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!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line...

March 28, 2015

 photo 098_zpskb0o7ycv.jpg Tony Kanaan & Helio Castroneves

 photo 181_zpsb8u7bzua.jpg Tony Kanaan

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 photo 322_zpsw4wawfrv.jpg Will Power

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Reluctantly crouched at the starting line...

The opening of the 2015 Indy Car racing series is finally here after what seemed like an interminably long off-season. The first race of the new season kicks off as it has for the past few years on the street course in St. Petersburg and as usual I made the trip up to be in attendance, flying in to Tampa and getting a hotel downtown in St. Pete with-in walking distance to the track.

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I arrived in plenty of time before racing activities began and was able to take a day and make the quick drive over to Orlando to make use of my annual Walt Disney World pass and visit Epcot Center and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I love Epcot at this time of year because they are hosting their annual Flower and Garden Festival and the entire grounds are even more festively decorated than usual.

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They have all sorts of garden displays, vendors and special food vendors as well, though I found myself eating in the German Beer Garden again. I next headed over to the Animal Kingdom where I watched the bird show for the first time, it was pretty impressive as they had all sorts of birds from Toucans, to raptors like Bald Eagles flying around the stadium. It was a cool show. 

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After a nice day at the parks, I was on my way back to St. Pete, but not before stopping at what is arguably the best microbrewery in the state of Florida, Cigar City Brewing. It was my second visit to their awesome location and I was able to taste a number of their wonderful beers, including a few special seasonals that are only available at the brewery itself. 

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 photo 084_zpsa6hcnmbt.jpg Will Power

 photo 206_zps4lxqepbo.jpg Hinch

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The next day was the opening practice session of the 2015 Indy Car season and I was on hand with my shiny new Indy Car Hard Card which gave me unprecedented access to just about everyplace including the pits, paddock, victory land, on track in the photographer’s areas and such. It allowed me great access and opportunities to get up close and personal with the cars, teams and drivers.

 photo 308_zpsq9yevn7o.jpg Robin Miller & Simon Pagenaud

 photo 278_zpssmdsjgug.jpg Luca Phillipi

 photo 159_zpsbhmaoiu5.jpg Gabby Chaves

 photo 091_zpsml5aqj4n.jpg Ed Carpenter & Luca Phillipi

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There are a lot of exciting new changes this year in Indy Car, starting with the new Aero-kits which radically change the look of the new cars with both Chevy and Honda creating their own distinct versions that look much different from last year. Lots more body work on the cars. Also there were the usual driver changes between teams. One of my favorite drivers, James Hinchcliffe moved from Andretti to Sam Schmidt Motorsports, replacing Simon Pagenaud who joined team Penske as their fourth driver.

 photo 150_zpsoufj9gjy.jpg Jack Hawksworth

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 photo 316_zpsf12emtc6.jpg Will Power with St. Pete mayor.

 photo 310_zpsmhwk6h0m.jpg Kirsten & James Hinchcliffe

The initial practice went well, though a light rain wiped out the second practice later in the afternoon. They did get in some of the support races including a WC sports car race and Indy Lights practice. The Indy Lights cars are all new as well and they look great and really racy. It was a really good day to start the season and weekend off and I was thrilled to be back at an Indy Car race.

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 photo 254_zpsyt8azsdv.jpg Bob

 photo 301_zpsfgemwdej.jpg Justin Wilson

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Sunday, April 05, 2015

Bone Island Variety

March 25, 2015

 photo 879_zpshwjsstib.jpg Kathy & George

 photo 030_zpsyoftb4as.jpg Landon & Laura

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 photo 080_zpsros8crso.jpg Nick

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Bone Island Variety

There is always something interesting happening in Key West. This month was highlighted by two very different examples of fun, yet different types of activities that we participated in. One was a wonderful new production by our friends at On the Rock Productions at the old Eaton Street (now Key West) Theater called the Bone Island Variety Show. The second yet another version of the FKCC Sprint Triathlon which Kathy had been busy training for again.

 photo 018_zpsr0htbj4f.jpg Laura

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 photo 003_zpsyxaw7isx.jpg Landon

The Bone Island Variety show is the Key West version of the tonight show and I invited my friends Kali and Effie to attend because I thought they should meet as Kali is a fairly recent transplant to Key West and is looking to meet fun and interesting people and Effie certainly fits that bill.

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 photo 040_zpsrwk0d4v8.jpg Joe

 photo 096_zpswtgq1nqr.jpg Effie & Kali

The show was a variety show that featured an emcee, the funny and talented Landon Bradbury who served as host for a variety of local entertainment who would perform and then join Landon on a couch for a brief discussion a la the old Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

 photo 084_zpsaidexguk.jpg Nick Norman

 photo 077_zpstssxhrmj.jpg Q Mitch

Host Landon Bradbary, along with some of Key West’s favorite acts as well as some surprising newcomers, offered up sketches, comedy, great music, artist interviews, and a whole lot of fun. Performers included Nick Norman, MC Couscous, Joe Madaus, Laura Richardson, and QMitch.

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It was a wildly funny and entertaining evening and all the acts were great. Laura and Nick provided great musical entertainment and Joe did a wickedly funny stand-up comedy act. Perhaps the most amusing act was Landon simply doing a hilarious reading of actual yelp reviews of well-known Key West restaurants. It was hysterical and the entire night was great. Hopefully it is just the start of a new series.

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 photo 093_zpss4unqkoj.jpg Kathy G.

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The second event was the biannual FKCC Sprint Triathlon which was held on the campus of the community college. Kathy has been busy training for some time to get ready for the race and she was ready to go before the sun rose on race day. I was there to support her and take photos for the event organizers. It was just about perfect weather and a great day for the race which featured a number of our friends.

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 photo 236_zps5bzhasit.jpg Kathy

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 photo 459_zpshyopsipj.jpg Aaron

The race started with a 600 yard open water swim in the FKCC lagoon, followed by a 10 mile bike that began in the parking lot in front of the pool with bikers heading through the campus and exiting onto College Road and on to US1.  One lane of US1 was closed for the event.  Riders completed 3-loops around College Road and then headed back onto campus to the pool area to transition for the run.  The final stage was 5K run that followed the same route as the bike, except runners will run only one loop was completed before the finish.

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 photo 854_zpscd3x240l.jpg Kathy

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Kathy did great and won her age group, in fact a number of our friends were successful in the race. We were especially inspired by our friend George who at age 77 not only completed the race but managed a third place finish in his group. George and his wife Judy are both wonderful role models for Kathy & I. I must say though that anyone competing in the race is pretty inspiring. It was just a joy to not only watch Kathy but all those who competed. 

 photo 571_zpswkcbpbin.jpg George & Judy

 photo 715_zps42jb74pv.jpg Kelly & Beth

 photo 656_zpsvfopsich.jpg Howard

 photo 857_zpsfzxjmplc.jpg Kathy G. 

 photo 887_zpsopdcxpvd.jpg George & Judy

 photo 713_zpsyij2hlgl.jpg Kathy