Saturday, November 4, 2017

Shoe in

We both bought new shoes today.  I like shoes.  I've even considered that I may have a shoe fetish. I once had a pair of shoes custom made for me by a cobbler in Montreal.  Those were the days!  Custom made suits, shirts and shoes!  Now I couldn't be bothered.  For one thing I'm done with suits and French-cuffed shirts.  As for shoes - given my escalating arthritis - the only ones at all comfortable are deck shoes (first popularized by Sperry).  Now every manufacturer has got into retailing them but there are few brands I like - among them Sebago.

Though you might imagine that narrowing the focus to deck shoes makes the task of finding comfortable shoes an easy matter, it doesn't.  The solution isn't the casualness of deck shoes but rather that it is sometimes possible to find them in WW (extra-wide) widths.  Though it is equally possible to find extra-wide dress shoes, they're not what I want.  Within the scope of what appeals to me the variety is limited and if I were to be completely honest every pair of deck shoes I have looks pretty much the same as the others. Sperry at one time made a deck shoe which I called an "oiler", a dark brown leather made supple from the application of some water-repellant oil.  It's no longer available so my scope has been further refined.

Anyway all that is no doubt abysmally boring!  Its only materiality is that deck shoes are a perfect addition to our maritime sojourn.  Everything else we wear here - basically shorts and Polo shirts - are ideally suited to deck shoes.  I've tried finding suitably sized shoes in local malls before but without luck.  Ordering something on-line is not guaranteed to make the search any easier plus the fact you can't try them on. So having located a well-stocked retailer solved that particular issue.  It's a small price to pay to capitalize upon the moment.

When I set off towards Ponce Inlet around 1:00 pm today on my bicycle I didn't imagine that I would make it all the way to the end of the peninsula. What dissuaded me was the prospect of having to return against the forcible north wind which was then propelling me southward with uncommon ease along the beach. But as usual I was overcome by the splendour of the sand, sea, Ocean and horizon.  It is impossible to tire of the views especially as the frothing Ocean is an endless pattern of distraction and sound.

The welcoming thought of the elevated dunes at Ponce Inlet fuelled my enthusiasm. This has to be one of the most vast dunes I've ever seen.  Because the dunes are insinuated by a network of boardwalks - some of which offer incredible distant views - the experience is unparalleled.

Though I began my return northward along the beach it wasn't long before my gusto diminished. Struggling into the wind was a sobering enterprise.  As soon as I came upon the first outlet from the beach I took the opportunity to retreat to the sidewalk bordering S Atlantic Avenue.  At the security booth at the entrance to the beach access I spoke with Michelle who it turns out has several family members who have married Canadians and moved to Canada (Ontario and Alberta).  Michelle informed me that a resident pass for vehicular travel on the beach is $250 (limitless for a year presumably) and for a non-resident (that is, someone who does not own property here) is $100 (for ten visits).

My guess is that the smoothness of the sidewalk effectively adds 2 - 3 miles per hour to my speed as compared to what I would have had on the beach when riding against the wind. Unsurprisingly that improvement made my return trip considerably easier than otherwise anticipated. Confronting the wind directly on the beach is a far different story from having to deal with it when buffeted by the trees and structures along the coast. I also remarked to myself that cycling on the sidewalk is more stimulating than I would have thought.  For one thing I like cars. There is a constant parade of what are often fashionable vehicles traveling up and down the coast.  Americans in this area seem especially anxious to keep their cars well maintained, bright and shiny.

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