Jon's Gettysburg Ride Report

There I was, wide awake at 3:15 am. Gave myself a few minutes, but sleep was not going to make its reappearance. I got up, checked my email and had a cigarette or two, and finally lay back down at 4. Alarm went off at 5 am, and within 15 minutes I was ready to go! Today was the day! FINALLY! I was so hyped I almost couldn't stand myself.
I eased my bike, already packed, out of the garage, went back in the house and gave a quiet kiss to both my lovely wife and daughter, and headed out. Superslab the first 40 minutes on RT 64/664 and finally back on 64 to meet the most of the "Virginia brigade" at the SuperK on Victory blvd. Sting was already there when I arrived, and we gassed up together. Lil pulled up shortly after, and then Oscar and Jenelle. by 7:10 we were all gassed up and off we went, more superslab to exit 231 (York River State Park/Croaker) to meet up with Troy.
We'd dropped off our gear with him the previous Sunday and that was being hauled up via pickup truck. So we were loaded lightly for the most part (Sting had a sleeping bag in addition to his carryall, and Lil was loaded for a westward migration as her plans included riding to Pittsburgh from Gettysburg).
We got to Croaker and picked Troy up at about 7:30 and shortly afterward took off on this great adventure. We headed up toward RT30 via a small and (to me) unmarked single lane-like road, with plenty of turns, drops, twisties and other such things that make it a pleasure to ride. Fifteen minutes of that and we were on RT30 making for FT A.P. Hill/Port Royal. Beautiful country and even more beautiful weather. Not cool, but right in the "perfect" comfort zone, and the forecasted "scattered showers" were a no-show.
Lil had picked up a hitchhiker at her house in Virginia Beach, a small cricket we eventually named "Spitony" after the resturant in whose parking lot we stopped. Little guy made his appearance at each stop by hopping out of whatever crevice he rode in, looking around, and climbing back in when we left (he did eventually leave us somewhere around Leesburg, Virginia, probably because of some lady cricket. Still, he hung around for a good 200 miles!
I should probably tell you that, although we were individually pretty much experienced riders (Jenelle having the least experience of only several months) and experienced at group riding, we had never all ridden together before. Sting and I ride together at least twice a month (often more), and Oscar and Jenelle ride together a lot (and they join us about every 5 weeks or so). Troy had only ridden with me once, and Lil was the definite newcomer to the group - having only decided to come on the trip the Thursday before. Regardless, we quickly melded into a good group of riders, comfortable with each other and the group as a whole. Six bikes is, in my opinion, about the perfect number for this kind of trip.
Okay, up RT30 to RT2 along the backside of FT A.P. Hill (named after one of the Conferate Corps Commanders - how convenient a tie-in) up to RT 17 north. Got stuck in the typical traffic congestion at Massaponax and then 7 treacherous miles on RT95 North to get back on RT17 without having to go through downtown Fredericksburg. Another quick stop in Falmouth/Stafford County area to catch our breath and check on Spitony (who had yet to be named) and then back on the bikes. RT 17/15 north of Fredericksburg is very beautiful, with rolling hills and GREEN everywhere, enough twisting to make it pleasant, but easy enough that you can sit back and enjoy the view.
We kept riding through the middle of the day, and into early afternoon before we (finally!) found a place to eat lunch. We sat down to eat at about 1:30pm at Charlie's (something or other) in Fredrick, Md. After "lunch" we got back on RT 15 and rode through some pretty country (any roads named "James Monroe Highway" and Catoctin Mountain Highway" that take you past "Point of Rocks" has to be pretty cool in my book), and soon found ourselves nearing Gettysburg, and the Granite hills campground.
One small navigational error (involving Bullfrog road) that was soon corrected, led us to RT 116 (Fairfield road) and our destination right at 3:30pm. We all checked in and rode to the sites, to be met by Nancy and 2J's, as well as Rev Roadkill and Jon "Big Bear" Howard. Cosmic Charley and Pat were there, but had left to run some errands. We set up our gear and hobnobbed a bit, unwinding from the (exactly!) 300 miles of our trip up. Soon enough, Merlin, Barb and Mariel showed up and we finally took off to the General Pickett Buffet for a "meet and greet" dinner. Interesting place, with all that "northern-type" food, and interesting location - the resturant is on what was the left flank of the third day's battle - essentially, Pickett's charge.
Finally, the dinner ended, and, after a quick stop at a local market we were back at camp. Conversation, pop corn and cool drinks (mostly water) were enjoyed by all, and the evening was a success with the arrival of the other half of the New York Brigade - Peter, Paul and Mary-Dale. Finally, our sleeping bags called out to us, and everyone drifted off to never-never land, with dreams of twisties and beautiful scenery dancing through our heads.

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