The Drummer, the Private Eye, and Me (Rush Fans Take Note)

What follows is a true story, involving Neil Peart, Michael Mosbach, and Yr Fthfl Srvnt. As most of you probably know, Neil is the drummer and lyricist for the progressive rock band Rush, and many experts consider him to be the best living drummer in the world. Michael is a private investigator from Los Angeles. He is also head of security whenever Rush is on tour, since Neil considers him to be the best P.I. in the world. As for me, well, I’m just the luckiest guy in the world. But let’s begin at the beginning…

An Aston Martin at the Battle of Cedar Creek

So what is the best way to check out a newly acquired 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage? In the immortal words of Otter from Animal House, “Road trip!” Accordingly, in early May I set off to do two of my most favorite things: go for an exciting drive, and look for historic, scenic, and otherwise-interesting places in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Everyone knows the Civil War battles of Gettysburg and Antietam, but not many know the significance of the Battle of Cedar Creek. Yet it was a critical point that almost produced a decisive victory for the South, which would have jeopardized the reelection of President Abraham Lincoln. Ultimately, it proved to be a major Union victory, sufficient to end the Confederacy’s potential to win the war.

A BMW Tour of Fall Colors (and Haunted Houses)

BMWs are great for spirited riding or driving—and if you use that ability to visit scenic and historically interesting places, then you have an unbeatable combination. With that goal in mind, I set off in late October to find out whether Pennsylvania or West Virginia had the best Fall Colors. Along the way, I encountered no small number of historical haunted houses, just in time for Halloween. My path first took me through Gettysburg.

Ports—Royal and Otherwise (Rappahannock River Ride)

Having often explored the Maryland side of the Potomac River, I thought I’d try the Virginia shore for a change. And for good measure, I decided to work in the Rappahannock River, since I knew little about it. The river was originally named by Native Americans, naturally, and is said to mean “the river that rises and falls” or, possibly, “river of quick, rising water.” The Rappahannock runs roughly 195 miles before emptying into the Chesapeake Bay.

Catch-Up Report: Cowan’s Gap and a Vacant House Guarded by Vultures

Two weeks ago, after all that rain, I went to see if there was any flooding–but I didn’t find much. I ended up in Cowans Gap State Park, near Mercersburg, PA, which was my boyhood vacation spot. If you haven’t ever been there, it’s well worth a visit. Very scenic, and free! I hadn’t been there for maybe 40 years and was pleased to see that it hadn’t changed a lot. (Looked a little smaller for some reason…)

MORE Montgomery County Rustic Roads

On my first trip, two weeks ago, I didn’t have time to see all of the best-sounding roads in western Montgomery County, Maryland. Naturally, I went back today to cover a lot of the others. Beautiful weather for riding, with only an occasional threatening cloud. Minimal traffic, and I only saw 25 deer … all in one field! When I went back for a picture, they had all stealthily disappeared. But I found the extraordinary Seneca Stone Mill lurking in the woods.

Around Antietam

Last weekend I rode my faithful BMW F650CS out to the Antietam Battlefield area at Sharpsburg, Maryland–first to visit “Sharpsburg Arsenal,” which is a Civil War artifacts shop that also doubles as a museum, and then on to the Potomac River and other sites. Along the way, I stopped at the Kennedy Farm, which was the home of John Brown (of Harper’s Ferry fame) and his family. And I also found Dam No. 4 on the Potomac. Prior to this ride, I didn’t even know there were any dams on this river.

Churchton, MD?

While waiting for a sufficiently warm day for a ride (i.e., above 35 degrees in my case), I started looking on the map for an interesting place to visit. I found Churchton, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, south of Annapolis and directly east of Upper Marlboro.

I assumed it would be an interesting old town, with a harbor and a good place for lunch. When I rode there on Sunday, however, as best I could tell it doesn’t even exist!

Nice Weather in January!

Jim Von Baden’s “One Special Picture” thread has prompted me to add another couple of shots from my ride on January 22. It was so great to have an opportunity to get out, after I’d put the F650CS away for the winter. Although it never got over 40 degrees, I bundled up and did okay, other than cold hands. Along the way, I discovered my all-time favorite abandoned house.

Fall Color Pictures, Anyone?

Here are a couple of Fall Color pictures, one from last weekend, three from earlier today. Hey, it’s pretty out there!

The latter trip was from Catonsville to Emmitsburg, Maryland by back roads. I had a reasonably decent lunch at “Palms” in downtown Emmitsburg, and by chance I ran into a high school friend whom I hadn’t seen in roughly 38 years!