Day 5: Milton, MA to Rocky Neck State Park in CT – 110 miles

Tonight I write from Rocky Neck State Park where I am stealth camping on the porch of one of the park’s log cabins. Apparently all camping ended in August so I have a huge Campground and not-so-huge cabin porch all to myself. When I rode past the “Campground closed” sign, I immediately headed out to the beach pavilion for shower facilities, etc. This is the first beach I have ever seen where you have to cross under commuter rail tracks to get to the beach. Super weird beach experience. Even weirder when a train goes by every 30 minutes or so.  I stealth showered in their indoor beach shower space which was also weird but felt good all the same because today was a long, long day. 

When I made the decision to make this trip I wanted to avoid day’s where your primary goal is to put miles behind you. I failed on that today. With only  two 45 minute stops for meals and a few other nature breaks, I think I spent over nine hours riding. The miles were the toughest of my trip. Who knew Rhode Island was so hilly?!?  Not me.  On the bright side it was a three state day (MA, RI, CT) and there was Patriot fandom everywhere since they open the NFL season tonight in Foxboro (sp?), which made me think of Will a lot. 

I pushed out of a damp and rainy Milton, MA at 7am, my earliest departure yet and followed small town roads as parents waited with their kids at the bus stops along my route. Temperatures were the coolest of my trip at 60 when I started. It became apparent that unless the weather pattern shifted, I’d be riding in a headwind most of the day. This means I ride 2-3 MPH slower than when the wind is low and not in my face. That said, I got to Providence earlier than I expected which threw off my plan to reach out to a former co-worker who lives in Seekonk (fun to say that with your nose plugged). Plus I was headed west side of Providence and she was southeast side. Bummer. 

I also experienced my first rough part of town of my trip. Leaving Providence, let’s just say I witnessed several illegal occupations. Also, let’s pay no mind that I didn’t stand out at all in cycling gear. Blended right in. But, the reason the route went there was to put me and my bike on a super beautiful, pedestrian-only Greenway for 12 miles!  So good. So peaceful. Cars can be noisy. Where are you on something like this Charlotte?  It’s a total game-changer. 

After passing a Subway and thinking, “I bet there’s something better coming up around the bend,” there wasn’t for 14 more miles. And guess what it was? A Subway! Nice one higher power. Nice one. So, respecting the irony, I ate there.  

Last route note. I crossed the Thames River riding into New London, CT today on a sidewalk on I-95. It was higher up than the Cooper River Bridge. I was death grip-focused. Possibly the scariest 6 minutes on a bike I’ve ever had. Just after that I rode with a bike commuter who travels that bridge on his bike back and forth to work and he says it never gets comfortable. 

Someone on social media asked me what gear I packed.  So I’ll go there. It should be noted that my good friend Tom has a spreadsheet with crazy details for a bike trip that I leveraged heavily in my packing. 

Left Rear Pannier (bike bag): 

  • Clothes (2 cycling socks, 1 evening sock, 1 spare cycling jersey, 1 long sleeved thermal shirt, 1 super light wicking long sleeve shirt, arm warmers, tights, riding vest, rain jacket, evening shirt, lightweight running shoes)
  • Bike cable and lock
  • Bike repair kit
  • Garbage bag (to cover bike handlebars at night)
  • Plastic ground cloth for my tent. 

Right Rear Pannier:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • First aid kit/toiletries
  • Food (mostly non-perishable snacks)

Front Handlebar Bag:

  • Pullover shorts for stops
  • Snacks
  • Chain lubricant
  • Sunscreen
  • Random junkbag with phone chargers, money/credit card in binder clip, pen/paper, portable charger, etc. 

What did I love today: Waking up dry knowing it rained overnight. Thanks again Nash family. 

Oddity: Toss up: Deserted Rocky Neck SP or Crispy Taco flavored Lays. Why the descriptor? just Taco Lays would have gotten the job done. That’s a focus group gone bad. 

Zen moment: Waiting for the drawbridge near sunset in Niantic or that Washington Greenway trail. Pretty snappy hour of riding.  

Not-so-zen moment: Southwest Rhode Island bonk. 

Who did I meet: Mike in Subway. He barrels through the door yelling “where you headed? Whatcha riding? Where’d ya come from today?  I rode the RAM three times. Ya know the RAM, dontcha?” I answered none of those questions but did manage to have a nice chat about the Patriots. Also, bike commuter guy in New London. 4-day a week 2-way commuter year-round. Tough as nails. 

Food I ate: Two bars drenched in peanut butter, Dunkin Donuts (in Newton, MA) DOUBLE egg and cheese everything bagel with mustard, pumpkin cake donut, large coffee, That’s It bar on the bike, Subway hot tuna sub with DOUBLE (see a theme here?) cheese, Crispy Taco Lays (who knew?), fig bars in peanut butter, cashews, Gatorade. 

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