Day 29 - Beers into Harpers Ferry
What a day for a ride and what a ride into Harpers Ferry. It was beautiful. Started out at about 60 degrees. I wore my long sleeved shirt for about 3/4 of the ride then took it off as it was into the 70's. It didn't get out of the 70's all day. Mostly downhill as I made my way the 60 miles into Harpers Ferry, home of the John Brown insurrection to arm the slaves for an uprising. John and 21 of his followers took over the Federal Arsenal here in Harpers Ferry in 1859 to arm the slaves for an uprising to end slavery. John was captured, tried in Charles Town and hung. At the time West Virginia was still part of Virginia. It wasn't until the beginning of the Civil War and the secession of Virginia, that the residents of WV voted to secede from VA. It was ratified as a state in 1863 during the Civil War.
I had a good time reviewing the Battle of Cedar Creek. It was the last major battle in the Shenandoah Valley. There the Vermonters were heroes of the day holding back a Confederate Offensive while also following up and capturing many prisoners and battle flags. This was the event of Sheridan's famous ride from Winchester to Middletown to take charge of the battle and change a retreat and loss into a counter offensive and win. It's always impressive to see these battlefields much as they were almost 160 years ago with the same buildings and farms still in place. You can imagine the action swirling about you, but you're glad that it isn't.
The video today is a long one as I stopped a couple of times along the way and tried to give you and idea of going down, then going up these hills. Down is fun; up is fun too, just a little more tiring. Google had me on Route 11 most of the way, but then put me on the Old Charles Town Road. It was a pretty back road, but at the border between VA and WV there was no sign. So alas, I don't have record of going into WV, yet. I expect to make that record when I cross over the line into PA to get to Gettysburg.
I stopped in Charles Town (not Charleston), WV. I stopped at the Abolitionist Ale Works for a sampler as I only had 7 miles left into Harper Ferry. The beer was very good and I sat across from the courthouse where John Brown was tried and not far from the spot where he was hung. The waiter who was a local was pleased to share this history with me and I enjoyed it very much! I also learned from him that the town and the surrounding land used to be owned by George Washington's brother Charles, hence the name.
The ride from Charles Town to Harpers Ferry was not very good. Route 340 is a major route and I was glad to get off it and turn into town when Google told me. Broad shoulder and mostly downhill, but a big uphill just before the turn into town. Lots of 18 wheelers. I'm hoping I don't have to revisit that road tomorrow on my way into PA. I expect to be going through the town of Sharpsburg, MD home of the Antietam Battlefield. While inconclusive, the Antietam "victory" gave Lincoln the political capital to issue the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in rebel territory while keeping England and France from recognizing the legitimacy of the Confederate Government.
Today I'm taking off from riding and will explore Harpers Ferry. This is a beautiful town and rich with history. I'm looking forward to it. Kevin and Vera will be arriving tonight, so I'll spend the evening with them and have them take my bags to Gettysburg so I can do the ride without carrying the extra 40 - 50 lbs. That will be a relief especially since there's a serious climb on the Chambersburg Pike on the way to Gettysburg.
I hope you enjoy the video and please donate for Cancer Research! https://fundraise.cancerresearch.org/fundraiser/1954378