Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The wife and I returned to Gettysburg this year for our vacation. Not so much to see the battlefield again this time but to see the new Visitors Center and to view the Cyclorama since it has been restored. While in the motel lobby we looked at the rack containing all the brochures of the attractions around the town with restaurants and museums first on the list and we had some favorites to revisit as well. Almost immediately one little brochure for a battlefield tour caught our eye. Tour the battlefield on a Segway! This was new since the last time we visited and we thought we would give it a try.
I was a little apprehensive at first because I had never ridden one of these contraptions and I was pretty sure that before it was all over a hospital stay was in the works. We called the number, made a reservation and soon enough all my worries were put to rest. Let me assure you, Mr Bob Velke and his staff the absolute greatest! They asked that we arrive a little early so that we could practice on the machines and learn all about riding a Segway. They were extremely patient with everyone and made absolutely sure we were ready for the streets before starting the tour. The learning process takes about 15 to 20 minutes and even though you may not be an "expert" in that time you can be proficient enough to take the tour and totally enjoy yourself.
Safety is a key issue with the these folks and I promise you will reminded the entire tour of the safety practices. I was very impressed with the way they kept a sharp eye out for hazards and traffic and their diligence in making the tour safe and enjoyable. Two tours are available and we took the longer of the two, the western tour. Each rider is given a radio receiver and during the tour we listened to a recording by a licensed battlefield guide of the highlights of the battle for the areas we were covering. The recording doesn't run constantly and information is intermixed with your live guide riding with you. Live guides ride in the front, middle and rear of the tour in order to watch all the riders carefully and to assist with traffic. On the western tour four rest stops are factored in and the tour guides carry snacks and water for the riders.
Now there is a down side to this tour but it is a slight one and really is no different than any other guided tour. That being the tour is done with a bit of a time constraint which means that a lot of monuments are passed by and you just get a fleeting glance of them. On the other hand, this tour does tend to point out most of the highlights of the battlefield and many of the monuments that mark the major events of the battle. It is not possible to see the battlefield in one day anyhow so if you have but a few hours hours to spend then the Segway tour is the a great way to go. Even if you have been before, this tour gives new flavor to the battlefield and a great new perspective of the events there in July of 1863.
You can get more information on the Segway Tour of Gettysburg by clicking on the tile of this post. Doing so will take you to their site for a brief explanation of the tours and a short film on the ride. Trust me! We had a blast riding the tour and would do so again in a heartbeat.
A real tip of the hat to Mr. Velke and his staff! Thanks for a great tour!