Old Salem, September 9, 2017

So, it has been a hot, very hot, minute since I’ve written in this blog. I know this. Truth is, we’ve not been walking and when we did, it was for just a bit and all the places we’d been before. Nothing new and nothing to talk about. But, I realized that this isn’t the point. The point is about health first and foremost. It doesn’t matter how little we walk or if we’ve been there. It’s a combination of chronicling, exploring, health, and personality. We may get lucky and hit all those points in a week, but we know we won’t for the most part. We need to write and be accountable for the job we set out to do, right? I think so.

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Old Salem Museum and Gardens

 

Another thing is that with the weather so unbearably hot during the summer, in conjunction with me playing gigs on Friday nights, it was miserable to get up and walk in those conditions. So, we didn’t. And, we won’t. But, now, the weather is cooling down and fall is coming. We can get back to business. Even in the winter, it’s not too bad. We can always add layers. That’s what we’ll do. Summers, though? Nah.

Well, today we started our comeback. or at least our reentry into the lifestyle. We were determined to just get our “walking legs” back under us and that’s what we did. And, if we were going to do that, why not do it in one of our favorite places in town? Why not do it in one of this city’s most famous gems? Why not Old Salem Museum and Gardens? Why not indeed…?

Stephanie and I have tried to do the “10k by 10a” since I realized it was much easier to walk in the morning when it was cooler and before our day was interrupted with misery. We found that it was easier to do that and the misery was to a minimum. But, we also know that in these early stages or re-entry, 10,000 steps is a lot to throw on my large body. We have to, as I said earlier, ease back into it. I’m writing this post at 1:18 pm on Saturday and as of now, we’re sitting at just under 5000 steps. I think that was an honorable start. We will get closer or upwards of 7500 by the end of the day, I feel.

We parked at the parking lot of the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem. Spent a little time talking with a few of the vendors, including Gnomestead Hollow and the Official Pickle Sponsor of The Less Desirables, Niki’s Pickles. We walked up to Main Street and walked north, where Stephanie dispensed some knowledge of Old Salem to some wonder wanderers. We went through one of the twin alleys over to God’s Acre and then turned south on Church Street back to Race Street and then back up to West Street where we turned, well, west and back to our vehicle.

20170909_133119We left there and drove to Trade Street where we had breakfast at Mary’s Gourmet Diner, our Official Carb Loader. We then rode to Underdog Records and spent some time with some of our record collecting pals. So, it’s still early in the day and I will have some steps in from record washing and just walking about. It wasn’t 10k steps but it’s a great start, we believe.

Thank you to Omega Sports for the awesome Brooks shoes and Thorlos socks. You can get all your walking equipment needs at Omega Sports. They are the sports hook up for the everyday active types. Thank you to Mary’s Gourmet Diner, Twin City Hive and Hoots Beer Company for sponsoring us and caring about our best health.

Go out there and explore our city!

Until next time, get to steppin’!!

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Rockin’ the Vote and the Art of Stretching

I apologize to my readers and sponsors for not posting more, but I’ve still been getting into the groove of walking again. That ingrown toenail did a lot of damage, more than the pain, but the downtime. Thanks doc, I know it’s for the best. Over the last three weeks, for various reasons, Stephanie and I have been walking the downtown area, some (most) in places we’ve already walked. It’s mostly a steady, consistent walk, in familiar territory and we had things going on in the area; it was convenient. Plus, no matter how many times we walk this area, there is so much history that we learn something, see something, or find something we didn’t know or know about before.

First rule of walking club, though… stretch!!!! Stretch before you embark, hydrate and rest when you need to. One of those, I got down pat. The other two, not so much. So, drink that water before you leave your house if you don’t want to carry anything with you, or get a Camelbak (available at Omega Sports) or something like it; although that may be a bit

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Historic sign in front of Plant 64

much on a city excursion. And, stretch. Stretch. Stretch! Your muscles aren’t made just get out and go. You have to work them up to that, even a rudimentary thing like walking. Moving about isn’t too strenuous but I learned the hard way this weekend, don’t take it for granted. Let’s talk about the journey this week.

