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, September 26, 2014

“Yeah and it's over before you know it It all goes by so fast Yeah, the bad nights last forever And the good nights don't ever seem to last”

September 23, 2014

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“Yeah and it's over before you know it
It all goes by so fast
Yeah, the bad nights last forever
And the good nights don't ever seem to last”

-Tom Petty

I have had the good fortune to have seen Tom Petty & the Heratbreakers live in concert a dozen times over the years since my first time seeing them way back in 1979 at the old Indianapolis Sports Center during their “Damn the Torpedoes” tour. Back then, the opening act was some band known as The Fabulous Poodles, who I don’t recall much about but Tom Petty and his band made a huge impression on me. 

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Petty was one of those bands that seemed to be featured on the summer music tour every year with some fantastic new release and great opening act. Over the years, I saw him play at every major venue in the city of Indianapolis including Market Square Arena, Deer Creek, and more. The opening acts were almost univerasly good as well everyone from Lone Justice to the Patti Smith Group, to the Fabulous Thuderbirds, to Bob Dylan to the Replacements to the Del Fuegos and Georgia Satellites to Jackson Browne and Stevie Nicks. I even saw a triple bill with Petty, the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan.

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This show would be no different as the fantastic Steve Winwood was the opening act at the Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, it is a long drive but worth it since during the many times I have seen Petty play live, he has never disappointed. I think it is because he genuinely enjoys what he does and it always comes across when he plays. That he has one of the best and tightest backing bands in the business is another major factor but in reality, he is just one of the legends of American Rock and Roll.

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On the way up, Kathy and I stopped at a couple of breweries in the Ft. Lauderdale area that we had wanted to check out, beginning with the Fantastic Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park. We had sampled their beer during Brewfest and even attended a Funky Buddah/ Cigar City Beer dinner at Two Cents, but this was our first visit to their wonderful facility. It was awesome, the beer was fantastic and we really enjoyed ourselves.

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We had enough time before the show to also visit the Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, while it may not have been fair to visit them just after the amazing Funky Buddah, we were not as impressed with their beer, thought their location was nice and the people were nice, the beer just had a metallic- not quite ready taste to it. Maybe we just caught them on a bad day. We will return and give them another chance at some point.

The concert was next and it was spectacular. Steve Winwood played for just over an hour and touched on all phases of his colorful career including classic Traffic songs and Tom Petty and his band were incredible, ripping through just over two hours of singalong hits with a few new songs from his latest CD, “Hypnotic Eye” as well. The sold-out crowd of 20,000 plus loved every minute of it and it was an amazing night

Tom Petty- “Rebels”

We spent the night in the area and the next morning met our friend Andie, who lives in Ft. Lauderadle for a great breakfast at the O-B House. Incredible breakfast food in downtown Lauderdale. Andie is the daughter of some old friends who once lived in Key West and I try and see her whenever I am in the area. This trip she introduced Kathy and I to her adorable new kitten Plato (not Play-doh) and we had a nice, if short visit before hitting the road home to Key West.

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Finally, last week we also went to see the amazing 72 hour film challenge at the Tropic Cinema. The event which features short films by local filmmakers, all created from scratch in 72 hours was an absolute joy. Kudos to Michael Marrero, Juliet Grey, the Tropic Cinema and all involved in creating the marvelous films. It is so fun to see our friends create such amazing works and to watch them perform. Below is a link to one of the films- all of which were amazing. 

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

“They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank Fuel burning fast on an empty tank Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns Their prowess is potent and secretly stern.”

September 21, 2014

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“They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank
Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns
Their prowess is potent and secretly stern.”

-Cake- “Going the Distance”

September is traditionally one of the slowest months in Key West. The summer is mostly over and the busy tourist season that kicks off with Fantasy Fest in October is still weeks away. With schools back in session and tourists at a minimum, there generally is not a lot going on. Some restaurants and businesses still follow the practice of closing down during the month and others offer steep discounts to get locals in and help keep up some semblance of busy.

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There are a few events that try and take advantage of the down period and are scheduled in September each year, one of these is the annual Peterson’s Key West Poker Run, which is known to locals as simply “Bike Week”.  The event is basically a motorcycle ride from Miami to Key West with five stops along the way where participants are given a playing card with winners determined by the random drawing of a poker hand.

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Over 10,000 riders and bikes descend on Key West and by Friday night, much of the length of Duval Street is closed to all but motorcycle traffic and the town is packed with the riders and those such as myself who like to come out and check out the bikes, many of which are quite unique and spectacular. 

