Day 11: Marlborough to Pawtucket 66 miles 2,628 feet
I awoke early this morning to a dense fog that was not supposed to lift till after 8 AM. When I ventured outside to drop my luggage in the van the visibility was a quarter mile at best. Additionally I experienced what San Franciscans call “heavy fog” and everyone else just calls drizzle. I decided to postpone my departure till 10 while the front moved through. By the time I was rolling the sky was still cloudy and the roads were moist but the heavy fog had dissipated. After leaving the industrial area near our hotel I rode through Berlin, one of many pre-Revolutionary War towns I would roll through today. It contained many working farms , forested areas displaying some early fall colors, equestrian facilities, and riding stables for those so inclined. I saw a mixture of old farm houses dating back to the 17 century as well as suburban subdivisions probably built within the last 50 years. I even noticed an ultra modern glass contemporary that would have looked more appropriate along the Malibu coast. At one of the old farm houses a women was using a rug beater to clean a rug on her side porch. I suspect the beater and the knowledge to use it had been handed down over many generations.
In Boylston I stopped briefly to visit the Sawyer Memorial Library and a bit longer to watch the Lions, a local junior high school team, play football, they were adorable.
I entered Worcester from the east along Lake Avenue on the shores of Lake Quinsigamond. I passed right by the University of Massachusetts Medical School and could see massive lake front homes on the opposite shore of the lake.
A quick right turn took us into Worcester but we skirted the city center and road around the rail yards through a fairly decrepit neighborhood that contained auto shops and several “Gentlemen’s” Clubs. The drivers were amongst the most aggressive I have encountered to date, most refused to move over to allow and ambulance, with lights and sirens blairing, to pass. I found the drivers of commercial trucks to be more polite than most private cars but the yahoo’s in pickup trucks were downright obnoxious, frequently passing close enough to brush you with their side view mirrors as they sped along totally oblivious to the speed limit. I was thrilled when I exited the city streets onto the Blackstone River Bikeway which paralleled the river and would be our primary route south for the remainder of the day with a few ventures back onto the streets. The river was fairly rapidly moving but still appeared putrid with a waste water smell, I was surprised to notice ducks swimming and herons feeding from the river.
We exited the trail in Millbury, a charming bedroom community and rode on through Northbridge and Uxbridge, both pre-Revolutionary War towns. As I rolled past the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park I heard the unmistakable sound of a drumming party. Many years ago my friend David would drag me to late night drumming parties at a variety of beaches in the Hamptons. I would usually pass out on the sand by 10 or 11 as he was just getting into the drumming while dancing and twirling fire sticks. Somewhere between 1 and 2 AM he would wake me and drive us home. I rode my bike several hundred yards over grass to the tents where the party was going on. There must have been about a dozen drummers and an audience of 50. I lingered for a bit as it brought back fond memories.
As I entered Mendon, another pre-Revolutionary War town, I came across what I thought was a dying pastime, Polka Dancing.
I crossed into Rhode Island in the town of Woonsocket and immediately began to search for food and water. Over the proceeding 50 miles I had ridden on just 2 bottles of water and a couple of peanut butter bars so I was not all that particular. I came across the “World Famous New York Lunch” at 8 Main Street. Nathan’s they were not, but the hot dogs were quick, inexpensive, 3 wieners plus fries plus a lemonade for $8.95, edible, on my route, and thankfully, the sun finally came out as I wolfed them down.
After lunch I hopped onto the Blackstone River Bikeway which I would ride till the end of the day, except for a small detour through Little Columbia to grab a Wendy’s burger as there was no food near our hotel. Along the Bikeway I rode over several bridges back and forth over the river as I rolled past several waterfalls and an ancient steam plant. For dinner we drove to Providence where we dined on very fine Peruvian and Argentina food at Los Andes Restaurant, 903 Chalkstone Ave.
Three states down, 12 more to go
Miles 586 Feet Climbed 25,336 States Visited 3
For more details on my route, see my Strava link