Walking unplugs your head from the travails of daily life.

No Uber required: Strolling the sidewalks and paths of Kenosha

Exploring our city and others on foot can be eye-opening

By John CollinsKENOSHA.COM

For decades, Collins was an active member of Kenosha’s civic and political realm. The former Wilson Elementary school teacher was the Kenosha County Clerk and later served 12 years as Kenosha County Executive.

I am blessed to live next to the lakefront walking path. 

There are also some interesting places to walk downtown and its adjacent neighborhoods. Primarily, places with sidewalks.

Walking is physically, mentally, and spiritually therapeutic. Walking unplugs your head from the travails of daily life. It can be a time to plan for things that will happen and dream of things that might not.

Walking is physically, mentally, and spiritually therapeutic.

Not everyone is comfortable with this unplugging. It is common to come upon a walker with Bluetooth technology, talking loudly to apparently only themselves, hands gesturing, sometimes arguing, sometimes laughing. 

My sainted grandmother would have used some interesting terms if she saw such a sight. I simply adjust my gait to place myself outside the sound of their problems.

When walking, I see an intimate portrait of the neighborhood. I see parents pushing their infants in strollers. I meet other walkers and pass a wave and a nod. I hear teenagers playing basketball in their driveways. Sometimes the smell of brats on the grill wafts out of backyards.

I’d like to stop in for a bite but in this age that intrusion would surely be the subject of a police call and maybe a mental health hearing.

A look down at the sidewalk reveals a history of the local concrete contracting business. In Kenosha, we can see company imprints on public sidewalks along with the year the walk was laid down such as Marvin Gleason (1962), R.R. Birdsall (1984), Bindelli (1964) and newer businesses like Oakes (2018).

The neighborhood I walk in Phoenix has such a sidewalk imprint reading W.P.A. (1940). That would be Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. I always wonder what manner of people have taken their strolls across those slabs of cement over the last eight decades.

Traveling always presents new and interesting opportunities to explore on foot.

When I took business trips to Washington D.C. I would wear out companions who would prefer to have taken a cab. Once in New York on a trip to meet with bonding agencies, our group picked a restaurant for dinner and called cabs. It was rush hour in Midtown Manhattan. I decided to walk. I was seated, reviewing the menu and enjoying a cocktail by the time the rest of the bunch arrived.

Traveling always presents new and interesting opportunities to explore on foot. If you like to walk, pick an older central city neighborhood. They have sidewalks and are near interesting things to see and do. Suburban hotels usually lack sidewalks to connect to neighboring properties requiring cabs or Uber to get anywhere.

Walking is particularly good in the fall. The cool breath of Canada slides down the big lake and sneaks under your jacket. I lift the collar to cut the wind before it crawls down my back and move on. Leaves crunch under the feet. The lake and the sky are a spectacular blue and the trees are in full fall dress.

Daily walks in the winter become more problematic. The gentle crackle of brown and red leaves are replaced with the sharp crack of ice and crusted snow.

Some people do mall walks. I tried that at Costco but left with a cart full of stuff that I didn’t go there to get.

While the seasons and locations change, there is always the opportunity to walk somewhere. 

I’m looking forward to the adventures that the months ahead hold — on foot.