2018-06-22 Key West Day 3

Just when you thought it couldn’t get better, it does. Here I am again on my newest favorite elliptical machine facing the ocean thinking about my day yesterday.

We’ve had a steady set of planned activities but it hasn’t felt like we ha e been rushed at all. Waking up in the AM feeling good (perhaps a little hung over), but not needing to jump out of bed right away for any reason. It’s been a great balance of excursions and R and R.

Yesterday was the piece de resistance thus far. A sea-plane ride out to the Dry Tortuga National Park. Arguably one of the most difficult to get to and therefore least visited National Park in the US. If you ever looked at a map of southern Florida, you would think that Key West was as far as one could go, but in fact it is not. It’s just where the highway ends.

About 9:45 AM we boarded a plane with 8 passenger seats (plus two more in the cockpit) and took off from Key West International Airport and glided a cool 500 feet above the water and tiny uninhabited islands until we arrived at our destination, Fort Jefferson. We landed on the water. That’s what makes a sea plane a sea plane, it can take off and land from water or a runway. It was super cool, and surprisingly a really smooth ride from start to finish. We landed near a beach at the north side of the island and departed into sand.

At the island there’s two main attractions, good snorkeling around the outside of the fort and touring the fort itself. The structure is massive. They said it was the largest brick structure in the Westen Hemisphere and can be seen from space like the Great Wall Of China. Three stories high and circular in totality. The interior of the structure was large enough for rooms and hallways and of course the inside a wide expanse of land. Built for strategic Naval positioning but most often used to house prisoners. Such interesting history.

Our first order of business after arrival however was to get to the snorkeling. I could do a whole post about that and since we are going again today (somewhere else of course), I think I’ll save that for later. Needless to say, with my fear of drowning, it was quite the experience for me.

The whole excursion, plane ride included took about 4 hours. It was just enough because the Florida heat and sun is unforgiving. On the way back, the pilot asked us if one of us wanted to sit in the cockpit. My answer.. “Hellz yes!!”. It was icing on a delicious cake.

I saw so many sea turtles out in the ocean. JS saw more than that, dolphins and Rays, but that’s probably because I don’t j ow what I’m looking at. Or what to look for.

When we arrived back at the condo we were wiped out and laid around napping for a few hours. Just enough of a rest to recharge and eat bedore heading out to find drinks and watch the sunset from “sunset pier”. There were literally thousands of people gathered there to also witness it. The pier is hopping with bars and shops and restaurants. After sunset we stopped to watch a steer performer… ridiculous Reece. Then we wandered around more and eventually decided to call it a night.

It was another amazing day and like I said, hard to top. We have a more chill day planned for today with no absolute scheduled activities. More snorkeling, visiting a few Key West sites, and whatever else we can find…

Live from Paradise,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-10-28 Switching Gears.. In 3rd Person

The post that is the conclusion of the “to be continued” previous posts on career and health and romance will be coming to the WordPress reader steam near you soon. However, at this time we are interrupting that regularly scheduled programming to take you to our world traveling corespondent, Miss SugarCookie.

She will be blogging live from sunny warm Hawaii at this time tomorrow. 

Follow along as she navigates the wretched adventure that is Air travel with two of our favorite allies tagging along to provide the Gen Z outlook on the situation. 

After that, it will be 7 days of tropical bliss to follow. You can expect to read about Haleakala and Hana and whatever other awesomeness they encounter. 

Check back daily for philosophical epiphany inspired by the beauty in nature and how it feels to be sleeping in and basking in the sun of 85 degree days in November. 

This destination is a lifelong, bucket list dream of our beloved Miss SugarCookie. You won’t want to miss it!

Time now to go finish laundry and travel prep.. her bags won’t pack themselves. 😉

Totally Stoked!
~Miss SugarCookie

(Oh yeah, I’m a blogging staff of one. Impressive right?!)

2017-07-20: These are a Few of Our Favorite Things…

On the plane ride home I asked my kids about our vacation with very specific questions. I think what you retain in your memories is solidified by recalling it several times, especially when it is fresh in your mind. I’m asking myself the same questions and will see how my answers stack up next to theirs.

What was the best thing you saw..
C: The Space Needle he also added, “We never saw the bean.”
Z: The Redwood Forest and her reply to C, “dude that’s in Chicago.”
Me: Also the Redwood Forest. “and now I guess I need to plan a trip to Chicago.”

