Thursday, October 19, 2017

Life is Better Here

Comparatives are inevitable.  For example, comparing USA to Canada; or Hilton Head Island to Daytona Beach Shores. We have of course more than a passing familiarity with each of the alternatives.  Today after I purchased my new bicycle (actually it's a bit like me - used and abused) I ventured out of the cool garage of the condominium into the dazzling sunshine to explore the immediate area.  Where we're situated is about half-way along Daytona Beach Shores.

Daytona Beach Shores was first organized in 1960 by local business leaders convinced that a smaller community could provide better services to its residents. The city was incorporated on April 22, 1960.
In the 1970s and the 1980s, the city saw a massive building program. Now about 80 percent of the residents live in high-rise condominiums that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean. In 1997, residents voted in a straw ballot to limit the height of future buildings to 12 stories. The city council approved the height limit in 1998.
A resort and retirement community built on tourism and the service industry, Daytona Beach Shores has no manufacturing industry, but caters to tourists year-round.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.90 square miles (2.34 km2), of which 0.90 square miles (2.33 km2) is land and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2) (3.56%) is water.
The city of Daytona Beach Shores is located on a barrier island along the Atlantic Ocean. The other side of the island (the west side) is bordered by the Halifax River lagoon, part of the Intracoastal Waterway. The city is bordered on the north by Daytona Beach and on the south by Wilbur-by-the-Sea, and Port Orange. The major highway that serves the city is State Road A1A/Atlantic Avenue.

Initially I directed myself northward towards Daytona Beach which as might be expected is a mixture of small hold-out urban homes (not yet capitulated to condo development) and condominiums, commercial estabishments (including the usual souvenir and cheap dining emporia) and hotels.  There are frequent points for beach access and several so-called parks which are really just lookouts with rest room facilities and sheltered park benches and tables for picnics or regrouping.  The sidewalks in both Daytona Beach and Daytona Beach Shores are wide and whimsical (laid out as wave-like ribbons rather than mere geometric paths).  When I later went back the other way I discovered that the wide sidewalks (on which of course bicycling is permitted) end at the city limits (where Daytona Beach Shores meets Wilbur-by-the-Sea.  Based on my recollection of last year's investigations, there is a popular surfing area just past Wilbur-by-the-Sea, a fairly large park and associated pubic facilities.

When I was still on the outskirts of Daytona Beach (the notorious tourist area is in the central area quite some distance from our place, say about five miles) I turned onto a beach access and cycled back along the beach.  The tide had not yet fully receded but the sand was dry and passable. There were not many people on the beach, just an occasional twosome sunbathing, several familes with small children and a few people like me (old fogies with bad figures meandering about aimlessly).  There was one chiseled and tanned young man bicycling.  When I passed certain people on the beach I caught a scent of their coconut suntan cream.  There was a strong wind today.  The air was warm and balmy, unmistakeably sub-tropical.

To one degree or another bicycling has been a part of my routine almost my entire life. When I first seriously prosecuted the endeavour after graduating from law school I thought nothing of cycling at least 100 miles per week often into the hilly terrain of Gatineau Park and for great lengths along the Ottawa River Parkway. Lately the intensity of the hobby has begun to diminish noticeably.  I'm getting old and feeling it; my knees and back remind me of my amortization. The short jaunt I took today (about 1½ hours) on my one-speed relic was quite enough.  It is significant too that being at sea level the paths here are flat so there are happily no inclines whatsoever to overcome.  As abbreviated as my foray was I nonetheless relished the motion, distractions and coverage of the ride.

Afterwards I complement my cycling exercise with swimming in the pool and the Ocean.  I am not as enthusiastic as some to work out in the gym even though it affords a panoramic view overlooking the sea.  As for other entertainment I submerged myself in the hot tub and played the grand piano in the seaside lounge.  On other occasions I may even take to walking on the beach from time to time (though normally I abhor walking).

In order to round out my accmmodation of our new environment I have yet to locate personal service providers like hair stylist, manicurist and of course car detailing. That can wait for another day.

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