Reunion – Shifting Pt. 02

July 24 – continued

It’s Monday mid-afternoon, and I’ve just come to terms with the fact that the rain will not be letting up anytime soon. No biking for today. Having a day off after three straight days of adventures is a little disappointing, but I’m sitting in my second floor motel room with an ocean view, my door is wide open, and I am listening to the waves crash while hearing kids laugh in the pool below. Wet is wet for them, certainly makes no difference in the pool, plus it’s heated. The dreary steady rain heard dripping on the eaves just outside sounds like a fusion jazz tune. These sounds all together are my current playlist. I just got back from walking two streets down with umbrella in hand to a food market. I was glad to find they sold alcohol. Wine, not for me on this trip, beer, yes. I pick out four single one-pint cans with beach themed labels that if I were back in Michigan, I probably would not find. If I can’t have my sunshine outside, I will find it in a can of beer, no doubt with names like Shock Top and Big Cranky. This outing is about finding lunch that may just turn in to dinner tonight, so I also buy a Chobani strawberry yogurt, something called a Roltini (mozzarella stick wrapped in pepperoni), a box of Pepperidge Farm crackers, two large waters, and a Kind breakfast bar. 

The lineup.

Cracked open Landshark Island Style Lager in hand and crackers at the ready, I’m back on on my bike in my mind, writing about my journey to Watch Hill yesterday. Once the decision was made to continue past E Beach Road cycling on Post Road heading west, I felt better about not having both shoes clipped in. When something isn’t able to be solved at a certain time in my life or even a given day, I find it’s the little choices made at the moment that give me the biggest boosts of confidence and help me to keep on with the larger picture. Remember, I’m not a patient person. Traffic is fairly light, the bike lane is generous, and with skies overcast but bright, things are looking good for this ride. Clips be damned. After one stop at the intersection where Post Road now becomes Shore Road, I’m feeling “golden” pedaling through bearing left on to this road. ‘Golden’ to me means I’m going to follow along on Shore Road for a bit and I don’t need to think about a turn coming up, and especially no need to double-check my direction. I’m able to work on my speed, albeit with only my left shoe clipped in.

From Shore Road then left onto Watch Hill Road, the course did not disappoint. I love quaint Cape Cod-style architecture and there was plenty to admire along the route. When I downsize, if I don’t choose a condo, this is my future comfort-zone kind of house. I’m also picking up on a distinctive near-requirement level appearance of tall green hedges lining streets and properties and overflowing blue hydrangeas in peak-bloom marking driveways. Once I traversed to the peak of Watch Hill with its historic-looking large cottage inns lovingly cared for, I’m not sure where exactly to go from here. It’s those hedges in my way. I honestly did not research this area other than wanting to go all the way to the west-most tip of Rhode Island and to be as close to, if not in fact, in the water of Block Island Sound. I decide to a talk to one of the polo white-shirt-wearing security men in smart khaki-colored Panama-style shorts now seen at various points along my route. I ask him how to get to the water. He explained to just keep riding straight all the way to the bottom of the hill. “The lighthouse will be after the two pillars,” he says while gesturing with his arms in an ‘it’s good’ field goal formation. We smile at each other warmly, and he kind of looks at me with a “you have no idea what you’re getting into” smirk, mirrored sunglasses and all. Thank you for that information, smirk duly noted.

Top of Watch Hill.

I get my bike situated to start down the hill, and as I look ahead, I realize it’s like West Rock Ridge Park all over again: finding the lookout spot, and how emotion overtook me. I don’t want that to happen again. I don’t know what I’m going to find when I ride down this hill to the water, but I need to brace myself to deal with my being alone while doing it. I imagine myself just standing there, wherever I will be in the next ten minutes, and finding comfort somehow in just enjoying the moment, the present. I don’t want to think about what’s missing, just what’s here: me. Hopefully, it’s just not that impressive and I can avoid the potential grief wave entirely. Once at the bottom, a beach area is to the left, and people milling about are to the right. There are food and clothing shops with azure blue canvas awnings lining the street. Also, in the street is a steady steam of cars bumper to bumper and the sidewalks have people in pairs and groups all looking like they’re doing something important. I overhear a woman’s intense conversation retelling about her friend’s reaction to someone showing up uninvited at some gathering. I ride through this scene unrestricted, and resolve to get some food because I don’t see the lighthouse or the field goal pillars. 

Rhode Island style “natural broth ” clam chowder.

The root beer float cupcake.

I will avoid fried food and too-large plated servings of steaming whatever 99.0% of the time. Today was no exception. I found the Bay Street Deli to have exactly my kind of fare: sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts. I zero-in on the clam chowder, and I decided to go for the Rhode Island ‘natural broth’ verses the New England ‘cream style’ – after all, I am in Rhode Island and I want to enjoy the preferred local favorites! Dessert is also purchased: a never-seen-before root beer float cupcake topped with a straw and a Maraschino cherry and a warm chocolate chip cookie. A Nantucket Nectar drink will work too, plus bottled water. I settle in to my lunchtime meal, sitting at a cafe table on the sidewalk. I can see where I’ve locked my bike about 15 feet away, it’s attached to a street sign pole in between one regular and one recycling garbage can. I’m smiling at the thought that no one would want to get too close to take my bike from there anyway, even if it wasn’t locked, the stench is too bad there to get too close. I continued eating, writing, listening… and wondering where that lighthouse is already?!

Looking for an outlet to charge my phone while on a bike ride is like being a pregnant woman always needing to know where the bathrooms are located. I made this realization after finishing lunch and getting ready to attempt to find the lighthouse. Since I’m using Strava, I want to make sure my phone doesn’t die en route and my ride becomes a fish story with a lost ending. I speak from experience. The beach house office worker was kind enough to let me plug in there, and I used the waiting time to sit and let my food digest and observe the carousel. The last time I saw a working carousel complete with organ music was at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum over 12 years ago. This one wasn’t nearly as large, but it set the mood for the little ones and people were doing their photo ops. 

Phone topped with an adequate charge, I ride up the hill in first gear now leaving the beach area behind, hoping to find one of those security people to ask about the lighthouse. I didn’t even think to ask the beach office group. I came to a ‘T’ intersection just past the hill’s crest, and a heavily-mustached man in the standard security outfit stood-out there. He reminded me of a walrus. He said the lighthouse was at the end of the road behind him, and as he’s saying this, I see the stacked stone pillars on either side of him and this high-hedged lined street. [Reunion – Shifting Pt. 03 will follow soon, continuing this adventure.] ~Paula

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