Through the Labyrinth

Joey here, writing from Danvers, Massachusetts.  We pedaled 68 miles today, 251 miles since we left NYC on Saturday, and we’ve now visited half the New England states.  Facebook and email readers: visit the blog site rideforhumanrights.com to see a daily statistics summary.

Not far from Pawtucket, we saw “chocolate” and stopped at Central Falls to have a look.

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After miles of the same mix of Rhode Island roads we encountered yesterday – ranging from smooth and well-shouldered to execrably cracked, potholed, sandy and gravelly – we spotted this by the highway. You won’t see that from a car!

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(Don’t get too excited.  Here’s one of Jeffrey’s pair of 99¢ gloves, for scale.)

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Just uphill from the snake was the Massachusetts line.  Note how the Rhode Island road shoulder disappears at the border.  Luckily, New England drivers have respected us.  But we’re nervous when we share the road with motor vehicles and have nowhere to escape.

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We paused for a rest on Wrentham common.  We enjoyed the sight of a classic New England church, and a Civil War monument at which someone placed flags and a wreath for Memorial Day.  The ceremony can’t have been for the veterans themselves; the last Civil War veteran died in the 1950s.

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We took a break in, of all places, a flower shop.  Carrie is from Texas and moved to her spouse’s hometown of Walpole.  She spotted the Sprint 26 and asked for photos.  We talked about Texas weather; this late in the season, biking there would be intolerable.  Kind Carrie like the goals of the Ride and will share the adventure with kids in her family and kids she works with, and will spread the word on Facebook.  She also creates beauty with flowers.

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Two hours later, we saw Boston on the horizon.

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No visit to Boston is complete without encountering construction, and getting lost.  Jeffrey listens to voices – the GPS – but when 3 left turns are possible, and the voice says only, “Turn left” . . . you get the idea.  Several kind passers-by were no help in finding a bikeway at the edge of the city.  It took Officer Anderson to explain that construction had closed the entrance.  Being part of the justice business, she was intrigued by Human Rights First’s efforts to find counsel for refugees.  She showed us an alternate way.

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Russell, a transplant from Fort Greene, Brooklyn, called out to us from near the First Church of Christ, Scientist.  He begged us not to continue the Ride, fearing we’ll be killed by local drivers.  Jeffrey assured him that we are at home on city streets.  He talked about his work.  Jeffrey talked about the plight of refugees.  They wished each other well.

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Jeffrey finally found a bike route along the Charles River.

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Then he got lost again.  Fruitlessly asked several passersby for directions; none knew anything.  Mistakenly rode into a skateboard park.  Rode in circles.  Finally found the right route, the right bridge, and crossed the Charles.

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But we weren’t yet out of the Labyrinth.  In this park, we waved at a park cop who ignored us.  We asked kind fisherfolk who never had heard of Water Street.  Then we found Regina, who lives in Charlestown and knew exactly how to get where we needed to go.  Regina sells real estate just to pay the bills.  Her real passions include community gardening and volunteering at Red Sox games.  She rode with us, showed Jeffrey her beautiful garden, and set us on the right road.

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In Danvers, we passed through what had been the old Salem of witch trials.  A modern brick church stands on this site.

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Safely in Danvers, we met nephew Brian for dinner.  Brian is a special education teacher in Brookline.  He shares the attitude we have in the human rights field: success is elusive, but when one succeeds, it is sweet indeed.  It was nice to see a member of the family.  We’ve been on the road only 4 days, but it feels like a long time.

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Boston, like all United States cities, was built by unauthorized immigrants.  Like any human population, the immigrants were a mixed bag.   We wonder how those descended from witch-burners feel about letting immigrants and refugees into America today.

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Look what happened when the First Nations let in the English!

5 thoughts on “Through the Labyrinth

  1. Jeffrey – what an incredible trip!! Love reading your posts and looking at all the pictures. Youwill come very close to the Yankee Barn House I built near the ocean in Hampton, New Hampshire.Enjoy and most importantly . . . BE SAFE!!!Mary😊

    Date: Wed, 27 May 2015 03:18:19 +0000
    To: tip424@hotmail.com

  2. Manhattan to Salem..in only a few days….I guess you push further northand/or east? still but I imagine you and NYC do miss one another already…

  3. Sounds like you’ve already succeeded, spreading knowledge and understanding where ever you go. Safe travels!

  4. All the best to you and Joey as you continue on your journey. I’m enjoying all your posts and photos! Deborah

  5. HRF is lucky to have you on their team! Keep up your incredible work, and take a break for a lobster roll or clam chowder every now and then.

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