A Few Days in Miami, Florida

It’s been so long since my last post, I almost don’t remember how to use WordPress. Our last proper summer vacation occurred in 2019 so we are well overdue for a good trip. We still camp all the time but have mostly been spending our time closer to home lately. Our kids are all grown up so this year we took an epic trip with friends. We started the trip in the Florida Keys and ended in Miami. If I’m being honest, I mostly didn’t enjoy Miami so I’m going to start with that and save the best for last (in a different post).

You are probably aware that I want to see all the things and cram in as much as possible on any trip. Of course that happened when we started planning a trip to Key West. Being so close to Everglades and Biscayne National Parks, we added a couple days in Miami to the end of our trip so that we could hit up those parks.

Ocean Drive, South Beach Miami

We decided to stay in South Beach Miami, Florida. It sounded like a good idea when planning but the reality was not as good. We stayed at the Moxy Miami South Beach and our group definitely bumped up the average age (and we’re not even that old!). We felt very out of place and hilariously, when we were out and about and told bartenders/servers where we were staying, they all laughed and agreed that we didn’t belong at the Moxy.

There were a few things we enjoyed. One being the Havana Vieja Cuban Restaurant which was across the street from our hotel. The food was amazing and worth every penny. If you find yourself in the area, check it out.

Our hotel has dedicated beach chairs on South Beach. When we were planning our trip, I envisioned us relaxing by the beach in the hotel chairs napping and reading. What was not in my dream were 10,000 of my closest new friends. The picture below looks more like my dream but this was taken very early in the morning. The rest of the day it was packed and there was hardly anywhere to put down a towel. Needless to say, we didn’t spend any time on the beach relaxing.

South Beach Miami Florida

Many of the hotels in South Beach were built in the 1930s so it’s fun to walk around and admire the Art Deco architecture.

Since our plans to relax at the beach were squashed, we instead explored Miami. The first stop was the Wynwood area to explore the murals. Wynwood is Miami’s arts district and there are murals on almost every building. It’s a fun area to walk around and there are so many shops, restaurants, and breweries to explore. J Wakefield Brewing received 5/5 stars from our group and was our most favorite beer stop on this trip. The walls are decorated in Star Wars and Marvel murals and they were playing Star Wars movies. Definitely a fun vibe and the beers were excellent.

After Wynwood, we drove over to Little Havana which is Miami’s famed Cuban neighborhood. This is such a cool area and I loved walking around. The La Colada Gourmet coffee shop is phenomenal. I wasn’t sure what all the drinks were on the menu but I was hot (Miami in June was not our brightest idea) and wanted something cold and dairy free. They asked me a few questions and surprised me with a drink. And for a fun bonus, they added a shot of hazelnut liqueur! 5/5 stars for both customer service and taste. There are several good restaurants in the area which we didn’t eat at but wanted to. Overall, it’s a great place to walk around and explore. Lots of shopping, food, and cigar shops.

I was so excited to see Domino Park! I have no idea how to play dominos but the place was packed and everyone was having a good time.

Domino Park, Little Havana Miami

Miami in June is hot and humid. I’ve lived in the desert my entire life. This was my first experience with real humidity and heat so now I understand everyone who says they prefer a dry heat over the humidity. I am in that camp now as well. A little PSA if you are planning a trip to Miami, so many restaurants and stores are not open on Mondays and Tuesdays. For real, like half of the places we wanted to visit were not open.

Fun fact: On our way home from Miami, I learned the new Father of the Bride movie dropped. Father of the Bride was my favorite movie growing up. The new movie is set in Miami and all the places we had just been. It was so fun watching it.

So that’s a wrap for Miami! Up next, Everglades, Biscayne, and Dry Tortugas National Parks and the Florida Keys…

Farewell to Our First Pop Up

After four years with the pop up we decided it’s time to upgrade. The pop up is in need of some work and I’m just not into home remodel projects. Also, we don’t have room at our house to work on the pop up so any pop up project has to be done at someone else’s house. That definitely makes it hard to even want to attempt a remodel. Sadly, the pop up got the short end of the stick and we upgraded for a shiny new one with all kinds of fun upgrades. It’s soooo nice and I can’t wait to share it with you but I’ll save that for a different post. 🙂

We have had so many good memories in the pop up and selling it is bittersweet. I thought I would take a few minutes to share all of the places it’s been and some of our favorite memories.

