I had seen the Sachs Bridge a couple of years ago on a social media post and decided I should ride that bridge someday. That someday came today.
It was only a few weeks ago that Michele posted a three-covered bridge ride in Frederick Co., Maryland. I couldn’t make the original date but rode it the day before on my own. It was beautiful except for the four miles of getting in and out of Frederick which was a bit sketchy with traffic. But the roads and scenery are great.
The original ride was postponed due to weather and the next week I jumped in with the original group. Six of us rode the three-bridge route. I was the only one that had ridden it before and they seemed to appreciate someone with knowledge of the route being along for the ride.
My own bit of adventure involves finding a route someone else has ridden, downloading it to my Wahoo bike computer, and following the roads. Even more adventuresome is simply mapping out a route and taking my chances.
The big problem in this adventure-seeking is one does not know the surface/condition of the roads or the traffic. We try to alleviate this by avoiding major roads and then we cross our fingers and hope the route is good.
I was coming home from an Ohio trip and made a diversion to Thurmont which is only 12 miles north of Frederick. I parked at the Thurmont Community Park which has restrooms. I was ready to roll out by 8:00 a.m. on a day in which temperatures were to reach the high 90s.
I headed out of town on what are now familiar roads. At 3.5 miles out of town, I had mapped out a left turn on what I learned was a dirt farm road. I kept going past it. No problem. I took the roads I knew to Creagerstown and to the first bridge of my new three-bridge ride, Loys Station Bridge.
Having been here twice in the last month there was no need to stop for a photo op other than to grab a quick photo. Then it was headed north on new roads.
The roads are so nice here. The pavement is mostly excellent and these roads have so little traffic. A guy on a Trek Emonda caught me and we rode together for about two miles. He was headed to the Catoctin Mountains and then back to Frederick. I was headed north. When I told him I was from Virginia and stopped just for a ride he said “I like that. I really like that.”
At Simmons Road (MP 15) where it crosses Toms Creek, he said “I bet you turn right up here.” I said, “yep.” I turned and that was the last I saw of him.
All the roads were great. At MP 21 I crossed into Pennsylvania with no signs. I mean, there wasn’t a “Welcome to Pennsylvania” sign. I saw the pavement had changed and I noticed the first parked cars at a farm with Pennsylvania plates.
At MP 26 I crossed US Rte 15 via an overpass. The next mile carried slightly heavier traffic into Gettysburg (three miles farther) but I turned off after one mile. I went through part of the hallowed ground that makes up Gettysburg National Military Park.
I was on Millerstown Road. This was a road I had ridden from the opposite direction five times in the Civil War Century. Instead of following the road as it became Pumping Station Road, I turned onto Red Rocks Road followed by Water Works Road.
Water Works Road has an old bridge with bollards to keep vehicle traffic off it. I could and did cross on my bike. That took me to the Sachs Covered Bridge. And what a bridge it was.
Built in 1852, it is one of the longest bridges in Pennsylvania. It is in great condition (rebuilt after a flood) but only open to foot and bicycle traffic.
At MP 30 I was 60% done with my ride but also felt that it was pretty much over. The highest point was yet to come but this was rolling terrain and not mountainous. But each little rise would take its toll in the heat.
The transition back to Maryland was the same as entering Pennsylvania. Pavement change. Different license plates. And that was it.
I approached Emmitsburg and for a moment it looked like a scene out of France. A winding road next to a field. Off in the distance, the churches of Emmitsburg formed the skyline. I needed a French croissant.
Actually, with only 11 miles to go, I needed water. I rolled through downtown looking for a convenience store but didn’t pass any although they have them. I didn’t worry about it because I knew that Roddy Road Bridge had a park.
When I got to the park I discovered they had no water. Just a picnic shelter and a port-a-john. Or outhouse. Whatever. It was just 2.5 miles to the car from there. Suck it up.
I got back to the car where I had a cooler packed from my trip. In it was ice-cold water and ice-cold Coke Zero. I was refreshed.
EPILOGUE – I did not research the history of Sachs Bridge before I rode. It is routinely listed as the most or one of the most haunted sites in Gettysburg or among bridges. Three Confederate soldiers were hanged here and are said to frequent the bridge and visitors. Users can do their own search.