Day 12 Pawtucket, RI to Putnam. CT 61 miles 2,165 feet
Water, Water, Everywhere. As a California boy for more than 20 years, I’m astonished by the abundance of water I have seen, both from the sky, but more importantly, on the ground. Most of California’s lakes and rivers are manmade and many are actually lined with concrete like huge swimming pools. In Southern California, “rivers” are dry for most of the year and only serve as conduits to funnel winter rains out to sea. Just remember the famous drag race scene in Grease, it took place on one of those dry, concrete, “river” beds. For the last several days we have ridden past countless ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams. On reflection it is easy to understand why the early settlers chose to pitch tents along the abundant waterways. Flowing water was literally their life blood. It provided water for drinking as well as irrigating their crops. I’m sure in the early days, before the industrial revolution, the rivers and streams were teaming with fish to eat. Lastly, it provided a reliable means of transportation before the countryside was covered with a patchwork of roads. Once settlers learned to harness the power of flowing water, mills of all sorts sprung up along the waterways, defining the predominant industries in the region and heralding the start of the industrial revolution.
I headed out to ride just after 9 and for the first time in several days it was sunny, but there was a cool brisk breeze commensurate with the coming Autumnal Equinox. I rode past the Swan Point Cemetery, set behind massive stone walls and several grand homes on the way down to the banks of the Seekonk River. Even at the early hour, with chill still in the air, I encountered scores of runners, with and without dogs, enjoying the last Sunday of summer. I crossed the the Providence River on the Michael S. Van Lessten Memorial Bridge and rode through downtown Providence which was just waking up and filled mostly with college students. The West End of Providence reminded me of the NOPA section of San Francisco, with its active street cafes, tree lined parks, and even Victorians that rivaled the famed Painted Lady’s. I wished I could have spent the day to explore the city but alas, I still have 2,400 miles to pedal to my ultimate destination and will have to add Providence to my list of cities to visit in the future.
A bit over 10 miles from my hotel I entered the Washington Secondary Rail Trail which I would ride for the next 20 miles. The trail ran alongside the Pawtuxet River, which I crossed several times. I passed many recommissioned old mills and their adjacent water falls as well as lakes large enough for waterskiing and even rode through some dense forests.
Once back on the streets I headed for the Connecticut border which I crossed in Sterling. I stopped for a quick sandwich in Moosup then entered the Quinebaug River Trail in Brooklyn followed by a final 10 miles or so on surface streets till my hotel in Putnam, passing the FritoLay factory just before my hotel. I arrived too early to checkin so I rode a mile or so to downtown Putnam where and old train station and even a Montgomery Ward had been transformed into vibrant bistros. In the evening we returned for an enjoyable dinner at The Hare & The Hound, 58 Main Street, Putnam
Four states down, 11 more to go.
Miles 647 Feet Climbed 27,501
States Visited Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island
For more details on my route, see my Strava link