Favorite Food or Food Place or meal…
C: Mod pizza in Seattle
Z: Also Mod pizza or Shari’s
Me: I also liked Shari’s but my favorite meal was the picnic we had at Oswald State Park at the beach. Looking at the map I think it was “Treasure Cove” but can’t be certain because I don’t recall seeing a sign”. Second might be the VooDoo donuts or Food truck lunch we had on the first day. I may have picked the Sand Dollar Cheeseburger, because it was so delicious, but I had to eat it so fast and I was pressed for time and also was alone.

Worst food (for comparison)…
Z: The fancy French toast place (which was Portage Bay Cafe).
C: I didn’t have one.
Me: I agree with Z, that Cafe was overpriced and not very good. I would also comment that every meal we ate that was fast food would be on this list. If I had to pick the worst though, it would be the burger place called Shake and Burger. I can’t even remember what city we were in but everything about it was terrible.

Best hotel or night’s stay…
Z: The Holiday Inn Express .. They had the best pool.
C: The Rennasamce Marriott was the nicest but the HIE did have the best pool.
Me: I agree with Cooper, but also really liked the hotel location/view/room we stayed at the Comfort Inn overnight in Eugene Oregon.

Worst hotel (for the sake of remembering)…
Z: The Comfort Inn Portland airport. Pool was not swimmable and we lost our pool toys and they were doing re-modeling and the drywall dust got all over my suitcase and ruined it. The elevator did not work in the morning and the breakfast was “meh”.
C: The Comfort Inn Portland airport.
Me: Yup, this is one thing we all agree on. The Hot Tub was also out of commission and it looked as though mold was growing on the surface under the water. Gross. They did take 45 bucks off our stay, but it did not make up for the experience and not allowing the kids to do one of their favorite things and swim.

Best Experience (not just what you saw but something you did)…
Z: Wings over Washington and Having a tv on our second flight.
C: Also Wings over Washington.
Me: Hands down hiking the Redwood Forest. Even driving through gave me chills. I just love that place. I will say the Wings over Washington was a good ride which was pretty cool the way they really made you feel like you were flying over the state with the sights and sounds and smells and feels. I wish the ride was a little bit longer though. I also enjoyed catching up with Princess KK even if it was just for a day. Driving down the coast was cool and laying on/rolling around the sand dunes of Oregon was newt. Also and also hiking up the path to the top of Multnomah falls. It really is hard to pick a favorite thing when there really were a lot of great moments.

Favorite Activity…
Z: Swimming at hotels
C: Lots of video game time in the car and at hotels.
Me: Again, it is difficult to choose among so many things that were fun to do. This is right up there with best experience, but I had to think of a secondary category because I know the kids enjoyed things that were not “road trip/tourist” experiences. I will admit it is a little disappointing that it would be the case, since we can do all those things in Omaha without spending a penny, but I am hoping their memory of our trip remains positive.

My least favorite activity became all the driving and navigating the terrible traffic and all the people in and around the larger cities. I think they are over-crowded and I would never want to live in either place. I also became increasingly irritated at my daughters picky eating and entitled attitude.

When we arrived home, Josh gave us a ride back to our house and he asked the kids what was the most memorable thing, which was phrased a little differently than the thing I had asked. They both said “getting lost in the Redwood Forest”, which I was shocked to hear come out of their mouths. I mean of all the things we had just talked about, neither of them mentioned that to me. In all fairness we were never “lost”. We crossed the “scenic” road multiple times and could have, at any time, taken that back to the visitor center where our car was parked.

At some point we did go left when we should have gone right (or north instead of south) and ended up on a different trail several miles from where we intended to be. While the kids both blame me for that incident, they admit the signs on the trail were not the best and not all “forks in the road” were labeled. When you are among such tall and majestic trees, it is difficult to see where the sun is and if it is around high noon, tough to know which way is north and which way is south. In any case, a lovely couple of girls gave us a ride back to the visitor center and it was a good thing because it really would have been several more miles of hiking and Cooper never would have made it. It’s definitely worth an honorable mention, as these things are what memories are made of.

Traveling Trio Out,
~Miss SugarCookie (And Z and C too)