Friday, April 30, 2010

Tones and Highlights

Sometimes the beauty of the Keys is best displayed in the dramatic tones of black and white.

Photo courtesy of Laura Settle

Monday, April 26, 2010

Held Hostage

Don't you love rich people who are irresponsible with their money and then get screwed by the very system they tried to beat and want us to feel sorry for them? Yeah, poor guys.

At least this guy has a sense of humor:

In case you can't read the sign, it says: "Held Hostage by Ace Insurance Co." As seen in Key West, Florida.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


These are my oldest and bestest friends. And this photo pretty much sums them all up. I love you guys!

On this day, we slept in, went to the beach, sat on the beach, hung out in the ocean, went back to the beach, had lunch on the beach, had a drink on the beach, and did all manner of beachy things. I think Key West may be my next stop on my never-ending nomad lifestyle.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Civil War, Island Style

Dry Tortugas wins out as one of the most remote national parks I have ever been to. It sits almost as far away from Key West as Cuba, a tiny mound of rock and brick and sand silently guarding the Union and it's watery resources from the clutches of the wily Confederacy and their devastating navy. The Gulf of Mexico was held by the Union from this point and it's awfully big guns. You can sail there, if you have your own boat; otherwise you hop on board one of two or so ferries operated by official park concessionaires. We went with Yankee Freedom and it's resident interpreters and were not disappointed (though some of us didn't have the proper sea legs!).

Not only does the fort in the middle of the ocean reek of its military past, but it also hails infamy from a history of superb bird watching, moat sharks, a hangout for Portuguese Man O' War, and (of course) pirates! Rumors of sunken treasure float as freely and copiously as the barracuda that stalk oblivious snorkelers in the island's shallow waters, and every discarded boat-part-turned-coral-reef looks at first to be remnants of the Black Pearl.

It's a bit of a jaunt that demands a pre-dawn wake-up call and, for those faint of stomach, a couple of well placed dramamine, but the trip is well worth it to see this gem of a park in our off-shore tropical paradise.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If I had a Boat...

I'd go out on the ocean...

And if I had a pony...

I probably would not ride him on my boat... that would be cruel.

And then PETA would be after me, and they're scary.

But I would get to see these things every day!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Abbey Brewing, Miami Beach

Image stolen from another beer snob somewhere...

You round the corner, and the whole block looks abandoned. An eclectic array of particle board and blue plastic covers busted windows and slack-jawed doors. The street is quiet, so far off the beaten path not even the locals wander around without significant glances over tense shoulders.

You'll pass it by at first; we did. It looked like another forgotten store, abandoned, lonely, neglected. But peak your head in through the dirty door that reads "Abbey Brewery" and you will be pleasantly surprised. Inside are not the disheveled innards of a building under-review; instead, a wooden, Scottish-style bar sits tucked away in a bedroom-sized room with high ceilings and high alcohol content.

The brewmaster is a dude with a beer brewing kit and connections to a brewery in Melbourne, Florida. The beer is the only reasonably priced suds you'll find this close to Ocean Drive, and the quality of said beer surpasses anything in a 10-mile radius. On tap is also a seasonal cask ale and some funky tastes from Europe. You'll swear you were lost in Scotland (because I swore I was, and I actually HAVE been lost in Scotland on several occasions!), though the accents are a little off. And it's a refreshingly far cry from the Armani and $16 gin and tonics and blindingly fake tans a few blocks over.

So take a stroll along the 1100 block of 16th and keep an eye out for a place that kinda maybe sorta looks abandoned and scary. But peak your head in; everyone's friendly!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The South Beach Diet

March 22, 2010

A rainy morning turns into a torrential afternoon. We stare longingly out of our hotel window, hoping for a break.

We sneak from overhang to umbrella to overhang, dodging drops and cigarettes and puddles.

The torrential afternoon turns into a brilliant evening, upon which I discover my parents, already in Key West, have actually beaten us to a beer. But we beat them to a hooka.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

On the Road to Nowhere

March 21, 2010: Arrival in Miami Beach, Florida

To say I had the wedding travel jitters would be an overstatement. Perhaps it hadn't sunk in yet, that this would be the last time I would drive through Lander unmarried, the last time I would board a plane unmarried, the last time I would arrive somewhere and pick up my luggage unmarried. The last time I would be a Kat Byerly. The last time I would introduce this man as my fiance.

But it felt like a normal trip, a normal plane ride, a normal late-night dinner, a normal hotel check-in. It still felt a little weird to think of this as any different...

Friday, April 2, 2010


It's a time of transition, of change, of metamorphosis. Our wedding was outstanding. It was not hitch-less, by any means, but it was perfectly us and was a send-off into the rest of our lives as changed people, new people. I will get into that at a later date, but I wanted to say a little something about all the changes in Lander.

As we returned home, out first home as a married couple, our first home as Husband and Wife, there are new things to discover about the town. The mountains were covered in new snow. Our backyard was covered in new grass. Our floor in covered with new tile. The weather swings back and forth in its traditional orbit of springtime, 60 degrees paired with heavy, roof-creaking snow, and back again.

Restaurants and businesses are coming around with new signs, signs declaring their new summer hours. A new Safeway has opened in Lander, rumored to be the biggest in Wyoming. It is all its cracked up to be, with fresh flowers (I picked up some calle lilies and irises), fresh fish, and naan. Seriously, naan! A new bar, The Forge, will open up this month. An old coffee shop is looking for a new angle (we're rooting for wine bar) to compete with a new coffee shop in an old hamburger drive-in joint. A new diner just opened in an old truck stop. And signs on Main Street direct desperate Lander shoppers to a new clothing boutique, promising women new, over-priced clothing options.

What's next for our small town? What new changes?

It will be nice to be here for the summer, without the pressure of weekend commuting back and forth to Ft. Collins, to see the changes that come.