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.