Well, the longest continuous street (23.5 MILES) within the same city in America anyway! (This fact is debated by some people, but we’re claiming it, because we love Chicago).
On August 16th, 2014, Tim and I woke up early(ish, for a Saturday) and headed out to the far South Side of Chicago to 119th and Western Avenue. Western Avenue used to be the western border of Chicago (circa 1853), but now it is smack dab in the middle. We made it down to 119th and Western after taking the Blue Line to the Red Line to the #119 Bus. We hopped off the bus at about 9 am, and snapped a couple pictures to start the shortest of our long walks. We made ourselves smoothies before and were not too hungry, and this time we knew to wear sunscreen because our Indiana Walk had left blisters the previous August (believe me, my coworkers still remember the skin peeling off of my chest). Luckily, we were facing north, so the sun was at our backs and wasn’t as bad this time.
Western Avenue is one of the most interesting streets in the city; not only is it the longest street within the boundaries, it also has more car dealerships than any street I’ve seen in the city, and passes through every different kind of neighborhood. There is a challenge that some people partake in to hit every bar along Western Avenue, and you’d be surprised how many there are! (I just hope they choose a DD, because the bars were spread out and not all transit accessible!) We didn’t participate in that one, because we don’t drink before 5pm (most days anyway….).
We made sure to walk on the east side of the street from 99th to 91st so we wouldn’t walk on the Evergreen Park (suburb) portion of the sidewalk (on the west side of the street) and to walk on the “Avenue” portion of the “Boulevard” section (when Western splits into two streets) just so we wouldn’t be cheating, even though the sidewalks got rough.
We even passed lots of landmarks of Chicago: at 92nd we passed the Original Rainbow Cone that wasn’t convinced to open for us at 10am even though we’d walked there(!), at 63rd we passed the intersection where Chicago’s longest north-south street crosses the longest east-west street, and at Armitage we passed Margie’s Candies, which was opened but we didn’t stop, and of course, our house!
We visited the cat and changed socks, because our feet can get pretty stinky on these adventures.
At our house a couple of friends joined us for the next mile and a half. We finished nearly a marathon as we crossed Howard Ave. after 23.5 miles and 7.5 hours, and left the City of Chicago for the first time that day! Western Ave. becomes Asbury Ave. north of Howard when you enter the City of Evanston. So we immediately turned around, crossed the street back into our city, and took the hour long bus back home! I’m not going to lie – the ending was a little anticlimactic after the 52 mile walk to Wisconsin earlier that year. 7.5 hours just doesn’t feel like enough!