Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Rhode Island - Day 31 - Tiverton & Little Compton

Melville Ponds Campground, Portsmouth
Wednesday, 31 October 2018

I had to go to the campground office soon after it opened today to ask a big favor.  I had located what I thought might be a tick on the crown of my head, but couldn't qui-i-te get a clear view of it, even with a 2nd mirror - it was just too far back for me to see it, and the tick was a small one.  So over to the office to ask the poor guy sitting at the desk if he'd mind telling me if it really was a tick.  He looked and said yep, that's what it is, so I said do you mind too much taking it out?  I brought 2 different kinds of tweezers with me, so he took pity (probably also knowing a lot more than I do about how dangerous ticks can be and not wanting to leave me to my own devices) and finally got it out, along with several hairs. 

But he could have pulled them all out as long as he got that thing.  They really can be dangerous.  It was only 2 days ago that I managed to get one off that was part way around on my back but just barely far enough forward for me to get a good angle on it.  You have to pull the head out, remember, so you have to get the right pulling angle.  One of the few really important drawbacks to traveling alone.  I feed the dogs tick pills once a month, but I haven't heard of any people tick pills.

It got down in the low 30s again this morning, frost on the ground and cold in the RV.  I stopped at the dumpster before I left the campground and saw one of my fellow campers bringing a bag of trash, wearing only a t-shirt.  So I told him he was underdressed and he said, "Oh my heavens no.  It's only cold if you think it is."  So I learned a lesson.
today's route
Tonight's campground seems to be the only one open today in Rhode Island, and they tell me they'll close tomorrow.  I got to Rhode Island just in time, apparently.

Since I had to come over to Newport anyway, I decided to explore the one section of the state I hadn't been to yet - the farthest east, which is attached by land only to Massachusetts, and to Rhode Island only by one (count it - one) bridge.  The map says there's a 2nd bridge, but I tried to go that way and got blocked by road construction so don't know if it's really there or not.  It must be a full mile south of the bridge I did find - in other words, not much alternative in terms of joining the rest of the state.

The peninsula consists of 2 townships, each with several villages.  Tiverton is the northern 60% of the peninsula, and the village of Tiverton is the largest concentration of people.  Little Compton is the southern 40% with what appears to be 3 villages in it.  These villages are mostly a collection of houses, usually with a general store and maybe a restaurant.

Sakonnet village
Sakonnet harbor
We drove all the way to the southern tip, to the harbor and village of Sakonnet, named for the Sakonnet River which is what lies between this peninsula and Newport/Aquidneck Island.

That photo of the harbor shows a skiff running backward, towing a metal walkway that boats had tied up to, and it has 2 upturned skiffs on it.  It's being towed to the boat ramp where that very large orange forklift will pick it up and carry it down the road to be stored on land over the winter.  I know this because I'd already watched the procedure several times and, when I left, I drove by the land storage.

The largish building in the center of the harbor photo is a clubhouse, though I couldn't tell what club.  I know it wasn't the yacht club, because the yacht club is a tiny one-story building back in the village.

You can see that the only boats still in the water are commercial fishing boats - the buoys are still there for other boats, but no boats.

Right behind where we parked, across the road from the harbor, is the Haffenreffer Wildlife Refuge.  I saw the sign, but I think the wildlife saw the sign too, because I heard some ducks in behind the sea oats.

To get to Sakonnet we drove through some really pretty countryside.  Almost the only way I can describe it is New England rural.  Houses spaced widely, but still well within walking distance.  Maybe set back from the road with a large cornfield in front, or with a horse pasture beside the house, or a Christmas tree farm business or vineyard or apple orchard.  A duck flew out of the bushes by the road and flew right in front of the RV, but fortunately was flying a little faster than I was driving so he managed to get away - it was so sudden I couldn't stop for him.  I also passed the Sakonnet Golf Club, so you know some of these houses had wealthy people in them.  But I'm sure some of them just had regular people in them too.

Many of the houses were small, as if the owners knew how hard it is to heat a large place.  Which means they spend time there in the winter, because heat isn't something you'd worry about if you were a seasonal.  By small, I mean 800-1200 square feet.  Nothing palatial.

It was all really nice and really peaceful.  Of course it helped that today was sunny and the leaves were pretty.

Right near the land border with Mass. is the village of Adamsville.  I was going there to visit the monument to the Rhode Island Red.  I mean, once I heard it was there, I had to had to go see it.
closeup of the inscription

I had to look it up, of course, not being in the poultry business, and learned why this is a chicken that matters.  So in case you want to know, too, here's the link.  And in case you don't want to do that, I'll include an internet photo of these pretty guys.
Rhode Island Reds
This campground charges double what my last one charged, but it's pretty and quiet and has free wi-fi and is actually open tonight (aka Halloween), so it's worth every penny.

