Randy gets the credit for today’s ride. That’s because we doubled back to Rhode Island so he could say he’d been to the state, and ridden in the state.
We drove to an automotive rest stop off of Hwy 295 that also served as a trailhead for the Blackstone River Greenway. The Blackstone River used to fish for salmon and it was used as a major transportation artery for raw materials and finished product alike. The river ran on one side and a tow canal on the other for close to 4 miles. We took that path all the way to Providence where we switched trails and continued south on the East Bay Bike Path. Both paths were excellent — freshly paved, wide with a center line painted down the middle and well marked. I was shocked when we came upon an East Coast Greenway marker!!! We had not realized that we were anywhere near the ECG route!
In addition to the trails, I enjoyed riding the quiet streets through the small towns and past what seemed like working folks homes. There was a wall made of very large field rock — not the kind of rock wall I’m used to seeing in New England but stunning. There was a stretch along Blackstone Blvd and there was a walking path running down the wide grassed median. Being Sunday there were lots and lots of people out doing every manner of exercise. So good to see!
Farther down along the river was an abandoned railroad bridge — with one section sticking straight up into the air. And there was the Naragansett Boat Club. I spotted numerous boats in the yard and two singles rowing on the water as we rode south and a double was out when we rode back north a while later.
The East Bay Bike Path took us along old railroad tracks that were still partially visible. In the bay was a lighthouse and a few ships — large and small. Our southern most point was, not surprisingly, a coffee shop. Leo picked up a bag of fresh roasted beans and Randy and Beth got drinks and a snack.
Then we headed back towards Buster. It was really ‘warm’ today (90F) and it felt better to be riding along than standing still. I welcomed the light headwind we had on the return trip and the stop we made at a gas station so I could get a Gatorade. Randy and Leo took that opportunity to grab another homemade ice cream cone.
We made a stop at the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park where we got to see a water wheel being used to drive a piston. Ranger Andrew spent about 20 minutes with us sharing information about the historical significance of the Slater Mill. Slater Mill was the first water powered textile mill in America. Its success upset those back in England who felt their own cotton market being threatened. It also created a large demand for labor thus fueling the slave trade. I had no idea that New England was so central to the slave trade — but apparently it was!
And, to end the day on a perfect note — we found a SuperCuts hair salon and Randy and I both got our hair cut. Anyone who knows me well understands how happy I am now!
Another great day in paradise!