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’!