My Tin Can Sailor Remembers Those Years – Rhode Island

The Town of Narragansett, Rhode Island is the home of Fishermen’s Memorial State Park.  We booked 10 days at this former World War II defense installation which was disguised as a farm.  The silo, still standing, was used as a command post and observation tower, and is now used as the park headquarters.

IMG_3650 farm style

While bicycling in the park,  the old ammunition bunkers can be seen under the hiking trails.

IMG_1686 Fishermens Memorial campsite IMG_3644

IMG_3668 Lucy loves her beef bone

The campground is on Point Judith Road.  The Point Judith Lighthouse is a 51-foot tower built in 1857.  It contains a fourth-order Fresnel lens from Paris which is still in use today.  Unfortunately, the gate to the lighthouse complex was locked in April 2013 and off-limits due to damage from winter storms, so we couldn‘t get too close.

IMG_1672 Judith Point Lighthouse circa 1810

Lucy made a friend while we were at the lighthouse.  She is also a Bichon Frise, but she looks a little chunky compared to ‘lean and  leggy’ Lucy.

IMG_1676 Lucy makes a friend

We went to Battleship Cove (maritime heritage museum) in Fall River to tour the world’s largest collection of US Naval ships.  Mike served in the Navy as a ’tin can sailor’ from 1967-1971 as a radarman on the USS Holder.  The USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. at Battleship Cove is a destroyer just like the one he was on.  We walked all over the deck and up and down what felt like miles of skinny hallways with lots of doors, hatches and little rooms with specific functions.  Mike showed me where he worked, slept, shopped, ate, and recounted many stories from his memory of those Navy days.  And just in case his service dates lead you to believe that he may have gone to Viet Nam, no.  He was on the ‘love boat’.  He did three tours – His first tour was a NATO goodwill tour in the North Atlantic, including England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, the Azores, Caribbean Islands, Florida (during Spring break!), New York, and Iceland.  His second tour had great stops in Spain (Barcelona), France (Villefrance), Italy (San Remo, Naples), Greece (Athens), and Malta.  His third tour wasn’t so great as they went to Turkey, Crete, and Spain but the ports weren’t as good as his love boat tours.  He recalls how “The Sand Pebbles” movie starring Steve McQueen was released about the time he was in Ireland.  American sailors were idolized by all the girls and the story ends as Mike’s eyes glaze over and he stares off into space.

Tin Can SailorsIMG_3819 BattleshipIMG_3743 Papa chips paintIMG_3687 Mike's bunkIMG_3737IMG_3716

Our close friends in Bristol, Rhode Island, Mark and Darlene, returned from their jazz fest weekend in New Orleans in time to party with us for a few days.  Darlene and I worked together as peers before I retired almost 10 years ago, and have remained close ever since.  Mark and Darlene also own a B&B in Louisiana called The Caldwell House (www.thecaldwell.com).  It is a 106-year-old villa which was awarded the “Best Small Town Inn of Louisiana for 2013” by the ‘Official Best Of’ travel show.  When we took off on our sailing adventure, Mark and Darlene promised to meet up with us wherever we might go.  And they did!  They met us in Ensenada Mexico, Cabo San Lucas, Miami FL, Mallorca Spain, and Santa Margherita Ligure Italy.  Now that we are in the “land yacht”, we’ve planned a wild vacation this summer at a location which you will hear more about this summer!

Darlene Mark Mike LindaIMG_3851 Darlene and Linda

For our final day in Rhode Island, we feasted on a delicious and decadent Mothers Day Dinner with Mark, Darlene, and Darlene’s mother Rita.  Mark made an impressive pitcher of Sangria (which went straight to my head), and Darlene showed off her culinary skills.  Totally sated, we found our way back to the campsite.  In the morning, we broke camp and headed up to Massachusetts.  We are currently in Scusset Beach State Reservation at the north entrance to the Cape Cod Canal.

Cheers!

One thought on “My Tin Can Sailor Remembers Those Years – Rhode Island

  1. Found my way here because I was looking up the campground. I spent quite some time there in my teens and I was hoping to see how it still looked. So glad you shared. 🙂

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