On The Road Again
Ed "Shevy" Shevlin is a well-know Rockaway resident who rides long distance each year to raise money for his favorite charities. Shevy and his motorcycle has shared many adventures over the years and The Wave will now bring you a monthly travel log of those adventures.
I would like to begin my newest venture by saying thank-you to all of my readers and contributors who have made my campaign to defeat cystic fibrosis such a success. Due to your generosity my fundraising
total now stands at $20,000. My expression of gratitude would not be complete without a nod to the staff of the Wave, particularly Howie Schwach without whom I would never have been able to bring you my travel logs. While many of my readers know me through my motorcycle fundraising tours, the vast majority is done simply for pleasure. Over the yearsI have come to realize that the journey is the real destination and that the places where I stop add flavor to the main event, which is "The Ride."
Recently, I took a scoot to one of my favorite places, Gettysburg, Pa. This entire area is very special to me as it combines two of my greatest passions, history and motorcycling. You see, 30 miles down the road from Gettysburg is the Harley Davidson factory in York, Pa. This happens to be the factory in which my bike began its life six years ago. Since then I have logged over 52,000 miles onboard my steel pony with nary a hiccup. Gettysburg of course, speaks for itself. The following are some of my thoughts regarding this, my 6th visit to this hallowed ground.
Gettysburg, 3 July 1863: Upon the firing of two Confederate signal guns the entire complement of 158 rebel artillery pieces opened fire on the Union lines. Shells streaked overhead bursting behind the Union lines killing horses and damaging a farmhouse. The shelling was so intense that it could be heard all the way to Harrisburg. As the Confederate bombardment was drawing to a close Colonel E.P Alexander sent word to General Pickett to "come on quickly" and Pickett's charge was begun. The Union Corps of Artillery was not long in issuing its response as high explosive shells detonated in the air above the advancing Confederate troops. Shrapnel burst down upon the butternut clad farm boys splattering their life's blood upon the green grass of the battlefield.
Gettysburg, 15 October 2008: Inserting an audio tour guide into my CD player I ride my bike along the prescribed route and arrive at the marshaling area for Pickett's Charge. 15,000 rebel soldiers stood here in the summer heat in July of 1863 waiting for the order to advance. Now it is just me. Alone. Waiting for a sign of some sort. I look out across the battlefield to see the golden grass sway in time with the breeze. A crisp autumnal gust shakes the sugar maple under which I am standing and a shower of crimson leaves flutter down from above. One lands in my open tour pack on the back of my bike and I decide to leave it there. It is the sign that I was waiting for; in autumn the sugar maples of Gettysburg shed their crimson leaves reminding us that freedom isn't free. One must simply open their eyes and their minds to receive the message.
I spent the rest of the day riding the roads that criss-cross the battlefield, stopping here and there to ponder the events of that epic struggle which decided the outcome of the war. I stayed out on the battlefields well after darkness fell and as I rode back into town on the Emmitsburg Road without another headlight or taillight in sight I realized that I was not alone. I was sharing the road with the ghosts of JEB Stuart's cavalry, the Irish Brigade and countless soldiers of both armies as they march shoulder to shoulder along a lonesome country road outside the town of Gettysburg.
Shevy's Biker Tip of the Week: When packing for your next motorcycle trip be sure to pack your rain gear in your right hand saddle bag. That way if you pull over to put it on your bike will be in between you and the traffic as you remove your raingear from the saddlebag !