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A Look Back: The Travels of Edgar Spaulding – Part 2

Looking back to 1926, we continue on from last week’s story and see where Edgar Spaulding is recalling his Motor Camping trip:
It was cold the next morning with a frost, but the sun shone. We had intended to stop over at Endicott, but on reaching Painted Post decided because of the cold to keep on South. At Lawrenceville, Pa., the other rear tire gives it up. We spent the night at a road side camp by the river near Lewisburg. It was very cold.
Our routine on reaching a camp is quite simple. Picking out a high spot for a location, I proceed to erect the tent, while Ethel unlimbers the stove and goes to work on the supper. By the time I have the tent up and beds made, Ethel has supper ready, all in less than one hour.
The Morning is just the reverse. I pack what I can while waiting for breakfast. It generally takes longer to pack than to unpack. The reason for this is something I have never been able to study out. Camp routine does not become as tiresome as one would suppose. In the evening we visit with the other campers, then go to bed and read until sleepy. Our gasoline lantern makes the tent as light as day.
Our next stop is at Gettysburg. Some ten miles before reaching there, a front tire blows out, making one each day so far, and I begun to wonder if I would have to buy a new tire every day.  As a matter of fact that was about the end of our tire troubles.
At Gettysburg we made our home at Lee’s Camp located in the yard of General Lee’s headquarters on Cemetery Ridge. We spent the next day driving over the battle field, visiting the Round Tops, Sprangler’s Spring, the New York Monuments, etc. A truly wonderful drive and one which I wish everyone could take.
It begins to rain again, just as we got back and it made a regular business of it. The natives said it had not rained before in two months. I believe it, it couldn’t have. The sun was out the next morning so we moved on to Washington, where we pitched our tent in the big tourist camp at Potomac Park. The cat had caused us to hunt for an hour after packing but was within a hundred feet of the tent all the time.
The following day, Sunday was more rain. We were getting used to the rain, but began to feel as if we were getting a lot more than a fair share of it.
Washington is too well known for me to try to describe it. We did the things the tourist usually does when in the Capital City. Spent one day at Mt. Vernon. And also I spent all the time I wanted to, for once in my life, at the Smithsonian Institution. On Friday, another storm with a little rain, but plenty of wind. As night came on the wind increased. Many tents are blown down. Our own came through with only one awning torn loose… very cold.
It was still blowing in the morning, but not as hard. We felt that we had had enough so move on again. A few miles from Washington see the end of hard surface roads, then comes gravel or top soil roads, as the case may be, some good, some bad and some indifferent, but on the whole, very good. Passed through Fredericksburg, Va., the home of John Paul Jones, arriving in Richmond in due time. An uneventful drive. The scenery not even interesting.
The campground in Richmond is a big one of 40 acres, maintained by the city in Bryan Park and is free. There is a community house of stone with a big fireplace and it is still cold, this proved to be very popular.
Here we met again, Mr. & Mrs. Neese of Hartford, Conn. And Mr. & Mrs. Wood of Norway Maine, with whom we had become acquainted with at Washington. They had left ahead of us.  This was the beginning of our party that was to travel much of the rest of the way together.
We visited the capitol buildings where the Confederate Congress met and also the White House of the Confederacy, and many other interesting spots. Many monuments to the memory of Confederate Heroes as well as George Washington.
Next is Oakdale Camp at South Hill, Va. We reach camp first having passed both Neese and Wood on the road. An uninteresting drive with nothing to see but small fields of cotton and tobacco with much desolate looking country in between. Buildings such as these were had a tumbledown appearance that looked far from prosperous. Was much disappointed in Virginia.
South Hill is a small farming town with a big tobacco warehouse. Many negroes on the streets and everywhere which looked strange to us.
More rain in the night and the next morning. Our party was somewhat undecided what to do but the rain settled it and on we go…
Look forward to Part 3 next week, but in the meantime, you can travel down to the Concord Mercantile/Heritage building, located at 17 Franklin St., on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. and here some great music. The Lucy Bensley Center in open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Email us at lucybenselycenter@gmail.com or call us at 592-0094.

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