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Day 30 - Going to Gettysburg

30 days of bike riding gets me into Gettysburg, PA, home of the largest battle to ever take place in the USA. 150,000+ troops and 51,000 casualties (7058 dead, 33,264 wounded, 10,790 missing) on hot summer days in July 1-3, 1863. Many don't realize it, but the siege of Vicksburg in MS was going on during the same time and it was surrendered on 7/4/1

863. Both were significant union victories that changed the course of the Civil War! But the carnage was unheard of and for the first time images of the horrible aftermath of battle were brought into the living room. I imagine some of those missing were simply ripped to shreds by double grape shot at point blank range! In Picketts charge on the last day of battle 12,000 men walked up, 6,000 men walked back. How they managed to gather the courage to do so I don't know.

Cannon overlooking the Antietam Battlefield

Going to Gettysburg was made easier by a lighter load than I usually have. My brother Kevin and his wife Vera met me in Harpers Ferry and were kind enough to carry my bags from there. We also met on the Antietam (or Sharpsburg) battlefield in MD. It was a good thing they carried my bags as I had 60 miles and over 4100 ft of climbing I had to do to get here. I followed the Confederate path out of Harpers Ferry, along the Harpers Ferry road to get to Antietam and ended up at the extreme rear of the Confederate position on the battlefield. The hills to that point were short but very steep and tested my legs. But the big test was going through Hagerstown, MD and then over the Monterey Pass in PA. It seemed like that uphill was never going to stop! Getting over and going down the other side was a lot of fun and I learned of another engagement after Gettysburg at Monterey Pass as the Union Soldiers harried the Confederates in their retreat back to Harper Ferry. The final 10 miles into Gettysburg was mostly down hill and a lot of fun as I got into town and started reading the plaques. I also met another bike tourist that rode up from Savannah, GA. She was wondering where my bags were as she was very weighted down both front and back.

Gettysburg has been a delight, both because I got to go on a Battlefield tour with Kevin and Vera, pay my respects to the 20th Maine and Captain Morrill and then go to the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival. The bands there were awesome and the sound system was great! I'll go again if I get the chance. I was surprised how small the crowd was!

Visiting the stonewall defended by Captain Morrill's sharpshooters.

Anyway, back on the road today for Day 31 to Harrisburg, PA. I've given Kevin and Vera some of the things I have yet to use and won't going forward like my camp food and cooking gear. I expect it's saving another 10 lbs of weight. That along with all the food I've eaten has probably dropped my weight that I'm pushing into the 70 lb range. But I need to replenish my Gu's and road food for the days ahead. I'll probably do that on the way to Harrisburg.

I'll see you on the other side!

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