Monday, August 15, 2016

Day 41 Hancock, MD to Gettysburg, PA

Day 41 Hancock, MD to Gettysburg, PA 62.3 Miles 3060ft climbing #NM2NY4LFSA

It was another hot day today. We started with an excellent breakfast at the B&B and then hopped on the Western Maryland Rail Trail. We rode the rail trail for about 8 miles before getting back on the road. We have been on trail for 220 miles and have really become accustomed to the mild grade. From mile 8 to mile 12 today we climbed twice as much as the entire 60+ miles the day before. The first climb was a long grind. As we continued to ride the heat rose. We stopped at a coffee shop for cold drinks and got sandwiches to eat later down the road. We began riding through historic sites noting Lee's retreat from Gettysburg. Not long after the coffee shop we began what was a long steep climb to the ridge top in Washington, PA. We came around a twist in the road just short of the top and low and behold there was a big gazebo with concrete benches in a lot between two houses. It was labelled as though it was a public building but the location made that unlikely. We didn't see anyone around so we pulled in. I think Chandler's head was about to explode from the heat so the timing was good. We sat and drank warm water and ate our sandwiches. They were excellent. As we finished, a car came up the driveway and parked at the house next to us. The fellow came over and offered us cold bottled water. It was the perfect finish. He told us here were two more minor rises on the way to the summit. He was exactly right. It was brutally hot by the time we got to the top at Blue Ridge Summit, getting up to the forecast 100 degrees. We passed the AT (Appalachian Trail) where it crossed the road and it felt like we had a downhill ride to New York for the next 200 miles. That wasn't quite right, we had a few more rollers and a couple of short steep climbs before we got to the Gettysburg Battlefield. We entered the battlefield from the South and rode the length of it into the town. It's a place full of ghosts. I felt the gravity of it with 51,000 American brothers killed, wounded, missing, or captured. I felt the horror and it occurred to me that you don't see Confederate flags near these battlefields. It also occurred to me that the politicians who beat the war drum are almost never those who have experienced war. We arrived at the hotel, cleaned up, had dinner, and got to bed early.