Rhode Island - Day 30 - time with Dexter

Fishermen's Memorial State Campground
Tuesday, 30 October 2018

No map today because I went where I've been several times before.

First stop was doggy day care for Gracie.

Next stop was PetsMart, because I needed some arthritis pills for Gracie and some training treats for Dexter.  I thought it'd be fine to take Dext inside since I'd have only him and I figured he'd be fairly easy to control.  I was wrong wrong.

He literally ran around in circles with excitement, refused treats and refused to listen to me at all, instead going where he wanted and doing what he wanted.  Complicated by the fact the leash that came with the new harness is about 3' long, so I'm much closer to the action - in this case, his action - and every time he tugs and pulls, he's tugging and pulling me, and I'm way too old and cantankerous to enjoy that or think it's cute or anything.  It almost gave me a headache.

By the time we got out of the store I was in a panic.  What could make him ignore treats?  What was wrong with the training program, or with me, or with him?

So I called the training people and the guy who answered said it sounded like Dext was overstimulated.  When he gets like that what I should do is take him back home and start again on the training program.  Of course, this guy didn't realize that home is an RV, and "taking him home" had already been accomplished in the PetsMart parking lot, but at least it gave me a diagnosis and a plan.

I went from there to the post office and got the same weird woman, who remembered me after I asked for general delivery mail but this time managed to find David's envelope, which was labeled with a note saying it had been ready for pickup the day I asked for it before.  She probably hadn't bothered to look she was so sure I was the one out of whack.  Oh, well.  I have a really nice brother, though.

Then I took Dexter back down to the John Chaffee Nature Preserve where I'd taken him before.  There were a lot of cars in the parking lot, and I knew at least some of them had dogs because I'd seen them, but I wasn't too worried, Gracie not being with us.  In fact, we met a beagle, maybe a basset cross, right away and Dext was just fine with him.

As the walk went on, I found Dext is just fine with dogs that are very friendly and those that are okay friendly.  But then we met a dog that seemed fine at first but suddenly looked and acted scared of Dext who, up till then, had been looking okay.  But when the dog started looking scared, Dext suddenly changed and started growling and trying to lunge, and that wasn't so good.  This nature trail is only wide enough for 2 people to be comfortable walking together, so definitely not enough room for growling lunging dogs.  Oh well.  We tried.  Eventually I'll learn how to read him better and how to deal with other dogs' behavior changes, but today it was a bit of a problem.

Still the sun was out, though there was a strongish wind and the air temp never got out of the 50s, so overall it was pleasant and the leaves were pretty.

We still had about an hour before time to get Gracie so I took Dext on down to the Narragansett Town Beach and that was good.  He got to sniff beachy things and run around on the sand and generally relax.  It was nice despite the wind.  There was a person sitting on the sand, leaning against the sea wall, wrapped in at least 4 blankets that I saw, reading a book.  I didn't think it was that nice, but it takes all kinds.

Narragansett beaches are where I've been taking my recycling stuff for the last couple of weeks.  They're probably pretty surprised to open up the bins and find cleaned jam jars and empty bacon boxes.  Rhode Island isn't a state that emphasizes recycling much.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Rhode Island - Day 29

Fishermen's Memorial State Campground
Monday, 29 October 2018

I took my own advice and decided not to leave camp today.  Just as well.  The wind's been blowing so hard it's shaking the RV again.  Off and on all day.  But at least it's been occasionally sunny, when it's not raining, so that makes it easy to forgive some wind.

I've just corrected 2 posts I've made for other states and, for those who are reading this consecutively and would otherwise miss the changes, I'll tell you here:

** In mid-June, I visited Montpelier, Vermont's state capital.  I have since learned (maybe it's even true) that Montpelier is the only state capital that doesn't have a McDonald's.  Those Vermonters really have high standards.

** Early last month I passed over the French King Bridge, which spans a really decent-size gorge in northcentral Massachusetts.  What I failed to add in my post at the time is that the east end of the bridge sits on Paleozoic metamorphic rocks, while the west end sits on Jurassic conglomerate rocks.  All of which means to me: a) I should have taken a geology class in college, and b) that gorge must be the product of a fault line between 2 historic periods.  Pretty interesting, though.

I got word today that the adoption committee at Pet Rescue turned me down again.  Apparently they read my letter but still think my RV's too small and moves around too much to give the kitties a good home.  Another disappointment.  Maybe Connecticut will see things differently.

