NYC Idiotarod – Shopping Cart Race Circus Train Style

New York City Idiotarod!

I want you to think outside of the box when you think of New York City!

When you think of New York City, I’m sure you instantly think of the Yankees, Rangers, Giants, Knicks… Maybe you’re not a sports fan so instead you think of Broadway Shows, Times Square, Central Park, Wall Street…

Maybe you loathe or at least have a strong dislike for the crowds, congestion, and inconsiderate people that accompany tourist traps. Well I’m exactly like you!

When you think of New York City, I want you to start thinking of experiences like the Idiotarod!

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Caitlin Racing Through the Streets of Brooklyn in Her Badass Clown Costume.

So, what is the Idiotarod?

According to Wikipedia, the Idiotarod is a shopping cart race in which teams of five “idiots” tie themselves to a slightly modified grocery store shopping cart and run through the streets of a major metropolitan area.

Each year is a new route, with new bars, and a new theme! No one gets informed of the actual route until right before the race begins, and awards are given out at the finish line for Best in Show, Best Design, and more.

Brooklyn Here We Come – Idiotarod Circus Style!

This year my friends and I outdid ourselves! Instead of having just one cart, we dressed up four carts to create a circus train.

And you can’t have a circus train without a circus: a lion, bear, elephant, strongman, tarot card reader, knife thrower, tightrope artist, conductor, and most importantly, clowns! I’m the awesome blue one with the sickest hot pink wig ever.

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Circus Train Idiotarod!

It’s good to be the Clown

At each bar there are various challenges for all racers, along with interactive elements for each group.

If you’ve ever been one to fear clowns, I can tell you how to tame them in an instant: bond them and feed them strawberries. Special thanks to Bondage Brunch for the lovely memories!

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Caitlin Being Fed a Strawberry by the Bondage Brunch.

You can find my Forum Novelties Big Top Clown Teen Costume here if you’re looking to clown it up in the future, and for sure don’t forget the awesome pink wig!

This Idiotarod Circus Train is…

All of our hard efforts were not in vain either!

We ran through the streets of Brooklyn…

We bar hopped like professionals…

We drank our weight in beer / liquor / wine…

We took all our challenges in great stride with fierce competition in our eyes…

We were even bondaged and fed strawberries – at least I was!

And through the completion of all these obstacles our awesome circus train was awarded Best in Show!

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This Idiotarod Circus Train Won Best in Show!

Put the Idiotarod in your Memory Bank

This city, as well as many others, is full of quirky, fun, and out of the box opportunities!

Even if we hadn’t won, which I’m stoked we did, the Idiotarod will forever be one of my favorite NYC just say yes experiences.

I challenge you to step away from the congested tourist traps, and get yourself a shopping cart to race. You won’t be sorry.

Reminder to Just Say Yes!

And, more importantly as always, say yes to experiences that present themselves to you! Life is full of fun and wonder – don’t be stuck at home wondering what life could be like, should be like, would be like… drop that nonsense! Get out there, say yes, and never look back!

Follow ME 🙂

Subscribe to my blog for more of my exciting Yescapades!

As a disclaimer, I was not paid by any of the above linked sites. This review is solely mine without any monetary compensation.

However, I will receive a small kickback from Amazon if you decide to purchase your clown costume and wig by following the links above!

On Sundays, We Kubb

San Diego Living

Man oh man am I a spoiled one! Living in San Diego is an absolute treat! An expensive, but well worthwhile one.

While my East Coast friends are experiencing horrid weather shifts from 60°F (16°C) to below freezing, I’m debating on which enticing outdoor activity to partake in!

For example, us San Diegans experienced an 81°F (27°C) day with perfect sunshine this past weekend! Talk about winter isn’t coming…

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Mission Bay Crew on Sunday, 28 January 2018.

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“Our” Spot on Mission Bay.

Winter Isn’t Coming… So Let’s Kubb!

When you live in a gorgeous place you should take advantage of everything available to you! Especially when you’re blessed with perfect weather – the possibilities are endless.

