17 January 2017

After Speed And Flight: A Free Lunch (Or Dinner)?

I don't remember the last time I've had such luck with weather!

Once again, the day began sunny, with a temperature of 60F (15C) on my parents' porch, and quickly climbed over 70F (21C).  By late afternoon, after thick cumulus clouds passed over, it was 77F (25C).  Although the clouds muted the sun and had dark undersides, there was never any real threat of rain.  Such clouds are not unusual on warm days in coastal areas.

Yes, I rode along the ocean again--along Route A1A, to be exact.  Today I would follow it from the Flagler Beach Pier, along dunes and beaches of hard-packed sand to the beach that bills itself as the World's Most Famous.

Although I have been there a number of times before, I am always a little surprised at what I find in Daytona Beach.  It's not like any other beach town or resort--at least, not like any other I've ever seen.  Driving is actually permitted on some parts of the beach, as it is in other nearby beach communities like Ormond Beach.  But that beach--which is often called "the birthplace of speed", where several land speed records were set--today has a speed limit of 10MPH.

  And, it also has an important place in early aviation history, where several speed and altitude records were set.  Not surprisingly, the nation's premiere aviation college, Embry-Riddle, is located nearby.

It has its share of beach-town cliches, including the taffy stands and tacky souvenir shops.  But it also manages to combine, in a few blocks near Main Street, everyone's idea of Haight-Ashbury in 1967, Woodstock in 1969, the East Village of those years and a current NASCAR rally all in one.  Oh, and there are religious folks and some genderqueers that would make most drag queens seem like suburban housewives.

And there are residents who are, or seem, completely oblivious to--or just don't care--about it all:  

They probably follow this bit of advice:

and don't even pay for it!  Of course, they might not get the best seats in the house.  But, hey, if you were eating stuff that people pay real money for, and it didn't cost you anything, you wouldn't complain, right?

Then again, there are some folks who, one hopes, won't follow that advice:

Actually, I'd worry about them eating Joe himself--except, of course, that alligators don't go into the ocean.  (Then again, there is the occasional shark!)  But I love the warning, "When fed, the alligator loses its fear of humans and becomes accustomed to handouts."  Hmm...Is there a political philosophy expressed in that?

Interesting that it should be posted at the entrance to the Lehigh Greenway Rail Trail,near the end of my ride.  Is there some kind of cosmology here:  Humans spend their Hamiltons and Jacksons (soon to be Tubmans) on stuff sea birds eat, and said humans can become an alligator's free meal by feeding them what those birds eat?

How does it all end?

I tried to find out whether that was Flagler Beach's version of Stonehenge.  But nobody seemed to know what it was.  I did see a sign nearby that exclaimed "No seawall!"  

For me, it's hard not to agree.  Then again, I just visit once or twice a year.  I don't know how I'd feel if I lived there and my house was inundated by a storm.

Thankfully, I don't have to answer that question.  I didn't have to do anything; I just rode.  

And what a lovely ride I had.  At the end of it, I didn't eat at Joe's:  I ate at Mom's.  And I didn't have to pay for it.

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