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, April 18, 2018

Talieson West

April 1, 2018



Talieson West

With the music festival concluded, it was time to head towards Colorado Springs to check on the progress of the landscaping at our new Colorado house. With spring upon us, we are finally able to make some progress on the extensive landscaping project. We had rented a car for the one way drive up to the Springs, but wanted to take a couple of days to explore some of the sights along the way, 
having not spent a lot of time in this part of the west, most of the area was pretty unknown to us.


We did not make it far for our first stop, just up the road in Scottsdale where the winter home and desert school of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Talieson West was located. Having grown up around architecture her entire life, Kathy was especially keen to check out the home, so we arranged to take the popular ninety minute tour of the home, school and grounds that gave us a look into the life and work of this historic man.


Taliesin West was architect Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home and school in the desert from 1937 until his death in 1959 at the age of 91. Today it is the main campus of the School of Architecture at Taliesin and houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

Taliesin West is Scottsdale's only National Historic Landmark. It serves as a prime example of Wright’s organic architecture in that the structures are built of the rocks and sand of the Sonoran Desert and melds to the lower McDowell Mountains. The grounds and buildings were constructed over a period of approximately twenty years by Frank Lloyd Wright and his apprentices. Set amid a Sonoran Desert Preserve of 491 acres, Taliesin West tours wind through provocative terraces, landscaped gardens and walkways commanding dramatic views of Camelback Mountain and the Valley of the Sun.

The tour was spectacular, the guides are all experts who travel back and forth between Talieson West and the original Talieson located in Wisconsin to give tours at both locations. Unlike most museums, Talieson is still a working school and in use daily, as such all the original furnishings and decorative elements are still in place and visitors are welcome to sit on the furniture and interact with the surroundings.

Our drive to Colorado took us by and through a number of wonderful natural areas, the first stop we made was at Montezuma Castle National Monument in Camp Verde, Arizona. The park is home to a set of well-preserved dwellings which were built and used by the Sinagua people, a pre-Columbian culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States between approximately 1100 and 1425 AD. The main structure comprises five stories and twenty rooms, and was built over the course of three centuries.


Montezuma Castle is situated about 90 feet up a sheer limestone cliff, facing the adjacent Beaver Creek, which drains into the perennial Verde River just north of Camp Verde. It is one of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in North America, in part because of its ideal placement in a natural alcove that protects it from exposure to the elements. The precariousness of the dwelling's location and its immense scale - almost 4,000 square feet (370 m2) of floor space across five stories - suggest that the Sinagua were daring builders and skilled engineers.

Upon leaving the park, we drove the beautiful route through the amazing rock formations surrounding Sedona, Arizona, where we stopped for lunch before moving on. The incredible orange and red sandstone formations loom over the desert landscape and are some of the most beautiful anywhere, photos truly cannot do their majesty any justice. Kathy and I stopped a few times to hike around the beautiful natural areas around Sedona.

We also stopped at the incredible Chapel of the Holy Cross, a Roman Catholic Chapel built high into a butte in Sedona. It is a fairly amazing structure. We parked next to a home at the base of the butte that was for sale for an asking price of only thirty million dollars.

Our travels took us to Flagstaff, where we settled in for the evening. Flagstaff is a cool smaller town with a college town feel and lots of cool restaurants, bars and such in the downtown area. We hit a few of the breweries which seemed to proliferate the place and had a great night to finish off our first day of travel to Colorado.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dancers on the Midway

March 26, 2018

Counting Crows

Counting Crows


Dancers on the Midway

The final day of the Innings Music Festival was the one that I was really waiting for, the bands that sealed the deal to make me get the tickets, Counting Crows and Mt. Joy were both on the bill as well as other favorites like Dispatch, Jake Bugg, Citizen Cope and Chris Stapleton. The gates opened a couple of hours earlier on Sunday, so we had to squeeze in a couple of other Phoenix area stops before heading to the show.

Citizen Cope

Our first stop was at the Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix. We wanted to check out the traveling exhibition, Pompeii: The Exhibition that was currently on display there. The exhibit featured over 200 precious artifacts from the archeological work being done that dated back to 79 A.D. when the city suffered its tragic fate, being buried by the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvias. Life was entirely stopped in a few moments and the citizens and all their homes and belongings were completely buried for 1700 years.

