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!

Saturday, August 12, 2006


August 12, 2006

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Photobucket - Video and Image HostingWilliams Canyon

It’s hard to believe how quickly time seems to be slipping by, our trip is in the home stretch and after a couple of relaxing days in Manitou Springs, and we are back on the road again. This time with a specific purpose, at least so we thought.

We spent another great day yesterday with Chris, Kari & the kids. In the morning, Kathy & I took Sophie & James and walked down to the local arcade. This huge, throwback arcade had all the classic as well as new video games as well as such cool games as skeeball and air hockey. James and Sophie played enough to get tickets for a couple of prizes before we headed home.

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Our next excursion was to go hiking at the amazingly beautiful Williams Canyon. Sadly Kari had a lunch engagement and could not join us for this fun hike. At the trailhead we were greeted by large “No Trespassing” signs which Chris assured us were placed simply to relieve the owners of any liability should anything unforeseen occur, and the trail was obviously well used, proven by the fact that we met hikers coming down who warned us to beware of the rattlesnake on the trail ahead. Thankfully we saw no sign of the snake as we hiked the canyon uphill for a mile or so to a beautiful little spring feed waterfall which offered pools of water for the kids to play in and a spectacular vista of the canyon.

We had to be back in time to make the drive from the Springs to Boulder and we figured we had left ourselves plenty of time to make it to the historic Chautauqua Auditorium to see the Nanci Griffith concert we had tickets to see. Traffic turned out to be a nightmare, Friday evening commute and all and we barely made it. Not that it made much difference because as soon as we had settled in a mysterious power outage darkened the entire place and instead of the show, we joined a few thousand people in waiting for the lights to come on. They never did and the show was postponed until Sunday. That actually is the perfect date for us, because we already have tickets to another show tonight, Robert Earl Keen, and we may not have been able to return at any other date.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Nanci Griffith & Kathy

Plus it worked out well because, while we were all waiting for the lights to come on, Nanci came out and mingled with fans, allowing us to get the photo below. She was so nice, apologetic and thankful for our patience. Actually the wait itself was pretty fun; the Chautauqua place is really beautiful. Built in 1898, it is a gorgeous old wooden auditorium with supposedly wonderful acoustics; I guess we will find out Sunday.

Oh yeah, the other night when we saw the bear, i tried to get a picture but the flash did not reach far enough and all i got was this shot of his eyes.

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http://Chautauqua Auditorium

Nanci Griffith Website

Friday, August 11, 2006

Manitou Springs, Colorado

August 11, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting James, Chris, Kathy, Kari, & Sophie

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After being pretty much constantly on the go, it has been great to take a break and relax with family here in Manitou Springs for the past couple of days. Kathy’s brother Chris and his wife Kari and children Sophie & James have been awesome hosts and already we have been able to shake the road weariness that was affecting us.

Upon arrival in Manitou Springs we have driven a total of 10,491 miles through 24 states. The most recent trip was from Monte Vista to Manitou with brief stops in the town of Salida and at the Royal Gorge in Canon City before heading to see the Kilroys.

Salida, known as “The Heart of the Rockies,” is a cool little mountain town on the banks of the Arkansas River, it boasts 14 nearby peaks with elevations greater than 14,000 ft. and is known for it’s hiking and white water rafting. The only hiking we did was around town after enjoying a nice lunch at the First Street Café. We walked down to the river and watched kayakers shoot the rapids and then drove to Canon City to see the gorge.

The Royal Gorge is home to the world’s highest suspension bridge. Spanning the huge gorge over 1200 ft. above the Arkansas River, the bridge is an incredible sight. We opted against paying the $21 to visit the “park” and walk across the bridge, but we did get a great view which the photo below does absolutely no justice to.

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We arrived in Manitou, which is located just at the base of Pike's Peak, just in time for a torrential downpour, but it did not dampen our spirits and we are thrilled to be here. We have spent our time here basically just hanging out and it has been a welcome respite from being on the go. Not that we have just been hanging about, we went to a skate park yesterday, to watch James as he biked and skated through the twisty hills of the sculpted concrete. We also spent a wonderful afternoon at the Wilson Ranch, a local swimming pool with all sorts of nifty slides, a lazy river and this cool whirlpool which looked suspiciously like a giant toilet flushing, but was a lot of fun to swirl around in.

