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View From The Street - Walking Sure Beats Driving

Posted May 30 2011 6:19pm
Memorial Day Weekend brings the crowds to Wrightsville Beach, NC, so much so that walking is just about the only choice for getting around.  With only 1456 metered parking spots and 86,000 vehicles crossing the drawbridge, its a foregone conclusion that you won't be going anywhere fast if you are on the street.  
Of course that doesn't stop me from getting in my daily miles on foot.  I actually get a kick out of watching the masses of people trying to figure out how to park their car and get over to the beach, where BTW there ain't much space either.

Obviously, the spots closest to the strand fill up first which forces latecomers (those arriving after 8am) to walk a significant distance should they be lucky enough to find a space.  And then they do the really stupid things like walk barefoot.  Hello!, concrete sidewalks under a 90 degree blazing sun can do some really mean things to your feet.  I almost burst out laughing every time I see some idiot hoping and dancing around desperately looking for a shady spot to get some relief for their blistered feet.  (That's why they make flip-flops, sandals and shoes.)
The sadder sights are when you see Mom and Dad loaded with coolers, chairs, beach toys, towels and stuff dragging the little ones on a mile-long obstacle course of people, bikes, skateboarders and cars.  The children are typically hot and miserable and can;t figure out whats fun about this adventure - the only smart ones in the crowd!
One of the more interesting things I noticed while navigating through the circus -  the pizza delivery guy who was doing business on foot.  No one wants to wait 3 hours for lunch, so the only logical way to get the food to the customer was on foot.  Maybe they will invest in bikes before the July 4th Holiday rolls around...
There is a lot to be said about being an active walker on a day like today, as I did six miles while watching the circus around me without too much trouble, other than working my way through the masses.  In fact, I was moving along much better than any of the cars, as evidenced by the fact that I was weaving in and out of them in the street in order to get past the tourists limping along on the sidewalk, moaning and groaning about the inconvenience of it all. Of course, that's nothing compared to the yelling they'll be doing when they finally make it back to their illegally parked vehicle and find a $50.00 ticket on the windshield, or better yet, an empty spot where they last saw their car.

It really is amazing what lengths people will go to to spend a couple of hours at  a packed beach on a holiday weekend.  I learned a long time ago, you're probably better off to volunteer to work, the holiday, then take the day after Memorial Day off when the beach has returned to normal.

But if you must go, then leave the car behind and either ride a bike or plan to walk an extended distance and just enjoy the view of all those who are never going to find a parking spot...

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