 

We parked on Fourth Street and walked east to Research Parkway. We turned north and walked by the area now known as Plant 64, a former tobacco plant dating back to around 1916, that has been converted into a luxury apartment community and some office spaces. We walked to Fifth Street and stopped. I was already feeling the affects of being slightly dehydrated and not stretching. We turned west and walked Fifth up to Main Street.

On that segment, we passed by the lovely Bailey Park where the Wake-Up Walk happened for Family Services. We missed that one as we got a late start on the morning. We already knew we weren’t going to make the “10k by 10a” goal, but we were going to go for as long as we could. We weren’t lying in bed being lazy cusses and that was the important part. Stephanie, who used to work in Old Salem said she’d like to at least get close to the area to see if the leaves had turned, yet. Incidentally, I do recommend you get by Old Salem in the next week or so as the leave will start really turning by then.

So on Main, we turned south, as that would lead us directly into Old Salem (since that is the main street in which gives the street its name). We passed by the RAI building, the headquarters of Reynolds American, the tobacco company, if for some reason you didn’t know that. We also went by the new Kimpton Cardinal Hotel and Katharine Brasserie that occupies the original RJR Building. A building of much importance to our city and to the country, really. That building was the prototype of the Empire State Building in New York City. But, it is my belief that this town wouldn’t be the booming municipality that it was in the early 20th Century, nor the booming city it has become over the last 10 years without that building, what it stood for and what legacy it left. Without Richard Joshua Reynolds and his company, there’d be very

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Office for the day…

little happening in this city. It could be just any other small town. Next to it is the “box the RJR Building came in,” the old Wachovia building, or the newer Winston Tower, the second tallest building in town.

 

We continued south and passed the new “Wachovia” building, now known as the Wells Fargo building after passing two very miserable places. The Federal Courthouse and the Hall of Justice. Both are courts of law among other things. Both are eyesores of this city and both hold a lot of bad stories, bad people, bad memories and bad incidents within their walls. I know they’re needed but they’re just miserable places and being betwixt them is depressing. Luckily, they were washing the exterior of the Federal building and that gave us something interesting to look at as we passed by them.

We passed down into Old Salem and walked until we got to West Street and well, we turned west. We stopped by the Cobblestone Farmers Market, a delightful collection of farmers, growers, makers and retailers of locally produced wares. There’s something for just about everyone there. After stopping, talking to a few merchants and resting our non-stretched bodies for a few minutes, we went back east on West, through the Old Salem Square, where there was an artistic gathering of local or at least moderately local artisans selling their wares. We turned east on Academy Street and north on Church Street. Going north on Church leads you to God’s Acre, the Moravian graveyard.

Old Salem, itself is something I could write twenty blog posts on. Beautifully restored and curated homes (privately owned), period-authentic costumes, an authentic bakery, a hat shoppe, history, fables, truths, all there in Old Salem. If you’ve not been or haven’t been in a while, you owe it to yourself to pay the entrance fees and do some touring. If you live here in Winston-Salem and haven’t done it, shame on you. It’s fantastic stuff. Stephanie worked in costume there for many years, so I get the cheap tour, but we don’t get to go into the houses and exhibits. We have done that and she tells me about them all the time.

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Sporting our “We Voted Early” stickers.

I’m lucky. You should go do the tours, I’m going to leave it at that.

 

Still slightly suffering from the effects of not stretching, most of it had worn off by then and I felt decent, we stopped at the Vierling House (closed for renovations) for me to prepare the long walk through God’s Acre, by sitting on the bench outside of it. We then passed by many rows of plain white grave markers, some going back to the late 1700s. In past weeks, we visited the city cemetery, home of many of Winston-Salem’s famous founders’, industrialists’ and favorite families’ (Reynolds, Hanes, Babcock, Vogler, etc.) for their eternal resting places. That is just on the other side of God’s Acre and it’s very interesting to visit all of the graves there in both cemeteries. You could make a day out of the city cemetery alone.

We then emerged outside the walls of God’s Acre onto Cemetery Street at the continued Church Street. We continued north along Church until we got to First Street, turning east on First to Chestnut Street past Albert Hall and Victoria Hall, named so because of, you guessed it, tobacco. They were canning locations for Prince Albert tobacco (yes in a can) and some of the premiere biotech companies in the nearby Innovation Quarter. We then unnamedproceeded to the Forsyth County Government Building where Stephanie and I exercised our right to vote. We did wait in line for about an hour and forty five minutes, but it was
worth it. We were sitting around 8000 steps at that time. After finishing up there we continued north on Chestnut until we got back to Fourth, turning east and back to our car.

