Thursday, November 28, 2013

It's only weird if it doesn't work. (Bud Light commercial)

We gave up traditional Thanksgiving feasts in the 90's. It was the year we were so bored with roast turkey that we poached the bird instead. Poaching let us go directly to luscious turkey sandwiches. It made for a wonderful, relaxed meal, since the accompanying dishes and desserts could all be made well ahead of time, too. The lesson learned was that our holiday dinner was actually better when we messed around with the traditional menu, despite accusations of cheating from friends who worked their tails off making large traditional feasts.

After that we decided to stick with our weird Thanksgiving menus. The only rule: no roast turkey. We usually have at least one traditional item. This year's menu: pizza, salad, pumpkin pie, and two flavors of ice cream.

A good bike ride was what we wanted to start the day. As luck would have it, when we checked the Everglades Bicycle Club Facebook page, a leaderless group ride out to Key Biscayne was being organized. Thursday morning was going to be quite chilly, at least by Miami standards, but a fair number of riders were going. We rolled our bikes out to the elevator early, off to meet a fellow rider at 6:05 on Brickell Avenue. We'd ride together down to the ride's start at the golf course on Granada. We were happy there was someone to lead us to the ride's start. Nothing says traditional holiday fun like a bickering couple on bicycles wandering about in the pre-dawn darkness, arguing about which street to turn on.

A small group gathered on Brickell then wheeled down the route that led eventually to Coral Way and later the golf course on Granada. There the larger group was just starting east. We pedaled briskly through still sleeping neighborhoods, then popped through downtown Coconut Grove, past Dinner Key, and down the road still farther, till we were at Alice Wainwright Park. Then it was a swing on to the Rickenbacker, over the William Powell bridge, down past Virginia Key, over Bear Cut Bridge, and on to Key Biscayne. We circled into the Oasis, parked, and ordered our caffeine and snacks.
At the old Miami zoo in Crandon Park

Smartphone cameras were busy.
After the break part of the group headed back and part opted for the holiday tour of Key Biscayne mansions, Crandon Park, and the old Miami zoo. A meandering pedal around Crandon took us back to the highway to cross Bear Cut again and on to a loop of Virginia Key. Then it was back over William Powell and home for us. A great ride for a brisk Miami Thanksgiving morning

In the end, Thanksgiving isn't about the traditional holiday dinner. It's a day to have a good time with people you enjoy, be that family, friends, interesting acquaintances, or even friendly strangers. Nothing is weird if it works to make you thankful for having a pretty nice life.

Happy Thanksgiving.
Happy Hanukkah.