Unique Streets: 10
Miles Walked: 3.6
Street Names (italicized have been walked on another day): Alverado Avenue, Coast Avenue, Canton Avenue, Hampshire Avenue, Rutherford Avenue, Bayonne Avenue, Belasco Avenue, Wentworth Avenue, Beechview Avenue, Tropical Avenue, Shadyview Place, Shadycrest Road, Shadycrest Place, Shadycrest Drive, Marlo Drive, Gladys Avenue, Hollyford Place, Risby Avenue, Fallowfield Avenue, Sebring Avenue, Broadway Avenue.
Day 1,000 of winter break. After a long winter’s rest, my muscles are whining louder than Johnny’s repeated protests to “Just stay home.” I’ve obliged his requests much too often these past two weeks and we need to get moving. It’s cold outside but I know a surefire way to warm the old bones.
“Hey Johnny, want to walk on the steepest street in the Continental U.S.?”
His interest in items made special by their superlative qualities has won out over his typical homebody stasis.
We head to Beechview and park near Canton Avenue. I’ve walked it before, but I knew that its fame would keep Johnny interested. It’s short and steep. What it lacks in length (it’s only 21 feet long) it makes up for in its grade of 37%. We start up on the cobblestone and marvel at how close it is to our faces as we are walking up.
Eventually we move to the sidewalk stairs when a car comes rumbling down. At the top, we are both sweating and gasping for air.
My main motivation for coming to Beechview is a section of streets that have remained wholly untouched by my feet. We head towards them as we walk by single family homes. One porch has a taxidermized deer head sitting on its floor. It’s as if the deer, trapped in the basement, has finally tore his way free only to die stuck in the cement structure.
One block down, we see another deer. Much alive and seemingly salty about his dead friend on display, the buck silently watches and judges us humans as we walk by.
We walk and judge the contents of clear recycling bags. Christmas was eight days ago and many empty cardboard boxes boast what treasures they brought good little children.
“Hey, remember when we got that trampoline? What happened to it.”
“George broke it.”
“Hey! Lincoln Logs! Where did all of ours go?”
“George left them on the floor and Daddy rage threw them out one night when he stepped on them barefooted.”
“See Lincoln Logs.”
We walk a trail behind a church and find ourselves on a group of similarly named streets: Shadyview Place, Shadycrest Road, Shadycrest Place, Shadycrest Drive. My cockiness in my directional abilities caused us to miss a street that was a spur off of Shadycrest Road. Shadygrove Avenue: I’m coming for you.
As we are winding our way back towards the car, I notice something special on Google Maps. The Google satellites managed to capture an image of a plane near the intersection of Tropical Avenue and Hollyford Place. Using our blue current location dot as a guide on the app, I manage to place us right where the nose touches the street. Johnny and I snap a selfie of us waving at the plane.
A few blocks down and we see an actual plane flying low over us. We wave at that one too.
Only a little bit away from the car and it’s a good thing. Johnny refuses to tie his shoes and they keep coming off. He steps in snow and tears melt the rest of the piles at his feet.
“Can we just be done walking yet??!!!”
“Sure, but how are we supposed to get back to the car? Do you think that plane will take us? You know you could just tie your shoes.”
We keep walking and I try distracting him. One of my favorite things to do is to make note of holiday decorations that don’t fit the season.
Valentines, Christmas (this one gets a pass for this walk, in July not so much), Halloween, even Easter. I can’t tell if they are early or late. Something about off season Easter decorations always make me feel sad. It’s like viewing a time capsule of a happier time. Easter is a time of renewal and rebirth. The person who lives in this house felt that at one time but was not able to take them down. Did they pass? Did they fall into a state of crushing sadness? Who knew a bunny could be a bearer of such sad thoughts?
Finally, we make it back up to Broadway Avenue and from here it’s flat and then straight down. Johnny’s spirits have recovered until we look in the windows of a Special Effects shop. Disembodied heads gape at the ceiling next to Thing’s cousin.
Johnny grimaces, “Are those real?”
“Yeah, I’ve never seen a morgue with windows before!”
Johnny’s face tells me what his voice cannot.
“I’m kidding! Of course, they’re not real! It’s fake. They’re for special effects. Cool, huh?”
“Let’s keep walking.”
Back at the car I ask if Johnny wants to get some pizza. He agrees and we head to Beto’s. We’re both starving but when the pizza comes Johnny looks at it like one of those many severed heads we saw on our walk.
“What’s wrong? Don’t you want to eat it?”
“I don’t like the cheese like that.”
Beto’s is one of my favorites but it’s not your typical pizza. They heat the square shells with sauce in the oven and then sprinkle about a pound of cheese on each slice after it comes out. Eventually, the cheese melts (quickened if you bring the pizza home and let it melt in the box) but a lot of it is still cold. Johnny was not prepared for that and I should have guessed his reaction. I quickly ordered him some chicken tenders and all was right in the world.
I took that Beto’s home and had it for dinner.
<div class="embedly-responsive" style="position: relative;padding-bottom: 78.2227%;height: 0;overflow: hidden;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https://www.relive.cc/view/vZqNNEzRw3q/widget?r=embed-site&url=https://www.relive.cc/view/vZqNNEzRw3q?r=embed-site&image=https://www.relive.cc/view/vZqNNEzRw3q/png?x-ref=embed-site&key=f1631a41cb254ca5b035dc5747a5bd75&type=text/html&schema=relive" width="1024" height="801" style="position: absolute;top: 0;left: 0;width: 100%;height: 100%;"></iframe></div>