The frustration with the amount of time it took to walk through Connecticut gave way to a bit of elation when I crossed into Rhode Island.
Even with my heavy pack, I couldn't stop grinning as I passed the Summit General Store, and turned onto the Trestle Trail, a part of the Washington Secondary Rail Trail that runs parallel to the Pawtuxet River. It was here that I got to rest and hydrate, and connect with my sister-in-law who would be joining me within the hour.
I made it as far as Williams Crossing Road, where I sat on a bench on a perfect day, and waited for Mary. Once she found me, we threw my big pack into her car, and drove up to a lot at Industrial Drive. We walked the greenway backwards to Camp Westwood Road, and my walk for the day was complete.
On Thursday, June 21, Mary and I started our day at that same parking lot, and we were joined by Jenn P., another of Michael's colleagues from CDM Smith, for our walk to Providence.
So Jenn, Mary and I hopped back on the trail, spending a good amount of time getting to know each other, and telling stories about Michael. Conversation flowed, and since there were over eleven miles of greenway, we didn't have to worry about navigating around town.
We did make a stop at a place called goalFood, located in Cranston. The smoothies we savored were jam packed with deliciousness and nutrients that kept us going all the way to Providence.
Overall we squeezed in fifteen miles, and we were happy when an Uber driver was only a few minutes away to ferry us back to Industrial Ave.
I am so happy that Jenn was able to join us for this leg of my journey. Hopefully she doesn't forget her homework assignment: taking a pic with CDM Smith peeps at an upcoming offsite meeting in Key West, where the East Coast Greenway begins!
True to form, my Providence rest day included a few miles.
Mary and I grabbed a quick breakfast, and toured a little bit of the town. Most impressive for these two tourists was the Biltmore, where we posed on the steps, and snapped pictures.
We crossed over the Providence River, hugging the water along the Canal Walk. We made our way into India Point Park along the Seekonk River, then finishing up at a point on the Blackstone Boulevard Walking Path that had just been paved.
Our shoes had had enough of tar filling the grooves on our soles, so we called mercy, and opted for a lunch break.
Nina had graciously arranged for me to get a massage that afternoon, but while we were still eating, my phone rang. The spa informed me that the person with whom I was to be paired was waiting for a tow truck. Alas, no massage.
This particular Friday marked two years since that fateful day in Gouldsboro, Maine. Sitting with Mary over dinner, the conversation turned to our old tradition of ending the work week with a cocktail, Michael with a martini and I with a glass of wine. I miss that ritual, so Michael's baby sister stepped up, saying, "Bartender, a martini over here!"
Mary and I rallied, and started early Saturday for our walk into my next state, ending at Fall River. We were lucky that there was only a light rain for the first part of our trek, and it couldn't stop our glee as we saw the 'Welcome to Massachusetts' sign early on.
The rain stopped and we continued on, finally finding the pedestrian path running along Route 6. We made our way into Bicentennial Park, and admired the craftsmanship of the replica Iwo Jima monument that overlooks the water.
We kept moving, heading towards the USS Massachusetts battleship that we would end up touring after a lunch that hit the spot. If you make it to Fall River, it's worth your time to do the tour; you'll walk around battleships and a submarine, and be amazed by the amount of history here.
Our bellies full and legs tired, we drove to our Westport Airbnb and met Bill, our host. The topic, of course, as to why we were there came up; as I relayed a bit of my itinerary, Bill's ears perked up when he heard that I would finish in Gouldsboro.
It turns out that his family has a home in the area, and he knows Jane and Kelly of Littlefield Gallery. In fact, we were staring at a beautiful James Lineham painting that I recognized from their collection.
I guess there are certain people you are destined to meet in this world.
My time with Mary was coming to an end on Sunday. We left Bill's place, literally on the greenway, and headed towards New Bedford.
Mary only walked a part of the way with me, and then took my big pack to my hotel for me. My parting gift was a giant lemonade from Wendy's - don't judge, I'm a little hooked since I've begun this trip.
I continued on, walking all the way into Fairhaven to my hotel for the next two nights.
I had a delicious meal at The Pasta House, a restaurant within walking distance, and chatted with Nick and Jessica behind the bar. I collapsed into bed for an early night.
Now it's Monday, and it took awhile to get motivated today. Once I did, it started to rain, but it cleared up pretty quickly, so I headed down Alden Road to the Phoenix Trail greenway. The air was cool, and the grey clouds threatened more rain, but the weather held.
The left off the Phoenix Trail led me to a diner, and I took advantage of the chance for lunch. The burger was tasty, and prepared me for the remainder of my 'short' walk.
That's all for now. Tomorrow I'll start heading towards Cape Cod. I'm lucky enough to spend tomorrow night with a friend of a Freewalker I met right before I started my journey. And later this week, I'll get to spend time with Terrie; it always helps to see familiar faces!