I haven't mentioned before that this campground is unique.  It has a wind generator on site.
That's right by the office.  I hear the sound more or less all the time.  For a while when I first started staying here, I'd lie in bed early in the morning wondering if there were an airport nearby with small planes landing, though at that hour of the night it seemed unlikely.

We also have our own UFO.
I know in this photo you can see the support, but from another angle, early in the morning when it's quite dark, this huge white ball looms over the horizon, seemingly on its own.  Obviously a water tower, but it does look eerie in the moonlight.

Tomorrow I'll drop Gracie at day care, take Dext to do a few errands, and then maybe take him to the beach for the rest of the day.  Hope the weather will cooperate.

Rhode Island - Day 28 - carousels, art and chicken

Fishermen’s Memorial State Campground
Sunday, 28 October 2018
Today's route
It got cold overnight, and I can prove it.

The faucet my hose is attached to drips a fair amount and no amount of knob-tightening can shut the drips completely off.  This seems to translate to the connection at my RV, as you can see.

This is my last Sunday in RI, so today I headed to several places that are only open on weekends at this time of year.  As it turned out, I missed out on almost all of them anyway.

Riverside Looff Carousel
I first aimed for Riverside east of Providence, for the Carnival Park Looff Carousel that I got to ride on when Momma and I were here before.  That part of Rhode Island is apparently not interested in labeling its roads, so almost as soon as I got off the interstate I had no idea where I was.  Thank goodness for that Providence city map (which includes about half of RI) because by noting the names of the cross streets I was passing I could figure out the street I was actually on.  It sure made navigation a challenge.

But perseverance won and I did actually find it!  I knew from my memory that there’s a parking area across the street, which turned out to be at a park, so we stopped there and I walked the dogs a bit while waiting for 12:00, when the carousel opened.  

Unfortunately, 12:00 came and went and not a soul except me showed up, inside or out.  I had checked online just today before I drove over and it still said it’d be open at 12:00 today, but it wasn’t.  Daytimes Saturdays and Sundays until the end of October, supposedly, but not really.  I guess it was one more thing that ended its season early this year.  I was truly disappointed.

Pawtucket Looff Carousel
I found quite a few mentions in tourist information, including RI’s official state stuff, about an equally historic Looff carousel in Pawtucket. (Looff was the late-1800s maker of these gorgeous toys.) I found the address online, and it too was supposed to be open weekends until the end of October.  But I was reluctant to get my hopes up because online aerial views didn’t show anything but trees where this thing is supposed to be.  Still, I went.

And in fact, the only thing that’s at the address I got was trees.  Pretty trees, but not exactly a carousel.  So glad I hadn’t pinned my hopes for happiness on this thing but still, another disappointment.

Getting to Woonsocket 
Cumberland City Hall
I next headed back up in Woonsocket, which actually isn’t all that far from Pawtucket, now that I’m up that way.  Of course, first I had to negotiate Pawtucket, which seemed to take it as a challenge to keep me from getting anywhere at all.  Not only does Pawtucket not label its streets very well, but it also throws up detours without labeling them either.  I drove around and around, kept stopping to consult the map and then getting lost again almost instantly, over and over . . . without that Providence map I’d probably still be there.

When I finally got on the street I wanted, I pulled over into the first appropriate resting place for me and the dogs.  It turned out to be the Cumberland City Hall parking lot.  This city hall was built in 1894 and is still in use as the city hall.  Cumberland is the next town along the road from Pawtucket - several towns all seem to run together along here.

At the bus stop near the front of the building was this sign about some underground railroad helpers that once lived across the street (the house is no longer there).  These photos are 2 halves of the sign.  You'll have to blow them up to read them, but it's fairly interesting.

St. Ann's Church frescos
Back up to Woonsocket (I'm pretty sure I've never mentioned that the name is pronounced woon-SOCK-et), I found St. Ann’s fairly easily.   But I was again disappointed.  Oh, they were open, all right. But they charge $10 for their tours of the sanctuary ($8 for seniors, but still), the tours are only on Sunday afternoons and last about 45 minutes.  I really wasn’t all that interested in knowing about them – I just wanted to see and admire them.  But the very nice man I met at the entrance explained that all their money to maintain the church comes from these tours and they just can’t allow anybody to just peek in for free.  That all made sense to me, but I still didn’t think it was worth $10 to me, though if I ever find myself back there again, I’ll probably go anyway.  Here’s the link with a teaser photo about what you can see inside.
my photo of St. Ann's
Wright’s Chicken Farm Restaurant
They’re open only Thursday & Friday evenings and Saturday & Sunday daytimes.  Not being able to come in the evenings, even when I was staying up this way, that left me with the weekends.  This was, therefore, my last chance to try some fresh Wright’s chicken.

