I woke up with a hang over. The night before, Mary had prepared a fabulous dinner of grilled grouper, corn and a garden tomato salad. Crunchy French bread, too, with butter. Yum! She also made delicious marguerittas (note that's plural!), the perfect beverage. In the morning I sat with my coffee, puzzling over the map of RI and rubbing my temples. I knew where I was spending the night, but I had no idea where to paint. The state is so small! Surely there is a fabulous ocean view any direction you look.
Colt State Park is the huge former estate of the gun manufacturer. It has sweeping views of the Providence River and acres of green. I parked in a lot and walked, looking for a view with shade. I noticed some people had parked on the top of a hill, under trees. I asked if I could do so also. Of course! I had only to drive up a bike path (no motorized vehicles allowed) and turn right at the old stone wall. Easily done and I set up next to my car with a breezy view of an old bridge and distant shore.
As I was tired and headachey, I slapped the paint on fairly quickly. The painting took shape in an awkward fashion but started to pull together in the second hour when I began to focus on detail. I packed up at 4:30, tired, but satisfied I'd put in a good afternoon of work.
Once in the Honda, I circled the top of the lawn, so as not to back up with the trailer, and suddenly I heard a loud crunch and, being me, I kept driving, then saw the trailer bounce into the air as a second ringing bang filled the air. I had just run over a huge rock, half buried in the ground. I got out and looked under the car and then under the trailer and saw no damage. I got back in and drove down the bike path slowly. There seemed to be nothing wrong.
Heading north out of Bristol, RI, is a narrow two lane that was extremely busy at 4:45. In my dazed and tired state, all I could do was watch my distance from the car in front of me. Suddenly in the rear view mirror, I saw my trailer tilt crazily to one side, riding up on one wheel, then bounce back down. Now what? Behind me was something in the road. I pulled over immediately (onto someone's lawn, since there were no shoulders or curbs) and saw that my spare tire was missing off the trailer. I pounded down the street towards it, watching cars stop abruptly in order to miss it. I was sweaty and paint-covered. I picked up the heavy tire, still connected to part of its mount, and turned back, balancing it on my stomach as I ran. Shaking, I set it in the backseat on my backpack. I looked at the trailer and the piece that held the tire to the tongue was completely sheared off. My poor trailer!! I climbed in the passenger side, to avoid getting hit myself, and pulled back into the line of traffic. Another disaster barely averted.
I made it up to Lowell, MA, by 6:30, parked and raced into the shower. I have still not looked to see the fate of the two wet paintings inside the abused trailer. That is for another day.