Written by Rick


  1. Ann Michaels

    Once again, a wonderful road trip!! And the fall colors are spectacular.

    I’m always amazed at the research you do about the sites and buildings. I really enjoyed your Gettysburg photos. My North Carolinian 57(!!!!) year old great-great grandfather volunteered in April, 1863, and fought at this battle. He made it through but was captured in Maryland while retreating. He died of typhus at Fort Delaware in October.

    Your new touring car is gorgeous. I bet it is really fun to drive. I still have my 1977 Corvette—but it’s not fun to drive: stiff suspension and a heavy clutch! Definitely a 43 year old car.

    Looking forward to the next RSF report.


    1. Rick

      Hi Ann!

      The colors turned out to be a lot better than I expected on this trip. I thought I had missed the peak season.

      Gettysburg is such an interesting place (with or without early morning mist or Fall Colors). How much do you know about your great-great-grandfather? Do you know his Confederate Army unit?

      As for Fort Delaware, I visited there some years ago. If you haven’t already seen it, my report is at Fort Delaware. Your ancestor must have been miserable there, sick, and so far from home.

      Your 1977 Corvette sounds like the 1967 ‘Vette that I co-owned with a friend of mine. It was beautiful, fast, and sounded great, but it didn’t have power steering or power brakes, making it a chore to drive. Even the gearshift was heavy to operate. The Mercedes has power everything-in-sight and is a breeze to drive. The hard part is figuring out how all the features operate, since there are so many of them. (Definitely a first-world problem…)

      Happy Thanksgiving, and stay safe!


  2. David Lynch

    Fascinating….from the lovely SL with all its wonderful features and comfort…to the Photo of Private Ash. I remember as a youngster seeing photos of Civil War battlefields and being so amazed that photographers took such risks. I’m glad you have a comfortable and beautiful car.
    Look where we are now. Your photos are incredible, with such vibrant colours and descriptions of each scene.
    I’ve never been to Gettysburg.

    1. Rick

      Hi Dave,

      The SL is indeed a wonderful car. I’m looking forward to many more tours in it.

      During the Civil War, the photographers would usually appear shortly after the hostilities had ceased. Both Matthew Brady and his former assistant Alexander Gardner were notorious for “staging” photos, i.e., moving bodies and other things around to create an evocative scene. In at least one instance, a photographer’s assistant played the role of a corpse. Poor Pvt. Ash was killed in a different section of Devil’s Den and his body moved to where the famous photograph was taken. He was only 25. But, conversely, Devil’s Den snipers picked off a great many Union soldiers up on Little Round Top as well. The numbers of casualties on both sides were just horrendous.

      It’s good that your home country of Canada never had a civil war (although the Rebellions of 1837 and 1838 were at least cousins, and they helped lead to the unification of Canada).


  3. Dave L

    Thanks Rick.
    We had an SL and it was one of El’s favourite cars. Think that you will be most happy with it!

    I wonder…it took so long to take photos then. I wonder if they moved Pvt so they would be safe while they exposed their plates? I can’t imagine being under a dark hood taking a photo when there might be snipers present.

    I’m so grateful when you send a link telling me that you have a new tour posted! I appreciate every photo, and every word you write.

    We’re now carefully looking for old tracks to drive on with our Jeep Wrangler. We look for “no winter maintenance” and “no maintenance” signs. It’s fun.

    1. Rick

      The photograph of the unfortunate Private Ash was taken on July 4, 1863, when the Confederate forces had retreated. Ash was killed by cannon fire the prior date while the battle was still going on. The moving and rearranging of scenes was done to make a more compelling photograph, rather than for safety reasons. Only later did people looking at the published photos realize that the same individuals were shown in more than one setting.

      Today, such activities would be considered unethical, but back at the birth of photography I suppose no one had really considered standards of conduct. Many of the Civil War photos are downright grisly, but they do convey the absolute horrors of the war.

      As for your Jeep tours, they are indeed the vehicle to have when going well off the beaten path. The Jeep demonstrations I saw at the Washington, DC automobile show one year were nothing short of amazing.


  4. Stacie foster

    Hi Rick, I love your posts! Curt forwards you articles to me! I love following them! Hope you have a happy thanksgiving!

    1. Rick

      Hi Stacie!

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the trip reports. I don’t know which I like better–taking the trips or writing them up!

      Thanksgiving was quiet and nice, with takeout dinners from our favorite French restaurant. They were excellent.

      I hope you and your boys are all doing well!


  5. Doug Schuch

    Hi Rick, I am a former colleague of your brother Curt. He always forwards your photo tours to me, and I have enjoyed them all. This is especially interesting since my wife and I have been visiting our daughter and grandkids in York Haven, PA since the beginning of October. We also went to Gettysburg. Maybe we crossed paths!
    We love this area for the history and colors. No mountains to speak of, but beautiful just the same. Thanks for the informative tour!
    Doug Schuch

    1. Rick


      Anyone willing to hang around with Curt is clearly an A-one, first-class citizen, and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed reading about my trips.

      I’ve gone through York Haven a couple of times, and it’s a great area to tour. If I remember correctly, the Piper Aviation Museum is there (or very near there), and it’s a fascinating place to visit. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it (assuming it’s open these days).

      Curt can tell you about all the fun we had as kids visiting Gettysburg, Harpers Ferry, and other historical spots around our then-home in Frederick, Maryland. Before the Harpers Ferry buildings were all restored, when they were in danger of collapsing at any point, he found a back way into them. We had a great time sneaking in and then greeting park visitors who were on the outside of the barriers, looking in. Then there were the times we climbed up to the top of the railroad tunnel or walked through the tunnel itself. It’s a wonder we ever survived to our alleged adulthood!


  6. Clifton Maze

    Nice and interesting photos. Would be better if the taillights to be less apparent, like the headlights.

    1. Rick

      Hi Clifton!

      Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed the report!

      As for the new SL550, it’s a nice, aggressive-looking car, but I agree that there are some styling elements that could be improved. I would have gladly kept the beautiful Aston Martin forever if only I fit into it better. I’m just too tall for it by a few inches.

      Don’t forget to make that two-wheel trip out to western Pennsylvania when the weather turns nice!


  7. Sally Slipian

    What a wonderful way to enjoy the new Merc and explore Civil War history. Albeit I did have to chuckle. As Chagall had a tiny reminder of his hometown of Vitebsk in every painting, your photos had a reminder (sometimes large) of your new travelling companion. Kudos and enjoy.

    1. Rick

      Hi Sally,

      Thanks! As a longtime gearhead, I’m inclined to include photos of my means of conveyance in each report. It’s all part of the fun.

      I’m so pleased to learn of Marc Chagall’s practice of including something from Vitebsk in each of his paintings. Now, when someone asks about my car pictures, I can say “My photographic style is inspired by Chagall”!


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