My 2019 Grand Motorcycle Part IV The Ride Home: Gettysburg.

I said my good byes and left Salisbury New Hampshire heading west on a two lane highway. The weather was a bit chill, but it warmed up and there was no rain. I traveled down a windy road that wove its way through the forest. The scenery was beautiful as I passed through small towns and farms. I rode along the shore of a large lake for a while and crossed over a couple of rivers. I had to take a detour because they were doing some construction on a bridge that crossed a river. On the other side of the river was the state of Vermont. In Vermont I headed south on the 91 Interstate which took me down into Massachusetts and headed west. I passed through the state and entered the state of New York. I stopped for gas and had a shot conversation with a couple that also was from California. They lived in Rancho Cucamonga which is about seventy miles south of Barstow where I live. At the end of the day I stopped at a motel on the outskirts of a good sized town They charged me $129.00 for the room. I was thinking that this was kind of expensive and I mentioned it to another biker while I was having a beer in the motel bar. He said that it actually wasn’t because they were having a little league training camp in town and all the motels would be full or more expensive. I had dinner at a restaurant which in its former life was an old house, then bought some beer and munchies for the room and settled in for the night.

I woke up the following morning had breakfast and headed out. The weather was good. I headed west through the state of New York and then headed south into Pennsylvania. The roads in Pennsylvania sucked. They were full of potholes. I stopped at the welcome center and took a selfie underneath the Welcome to Pennsylvania sign. A lot of people that I know knew that I was in New Hampshire and the accident in the northern part of the state where seven people on motorcycles were killed had made national news, so I posted the pic on Face Book to let them know that I was okay. My destination for the day was Gettysburg and I arrived before the sun went down. If you’ve never been there, what you have read about and what you have seen on TV doesn’t do it justice. The battle took place in the country side surrounding the town as well as in the town itself. There are buildings in the town that still have cannon balls stuck into their walls. There are trees growing in the town that were there when the battle took place. They call them Witness Trees. One of the trees had to be cut down and they found a bunch of mini balls imbedded inside the tree. When I arrived I found a motel, checked in and then went looking for somewhere to eat. When I was done with that I took a walking tour of the town and went on a ghost tour. Gettysburg is supposed to be one of the most haunted cities in the US. The tour guide told of people who have drove through the battle field at night and had the ghost of a Confederate soldier appear in the back seat of their car or have seen ghost walking the streets at night. People have reported hearing cannon fire and gunshots out on the battle field at night. After the ghost tour, it was now getting dark, I walked out to the edge of the battle field and sat down leaning against a tree and smoked a cigar. it was eerily quiet and when I looked out into the dark I saw thousands and thousands of fire flies flying about over the battle field. There are still at least five hundred Confederate soldiers buried where the fell out on the battle field. There are no markers, but the National Park service considers them to be at rest. Seeing those fire flies made me think about the souls of those of those brave men buried in shallow graves so far away from home. Finished with my cigar, I headed back to the motel and called it a night.

The next morning I woke up early and went to a museum that had artifacts from the battle on display. They had a theater that showed a short movie showing how the battle progressed. Finished with that I went up to the visitor center and took a bus tour that took us through town and then out on the battle field. It was a double decker bus with an open top. I rode on the top deck. While we headed through town, the bus driver pointed out things of interest that pertained to the battle and then he headed out onto the battle field itself. He stopped at the various monuments and talked about what happened there. When he stopped at Little Round Top, he let us take a short break and walk up the trail to the top of Little Round Top. During the battle the Union troops occupied Little Round Top. The Confederate lines were in the trees across a field over a mile and a half away. They had to charge across a mile and a half of open ground while under cannon fire as well as gunfire from the Union troops on Little Round Top. They were decimated. This was the site of Pickett’s famous charge. As I stood there looking across that open ground I was in a somber mood, thinking about the terror and brutality those soldiers must have felt, as they tried in vain to take the high ground. When the bus tour was over, I bought a couple of tee shirts at the visitor center, then climbed onto the bike and rolled out leaving Gettysburg behind. The next time I have a chance to go there I plan to stay for a couple of days. I’d like to ride my motorcycle down into the battle field at night. Leaving Gettysburg behind, I was New Mexico bound.

(Keep your eyes out for My 2019 Grand Motorcycle Adventure part five the ride home-New Mexico.)

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About David Donaghe (Author of Thunder Road)

Hi. I work and live in the high desert of Southern California with my wife and family. I have three passions in life:reading, writing and riding my motorcycle. I have a short story collection, Monroe's Paranormal Investigations on sale now at Amazon.com and on the Barns and Noble webpage. My novel, The Tale spinner is coming out soon, published by Otherworld Publications.
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