And, because us Southern Californians can bank on this kind of weather regularly, my group of friends and I thoroughly enjoy rallying together to play Kubb on our days off. And, the keyword being Californians, we play Kubb in the high sand instead of on the lawn.

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Nikki Setting up for Some Seriously Extreme Kubb Playing.

This is pretty much our Sunday routine: wake up, caffeinate (duh), put a little food in our systems, and head to Mission Bay to play Kubb.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking, what on Earth is Kubb?! According to Wikipedia, Kubb is a Swedish lawn game where the objective is to knock over wooden blocks (kubbs) by throwing wooden batons (kastpinnar) at them. Brilliant right!

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All Setup and Ready to Play Kubb.

It’s okay if you’re not yet convinced.

I for one cannot just go to the beach, lay out my towel, and roll over like a rotisserie chicken every 15 – 30 minutes… that’s a complete waste of my time! Yes, I love the warmth of the sunshine on my smooth skin, but there are plenty of other ways to tan your sexy bod!

Being at the beach is way more fun if you’re actually doing something! Let it be volleyball, spike ball, lawn bowling, cartwheels, whatever!

Let me know in the comments section below if you would like for me to post another article about how Kubb is played or anything else related to Kubb. I may even include a video!

If you’re looking for an affordable Kubb set, I recommend this Kubb set from Amazon!

Reminder to Just Say Yes!

And, more importantly as always, say yes to experiences that present themselves to you! Life is full of fun and wonder – don’t be stuck at home wondering what life could be like, should be like, would be like… drop that nonsense! Get out there, say yes, and never look back!

Aly’s Camera Choice

All of the pictures were shot with my Pentax K-70, 18-135mm Lens and edited by me using Adobe Creative Cloud.

I’m in the market for the 15-30mm Pentax Lens so be on the lookout for when I post photos using that bad boy! Landscape and portrait photography are my passion. That being said, feel free to checkout the Pentax K-70 Body Only (silver) and upgrade your first lens choice!

Follow ME 🙂

Click on the links below to follow me on my social media accounts, and definitely subscribe to my blog for more of my exciting Yescapades!

As a disclaimer, I was not paid by any of the above linked sites. This review is solely mine without any monetary compensation. However, I will receive a small kickback from Amazon if you decide you want to become a Pentaxian like me! I couldn’t recommend the Pentax K-70 and Adobe Creative Cloud more – look at all my pictures if you don’t believe me. I will also receive a small kickback from Amazon if you purchase your Kubb game set by following the link! I unfortunately cannot recommend the exact Kubb set we’re playing with in these images because our set is quite old.

Frolicking Amongst the Ferns: Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek National Park, NorCal

Never take what you have for granted

Home. A beautiful, four letter word that makes you feel whole, loved, and at peace. That’s how I feel every Christmas when I make my way North to Eureka, California.

I never appreciated Eureka until I moved away for college. I guess it’s something you learn as you get older – to appreciate the little things like groves of trees, crisp air, clean water… You get tied up in what could be versus enjoying what is.

I couldn’t wait to go away to college after I graduated from high school. 18 years spent behind the Redwood curtain – seeing the same people, doing the same things. I wanted something new! Little did I know that I would one day crave something old; something I only get but once a year at best.

One place in particular will always have a place in my heart, and it’s a place I strongly encourage all of you nature enthusiasts to visit: Fern Canyon.

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My Amazing Family on the Canyon Floor.

Northern California – Fern Canyon

Getting to the Canyon

The setup for arriving at the canyon entrance is magical: you drive through groves of beautiful trees and greenery and along the ocean – Gold Bluffs Beach to be exact! Then, to make things even better, you park your car, begin the hike in, and BAM! You’re greeted by a gorgeous canyon!

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View of Gold Bluffs Beach from the Trailhead.

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Entrance of Fern Canyon.

Commence “Hiking”

I’ve never hiked anywhere more beautiful! And for all you trail lovers out there like myself, there are plenty of solid trails.