We picked up the pop up in Phoenix on our way home from dear friends’ baby shower.

Headed home with the pop up!

The pop up has been from Arizona to Montana and everywhere in-between. We slept near the Mexican border at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

And near the Canadian border at Glacier National Park.

Fish Creek Campground in Glacier National Park

One of our favorite trips was to the Idaho/Montana border in the Bitterroot Mountains so we could ride the Route of the Hiawatha Mountain Bike Trail. The camping was eerie – we were literally in the middle of nowhere and did not see a single person the first day, but the trail made it worth it.

Camping in the Bitterroot National Forest on the Idaho/Montana border

If you’re ever in the area this trail is a must ride. It’s not technical but the scenery is breathtaking.

Route of the Hiawatha

I just love this picture and wanted to post it again. Tall trees, bikes, and two of my favorite people. There is nothing better. ❤️

Route of the Hiawatha

We’ve been to countless national and state parks and learned some important lessons along the way.

Right after we purchased the pop up we went down to the Dragoon Mountains for the weekend. That night it got down to 18 and we learned that pop ups are really no warmer than a tent. Needless to say, we packed up the following afternoon and did not stay for the second night.

Triangle T Guest Ranch

Our second trip in the pop up was to Catalina State Park where we learned two important lessons. The first being to pay attention to which side of the camper the door is on when booking a site and the second that not all campsites have electricity. We were very disappointed to learn that our coffee pot would not work because I did not book a site with electricity. Thankfully we were not far from a store and went on an instant coffee run. Crisis averted!

Catalina State Park

At one of our favorite campgrounds outside of Ouray, Colorado, we learned that the bunk ends are not meant to hold four people. During the middle of the night a thunderstorm rolled in and the lightning and thunder was right on top of the campground. It was scary and we all huddled in one bed. A couple days later when we went to break down the camper we learned we had exceeded the weight limit and bent one of the rails and had an incredibly hard time bending it back into place. Just for clarification sake, when I say we I really mean the husband. My job is to supervise and I am darn good at it. 🙂

Amphitheater Campground

We’ve spent the most time camping on Mt. Lemmon and once we even camped with our pop up twin!

Camping on Mt. Lemmon

One of our favorite pastimes while camping is playing cards around the table every night before bed. I cannot count the number of Uno, Skip-Bo, BS, Pass the Pigs and Go Fish games we’ve played on that table over the years.

Games around the table

The pop up has been so good to us and rolled through so many incredible places. It took a ride on Highway 550 in Colorado. If you’ve been on this highway you know it’s incredibly beautiful and not for the faint of heart. Here we are at the top of Red Mountain Pass on our way to Ouray.

Red Mountain Pass

The kids learned how to crank down the stabilizers in Bryce Canyon National Park. (They’re pros now!)

North Campground in Bryce Canyon National Park

And then there was that one time where we thought it would be a good idea to visit Arches National Park in the middle of June. We had the most epic view from the camper…

Devils Garden Campground in Arches National Park

But after spending the day hiding in the shade, visitor centers, gas stations and our car, we called it quits and headed to Colorado.

Hiding in the shade at Arches National Park

The pop up even made it up to 10,000 feet to spend a couple nights at the Wheeler Peak campground in Great Basin National Park. We all were feeling the elevation but the view from our site made it all worth it. Literally, this was the view from our picnic table. Epic.

Wheeler Peak Campground Great Basin National Park

We had so many good times in the pop up. I feel like we should have named her but I guess it’s too late now. Thanks for all the good times, old pop up! We hope your new owners continue to take you to all the epic places this country has to offer.

Goodbye, pop up!

Ode to Our Popup

It’s been exactly one year since we purchased our popup. That blows my mind. Slow down, time! We have definitely broke in the popup and it has the miles to prove it.  Just for fun I am going to recap all the places it’s been this year, as well as a few lessons we’ve learned. Read more