Friday, November 21, 2014

Summer in Winter

My friend Nick went to the car show in Miami last week and sent me this picture illustrating the return of Alfa Romeo to the United States. He's a gear head (known as a petrol head on Top Gear) and drives a Lexus, getting only slightly annoyed when I describe it as a Toyota Corolla. He knows I want to own an Alfa before I die, even though the odds look very long at the moment and this picture was his revenge.
My wife, a good sport, agreed to let me get my Vespa nostalgia fix by supporting my purchase two years ago of a 1979 Vespa P200 but I don't think a cramped two seater, be it ever so sexy, would get past her bull shit  meter. Besides I need my Ford Fusion to haul my precious Labrador around. We got a late start on our latest excursion onto Caroline Street, her favorite walk and  the weather was heavily summery. Not good for her fur-ness. I watched a couple of tourists haul their airport luggage down the bumpy sidewalk and pause in the shade to consult a map. It actually was last hot Monday morning.
Cheyenne took an early pause in the shade as the heat and humidity was oppressive. It always happens like that, as we wait for the promised cold front to arrive, the pressure from Up North squeezes the air down south and the temperature rises, rain falls briefly and then the temperature plummets, which is what it did the next day. 
 Plummet is a relative term and you have to be here to appreciate the fact that 63  degrees is cold. It's an uphill battle when Montana is cold enough to kill you and the Northeast is going into the 20s every single night. I hope to god outdoor pets (horrid concept!) are indoors. Cheyenne is and  she likes 60 degrees. There again she pretty much sleeps wherever she wants every night, and she always chooses indoors as any sensible dog would.
When it gets that cold I get out my padded jacket and my handlebar  muffs which is about as wintery as my gear gets. Usually I ride in a mesh jacket and light summer gloves and kept my helmet visor closed on the open highway, but below 70 degrees I get cold. What can I say? Blood gets thin in the tropics.
 I enjoy the shift in seasons, the sun lower on the horizon, the occasional widely spaced cold snaps, the emphasis on less waterborne pastimes. That's enough of a seasonal adjustment for me. If I plan a long distance ride north of Lake Okeechobee I try to plan the trip between cold fronts. Central and north Florida get frost most winters and I actually remember snow flakes drifting down one winter in Tampa. It didn't settle on the ground but my girlfriend and I sat in the window and watched that phenomenon, as she was a Florida native and had no idea what that white crap was.
For Cheyenne was not enjoying the heat but she will be all too frisky all winter long every time temperatures zip down below zero- which is the local joke to describe 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20C). 
I'm telling you, it may not look tough but people who find themselves on vacation here during a cold snap understand that cold in Key West is relative - and unpleasant too. WE just have to tough it out, like folks in Montana and points north.