A Day at the Beach on Sanibel Island

Bridge to Sanibel Island Florida I’ve been in sunny Fort Myers, Florida since December. But for various work-related reasons, Tuesday, February 7th was my first day at the beach. I decided to pick up a rental car and drive up to Sanibel Island.

The drive out to Sanibel is nice once you get over having to pay $6.00 on the toll bridge. In the Northwest we don’t have such things so it was quite a surprise.

Along several stretches there is bright blue water on either side and it just looks amazing. There are also several small beaches along the low portions of the bridge to Sanibel that you can stop at. It seemed to be mostly fishermen and tourists taking pictures. They weren’t the kind of beaches you would relax and sunbathe on.

Seashells and People Sanibel Beach

Once in Sanibel I just kind of drove around until I found a place that said “Beach Parking”. Although I had to pay, it was a nice reminder of home because the payment kiosk ($2.00/hr) is very similar to the parking meters in Portland, Oregon (like when I go to Powell’s Books). From the parking lot it is a short walk down the road and across one street to a handicap parking lot which has bathrooms and showers to rinse the sand and salt water off. Just a little further and…I made it to the beach!

The beach is quite different from the one I visited in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was a mix of soft white sand and crushed up seashells. In fact, just past the waterline it looked like primarily crushed seashells. For the most part it’s comfortable to walk on but you get the occasionally sharp poke. The soft sand down by the water is really nice though.

I enjoyed a little bit of swimming. At least until I noticed a few shark fins poking out of the water! Holy hell! I was surrounded too. I froze as if they were a pack of t-rex. You remember that scene from Jurassic Park right? They can’t see you if you don’t move.

You can’t imagine how fast I got out of the water.

A little later, I noticed a few more swimming along the shore in surprisingly shallow water (waist deep to less than knee deep). Of course, once I got over the shock and thought to grab my phone so I could take a picture they were gone. I spotted a few rays swimming past as well but I couldn’t get a good shot. Swimming with turtles in Hawaii was fun but not nearly as, um, exciting. haha!

After that bit of excitement I sat back and watched the sunset.

Watching Sunset Sanibel Florida

120 Hours of Atlantic City’s Jersey Shore

In 2011, I spent 5 days in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I visited the Tropicana, Caesar’s Palace, and the Trump Taj Mahal. I also walked a bit of the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk.

We lucked out and had nice weather for most of the trip.

Visiting Trump’s Taj Mahal was something that interested me ever since I read Trump’s business books when I was a kid. I was always impressed with his success as a businessman. Only later did I learn what an asshat he is.

Not surprisingly, the casino is very flashy and bright. But I couldn’t help feeling like it was stuck in the 70’s or 80’s. Plus, the crowd was almost exclusively elderly people. I dare say I was the youngest person there. Very odd vibe.

Atlantic City Jersey Shore

I don’t gamble so I just went to eat dinner there. There’s an Asian restaurant on the second floor. I had pork fried rice and kimchee. The food was great but way overpriced. The wait staff was very friendly but I’m sure it helped that I was the only customer.

Without a doubt, the beach beat out the casinos.

Have you been to Atlantic City? What did you think?

Relaxing at Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu, Hawaii

Ala Moana Beach Park Back in 2011, I was lucky enough to be sent to Honolulu, Hawaii for a week of work, which would be my first time to Hawaii.

I had been to beaches before – Washington, Oregon, California, and Florida. I’d constantly heard people gush over Hawaii and I was like yeah, yeah. A beach is a beach.

I had no idea how much I’d end up loving Hawaii. There’s just something about it that really warmed my heart.

On Saturday after work, I walked from my hotel downtown to Ala Moana beach. It was only 20-minutes away, a slice of paradise in a busy city. It’s such a wonderful thing to take a short stroll to such a beautiful beach. I thought, “Wow, I could get used to this!”

Considering the beach is right in Honolulu, Hawaii, it was surprisingly quiet and relaxing. The sand was soft and the water was warm – like a lukewarm bath. There was a light breeze and the sky was clear. A perfect afternoon!

Although I had to get up for work at 1:30 AM, I stayed to watch the sunset. Totally worth it.

Ala Moana Beach Sunset

Almost a year later, I was able to work in Kona for almost a month. That was even more amazing and solidified my love of Hawaii.

Now I know that gushing over Hawaii is completely justified.

Have you been to Hawaii?

View the Gorge from Angel’s Rest

Angels Rest Gorge View This is from one of the many viewpoints along the trail when you hike up to Angel’s Rest in Oregon. It’s just one of the many beautiful Columbia River Gorge day hikes.

It’s a fairly easy hike and the views up top are great! On a clear day, you can see up and down the Columbia River for miles.

On this particular trip, it rained about half the way up. So the other wise impressive views were obscured by clouds and fog.

Be sure to visit nearby Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Oregon. If you are in decent shape and get an early start you can easily do both of these scenic hikes.

Getting There

Simply follow I-84 East from Portland, Oregon until you see the sign for the Bridal Veil exit and follow the Historic Columbia River Highway until you see the signs.

Waterfall Angels Rest

About a third of the way up, just before you cross a small bridge, this little waterfall will be on your left.

Visiting Hoover Dam and Hiking the Mojave

Hoover Damn Nevada Arizona - Travellistic My first trip out of the Las Vegas, Nevada area included Hoover Dam and the Mojave National Preserve. I also swung by some sites of importance for Fallout: New Vegas fans, such as Nipton, a sign for Cottonwood Cove, Primm and Buffalo Bill’s hotel with its famous roller coaster (known as Bison Steve’s in Fallout: New Vegas).

Hoover Dam, like Lake Mead, is very close to Las Vegas. So, not surprisingly, there were a lot of people there. The dam itself is a pretty amazing feat of engineering but it actually wasn’t as big as I expected. All I could think about while I walked along the road on top was – how cool would it be to Australian rappel down this! It also made me think of the James Bond flick GoldenEye when Bond bungee jumps off of the Verzasca Dam in Switzerland (which normal people can now do).

Hoover Dam Sign at Border - Travellistic

Another cool thing about this trip is that I was able to hike out near Cima Dome, so California is now added to the growing list of states I’ve hiked in (I’m aiming for all 50). I saw deer, some little squirrels and a huge colony of ants. No Ant Man though, gotta wait for the movie. The Mojave National Preserve is home to the largest forest of Joshua Trees.

Joshua Trees Mojave National Preserve

One thing that I really liked about being out in the Mojave was how quiet it was. Other than my breathing and a light breeze, it was dead silent. Very relaxing.

Mojave National Preserve