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Thread: Block Island

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    13,141

    Block Island

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    This was just a little adventure in the total scheme of things...
    We headed for the ferry from Pt. Judith, RI Thursday AM and got on the 12:30 high speed ferry, after a 90 minute drive. The weather predictions ranged from so-so to terrible, so we went with no expectations, our Jamis Codas, and all of our rain gear. But, it was just cloudy when we arrived; walked the few steps to our B and B from the dock and set out to eat lunch. Thanks to Indigoiis, we had plenty of suggestions! Then, seeing no rain coming, we changed into casual riding clothes and set out to see the southern end of the island. My DH did not bring his cycling shoes, and it was fun watching him ride with hiking shoes, something I can barely achieve anymore. We rode up to the Southeast lighthouse, walked around, and then down the road to the nature trail, which is really a very steep set of steps down to the ocean. There was a huge warning sign that this was strenuous exercise! I must say, though, that walking up, combined with riding the bike with spd pedals (no float) was making my knees a little cranky, too. Well, we rode a bit more and returned to the inn, with a whopping 6 miles since we didn't want to miss the wine and cheese. But, it was hilly! I always think islands will be flat. We had a good dinner that night and went to bed, awakened by thunderstorms Friday AM. So, we shopped a bit, ate breakfast (the B and B had a crappy continental breakfast), and then decided to head out to the other end of the island. As soon as we left, it started raining. Put the rain jacket on and got out to the Northeast lighthouse. Beautiful scenery and hardly any cars. Then it started raining harder, so we got the rain pants on, and helmet covers.... as soon as we had ridden a mile or so, it lightened up . It was getting hot, but we made it to New Harbor and had a nice lunch at the Oar, where we changed out of the rain gear. After lunch, we rode the rest of the perimeter of the island. It got very foggy and cool for awhile, but I must say my Ibex short sleeved T shirt was great. Again, it was hilly, with many rollers. We got back to the inn with a total of 15.5 miles, although it seemed more like 30 on those bikes!
    We didn't know there was a promotional event for the weekend, where all of the shops and restaurants were giving discounts if you bought a button.... on Friday the tourists started arriving and the sun did come out by 5 PM. We walked to dinner, but got lost, and I ended up getting blisters on both feet from new shoes; the dinner was worth it, though, ribs and beer!
    Yesterday we got up early, to ride the 1.5 miles to the airport cafe for breakfast. I had a flat on the way and of course, we had taken the panniers off with the tools, etc, so Steve rode back, got them and then it took awhile to change the tube. Breakfast was worth it, though. After we packed up, we sat outside on the porch and watched the people. Oh my, we saw some cycling things that would make you cringe. And we also saw a woman renting a moped (when we were riding back from breakfast) who crashed through a fence when getting a lesson. Apparently we were the only ones who wore helmets, except for the police, although yesterday I saw a few more people wearing them. People were walking their bikes up teeny little rises because they didn't know how to use their gears, riding while carrying cases of beer, wearing flip flops, going the wrong way around a rotary, etc. I had to look away at one point.
    I actually got a little sunburn on the ferry on the way back. We ate a nice seafood lunch in Pt. Judith before heading home (fried scallop roll, something I allow myself once a summer) and got back around 4.
    Was supposed to do a 50 mile charity ride today, but it's cold and rainy, so we bagged it. Going to have a sangria party with our cycling friends tonight.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Folsom CA
    Posts
    5,672
    Oooh, Block Island, memories ...

    Back in my graduate school days in Waltham MA (a burb just west of Boston), one housemate, Debbie, was a commercial pilot getting her BA and trying to get a job with a major airline. She put herself through school by teaching flying. Another one of my housemates was training for his private pilot's license with her. I couldn't afford Debbie (and had no real interest in learning to be a pilot) but I was a GREAT sandbag, so I got to ride in the back of the Cessna a lot. (When someone is doing touch & go's, after the first five or so they get really old ... )

    Anyhow, one summer Deb had a job with a tiny regional airline that ferried folks around the islands, and she was based at a small airport at the bottom of RI (Westerly, RI). Many Friday afternoons I would jump in my beater car and drive a couple of hours to stay the weekend with Deb at the tiny apartment she was renting for the summer in Westerly.

    On Saturday morning I would help pack up a delivery flight to Block Island and then bum a seat on the flight over to BI and help unload the plane (these were generally single engine commercial planes so there wasn't all that much cargo).

    Then I'd have all day to spend on BI. I would rent a bike and ride around the island and hang out on the beach. At the end of the day I'd bum a seat on one of Deb's or a co-workers flights back to the airport in Westerly, stay the night at Debs place and then head back up to Waltham. Not a bad life.

    I went to a scientific conference the end of that summer (a Gordon conference if anyone is familiar with those) and a group photo was taken of the attendees. Mind you, this was about 25 years ago back in the days of black & white film photography. My tan was so intense from all that time hanging out on the beach on BI that summer that in the photo I was a few shades darker than the rather dark-skinned woman from India standing next to me.

    Yikes, thanks for stirring up that old memory!

    2009 Lynskey R230 Houseblend - Brooks Team Pro
    2007 Rivendell Bleriot - Rivet Pearl

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Folsom CA
    Posts
    5,672
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    After we packed up, we sat outside on the porch and watched the people. Oh my, we saw some cycling things that would make you cringe. And we also saw a woman renting a moped (when we were riding back from breakfast) who crashed through a fence when getting a lesson.
    Heh heh, waay back in my days on BI, mopeds were a big problem. I imagine they're a bit more regulated nowadays -- at least they're getting lessons now.

    2009 Lynskey R230 Houseblend - Brooks Team Pro
    2007 Rivendell Bleriot - Rivet Pearl

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,141
    Jobob, did you go to Brandeis? Or Bently?
    That sounds like a lovely way for a grad student to spend a summer!
    And I know what you mean by the touch and goes... my first husband was a pilot and i spent endless hours in planes with him, doing that. Of course now, I would never even get in one of those planes!
    It did appear that the mopeds were fairly well regulated; I even saw a policeman stop someone and make him put his helmet on. But, I did notice this phenomena where the men (both on mopeds and bikes) did not wear helmets, but the women did. Like wearing a helmet is just not macho. I was definitely in my old lady former school teacher mode when I told a teenaged boy I had seen riding around all morning with his helmet on, but not buckled, to buckle it!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Folsom CA
    Posts
    5,672
    Brandeis.

    I didn't wear a helmet back then, either. I was just cruising around the island on a bicycle and I didn't know any better. It took me the good part of a day to get around it and I wasn't at all inclined to exert myself so I couldn't have been going very fast.

    2009 Lynskey R230 Houseblend - Brooks Team Pro
    2007 Rivendell Bleriot - Rivet Pearl

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    MD suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,832
    Crankin, you bring back fond memories for me also. Your weekend sounds like fun.

    20+ years ago, when I lived in Massachusetts (Plainville and Arlington), the guy I was going out with and I would take day trips to Block Island. I don't recall that we rode bikes, but somehow we got out to the bluffs. I've often thought about driving up with my bike and spending a weekend there now to see if it's as beautiful as I remember.

 

 

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