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, August 25, 2017

Fair Night

August 13, 2017

The Wild Reeds 

Fair Night

The Indiana State fair at night is a totally different animal. The focus shifts from the livestock barns and exhibits to the midway, a kaleidoscope of lights, colors, sounds and smells that can only be found at a fair. The darkness brings a sense of excitement and activity and the fair experience to a new level. For the night portion of my fair going experience, my good friend John joined me to take in the fair for a second time.

with John

John grew up on the same block of Park Avenue that I did, just a few houses down and we have been friends something around forty-five years. We have made many, many trips to the fair together dating back to our early childhood and we also share a love of photography which makes the fair at night a pretty awesome place to shoot photos.


In fact, the only ride we actually went on was the new skyride that connects the two sections of midway and travels along the street between the Grandstand and Coliseum. It was pretty cool to glide above the street and get views of the fair from above the fray. 

Personally I have not been much of a fan of midway rides, at least since I was a kid. They seem inherently sketchy and unsafe, my fears confirmed just last month when this same midway company had a tragic malfunction at the Ohio State Fair in which a ride failure resulted in fatalities. None of that seemed to dissuade the throngs of fairgoers lining up to ride on the various rides. The carneys were busy as well trying to lure passersby into playing the games of chance, which I also tend to avoid. Enough people win to keep others coming back, but I prefer just to watch. 


John and I wondered around the fair until maybe ten pm and it was still going strong when we left, I wanted to get down to the Fountain Square section of Indianapolis to catch a concert at the Hi-Fi club by a great band, The Wild Reeds. I always check for who might be playing when I visit any city and found that the Hi-Fi was hosting the band on the only night I was in town.

Otis Gibbs mural at the Hi-Fi

The Wild Reeds

The band is fronted by three young women from Los Angeles and is touring in support of their second full length release, “The World We Built”. The band has a real indie-folk vibe with each of the women capable of singing lead and also making for some impressive three part harmonies. The show was fantastic and I am so glad that I made the effort to go.

The Wild Reeds

I did no capture any good video at the show, but I thought I would include a video of the band covering the classic Beach Boys song, “Surfer Girl”. You can get a feel for the harmonies they are able to replicate and a sample of what the show was like. I love going to see shows at the Hi-Fi and this was one of the better ones that I have had the good fortune to attend

The Wild Reeds

After the show, my friend Jenny drove down to meet me in Fountain Square and we went out for a late night drink. It was so cool of her to come out and meet me and great to be able to catch up. I didn’t have much time to see a lot of friends this trip but did manage to squeeze in a quick visit to my friend Amanda as well the following morning before my flight to Colorado. I got to see her kids and meet her new dog Gwen as well. All in all it was a great trip to Indianapolis.

with Jenny 


Gwen Stacy

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Indiana State Fair

August 12, 2017


Indiana State Fair

One of my most favorite annual events is the Indiana State Fair, I grew up about a mile from the fairgrounds in Indianapolis and every year I would make multiple trips to the fair with friends, family and just about anyone who would go with me. It was an annual tradition throughout the time that I lived in Indianapolis and since I have lived in Key West, I have tried to find some reason to be in Indianapolis in August to get back to the fair.

Michele and Michael 

This year, I had arranged to fly out to Colorado to join Kathy, who has been there for weeks trying to oversee the construction of our new house in Colorado Springs and I just decided to check and see how much more the flights would be if I arranged for a quick one day stopover in Indianapolis and to my great delight, the price was just about the same as just a roundtrip to Colorado so I planned for a very quick stopover in Indianapolis to see the fair as well as some family and friends.


I flew in late on Thursday evening and on to Colorado on Saturday morning, which made for a short but fun-filled visit. I started at my sister Michele’s house, she had some free tickets to the fair because she had won the “Best of Show” prize in the sewing competition, she entered two children’s dresses and they each won the best of show Blue Ribbon of all the entries from the entire state. It is a pretty cool thing and for possibly the first time ever I was going to head to the Arts building to see the sewing competition.

I wanted to experience the fair both during the daylight hours and again during the evening when the darkness brings alive the lights of the midway. It is really two totally different experiences, both of which I really love. On the way to the fair, I made a quick stop at Twenty Tap, the beer taproom and restaurant owned by my friends Kevin and Tracy that was damaged in a fire six months ago and that they have been busy rebuilding in anticipation of reopening finally next week. One of the best pubs in the city and one of my favorite places anywhere. Kevin and Tracy were on hand and putting the finishing touches in anticipation of their reopening and I am so happy and excited for them and everyone at Twenty Tap.


The fair during the day is full of various competitions in the animal barns. Farmers from across the state bring their livestock to the fair to compete for the title of state champion in any number of livestock competitions, none of which I understand but which I love nonetheless. Watching these 4H farm kids proudly display their animals is really cool. I watched an entire pig competition, which I had never done before. It mostly consisted of kids, many decked out in spangled sparkly outfits keeping the hogs moving by tapping them repeatedly with a long stick. Somehow the judge determined a winner, though they all looked sort of the same to me, but as a city kid, I just do not have the sophistication to understand the ins and outs of the judging.


I toured the swine barn, the cow barn, the sheep barn, poultry and horse stables, enjoying the chance to get up close and personal with farm animals that I pretty much only see at the state fair. One of the cool things that I love about the fair is the diversity that is on display unlike pretty much any other place in the state with the possible exception of some of the universities. The fairgrounds is located in an urban, pretty much inner city part of Indianapolis and so urban families always attend in great numbers where they interact with the plethora of rural farm kids and their animals in a way that is truly cool to see.


I toured the exposition hall where a variety of businesses set up booths trying to sell you all manner of junk, then the wonderful department of Natural Resources building where huge aquariums display a wide variety of native fish and other native wild animals. I toured the beer and wine exhibit hall where Hoosier craft beers and local wines can be sampled. 


But the highlight of course is the amazing fair food, corndogs, elephant ears, fresh corn from the Lion’s Club booth, salt water taffy from Sutter’s and more, there is always a wonderful assortment of Hoosier delights to tempt the palate. I love it and eat way too much. And this was only the first of two visits today as I was coming back at night for more.

In between visits, I headed out to the Daredevil Brewery located in Speedway near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where my nephew Chris had recently started working. It is a huge, popular and successful brewery and it was cool to see Chris and see that he is doing pretty well since moving back to Indianapolis from New York. The beer was pretty damn good as well.