Taking travel slowly a 'profound' experience

October 04, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

HAGERSTOWN - The hundreds of miles that separate the brothers don't prevent them from getting together several times a year, one explained while riding his bicycle from Maryland to Massachusetts.

Peter Wright, of Hagerstown, opts to ride the mid-1950s bicycle he rebuilt, while brother David travels in a 1928 Model A Ford.

While not the fastest modes of travel, the journey, people met along the way and conversations make the trips absolutely worthwhile, Peter Wright said.

"You realize that the ordinary just turned into something profound, and that's why I do it," he said.

Peter Wright left Hagerstown for New England early Monday and spent 12 hours on Pennsylvania roads, arriving and resting at a York, Pa., hotel that night. He expressed apprehension that he might not arrive in central Massachusetts by Friday's start of the private weekend music festival that is his destination.


David Wright, who annually hosts the festival on his farm, is anticipating 300 musicians to camp out and play bluegrass music.

"The musicians all stand around the campfire in the evening, morning, all day. People kind of gravitate over," said Peter Wright, who is taking 14 harmonicas with him. He said he has rebuilt several bicycles, but the Schwinn is one of the least likely to get weighed down.

Peter Wright has appreciated the fair weather during his trip and made his only stop Monday at a roadside stand.

"I stopped in the country, bought some tomatoes. The food stands have some great stuff," Wright said.

Peter Wright, who has ridden across the United States and several other countries, calls himself a loner for setting out by himself, but it's rarely long before he connects with someone.

"I meet enough people that I seldom need to camp," Wright said.

Pulling out photographs from past trips, he remembers many of the people he has met. He keeps in contact with some. The names and stories are varied from his decades of inexpensive trips, which started during the Civil Rights Movement when, as a high-schooler, he wanted to see the South.

Peter Wright cashed a $20 traveler's check in New England early in that first journey.

"Three months later, I never cashed another one. When I was a kid, I learned something interesting - if you don't spend any money, you don't need to make it," Peter Wright said.

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