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, August 25, 2006

Kentucky State Fair

August 25, 2006

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We have been making such good time on our trek back across the country that we found ourselves with time to make a visit to the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, where we spent one night on our journey home. I had wanted to go to at least one fair during a trip and this one worked out with our schedule and travel plans.

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A long-time fan of the much larger Indiana State Fair held in Indianapolis, I was hopeful that the Kentucky State Fair would offer the same sort of fun and interest. I am sad to say it was a little disappointing. It is not only much smaller in scale, but it has the disadvantage of not being held at a true fairgrounds. More like a collection of arenas and parking lots near the University of Louisville’s Freedom Hall & football stadium.

Still we managed to find some fun things to see and do. We went to the lumberjack show, to see the Kentucky Pork Producers Racing Pigs, to the bike & skateboard show and we looked around at the many farm animals and displays that were there. We also consumed a large quantity of delicious fair food such as elephant ears and snow cones.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Racing Pigs

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Log Rolling

The large midway which included the nearby Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom was only open during the evening, which was sort of a bummer since we were mostly there during the day and did not get a chance to spend much time there. We still managed to have a good time. We even saw Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher signing autographs and celebrating the fact that he had just been cleared that very day of some horrid corruption scandal due to a lack of evidence. It was all over the local news.

After a long day of fair-going it was back in the car for an evening trip across the rest of Kentucky and into West Virginia where we now find ourselves. Sadly we have been out of internet range for this entire week, so the last few blog posts have been late in posting, I apologize, but we decided long ago to not spend time or effort seeking out internet connections, but rather to post when we can. Up till now it has not been that mch of an issue.

Homeward Bound

August 23, 2006

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Prairie Dog Town

After more than 12,000 miles and 26 states, we are finally on the way back to Key West. It’s crazy in a way, it took us three months to get from the East Coast to Colorado and three days to get back in the Eastern Time Zone, as we now find ourselves in Louisville, Kentucky, on our way back to the East Coast to pick up our dog India before heading south.

We spent the majority of the past few days on the road, first from Lyons back to Manitou via the Denver airport where we dropped Marika & Brian off for their flight home. We spent a final night at the Kilroy’s in Manitou before packing up, saying goodbye and hitting the road.

It’s a long drive across Kansas, Missouri & Illinois and it was not without some interesting stops and incidents. First we had two near disastrous events in quick succession just before leaving Colorado. First a large rock about the size of a baseball was flung into the side of the car just six inches below the passenger side window by a large grass mowing machine. A little higher and it may have smashed through the window. The second incident happened when we stopped to check the dent at a gas station and while filling the tank, the auto shut-off failed to work and a few gallons of gas spewed out all over the place as we washed the windows. Two scary moments in the space of a few minutes, but we came out ok.

We stopped a few times at interesting places along the way. My personal highlight was at Prairie Dog Town, a roadside attraction in Oakley, Kansas. Open for more than 40 years, Prairie Dog Town is a sort of roadside zoo, with the central attraction a large colony of adorable Prairie Dogs. They also had a case full of about 50 rattlesnakes, a 6 legged cow, and a large variety of other animals such as foxes, badgers, goats, buffalo, and bobcats and such. We had a great time there and I highly recommend anyone who finds themselves along I-70 in Kansas stop and check it out.

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We had a great Fried Chicken meal at the infamous Ed’s Chickenette diner in Hays, Kansas. For over 46 years, Ed’s has served delicious fried chicken and our meal was no exception. It was a nice respite in the over 1200 miles we have driven this week.

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We also found time to do a drop in visit to our good friends Pat & Dianna Davis and their children Holland, Ansley & Landon in Newburgh, Indiana near Evansville. They have spent the past six months recovering from the devastating tornados that hit the area last year and we had a great visit and dinner with them. Their house escaped significant damage, but homes just across the street were almost totally destroyed. It gives you an idea of how fickle fate is.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The Davis Family

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rocky Mountain National Park

August 21, 2006

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For our final day in Estes Park, we opted to skip part of the day at the Folks Fest in favor of taking Marika & Brian to see a little of the beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park. Neither of them had ever been and so we took a nice drive into the park, stopping at the popular Bear Lake area to take a short hike. Popular is something of an understatement as huge throngs of families and day hikers crowding the trails. It was still great to experience the mountains with Marika & Brian.

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It was something like Disneyland, with people yapping on their cell phones and large crowds, but despite that, it was impossible to detract from the natural beauty of the mountains. We had a nice hike up and around a few mountain lakes before heading back into the town of Estes Park for a little souvenir shopping.

