After years of dreams, Mike made plans to spend April and May riding 3500 solo miles across the USA, using the effort to raise money for cancer research at Dana-Farber as a supplement to his regular Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) fundraising. Donations, large and small, are welcomed and can be made via this link.
Then -- COVID. Rather than scrap the plan, a "virtual transcon" -- 3500 day trip miles, carrying all supplies for the day, including a tour through all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. If you would like to be added to the blog d-list, use this email link.
Thursday and Friday completed my rides through the 37 mainland municipalities of Rhode Island. I had high expectations for this southern leg -- after slogging through the urban forest of our 2nd most densely populated state, the seashore tour along the south coast should be fun? Right?
The rides formed a stark contrast to my Maine experience earlier this week -- there the road, and public beaches, lined the shores. In RI, private golf courses, social clubs, and manicured lawns did -- I felt like I needed binoculars to see the ocean. Particularly touring Newport on Juneteenth, I noted the absence of people of color. I would never consider myself "woke", but it was a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges we face as a nation.
I enjoyed touring the monuments to the Battle of Newport, fought in 1778. This was the first joint operation between Americans and the French fleet led by Admiral Rochambeau (aka Admiral Rock-Paper-Scissors). The American "1st Rhode Island Regiment" was one of the first multi-racial truly AMERICAN regiments, consisting of African-Americans, Native Americans and white colonists.
Today marked the final stop on my tour through the 351 Massachusetts cities and towns -- Cuttyhunk Island, town of Gosnold -- a chain of islands off of Woods Hole, "discovered" by Benjamin Gosnold in 1608. Fun facts: #1: lowest population (pop. 75 in the 2010 census) #2: lowest # of school age children: 1 #3: HIGHEST assessed value of property per capita.
Prior to 1864, Gosnold was part of Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard. I ran into a Gosnold Town Council member on the ferry -- I asked him "why did Gosnold become its own town?" -- the answer -- it was and is always about the $$ -- landed rich own most of the islands as vacation homes. Schoolchildren are a town's biggest expense -- since we have none, we have minimal expenses, so our property taxes can be low. We have no crime (since no one can come to our islands). Essentially -- they are living the isolated life I saw in RI -- just to its MAX -- valuable land, but paying nothing to the common good.
Friend Elmo, who shared my previous Mass351 tour, enjoyed today's spin through Gosnold's 1 mile of paved roads (plus a few dirt tracks). A great way to wrap up this journey!
3492 miles down -- 8 to go! If you think I have an 8 mile ride planned for tomorrow -- you haven't been reading the blog!