50-23 – Bike Week

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We do not ride motorcycles, so imagine our surprise to find ourselves in the middle of bike week in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania during the summer of 2008.

I’m a meticulous planner.My oldest son was going to be studying the Civil War when he returned to school in the fall, so I decided that we’d visit Gettysburg and see some of the places that I went to as a child and that would correspond with his upcoming social studies class.

We planned to see the battlefields, the Jenny Wade house, and the interactive light up map that shows the battles in action.

For some reason, there were no hotels that we could afford in Gettysburg proper, so we ended up staying just over the border in Maryland. It wasn’t too far, and we were able to get into Getyysburg every day that we were there.

We thought it was weird. It was the first week of July, but it was after the Battle of Gettysburg anniversary and reenactment, so we couldn’t figure out what was going on in town.

We knew immediately once we arrived in Gettysburg that there was something going on in town.

Motorcycles.

Motorcycles everywhere.

Big ones, small ones, loud ones. Ones with flags, leather jackets, demin jackets, vests, every combination of bike and biker.

I have never seen so many bikes in one place before.

It was a great vacation and we got to enjoy somethng that we wouldn’t normally have been a part of.

We did all of the things that we planned on doing and a few extra.

While we were outside eating ices at Rita’s, the kids waved at the passing motorcycles and they waved back. I wasn’t surprised by that, but the kids were and they loved it.

We stopped by one of the battlefields that had an observation tower. My husband and oldest son climbed up while I stayed in the car with the two little ones, and suddenly a man got off his bike and began to play Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. The air was still, and there was a palpable feeling of nearby spirits. It was silent except for the occasional bike coming or going. It was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever experienced.

Had we noticed that the town was going to be so crowded we probably would have changed the dates of our visit. Luckily for us, I had no idea and we were able to enjoy things that we wouldn’t have seen.

Even without our own bikes, we still felt very much a part of the bike week.

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