Sunday, May 12, 2024

A Trip to Richmond

Good evening friends. I spent the afternoon in Richmond and its environs. I drove up there to bike the Virginia Capital Trail. This asphalted road connects the original capital of Virginia (Williamsburg) with its modern capital (Richmond). If you decide to ride the entire trail in one day, you're looking at a total of 52 long miles. I've done that twice and boy was it a killer, especially on your okole (pardon the Hawaiian). Today my goal was less ambitious. I wanted to ride from the Four Mile Park to the Malvern Hill Battlefield. Boy was the park crowded! I was barely able to get a parking place. I think I got the very last spot. 

I unloaded my bike, made sure the tires were full of air, and off we went. Biking is so much fun! 

After about 45 minutes, I arrived at my destination. 

This battle was the last in a series of 7 engagements that took place in one week in 1862. 

Union general McClellan had received orders to march overland from Fort Monroe and attack the Confederate capital in Richmond. Despite the name "Malvern Hill," the terrain is more like a slightly sloped field, one that obviously favored McClellan's defenses. 

Lee's troops advanced against the Federal lines but were quickly repulsed by sheets of Union fire. Unlike Lee, I had no trouble today making my way to the center of the Federal  lines. Back in 1862, charging a battery of artillery uphill was thought to be a good strategy. The end came quickly amid smoke, darkness, and confusion. But that didn't change the final result: McClellan's army was driven away from Richmond. 

It was time to remount my bike and make my way back to Four Mile Park. Here's a slo-mo clip.

From there it was a brief 15-minute drive to my favorite Ethiopian eatery in the city, named after the capital of Ethiopia. 

The owner, Bitew, is an old friend of mine. It felt great speaking Amharic again. 

I ordered kai wat (beef stew) in memory of Becky. 

I sat there filled with joy and gratitude. Not that I have achieved perfect contentment and gratitude. There may never be a point of complete serenity this side of heaven. For believers, life is like the Virginia Capital Trail -- a journey that's homeward bound. And although on this side of eternity the partings we experience don't get any easier, there is a bright side. We who love the Lord will never see each other for the last time.