Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Shake and Bake

Fuji Sanibel 1.0 cruiser
Mango Sport velomobile

Planet X Cafe
A real traveler wades into the unknown, is discomforted, surprised and in the end, grateful to be wiser while still whole, having tested him (or her-)self and mastered a little more of the art of life.
And then there's us.
Our third annual trip to Rehoboth Beach, DelaWHERE?, broadened no mental horizons, and no challenging discomforts were sought.  Pretty much the opposite:  we know what we like, and, well, we did it again.
Back at the Avenue Inn, a block and half from the ocean, with wine and cheese at 5 P.M., a cool indoor stainless steel pool, and a bed the size of our township.  Seems like the same hard-working and sanguine staff members are still there, and that tells you a lot about a lodging.  One of the first orders of monkey business was an early evening stop at the Pig and Fish, where our favorite outdoor table was available and Chip, the waiter with unmatched conversational skills and a wicked sense of humor, still plies his trade with skill.  Zach's favorite dish, the Pork Shank, was not on the menu, but thanks to Chip's intervention, was produced anyway and was porcine perfection, as always.  I was very happy with my white sangria.  Several times.
More San Francisco than San Fran is, the Planet X Cafe next door to the Avenue Inn was even better upon our return this year:  due to a rush of larger parties, we lost our porch spot and found a better one at a tiny table in the bar area, among the candles, beads and Buddhas.  The bartender, a ringer for Bruce Springsteen, had to suddenly handle the filled tables as well as his bar, and an amiable confusion reigned.  The recorded music was just my taste (thus excellent), and the food was, to give less praise than it deserves, creative, lovely and memorable.  And there's no reason to ever just order the usual with items such as Ginger Lime Punch on the liquid side of the menu.
Last year we were perched on the beach when the Virginia-based earthquake hit --  it felt like being tossed around a little in a saute pan.  This year's drama was all the lifeguard action.  We saw a class being trained at the north end while on a walk, and the ones near us two days later didn't seem to spend much time in their elevated chairs; they were always leaping down and sprinting to the water to deal with almost-emergencies.  They prevented any real ones from playing out, and one guard brought a goofy kid back to Chair #12 to give him a good talking-to about waving his arms about and acting like he was drowning.  Don't make me dive into that cold water for no good reason again!!
We finally stopped by Atlantic Bicycles and rented an hour on two cruiser bikes and rode most of it on the boardwalk -- the smooth forgiving wood boards and lack of cars was ideal.  Next day, Nancy had more roasting on the beach to do, and I went back for another hour, this time spent on the flat, wide streets.  That's the Fuji pictured above -- three speeds, old-fashioned coaster brakes, nice comfy seat; it was a delight.  Not driving much, but walking and bicycling this past week, got me thinking about alternate means of transportation again.  Unsafe in traffic, but with distinct advantages, the velocycle (which I have never actually seen) is a three-wheeled recumbent cycle enclosed by a fairing -- looks like a smaller, lighter version of Buckminster Fuller's ahead-of-its-time Dymaxion car.  Regular bicycles are more manoeverable, climb hills better, are easier to get on, and certainly more affordable (the Mango Sport Red Edition Velomobile, with everything including USB ports, is over $13,000), but this design uses several times less of your energy, is much more aerodynamic and can cruise at 21 - 25 MPH.  Edging closer to car than cycle, it can also have an electric motor and an aircraft type canopy with solar panels.  Still not safe competing with regular cars (and we have no suitable tiny car/bike lanes), it is tempting to think about the fact that it is twenty times more efficient than electric cars on the market now.
But we enjoyed being pretty inefficient last week.  And as they say, if you play, you must pay.  That would be two days of unpacking and laundry; well worth it, all in all.  No ginger lime punch in sight to ease the burden, but there are a couple of Delaware's own Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPAs in the refrigerator....


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