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 31, 2018

Hey, Nice Marmot!

August 31, 2018

Hey, Nice Marmot!

2018 marks twenty years since the release of the Coen brother’s cult classic film, “The Big Lebowski” and to celebrate the distinction, the Tropic Cinema hosted a special screening of the film. Attendees were invited to dress up as their favorite characters and appropriately there was a bar set up that served white Russians the preferred drink of the central character, The Dude, played by Jeff Bridges.

There was a pretty full house and as you might expect in Key West, there were a number of people dressed in character, so the theater was littered with plenty of Dudes, Walters, Donnys, Maudes and even a few Nihlists. The film is tough to describe, something of a crime/comedy drama that is full of unique and interesting characters, a wacky storyline and some really great performances particularly by Bridges as the Dude, John Goodman as Walter and Steve Buscemi as Donny.

While the film initially faltered at the box office, over the years it has gained increasing fame and has become a cult classic, with fans memorizing the unique dialogue, dressing up as the characters at midnight showings and basically keeping the spirit of the film alive. It is not uncommon to see people dressed as the Dude or Walter during Fantasy Fest and costumes can even be purchased on-line.

It was a really fun night and once again the fun side of the creative Key West community was on full display, It was not the only highlight of the week though as this weekend saw us invited out boating by our friends the Ford family and we got to head out and explore the beautiful natural environment that surrounds our island home.


Jade and Lisa

We met Greta, Tom and Effie Ford along with Effie’s boyfriend Cale and her cousin Lisa and her friend Jade who were visiting from Tampa at Hurricane Hole marina to board their boat and head out. They took us to some of their favorite local spots, the first being the wreckage of a sunken shrimp boat, followed by one of their favorite lobstering spots and then to the incredible Boca Grande beach for a full day of fun and excitement.


The first stop was really cool because it was packed with a dozen or more nurse sharks, a few of which were pretty decent size. Even though these creatures are fairly harmless, it is still pretty intimidating to have them circling around you as you snorkel. I loved it though and even though the visibility was not perfect, there was still a lot of cool marine life to check out.



At the lobstering stop, the local knowledge of the Ford family came into play as our group caught close to thirty legal size lobsters in about an hour on the site, which happened to be packed full of the tasty critters. Kathy and I did not even try to catch any, preferring instead to just snorkel around and check out the coral heads and wildlife in the area instead. Boca Grande was perfect as always the beautiful beach wasn’t even very crowded at all, which is surprising for a late summer weekend.

Cale, Effie and Kathy 

Thanks so much to our good friends for including us in their adventures, we always have such a great time hanging out with them, some of the nicest people in our community, which is saying something on an island that is chock full of amazing people.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Dog Days

August 20, 2018

Kathy and Meredith

Dog Days

The month of August is always a hot and pretty slow moving time in the Florida Keys. There are a few activities that are ongoing and some special events that try to lure tourists, mostly in state visitors heading down for a quick weekend, but mostly the month is a pretty slow paced time. In the past, many restaurants and stores would close down during the slow months of August and September, but now only a few places still honor that tradition.


This month also marked my 54th birthday and while I am not usually all that big on marking such occasions, this year is interesting because I have officially past the mark where I have lived more than half of my life in Key West. That is pretty cool to me and I must say I have mostly loved every moment that I have spent here. I have met some of the most wonderful, creative, interesting, wacky and loveable people ever and I have been truly blessed to call this island community my home for 27 years.



August does have a few events that keep things interesting. One of the largest is the annual Lobsterfest which marks the opening of the commercial lobster season with a large street fair along Duval Street, which is closed down and lined with vendors and food booths by local bars and restaurants serving up lobster themed dishes. The lobster season opens every year with a two day mini-season in late July then for commercial fisherman in early August.

Florida spiny lobster is absolutely delicious and I love going down and eating lobster in various forms during lobsterfest. Lobster rolls, lobster tails, lobster mac-n-cheese, they are all available and always delicious. The event is always brutally hot and this year was no different. 



This month also sees the beginning of school once again and that means the start of High School football season, this year there was a national showcase game held at Tommy Roberts stadium between a team from Huntington Beach, California and South Dade High School in Miami. The Conchs also started their season with a 17-14 come from behind victory over Gulliver Prep.


This month also saw the opening of a brand new bar owned by our friends Chris and Marky called General Horseplay. Located in the former location of Red’s Place, the bar has been completely gutted and rebuilt and looks beautiful. I made my first visit to the bar for Marky’s Zombie for Mayor event that is anticipation of the Zombie Bike Ride which is going to be held in October.


Finally the month of August saw the completion of another successful season at work as our research vessel the R/V Hercules returned to Malta after a very successful season doing archeological work in Albania and Sicily. Possibly our most successful year ever as we found a number of bronze rams and other items from the battle of the Egadi Islands which closed out the first Punic War in 241BC.  I am including a few photos from the boat of our crew in action.