Scoot Commute

The Lost Days of August

Doe standing along Old Coach Road somewhere in South County, RI

Doe standing along Old Coach Road somewhere in South County, RI

Normally August is the month that slowly winds itself up into the craziness that is always the start of semester. Not this year. This year, it’s been crazy since I got back from my ride up to Québec province in June. While I can’t complain because the August weather has been great (great as defined by me which means not 95F every day), but everything else has been ridiculous.

Parking Ticket

Franz Biberkopf, the Buddy, received his first parking ticket two Fridays ago while I was at the dentist having more torture performed on my mouth. Really? A ticket on a scooter carefully parked at the back of a full car spot? Providence, do you need my 15 bucks that badly? I’m still so livid that I haven’t even opened the ticket. It’s sitting in the pet carrier. FU Angel.

Pulled Teeth

I had two teeth pulled two Thursday ago (see a trending pattern here with why I haven’t been posting). Dental work sucks. I’m already exhausted by this process and I still have years to go. Looking forward to getting braces on the bottom teeth later this week. I look like someone beat the crap out of me or I was a junky and lost adult teeth. Way to greet the new faculty.

Leisure Drive gravel pits

Leisure Drive gravel pits

Meeting in South County

Oh woe is me, poor baby had to ride down to Wakefield for a half-day meeting hosted by one of our nicest faculty in her absolutely beautiful seaside home. It’s a crap ride down when in a rush but I had mapped out a nice ride for after the meeting adjourned in the late afternoon. I had to take I95 and then onto Route 4 with all the beach traffic. I’m hanging out in the slow lane, keeping to just above posted, when I notice a Prius behind me. As I pulled up to a red light at the corner of Route 138, I turn around and see a purple parking hang tag. I give a thumbs up; it’s one of my work colleagues playing block.

Route 1 went down to one lane due to construction and dozens of cars roared past in the left lane up to the last moment, but not one cut in front of me. Who’s gonna mess with the girl on the black & pink dirt bike? You got the balls?

After the meeting and a tour of the guest house, I headed out with my sad little paper GPS. Apparently others think I should carry a cellphone, GPS and paper map. I thought my written directions and a couple of Google maps print-outs would do me. I did make it home…eventually.

Carolina Management Area, South County, Rhode Island

Carolina Management Area, South County, Rhode Island

I was lost a lot of the time, but that’s nothing new. I had a chat today with Molly, the student who is currently working for me, and she said she doesn’t like to be lost. I replied, “I don’t mind being lost as long as I don’t have to be anywhere.” Even in that situation, she said she didn’t like it. I have to work on her.

Carolina Management Area ferns

Carolina Management Area ferns

One of the big destinations was the Carolina Management Area. I don’t understand why two of the trails were gated (and not posted) so I happily went around. My absolutely favorite kind of riding is easy double-track on grass and pine needles. No rocky death. No over-complicated path that requires so much thinking that you can’t figure out how to get home. Just a nice ride through the ferns and deciduous trees. I still have no idea if this was a no-no or not, but my map showed the trails as open roadways. I’m thinking the gates are opened to regular cars/trucks during hunting season. Whatever the case, it was extremely relaxing and the air was perfectly cool.

Birds on a telephone line

Birds on a telephone line

Of course there was drama. At one point there was a largish tree across the track, but there was a slightly beaten down go-around, which leads me to believe I’m not the only one to go around the gate. The problem with the go-around was that is was super-spongy moss and fern decay hiding slippery broken branches underneath, just like the “incident” in Canada earlier this year. This time I got off the bike (without it falling over, huzzah!) and dragged the hidden limbs out from under the cushy ground so that I could safely get back to the packed ground.

New England Stone Wall, Gallup Road, Connecticut

New England Stone Wall, Gallup Road, Connecticut

I continued on toward Yawgoog Boy Scout camp, not getting lost per se, more like, “oh, that Dead End sign is telling the truth”. The camp was packed with boys and they were great, all waving, shouting “great bike!”, and being much more friendly than any other time I’ve ridden through. I think it’s good for the boys to see a girl on a motorcycle in the woods. I feel bad that they’re stuck with their archery and knot tying.

Gallup Road farmland, CT

Gallup Road farmland, CT

I eventually made it onto our regular Pachaug route, which are the dirt roads in and around the campgrounds. No way in hell I’m going to “ride Pachaug” on Avon Distanzias, alone, at 8:00 pm, after working all day. I just wanted a little farmland before I headed back into Rhode Island.

It occurred to me that it was getting late as I watched the sun sinking ever lower on the horizon. And I was in a completely different state! As I rode up Route 49, I remember that there is a turn into the Green Falls campground in Pachaug State Park at a metal tower. I took the right and rode up until I came upon a major road. I thought I had been riding on James Road, but I was on Green Falls Road, and the crossroads was not Route 165 back into Rhode Island, but Route 138. While 138 also would take me into Rhode Island, it was dragging me southward, away from Providence.

Farm on Gallup Road, Connecticut at sundown

Farm on Gallup Road, Connecticut at sundown

In desperation, I took a left onto an interesting looking dirt road over the Rhode Island border. Now, you have to understand. The sun has set. It’s actually COLD for August and I only have a mesh jacket and pants. It’s in the low 70s and upper 60s which is COLD when you’re moving (gimme a break, I’m a skinny chick!). And it was late and I was 1) hungry; and, 2) had to pee.

The road was great! I think it was Grassy Hill or something similar. But it was dark. I was no longer worried about deer, and I just wanted to get home, so I was booking it (for me). The DRZ has an aftermarket headlight and I had both the low-beam HID and the high-beam halogen lights on. All of sudden this thing comes flying right at me. I can see its furry body and stretched-out, paper-thin wings.

Narragansett Indian Church Tribal Burial Ground

Narragansett Indian Church Tribal Burial Ground

“Ahhhhhhhhh!” I scream. I don’t want bat guts all over me. I lean down and to the left and manage to avoid contact.

“I have got to get out of here and back to a normal tarmac road,” I told myself.

Eventually I made it back to 138, and even with the construction, was able to get on I95N at Exit 3 in Rhode Island. I kept talking to myself, saying “It’s not that far, it’s not that far,” but I felt so invisible in the black Rukka jacket and messenger bag without any type of 3M reflective tape (as of yet).

I pulled onto my street just after 9:00 pm. Overall, a long and very fun day at work!

Cows on Gallup Road, CT

Cows on Gallup Road, CT

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2 Responses

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  1. circleblue said, on 2011/08/15 at 9:19 pm

    Wow! the dental stuff sounds horrific.

    The ride report on the other hand sounds wonderful.

    Thanks for the share.

    By the way, how can one experience the joy of becoming unlost if one doesn’t get lost first? Like you, if I don’t have to be some place at a certain time I don’t mind discovering new ways to get there . . . eventually.

  2. karinajean said, on 2011/08/16 at 8:58 am

    I don’t mind being lost either – I’ve been told that my tendency to pay VERY little attention to directions and immediately get lost shows that I am a creative explorer. I’m just more flexible with routes than most people!


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