My family chose the easiest trail: the Fern Canyon Loop Trail. We’re not all at the same intensity level, and we wanted everyone to have an enjoyable time.

The trail is rated as “Easy” on All Trails, and I assure you it lives up to that difficulty level.

The Fern Canyon Loop Trail is much more of a walk than it is a hike. However, it provides you with all of the highlights: walking through the canyon, heading up above the canyon to walk through groves of trees (there’s even an amazing meadow I highly recommend going slightly off trail for – it’s part of the trail so you’re not endangering the land), and then back down to the entrance of the canyon.

Soak it all in

There’s something for everyone in Fern Canyon as long as you can take a few moments to yourself and shut the world out.

Maybe you take off your shoes and dip them in the cold creek water. Maybe you stand next to a trickling waterfall, and let the moisture bounce off the moss onto your face. Maybe you just sit and take a moment to reflect on how lucky you are to be alive.

Fern Canyon is perfect for any of these. See for yourself:

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Ferns Line the Canyon Walls from Top to Bottom.

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Natural Waterfalls Trickle Down the Moss and Ferns Lining the Canyon Walls.

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Looking Down the Canyon.

Up Above the Canyon

Once you’re done exploring the canyon floor, you head up a short flight of stairs through groves of trees.

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Candid Shot by My Baby Sister, Brynna.

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Groves of Trees Above the Canyon.

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Looking Up Towards the Tops of Trees Reminds Me of How Little We Are in Such a Grand World.

Fun side note, my dad and brother milled some of the planks you walk on. A couple winters back some redwood trees in my parent’s yard fell because of how bad the storm was – I can research the year if anyone would like to know. It’s nice to see a natural disaster benefiting nature lovers.

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Dad, Kenny, and Brother, Garth, Admiring Their Work.

And when you’re out of the groves of trees, you can carefully approach the edge to get an insane view of the canyon from above.

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View of the Canyon Floor Entrance From Above – Looking Right.

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View of the Canyon Floor Entrance From Above – Looking Left.

Visit Fern Canyon

Fern Canyon is an amazing nature spot that should be on everyone’s list to visit. Hopefully these pictures inspire you to plan a trip!

These photos are from late December. I recommend going any time of year as long as there isn’t a flash flood or storm warning. You can easily check the current weather conditions of Prairie Creek State Park through the National Park Service.

If you go in the winter time, I highly recommend waterproof shoes. My dad had to carry my sister the majority of the canyon because she only had basic running shoes.

Shout out to my Salomon hiking boots! I wore these bad boys the entire time, even in ankle deep water, and my feet did not get wet. Follow the link to find these bad boys on Amazon. I also recommend pairing the hiking boots with Darn Tough Vermont socks – also found on Amazon. I’m a full cushion fan, but there are lots of different types and they truly stand-up to any hiking challenge. I refuse to put anything else on my feet when I’m on my nature adventures.

Summertime is perfect if you’re concerned about getting your feet wet – I don’t blame you! – the National Park Service installs foot bridges – makes waterproof shoes a luxury and not a requirement.

I’ll be sure to do a summertime Fern Canyon post next time I’m able to! This place is a true gem, and I try to visit every time I venture home. Maybe I’ll even camp next time! Let me know if you think I should in the comments section below:)

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I Have Major Waterfall Obsessions.

Reminder to Just Say Yes!

And, more importantly as always, say yes to experiences that present themselves to you! Life is full of fun and wonder – don’t be stuck at home wondering what life could be like, should be like, would be like… drop that nonsense! Get out there, say yes, and never look back!

Aly’s Camera Choice

All of the pictures were shot with my Pentax K-70, 18-135mm Lens and edited by me using Adobe Creative Cloud.

I’m in the market for the 15-30mm Pentax Lens so be on the lookout for when I post photos using that bad boy! Landscape and portrait photography are my passion. That being said, feel free to checkout the Pentax K-70 Body Only (silver) and upgrade your first lens choice!

