To Gettysburg - Up The Parkways - CycleBlaze

May 27, 2013

To Gettysburg

The Blue Ridge Mountains take their last shot

Memorial Day - what a fitting time to cycle through the civil war battlegrouds!  We were blessed with another day of fine weather, our third running.  After breakfast at the motel we crossed the river into Pennsylvania (state number 5 for this trip, but who's counting?) and shortly came to Sharpsburg and then Antietam.  The Antietam cemetary on Memorial Day was of course a sea of American flags.  Cycling through the battleground, now a simple preserve of fields lined with spit rail fences, felt like a good way to experience it, This early in the morning we had the place to ourselves and were free to let our imaginations wander without distractions. 

From Antietam we worked our way northeast to Gettysburg through a complicated route I'd mapped out trying to find the quietest path.  The stretch between Boonsville and Thurmont gave us one last Blue Ridge jolt - a steep climb up one ridge oaver Boonsboro Mountain Road, and a second one east of Wolfsville up Stottlemeyer.  From there we dropped into Thurmont along winding, narrow, shoulderless and busy Foxville Road.  Foxville was a bit nervewracking actually and made us glad we were going downhill and passing through it quickly.

We arrived at Gettysburg a bit after 4, giving us barely enough time to visit the museum before it closed but not much else.  Our plan was to see the museum and leave everything else for the next morning after the Memorial Day crowds had passed on.  We were glad we visited the museum and epecially that we allowed time for the great Gettysburg Diorama, the largest battlefield diorama in the country.  It's an impressive work and left us feeling like we'd gained a much better understanding of what transpired here 150 years ago.

Leaving Shepherdstown, crossing the Potomac
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The Sharpsburg library, dressed up for Memorial Day
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Antietam National Battlefield
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Antietem National Cemetery
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One windstorm away
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Battle of Gettysburg diorama, Gettysburg Museum
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Today's ride: 63 miles (101 km)
Total: 593 miles (954 km)

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