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Some locals complain about the noise, but the biker crowd spends a ton of money in town, tip well and are much less of a problem than many other targeted groups of tourists that come at certain times. The noise can be loud, but deal with it for a weekend for the sake of our island tourist economy. 

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I went down for a quick tour of Duval Street on Friday night after attending the Key West High Football game and it was a nice night of checking out the bikes and mingling with the crowd of bikers and locals who were out to check it all out. I did not stay out too late as I had to be up early, before sunrise to head out to Florida Keys Community College to take photos of the annual Sprint Triathlon/ Biathalon.

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I was out at FKCC just as the sun was rising and watched the preparations for the Sprint Triathlon which featured a swim through the lagoon, followed by a bike ride and finally running. It was a shorter distance than the full tri or worse the ironman triathlons which are for the truly rugged, but for the athletes participating it was still a good workout.

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Close to a hundred hearty souls were entered in the race and they were pretty impressive as they competed with each other and against the clock to complete the race. It was shocking how quickly some of them completed the event and probably even more impressive for those who simply struggled to finish, because it is a pretty cool accomplishment. Kathy has competed in a number of these races, but did not compete this time.

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It was a fun way to kick off the weekend, as Kathy & I were off to West Palm Beach shortly after the completion of the race to attend a Tom Petty/ Steve Winwood concert, driving up the Keys just after the awards ceremony was completed.

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Friday, June 06, 2014

"Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” – Aeschylus

May 23, 2014

"Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” – Aeschylus

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The quote from the famous Greek Poet Aeschylus was included in what many people believe was one of the greatest speeches in American history delivered by Robert Kennedy on April 4, 1968, the evening that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. Kennedy was campaigning in Indianapolis and was previously scheduled to give a campaign speech at a park in the mostly African-American neighborhood  at 17th and Broadway.

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In spite of warnings from police and city leaders that his safety could not be guaranteed and that rioting may happen upon hearing the news, Kennedy insisted on going forward and was the first person to inform most of the crowd of the tragic news. His speech was masterful and heartfelt and Indianapolis was one of the few major American cities where rioting did not occur.

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To my great embarrassment, in spite of growing up only a few miles north of the location and driving by in literally thousands of times, I had never stopped at the park to see the location and the memorial to the speech and I was determined to rectify that on this visit to Indianapolis. So this time, on my way downtown I stopped at the site and took a few moments to walk around the park, see the memorial and contemplate how far we have come as a nation and how far we still need to go. It is an amazing place, one that I plan to visit again soon and one that if you are from or visiting Indianapolis is worth seeing.

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There are many flashier, more readily accessible tourist attractions (many of which I also visited), but none that hold the meaning or historical importance that this simple park does. For those unfamiliar with the speech, I have posted a youtube video of it here.

After my contemplative time at the park, I headed downtown to a totally different sort of attraction, but one that I enjoy nonetheless, the Indianapolis Zoo. I was hoping to check out the amazing new Orangutan exhibit, but sadly I was two days too early for the grand opening. It was a beautiful day and the zoo, though packed with school kids on field trips was still pretty awesome.

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Having visited the zoo frequently, I did not check out every exhibit, instead wandered around and spent longer periods of time at a select few exhibits including two large predator exhibits where the animals were very active, the Siberian Tigers and the Kodiak Bears especially. It was cool to watch these animals seemingly enjoying the beautiful weather. In both cases the animal’s compounds have excellent close viewing areas where zoo patrons are literally only mere feet from these amazing animals.

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I capped another great day in Indianapolis hanging with my log-time friend Michael, first grabbing lunch at 20 Tap then heading downtown to pre-game before attending game two of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat. The Pacers had won game one at home and game two was an opportunity to really get a nice grip on the series in front of another packed and rocking Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.

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The game was really fun as we had seats in the Legends Suite section where free food and drinks flowed and we were able to hang with some Pacers cheerleaders and my friend Lindy who is one of the Public Address announcers for the Pacers (as well as at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway).

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Things looked pretty good for the Pacers through much of the close game, they led by 1 going into the final quarter and had a 4 point lead with about five minutes to play, then unfortunately the superstar tandem that is LeBron James and Dwayne Wade took over, leading Miami back with a 9-2 run and scoring 22 of Miami’s 25 fourth quarter points for a hard fought 87-83 Miami victory that evened the series and put the Pacers hopes in serious jeopardy heading back to Miami.

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It was still, as always a ton of fun to attend an NBA playoff game and to watch the greatest player alive at the peak of his skill set. James and Wade deserved this one and it was pretty cool to see them – even if it was at my beloved Pacers expense.

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