Day 42--The Big Finale: Upton, MA to Bristol, RI

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Up and out by 7:30 a.m. this morning. Thank you Jeanne for a great stay! Hope to see you in July when you travel to Stillwater.

Just because I left early doesn't mean that I finished early. I started the day by walking my bike up the remainder of the Pearl Street hill that Jeanne's house is perched on. Got to the top and tried to follow the directions that Jeanne had given me yesterday . . . in reverse. Of course I got instantly off track. A cyclist came along and rode with me to Menden Road, which I knew was east of 122, the road I wanted, but also knew that it would take me south to Uxbridge where I could connect with 122S. I'd cycled a big loop, so my cyclist guide and I actually sped down the hill I had earlier walked up and past Pearl Street and Jeanne's house.

Menden Road, deserted in the early hours of this Memorial Day Weekend

Yesterday in our visit to the River Bend Farm Visitor's Center, Jeanne had driven the same route that I now took. When I got to Blackstone, I thought that getting on the trail would be easy. It wasn't. I stopped and asked a guy & gal couple on a motorcycle. They told me exactly how to reach the trailhead and then kept popping up to wave me on or to tell me "Turn left here!" They were very nice. Thank you motorcycle couple!

Once on the Blackstone River Bikeway, I had about 10 beautiful miles on a paved trail. There were a lot of people on the trail because of  Memorial Day Weekend. The trail follows the Blackstone River and switches from one side of the river to the other. At the end of the trail, a woman named Jean helped me continue on through Woonsocket. Thank you Jean! At one point we got lost and ended up having an animated conversation with three men, each of whom had a different idea of the route I should take. Finally, with the help of a firefighter at a Providence fire station, I found Blackstone Boulevard and Gano Street. Gano led to the bridge across the bay, and I finally reached Phil & Lois who had been waiting on the other side.

Cyclists taking a break on the Blackstone River Bikeway
One of the cyclists in the photo above took my picture on the bikeway

Lois had a cooler of water in the back of her car. She also had the foresight to buy sandwiches, too, so I cooled down in the shade and wolfed down a turkey sandwich and chips and drank two bottles of water. Then we loaded B.O.B. into  Lois's car. He was complaining. Wanted to ride the last miles, but I felt he needed to arrive in Bristol in more cushy fashion. Lois left for Independence Park in Bristol, and Phil and I rode the last 10 miles on the East Bay Trail, another beautiful paved trail along the water. It was chock-a-block with families enjoying the beautiful weather and weekend.

Bridge over the bay to East Providence
Phil & Lois in East Providence providing a much needed lunch on my arrival

Phil on the East Bay Bikeway

Lighthouse, Naragansett Bay

Bridge connecting Barrington, RI, to Warren, RI

When we got to Bristol's Independence Park, Lois was waiting with the camera and a welcome sign (see below). With the new route and the bonus miles accumulated during my wanderings in Upton and Pawtucket, I ended the day with 58 miles, 26 more than the original 32 scheduled.  Probably made up for the miles I missed when the brake problem prompted and early pickup in Ware and a ride to Holden.

While we were loading the bikes, Lois handed me her cell phone and I got to announce "finis" to Valerie Bloodgood, my friend and liaison at Judith Karman Hospice, and also to Kathy Legako, the friend who provided sag support my first day on the road. The two were on --what else?-- a bike ride. They congratulated me, and then I spoke with husband Jeff and daughter Lucy who also told me "job well done."

The sign reads:
Welcome Susan,
Solo Charity Ride,
Stillwater, OK, to Bristol, RI,
Heartland to Harbor for Hospice
S14,692 raised for the Judith Karman Hospice!

This sign outside the Madison Health Care Facility outside Conneaut, says it all:

When we got to P & L's house, I found an edible arrangement from Valerie awaiting my arrival. The perfect end to a long ride--cold fruit and chocolate. Thank you Valerie! We all plucked some fruit and ate it . . . before thinking to get a photo. The photo below is of the half eaten arrangement, those empty sticks contained pineapple stars, speared grapes, chocolate covered strawberries, and more melon leaves. You will have to imagine how great it looked before we fell upon it.

THANK YOU to all  my sponsors, donors, my Warm Showers hosts, the motels that provided discounted and complimentary rooms, the hospitals, hospices, and friends who provided a bed, the Judith Karman Hospice staff and nurses, my relatives and friends, my family, all those many individuals who provided random acts of kindness along my route, and all of you who have followed the ride and inspired me to pedal on. It was wonderful to have your support and encouragement.,

I am now set to visit my VT bro, Peter, in a couple of days, and then will be back here in RI for a few days before returning home June 13th. Valerie has arranged a Welcome Home Breakfast for Tuesday, June 19th.

Here's a link to a news article that ran after Jess's and my visit to Aurora House in Spencerport, NY: www.westsidenewsonline.com

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