Follow ME 🙂

Click on the links below to follow me on my social media accounts, and definitely subscribe to my blog for more of my exciting Yescapades!

As a disclaimer, I was not paid by any of the above linked sites. This review is solely mine without any monetary compensation. However, I will receive a small kickback from Amazon if you decide you want to become a Pentaxian like me! I couldn’t recommend the Pentax K-70 and Adobe Creative Cloud more – look at all my pictures if you don’t believe me. I will also receive a small kickback from Amazon if you purchase your Salomon Hiking Boots and Darn Tough Socks by following the links! I purchased these exact items myself so I fully believe in them – heck, I’m wearing them in every picture you see!

 

Touring Fort Jefferson “Dry Tortugas” National Park

What is Fort Jefferson, and Why Should You Visit?

Fort Jefferson National Park is the largest brick structure in the western hemisphere and is among the 10 least visited national parks in the United States!

Simply imagine getting flown out to a remote island where there’s a grand brick structure in almost the same exact condition as when it was in use!

You get to experience true history at Fort Jefferson National Park. There are no fences, no ropes, and no alterations to keep you from walking around the park just like when troops were stationed here! The only areas that are prohibited are those reserved for the 8 park rangers who maintain the grounds – that’s it! And the prohibited area is hardly noticeable.

And there’s more to the park than just the massive brick structure – you can go checkout exotic birds at the bird sanctuary or go snorkeling just outside of the fortress’s walls to explore all the beautiful marine life that thrives along the reef!

Hop over to my article, Irma Can’t Hold the Keys Back, for an overview of my trip to Key West, Florida!

Getting to Fort Jefferson

There are two methods of transportation you can take to get to Fort Jefferson:

  1. By ferry, or
  2. By seaplane.

I highly highly recommend visiting Fort Jefferson by seaplane. Yes, making the trek out to the park by seaplane is much more expensive than taking the ferry, but you’ll also have a much better experience – here’s why:

  • The ferry takes approximately 2.25 hours both ways (that’s 4.5 hours bobbling about on the ocean!), and you’re only allotted “a little more than 4 hours” of exploration time. More time in transport than actual adventuring time… that’s awful! The seaplane takes approximately 40 minutes each way, and… you get
  • The ferry won’t provide you with an amazing aerial view of Key West, Fort Jefferson, and shipwrecks – sharks – dolphins – sea turtles when you travel by ferry.

If you haven’t guessed by now, we traveled via seaplane.

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Boarding the Seaplane for Fort Jefferson!

Just look at the amazing view of Key West you get when you take-off! I was blown away by how gorgeous the entirety of the flight was.

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Takeoff View of Key West, Florida, from the Seaplane.

And not only is the view of Key West gorgeous, but just marvel at how cool Fort Jefferson looks when you’re making your landing!

Activities at Fort Jefferson

No matter your transportation of choice, you won’t be disappointed by the activities Fort Jefferson offers:

1. Touring the Fortress

Like I said in the opening, the fortress has no fences, no ropes, and no alterations to prevent you from exploring! You get to experience the fort exactly as it was, with some general wear and tear, when 2000 troops were stationed here!

We quickly chose a picnic table to set down our snorkeling gear, which was provided by Key West Seaplane Adventures, and headed for the courtyard! Quick note regarding leaving our stuff: no one messed with anything! What other tourist attraction can you go to and leave items without fearing they’ll be stolen? Nowhere!

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The Adventure Family Atop the Fort Jefferson Parapet.

We rounded the corner and headed up the stairs for an overview of the fortress, the grounds, and the surrounding waters. And my oh my… it was breathtaking!

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Fort Jefferson Courtyard From the Parapet.

We walked around the perimeter of the fort, along the second floor that was open to the public, and all throughout the courtyard. Of everywhere we explored, the “Chapel” was by far mine and Nikki’s favorite!

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Placard in the Bastion Explaining the “Chapel’s” Significance.

Needless to say… Nikki and I had a stellar photoshoot in the “Chapel!” Special thanks to Pentax for the bitchin HDR Landscape mode – we put it to great use!

