The Phoenix Nest

Wawaloam Campground, near Providence, Rhode Island

Wawaloam Campground, near Providence, Rhode Island

A Stop on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour

By Jim Fulton

 

About This Page

A Message from the Phoenix

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Abstract

I spent a week at Wawaloam Campground, near Providence, Rhode Island. My visit was not to see fossils but to refresh memories of the three years we lived here half a century ago, when I was going to graduate school at Brown University.

Page Prerequisites
Table of Contents
Page Specifications
Id Flights_GFT_2018_0501
Title Wawaloam Campground, near Providence, Rhode Island
Subtitle A Stop on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour
Keywords Providence, Rhode Island, Wawaloam Campground, Brown University, Newport
Author Jim Fulton
Author's URL http://fenixnest/Phoenix/
Copyright 2017
Status Published: 2018/5/9
Last Revised 2018-05-09

Providence, Rhode Island

Arrived 2018/5/1
Day of Tour 283
Nights Stayed 7
Departed 2018/5/8
Map miles from last stop 41
Mileage on arrival 36,250
Actual miles from last stop 220
Accumulated miles for trip 17,733

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I spent a week at Wawaloam Campground, near Providence, Rhode Island. My visit was not to see fossils but to refresh memories of the three years we lived here half a century ago, when I was going to graduate school at Brown University.

Page Contents

Providence, Rhode Island

Report provided by Jim Fulton:

The Phoenix brought me to Rhode Island last Tuesday. Yesterday I took the truck and camera to do a memory tour, a personal thing that doesn't belong on his public account, though I fair say, some of these photos will end up on his blog. He said he had work to do, but he never seems to get anything done, when I go out on my own.

It'll be 50 years this coming September when Dorothy and I arrived in Rhode Island. I remember a night in a motel room watching Debby Barnes win the Miss America contest on TV, a girl Dorothy knew from Kansas, who was also a roommate of my sister-in-law, Judy. Excited we were!

Reply by the Phoenix:

Jim might not think I get any work done when he goes off, but I was watching, and sometimes that's an essential part of working.

What I noticed was the peculiar way his memory works. As he drove around Newport, he struggled to distinguish things he was seeing for the first time from those he "remembered" from half a century before. On the other hand, when he drove by the house on Newport Way the second time, he immediately recognized it as the house where he and Dorothy had lived. Clearly the house had etched out a deeper groove in his memory than Newport, but not so deep that the first pass by it would call it to his attention.

One thing seems clear: Our talk in the Philosophy Department, lo those many years ago, about memories being images in our minds that we can compare to our perceptions, that talk was so much hokum! Jim didn't have two images, one from memory, one from his eyes, to compare with each other. He had one perceptual image that he recognized as coherent with memory, as familiar. Contrast that with his memory in Newport, when he wasn't sure whether he remembered things or not. There was an occasion when he compared a present perception to a past memory. As he drove along Ocean Drive he remembered seeing someone plucking and eating snails from the rocks above the water line. But this was a partially visual memory triggered by new, partially remembered perceptions.

Neurologists today tell us that memory and perception are tightly related. When I see something, I don't, like a camera, take an image of something and store it elsewhere in my brain for later processing. When I have a memory of something, like a man eating snails off the rocks on a beach, the very same neurons that fired when I first saw the incident, fire again when I remember it. Not all of them, and not in the same order. But to have a memory of the incident is the ability of the brain to trigger the same pattern of neurons.

Neurologists also tell us that those memories result from the "fire together, wire together" behavior of the brain. If a neuron fires upon receiving a signal from another neuron, then the synapse between those two neurons is strengthened. Now that, though indisputable on current evidence, can't be the end of it. The firing of a neuron is a single pixel in the complex system of neuronal activity that constitutes either a perception or a memory. In the very next instant, it will be firing as a part of a different perception or memory. So exactly how it is that certain patterns of neuronal firings become strengthened so as to become players in later memories or arguings or imaginings or dreamings: this has yet to be explained.

What seems clear is that the patterns imprinted on Jim's brain of the house in Rumford, had been strengthened by repeated perception to the point that a mere glimpse, once it broke through his attention, was enough to bring on the flood of memories.

Anyway, I suspect this will be a good foundation for a story to be told in in the Phoenix Nest.

The Journey to Providence

Last week I camped in eastern Connecticut; this week, in southwestern Rhode Island. There ain’t much distance between them, so you won’t see much change in the tourmap at the top of this page. I spent more time packing up on one end and setting up on the other (why is it that ‘up’ is the “right” particle to use for both these opposite activities?), than I did driving.

I’m still a long way (by RI standards) from where Dorothy and I lived that half century ago when we moved here. For me it was the right thing to do to further my education at Brown. For her it was wrenching both to leave Illinois and come here, and to leave here to go to Wichita. I never fully appreciated what a trooper she was.

