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 27, 2013

Just Can't Get Enough

September 17, 2013

 photo 088_zps77066c5e.jpg Depeche Mode

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Just Can’t Get Enough

The main reason that Kathy made the drive up the Keys to Miami was to attend the Depeche Mode concert at the BB & T Center in Sunrise.  We had one additional event the same day that we had signed up for as well, the Zoo Run 5K race that was held at the Miami Metro Zoo. So we were going basically from early in the morning at the race till fairly late in the evening at the concert. It was a good day.

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The Zoo Run 5K was pretty much as it sounds, a 5K run/walk through the Miami Metro Zoo, which was actually pretty cool. The course ran through the zoo and the race which started at 8 AM ran through and around the animal exhibits so while you were participating you could check out the animals, who seemed equally curious about the sudden appearance of a couple of thousand people racing past their enclosures.

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It was a huge race with over 2200 participants and it was quite a production. It rained briefly just as the race was getting underway which did little but to get you damp and then make the rest of the race feature a steamy close to 100 % humidity- which was easily the worst part of the race. Watching the animals was the best and the distraction did slow me down somewhat from my normal pace. Kathy did much better, running the entire distance in preparation of the sprint triathalon that she will participating in next week.

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After the run, we spent the better part of the day shopping. Hitting the IKEA store and then the huge Sawgrass Mills Mall, enjoying an afternoon of commerce of the type we can’t experience in Key West, having lunch at the California Pizza place before heading to the hotel to relax before the show.

Depeche Mode- “Walking in my Shoes”

Depeche Mode is one of the few bands that were super popular during the 80s that I somehow never went to see in the over 1000 concerts that I have attended and I have always wanted to see them, because I had heard that their live shows are fantastic. Of course I always have the nervous fear that some almost 25 years after their prime, they might not be so great.

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I should not have worried at all, they were incredible. Looking great and sounding even better, the band ripped through two plus hours featuring a great mix of older hits, brand new material – which held up very well in comparison and more rare tracks from earlier releases.

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Lead singer Dave Gahan channeled Freddie Mercury with a frentic, energetic yet smooth and polished performance that was something to see. The amazing huge video screen behind the band and fantastic light show were awesome as well and the packed arena was rocking.  It was a great, great show and my only disappointment was that I had been missing out all these years. Even the opening act, Bat for Lashes, who we had seen in the spring at Coachella was great. It was a fantastic night of music and well worth the effort to come up and see.

“Personal Jesus”

Thursday, September 26, 2013


September 16, 2013

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Miami has really come a long way since I first visited the city way back in 1988, for years and years there were basically two areas that I really enjoyed visiting, Miami Beach and Coconut Grove.  There were always a few exceptions, many of which have come and gone. Wolfie’s Deli, The Rascal House, The Stephen Talkhouse, and even more recently the Transit Lounge are all gone.

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The good news is that in spite of some losses, overall Miami continues to improve all the time. Now in addition to South Beach and the Grove, areas such as Brickell, the Wynwood Arts District, Bayside and even portions of the central downtown area have become equally interesting destinations in their own right. Miami’s multi-cultural diversity, incredible nightlife, great restaurants and booming arts and entertainment scene has made the city an enjoyable diversion from Key West.

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One of the most dynamic areas of recent growth is the area just north of downtown Miami known as Wynwood. It features a booming dichotomy of arts and fashion districts each having grown remarkably in the past few years.  The area was for years primarily known for the large concentration of Puerto Rican immigrants who called it home. Known locally as “El Barrio” or “Little San Juan” has of late gone through a remarkable transformation.

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Artists seeking low cost studio space started snapping up the many abandoned warehouses in the area and similarly fashion designers sought out cheap space to design and make designer clothing and suddenly a rush of gentrification was on. The growth of one of the largest Art Shows in the world, Art Basel- which is held each December in Miami only added to the prestige.

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Gentrification is not always a great thing though as the cheap property suddenly becomes highly desired and valued and the original residents and even many of the original artists can be forced out. It has not quite hit that point yet in Wynwood as many Puerto Rican restaurants, bodegas and bars still populate the landscape and all manner of artists occupy the more than 75 galleries and studios that can be found in the area, making for a wonderful delightful mix that has yet to reach a tipping point.

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The second Saturday of each month is the incredible Wynwood Art Walk, something that neither Kathy and I had experienced and we were fortunate enough to be able to attend this visit.  The event was awesome as thousands packed the graffiti lined streets of Wynwood to peruse the galleries. I loved the awesome graffiti that covered almost every available space.  Wynwood has encouraged Graffiti artists and many of the most famous have created work there.

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The galleries are great and there was an empty lot that was filled with about 50 food trucks with all manner of amazing food. It was a great night and something that I hope we will be able to return to often. It is well worth a visit anytime though- another jewel in Miami’s ever growing crown.

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