away real quick.
The driveway to the mansion home of the president of a college you've never heard of.
The Sunken Trail.
Anticipating a lot more drudging through soggier environments, I brought my new Bean boots to Virginia for their first field testing. Here I stand in the largest puddle I could find on this trip to Fredericksburg. May I just say they performed perfectly.
This perfect trail is made of fused fake bark. Underfoot it feels like that squishy material that playgrounds grow out of now.
Intrigued by a mysterious house on the hill, I conducted a little investigation.
Investigation Results: Could not determine original use of the home, but had once served as the previous visitors' center.
Up on the hill there was an old little graveyard.
Well, not that old.
Great view of the game from up here.
Little old graveyard was a very short walk away from the big, old graveyard. More war dead here.
From the Sunken Trail we headed to Lee's overlook, the place where Lee overlooked the battles of Fredericksburg.
Right by there these people had a goat. It bleated a whole lot.
With a nice goat like that one you definitely need a No Trespassing sign.
From there we visited a few more battlefields with the final goal of visiting the house where Stonewall Jackson died.
And there it is, the former plantation home where Jackson succumbed to the ill effect of an unfortunate case of friendly fire. And pneumonia.
This friendly robot will tell you the whole story. And promise you cake.
(wanted to show you the VIP parking spot we got)
This is the very bed in which Jackson expired. At the foot of the bed, one of the twelve (or was it twenty one?) blankets he was covered with when he died (even though it was over eighty degrees outside that die). Do you know Jackson's famous last words? "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."
Additional authentic furnishings.
On the way home, my genteel Northerner sensibilities were put to their test by sight of those turkey vultures picking at that carcass.
Needless to say, I wound up treating this McDonalds cone about as savagely.
Stay tuned for this trip's exciting final two days!