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One other bit of excitment was witnessing a bear as it attempted to get nto the garbage behind the house, a nightly occurance for the Kiloys but one of rare interest to us. We also got a chance to drive by the home we purchased last year here and were pleased to see that our tenants have done a wonderful job of making it look beautiful. We are back on the road today, heading to Boulder to go see a Nanci Griffith concert and spending the weekend in Denver before returning here.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Our Colorado House

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Colorado…at last!

August 9, 2006

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We have finally arrived in Colorado. We have been telling everyone that our trip concludes in Colorado, which is not actually correct since we still have to drive back across the country to pick up India before returning home, but it does mark the goal we have been aiming for since the beginning.

We spent the better part of the morning in Taos, exploring the beautiful little town’s many fine art galleries, shops and such before heading towards Colorado. We drove over the 650 foot Rio Grande River Gorge on the way. It was so impressive we had to stop to walk across the bridge and check out the gorge. On the far side of the bridge, vendors had set up selling jewelry and handcrafts. Kathy bought a beautiful necklace from George Ray (pictured below).

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Kathy & George

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We stopped at the border to document the excitement of finally reaching one of our goals and then drove to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Reserve near Alamosa to see the amazing huge sand dunes there. It is a truly an amazing place. Nestled at the base of the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the largest sand dunes in America rise to heights as great as 750 ft. Continuously shaped by the shifting winds, the dunes cover more than 30 square miles. Photos and descriptions can not possibly do this place justice, the awe one feels when hiking up the dunes is incredible. Kathy & I hiked well into the dunes; it wasn’t easy, walking through steep, hot sand is more difficult than it looks. Your shoes keep filling with sand and it at times feels as if you are walking with weights on your feet. It’s worth it though, beautiful vistas of sand and mountains are visible over each successive rise.

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We stopped for the night at a hotel in Monte Vista that we had read about in a book called “Eccentric America”, the Best Western Movie Manor hotel is the only hotel in the USA in which all the rooms open up to a drive-in. So you can sit in your room and the sound is piped into your room. It is a pretty unique experience. The movie playing for us was, “Pirates of the Caribbean- 2”, which sadly was not nearly as good as the original nor worthy of the fun experience. We plan to be in Colorado for at least 10 days, there is so much to see and do here, plus we get to visit family.

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Great Sand Dunes National Park

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Into the Land of Enchantment

August 8, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Cadillac Ranch

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Taos, NM

Much of the day yesterday was spent driving from Amarillo, Texas to Taos, New Mexico where we currently find ourselves. We drove much of the way along the classic Route 66. It was at once exciting and somewhat sad due to the state of abandonment that is so prevalent along the road.

Along the way, we would stop at interesting roadside attractions. Perhaps the most interesting was the Cadillac Ranch. In 1974, as a tribute to America's best automobile, a collective of artists called Ant Farm decided to place 10 Cadillacs, ranging from a 1949 Club Coupe to a 1963 Sedan, in a wheat field located west of Amarillo, Texas. Ten big holes were dug and the cars were driven with their front end into them. Now, people are encouraged to bring their own paint cans and paint the cars as they wish, creating an ever changing art object that is beautiful in a strange way.

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We also drove through many small towns, perhaps the most interesting was Tucumcari, New Mexico. Here there are many former hotels and other prominent roadside attractions from the glory days of Route 66. The Tee Pee Curio shop seen below is typical of the type of interesting place that once populated the road. Now few are left open, though the dilapidated remains of many others are still visible.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Tucumcari, NM

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We continued on through Santa Fe, then to the small community of Dixon where we visited one of Michael’s lifelong family friends, Fritz Kackley. Fritz is a talented artist and we were able to get a tour of his studio and wonderful home nestled at the foot of beautiful mountains. He has been battling a tough year of rain with frequent mudslides and flash floods that have threatened his home with flooding. It brought back reminders to us of what we experience each hurricane season. Thankfully this year has been quiet for us so far.

