Last weekend was a fabulous New England Weekend that almost makes up for the near continuous rain and cold weather for the past several weeks. After a full day of Daddy Day Care; Amy gave me a kitchen pass for Saturday. It was 8 PM Friday night so I needed a plan and route to practice and exercise my rally routine as much as possible.
Rallies usually have themes which make them a lot of fun to experience. I’ve had an idea for a RI only ride that hits every known State Park in a day, and not leave the borders of the state. I quickly came up with 250+ mile loop, which was not doable for a ‘quick’ ride. I cut it down and added some extra locations that would be difficult to document with a photo of my bike in front of a landmark.
9 AM Sunday morning I was on the road heading due south to Newport, RI, to grab my first set of ‘bonuses’ for the day. I really wasn’t in ‘rally mode’ so I elected a more scenic ride by heading south on East Main Rd on my way to the Mansions of Newport. It was a beautiful day, the the traffic was light, and the ride along the coast was refreshing with views of the bay. Newport is home to some of the oldest historic mansions from the Gilded Age. Most tourists usually want to see the Newport Mansion Tours and I have been subjected to them several times. Not that I don’t like the tours, but after going to them several times now I’m pretty much all set with that check box. I decided what I wanted to do was to get my bike in front of each mansion sign and take a quick photo, hop back on and hit the next one. There were four that I wanted to bag, The Elms, Chateau Sur Mer, Breakers, and The Mable House.
My bonus snagging routine was pretty rusty; I struggled to find the right sign and to get a picture that clearly showed the name and the bike. I realized, I was jumping off and on the bike a lot which forced me to unplug and plug in my helmet headset several times. That extra action was becoming a real pain. Looking back at the route now, I should have routed up the other side of the street so that all the locations were easily accessible by just pulling over real quick instead of having to cross traffic two times at every stop.
After futzing around with the mansions, it was time to get back to my primary objective. I continued to hug the coastline and enjoyed a great ride around Ocean Avenue on my way to Brenton Point State Park and then Fort Adams State Park. From Fort Adams I made my way through the narrow streets of Newport to cross the Clairborne Pell Bridge to Jamestown. Once again hugging the coastal route I made my way to Fort Wetherill State Park, which is right across Naragansett Bay from Fort Adams. I made my way along the southern end of Jamestown Island and got my first sample of dirt roads for the day. I continued onto the south west end of the island to Beavertail State Park and Lighthouse. After a beautiful view from the lighthouse I headed back north to cross the Jamestown Bridge to head down to Narragansett Bay. Although it was nice for New England, the temperatures were still a bit cool so beach traffic was very light in this well known area.
It was approaching noon by the time I arrived at the end and I had already decided that a trip to Narragansett required a stop for a lunch at Iggy’s Doughboy famous for their Chowder, Clam Cakes, and of course sugar loaded Doughboys. I sat outside in full gear and enjoyed several fresh hot Clam Cakes; surprisingly I was the only one eating outside! After a great lunch stop, I grabbed Fishermen’s Memorial State Park.
Back on the road I headed toward US 1 and continued south to Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. This turned out to be a pretty neat area with very little people and some nice facilities to come back to with the family for a day to explore on foot. Back to US1 again for Burlingame State Park, for a fun road with some interesting scenery as I worked my way around the park’s border.
I rode some great riding fun on 2 lane roads all the way to Arcadia Management Area, and purposely planned for some dirt roads to cross this area. Riding the Wing in the dirt has never been especially fun for me, mostly I think it is in my head so I figured I need to practice more and get more comfortable with the bike. I crossed over using Bald Hill Road which isn’t too bad but with the recent rain did have some wide ‘ditches’ across the road. There was also a mix of hard pack, sand, lose rock and larger marble rock. From now on I’m going to try and hit some dirt roads every time I take a short day ride to keep practicing and getting comfortable.
After the dirt road adventure, I continued onto Beach Pond State Park, which brought within a lake crossing of CT. With a time check I realized that I needed to cut the northern RI Parks out to make a decent estimated arrival time at back in Bristol.
Sticking with my goal to stay in RI, I plotted my next stop for Squantium Woods State Park. This turned out to be a bust as I was at the GPS location, there were woods on my right but I never found the Blue State Park Sign. I pressed on and headed for Haines Memorial State Park next and after some horrible stop and go traffic I arrived and got my photo. Unfortunately it was now pushing 3 PM and traffic in Barrington was just creeping along at a snails pace. I finished up at 3:30 PM pulling in my garage, 171 mile all RI, not made for a day ride.