We drove over to our official “Carb-Loader,” Mary’s Gourmet Diner and after noshing on her lovely wares we walked up to Atelier on Trade (which I believe now wants to be called Atelier Bakery on Trade), our official “Caffeinator,” for a couple of coffee drinks and then over to our “Liquid Reward,” Hoot’s Roller Bar and Beer Company for our just desserts. We ended up walking a little more throughout the day and ended up doing 11,524 steps, equalling 5.74 miles and burning 3349 calories. I’d like to remind you to visit my sponsor, Omega Sports for your walking/running/sporting needs. Again, they carry Camelbak products as well as the Garmin Vivofit3 and Brooks shoes. I’m thankful to them for getting me out and walking.

I want to reiterate the importance of the stretching and hydrating, though. I mentioned it only a few times here, but it was extremely difficult to do the walk and I was cramping, a lot. I have some weird muscles that tighten up on the outside of my legs, slightly above the ankles, and it affects my gait which, in turn, affects my back. I was a sore man at the end of the evening. I didn’t sleep too awfully much either and that is also important, not only for walking but for everyday life. Take care of your bodies folks, eat well, drink lots of water and stretch! Thank you for reading.

Get to steppin’!

Downtown WSNC and Beyond, July 9, 2016

I know we’ve walked downtown WSNC a good bit and the reason we did it this week was more about race against time that it was exploring, although, we still did some of that.

I’m going to back up just a hair. Chad Nance, of Camel City Dispatch (also a filmmaker) and I worked on the video intro for the upcoming web series on Friday and we started walking at 6am to get the best light and it was cooler but you could tell it was going to get thick as the day went on. I’m not going to tell you where we did that as I want you to have extra incentive to watch; to see if you can figure out where I was in it. But, anyway, by 8am that morning I had already walked 7000 steps. By 2:30pm that day, I had my 10,000.

The last 1800 steps were a doozie because it was really, really hot and I almost lost it in that. After that, I walked as little as possible, I’d say because I ended up with 12, 019 steps, walking 6.01 miles and burning 3388 through midnight. I also drank 96oz of water. I’ve upped my water intake, too. I’ve got to get rid of some weight.

Now, all that being said, I realized it was pretty easy to get all those steps earlier in the day. It was cooler and the humidity, while there wasn’t as bad. So, Stephanie and I agreed we were going to walk before we ate and try to be through all of our steps and seated at Mary’s Gourmet Diner by 10am. So, we set off on out trek.

We decided it was a matter of beating the heat today and an experiment so we were less about taking new scenic routes and stuck with what we knew. We knew we were coming back to Mary’s and Atelier on Trade afterwards, so we parked in Mary’s lot at 6:45am which was before any of the other places in town were open. So, there was no search for a parking space. Mary’s lot is at 723 North Trade Street and we started there and headed south on Trade passing by Finnigan’s Wake, which was being attended to by two firetrucks. We were afraid something had gone wrong but it seems everything was okay, and that’s good; it’s where Stephanie and I met.2016-07-09 23.24.37

We followed Trade until Fifth Street where we turned east and walked until Main Street where we turned south. We walked Main Street all the way down into Old Salem and west on, well, West Street, where we met up a friend or two at the Cobblestone Farmers’ Market. When we were done talking, we walked south on Salt Street until we came to Walnut. We turned east on Walnut back to Main and went into the traffic turnaround at the end of Old Salem’s Main Street (WSNC’s Main Street picks back up past the roundabout at Salem Avenue) where we exited out of Old Salem and headed west until we hit The Strollway. We walked The Strollway from it’s southern most point on Salem Ave, northward to its northernmost point at Town Run Lane. There are some hills on that bad boy and we walked fairly briskly so we were winded. We had to stop along the way not once but twice. It wasn’t over hard but again, we were winded.