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Aly Looking Out to Sea.

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One of the Five Bastions Known as the “Chapel.”

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Nikki Walking Down an Endless Brick Hallway.

And yes… I proudly shoot with a Pentax K-70, 18-135mm Lens… didn’t think they were still around did yah?!

These photos were taken using the 18-135mm lens, which came with my camera. I’m in the market for a new lens – specifically the 15-30mm Pentax Lens – as it’s more suitable for landscape and portraits, which is my jam!

2. Bird Watching

Of the three activities I’ve listed, bird watching was the only one we didn’t get to experience. I have this in here mainly as information for those of you who visit – there is an amazing bird sanctuary at the other end of the island. The birds were buzzing while we were there… but we chose to spend our time at the fort and in the water.

3. Snorkeling

The waters that surround Fort Jefferson are absolutely to die for! And, compliments of Key West Seaplane Adventures, we were able to experience them with an awesome snorkeling excursion!

Stay tuned for some GoPro footage of our snorkeling adventures, as well as where our favorite spots for snorkeling were!

Be Among the Few Who Visit Fort Jefferson

Nature and history in its rawest form await you at the “Dry Tortugas!” Few will ever venture here, and of those who do shall receive a touristy experience unlike any other. Take a break from drunken Duval Street and all the other mainland attractions that get congested with cruise ships and common tourists… do something different that will enrich your experience! I cannot recommend touring Fort Jefferson more.

Reminder to Just Say Yes!

And, more importantly as always, say yes to experiences that present themselves to you! Life is full of fun and wonder – don’t be stuck at home wondering what life could be like, should be like, would be like… drop that nonsense! Get out there, say yes, and never look back!

Aly’s Camera Choice

All of the pictures were shot with my Pentax K-70, 18-135mm Lens and edited by me using Adobe Creative Cloud.

I’m in the market for the 15-30mm Pentax Lens so be on the lookout for when I post photos using that bad boy! Landscape and portrait photography are my passion. That being said, feel free to checkout the Pentax K-70 Body Only (silver) and upgrade your first lens choice!

Follow ME 🙂

Click on the links below to follow me on my social media accounts, and definitely subscribe to my blog for more of my exciting Yescapades!

As a disclaimer, I was not paid by any of the above linked sites. This review is solely mine without any monetary compensation. However, I will receive a small kickback from Amazon if you decide you want to become a Pentaxian like me! I couldn’t recommend the Pentax K-70 and Adobe Creative Cloud more – look at all my pictures if you don’t believe me.

Deep Sea Fishing in the Florida Keys

Never had I ever… sounds like a drinking game… been deep sea fishing before! And for someone who gets crazy-bad motion sickness, it’s not exactly an activity you raise your hand and volunteer for.

That being said, I’m so overly excited that I was able to go deep sea fishing with my Adventure Family during my trip to Key West, Florida!

If you’re looking for someone to take you out to catch some fresh, delicious fish, look no further than Linda D Sportfishing! Keep on reading to find out why, and checkout my blog post about my overall trip to the Florida Keys by following this link: Irma Can’t Hold the Keys Back.

Deep Sea Fishing – The Basics

The basics of deep sea fishing are quite simple:

  • Take motion sickness medication. I cannot stress this enough – even if you don’t think you’ll get sick, why risk it? Once you’re sick there’s no turning back so take precaution before you hop on the boat. I took MECLIZINE – generic from CVS – and it did wonders for me!
  • Let the Captain know if you get motion sickness. I’m always the first to volunteer this information! This way the Captain knows, the Captain’s crew knows, and they can ensure you have an enjoyable time – or at least they can try.
  • Aim overboard if you’re going to lose your breakfast. This may not always be the rule so I encourage you to ask the Captain for the proper protocol before this is even an issue. Because once it becomes an issue… well… it’s ugly.
  • Wear a white, long sleeve shirt; apply sunscreen regularly; and dawn a hat to protect your skin from the sun. Putting on a long sleeve shirt may seem counter-intuitive, but the glare from the water is no joking matter. Especially when you couple the glare from the water with the inability to go inside the cabin to find solace from the sun – remember: motion sickness.
  • And for those of you who get motion sickness like me: Do not go inside the cabin. The cabin is your worst enemy! Seriously… do not go in the cabin.

