It’s 150 years since the civil war tore this country, and in some cases, whole families apart. Not something that is in the forefront of my mind on a normal day, but we have stopped in Chattanooga and Chattanooga is the home of Chickamauga, the nations first National Military Park. We’ve been here before. We’ve also been to Gettysburg, Vicksburg and Antietam. Not because we are big civil war buffs. There are many who revel in the battle strategies and the logistics of this war. That’s not what attracts us to these special places.
After the civil war the veterans of these conflicts met up at many of these historic sites to commemorate their lost comrades. From that, in the 1890’s, a national commitment grew to preserve these landmarks before they fell to developers. The roads, fields, forests and houses have change little since the original battles. There is a quietness, a special spirit, that still permeates these grounds where so many died. The National Park Service does a terrific job preserving them as they were so we can always remember the sacrifices made on all sides.
Our afternoon was spent stocking up for a week in Lillydale Campground on Dale Hollow Reservoir. It’s on the Kentucky /Tennessee border and maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. We are fortunate that this campground has water and electric, so it’s pretty luxurious by Corps standards. If you aren’t familiar with government recreation sites visit www.recreation.gov, they are inexpensive and usually well run, although not always that accessible.
We have mapped out our route from Chattanooga to Lillydale. We use Delorme Street atlas software with a GPS system to track where we are and where we are going. However since we will be driving through some hilly areas we also check the percent grades on the roads we will be traveling. Mountain passes and steep grades require the right engine and braking power and we don’t like surprises or switchbacks. Mountain Directory East and Mountain Directory West describe over 700 passes and steep grades in 22 states. We don’t leave home without them.
Some photo’s from our day: