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The drives around Allenberry & Gettysburg, sublimely beautiful

That’s Mickey Shemin on the left in the straw hat with the suede messenger bag over his shoulder, and Mac McMahon on the right peering into the same vintage Dodge. A large contingent of classic Dodge owners were visiting Gettysburg the sunny day we arrived to make arrangements for our Sunday at Gettysburg, the final full day of our event September 24, 25 and 26 based at Allenberry Resort at Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. Just as a large contingent of shining Riley automobiles will arrive early on the 26th and park on a grassy corner at the American Civil War museum and their drivers and passengers climb aboard the 1933 Ford bus or the 1936 or 1937 Yellowstone Park buses operated by the Historic Tour Company. We will leave one volunteer behind to answer questions about our cars while the majority listen to Wes Ayre and his colleagues describe the battle that turned the tide of the Civil War. (Having already read Bruce Catton’s brief “Gettysburg: The Final Fury” and Michael Shaara’s novel “The Killer Angels,” I am just beginning the book most highly recommended by Wes Ayre in our meeting with him, a thick trade paperback of Stephen W. Sears’s “Gettysburg.” For those of you wishing to read before you visit the battlefield with us, I recommend you make your own choice at this site of lists of top ten Gettysburg books by copying and pasting the following URL into the URL line of your internet browser: http://www.brettschulte.net/CWBlog/best-civil-war-books/top-10-gettysburg-books-civil-war-bloggers/).

While we were visiting the headquarters of the Historic Tour Company our Mr. Shemin told Mr. Ayre he remembered staying at a certain iron-colonnaded motel he recognized as we drove into town.

“That was the Holiday Inn,” Mr. Ayre said. “My father built that hotel.”

“I was there for the centennial of the battle,” said Mr. Shemin. For those of you who have not yet begun their reading, that was July 1, 2 and 3 of 1963.

“So was I,” said Mr. Ayre.

For those of you willing to face the battlefield unprepared by reading, you will find our visit to the restored cyclorama at the National Military Park’s visitor center beforehand and the dioramas and film at the American Civil War Museum afterward, before we reclaim our Rileys, will provide sufficient background within the one day visit.

On our way from Allenberry to Gettysburg our cars will have completed one leg of a great scenic drive, and we will drive the rest of the route on our way back to the resort. I have covered many a pretty mile in an RM, along the Big Sur coast of California and the Dingle Penninsula of Ireland. The rolling apple and peach groves of Adams County compare in beauty.

(For a bigger picture of Mickey and Mac and the cars they perused, click twice anywhere on the photo and it will enlarge.)

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