I wanted to leave my house and bicycle somewhere, but had no idea where to go or when to go there. I had no agenda. Early Sunday morning I just left, by bicycle. Just in case, I took along my bicycle “trunk bag” with one night’s change of clothes, in case I wanted to spend the night someplace.
Tootie was reading the paper when I left the apartment about 7:45 AM
I keep my bicycle in a rack on level P1 of our condo building Greenbridge.
I looked back at the building from the street. Our apartment is on the top level of the tower on the left, at the center of the photograph.
For those of you not from Chapel Hill, it is a relatively nice town. The main drag is Franklin Street, which looked really empty on this Sunday morning.
One block later Franklin Street passes along the northern boundary of the University of North Carolina campus.
Until two weeks ago, a statue colloquially known as Silent Sam had stood about thirty feet to the right of the above photo. Put up in 1913, it is of a Civil War Confederate soldier. To quote my friend Andy Jones: Silent Sam…was never silent. He shouted at every person of color that walked onto that campus. The photograph below is taken from Wikipedia.
A large group of students and others surrounded Sam three weeks ago and pulled him down. The Republican appointed University administration does not know what to do about the situation; it is currently dithering. On this Sunday morning I biked by Sam’s pedestal.
There had been a small riot here just the night before, two weeks after the initial tearing down. Hundreds of anti-Sam demonstrators seemed to be picking a fight with scores of police who were protecting a tiny group of Rebel flag carrying pro-Sam demonstrators. Sam has been controversial for years; I am not sure what there is to demonstrate for or against since Sam is gone. I cannot image the riot that would ensue if they tried to put him back up.
At 8:00 AM the morning after the police were still here.
Just a few hundred hards away I passed by Old East, from 1793, the oldest state university building in America, and Old West, from 1822.
Lacking somewhere else to go, pointed the bicycle towards Raleigh, about thirty miles to the southeast. After descending the hill which Chapel Hill sits on, there is a bike path along NC 54.
I turned down Barbee Chapel Road.
I have bicycled past this house on Stagecoach Road many times. The house is hidden behind a fence. The house and compound are less than ten years old, fronted by a yard much larger than is shown in this picture. There are other large outbuildings in the same Gone With The Wind style. I got off the bicycle, walked up to the fence, and raised the camera over my head to take this picture. There are so many liberals in Chapel Hill and Durham that this guy must feel insecure. Back in 2016 he had huge Trump signs on his fence.
I eventually ended up on the American Tobacco Trail greenway.
I could have taken the Tobacco Trail much further but instead I headed off towards Raleigh, weaving through miles and miles of subdivisions. Many but not all are in the city of Cary.
This looks like Georgetown but these houses are less than ten years old, built on former scrub woods and abandoned tobacco farms.
The newer neighborhoods of Cary are a lot more multicultural than Chapel Hill or even Durham. I stopped in a Starbucks to refuel and about half the people in there were Asian.
Later on I was weaving through this neighborhood of expensive tract mansions and these two dark complexioned women were speaking a language I could not recognize.
I crossed over NC 540, an almost new toll road to nowhere. The road was recently written up as being “successful” in that it the tiny levels of traffic were still enough for it to make its bond payments.
On the western edge of the Raleigh city limits I biked by the state fairgrounds, including Dorton Arena, a modernist gem from 1952. I was disappointed with the photo I took so I lifted this one from Wikipedia.
I was early for lunch but one should never pass by really good food. Neomonde Bakery, near Meredith College in Raleigh, has the best Middle Eastern food in the Triangle. Hummus, baba ghanoush, stuffed grape leaves, pita bread, and tabouli salad all exuded freshness.
What to do now? I spent quite a while lingering over my lunch and reading The New York Times on my I-phone. It was already thirty miles back to Chapel Hill. Should I keep going further on? Naah.
I left Neomonde and biked back to Chapel Hill.