{No. I’m not in Cancún right now. But I am at my computer for tens of hours a day. My screensaver is a randomized slideshow of all my photos from the beginning of digital time, and I love it. Seeing the end goal (mostly the photos are of friends, travel and time off) helps keep me inspired through the mental fatigue of the 80-100 hour work weeks of salmon season.

The slideshow also gave me an idea I really like – pick one of the first three images that pop up on random and share the story with you guys. I promise it won’t be your grandpappy’s slideshow…except I know of a lot of pretty badass grandpappy’s, so perhaps it will be (assuming your grandpappy is or was a gypsy adventurer). Regardless – I’m excited to share some little travel fables, and I really hope you enjoy them.}

(Gran Meliá hotel room balcony)

Once upon a winter fishing off-season, I traveled to the Florida Keys to visit some dear chums. I had not been to the Keys before, but I didn’t think it unreasonable to pack my swimsuit and flip-flops.

Unfortunately, I timed my trip during the coldest ever weather in the history of all Florida. Iguanasicles were falling out of trees, marine creatures were seizing up in the really-not-that-cold water and beaching all over the place. (Seriously. No floating the Joe in Idaho for those weenie tortoises.)

We huddled up in blankets in the uninsulated beach house and watched movies for a couple days, but with an extended forecast for cold and my vacation minutes ticking away, I turned to Internet research.

Prices were decent, and very soon all three of us had booked a two-hour flight from Miami to Cancún, México (mine was $250 round trip through Expedia) and an ocean-view room at the Gran Meliá hotel (also from a discount website, I’m sure. Ashley and I know how to bargain shop.).

I don’t know how you cats travel, but my methods usually involve shared bathrooms, backpacks and bus rides. The less I spend per day, the longer I can stretch the trip. So perhaps this is not too surprising, but this hotel had the most splendid lobby I have ever seen. In addition to the obvious full jungle habitat, they have koi ponds in there!

(Gran Meliá hotel lobby. NBD.)

(View from the balcony of the room)

It was almost enough to make a man want to change his travel style. Perhaps if I could find myself a rich benefactor…

But for now, I must fund my own trips and to do so, I’d best stop living vicariously through myself and return to the late-night logistic-ing. Only one and half months left of this salmon marathon.