Five Northerners in the South

On Tuesday morning Ed caught his flight towards Mexico and I dropped the cyclists off in the town of Bowling Green, just south of Washington; it is in the state of Virginia, which means we’re actually in the South now. As if the geography wasn’t enough to confirm this, the waitress in one of the town’s two cafés insisted on referring to us as “y’all” and the town’s war memorial took me a little by surprise. This area is riddled with battle sites from the Civil War and on reflection I shouldn’t have been in the least bit taken aback to see a memorial to the dead soldiers of the Confederate States of America, an army which was effectively fighting for the right to keep black people as slaves. I don’t know what I felt was wrong with this; maybe they should have put a little sign up saying, “By the way, we were the bad guys and slavery is wrong, mmm-kay?”.

Another slight oddity was that my burger was served with chips. Completely normal in the UK of course, but here in the States, ‘chips’ are crisps; in this case, crinkle-cut Ready Salted flavour. The drive was rather uneventful, and the cyclists arrived quickly after a relatively short day’s cycling. Entertainment was provided for me that evening in the form of writing the first batch of many postcards, while the turning of Harry Potter pages could be heard all around.

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3 thoughts on “Five Northerners in the South

  1. Envious of your visits to the Civil War sites! Despite what you noticed about the memorials, attitudes in the South have changed enormously in my lifetime and, speaking generally, seem likely to continue towards a more egalitarian outlook.

    The South felt disrespected by the Northern- dominated post-war reconstruction and that rankles even now (my comment as a historian!).

    I liked the concept car piece; you must have been that feller’s worst nightmare – engineers!

    Best wishes

    Dad

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  2. Well Rob, I am still not happy. Did you see how much I dedicated to the emotional parting. I got about five words in yours. Fascist. I hope it´s all going well for you, I will read the last week or so now. Travelblog is down so I can´t update but I will send an email around to some select peole.

    Take care

    Ed

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