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After a nice visit with Fritz, we drove the short distance to Taos, where we had a great Mexican meal and checked into our hotel. This beautiful small artist community is full of great restaurants and art galleries in addition to the amazing setting with Mountains all around. We are looking forward to exploring Taos today.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Oklahoma City

August 7, 2006

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We rolled into OKC to spend the better part of the weekend and after checking into our hotel, we headed out to Bricktown. Bricktown is the renovated, rejuvenated area of downtown that has such things as ball parks, nightclubs, restaurants, art galleries and such. Most of the cities we have been in have a similar area, but I must say that OKC’s is quite nice. We had a choice to go to an OKC Redhawks minor league game or to see a movie. We opted for the movie due to the heat, close to 100 degrees, I think we made the wrong choice…or more likely we just picked the wrong movie. Do not under any circumstances go see, “Talladega Nights, the Ballad of Ricky Bobby”. It has to be one of the worst films ever. After the movie, we had dinner at a place called the Spaghetti Warehouse, violating Kathy’s rule about not eating anyplace with the words “Factory” or “Warehouse” in the name. It wasn’t so awful.

It seems that every city we go to, no matter the size, has large fiberglass animals that have been painted by local artists and placed around the city. The trend started I think with Cows in Chicago, but it has spread to every burg in the nation. We have seen bears, cows, horses, ducks, beavers and just about every other variety of animals. In OKC they have buffalos, lots of ‘em. We even went by a place that had an entire herd.

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We spent most of the day on Sunday at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. Built on the site of the tragic terror attack on April 19, 1995, the former site of the Murrah Federal Building, the memorial is awe inspiring. They have transformed an area of extreme tragedy into a beautiful scene of reflection and remembrance. The site where the actual building sat now has a grassy field with 168 empty chairs representing each of the victims who perished. The former children’s playground has been transformed into a memorial for the many children who died. It is a touching place that is bolstered by the magnificent museum that is there. The exhibits take you on a chronological experience of the day of the tragedy and the aftermath, focusing on the way the community responded and the heroic efforts of rescuers rather than on the act itself. It is tremendous and we both suggest that anyone who has an opportunity should visit this incredible place that has been transformed from a site of terror into a vision of hope and recovery.

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We left Oklahoma following the classic Route 66, headed to Texas and beyond. Route 66 is sort of a sad fading drive where one gets a sense of its quirky glory days, but also a sense of loss, since much of it passes through desolate towns and empty former popular hotels and roadside attractions. Every one in a while there is something quirky and alive that brings it back though and we still enjoyed traveling along one of America’s favorite roads.

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Oklahoma City National Memorial

Sunday, August 06, 2006


August 6, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Clinton Library

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There are some places that we have visited that have been almost total surprises, not that we had a negative opinion of Arkansas, just that we thought of it more as one of those places you drive through to get to somewhere else. We loved Hot Springs and found our next two Arkansas stops, Little Rock & Fort Smith to be pleasant surprises as well.

In Little Rock, we stopped first at the sparkly new Clinton Presidential Center & Library. This amazing, beautiful building is located in a former industrial site right on the banks of the Arkansas River a short walk from the River Front area of downtown Little Rock. The Library contains almost all of the Presidential papers, objects and mementos you would expect, plus it has amazingly accurate reproductions of the Oval Office and Cabinet Room of the White House. It’s sort of strange to be visiting a museum about such recent events, especially when most of the historic sites we have seen date from well before our time. After touring the library, we walked along the river to the wonderful renovated riverfront section of Little Rock, complete with restaurants, art galleries and shopping it is a wonderful little area.

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We got caught in a wicked thunderstorm on the way to our next historic site. Complete with flash floods, high winds and tons of lightning strikes. It was really exciting. Thankfully it had let up when we arrived at Little Rock Central High. The site of one of the most important moments of the civil rights movement, Central High is now a National Historic Site. Though still an operating high school, there is a visitor center run by the National Park Service across the street that tells the tale of the 9 African- American students who first integrated the all-white school in 1957 and of the resistance that culminated in the National Guard being called in to allow them to attend.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingCentral High School

After leaving Little Rock and driving through yet more storms, we arrived in Fort Smith. Fort Smith is an old frontier Fort where Judge Issac Parker presided over the court that oversaw the frontier outlaws with the help of a team of US Marshals. Known as “The Hanging Judge”, Parker sent almost 100 men to the gallows. The site was also a point along the Trail of Tears which was the trail along which the Cherokee Indians were forcibly removed and forced to march from their homes to reservations in the west. In addition to the fort itself, we stopped at the towns visitor center, Miss Laura’s is the only bordello on the National Register of Historic Places and it now restored and greets visitor’s to the small river town.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Judge Parker's Court

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Visit these Web-Sites:

Little Rock Central High

Clinton Library

Fort Smith