Today was… well, today was one hell of a day. It was the day when we passed our 13,000th mile, and ventured into a new state, Rhode Island, but it was also one of the toughest days we have encountered in the whole trip.
The 64 miles from Plymouth, MA to Newport, RI should have been fairly easy. It looked like a long straight road with a wide shoulder, followed by a good stretch of bike path, and then a quick jaunt over the only bridge into and out of Newport that allows bikes.
Unfortunately, we did not bank on the fact that our long straight road was super busy and scary dangerous at the junctions. And apparently, cycling on it was prohibited… oops. We only found that out several miles into our ride, at which point we decided that we had better respect the rules of the road, and get the hell off! Problem was, we didn’t have a map: we are going off-piste for this last bit of our trip, skirting round the coast rather than following the ACA route inland. And, as you can imagine, the Gamines were a fat lot of use in such a crisis.
Still, with help from some wonderful people along the way today, we got here safely, and before dark… phew. A huge thanks to Louis, the owner of the Louco gas station in Middleboro, MA and Al, the owner of Middleboro Car Care next door. Al gave us some great directions to get us on our way, and Louis packed us off with some gratis bottle of Smart water. Then, when we had followed Al’s directions, we stopped Dave, who was out running in his lunch hour from the nearby Ocean Spray Corporate Headquarters, and asked him if he could direct us for the next few miles. Dave invited us into HQ and to the front desk, where Heather searched online for suitable directions for us all the way to THE bridge, and added to our liquid refreshment tally with a selection of yummy Ocean Spray Cranberry energy drinks – thanks you guys, you’re amazing.
After battling a fierce headwind, dodging drains and potholes in the road and trying to stay out of the way of the armies of cars and trucks gathering behind us during rush hour, we were relieved when the ride was over. Arriving in Newport, we were struck by all the beautiful buildings as we made our way to The Cleveland House Inn, our hotel in the centre of town. Jeff greeted us warmly, finding a safe place for Trusty & Steed to rest their weary heads overnight, and recommending a great place for two starving cyclists to eat (that’s us). The whole experience at The Moorings restaurant was superb, especially the food. We also had a good chat on our way out with Sean (bar manager, we think) who is planning to sail around the world with his wife – now that would be a real adventure! We wish them luck.
Finally, we want to mention Christina, the wonderful breakfast lady at the Best Western Cold Spring in Plymouth, whose daughter, Linda, is sadly suffering from MS. We were moved by Christina’s description of the challenges that Linda faces day in day out. When we hear stories like this, it makes a day like the day we had today not seem so tough after all.