Monday, December 14, 2009

Before You Can Walk, You Have to Ride…Or It’s Off to Musa’s Slaughterhouse We Go

It’s still my intention to walk the 227 plus miles from my house to Mass General Hospital this June; that is of course once I create my Non Profit Organization (which I find out takes time…lots of time), fill out paperwork to attract and attach various sponsors, contact sponsors and wait for them to call me back (which I find out, takes time…lots of time), train to walk long distances in all kinds of weather, and drive the walk to see what neighborhoods and terrain I’ll be going through. Will I need a weapon? Only kidding. How many hills will there be? How steep are they? Will I need rock climbing shoes? Only kidding.

So on September 26th (quite a while ago now, I was hoping to blog sooner, but these have been busy times), Rachel…my 13 year-old daughter, also my navigator, as well as my cameraperson, set out to make the ride of the walk. We had to go on all the side roads…no highways-that’s not how the Google Walking Map is laid out. We had to go over only the bridges that you can walk on; that would not be the Throgs Neck or the Whitestone Bridge…this is a story for another time. After driving 20 miles we had made it just over the 59th Street Bridge. This took us about an hour and 15 minutes…not so unusual really…not so usual yet. It takes me about this long even if I was to take the highway, and not the side roads to get to the city. Once over the bridge, we have to traverse ourselves through traffic, traffic lights, people crossing…(just because they feel like it), as well as the directions themselves. My navigator was doing an excellent job. We drove about 10 miles to get to upper Manhattan or Harlem, and from here we traverse uptown to the Bronx…the South Bronx. I think that until this day, while I’ve lived in New York most of my life, I thought that the Bronx was the Bronx Zoo-it’s not…not even close. Rachel and I drove about 1 mile, when we came to another light. This part of the Bronx was filled with many burned out warehouse type buildings, and boarded up apartments. At the light, we looked over to our right, and noticed a warehouse building with a wide open space about 20 feet long and 8 feet high, there was wire gating across the lower part of the opening…and inside some very cute sheep, goats, chickens…very nice. Rachel turned to me and said “this is a strange place for a petting zoo!” While we waited for the light to change we scanned the front of the building to see more about what we were gazing upon, and then we noticed this: “Musa’s Slaughterhouse-You Pick ‘Em, we Kill ‘Em!”. Wow, this is some interesting neighborhood. Rachel was sure that it must be illegal and that we needed to contact the police; I told her that I was equally sure that they knew about it, and that’s it mustn’t be illegal. She then said “you’re going to be walking here?” I told her that I probably would, but that I wouldn’t be alone when I walk; after I said that, I thought “I’m going to be walking here?” From Musa’s it took 20 more miles before we were out of the Bronx, (can’t say the scenery improved much), until we hit Pelham in Westchester. Twenty miles though, that may be the limit to how much I will be able to walk in a single day. What if I can’t walk that far on that day? I would like to stay overnight at a place relatively close to where I stop walking for the day. Not too many places along the way to stay here. Definitely stuff to think about.

We drove 80 miles to Bridgeport, CT and it took us 5 hours, this was only one third of the total trip…we decided to hit the open road, to make up some time. I was fairly confident that the next 100 miles of terrain along the Boston Post Road would be mostly the same. We drove about two hours before we got off near Hopkinton, MA (about 28 miles from Boston), I wanted to see the hill that is often referred to during the Boston Marathon as “heartbreak hill”. How steep was this hill? It definitely was steep, but not as big an issue for a walker as it would be for a runner…but of course I was driving, not walking…not yet anyway. Again, this will be something to think about. All tolled it took Rachel and I ten hours to drive from our house on Long Island to what will be my final destination in June-Massachusetts General Hospital. We were exhausted, Rachel was in tears; I could have used a drink. We did locate a Dairy Queen at the tail end of the trip just outside of Boston…it lifted us up a bit. There aren’t any Dairy Queens anywhere closer than two hours from where we live, so this was a treat. This trip would usually take 3 ½ hours to drive, and will probably take me, depending on how many miles I walk a day, and what my ultimate route will be, somewhere around 16 days, or so. Again, there are definitely things to think about.

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