Chuck and Mark’s Wild Adventures

Did you miss us? Sorry for going MIA.

So much has happened since our trip to China… but for the most part, it was all local, and while it was fun it was not necessarily blogworthy.

We returned and hit the ground running. Chuck began training for Smart Ride 15, a 165-mile fundraising bike ride for Florida AIDS charities, from Miami to Key West.

My freelance and ghostwriting company, Wedding Ghost, took off like crazy; writing for the wedding, events and hospitality industries. I also presented on blogging at the Association of Bridal Consultants Business of Brides Conference across the bay in Tampa.

So, we stayed close to home for the remainder of the year. You can check out some of our local dining adventures on my Yelp reviews. {Mark K. St Petersburg, FL}

Our first short trip was in November to Miami for the start of the Smart Ride. After getting Chuck on the road with his team and nearly 500 riders I chilled in Miami for a few hours.

Smart Ride 15 - Florida AIDS fundraising bike ride - Team Metro - Miami to Key West Bike Ride

I stayed behind and explored some Cuban food at Versailles Bakery in Miami before making my way along the overseas highway.

I learned that evaporated milk in Café con Leche, rather than whole milk, is not a texture I like. I grabbed foods I could easily eat while driving and the best part of Cuban foods in Miami might just be the walk-up windows.

Cuban Food - Versailles Bakery - Miami - Calle Ocho - Ham Croquettes
Ham Croquettes
Cuban Food - Versailles Bakery - Miami - Calle Ocho - Beef Empanadas - Baked Beef Empanadas
Beef Empanadas {baked not fried}


I made a pitstop part way at the Theatre of the Sea in Islamorada. It was gorgeous, they really showcase local plants, sea life, and animals. It was the perfect place to stretch my legs and spend an afternoon.

Theatre of the Seas - Dolphins - Florida Keys - Islamorada

Theatre of the Seas - tropical birds - Florida Keys - Islamorada

I really enjoyed watching the riders along the highway and stopping to cheer them on.

After passing the rider’s overnight stop in Marathon, I stopped for lunch at the Keys Fisheries. A lot of my social media friends HIGHLY recommended their Lobster Rueben. Honestly, I’m not a fan, I thought it was a very expensive sauerkraut sandwich; it really overpowered the lobster.

Florida Keys -Keys Fisheries - Lobster Rueben - Marathon Florida - Overseas highway
Lobster Rueben

After arriving in Key West, I chilled out at our hotel and later headed downtown to Sloan’s Key West Ghost Hunt… a great fun, historical walking tour but not very productive for Ghostbusters.

The highlight of our Key West weekend was dinner at Blue Heaven. AMAZING food and excellent service in a quirky, artsy garden setting. If you are in Key West, don’t miss this place. {we heard brunch rocks too}

Florida Seafood - Blue Heaven - Key West - Florida Keys - Key West Restaurants - Cajun Caribbean BBQ Shrimp - Florida Shrimp
Cajun Caribbean BBQ Shrimp

After returning from our SmartRide trip started to get ready for our Royal Caribbean 5 night Key West and overnight in Havana trip just before Christmas. {yes, we were just in Key West}

More on our overnight pre-cruise stay with friends in Ft. Lauderdale and the cruise to Cuba in our next blog post.


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