All the Streets in Carrboro

On September 8, 2019, I started walking all the streets in my hometown, Carrboro, North Carolina. Why? My reason was two-fold:

  1. To see every nook of my community of 10 years.
  2. To meet folks I’d otherwise never meet and retell part of their story.

I had a few rules:

  1. All walks start and finish from my house.
  2. Use the Town of Carrboro trash pickup map for boundaries and limits.
  3. Walk every single street in Carrboro, excluding those within private communities.
  4. Walk streets deemed “private” unless it’s merely a long driveway to a residence.
  5. Rule exceptions only for safety reasons or if instructed by law enforcement to do so.

The details of my journey can be found on my Instagram page, but here’s a quick synopsis:

DAY 1 – 23.5 miles – 7 hours: Heading directly north from my house on Westview, I turned right on Homestead and walked all the tracts between there and the end of Rogers Road, including Morris Grove Elementary, a Carrboro “island” surrounded by Chapel Hill’s urban buffer. I met Beth and her dog, Bumble. My path was also crossed by a fellow transcon walker, Chris West, who read my Instagram page and found me en route home from a few weeks on the AT. I also met Aaron and his dogs, Max and Banjo.

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DAY ONE

DAY 2 – 19 miles – 6 hours: Following the same approach as yesterday, I veered left when I hit Homestead and entered the Hogan Farms neighborhoods, including a section of Old 86. On my return route I knocked out a couple other sections of town to make some additional and unplanned progress. Exhausted, I wasn’t putting off much of a social vibe, so it’s no surprise that I only met my buddy Jon, who chased me down when he saw me walk past his house. An energetic exchange with him was all I needed to get home without collapsing.

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Jon, my guardian angel
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DAY TWO

DAY 3 – 18 miles – 5 hours: Later start after a dentist appointment. Busted out my floppy hat from when I walked across America and am convinced its sun protection made all the difference. I walked up Old 86 and knocked out a few private streets and a trailer park before checking off the long drives that feed into Anderson Park. Back onto Old 86 before hitting the neighborhoods to the east and west of the approach route from days one and two. Lots of shade, thank goodness. I met Anthony and Star as they got their mail and I am pretty sure I interrupted a tiff. I met Erin who thought I was a dude named Joshua. I also walked past a friend’s house that I didn’t know was a friend’s house. Shelby and Sunny gave me the best hugs ever.

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DAY THREE

DAY 4 – 16.5 miles – 5 hours: Late start because I was hemming and hawing about the heat. Plus, my late finish yesterday didn’t leave me very rested today. Followed Old 86 to the neighborhoods near University Lake, then got on Jones Ferry to Highway 54, then Smith Level and all neighborhoods on the south side near Carrboro high school. Met Jennifer who was waiting for her grandkids to get home from school. Then had a great conversation with Tommy Noel who held up his “please help” sign at the corner of Highway 54 and Smith Level. And finally spoke with Ray, a UNC employee, as I stepped through the Manor Ridge neighborhood.

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DAY FOUR

DAY 5 – 23 miles – 7 hours: Sunrise start after four days off. Hit a bonus stretch on Highway 54 that I missed earlier. Ran into my buddy Victor and his dog, Max. Max was annoyed because I always spend too much time talking to his human. Victor caught on and walked with me for a while. We met Ralph, a building contractor, doing some work in his neighborhood. He took an All the Streets sticker and slapped it directly on his work truck right next to another sticker that said, “Don’t believe everything you think.”

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DAY FIVE

DAY 6 – 20.5 miles – 6 hours: Hit neighborhoods closest to downtown. Also had to backtrack down Smith Level to do a portion of Ray Road that’s partially in Carrboro and partially not. Glad I did. It’s unpaved, in the forest, sparsely populated, and beautiful. Saw a bunch of folks I know, including Ralph from yesterday. Also, ran into one of Gray Squirrel’s awesome baristas, Olive, whose dog Keeva couldn’t have been sweeter. Saw Dani, an old yoga friend, while she was on her way to work. And also my ex-neighbor, Paul. I knew today would be a bunch of familiar faces. Super fun to catch up with everyone.

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DAY SIX

DAY 7 – 8 miles – 6 hours: Final wrap up day to venture back to neighborhoods I thought I had completed to do a couple tiny missed sections. Katie, my paramour, joined me for the day. We cut through town on the railroad tracks to complete a 100m stretch by Chapel Hill high school. I didn’t expect to see anyone since it was early and we were off-road. But as we bisected Bolin Forest we ran into Rob. His dog was lounging in the creek. Before leaving the woods we also ran into mushroom Lori (I call her this because she’s my shiitake dealer) and her hiking partner, Weaver Street barista, Elli. Lori and I had matching hats. I wish we had taken a photo together.

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I knocked out all the streets in Carrboro during a late summer heat wave. With the exception of day 7, each day surpassed 95 degrees. Thank God for my floppy hat.

TOTALS: 128 miles in 42 walking hours in 7 walking days

It’s Carrboro! Feel Free!

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