Block Island Whooped Me!

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Essex Sportmans Parking Lot

Flag of United States  , Rhode Island
Saturday, July 31, 2010

After a rough night in the Aztek, with the 4:00 am sprinklers waking me up, then drinking coffee at Starbucks and having uploading problems, I scrambled to get to the Block Island ferry from Newport, RI. 

Having my mountain bike mounted on the back that easily pops off and I am riding is such a cool thing.  Why haven't I done this more often?  No need to park close to anything.  In a couple minutes one can be almost anywhere without the hassle, plus you are experiencing the little nuances of the places you are in.

There was a line of about 40 people loading up for the 1 hour 45 minute boat ride.  Half had bikes and the other half were gonna just enjoy the town.  Met some nice people along the way including a healthy 84 year old lady with her grandson and great grand daughter.  They were so warm and friendly and we talked about family and philosophy for most of the trip while watching the 8 year old girl run and play.

The town was filled with sailboats and historic looking hotels, restaurants and a bit touristy.  I grabbed my bike and bought an Island map for $1.00 and a $2.50 water. I was off. 

The Island ride appeared to be about 15 miles along the beach.  Heading north I passed soft sand beaches and tranquil ocean waters on my left  with inland lakes and grassy fields and native plant life on my right.  The small hills were somewhat challenging but I got the hang of it after a few minutes.  

Coming down a nice hill, feeling the cool 75 degree air blowing past me I could see the lighthouse in the distance. Getting a little hungry, a small stand, like a desert oasis appeared with a table full of honey. I stopped and talked with a mother and son who had a bee farm on the Island and were selling a variety of tasty jars of this treat.  I sampled a few and just had to buy the honey mustard concoction that had big zesty mustard seeds in it along with tarragon.  It fit perfectly in my water holding spot on my bicycle.  I took a quick video and was on my way.

The Beach by the north lighthouse was a sprawling horseshoe shape with unique rock formations.  A man was balancing one round rock on the tips of other rocks, creating a surreal beach landscape.

Couldn't ride to the lighthouse so I left my bike by a lady that was selling hot dogs and drinks.  Took off on a mile run along the soft sand beach and made it to the desolate beach by the abandoned but historic house with a light.  It was great.  The seagulls here are huge and not afraid of humans.  Snapped a few photos and headed back.

Offered up my new honey mustard to a few people buying hot dogs and they loved it.  One guy was so thankful he bought me a Red Bull in return.  I would need it.

The ride back took me through the center of the Island and was a constant up and down challenge.  I stopped at a trail and walked to a fresh water lake loaded with blackberries.  I ate my fill and continued on the bike.  Following the map, the sites of the tranquil ocean on my right and the sprawling green fields on my left kept me going.  Agghh, my legs and lungs burned.  I pushed forward, being encouraged by the locals who knew what I was going through. 

"KEEP GOING, GOOD JOB, DON'T STOP," they yelled

Thankfully it was cool. If it was in the 90's I don't know if I would have made it.  Up, Up, Up.  The last few miles took me to the island's highest part, at least several hundred feet of elevation.  The pay off was worth it.  One glorious mile of Down, Down, Down. 

I was completely exhausted.  Exhausted like I haven't been since climbing Mount Katadin in Maine's Baxter State Park with no supplies, the rangers looking for us as the sun set. 

I layed on a bench in the shade, guzzling water and sipping from my jar of honey mustard.  

The boat ride back seemed three times as long.  A nice hotel room would be nice, but it was Friday night in Newport, with a Folk Festival for the weekend.  Everything was sold out and the traffic was murder getting out.  I munched a protein, granola bar and headed towards Gloucester.  

Riding through Boston, I promised myself a hotel for the night.  I used my I Phone 4 to check on rooms and rates.  The cheep ones were sold out and even the Super 8 was charging $100.00 a night.  

I think I am losing my gut.

I pulled into Gloucester, with a full tank of gas; but I was running on fumes.  The place looked like a thousand Jersey Shore kids were running around getting hammered.  I retreated to a town called Essex, that I passed on the way in.  I found a small parking lot with a few cars and it was quiet.  I parked, crawled in the back and drifted off into a cool, deep sleep. 
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