Hank – We spent the last two days in Ipswich, MA at Bill and Laurel Walsh’s house. Bill and our friend Keith have been friends since their days in the Air Force back in the 1970’s. Bill and Laurel are kind, generous, self-effacing, and simply wonderful. Their dog, Ava, is a sweetheart and admittedly spoiled. Ava has a wound on a back paw and has to have it soaked a couple times a day. She doesn’t enjoy it but she patiently sits through it. Laurel and Bill board horses, raise sheep and chickens, and have a turtle running around the house. Bill is a deputy fire chief and has a construction business. He’s plenty busy and that’s the way he loves it. On top of that he also an excellent cook and treated us to some excellent meals during our stay.
We said goodbye to Laurel, Bill, and Ava and Barb and Keith drove us to Northborough, Massachusetts. We decided to started there because we’re behind schedule now and we’d like to head south before it gets too cold. We got to Northborough just in time for the steady rain to begin and had breakfast together. Then we threw the panniers onto the bikes and rode off while Barb and Keith headed home. It was sad to see them go but we were also happy to resume our adventure.
Today’s destination was Woonsocket, RI. We were guessing we’d travel 35 miles from Northborough. The idea was to begin with a short day since we haven’t been on the bikes for a month. It took 10 miles for my backside to begin complaining about being on the saddle. I made sure to get it off for the downhill coasts. The steady rain wasn’t that bad but it got worse. As it got heavier we had more puddles to deal with. Sometimes we got our feet wet with our tires. Sometimes we were splashed by the cars. Sometimes the rivulets on the side of the road seemed to go on forever. We followed the Adventure Cycling route until just before Uxbridge. Then we decided to take state highway 122. We had fairly good shoulder the entire way. Sometimes a driver would hit the horn when the space got tight but that meant they could see us and were probably venting. At least I hope so.
A fellow named Chip stopped to check on us. He has done some touring and wanted to make sure we were not in need of anything. Outside of a dry ride to Woonsocket we were doing good. We chatted for a minute and thanked him. A few miles later we stopped at a gas station near Uxbridge where we had a snack and a hot tea. During our stay an elderly gentleman named Lou chatted with us. He was telling us how he had recently broken his arm and now he was forced to run around with his shirt open because he couldn’t button it up. So I fixed that for him and he was happy.
We eventually reached Blackstone, MA and crossed the state line into Woonsocket. That makes states number 19 and 20 for the trip. Woonsocket was a lot bigger than I thought it was. Between traffic and distance it took us a while for finally get to our hotel. We checked in, showered, and emptied our panniers to make sure everything dries out before starting out tomorrow.
Kathy – Well, we did not plan on taking a month off from riding when we originally rode to Maine, but the break was filled with so many wonderful memories with family and friends that it was so worth it. We will be posting about our time off the bikes too. As far as today, it was SO good to be back in the saddle! We left from Northborough, Massachusetts after leaving Bill & Laurel’s beautiful home and saying goodbye to Barb & Keith also. The two couples are simply amazing and it was such a joy to spend time with them. Barb and Keith have the Maine flowers seeds and will plant them in their yard in the springtime. Bill and Laurel have the Massachusetts’s flowers and will plant them in their yard also in the springtime. Sweet Laurel gave me some seeds from flowers in her yard which I look forward to planting in my yard in the future.
The forecast today predicted rain all day with frequent periods of one inch of rain per hour. I can attest that they were correct. The 37-mile ride felt really good with our temps in the low 60’s. The rain kept us cool on the inclines. I didn’t mind the rain one bit today. I actually enjoyed it. Yes, often the rain stung my face, my bike shoes completely filled up with water while going through deep puddles (couldn’t avoid it with traffic), the cars and trucks sprayed us often as they passed by, I had to wring the water out of my gloves on multiple occasions, and I was soaked to the core but it was so great to be back on the bike! Mind you, I did take a long hot shower once we arrived at the hotel to warm up. Still waiting for my fingers wrinkles (from being so wet – pruning) to clear up hour after being in the room. All is good. As we start up again, it was a great ride!