They serve their meals family style, which of course I didn’t have (a family, I mean), and their menu says a pasta dish, a salad and fries are their side dishes, none of which I wanted enough to pay for, so I decided I’d just get some chicken to go.

Their parking lot is enormous – as big as the hotel lot I’ve been staying in: football field size – and it was completely full.  So was the almost-as-big lot around back where the parking attendant directed me.  Someone even came by limo – big black stretch limo.  So I was amazed that they got me my food as quickly as they did – I don’t think it even took the 10 minutes they told me it would.  Back to the RV to smell it all the way back to the other side of the state which, this being Rhode Island, was only a little more than an hour away.  Amazing restaurant.  My friend Deb said so and she was right.

The best part about the day were all the beautiful colors on the trees.  Fall is definitely here, as far as the maples are concerned.  They’re not fully colored yet, so I see some trees that are green in one part and beautiful colors in another.  Lots of green still, and RI has plenty of evergreens, but also lots of vibrant reds and oranges and yellows.  It’s really great, especially when the sun brings out the colors.

I heard an ad on the People’s Radio (it sounds so communist-country to me) for a feline vet clinic in Providence called City Kitty – just call 831-MEOW.  (Rhode Island has only one area code (401) so they don’t bother mentioning it very often.)

Back in the campground and back in my previous campsite, but it was 5:00 by the time we got here and I’m pooped.  I’m not going anywhere tomorrow.  I need to rest.  And I need a little extra time to figure out how I’m going to spend my last little time in RI, and how to find this campground I’m reserved in for Wednesday night, and how to get from there to Connecticut.

My cousin Trish called a day or two ago and suggested we have one last get-together on my way out of the state.  She suggested the Cracker Barrel, where I remember Momma and I met Marian and her husband Bob once.  That’s the only time I’ve been in a Cracker Barrel, but I guess I’ll get one more.  Trish said she’d bring Marian and also bring the genealogy info for me, which is really nice of her.

I was a little worried about the time involved, but I’ve looked at a Connecticut map and I can follow I-95 most of the way to the campground, and it won’t take much more than an hour.  Thank goodness Connecticut is another small state.  I don’t think I want to tackle a big state with November weather in the offing.

Rhode Island - Day 27 - stormy weather

Fishermen’s Memorial State Campground
Saturday, 27 October 2018

Yep.  Weather as bad as advertised.

I took the dogs out only 4 times all day, and those were just extremely short walks for bathroom purposes only.

The storm was incredible.  Sheets of rain.  Blowing rain.  For hours.  Wind so strong the RV didn’t just shake – it rocked.  It really did.  Over and over again.

I was glad we’d changed campsites because the new one has high walls of shrubs on both sides, and I’m sure those protected us against a lot of the weather.

I played catch-up on my blog, as you could probably tell by the date of my posts, and we tried to stay warm and dry, and that’s all we did today.

Well, now I have an idea of what a nor-easter is like.  If in my imagination I substitute snow for the rain we got, I can see why this is something people talk about.   It was a real, gen-u-ine storm.

And by 7:00 it had stopped.  It came, and it dumped, and it left.  Our last walk was through puddles but not through rain.  Weird.

Rhode Island - Day 26

Fishermen’s Memorial State Campground
Friday, 26 October 2018

I have decided to trust the weather reports that tomorrow’s storm will be a serious one and intend to stay hunkered down in one spot all day (except short dog walks).  That being the case, I had a lot of chores to get done today.

I went to the campground office at 8:30 as instructed and got checked into my new site but, for some reason, their equipment kept saying my VISA card was a gift card and it was refused.  After they tried several times on 2 different machines, they finally told me to stop back by later in the day when the manager would be available.

I went to the laundromat I’ve used before and ended up needing 2 machines because I decided it was time to switch from my summer bedsheets to my winter ones, which meant a lot of extra washing.

I called the repair place about fixing the mud flap and, after they checked out the situation, they called me back and said rather than fabricate a part what they should do is just order a new one.  Which made sense because of course Thor wasn’t going to fabricate one of those things for each individual RV it was making but would have a standard part for it.  But they guy said it’d take a week for the part to arrive and suggested I just go to a truck repair place in Connecticut to get it ordered and fixed.  He said all the dealers were in the western part of the state (making it sound like that was a long distance away) so I wouldn’t want to bother with those.

In the meantime, I was learning from calling around and checking online that there are only 2 RV camps open in Conn. during November, and both are expensive: $45/night.  The difference is that the KOA in eastern Conn. doesn’t offer a special rate for weekly stays while the private campground in western Conn. does.  The private place had told me last week he thought he was already full for the month but I should call him back when I had firm dates.

