2:40 PM, Nov 7, 2005
Six Point Eight Miles
Remember when I said that in my walks, I always went wanting for something more? Yesterday, instead of a "normal" walk of just two or three miles, I walked to Crown Center, and then kept walking. What has always made me turn on my heel when walking in that direction has been the gigantic hill that bars most of the way, from Pershing to 31st. It's a continuous steep grade for about a half mile. But I was bored and full of inexplicable energy yesterday, so I just said, "to hell with it," and started up the hill on McGee.
While walking, it's amazing, how many things you notice that you never do, while driving. I must have driven up that hill on McGee a hundred times before, but I never noticed the big stained-glass window over at the Children's Hospital. I also never noticed how goddamned steep and long that goddamned hill is. I started walking up the hill at my normal brisk pace, and I was panting in minutes. Refusing to take a break from an exercise as undemanding as walking, I continued, and found that after a short while, I didn't even notice the fatigue anymore. What reminded me, however, was the sweat.
About an hour after leaving home. I stepped onto the crosswalk on 31st street, where Gillham crosses it. The top of the hill, just about the highest point in town. I figured I didn't want to have come this far, and simply turn around, so I just kept going. I walked and walked, past my old place on Armour, past the school on 39th, past the turnoff for Rockhill and the Nelson. I kept walking as I followed the southerly and increasingly easterly course of Gillham Road, and the park that runs along the bulk of its length. I saw massive, centuries-old oaks and sycamores, some so huge it made my jaw drop. I watched the houses get crappy, then nice, then crappy, then nice again, and I wound my way to the east-west street past which, I was certain by this time, I would not go.
The park ended at Brush Creek Parkway, and I found myself walking down Harrison, where half the houses are for sale, oddly enough. The rushing traffic, broad expansive lawns, and beautiful giant old houses indicated 47th Street to me long before I looked up at a street sign just to make sure. I was about a mile east of the Plaza, in the nice neighborhood that crowds between the Nelson Atkins Museum and the University of Missouri- Kansas City. I started walking west, figuring I needed to go that way anyway. I was at 1000 East, and my apartment is at 400 West.
I walked into the Country Club Plaza at about 3:30 PM, in time to see a multitude of angry drivers hurrying to be in front, as they drove hastily toward the plentiful free parking garages strewn about the area, disguised to look like a hundred Doge's palaces, or something. I had finally felt the effects of the long walk. I had walked just under seven miles, in about two hours, and my feet were reminding me that my shoes where not of the comfortable sort. I had a mind to get a juice somewhere, and catch the 51 back home. Amazingly, I found no juice, and settled for a Sprite, before walking over to the bus stop on Roanoke, where I learned that I was fifteen minutes late for the once-an-hour bus.
It was a beautiful day- sunny, in the 60s -, so I just took a seat, made some phone calls, and just took in the day.
I love Kansas City.