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Back to The Future
Brown Versus The Board of Education was handed down May 17, 1954, now, some sixty plus years in the future the remnants of the court case that ended separate schools for blacks and whites still remain. In the small town of Liberty, North Carolina still exists West Liberty High School, known by many locals as The Old School.

Built in 1966, it was the newest of schools in the Randolph County School System and would have made a perfect place for the bright young minds of the area after integration. However, the town was split in two. Two downtowns, two schools and two colors were literally divided by the railroad track through the middle of town and that served as a barrier between Liberty and West Liberty.

Rather than close the older "white" school or permit both schools to operate whereby white students might need to venture into the "black" side of town, the school board, undoubtedly with racist political pressure, decided to close the newer school in West Liberty. The result was that students were required to walk the three miles into town to the remaining school on the "white" side of town. Residents who remember the closing of the school claim it was "devastating" and "meant a loss of community and pride".

Now privately owned, the structure remains abandoned and in decay despite pleas from the community for the city to purchase the infrastructure and turn it into a community center. Recently, it was added to the record of historical structures in Randolph County.

We decided to do a bit of urban exploration at the old gymnasium and was amazed at what we saw. While it's a sad to witness, I find it a bit ironic, especially in light of the recent HB2 legislation, that there's still something to learn here some sixty years after desegregation.

The gymnasium floor, stage and basketball goal.

The clock and scoreboard stopped in time.

It's amazing, there's still toilet paper on the roll from the mid 20th century.

A hallway inside the main building.

An abandoned classroom.

Image credit: Chance Jones

After replacing the top on the Mustang from Kee Tops in Charlotte, we decided to take off to Love Valley, North Carolina. It's an old west themed town between Winston Salem and Statesville. Okay, you're thinking... this is the South, not Arizona. It's true, Love Valley immediately brought memories back of Oatman, a small gun slinging town on Route 66 with burros in the streets and tons of gift shops. Love Valley seems to be having trouble with their publicity model though. We were literally the only ones there. Yes, it's an old west town. Yes it looks like a movie set, but there's nothing there. All the buildings are for sale, and the few occupied buildings were closed. Was it worth the drive, sure! Just don't expect much unless you're willing to invest a few hundred thousand dollars into this defunct tourist town and settle down.

It's not Hill Valley, it's Love Valley and it's in North Carolina

Love Valley needs some serious capital investment and some really good publicity. It appears what's left these days are a few campgrounds and a place to ride your horse. It's worth a stop, and it's completely out of place in North Carolina, but I was rather underwhelmed with the place. Every street is named after a woman (or a horse). I suppose that's how you know it's love, when they name a street after you.

A photo posted by Liv Jones (@liv_adara) on

While in Statesville we hit Fort Dobbs, a rather bland archeological site and dropped by Burrito Brothers in Asheboro on the way home. In fact, the most impressive thing of the day was their Giant House Burrito that was the size of a small cat. Delicious.
Can I please get a pair of these?
Let's talk about socks. I know, I know... you're thinking I've lost my mind. No, no I haven't. Something that I didn't know until a few weeks ago was that Burlington is home to a well recognized performance sock manufacturer called Wrightsock. Cool ya? Of course, I figured I'd support our local businesses first by trying out a pair to see how they compare to my good old fashioned Wal Mart socks when put in a 17 KM (10 Mi.) day. They come highly recommended and I'd love to say they make the cut, but I still have mixed feelings over it.

At first, I thought I noticed additional hot spotting with the dual liner sock technology. Lot's of runners, walkers, hikers use two socks to avoid blisters (Wrightsock guarantees against blisters) and these have a second liner sock already sewed in. While I tried to debate whether the heat I felt was a result of the socks or increasing my distance, after switching back to plain cotton socks for day,  I realized that they're making truly amazing socks.

Though, for my purposes, I'm not sure it's going to be good enough. I ordered a pair of Cool Mesh II in the prettiest color I could find (purple). Sadly, that's my first complaint about these performance sock companies (I'm looking at you Darn Tough). They're bloody ugly. I would be lying if I didn't admit that I have absolutely no interest in wearing a black and orange (or gray) sock. Sadly, I have a foot the size of a Sasquatch, so I'm limited in my choices, but for the cost of these things, you should be able to order them in any color of the rainbow. What's more is if you haven't ever purchased performance athletic socks, they're damn expensive. Wrightsocks seem to be on the less expensive end of the scale: $7.50 - $15.00. However, I still have a heart attack every time I put them in the washer.... hoping that the sock gnome doesn't eat one.

Which brings me to my latest pair of socks, made by Zensah at $13.98 a pair. I purchased a snazzy pink pair from Amazon. They're made of wool and a single layer. Much better cushion and the hot spots are gone. But I want more. I plan on hiking about 800 miles this summer, and I'm taking suggestions on exactly what is the right sock? I need massive cushion, great wicking and flawless blister proof action. If you have an idea for me, give me a comment below!

Update: I decided to give the Wrightsocks another go today and now have a blister on the back of my heal. Not sure if I'm just using too thin of a Wrightsock or not, but this definitely has made me decide to use another brand for now.

Update 2: So I tried a pair of Thorlos Experia socks and loved them but they felt weird after some time. Really great socks, but so far my favorite is the Zensah. I think it really comes down to your sock and shoe combination together. Too much padding and the shoe gets too small. Not enough material and your feet feel everything. The Zensah is a middle of the road sock with some padding but not enough to interfere with your shoe size.