Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our penultimate state

We are parked behind the Wal-Mart in Newport, Rhode Island (map), our 47th state. Actually, I think we are technically behind the T.J. Maxx next door; this Wal-Mart is in a strip-mall of sorts, and the front lots are actually quite small. We drove around back to the loading docks, and there are dozens of striped spaces here that are completely unused. Back here we were also shielded from most of the looky-loos and it was very quiet, at least until the morning cavalcade of delivery trucks.

Threading our way out of Nickerson Park yesterday was quite a challenge; the trees being low and well into the roadway meant Louise had to get out several times to guide me through without damaging anything on the roof, and still we got several good scrapes on both sides from the branches. It is ironic that we tend to get more such damage in developed sites such as Nickerson than we do in the wilderness, where we are guided by our own sensibilities rather than by one-way park roads and pre-defined parking spaces.

We had a nice, if slow, drive off the cape on MA-28, which was basically a city street most of the way, but became four-lane divided highway after we passed the turn to Woods Hole from Falmouth. Once we crossed the Bourne Bridge and exited to US-6, we were again on a city street, which threads its way through several coastal towns, and becomes particularly slow, narrow, and one-way through New Bedford, after crossing the Acushnet.

Things opened up a little bit west of Dartmouth, and we turned off US-6 in Fall River onto 24, which took us into Rhode Island and across the Sakonnet to Portsmouth. Once on Aquidneck Island, RI-138 brought us all the way to Newport, where we were following directions to the Elks Lodge, which is right downtown and where our guide said there was room for one rig.

Downtown Newport, being a very old city, is riddled with narrow streets and tight corners, and so we were following the lodge's directions to the letter, however, we came upon a road closure, with a police cruiser blocking our way. After turning off onto a side street I called the lodge for alternate directions, only to find they no longer allow RV parking. So we backtracked here, which had been our backup plan in the event there was no room for us at the Elks.

I had hoped to have dinner somewhere on the waterfront last night, but after a long day with some very tense driving toward the end, we decided to just stroll to the 99 restaurant right here in the parking lot. We'll visit the waterfront today; there is a city bus from here, or we might just pull the scooters out. When we are done with that, we will continue west from here, across the bay on the toll bridge, and into Connecticut.

Photo by Providence Public Library, used under a Creative Commons license.

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