On the 24th of July 1944, the German forces around St Lo, in Normandy, did not have a clue about the hell that was about to be unleashed upon them. Their dispositions looked like this:
To the west of St Lo, you can see the area that the Americans chose to breakout from the close hedgerow fighting that had so favoured the Germans for the months of June and July 1944.
The Allies delivered a devastating aerial bombardment on the German front lines in the area on 25 July 1944. The line did not immediately give way. This was due to the American infantry not pushing quickly at first. Who could blame them? They had just spent 2 months fighting in the hedgerows and had learned to be cautious. Additionally, the lingering shock of the bombardment, which also killed and wounded several hundred Americans was still wearing off.
However, the American Commander on the ground, General J. Lawton Collins, saw no need to delay and committed his exploitation forces on the morning of the 26th. This was risky, because if the Germans had managed to slow down the attack further, it would have meant an American traffic jam right on the front lines. Luckily, they couldn’t and the Americans pushed right through and found the German line disintegrating like it had not done for the Americans before in Normandy.
Thus began the great race from the beachheads to the German frontier that occurred over the next 2 months, including the liberation of Paris and most of the rest of France.
I rode through the breakout zone in 2008. The ride from Gavray to Avranches is an especially nice twisty rode
Check out the Terre Liberte’ route of Cobra- La Percee (the Breakout). Here’s a Google map of part of the D7 route that I rode.
On my recent trip to follow the Nez Perce Trail, I rode the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway. The route from Oxbow Dam to Joseph, Oregon along National Forest Road 39 (USNF-39) was especially cool. Don’t miss the short turn off to go up to the Hells Canyon Overlook for a panoramic view over the canyon. If you ever find yourself in the area, take a day and ride / drive the whole thing. You will not be disappointed.
The image above is one I took from a high point overlooking Hells Canyon National Recreation Area not far from the Hells Canyon Dam.
On 23 September 1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned to St. Louis, Missouri to complete the expedition that President Thomas Jefferson had sent them on two years, four months, and nine days previously.
The expedition had reached the Pacific Ocean via an overland route through the USA’s newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. Through much trial and tribulation, but with remarkably little conflict with the native inhabitants, the expedition brought back an enormous amount of information that the USA needed to develop the new territory. The native Americans that the expedition encountered were overwhelmingly helpful or neutral to them traveling through the area and provided trade, guidance, and assistance.
In early July 1806, the expedition camped for a few days at Traveler’s Rest after crossing Lolo Pass. I stopped there on my recent trip to follow the Nez Perce War Trail. They gave me some directions to the Lolo Pass. (see image above)
The Daily Mail reports on newly surfaced WWII Normandy beach defense maps that seem to be the last updated before the D-Day invasion of 6 June 1944 and were sold at auction recently.
The Butler Maps blog has this nice article on “3 Things You Shouldn’t Attempt on Motorcycle Roads.”
1. Don’t ride tipsy
2. Don’t get crazy on wet, slick roads
3. Don’t ride alone until you have a little experience under your belt
I would add a couple more,
4. Don’t go out into uncharted routes without a good map, but I think Butler Motorcycle Maps would approve of this too.
5. Don’t ride without performing regular PMCS on your bike.
I just bought Butler’s Idaho G1 map in preparation for a long ride in Idaho following the Nez Perce War of 1877 trail.