Dave Henault has gone east for the winter

Dave Henault has left us.

For the winter and for Southeast Asia.

ocean state tackle picture

Dave’s the owner of Ocean State Tackle in Providence, a very well known figure in the fishing community and a total character. This winter, he’ll be riding his bicycle across three countries for exercise, pure enjoyment and to raise money for Pan Can, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. While we shovel, drive like we’ve never seen snow before and change out treble hooks for singles, Dave will be riding for a cause and we will follow him through this epic adventure.

Ocean State Tackle is an iconic castle on the corners of Branch Avenue and Charles Street that opens long before most have even made the coffee, let alone had one. He deals in rods, reels and lures but Dave excels at offering tackle made by local companies and selling fresh bait. Look for the giant squid and Buddha on the second floor exterior. Both are nods to his business and his faith.

 

 

 

prayer flags

Tibetan prayer flags fly above the door and a giant striper painted on the wood siding greets everyone. It’s not unusual to see Dave greeting customers, calling the police for the occasional car wreck or telling a new customer exactly what they need for a new rod and reel, right to the model numbers. The facade is a classic and has character, just like David.

To get all the details, we sat down with Dave and Captain Rene Letorneau of On The Rocks Charters at the Gourmet House on Providence’s Hope Street.

My arrival was a few minutes tardy; it’s always tricky and time consuming to pack properly for a trip north of Tower Hill. In a nod to his prior travels to and appreciation of southeast Asia, Dave had already ordered food for the table. If you haven’t enjoyed a tall plate of lort noodles from Gourmet House, it’s worth sneaking your car into the neighboring CVS lot when street parking is tight. They are small rice noodles bearing striking resemblance to three inch Slug-Go Albino Shads, and typically are stir-fried with green onions, bean sprouts and Chinese broccoli. They are dynamite, as was everything we ate while Dave explained his travels and how the ultra hip urbanites next to us ordering Crab Rangoon, drive him nuts. “No one over there eats that stuff,” he said, casting a disparaging look at table four.

“I’ll be ok,” he said. “I’m gangsta!” he added with only half a smile. This is Dave’s second trip through the region, on a route taking him through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and back. He’ll avoid the mountains, see monuments, statues, ancient cities and appreciate a season that’s “Dry, dry, dry,” he said, despite it also being their monsoon season. Dave’s clearly someone who can handle any situation. Better than most, he understands and respects people’s cultures and traditions, something which seems to be falling off the edge of this flat earth lately.

“It is better to travel well than to arrive,” wrote Gautama Buddha.

Image result for Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha

Dave’s plan is to leave Bangkok after a few days of rest then head east on his Salsa Marrakesh bicycle which he’s rigged for this trek. He’ll carry 25 pounds of gear and clothing plus eight pounds of water. He’s carefully chosen and outfitted the bike to carry only what he absolutely needs. Minimalism often benefits us the most. Ten extra pounds of gear means an extra six minutes pedaling uphill. The bikes tires are rated to last 25,000 kilometers, which equates to about 15,334 miles so he’s covered for his estimated 2500 miles trip east then west again. From Bangkok, he’ll pedal approximately sixty miles each day, stopping to rest and re-hydrate, eating fresh dragon fruit and seafood whenever it suits him. After burning six thousand calories a day, he’ll rest in any number of hotels and rooms for rent, where an average overnight stay costs between five and fifty dollars. Dave will stay in touch with Facebook and Whatsapp, his social media will include links to contribute to PanCan. Pancreatic cancer has been an issue for his family and friends so he’s raising much needed money for research. You can learn more about them at http://www.pancan.org.

Dave flew from the states on November 25 to Japan then to Bangkok. He arrived in Saigon on December 1, just in time to slip, fall and crack his noggin on the hotel floor. That’s one heck of a way to start a long vacation.  He expects to return to his shop in early April.

Look for him to be out front, under colorful, tattered prayer flags, talking to customers thankful for his safe return and eager to listen to his stories.

Safe travels Mr. Henault; fare thee well. 

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