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!

Friday, October 27, 2017

“I like an empty wall because I can imagine what I like on it.” -Georgia O'Keeffe

September 24, 2017


“I like an empty wall because I can imagine what I like on it.” -Georgia O'Keeffe

Evacuation doesn’t have to be horrible and with our pets well situated and taken care of and nothing we could really do as far as returning to Key West just yet, we decided to make the most of our stay in Winston-Salem and get out and see some of the sights that the city and surrounding area have to offer,

Returning to Key West was sort of delayed by the lack of services that were available, we decided not to return until electricity and potable water were restored. Knowing our property had survived ok made that decision much easier. We did not want to add to the burden that first responders were dealing with as there were plenty of needy people.

Turns out that there is a lot to do in the early Fall in Winston-Salem. There was an amazing exhibit at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art on the famed artist Georgia O’Keefe that Kathy and I took my mother Marta to see. The Reynolda House is the former fancy home and large country estate of R.J. & Katharine Reynolds the tobacco magnates, which has been conserved as a wonderful museum that contains not only the collection and furnishings of the Reynolds family, but also hosts exciting traveling exhibits like the current O’Keefe exhibit.


The exhibit, “Georgia O’Keefe, Living Modern”, explores how the artist’s modern sensibility saturated her art, her life, her homes, and her carefully fashioned public (and private) personas. Reynolda House is one of only three venues to host the exhibition, and the only venue south of New York. The exhibit presents a completely new, highly focused, and meticulously researched perspective on the unified modernist aesthetic of O’Keeffe’s dress and art. In addition to a number of carefully chosen paintings by O’Keeffe and photographs of her and her homes by Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Todd Webb, Philippe Halsman and others, the exhibition features selected items from her personal wardrobe that highlight her preference for compact masses, organic silhouettes, and minimal ornamentation.

One of the other things that I enjoy while visiting new places in taking in the local sports scene and in Winston-Salem that means Wake Forest University. They had a home football game against Utah State and I wanted to attend and take in a little of that college football atmosphere. I got a decent ticket and headed over to check out the tailgate action before going in to watch the Demon Deacons rout Utah State to improve to 4-0 on the season. It was a great day under perfect Fall afternoon skies and wonderful conditions to play and watch a game.

Often we like to take day trips away from the city we are visiting and this trip was no exception. We spent a day hiking around Pilot Mountain State Park. Highlighted by the jutting small Mount Pilot that is visible for miles around, the park is a beautiful place to spend a day hiking. We loved it as we hiked up to and completely around the namesake mountain, which is really not all that tall. But it was a beautiful hike on an equally beautiful day.

If you are thinking that Mount Pilot sounds vaguely familiar, you probably recall it as the “big city” in the Andy Griffith show. The show’s fictional setting was based on this area and Mayberry was based on the small town that Andy Griffith grew up in, Mt. Airy. Being in the area, we could not resist a visit to the town, which coincidently was hosting their annual “Mayberry Days” festival.

The town already capitalizes on the famous connection and the actress who portrayed Thelma Lou still resides there and comes out each year along with many other minor characters from the show to participate in the Festival. In spite of the commercialism, Mt. Airy still manages to hold on to its small town character and is really a fascinating place to visit. The Snappy Diner, Floyd’s Barber Shop, Wally’s Filing Station, these places still exist and continue to function just as they did when the show was airing and before.

Sunday, October 08, 2017


September 22, 2017


With Hurricane Irma impacting our home and forced to be away for an unexpected amount of time in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, we decided to try and make the most of the family time and made sort of a mini-vacation out of our evacuation. It was much easier after we had received word that our home and most of Key West was safe. It also helped take our minds off of what I call Hurricane Fatigue. 

The fatigue comes from the constant watching of the news and weather channels which always focus on the worst aspects of any storm and we had already literally been watching it for a week before we ever even left the island. You get glued to the TV and end up rushing inside for the official storm updates that are released by the National Hurricane Center every six hours as the storm approaches.
Watching the storm from the time it rolled off Africa to the time it exploded into a Category 5 monster in a single day then set records by remaining at that strength for days as it rolled through the Caribbean.

 It was all pretty harrowing and we had been subjected to it for days on end. So once the storm had passed the Keys, we opted to take advantage of the beautiful early Fall weather in North Carolina and do some exploring.


While my sister Marika and her husband Brian have a beautiful condo in the city, their main home is located in Stokes County, which is about a 40 minute drive into the country from downtown Winston-Salem. Kathy and I ventured out there a couple of times during our stay for a nice visit and a couple of swims in their pool since the weather was still beautiful and warm enough to permit it. It was so relaxing and helped certainly take my mind off what was happening at home.

Of course no visit to Stokes County would be complete with-out a stop at Priddy’s Country Store, which is just as described an old-time throwback country store that probably has not changed much in 100 years. They still make bologna and cheese sandwiches (on white bread) to order and sell just about any kind of crazy nick-nak or food item that the average country dweller would need, and they are so nice to visit with as well. 

As luck would have it, the annual Stokes County Fair was happening while we there and loving a fair, we of course had to attend. It was small as to be expected, and quaint, but it had all you could need from a fair including animal competitions from the young farm kids in attendance, a nice Midway with a plethora of rides and games, local civic organizations set promoting their causes, delightful fair food and of course the ever popular pig races.


We enjoyed a wonderful Friday night at the fair and enjoyed it so much. Even my favorite pig came home a winner in the pig races, Dale Oinkhart. Watching the people was almost as much fun as anything else at the fair as many dressed up in their finest country attire to be there. There was a great bluegrass band that we enjoyed and we had too much food as is often the case at fairs. We ate so well during our evacuation that Kathy joked that she had gained the “Irma 20” while we were there.


That wasn’t the only festival we attended, we also went to the annual Apple Festival at Historic Bethabara Park in Winston. It was a true Fall festival and was jam packed with families enjoying the perfect weather and incredible food and fun that was there. Apples were the theme and we ate apple ice cream, apple pie, apple cider and more. They even had more pig racing at the apple festival with an entirely different pig racing outfit who also raced, ducks, goats and more.