I’ll leave deep sea fishing technique advice to the experts.

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Aly & Nikki Deep Sea Fishing Aboard Linda D! (This was in Calmer Waters After we Had a Motion Sickness Occurrence.)

Deep Sea Fishing with Linda D Sportfishing!

On to the good stuff now that I’ve talked motion sickness to death! As I mentioned earlier, Why should you choose Linda D Sportfishing? Easy – Captain Billy has an awesome boat, awesome crew, and is beyond committed to ensuring you have an awesome experience!

WE FISHED

We arrived at the dock a little after 07:30 to embark on our deep sea fishing excursion. Swim apparel, long sleeve white shirts, sunblock, hats, shorts, lunches packed by our resort (Margaritaville Resort, Key West, FL), and of course some cold ones… we were ready for action!

Once we were out to deep sea, we put out the chum and Captain Billy and Shaun started setting us up with bait. I was lucky enough to be the first one with a fishing pole in hand, body positioned firmly against Linda D’s sturdy starboard side bulkhead. And, as luck would continue to have it, I was the first to catch… drum roll please… a baby shark! I had no idea sharks were so strong!!! See below – Shaun had to help me…

After my intense shark battle, the fish started biting like crazy! Grouper and snapper alike were being hauled into the boat at a rapid rate! Adventure Dad, Wild Bill, even caught a Blue Parrot! We threw the Blue Parrot back of course, but not before admiring its scales and snapping a quick pic!

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Adventure Dad, Wild Bill, and His Blue Parrot! Don’t Worry… We Threw It Back:)

I don’t know how Shaun and Captain Billy were able to pull all of our fish into the boat and re-bait our lines in such a timely fashion – guys have deep sea fishing on lock… that’s for sure! I barely had any time to grab my beer and take a sip!

We returned to shore with many Grouper and Snapper trophies! All of which we couldn’t wait to eat! Deep sea fishing truly works up an appetite, and I think with my stomach anyway so…

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Adventure Family Returned to Land with Our Awesome Fish!

And I know there’s a lot of fish in this photo! Do not stress – we donated what we couldn’t eat to locals on the island for personal consumption. Nothing went to waste.

WE SWAM

We did have a moment of sickness… not me, but I was definitely feeling it… while we were getting tossed around pretty good. So, to ease the suffering, Captain Billy and his crewman, Shaun, pulled in all of our gear and steered us toward calmer waters where we could take a swim! We did continue to fish after our swim break… just to be clear.

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Adventure Family Men Taking a Swim Near a Preserved Island.

WE ATE

When the day had ended, we packed it all in and headed towards shore. Shaun fillet’d as much of our fish as we were able to eat, and Captain Billy called in a favor to make us a dinner reservation at the New York Pasta Garden Restaurant for the same evening. The restaurant has a special menu setup so that they can cook your fresh catch!

Fresh yellowtail sashimi, grilled grouper fish over fresh steamed vegetables, and pasta! Nothing tastes better than when you know it’s fresh, and you worked so hard for it!

In Conclusion…

Look no further than Linda D Sportfishing when planning your deep sea fishing excursion in Key West. From the crew to the fish you get to feast on at the end of the day, you’re in for a perfect experience!

And hey – maybe you’ve read to the end of this post and you’re thinking, deep sea fishing really isn’t for me… That’s okay too! Checkout my full article about what I did during my trip to Key West here to see what other awesome activities you can fill your trip with: Irma Can’t Hold the Keys Back. For instance, we toured Fort Jefferson National Park, which is one of the least toured national parks in the United States – checkout this article to learn about my day trip: Touring Fort Jefferson “Dry Tortugas” National Park.

Reminder to Just Say Yes!

