Mystic to Block Island

Margot’s welcoming flower arrangement.

 

We stayed overnight in Mystic with Tim’s sister Margot,

and her husband Peter (and dog Champ) and daughter Mallory (not pictured).

We caught up on family news and talked about Peter’s business (Smith-McArdle) in Mystic.

Tim produced pictures of our visit to Larkin relatives in Ohio, so many years ago.

After an excellent breakfast, we hit the road again. . .

Only to stop two miles down the road for a pit stop. Tim decided we had let the tires go too long without a refill. More pressure means less pedal-pushing for greater speed. It also means bumps are harder but that’s the price you pay.

 

He also greased and cleaned the chain—which hadn’t broken in over three days. So far, so good. Take care of that drive train!

 

Back on the road again we passed through Westerly. On the east side of Westerly we started looking for “Sandy’s”—a recommended stop for good treats. Unfortunately our GPS decided we should take a more scenic route (which had been helpful along the way to keep us out of traffic) and by the time we realized what was happening and got back on Route 1 (forget scenic—we just want to get there) we found that we missed it.

Instead we stopped for Rhode Island style clam chowder (no tomato and no cream) and some fried scallops. It was an OK replacement for ice cream—really it was.

And at last we did what we had set out to do. We reached the ferry at Point Judith, in time for the 3:00 ferry to Block Island.

There is something about having worked so hard before arriving at our place of paradise that makes the whole experience that much better.

 

We have arrived safe and sound at the Schneider House and have had a pleasant visit with the owners, Sheila and Jack. We’re looking forward to two weeks walking, riding, reading, taking photographs, and visiting with Tim’s brother Andy and his wife Anneke, who are arriving for a short island visit. I’ll combine the days from time to time and keep you posted. I love to share the joys of Block Island.

Thanks for all your encouragement along the way!

 

Sheila’s roses. There are LOTS of roses in bloom right now on Block Island.

Old Saybrook to Mystic

Tim has been very good about sending blogs as we go. I kept up pretty well until we neared the shore. Must be the air, but I didn’t want to do much more than look at pictures and hit the sack each night. Now that we have reached Block Island and are happily enconced at the Schneider House, 554 Center Road, I’ll see if I can catch up.

Tim promised more about the missed ice cream opportunities between Old Saybrook and Mystic. This happened because we stayed overnight at the Comfort Inn, Old Saybrook. It was a wonderful place to stay, and I would stay there again EXCEPT we left too early to find any of the ice cream shops open. Since you haven’t been able to taste the ice cream anyway, you could still benefit from a photo survey of three ice cream shops between Old Saybrook and Mystic. There may be more of them, but these are the three we saw.

Here’s the first: Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe. A short detour out of our way, but a lovely ride. We learned about this ice cream (and tried some) at the Pilot House. We arrived around 10am.

Next, again too early, we visited Hallmark. We have tried their ice cream on other trips—wonderful!

We hadn’t heard about this one, but I’m sad to say, it too was closed. (Open means open for the season, not necessarily open now) We were hungry by this time, so we bought a snack at the convenience store next door.

Next the ride through New London. I love this ride. I think I have asked Tim to stop for this picture before, but oh well, I did it again. For our friend Christina.

Highlights of New London—at least from my point of view

Tim sitting by the Mystic River and composing a blog entry.

Highlights of Mystic

Another leg of our trip completed. We have arrived at Tim’s sister and brother-in-law’s house on Mason’s Island in Mystic. More in my next blog about our final ride to the ferry at Point Judith.

Cromwell to Old Saybrook

We left the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cromwell at about 10:00 this morning. I like the room, the food, the people, and the streets behind the hotel, but I don’t like the road we used to get there. There was so much traffic that we used the button at the crosswalk to get to the other side of the road. I have to thank the people who run the hotel for thinking about pedestrians. Now that I think of it, we might have worked our way past the back gate and found a quieter route. Another time.

 

As Tim has reported, it was a lovely day. The wind was behind us and there wasn’t a hint of rain. The pictures above show my impression of Middletown. Wide roads and interesting buildings. It’s fun to ride through town and I always enjoy it. We passed the bike shop this year—no need for repairs—at least that we know about.

Next (after stopping to make the post about the thin men of Haddam) we stopped (as reported) for ice cream. We often stop at the Pilot House, and we weren’t disappointed. Great ice cream!

After Joe invited us to dinner, Tim wanted to stop to buy a shirt. He left his only t-shirt in Norfolk (not on purpose of course) and the bike shirt wasn’t what he wanted to wear for dinner. We stopped in Deep River and I sat on a bench near the trike while Tim went shopping. Remember Tim’s discription of the young man who made an unfriendly gesture earlier today? I want you to know that 99.9% of the people we meet are just the opposite. Friendly and curious, with waves, beeps, and thumbs up. The pictures above show just one small episode in our daily life on the road. In the top picture Tim is returning to the trike with his new shirt. Note the two people walking behind him. In the bottom picture the man has stopped and started a conversation. He was interested in the tandem trike, and after seeing our Cornell flag related that he is in our class—the class of ’69. We didn’t know him, but enjoyed the short conversation. Travel in an unusual way and you get a chance to meet new people.

It’s possible that we could have kept going for a 50 or 60 mile ride today, but we’re glad we didn’t. It seems that the closer we get to the beach, the more we begin to feel like we are on vacation. 34 miles was perfect. We look forward to dinner with Joe and Jane tonight.

Old Saybrook

This turned out to be a fine day. It has been a testimony to the redemptive power of recreational drugs. It didn’t hurt that the wind was behind us, the skies were clear, and the air was warm, but not hot.

We usually take state Rt. 154 south of Middletown. The GPS suggested another route that looked like it avoided some hills (I’m not sure this was an accurate assessment on my part), at the cost of being a bit longer, but certainly avoiding traffic. The picture shows a sight that will bring tears of joy to any cyclist, a shady descent, where the highway engineers have not felled “those aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled, quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun”.

We rejoined 154 in time to find the Pilot House, where I took in some excellent Toasted Almond ice cream made by a creamery in Old Lyme.

I was not disappointed that the distance from Cromwell to Old Saybrook was 35 miles, not the 40 that Google had lead me to expect. Maybe we could have made it all the way to Mystic, but I am glad not to have put it to the test. As a bonus for not going to the limit (thus God rewards all slackers), we ended the day close enough to Clinton that we received an invitation from Joe for dinner and homemade lasagne.

Tomorrow we head for Mystic, which is either 20 or 40 miles, depending on whom you ask. The day after that we’ll arrive at Galilee, RI, where we get the ferry to Block Island.

Finally, as I promised, that jar.

How do I know that this is a picture of that jar? I read it on the Internet.

Rest Day in Cromwell

After I finished our quarter load of laundry I found a way to walk out of the Crowne Plaza Complex through the back parking lot. I made a collage of my discoveries: another cell tower, a mailbox to use as a hand background, and a wall along the edge of the parking garage for another hand shot.

After more rest and reading, we greeted Tim’s sister Margot, her husband Peter, their daughter Mallory, Tim’s brother Andy, and our friends Joe and Jane for dinner at the hotel. It was a pleasant get-together and a total change from pedaling our way through the countryside.

Tomorrow we plan to be back on the road.