No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Rock n’ Roll

August 6, 2015

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Rock n’ Roll

Cleveland is known as the city of Rock and Roll, this is mostly due to the city being the home of Alan Freed − the disc jockey credited with first using and popularizing the term "rock and roll" to describe the music genre. Also the city is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is in itself a pretty decent indication of the importance of rock music to the city.

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I stayed in Cleveland an extra day after the race at Mid-Ohio because I had my own little piece of Cleveland rock and roll history to attend in the form of a Van Halen/ Kenny Wayne Sheppard concert at Blossom Music Theatre, the local barn located outside of the city. I have been a Van Halen fan for many years having seen them back in the day on their 1984 tour and then again when they replaced David Lee Roth with Sammy Hagar. I really liked both incarnations of the band and hoped that the current tour featuring the return of Roth would be a blast from the past.

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To start the day, I headed over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I know that the actual Hall of Fame is a political mess and that often great bands are long delayed or never given admittance to the Hall. I think it is all sort of silly as most political processes are, but the building itself and the collection of Rock and Roll memorabilia are awesome.

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It is like a huge Hard Rock Café without the smell of food in the air, the museum features an amazing collection of historical artifacts outlining the many various incarnations of Rock music from before its beginnings to the current time. There is something from just about every major player and tons of not-so-major ones in the collection.

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There was also a great exhibit by photographer Herb Ritts that covered his amazing portraits of some of music’s biggest names. All in all it was a great morning at the Hall. Next up, I drove out to check out the Cleveland Zoo. It was a magnificent summer day and perfect to see the zoo.

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The zoo was crowded and the animals were mostly active. It was a nice afternoon at a pretty nice zoo. Nothing overly special, just nice exhibits and habitats for the animals. The koala bear exhibit was especially enjoyable, especially since some of the koalas were awake and active at the time of my visit, a rarity since they sleep much of the day. These guys were running about and jumping from tree to tree showing surprising agility. I had never seen that before in many zoo visits.

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 photo 113_zpsobwzw5f3.jpg Kenny Wayne Sheppard

The main reason to be in Cleveland though was to attend the Van Halen concert, which started off pretty good with a strong opening set by Kenny Wayne Sheppard and his band. He is a gifted guitarist and was a good warm up for what I hoped would be a great Van Halen show.

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 photo 185_zpswvs0ss3i.jpg Van Halen

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Sadly I was mostly disappointed in Van Halen’s performance. They were shoddy and the sound was muddled and awful. The main problem was poor David Lee Roth who has lost a step or two from his younger years. His voice is mostly shot and his constant mugging and changes of clothes made him seem much more like a bad lounge act from Vegas than the leader of a great rock band. Eddie and Alex were still great but the anchor of Roth’s bad performance brought the entire show down. It was sad and unexpected. I have seen lots of classic rock acts this year and this was the first one that had significantly declined in their live performance.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Son Also Rises

August 5, 2015

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The Son Also Rises

Growing up the son of an Indy Car champion and Indy 500 winner can’t be all that easy, especially if you choose to enter the same profession as your accomplished father, just ask Marco Andretti who has but a single Indy Car win following in the footsteps of his accomplished father and grandfather. For Graham Rahal, it has been somewhat of a struggle competing in the shadow of his famous father Bobby. Early promise with his first Indy Car win in 2008 had vanished into a sea of mediocrity as his career has plodded along.

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Never terrible, mind you, just frustrating with flashes of brilliance that still never quite got over the hump until something just clicked this year. In spite of driving the under-powered Honda, Rahal has managed to put it all together and with a combination of pluck and luck and the promise he has always shown finally being realized with on track results.

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Competing on what is basically his home track at Mid-Ohio, his qualifying effort was nothing all that special, starting back in 13th place. It would take a combination of luck and skill for him to get a victory in the 90 lap race. Rahal's surge in the second half of the Verizon IndyCar Series season continued with an emphatic home victory in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

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Rahal, who started in the No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, corralled his second victory of the season and third of his Indy car career. The New Albany, Ohio, native closed to nine points of Verizon IndyCar Series championship front-runner Juan Pablo Montoya with two races left in the season.

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Since earning his first victory of the season June 27 at Auto Club Speedway -- his first win since March 2008 -- Rahal has placed third, fourth and first to challenge for his first series title. Rahal is the eighth different winner in nine road/street course races this season. He picked up the lead for good on Lap 67 when the lead pack, including race leader Montoya, pitted under caution for their final fuel/tire service.

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Rahal then fended off an amazing charge by Justin Wilson, Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon on a Lap 84 restart on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course following a full-course caution and went on to win by 3.4 seconds. It was clear immediately how special this win was for him as he was greeted in Victory Lane by his emotional father Bobby (who won here in 1985 and 1986).  

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Wilson, who started 14th in the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda, placed a season-high second. Pagenaud also was a big mover in the race, advancing 12 positions relative to his starting spot in the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet to finish a season-best third. Scott Dixon, a five-time winner at Mid-Ohio, started from the pole and finished fourth in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. He is 26 points behind Rahal in the title chase.

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Montoya, who started 10th in the No. 2 Hawk Performance Team Penske Chevrolet and led 21 laps in the middle of the race -- including the 19 laps preceding his Lap 67 pit stop -- finished 12th. But the day belonged to Graham Rahal who celebrated and declared that only an Indy 500 victory would top this win for him personally.

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