The weather has beaten the Appalachian Mountains for millions of years. Long-term erosion has rounded their shoulders and worn away once-high summits. In addition, prodigious annual rainfall has stimulated second-growth forests, invigorated croplands in the valleys, and bolstered animal populations. More recently—geologically speaking—human settlements have created a bountiful assemblage of paved backroads that climb over mountain ridges, follow meandering valley streams, and lead to historical locations both big and small.
This Shamrock Tour® is based in historical Hagerstown, MD, which has a population of around 40,000. It’s big enough to meet our essential touring needs, but not so big as to be overpowering with everyday traffic. And, it’s ideally located for exploring the Appalachian ridges and valleys in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. So, kickstands up—here we go!
Fall in Three States
On a fine fall morning, my riding partner Bruce and I aim our BMWs on a northwesterly bearing. Hagerstown shrinks to invisibility in our rearview mirrors. The fall air is crisp and invigorating. Low humidity makes for sharper visual acuity. Mother Nature has transformed autumn leaves into bright shades of red and brown. Windy gusts detach many of them—they glide aimlessly back and forth until reaching the pavement. Stiff and brittle, they crunch under our tires and and the turbulence of our wake blows them about.
Around mid-morning, we arrive at Hall’s Mill Covered Bridge. This 91-foot-long, pristinely restored Burr Truss-style bridge over Yellow Creek dates to 1872. The serene park setting around the gleaming white structure commands us to dismount and engage our cameras. This would be a great destination for a picnic, but it’s still early and the road calls us south to Everett, PA, where a train station museum awaits.
Motorcycles & Gear
2014 BMW F 800 GSA
2017 BMW R 1200 RT
Helmet: Schuberth C4 Modular, Arai DT-X with Pro Shade System
Jacket: AGV Sport Topanga Perforated Leather Jacket, Dainese Sandstorm GORE-TEX
Pants: Klim Badlands
Gloves: Inbike Leather Perforated, REV’IT! Dirt 2
Boots: Alpinestars Distinct Drystar, Sidi Adventure 2 GORE-TEX
Later, we continue farther south from Everett along raucous secondary roads until we arrive in Hancock, MD, on the banks of the Potomac River. This tiny sliver of the Maryland panhandle separates Pennsylvania from West Virginia by only a couple of miles. After crossing the Potomac, we meander through West Virginia’s scenic Eastern Neck. Then it’s back across the Potomac into the historical canal town of Williamsport, MD, which begs to be explored.