By the final day of our trip, we’d already been to Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun casino, where once again I proved I have no business gambling, and designed our own jewelry at a Mystic bead store. That Saturday morning we boarded a ferry in New London with hundreds of Glastonbury high schoolers. Midway across the sound we felt a thud and the engine slowed to a crawl for a moment, then regained its momentum across a fog-enshrouded sound. The official story is the boat hit a lobster pot but some of us still believe it felt more like a marine mammal.
We arrived to damp, overcast skies and immediately headed to the recommended Orange Cat Café near the harbor docks to warm up with a hot drink and pastry. As we exited, a guy told us the weather radar did not look encouraging. Actually, I think he said it was going to get nasty. When you’re on vacation, though, such inconveniences as a little rain and wind don’t sound so ominous.
We ambled down one of the island’s retail centers, shopping and stopping frequently – sometimes for me to take a picture with my temperamental digital camera, like the grassy residential driveway below. Eventually, we came to a bicycle shop and rented a couple of mopeds to explore the other side of the island where many of the highpoints could be found.
The first stop was the Southeast Lighthouse, and no sooner had we begun to head to the entrance when the skies began to spit rain. We maybe hung out at the tiny visitor’s center a little longer because of it, but eventually it was time to get back on the soggy bike seats and head farther south along the island’s outer road, toward nearby site No. 2 – Mohegan Bluffs.
We never stopped, not intentionally anyway. It’s one thing to be caught in a downpour and quite another to be slicing across the landscape in a fast-moving moped as rain drops harden into hail. Between the rumbles and distant lightning, we yelped and gulped and winced as our faces were pelted with shards of ice. Yes, it was most unpleasant and there was only one thing worse than getting lost at this juncture in the “adventure.” That’s having the moped’s carburetor suck in too much rainwater and conk out. At the farthest point from town.
Sue and I were lucky our moped just sputtered but still continued sporadically forward. Sarah and Tracy weren’t so lucky and so we left them at an American Legion building to go get help. The rescue vehicle was a pickup truck, in which they shared the cab seat with the owner’s Rottweiler. Once we were all reunited, there was only one thing to do: warm our wet selves with a couple of Bloody Marys and pounds of seafood at Finn’s near the ferry landing. My girlfriends went for fresh lobster (and lots of it!); I opted for scallops.
Before we knew it, it was time to board the boat again, wearing our new Block Island sweatshirts and jackets for warmth and again sharing the ride with the same keyed-up kids from that morning. The evening ended as all good girls-only trips do, with us wolfing down pizza and grinders watching a chick flick in Tracy’s downstairs movie room in Quaker Hill.
Even being holed up that Sunday in airports and having the middle seat on both plane legs didn’t dim my vacation afterglow. Being laid off when I returned to work did.