Friday, September 08, 2006

Urban Hiking

I forgot to mention a close-to-home travel project I’m working on. Recently I read an article about people who walk every street in their city. It was mostly about people walking San Francisco, which at 49 square miles, is achievable within an average lifetime. (Actually, it only takes a few months, if you’re really dedicated.)

So I’m doing Oakland now. Realistically, I probably won’t ever walk all the streets—I think I read that there are about 800 miles of paved road within the city. Some of them are war zones. Worse, some of them are really hilly. Also, I don’t’ walk very fast and I only have a few hours a week to devote to the project—I usually only walk two days a week.

Nevertheless, I am making some real progress. I don’t know how many miles I’ve covered so far. Thirty would be a rough estimate. Maybe more. For those of you who know Oakland, I’ve covered a lot of Eastlake: most of the streets between MacArthur and International Boulevards on the (roughly) north and south, and First through Fourteenth Avenues on the east and west.

It’s been interesting for me to explore a place I thought I knew pretty well. I’ve discovered that within walking distance of my apartment, there are several antiques stores I didn’t know about, a bubble-tea place I can get to in about 15 minutes, and lots of architecture I’d never noticed. I’ve realized that “walking distance” from my place includes a much wider area than I ever knew. It’s fun, it’s educational—it’s travel, in a way.

I don’t have a scanner, but I’ll try to find a way to track my progress online for you. Stay tuned.

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