In the exhibit, guests become time travelers, transported to the bustling commercial port and strategic military and trading center of Pompeii. Artifacts on loan from the unparalleled collection of the Naples National Archaeological Museum in Italy, including wall-sized frescoes, mosaics, marble and bronze sculptures, jewelry, statues and ancient Roman coins, bring to life how Pompeii’s people lived, loved, work, worshiped and celebrated. In perhaps the most powerful portion of the exhibition, exquisite body casts of adults and children vividly communicate the emotions of the victims.

It was a beautiful and thoughtful exhibition that presents a portrait of what life was like leading up to that tragic day and going through the actual eruption and concluding with the heart-wrenching display of the actual body casts of the victims frozen in time during their final moments. After visiting the museum, we headed back to Tempe where we watched some of the annual Dragonboat Festival that was taking place just down the waterfront from the music festival.


We watched a few of the boat races which featured teams from across the US as well as collegiate teams such as the hometown Arizona State, UCLA and others. It was a huge crowd and a beautiful day to be out on the water. After a quick lunch it was back to the festival to see yet another amazing line-up of music.

The first act we really watched was Tyminski, an act that we were totally unfamiliar with. It was really interesting, a very liberal country band which is something of a rarity. In fact the title cut from his latest CD, “Southern Gothic” that includes the lyric, “We’ve got a church on every corner, so why does heaven feel so far away?” I was really pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed his set.


Mt. Joy

Mt. Joy

One of my favorite brand new bands took the smallest stage next, Mt. Joy is fresh off releasing their very first CD and they have been in heavy rotation in my Spotify since I came across their initial single, "Sheep" a few months before the CD was released. I really, really love them and think they have a bright future. Watching them live did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm, in fact we both thought they were terrific.

Counting Crows backstage

The next act on the main stage that we were really interested in was the amazing band Citizen Cope. We had seen them perform recently in Key West at the Key West Theater and they were just as amazing on this stage. Yet another singer/ songwriter who identifies himself with a band name, but is basically a single musician,  Clarence Greenwood. He is truly a beautiful songwriter and performer and his set was a favorite of the other bands who were on the bill. Adam Duritz and David Immergluck of the Counting Crows watched his entire set from backstage, just below our perch on the stage side riser.

Citizen Cope


Citizen Cope

Citizen Cope- “Sideways” * Note you can see Kathy (In hat) on the risers in the upper right of this video, just below her is Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz.

The Counting Crows have always been one my all-time favorite bands and it their appearance at the fest that really sealed the deal on our attending. They are getting ready to embark on their 25th anniversary tour this summer and I have been a fan since day one. I recall buying their album the day it was released because Maria McKee was singing background vocals on it and I was a huge fan of hers and Lone Justice. I wasn’t disappointed, in fact now 25 years later I can say that I have seen at least one show from every CC tour since then and multiple shows on many tours.

I always love seeing them as their live performances are almost always among the best of the year and they are consistently excellent. I still never tire of hearing them, even if I wish the set lists would have a tad more variety. The good news is that even though they often play the same songs, they often change them up in creative alt versions that add, subtract and alter them in what I think are beautiful changes,

Having not seen them since last summer and knowing that they had only played a couple of corporate shows since last fall, I was not sure what to expect, but they were on fire. Energized and full of enthusiasm they had the crowd going crazy before they finished their first song. It was a beautiful performance, a full 90 minute set which could easily have been the headlining set of the weekend.

Counting Crows- “A Long December”

Counting Crows- “Round Here”

The Crows were not the final headliner, In fact three bands played after them, two on smaller stages, Dispatch and Jake Bugg and the closer, Country star Chris Stapleton. All three of these bands were excellent. Seeing Jake Bugg on a small stage was especially enjoyable. His set was a lot less crowded than any other as he had never played in Arizona and really has never gotten that big in the US. But he is absolutely fantastic and well worth checking out if you get the chance.

Jake Bugg

Stapleton closed the festival with a packed and very good set of his popular country/rock songs. It is obvious why he has become a crossover star from straight country to rock. An excellent and prolific songwriter he has written 6 number one country hits for artists such as Kenny Chesney, George Strait and Luke Bryan and has songs that have appeared on over 150 albums from artists as diverse as Adele, Peter Framton, Justin Timberlake and Sheryl Crow.

Chris Stapleton