Now that I knew I had only the 2 to choose from, I called and asked him for any 2 weeks he could fit me in.  So now I have a reservation there from Nov. 1-11, with the possibility of the rest of that 2nd week if he gets a cancellation he thought he was going to get.  He told me his place has only 15 sites, which explains how he can get so filled up this time of year.  At least I have a sure place to go.  Without having a weather reading, I don’t want to commit myself to sleeping in a parking lot and wind up in freezing weather with no services.

I also stopped by the East Greenwich post office: David told me he would send my mail to me this past Tuesday or Wednesday, and I knew it might not be in yet but figured I’d try, since I was sure not going to try tomorrow with the weather forecasted.  The woman at the post office acted like I didn’t know what I was doing and bizarrely kept telling me they didn’t keep any general delivery mail longer than 15 days, and when I told her my brother had just sent it this week, she looked at me like I was speaking Russian.  Weird.  I’ll go back Monday.

All day long I was seeing very large flocks of geese flying south.  In fact, I’m seeing large flocks of them all over, feeding on lawns at schools and places.  Winter’s coming.

We got back to the campground and I stopped at the office to pay and, once again, the machines said my card was a gift card that it refused to accept.  So the nice young woman at the counter called her boss and he said mine was by no means the only one that had happened to.  He said that equipment was owned by ReserveAmerica, the private company that seems to have a stranglehold on state campgrounds all over the country.  I’ve hated them almost since I first encountered them.

So the campground manager got on the phone to them and waited a long time to find somebody who was willing to help, including waiting for a callback.  The obvious solution was for me to just go online because my card was accepted that way, but I kept pointing out they’d charge me $8.70 if I went online but nothing if I did it in the office.  Which the manager pointed out to the person on the phone and asked him to waive the fee, which the guy said he couldn’t do.  I’m telling you ReserveAmerica is not doing a public service; they’re making only money.

While I was waiting in the office I got a call from a private campground here in Rhode Island because I’d been trying to find someplace to spend the night of October 31st, besides going back to the hotel parking lot.  It wouldn’t otherwise matter much but it’s Halloween and I was very much afraid of being a sitting duck all alone in a corner of a parking lot.  But it seemed like every campground in Rhode Island was going to be closed just like the one I’m in now.  Even the ones who up until this year stayed open later were closing.  So I was very happy to get this call.

The woman said her campground’s over in Plymouth, north of Newport, which would mean driving clean across Rhode Island and Connecticut on November 1st, because my first campground’s in the western half.  And she’s charging double what I’m paying here.  But I need a place and I was glad she called and I took my CREDIT card back from the campground desk and gave it to her over the phone.

Turned out to be a lucky thing because then this campground manager could tell the ReserveAmerica person that he was sure my card was good because I’d just used it to make another reservation right in front of them.

So not getting anything sensible from ReserveAmerica, finally this campground manager told me forget all that, he just wouldn’t charge me for anything tonight, and then I could make an online reservation for tomorrow night and pay the $8.70 which would be easier to afford since I’m getting tonight free.  Nice guy.  Name’s Mike Mahoney.  But who would have thought there’d be such a hassle.  I was really ready for a drink after all that but couldn’t say so because alcoholic beverages are totally banned here.   (Technically, though I found a 6-pack of beer bottles in the dumpster this morning.  Should have been recycled, actually, but they don’t offer recycling here.)

This morning I gave Dexter a separate training walk as Courtney had showed me, and when we went back and added Gracie I found Dexter was much more controllable.  But there’s not much room to walk them around the laundromat or post office, and by the time we got back to the campground and into our new spot I was too tired to try a separate walk again.  But this meant the joint walks were as out of control as ever – it’s absolutely not all Dexter’s fault but when I have both of them tugging and pulling and running around at the same time it’s a great deal worse than when I just have Gracie doing it.  I know I won’t be able to do training tomorrow if the weather’s as predicted, but I absolutely will begin on Sunday.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Rhode Island - Day 25 - dog training

Fishermen’s Memorial State Campground
Thursday, 24 October 2018

No route map today because we went over roads we’ve seen before.
Our big event today was Dexter’s 11:00 appointment at K9 Dog Training in Warwick.  Fortunately it was a sunny day and would have been warm if not for the wind, because Courtney the trainer wanted us to go walking outside for a bit to see how he did.  But when I said I was sure he’d do pretty well on his own, that it was when I had both dogs out together that I really started having trouble, she said we should take both dogs.

