Friday, August 14, 2015

Back from Vacation

We returned safe and sound from our annual motorcycle tour of the Black Hills, Northern Wyoming/Montana.  The estimate was 2 - 2.5 million (yes, million) visitors to Sturgis for the 75th event anniversary.   Way too many bikes on the roads around Rapid City/Black Hills/ Spearfish.  Along with too many bikes, there were way too many really bad, dangerously bad riders.   Not a good time to go for your first time, or with only limited miles under your belt.   I think the final tally was 14 motorcyclist deaths over the entire event.  Most seemed to be "entered a corner too fast, went off the road, hit a rock", or were late at night - undoubtedly with alcohol involved.   Riding a bike requires skill and attention.  Leave it to the morons of the world to mix booze, curvy roads, and nighttime riding.   I guess the positive way to look at it is that it's natures way of thinning the herd.  After that crowd, it was fantastic to ride in northern Wyoming and southern Montana.  Absolutely beautiful.

This year we also visited the Little Big Horn battlefield - very fun.  My father in law was with us, so most of my time was spent explaining and interpreting for him.  I still get chills visiting the LBH battlefield.

I've read a LOT of LBH books, ranging from "blch" (the classic "Custer was a glory hunting fool") to the excellent (works by Gregory Michno).  I just finished what I consider to be the best account I've read.   "The Strategy of Defeat at the Little Big Horn, A Military and Timing Analysis of the Battle".

This is an excellent work, with deep analysis.  Not for the first time reader of LBH history, but if you have at least some background, you can't go wrong with this.  While it is a bit dense in details at time, it is a page turner.  While I'd generally had the battle outline in my head (which didn't necessarily agree with the typical battle narratives), the analysis and summary provided in this book really supported and clarified my thinking.

Here's a quote from the book:

"Calling Custer rash only serves as personal criticism, teaching us nothing.  To say the man made too many assumptions would be much closer to the truth and would serve as a platform into "lessons learned", always an important in military debriefings.  The reader should not get the wrong impression here, however.  We are not cutting George Custer any slack; the responsibility for the debacle rests solely with him, what we are saying rather than attribute the defeat to personality issues - which would be ludicrously wrong - it is more important to understand the outcome in terms of failed military procedures.....Custer made mistakes, but that takes little away from a great soldier".

I can't leave a post without once again commenting about Tom Baby and the Cheatriots.  Come on, Tommy boy!  Nothing is classier for your legacy than taking the league to court!  Geez, just say "oops, I screwed up" and this would be forgotten.  Methinks an ego is out of control.   I do have to say that I get an unseemly amount of pleasure watching him squirm.

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