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, June 12, 2013

Don’t Need Nothin’ but a Good Time

May 24, 2013

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Don’t Need Nothin’ but a Good Time

The kick-off of the actual Indy 500 weekend is the annual final practice session/ crazy party scene known as “Carb Day”. It is a tradition for the past 10 or so years that I meet a group of friends at the speedway where we hang out and enjoy a few beers and the crab day ambiance. It has been an Indianapolis tradition for years and many skip work and head to the track, drawn much more by the start of summer, party atmosphere and the annual Carb Day concert than by any love of racing.

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In fact racing is only a small portion of the day, the track is open for the Indy Cars for only one hour in the morning, followed by the Indy Lights race- a sort of minor league for the Indy Cars and then the Pit Stop competition. Later in the afternoon, the Carb Day concert attracts a huge, huge mob of mostly drunken revelers. This year the concert featured 80s hair band Poison.

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 photo 180_zpse8d5eabd.jpg Kirsten & James

Typically by the time the concert starts, I am long gone- the crowd is just too large, drunk and frankly redneckish for my tastes. The crowd this year was easily as large as it has been in years with over 80,000 people estimated to have attended the concert, making it one of the biggest crowds in years.

 photo 048_zps3a9457d4.jpg Pippa Mann & Gerard

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For our part, Dakota and I arrived early and avoided most of the traffic. We were meeting my friends Pat, who drove up from Evansville, Gerard , who drove down from Chicago and my Indy friends Kevin and Mark.  They were caught in a little traffic, so while waiting, we checked out the garage area and then sat to watch the Indy Car practice. They finally made it in time for the Indy Lights race.

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The Indy Lights race, which is generally sort of a minor diversion ended up being one of the most exciting races in the luminous history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as three cars battled it out over the final laps and then to the amazement of everyone, 4th place driver Peter Dempsey made a spectacular 4 wide pass coming to the checkered flag in one of the best races ever anywhere. You can watch the incredible final laps via the video below.

Freedom 100 Finish!!

Pat had scored passes to the coveted Miller Lite Beer pavilion where they had catered food and lots of free beer (thankfully including a number of additional breweries in addition to Miller). We were having such a good time that we stayed through the entire pit stop competition, hanging out with a group of friends from high school who were also hanging at the track including our friends Sarah, Stephanie, Michelle and Rosie.

 photo 105_zps2887fa9d.jpg Helio wins Pit Stop compettition

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It was a great start to the weekend that was capped off that evening by a special dedication of the newly renovated and created Elliott Room at Brugge Brasserie. The incredible renovation of the office spaces at Brugge to honor our friend Matt Elliott who passed away suddenly in that very location is a thing of beauty and deference. It honors not only Matt, but our group of friends known as the ODC (Old Dog Crew) and the many, many years that we have all been able to maintain a close bond.

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The space features a private bar and lounge area as well as additional rooms all decorated with an amazing array of photos that document the special relationship that we all share. It is truly a special and remarkable testament to all of us and the enduring power of friendship. Thanks so much to Ted and Shannon for honoring us all and creating this magical and wonderful space and transforming a place filled with sadness in to a place of honor and celebration and love.

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I hope to be able to spend many more hours in the Elliott room, honoring our friend, remembering all the many great times we have shared and creating new memories along the way. It was so cool to have so many friends present to christen the space and truly have a moment to celebrate.

 photo 083_zps86534ca8.jpg Kevin & Tracy

 photo 055_zps5faaff59.jpg Shannon & Amanda

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It takes a long time to grow an old friend.

May 21, 2013

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It takes a long time to grow an old friend.  -John Leonard

One of the best aspects of traveling to Indianapolis each May is to be able to reconnect with many of my oldest and dearest friends. Staying through the week between qualifying and the Indy 500 itself has enabled me to be able to spend even more quality time with my many old friends who reside in Indianapolis.

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 photo 173_zps658c82d6.jpg Michael, Dakota & John

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Many of them, I have known for the better part of forty years and even though I reside over 1000 miles away, we still manage to keep in touch and even see each other with some frequency. Social networking sites like facebook have helped in recent years as well, but even if I did not own a computer I would be sure to keep in touch, my friends really mean that much to me.

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As often as I travel to Indianapolis, it usually feels so rushed as I have so many activities and places to go, events to attend and people to see that it often goes by so fast leaving me not getting to spend as much quality time with people as I would like, sometimes not even seeing many of them. This visit seemed much more relaxed and I felt like I had the time to really hang out.

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Some of what I occupied my time with was part of my annual tradition, such as my annual “Dinner with the ladies” that I have the pleasure of attending each year. It is basically just an annual evening with some of my best and oldest friends who happen to be girls. Jody, Kristi, Amanda and Stephanie all made it this year and we had dinner at Delicio, a new restaurant at 52nd & College in Indy.

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The dinner is something that I really, really look forward to each year as we get together for a fun, no holds barred evening of reminiscing and laughter. This year was especially spunky, a fact I attribute to the ladies meeting at Jody’s house for cocktails prior to my arrival. I love these women and feel honored that we have all remained such close friends over the years, it was a great night once again.

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I spent the better part of another day just hanging out with my friend Jody, we went to check out the new exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art by the “Most Controversial Artist In The World”, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The exhibit was definitely interesting though the hyperbole hype of the exhibit sort of overplayed the controversial nature of the work. The museum looks great and the newly opened 100 Acre Wood looks especially promising. After the museum, we were joined by our friend Kristi in Broad Ripple for a fun lunch.

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 photo 5302025_zps9d7c9f1d.jpg Jody

 photo 5302033_zpscd8e7d85.jpg Kristi, Michael & Jody

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Last year, our friend Dakota came to Indianapolis for her first ever Indy 500 and she liked it so much that she came back for race weekend again this year. In fact she arrived a couple of days early which enabled us to pack in a few more fun things to do such as a trip to my favorite amusement park, Kings Island which is just North of Cincinnati.

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My good friend John, Dakota and I drove over to Kings Island , which is a place that I have been visiting fairly regularly since 1972. In fact John & I had been there together many times over the years including one day back in 1972 when both of our families traveled there on the same day. Kings Island is known for its massive collection of thrill rides, mostly rollercoasters, many of which I had been riding on for years such as the old wooden classics, The Racer and The Beast.

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These classics have been supplemented over the years with more and more coasters and we tried to ride as many as we possibly could throughout the day we were there. It was a fantastic and fun experience and fun to share it with a newcomer. I must admit though that the focus on high impact thrill rides has come at the cost of some of the old traditional rides and some of the charm that the place once had. It just isn’t quite the same.

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