When we got to Town Run Lane and Second Street (again, where The Strollway ends) we walked Town Run north until we crossed Third Street and along the private drive (I believe formerly the connector to Fourth Street) and turned east on Fourth. We then went north on Trade until Seventh Street. We realized we were going to come up a bit short if we walked straight to Mary’s so we turned east on Seventh and then north on Liberty Street until we reached Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. We walked west on MLK until we again reached Trade. We turned south and decided that even though we were 430-ish steps shy of 10k we were going to go ahead and stop and eat. We were both famished at the point.

So, we ate at Mary’s, our “official carb loader,” and then continued south on Trade until we got to Atelier on Trade, our “caffeinator.” About 10 yards away from Atelier’s we hit our 10,000 step goal, according to the Garmin Vivofit 3 (thanks to the sponsorship of Omega Sports)! That was exciting. And had we not stayed an extra 5 minutes talking at Mary’s we would have made 10,000 by 10am; we were about four minutes past. That got me to thinking. I felt better eating after the walk, we missed the heat and humidity and we had the rest of the day to do whatever after we ate and had coffee. Because we did this by 10am (not counting the 3 minutes), I set a new goal for us. We’re going to do what I’m calling “10k before 10a” which means 10,000 steps before 10am. Well, we had to walk back to our car that was sitting at Mary’s and that gained us a few more steps.

I am an organizer of a street festival in downtown Winston-Salem, that happens every second Sunday of the month from May until October, called Second Sundays on Fourth or SSO4, for short. I had to do the voice overs for Sunday’s event so we parked on the corner of Spruce Street and Fourth. We walked to The Less Desirables Studios so I could do that. Getting there, in the building, to the studio, incidental walking and walking the two blocks back to the car, added to the step count.

Then, my sister and brother-in-law met up with us at our house and we went back downtown, back to Mary’s parking lot and walked around with them. We followed Trade, south, all the way to Fourth (making a stop at Artivity on the Green on Liberty Street) and around Marshall Street to the north, east on Fifth and back to Trade turning north and back to the car. We at dinner at another local restaurant and afterwards in the parking lot, I realized I was almost at 17, 000 steps so while we were talking I walked in big circles to get steps in. I hit 17k and then some.

At home, I realized that I was close to 18,000 but I didn’t want to go back out. Even though it was dark, I just didn’t feel like going outside. So, since I have a fairly open floor plan in my house, I made laps in the kitchen/living room until I hit 18k steps. Then after syncing with my phone/Garmin app, I realized I was not far, say .75 miles, from 9 miles on the day. Stephanie reminded me that 9.33 miles is the equivalent to a 15k (if they even have those) and I said, well what the heck? and continued on until that. Then I realized that got up to almost 20,000 steps. You guessed it, I went on. When I reached 20,000, my app said I was but. 05 miles away from 10 miles. So, of course, I had to do that.

So, all-in-all, yesterday, I ended up with 20,139 steps, walked 10.01 miles and burned 3782 calories. That is the most I’ve ever known me to walk in one day, although as a younger man, I probably did that, plus all the time I spent in Walt Disney World, but for sure since I’ve gotten old and fat, this is the most. My Vivofit even showed that I had gotten my goal… TWICE! I was 2016-07-09 23.26.18proud of myself. Plus, I drank 144oz of water throughout the day. That’s an overall fantastic day. Well, we’re not done, just yet, and I apologize for this being so long.

Sunday was SSO4 and it was a long day; lots of walking back and forth, checking on the bands, checking on the vendors, checking on the guests, it was a lot of walking. I drank 112oz of water and ended up with 6810 steps, walking 3.29 miles and burning 2874 calories. The weekend total was 38,968 steps, 19.31 miles (wish I could have hit 20) and 10,044 calories. Thank you, again, to Omega for supplying me with the Garmin Vivofit 3 to keep track of all of this.

We didn’t get to our “liquid reward” at Hoots Roller Bar & Beer Company on Saturday because we were under a time restraint but I did have 2 ESBs from Hoots at dinner on Friday night. And, I appreciate that they’re there for Stephanie and me and support what we do. All my sponsors are awesome and so is this town. Let’s say that I’m tired and a bit sore, but I hope to keep up a minimum daily step count (of 2500-5000) and water intake (64oz) to keep my road to wellness in focus. Sorry, we didn’t talk about many landmarks or points of interest, like I said, this was more an experiment than practical exploration. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more about the web series.

Where did you walk to? Get to steppin’!