The Coronavirus Diaries; Part Eight; Bicentennial Trail to High Point; April 9, 2020

Posted: April 11, 2020 in Central North Carolina trips, Coronavirus Diaries 2020

I wanted to bicycle (for once) on a road or trail that I had never cycled on before but was also near where I live.  This is the eighth part in a series of bicycle rides that are done alone without touching anything, not going to a store, not talking to or getting near anyone.   I noticed the Bicentennial Trail the other day on Google Maps.   Like many greenways and rail-trails the Bicentennial Trail starts in the middle of nowhere, this one on the far western edge of the Greensboro city limits.

Before leaving I needed to fuel up.  Breakfast at home in Chapel Hill was avocado toast with a side of cheese toast.  In these challenging times for small business I always want to give a shout-out, so it was local raw milk cheese called Hickory Grove, by Chapel Hill Creamery, Seven Grain Bread from Weaver Street Market, arugula from Lyon Farms, Creedmoor NC.

The start point for the bike ride was fifty-seven miles away, right off exit 211 near the Greensboro airport.   The drive by car took exactly one hour mostly on I-40 and was totally painless.   (Quote from my late father, native of Norfolk, Virginia, spoken in about 1968: “those folks down in North Carolina have been driving sixty miles to play bridge for FIFTY years.”)

I assumed no one would care if I parked for a few hours in a warehousing complex.

 

 

 

The starting point of the trail was inauspicious; no sign, nothing.   I only knew about the trail because of Google Maps which said it went all the way more than twelve miles to near downtown High Point.

The paved trail winds along a stream bed.   Less than a mile along it was in very poor condition.

I found that the trail gets better.  The one small stretch was the worst.  The northern (first) half is bumpier, sometimes with steep hills.   It is not a trail to be done on a road bike.   The southern half south of Penny Road the trail is very well maintained.   Whether the pavement is smooth or not, the trail goes almost entirely through lovely wooded areas.

 

At about the halfway point, north of Penny Road, you have to take the bicycle up stairs.

 

South of Penny Road the trail is newer and better maintained.

 

 

 

High Point University is surrounded by a fence but this trail has an opening that allows it right through the middle of campus.  If beamed down here from another planet and also at UNC Chapel Hill, an alien might pick High Point University as the more impressive looking campus.   I think most of the buildings are very recent.  My cousin Nancy’s son Patrick recently graduated from here.   Nancy if you are reading please send me his cell phone number.

The older neighborhoods of High Point lie just beyond the University.   I will save lengthy comments about High Point for another blog, coming soon.   I did see this apartment building on Main Street, next door to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, at the sort of gateway to one of the nicer neighborhoods.   My good friend and photography coach John Ripley lives on Maple Avenue in Carrboro NC, within walking distance to my Chapel Hill apartment but John grew up in High Point.   In the late 1940’s his parents moved into one of these apartments.   John was born when they were living in this building.

High Point still claims to be the furniture capital of the world, a title that may now be debatable.   Housing seems really affordable.  This house was just a couple blocks away.

 

 

 

I turned around and rode back the way I came, back on the trail.    I found a bench along the way.  When sitting and eating my lunch I took special care not to even touch the bench with my hands!   Peanut butter and jelly.  The same Weaver Street bread.

 

I spent an hour or two bicycling back to the car.   After finding my car and driving home I decided to break all my rules and buy an almond milk at Starbucks in suburban Greensboro, to drink in the car.    It was open for drive-through only.

 

I sat for a minute or two but the line was moving too slowly.   I blew it off and drove home.

 

Comments
  1. I’m glad you’re eating better! You’re burning lots of carbs on your Corona virus adventures. It seems you’re bicycling more often now.

    The early spring green of trees and other plants is wonderful. Bright colors. Here in New York State only a few trees have budded. The flowering plum outside my window is in bloom without any leaf buds. Ummm. Very odd.

    Yup! Asphalt trails end up being corrugated by tree roots. Bumpity, bump, bumpity, bump. Probably 3-4 years have passed before whatever agency is responsible for maintaining those corrugated sections of this Trail to even acknowledge the surface degradation. It will take another 2-3 years to find the money to fix this Trail and to actually fix it. If more trail users complain it might be repaired sooner.

    Ride safely like bank robber, and at least wave to passersby.

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