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After a day exploring the park & town, Kathy & I headed back to the Folks Fest for the final evening of music. We arrived around 5 PM, just in time to see the final three performers, Blue Rodeo, Martin Sexton & Ani DiFranco. Kerry & Bruce had already established a base camp that was inhabited by many of their family, friends and acquaintances. This included Kerry’s parents, her sister T & her husband Chuck and their kids Nathan & Ella and a large collection of fun friends. The vibe at the Folks Fest is one of the main attractions; it is laid back, family friendly and just a real pleasure to experience. They have great food and delicious microbrews from Colorado’s New Belgium Brewery. I particularly enjoyed the Fat Tire & Skinny Dip.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Ella & Kerry

Blue Rodeo has been one of the most popular bands in Canada for more than 20 years, why they have not achieved more success here in the states is beyond me. Winners of 7 of the prestigious JUNO awards, the Canadian Grammy equivalent, they performed an excellent set that was more rock than folk.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo & Michael

Next up was Martin Sexton. If you have never seen this man at a live show, do yourself a favor and go. He had the crowd up and dancing for the majority of his impressive set. The crowd on Sunday was much larger than either of the previous days, in large part due to the final act of the evening Ani DiFranco.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Kathy, Red, T & Courtney (& Mike)

One of the most successful, influential and talented independent musical artist in the business, Ani attracts a large cult-like following of fans to her amazing live shows. Her performance was a fantastic way to finish off a great weekend of music.

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Blue Rodeo Website

Martin Sexton Website

Ani DiFranco Website

Monday, August 21, 2006

Folks Fest Day 2

August 20, 2006

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy joins Kathleen Edwards on stage.

The second day of the Folks Fest in Lyons featured another 12 hours of amazing musical performances. We were up early and made our way in to set up camp, our two sun-shades that could serve as a base for our large group. We were joined by Chris, Kari, Sophie & James who drove up from Manitou Springs for the day. We also had Kerry & Bruce, Kerry’s parents, Mike & Donna Egan and a number of their friends from Estes Park join our entourage, so we made good use of the large space we appropriated in the sunshade section.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting James in the River

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Bruce,Donna, Mike, Kari, Kerry, Brian & Marika

Another stellar line-up of musical performers included Kathrin Shorr, Steve Seskin, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, Issa (formerly Jane Siberry), Guy Clark, Kathleen Edwards, The Waifs, and Kris Kristofferson. The diverse line-up provided a wonderful and eclectic mix of music. Something for everyone. Despite the Folk Fest name, much of the music extends far beyond the range of traditional folk and includes country, alt-country, coffee house, alternative and rock.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Michael & Elvis Perkins

Kathrin Shorr was the winner of the annual songwriters contest at last year’s fest and thus earned a shot at the main stage this year and it was easy to see why she won. A terrific voice with wonderful songs, she was one of the pleasant surprises.

I think the most interesting and eclectic performer was Elvis Perkins in Dearland. Elvis is the son of “Psycho” actor Anthony Perkins and photographer Berry Berenson who was killed in a plane on 9/11. He is a gifted musician and a quirky song-writer and gave a very eclectic performance. He was also a really nice guy as we found out after his performance when he spent much of the day hanging out in the crowd.

Marika’s favorite was the Canadian singer Issa, who recently changed her name from Jane Siberry. Her performance showcased her beautiful voice and quirky personality. Marika & Brian went right up front in the bright and hot sun to watch her.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Brian & Marika enjoy Issa

Guy Clark is a west Texas legend and proved to be a favorite of the actual performers as most of the other artists crowded the front to watch his set. His gravelly country songs and poignant stories did not disappoint. He was followed by the wonderful Kathleen Edwards, who after only two releases is something of an alt-country star. She sounded fantastic and she looked great, we thought she had a very similar look to our friend Kerry, especially from a distance. Judge for yourself.

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The highlight of the day was the legendary headliner, Kris Kristofferson, no question. He played a wonderful set that spanned the songwriter’s deep musical reservoir that goes back almost 70 years and included such classics as “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Sunday Morning Coming Down” as well as many songs from his latest brilliant release, “This Old Road”. It was an incredible performance and a great way to cap an almost perfect day of fun and music.

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Elvis Perkins Website

Kathleen Edwards Website

Guy Clarke Website

Kris Kristofferson Website

Issa Website