Courtney had the new harness she’d ordered for Dexter, so I took Gracie while she walked Dexter to demonstrate to both of us what his new training program should be like.  It included lots of treats when he kept his attention on her, which went over really well with Dext, who’ll do almost anything for food.  And Courtney kept him pretty much in check and walking near her the whole time, rewarding Dext any time he looked at something else and then looked back at her.  She pointed out that when I let them run ahead and stop to sniff anytime they wanted, that was putting them in charge of the walk, not me.  Which would help explain the trouble I’ve been having with them.

We walked them around the neighborhood for a while but no other dogs appeared so she couldn’t see what happened with those situations.

We went back to her office and she had assistants bring out one dog or another, of differing energy levels, to see if my dogs reacted.  Unfortunately, they were little angels and you’d never know they often went bonkers at the sight of another dog.  But Courtney did show me how to distract Dexter from paying too much attention to them by getting his attention again and giving him a treat for it.

She said I should walk him by himself at least 3 times a day every day to reinforce this, and she thought it would only take a few weeks of that before I’d start seeing a big difference in his behavior.  Even Gracie started being willing to take treats from her hand, which she almost never does, and started paying more attention to Courtney, so Courtney thought if I could walk Gracie separately, too, she could benefit as well.  Though since Dexter throws an extremely loud fit when I try it (a nuisance in campgrounds) I may not be able to do that much.

None of Courtney’s staff could believe Dexter was more than 3 years old.  They all thought he was about 8 or 9 months.  I knew he acted like a puppy, so it was nice to find I’m not the only one who thinks so.  Courtney told me a dog’s behavior gets formed between 4 and 16 weeks of age.  What he becomes then will show up when he’s about 1 year old and will be set when he’s about 3.  She says whatever happened to him before I got him, he’s still psychologically back in the litter and is likely always to stay there.  Nothing wrong with that, but that’s who I’m dealing with.  He can’t handle large groups of dogs well and likely never will, which means conventional day care facilities are out for him.

She was glad to hear I’d already made arrangements to get Dexter, at least, to the day care in Connecticut she recommended – they have the small groups that are all he can handle, plus they use all kinds of ways to get the dogs exercise, even including treadmills if the weather’s too bad to let them run outside.  Sounds perfect for him.

After the training session, I went back to the place where I’d gotten propane before, because I was down to less than ¼ tank, thanks to the very cold nights (and days) we’ve been having and the forecast is for below freezing tomorrow night.

While I was there, I asked the guy to check my tires, because the right rear tires have been sounding for days the way a bicycle sounds when you’ve put playing cards in the spokes – remember?  The guy pointed out one of my mud flaps on those tires was shredded while the other was likely hitting the wheels because a metal bar that held the flap away from the tires had come loose and was also flapping around.  So he replaced a screw that was loose for that one, easy (if you have the tools).

But the other one – he said they could sell me the mud flap but the metal bar to hold that one in place was missing altogether.  I guess something I drove over did a number on my wheels but I have no idea what it would have been to mess up the mud flaps so thoroughly but leave the tires okay.  Anyway, he said they could fabricate one for me but it’d take some time.  I decided not to wait because it was already mid-afternoon.  And together we decided to leave the shredded one in place because it was between the wheels and the fuel tank, so any protection is better than none.

By the time all this was done, time was getting on and we actually got stuck in a little rush hour traffic.  It seems to start there around 3:00 like it does everywhere else these days.  But it was still early and it wasn’t bad.

But by the time I got back to the campground, I could still hear the playing cards in the spokes so decided to call the place tomorrow to see if they could fix the other mud flap.

This weekend we’re predicted to have a nor’easter without snow.  I hear this has happened in late October several times in the last 100 years, and this year is scheduled to be another one.  The weather people’re saying the remnants of Hurricane Willa, having wrecked Texas, is going to swing around in the Atlantic Ocean and head back to coastal New England with a present.  On Saturday we can expect 1”-3” of rain and very high winds.

Based on that, I decided to stay at the campground even if I couldn’t have my regular spot, so I stopped off at the office when I got back to check, and the young woman said sure, just check back in at 8:30 tomorrow to extend my reservation over the weekend.  I already have a reservation for Sunday-Wednesday.

Rhode Island - Day 24 - Newport

Fishermen’s Memorial State Campground
Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Today’s TV weather report said I wasn’t wrong about the power of that wind last night: not only was all of Rhode Island dealing with the aftermath of a big wind storm (downed trees, lost electricity) but Lincoln, immediately north of Providence, actually had a tornado that was already confirmed when I got up. And that weather system is dropping heavy snow in Maine. At this rate, I may find part of my November in Connecticut is stuck in one place because of snow. We’ll see.