And, more importantly as always, say yes to experiences that present themselves to you! Life is full of fun and wonder – don’t be stuck at home wondering what life could be like, should be like, would be like… drop that nonsense! Get out there, say yes, and never look back!

Aly’s Camera Choice

All of the pictures were shot with my Pentax K-70, 18-135mm Lens and edited by me using Adobe Creative Cloud.

I’m in the market for the 15-30mm Pentax Lens so be on the lookout for when I post photos using that bad boy! Landscape and portrait photography are my passion. That being said, feel free to checkout the Pentax K-70 Body Only (silver) and upgrade your first lens choice!

Follow ME 🙂

Click on the links below to follow me on my social media accounts, and definitely subscribe to my blog for more of my exciting Yescapades!

As a disclaimer, I was not paid by any of the above linked sites. This review is solely mine without any monetary compensation. However, I will receive a small kickback from Amazon if you decide you want to become a Pentaxian like me! I couldn’t recommend the Pentax K-70 and Adobe Creative Cloud more – look at all my pictures if you don’t believe me.

Irma Can’t Hold the Keys Back

Irma may have wreaked havoc all throughout Florida’s beautiful chain of islands, but I’m happy to report that the Keys are back in business!

Last November I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Key West, Florida, with my Adventure Family. The weather was fabulous, debris from the hurricane was consolidated, and everyone had assumed normalcy in paradise!

But First, Coffee

For starters, my bestie (Nikki) and I flew out on a red-eye from San Diego to Miami on a Thursday. Landed early as… well you get it… and grabbed coffee straight away! I picked a cute spot that wasn’t too far from the airport and was somewhat along our route since we had a solid 3 hour + drive ahead of us. Nikki and I can’t survive without coffee – addiction? … oh most definitely.

Panther Coffee was adorable and so was the neighborhood. Panther Coffee is situated in the super trendy Arts District in Miami, Florida. Grab a cup of Joe and take a nice stroll to check out all of the amazing street art! I do recommend being in that neighborhood later than we were though… maybe closer to the time where people are in the neighborhood for work. We had at least one interesting encounter, and I needn’t say more.

Irma’s Destruction

After we got our coffee fix, we hopped on the road and set cruise control towards our tropical oasis. Along the way we definitely saw the turmoil that Irma had brought to the Keys – watch the short video below (apologies for my weird noises as I react to what I’m filming). Mind you, Irma struck land on 10 September 2017, and we were driving through on 10 November 2017. I can’t even begin to imagine what the true devastation must have looked like before people band together to clean up the mess.

The Florida Keys Are Back in Business!

But enough of the sad! Let’s get to the fun! And… more importantly… let’s get to the purpose of this post: The Florida Keys are Back in Business!

What did we do on our trip to Key West?

  1. We stayed at the Margaritaville Resort,
  2. Went deep sea fishing with Linda D Sportfishing,
  3. Flew over preserved waters to explore and snorkel around Fort Jefferson National Park, and
  4. Explored Key West’s mainland!

And, to top it all off, we did all of this in a place that had been devastated by a category 5 hurricane no more than 2 months prior!

MARGARITAVILLE RESORT, KEY WEST

So, you might be thinking to yourself, which resort should I stay at in Key West? Or you might be thinking, should I stay at a B&B instead?

There are many options to consider since the town thrives off tourism. Though I’ve only personally stayed at one place in Key West (Margaritaville Resort), I can assure you it’s a great option! The resort is located within walking distance of the majority of the main attractions in Key West:

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View from our Hotel Room at the Margaritaville Resort in Key West, Florida.

And if hanging out at the resort is your thing, then look no further! The resort is situated beautifully along the water! It’s clean, air conditioned, and has extremely friendly staff. Not to mention an awesome bar up above the pool with a gorgeous look out over the water.

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Margaritas Around at the Margaritaville Resort Poolside Bar.

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Seared Ahi Tuna Snack from the Bar Menu.

