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, 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.

 photo 068_zps1f49bb9f.jpg Rik Smits & George McGinness

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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Final Practice

May 22, 2014

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 photo 10402552_10152144529706872_3567579577715788988_n_zpsb882458e.jpg James Hinchcliffe

Final Practice

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In yet another example of how tradition is being chipped away at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there was an additional practice period added to the schedule the Monday after the qualifying weekend. For years, the only additional practice prior to the race itself was the brief one hour session that was held on Carb Day which is now held on the Friday before the race.

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This year a five-hour open practice session was added to the schedule to give qualified teams more time to work on their race set-ups since the qualifying days no longer allow for much downtime to let already qualified cars work under race conditions. Unlike the majority of the changes to the tradition around the speedway, this one was a welcome one indeed. Especially since they allowed all bronze badge holders hot pit access during the entire practice – which is a great perk and perfect since there was not much of a crowd anyway and the congestion in the pits was never an issue.

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 photo 1798636_10152143740206872_7843797344987935769_n_zpsfe0be0c1.jpg Kurt Busch

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It was another perfect weather day as all thirty-three teams took the opportunity to get extensive practice time in. Unlike the single task of just seeking the fastest speed possible to qualify, teams were able to practice long runs, pit stops, full tanks, and running in traffic and it made for some exciting practice with tons of cars, exciting dicing and lots of activity as the teams all made final preps for the race.

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It is so cool to be in the pits when so many cars are on the track and when pit stop practice is being held, it is truly something to behold. There is really nothing else quite like it. Another advantage was that I got to get pretty close while they were taking the official full field photos of all the qualified drivers. Really the access that you get at the Speedway is unparalleled in the world of sports. In no other sport can you get so close to the action and the stars of the sport, it is really cool.

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Most of the teams had a good day of practice with one notable exception, NASCAR star and Indy rookie Kurt Busch has a nasty looking accident that totally destroyed his car and put his team behind the eight ball as the race nears. Thankfully, he was unhurt in the savage crash that severely damaged the car, and the team has the better part of a week to repair the car or prepare a back-up in time for the race.

Kurt Busch crash

It was a pretty perfect day for me at the Speedway, I want to thank the Speedway for this excellent change of tradition, hope that this becomes something that they add to the schedule for many years to come.

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 photo 112_zps81960f3e.jpg Martin Plowman

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