Around Providence

The following report was provided by Jim Fulton:

Because of my current location in West Kingston, I started my memory tour by crossing the bridges over to Newport. This is significant, because Newport, more accurately the Ocean Drive around the island on which Newport is located, was a frequent day-trip for Dorothy and me. Its beautiful and once-secluded location made it a target for the very rich: the Robber Barons, the new money of the 20's, and seemingly (for there are many new mansions) the Robber Baron wannabes of the Trumpian era. I didn't take many photos of the mansions on this trip. Trump and his ilk have made me lose all respect for those who can game the system to get that wealthy. But I've attached a few photos from our earlier visits, to give you a taste.

From Newport I swung up through Fall River to Rumford, where Dorothy and I made our home during the three years we were there. I had convinced myself that the house where we lived had been replaced by a bank or the proverbial parking lot. But as I drove down Newport Avenue, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, the pair of Cape Cod houses. Surprised I was, but not so much that I couldn't turn a quick corner and find a place to park while I took some pictures. I've included those, along with some ancient ones for comparison.

I then drove up to Pawtucket to photograph Memorial Hospital, where Dorothy worked. For some reason the parking lot was almost empty. The last photo in the series tells why. Nothing lasts forever. I didn't take the time to inquire where the replacement hospital was.

Finally, I crossed the bridge to Providence and Brown University, the heart of my memories. I found Maxcy Hall, where the Philosophy Department was then located, and whose name I couldn't remember until I saw it above the door. I tried to locate the current PD on my GPS, but it refused to cooperate. Ah well, that has nothing to do with my memories.

I've included a few more old photos to round out the collection. I suspect this will be my last swing through Rhode Island. Bittersweet is nostalgia.

 

Photo Gallery for Providence

Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Eisenhower House
Newport, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Ocean Drive, Newport, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Ocean Drive, Newport, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Ocean Drive, Newport, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Ocean Drive, Newport, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Ocean Drive, Newport, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Ocean Drive, Newport, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Old Mills
Now Discount Stores
Fall River, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where we lived.
Rumford, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where we lived.
Rumford, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where we lived.
Rumford, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where we lived.
Rumford, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where we lived, from when we lived there!
Rumford, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Where Dorothy worked.
Now defunct!
Memorial Hospital
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Maxcy Hall
Then site of the Philosophy Department
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Maxcy Hall
Then site of the Philosophy Department
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Next door to Maxcy Hall
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Next door to Maxcy Hall
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Next door to Maxcy Hall
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Next door to Maxcy Hall
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island

Wawaloam Campground

This is a large, very attractive campground. There's a good mix of sun and shade. The camp sites are wide, though mine some somewhat skimpy fore and aft. What will bring parents is the wide range of activities for kids, not only a swimming pool, but a water slide, and much more.

Getting there from Connecticut was short but concerning. My GPS routed me over roads that conscientious traffic planners would not want heavy rigs to drive regularly, and that includes the Gardiner Road that services the campground itself. Perhaps if Google Maps told me more about the roads it routes users onto, I might have avoided some of them. But from the driving I did in the state, it appears that Rhode Island officials have made the decision that they can't afford both to pay themselves competitive salaries and to maintain the roads.

My site was satisfactory. It was wide enough for me to back into despite the tree and boulder right across the lane. I did have to park my trailer over the remains of a campfire that had been built there instead of in the fire ring. To be sure the grass and gravel site does not make a clear distinction between the part for trailers and the part for people. If I were the kind of camper that spent a lot of time outside in front of the RV, I would have found that burned ground annoyingly ugly. But I'm not, so for the most part, I didn't notice it.

I would have thought that management would have noticed and corrected the burn. But I got the impression that the staff doesn't think along those lines. They proved more surly than friendly. They even have a sign next to the office door that says, in effect, "Don't bother me unless it's very important."

A questionable way to greet customers, don't you think?

Photo Gallery for Wawaloam Campground

Wawaloam Campground
Wawaloam Campground
Wawaloam Campground
Wawaloam Campground
Wawaloam Campground
Wawaloam Campground
Wawaloam Campground
Wawaloam Campground
Wawaloam Campground
Address 510 Gardiner Road
West Kingston RI 02892
Home Page https://wawaloam.com/
Phone (401) 294-3039
Associations
  • none
Rate (net US$) $51
Pros
  • Lovely, spacious campground
  • Good mix of sun and shade
  • Extensive play areas, including a water slide
Cons
  • Staff more surly than friendly
  • Had to park trailer over old campfire
Reviews (as of 2018/5/5)
Reviewer Rating Out of
RV Park Reviews 7 Good 10
Good Sam 8 10
KOA n/a 5
Tripadvisor 4.5 5
Phoenix 7 10
  Site Type back-in  
  Site Size 8 10
  Ease of Access 7 10
  WiFiNotes 6 10

Next Stop

My next stop after leaving Providence was the Sunsetview Farm Camping Area in Massachusetts, from which to visit the Beneski Museum of Natural History and Dino Land(!)

Comments and Conversation

What follows are comments and conversations I have had with people about this page of The Phoenix Nest.

Dialog 1

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