The only negative I will add to this review is that cruise ships… massive cruise ships… dock just outside this resort. Imagine you’re looking out of my hotel room window, and the only thing you see is a gigantic cruise ship – no joke. That was the view from our room when we were checking out… so fortunately we weren’t stuck with that view for our entire trip.

DEEP SEA FISHING WITH LINDA D SPORTFISHING

An activity that cannot be passed up when planning your trip to the Keys is deep sea fishing! As much fun as we had touring Fort Jefferson National Park, scroll down for more on that, no experience topped deep sea fishing with Linda D Sportfishing!

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Aly & Nikki Deep Sea Fishing Like Champs (we had a lot of help…)!

We fished all day with the help of Captain Billy and his fearless companion Shaun, and were even pointed in the direction of an amazing restaurant that cooked our catch of the day! We didn’t have all of the fish cooked for us as that would’ve been absurd – just look at the amount of fish in that photo! Instead, the fish we didn’t eat were given to the locals for personal consumption – nothing went to waste!

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The Adventure Family and Catch from Deep Sea Fishing.

For a more in-depth look at my deep sea fishing experience with Linda D Sport Fishing, follow this link: Deep Sea Fishing in the Florida Keys

TOURING FORT JEFFERSON, “DRY TORTUGAS”

Another activity that should ensure its position on your itinerary is a trip to Fort Jefferson, otherwise known as the “Dry Tortugas” for the islands lack of fresh water and perfect breeding grounds for majestic sea turtles.

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Aly & Nikki Atop the Parapet at Fort Jefferson National Park.

Fort Jefferson National Park is one of the 10 LEAST visited historic sites in the United States! This means that the grounds are preserved almost exactly as they were when the fort hosted almost 2,000 people at its peak! No gates, no “please stay behind the rope” banter coming from a volunteer who is annoyed with the endless volume of tourists day in and day out, no do not touch signs posted everywhere… the only areas that are off-limits are those reserved for the park rangers who maintain the historic site.

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Aly Overlooking the Fort Jefferson National Park Courtyard.

You can even snorkel in the crystal clear blue waters that surround the fortress to observe all sorts of beautiful sea life! Mind you, there are areas that are off-limits to snorkelers, but they let you know where those areas are – and the areas are only off limits to preserve the sea life.

For a more in-depth look at touring Fort Jefferson National Park, follow this link: Touring Fort Jefferson “Dry Tortugas” National Park

KEY WEST MAINLAND

So, here’s where we could’ve done better on our trip: we should’ve done all of the mainland activities we wanted before the cruise ships arrived…

While we were able to get a picture at the Southernmost Point of the United States… we waited in a ridiculously long line for at least 15 minutes to do so. Worth it? I don’t think so. Had we gone before the cruise ships arrived I highly doubt there would’ve been a line at all. So go before the cruise ships arrive! That’s my strong advice.

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Our Adventure Family at the Southernmost Point of the United States.

Sadly that’s pretty much all there is to show for our day activities on the mainland. I would’ve liked to tour Hemingway’s House, but again… cruise ships…

On my return excursion to the Florida Keys, which is an absolute must, I will be sure to update this section!

Reminder to Just Say Yes!

And, more importantly as always, say yes to experiences that present themselves to you! Life is full of fun and wonder – don’t be stuck at home wondering what life could be like, should be like, would be like… drop that nonsense! Get out there, say yes, and never look back!

Aly’s Camera Choice

All of the pictures were shot with my Pentax K-70, 18-135mm Lens and edited by me using Adobe Creative Cloud.

I’m in the market for the 15-30mm Pentax Lens so be on the lookout for when I post photos using that bad boy! Landscape and portrait photography are my passion. That being said, feel free to checkout the Pentax K-70 Body Only (silver) and upgrade your first lens choice!

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As a disclaimer, I was not paid by any of the above linked sites. This review is solely mine without any monetary compensation. However, I will receive a small kickback from Amazon if you decide you want to become a Pentaxian like me! I couldn’t recommend the Pentax K-70 and Adobe Creative Cloud more – look at all my pictures if you don’t believe me.