On the morning news was also word that a large fire yesterday destroyed the Misquamicut Beach Pavilion – that’s over by Watch Hill where Dexter and I went just a week ago. I’m glad we went when we did, because it was an attractive building.

Also on the news is a report that there’s so much rain in Texas that even the city of Austin has sent out a citywide “boil water” alert. Incredible.

And I didn’t need the news to tell me it’s really cold in my RV this morning. We didn’t get snow down here, but we sure got cold. I had to keep running the heater just to get the RV’s internal temp into the 50s.
today's route
I dropped Gracie off at day care and tried to find something new for me and someplace interesting to walk for Dexter in the 5 hours we had before I had to pick Gracie back up.

We went first across the Jamestown-Verazano Bridge to Conanicut Island, the 2nd largest island in Newport Bay (Aquidneck Island, aka Rhode Island (really), where Newport is, being the largest).  The only real town on Conanicut Island is Jamestown – historic Jamestown, they say, and since it was founded in 1648, I guess it is historic.  I’m not sure why the bridge includes Verazano in its name, because I don’t think that explorer ever wandered up this far, unlike the Verrazano Narrows in New York where he really did go.  And people use the full name when they refer to the bridge.  I think in Texas we'd shorten it.
looking across to Newport

a piece of Jamestown across its harbor

Apparently most people don’t bother checking Jamestown out, but instead see it as a pass-through between the mainland and Newport, but they’re missing something nice.  It’s a lovely little town where most houses look affordable only if you have a very large income, which is why it's so pretty.  But the surrounding rural areas on the island look like where regular folks live, and that's very pretty too so money doesn't buy everything.  Not far north of town I saw a sign saying Goose Crossing.  Not something you see everywhere.

Conanicut Island was named for Conanicus, a Narragansett chief who eventually befriended Roger Williams specifically and European settlers in general.  He gave Roger Williams the land that became Providence Plantation.  You do know, of course, that the official name of the state is The State of Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations?  (Apparently there was a statewide referendum in 2010 to shorten the official name and, Rhode Islanders being sticklers for tradition voted overwhelming in favor of keeping it like it was.)  It’s the longest official name of any of the states.  I guess to match it being the smallest in size.

Dexter and I had a nice little walk around downtown (aka the harbor area) and he got to sniff lots of harbor stuff and I got to not worry much about him meeting other dogs, since he’s usually okay when Gracie’s not around.

We went from there across the Pell Bridge, which is a toll bridge, over to Newport.  I’d hoped to avoid the town itself because I remember how extremely narrow some of the streets are from when Momma and I came over here.  But the bridge decants us right in town, so there we were.  After a couple of wrong turns and map-consulting, I ended up on the right road by accident, which was reassuring.

I wanted to go to at least one beach because Dexter enjoys them so much and I wanted to give him something in return for him not getting a day care day.  Once again by accident I ended up at Easton’s Beach, which was on the way to where I was aiming, and it was a nice beach for us.

Easton's Beach
Almost no dogs anywhere, for some reason, so I could relax.  Sand seems to make Dexter want to run. I just wish I trusted him enough to let him off the leash, though I did run along with him for a bit, but I’m out of running shape these days.  We went out before and after lunch, though the wind was really blowing and too chilly to be comfortable.  But we braved it happily anyway.

This beach must be packed all summer and I can imagine the locals are happy when the summer crowd finally leaves.

On Aquidneck Island besides Newport are Middletown, Portsmouth (formed in the compact of 1638, a sign informed me, though I’m not sure what compact), South Portsmouth and Island Park.  And still have room for corn fields.  You’d think it was a really big island except that these towns are all really small.  Although it is a pretty good sized island.

Now at the north end of the island, we crossed into Bristol on the Mount Hope Bridge.  Mt. Hope, it turns out, is a mountain only in Rhode Island.  Everywhere else it would be a hill, being only 209’ tall, though Rhode Island’s 2nd tallest.  I bet the bridge is at least as tall as the mountain.

Just on the north side of the bridge is Roger Williams University, which seems to be pretty good sized and very attractive.  I had to drive around the campus a bit because I took a wrong turn and needed to get back where I’d been.

Bristol is on the south end of some land that I guess is attached to the mainland, but only by a really narrow neck that is mostly attached to Massachusetts.  Which is fair since Newport originally belonged to the Massachusetts Bay Colony and didn’t get transferred to Rhode Island until the 1746 – practically recent, by New England standards.

Bristol has signs saying it was established in 1680 and is the home of the oldest 4th of July festival in the US.  I hear they really do it up big.

