Since it was sunny and warm, we decided to hop on my Harley and turn what would otherwise be a mundane errand into a pleasant local ride. We started out from Coventry around 10:30 a.m., so there was light traffic as we rode Route 3 to Route 102 through West Greenwich and Exeter; then routes 4, 1 and 138 through North Kingstown; over the Jamestown Bridge; over the Newport Bridge; and to the DMV branch in Middletown on Valley Road.
Until recently, the DMV headquarters was located in Pawtucket. It was notorious for long wait times, often several hours. The headquarters moved to a new building in Cranston, but I suggested that we go to the Middletown branch since it's seldom crowded. My advice proved correct on this day.
We arrived at 11:20 a.m., got ticket number B-438, and then made a beeline for the bathroom, before my bladder exploded. There were only seven numbers ahead of us.
I used the bathroom first, and Anna went next, while I listened to numbers being called on the P.A. system. In the short time she was in the bathroom, four numbers were called. I was worried we might miss our turn, so I knocked on the door and told her to hurry. "I didn't think we'd get out of the bathroom fast enough," Anna said as we sat on a bench and watched an LCD screen with interesting facts (did you know that if you are traveling 65 mph, it takes the length of a football field to stop?).
Soon it was our turn. Anna showed her course certificate and driver's license, and paid a $26.50 fee. In return, the clerk gave her a motorcycle permit, which she must hold for at least 30 days, and then return to the DMV and pay another $26.50 to get her motorcycle license (or, more accurately, an operator's license with a motorcycle endorsement). We were in and out in less than 30 minutes.
We had a few more hours and the weather was perfect, so we decided to ride to Bristol, a scenic town on the bay. There was some heavy traffic on Route 114 in Middletown due to construction, but we soon were moving at a nice, easy pace, with no cars breathing down our neck as we enjoyed views of Narragansett Bay. After going through downtown Bristol, we stopped at a Ricotti's sandwich shop and got lunch to go, bringing it to Colt State Park, where we sat on a bench near a boat launch.
"This is the perfect day, baby," Anna said. "I actually enjoyed going to the DMV."
After lunch, we lingered on the bench (which was dedicated for someone's 90th birthday last summer, according to a plaque that read, "Please rest for a while and enjoy the view") as we soaked in the sunshine. Neither of us wanted the day to end. But we had one more errand to do: renew my plumbing license at the Dept. of Labor & Training in Cranston. We continued through Warren and Barrington before getting on the highway for the ride to Cranston. Even the highway ride was good, since we beat the afternoon rush.