Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

9.08 miles
87°/Feels like 99° 75% humidity

What a walk!

We drove to Government and Catherine Streets because we knew we wanted to walk downtown, and also tackle the steps today.

We walked from Government Street to Charles Street, then to Charleston Street. There, across from Callahan's, I saw the Oakleigh Garden District Book Share.  This is an enclosed bookcase (with a little roof) where people in the OGD can leave and take books for sharing. What a neat idea!

From there we waked to Broad Street and crossed Broad Street at Canal Street.  At one point I looked up and saw a gorgeous cloud bank above us.  Little did I know what those clouds would bring. 
British Park
From there we turned onto Washington Avenue and then Dearborn and walked through British Park.  We had passed this park once before, not even realizing it existed, and expressed a desire to come back some time.  We exited British Park on Warren Street and as we passed by one house a beagle rushed out to the fence growling at us.  I've never seen a "guard beagle" before.  I have hardly ever even heard our beagle growl.

We turned down Eslava to Lawrence, by the Civic Center. It made me wonder, when the first time was I ever went to the Civic Center?   I have a vague memory of going to the circus there,  but it isn't necessarily a pleasant memory.  It could have even been a dream, it is that hazy.

We followed Civic Center Drive, past the Malaga Inn. It reminded me of when our son Noah was ring bearer at the wedding of our friends Jerry & Kathy at the Malaga Inn.

Government Plaza
We turned on Jackson Street and I thought about the variety of architecture in our downtown district.  From one spot I could see the round Holiday Inn, and if I turned another way I could see the Government Plaza, built to be reminiscent of a ship. In between are old, historic homes now turned into business and lawyer's offices.

We followed Government Street to Water street where the steps awaited us.  

I spent a good part of Saturday playing he Kinect game, Adventures, with our grandchildren.  This game requires a great deal of jumping, squatting and side-stepping.  At one point my knee hurt so much I had to stop.  I was concerned how it was going to feel on our scheduled 10 times up and 10 times down the Convention Center Steps.

The first time up was difficult, I'll admit.  My knee was hurting, but the more I went up the better it felt.  Then it began to be harder in other ways, like breathing.  When we had done four sets I reminded myself we weren't even half-way yet.  The last two were very hard, but I was stubborn enough to keep going.  We accomplished our ten ups and ten downs, which is 500 steps up.

After that we needed a break.  We sat on the steps under the shade of the canopy to rest.  While we were there a sudden rainstorm came up.  It was pouring down rain.  We were so glad we had already walked the steps and that we weren't out in it when it started raining.  Thankfully the rain didn't last long and we were back on our way.

We walked east along Water Street where the sidewalk follows the train tracks.  A train had actually come through the Convention Center while we were walking the steps, (Yes, I said through. . .the train goes through the bottom of the building,) but I was so busy trying to consume oxygen I didn't notice it.

As we walked beside the train I thought of all the interesting people we had met on our train ride to New York.  There was Derrick the Dining Car attendant who had a huge, ever-present smile and a willingness to please just as big. There was Colin the archaeologist who probably had as many stories as he has had shovels of dirt to move.  Perhaps our favorite was Fletcher Smith who, like us, had decided to take the train for the experience of it, while his family traveled by other venues.  We may never have the opportunity to see any of these people again, but we know we can link ourselves to them by remembering to pray for them often.

GM&O Building
We walked past the State Docks and a  Handyman's Railroad Salvage Store, a place I definitely have down to visit another time.  We walked past rows of Wisteria with their tendrils reaching out to greet us and Crepe Myrtle blossoms full of water to splash on our arms.  We turned down St. Joseph Street and passed by the Mobile Press Register building, where our friend Jay Grelen used to write a column.  In the distance we could see the GM&O building.

We walked back up St. Joseph to Congress Street and then went down Conception and St. Louis Streets.  We passed a portion of downtown which I found very unusual because it had no discernible landmarks. . .nothing to capture the eye or engage the camera lens.  Usually there is at least something. . .a doorway, some flowers, a sign, that grabs my attention, but this spot was totally devoid of anything of interest.

We followed Jackson Street (again, basically having made a big circle) and headed to Dauphin.

We decided since we were so close, we might as well stop for lunch at the Mediterranean Sandwich Company.  If you live in Mobile and haven't ever tried this shop, please do so.  I highly recommend the Roasted Vegetable Pita sandwich.  Adding a side of Carbonara Orzo wouldn't hurt either!

We took our food out to the Cathedral Square to eat.  The weather was so pleasant, especially after the rain, it was very nice eating outside.

After our meal we continued down Dauphin Street, which is probably my favorite part of town to walk, until we reached Bayou Street.  That's when I noticed the clouds.  They were dark and full and we were walking right toward them.

We turned onto Church Street as we headed West and we passed the house with the boat named "Fish 'N Grits."  We talked to the man at this house last week as we walked by and he said the boat was named that because that's what he was eating when he met his wife in Atlanta.  I love that story!

Cake Balls at Cream & Sugar
By the time we reached George Street we could hear the thunder rumbling.  We decided it was time to duck into Cream and Sugar for some coffee.  We also shared a Lemon Curd cake-ball (which was superb) and a chocolate chip cookie.

We waited for the rain, which didn't come, and then decided to start home.  We hadn't gone two blocks when it started raining, but it didn't last long, not even five minutes.

We needed some more zig-zagging to get our miles in so we walked to Government, to Roper, down Palmetto to Rapier and back to Government Street.  Before we reached Ann Street it started raining again.  We didn't mind it, actually, it felt sort of good.

We turned off Government Street on Stocking Street.  Ransom Cafe operates one of it's cafes on this street.  It is a cafe which has no set prices, but instead is totally donation only.  Outside of the Ransom Cafe was a large van called The Clean Machine, where the homeless can get a shower and have their clothes laundered by volunteers.  Both of these ministries are operated by Matt & Tara Armbruster.  What a tremendous ministry to the homeless...a meal, a shower and clean clothes!

After we passed The Clean Machine, we walked past Leinkauf Elementary School, where our oldest two children went to school.  It seems like ages since the days they walked those halls.

We continued on Monroe, then Dexter Streets, and then back to Government Street.  We were close to the car when we decided to just go ahead and make nine miles instead of our planned eight.  We turned down Tuthill to Church Street, then McDonald to West Street (where we had to go around the fence on our wedding day.  The next time we walk that way, I'll tell you the story.)

Then it was to Government Street and the car.  It was a good walk, and I'm glad we have those steps out of the way for the week.  When we got home, the thunder and rain started again, so we quit just in time.

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