There are several small towns north of Bristol on the road up to East Providence on the interstate.  One of them is Riverside and I hope to get back to it this weekend because it has a Looff Carousel, built in 1895, that is still running.  I remember getting a ride on it when Momma and I were here and I’d like another one, though they’re only open on weekends this time of year.

We had to come through Providence but got lucky on the traffic.  

I wished I could stop and walk Dexter again but was really pushing it to get back in time to not have to pay extra for Gracie.  I stopped to take them both out before we got back to the campground, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as they did – small craft advisory doesn’t just mean winds only for small craft, especially when you’re staying at the coast.

Rhode Island - Day 23

Fishermen’s Memorial State Campground
Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Today was a stay-at-home day, but a very very weird one.

The first major event was that my computer froze.  Just froze.  I’d never had that happen before with this computer – and actually I only remember it happening to me at all just once before – but I didn’t remember that this morning when it happened so couldn’t figure out what on earth to do.  So when in computer trouble, I always call my brother, poor thing.  And as always, he came through for me.

But him not being here was the first problem – he wanted to know what model mine is so he could look it up online, but the model number was curiously elusive.  I read him all the numbers I could find anywhere on it, especially that label on the underside full of Chinese characters and technical information, but none of those fit what he was finding in his research.

So then I had a hunt for the owner’s manual, which I knew I must have saved because I save all those things.  I found the one for the travel alarm that’s so old it isn’t made anymore (it’s analog, made by Radio Shack), and for the electric toothbrush, and lots of other non-computer-related products.  But no Dell owner’s manual.  Finally, finally, in desperation I started reading every piece of paper and found the little tissue paper “quick start” leaflet for the computer, which is apparently all I’ve got.  But – yea! - it had the model number on it, so David could look it up online.

He’d already told me the solution was to unplug the battery to let it all reset, but we’d already gone over the whole body (him listening to me describing it over the phone, always awkward) and were finding no possible way to get to anything inside except to remove the 8 screws holding the back of the computer onto the front.  David was sure there must be a compartment somewhere that would have a slide opening with a battery inside, but this thing is very nearly solid and nothing seemed available to slide.

But now with the model number, David could tell me with disgust that I was indeed going to have to take out the 8 tiny screws on the back to take off the back to get to the battery inside.  Then I had to pry off the back (David said the instructions said I was supposed to use a plastic something or other, which I obviously didn’t have, so I was stuck with using a screwdriver to do it and try not to inflict serious damage).  The inside, once revealed, reminded me of an aerial view from a sci-fi movie like Star Wars (the original ones, of course, with primitive visual effects) showing a town from way up above.

The only thing remotely battery-ish was this black rectangular thing that, after close examination, might be plugged into something else, and we decided that had to be it.  So unplugging it took two hands so I had to hang up (I’m sure not a moment too soon for poor David).  I was so afraid the strength it was taking to unplug it was going to damage something, but it turned out I wasn’t pushing the right part because by accident, I did and it came unplugged.  Good grief.

So after waiting a bit and plugging it back in and screwing in all the tiny screws and turning it back on, presto! it was a working computer again.  Somewhere in there I called David back so he could enjoy the triumph.  (He said I should write all this down so next time I’d have it available.  I said since I couldn’t find the owner’s manual in the first place what made him think I could find my notes.)  He also said next time I should get Anna to help because she had been in charge of her company’s IT program at her last job.  I said Anna WAS the IT program at her last job (a small family-owned 2-store company) but if he wanted me to spread the burden around, I could understand that.

So while all this unscrewing and unplugging and rescrewing was going on, I could hear it was starting to rain outside, coming down pretty hard for a bit, and thought that would delay me taking the dogs out for a while.  It completely slipped my mind that I’d put all the dog beds outside on the picnic table to air out for the day.

They didn’t just get aired out – they got washed out.

By the time I remembered what I’d done, they were wet and it was late afternoon.  The nights are getting pretty cool these days and I knew it would be seriously unfair to the dogs – especially to Dexter who doesn’t have much of a coat – to have to sleep on wet beds.  So I turned the heater thermostat up really high and put the beds right in front of it and mopped up the water they oozed and turned them over several times, and after a few hours of much higher heat than I was comfortable with and a humidity level that approached sauna-level, two of the beds were mostly dry.  But what a mess for the poor puppies.  (Yeah, sure, I’m responsible enough to take care of 2 kitties too.)

And to cap off the day, the wind picked up so much, wind gusts started shaking the RV during the evening, which always makes me a little nervous, though I don’t tell Gracie that.  She gets nervous enough on her own.

What a strange day.