2019 GETTYSBURG WORK WEEKEND
The Gettysburg Work Weekend was organized four years ago by MOA Ambassador Sam Booth from Ohio. Sam is a registered Battlefield Guide and has a passion for the battle. The fee is usually in the $50+ range and includes two nights camping and a catered meal Saturday evening.
Sam has a few connections at the battlefield and arranges with the Park Rangers for a job untrained and mostly elderly can handle. A couple of years we took down fences and piled them on the road, this year they asked us to remove the brush off a fence and cut back about two feet, a bush hog would do the rest.
Friday night it has become a tradition that we go to Dobbin House for dinner, reservations are made and the hardest thing is finding a place to park. A pre-revolution war Restuarant it offers a great menu served in an authentic 1860 atmosphere, not Mac Donald's so expect a $50-tab, money well spent.
FRIDAY: Off at 7 AM on Friday my GPS said it would be a three-hour trip, silly GPS it wanted me to ride the slabs. Across New Jersey I departed the Garden State on the Commodore Barry bridge after an ATM and a gas stop , the plan being to traverse RT322 to Rt1 behind the people that start work at 8 and ahead of the people that start at 9. It actually worked out and the traditional back-ups were minimal. The construction work to dualize the road seems to be moving at a rapid rate, I imagine they didn’t get the general contractor from New Jersey. South on Rt1 almost to Maryland then Northwest on Rt 896 to Rt 372 and West to Quarryville. At Quarryville I always stop at Lapp’s Family Restaurant, they have a great buffet on Fridays but unfortunately are closed on Sunday for the trip home. Further West on 372 takes me across the Susquehanna to a left turn on Rt 74 to Rt 851 and West. 30 miles later I intersect Rt 216 and head toward Hanover where I pick up Rt 116 and ride it to Gettysburg. This is/was my planned route which is usually interrupted by ‘I wonder where that road goes’, so it took me a little over 5 hours to get to the campground. http://www.artillaryridge.com
Hellos, set up camp and get ready to go to the Dobbin House.
SATURDAY: Up early, at 5:30 AM to the sound of the BBQ guys rolling in, by 6:00 they had their rolling smoker fired up and the meat on. Lincoln Diner for breakfast and wait for our assignment on the battlefield. This year we’ll be removing brush from about a half mile of fence on the Southern end of the battlefield, what at first appeared as a daunting assignment actually wasn’t too bad with 30/40 people hard at work. Perfect weather this year for the first time but the temperature started to increase into the uncomfortable zone at around noon. The Park Ranger called us off about 100 feet short of our goal, she likely was afraid one of us would drop dead. Looking back at the fence, we did a really nice job.
After lunch Sam Booth took some of the people on a hike up Round Top to the location of a rarely seen part of the battlefield. I took off on my own toward Culp’s Hill where the first day of the battle ended. I’ve never been there before and spent well over an hour reading monuments and climbing the observation tower. I also found the monument for my great great grandfather’s(?) unit, the 145th New York volunteer infantry.
Back at the campground the BBQ guys were putting out a first-class brisket and fixins meal. Afterwards it was door prizes and thankfully someone older that me won the oldest rider. Sam had a half cord of dried hardwood delivered so we had a nice campfire with the usual back and forth that occurs when friends gather around a campfire. Also, as usual, maybe because we’re getting up in age or maybe because most no longer do physical work, the people started to disappear around 9PM.
This is Colin's third year helping out, that fence was covered with brush
You can almost see our bikes lined up on the road.
SUNDAY: Up and packed by 6AM some of the guys headed to the Lincoln diner while I headed East toward the East Cavalry Field. Another often overlooked site of the battle the site is actually three miles East of the main battlefield. On the third day of the battle General Jeb Stuart was leading the entire Southern cavalry North in an attempt to get behind the Union forces when Picket advanced at their front. The newly promoted General Custer noticed this and threw his entire Michigan Cavalry against the enemy, even though they were vastly outnumbered. Thinking he was being attacked by the entire Union cavalry Stuart halted his advance and never arrived to support Pickets disastrous charge. So, with two bucket list items scratched off (Culp’s hill and the East Cavalry Field) I headed home. Using the ride toward the sun method of navigation I’m not really sure exactly how I found the Susquehanna river but eventually I crossed at the Holtwood dam and reversed the route I took out.
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