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, May 19, 2015

Long Beach Grand Prix

April 21, 2015

Long Beach Grand Prix

 photo 241_zpseszymics.jpg Kirsten & James

 photo 247_zpsaufqp6e5.jpg Charlie Kimball

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 photo 071_zpsnje4sspz.jpg Michael & Courtney Force

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Of all the races on the Indy Car schedule, there is only one that I had not been to that I really, really wanted to attend and that was the Long Beach Grand Prix. This year marks the 41st running of the annual street race through the streets of downtown Long Beach and because of its history, popularity and excitement, I have always wanted to see it live.

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Courtney Force

 photo 192_zpsyjgsfr6d.jpg Ed Carpenter

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 photo 215_zpsknhisfss.jpg Bobby Rahal

This year it just so happened to be scheduled on the Sunday I was already in California for Coachella, and it was only a mere two hour drive, so I decided to take advantage of the fact that I have an Indy Car Hard Card pass and drive up to see the race. It was so cool to be able to drive up and back in the same day and attend my first Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

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 photo 078_zps1gjtzreh.jpg Graham Rahal

The Grand Prix has an illustrious history beginning as a Formula One race back in 1975 and running as a F1 race until CART/Indy Car and then Champ Car took over until 2008 when the Indy Racing League started sanctioning the races. The list of winners is like a who’s who of great drivers that includes, Clay Regazzoni, Mario Andretti, Gilles Villeneuve, Nelson Piquet, Nikki Lauda, Michael Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Paul Tracy, Alex Zanardi, Sebastian Bourdais, Dario Franchitti and Will Power.

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 photo 195_zpslt0jekkh.jpg Vince Neil

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Not only does the race have an amazing history, it is hugely popular with upwards of 200,000 people attending over the course of the weekend making it the largest sporting event in the city each year. It is much more than just the race, it is a huge event with a motorsports expo, a classic car show, rides and games and all manner of food and drink vendors as well as a plethora of support races including the wildly popular Toyota Celebrity race which features celebrities in identically prepared cars racing.

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Even though I did not have a ticket, my hard card got me in free and I was able to stay in the pits throughout the race, which was pretty cool. I watched the warm up final practice, the stadium truck race and the Indy Car race from the comfort of the pits and enjoyed walking around through the expo, classic car show and Indy Car Paddock. I got to meet the beautiful and talented Courtney Force, drag-racing star and daughter of the legendary John Force as well as Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil who were each hanging around the pits.

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 photo 070_zpspktjrgyd.jpg Kate

The race itself was excellent, Scott Dixon, who had been off to his worst start in Indy Car ever after two races, started third and passed Juan Pablo Montoya for second on lap two. On lap twenty during pit stops, Dixon passed leader and pole sitter Helio Castroneves to grab the lead when Helio was held up just briefly in the pits. From there it was clear sailing as Dixon cruised to his first ever win at Long Beach.

 photo 061_zpsx0ah0xrn.jpg Robin Miller & Derek Daly

 photo 094_zpsgzp1hdl7.jpg Brody Jenner

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Castroneves and Montoya finished second and third, followed by Simon Pagenaud and Tony Kanaan. It was a very clean race, with only one brief caution period and pretty exciting as well. Dixon was obviously thrilled to have won. I was thrilled to have been there and can now cross Long Beach off my list of races to see.

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 photo 024_zpswavivttz.jpg Bob

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 photo 043_zpsthia7lvj.jpg Rick Mears

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

“We were out there havin' fun, in the warm California sun.”

April 20, 2015

“We were out there havin' fun,
 in the warm California sun.”

 photo 323_zpszhs0kfu6.jpg St. Vincent

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 photo 335_zpsjp3ce5nr.jpg Florence and the Machine

 photo 283_zpserd5yvcs.jpg Ryan Adams

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The final day of the Coachella Arts and Music Festival is always sort of bittersweet, I always hate for the experience to end, yet at the same time by the end of it all, I am fairly exhausted and have had my fill. I tend to be more discriminating by day three, selecting bands that I really want to see and staying for their entire sets rather than the jumping around from stage to stage that I tend to do earlier in the festival.

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I had some excellent bands that I chose to watch that included Belle & Sebastian, Ryan Adams, Father John Misty, St.Vincent, Florence and the Machine and Fitz and the Tantrums. Drake was the headliner, but I only watched a few minutes of his set before calling it a weekend.

 photo 278_zpsv7urvok5.jpg Ryan Adams

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The Scottish band Belle & Sebastian was fairly popular back in the 90s and were always critical darlings, but they suffered a few member changes and sort of disappeared during much of the 2000s, but seem to be intent on making a comeback and started last year by touring heavily and appearing at various festivals. Their Coachella set was great, the smallish crowd was really in to the band and many were rewarded when the band invited anyone who wanted up on stage during their encore.

 photo 320_zps7famay6n.jpg St. Vincent

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One of my favorite performances of the weekend was Ryan Adams, who somehow I had never seen live before. Adams is a gifted and prolific singer/songwriter and he put on a great set that covered all aspects of his phenomenal career, closing with a magnetic performance of “Oh, My Sweet Carolina”.

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 photo 337_zpsjs4iepao.jpg Florence and the Machine

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The sunset on the final evening of Coachella was pretty spectacular as well, and once the darkness had set in, sets from the likes of Father John Misty, Florence and the Machine and Fitz and the Tantrums lit up the festival. It was a nice evening as all of these bands delivered solid sets. St. Vincent also played and her set was just electric. I am not a huge fan of her music, but her eclectic live performance may have been the most unique and interesting of the weekend.

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 photo 220_zpsqqnujhkk.jpg Father John Misty

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It was another enjoyable festival, I had a good time with George, Jalak and Lee and while I missed having Kathy there, I am glad to have had the opportunity to attend. Leaving Palm Springs, which is so beautiful is always difficult, but thankfully I had a couple of additional days in California.

 photo 359_zpsyxhwgzl0.jpg Fitz & The Tantrums

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