Number Twenty Six: Rhode Island

This turned out to be one of our favorite biking states, as evidenced by having ridden more miles here than any state since Number One: Minnesota. We stayed in Cranston, near Providence, and rode almost forty miles on the Washington Secondary Bike Path on the first day. Taking it easy on day two, we rode almost thirty on the East Bay Bike Path.

In both cases, we quit because we had run out of trail.

The East Bay trail ended in Bristol at a restaurant that had upper and lower decks overlooking the Bay. The upper deck was off the main dining room at street level. The lower deck was slightly above sea, parking lot, and bike path level. A helpful passer-by pointed out Doré could walk right on to the lower deck without bothering with the lift although there was a sign saying see the host in the dining room for seating. Doré pondered the lower deck and decided she would rather be on the level of the dining room and the restrooms.

So we got on the lift and went up. The gate wouldn’t open. We managed to flag down a passing server and asked for help. She couldn’t do it either and got another server. He couldn’t do it either, so went to look for the lift ‘expert’. Long before the expert arrived, I had managed to solve the puzzle of the lift and trained most of the wait staff.

Now we were on the upper deck. When the inevitable question, “¿Donde es el baño?” came up, the answer was, “They are on the lower level. Just take the lift down and they are right behind the bar.”

“East Bay Bike Path” is a slightly more interesting, and useful, name than New Hampshire’s Northern Trail or Maine’s Eastern Trail. But “Washington Secondary Trail” is intriguing enough to cause me to try to find, without success, the Washington Primary. According to RIdot (Rhode Island Department of Transportation), the trail is named for the abandoned rail corridor used by the Providence, Hartford, & Fishkill Railroad.

Well, that explains that.

When you ask a highway engineer how the trail got its name, and he responds that it got its name because that was the name of the corridor it took over, then the question has been answered. If you wanted to know where the name of the corridor came from, you should have asked that. It’s the kind of response we always got to our questions about a MnDOT  EIS.

If a railroad had anything to do with the success of a young city, then the Providence, Hartford, and Fishkill Railroad would seem to have done better by Providence and Harford than it did by Fishkill.

Both trails were flat, smooth, and paved. We liked them. If they would just add a few more “Royal Flushes”.


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