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, October 02, 2018

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers” -Anne of Green Gables

October 1, 2018

Louie Anderson

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”
-Anne of Green Gables

It seems once again that summer has flown past and we are already at the month of October, this is the month when things really kick in to high gear in Key West as we start the rollercoaster ride that really gets underway with Fantasy Fest and rolls along at full speed for us, until at least mid-January and the end of the Key West Literary Seminar. It is pretty much a non-stop ride from here on out and soon we will long for those quiet, lazy summer days.


The Fantasy Fest season is already well underway as the competition for the King and Queen of Fantasy Fest has been underway for more than a month. The largest fundraiser of the year for AH (Affordable Healthcare, formerly AIDS Help), the competition will crown a new king and queen based on who raises the most money through a series of activities and events that fill the calendar leading up to the start of Fantasy Fest itself in late October.


One of the events is the annual Red Shirt Run, a 5K race organized by my friend Beth and the fine folks at Theme Runs. As the name implies, the race features red-clad runners who run raising money for the various king and queen candidates and for me has always sort of heralded the arrival of Fantasy Fest season.

Diamond Dave

I did not participate directly, but instead walked Jack down to Higgs Beach and the Key West AIDS memorial that marked the start and finish line of the race to watch and take a few photos. It wasn’t a huge turnout, but it was an enthusiastic group of runners and walkers who raced under perfect overcast conditions. September was the second month of the summer (along with July) that broke the record for the hottest month ever recorded in Key West. The average temperature was 85.6 for the entire month with some 15 straight days that the high temperature topped 90. Thankfully the race was contested on the slightly cooler end of the spectrum which made it tolerable for the runners.

Marilyn and Jim

I was back at Higgs Beach later in the same afternoon for the release of a rehabilitated sea turtle by the Turtle Hospital and the Key West Sea Turtle Club. Buddy – a 170 pound adult female loggerhead sea turtle was rescued off the lower keys late July. When he was found by my friend Jason and his daughter floating with a condition known as bubble butt, where trapped air does not allow the turtle to submerge correctly or for very long at all.

Ritchie and Buddy

Buddy was treated at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon for a severe intestinal impaction and lung infection.  Buddy’s treatment included IV nutrition, lactulose, fluids, broad spectrum antibiotics, vitamins and a healthy diet of fish and squid. After his treatment and a period of rehabilitation, Buddy was deemed fit enough to be returned to the sea to live out a normal turtle life.

I have known Ritchie Moretti, the founder of the Turtle Hospital since my early days in Key West almost 30 years ago. We worked together on a few projects when I was working for Reef Relief. He does an amazing job at the Turtle Hospital which is the former Hidden Harbor Hotel in Marathon that Ritchie transformed into a full time turtle rescue facility after Hurricane Wilma.

The Turtle Hospital has rescued, rehabilitated and released over 1,500 sea turtles to date and is one of the leading facilities of its kind in the United States. The staff and crew of the turtle hospital has grown immensely over the years and they have achieved remarkable success in their mission.

I have attended a number of turtle releases over the years, both aboard their boats and the land based releases like the one here in Key West. A huge throng of people was on hand to witness this release including hundreds of kids. Ritchie always pauses and allows the children (and adults) a quick opportunity to come up and get a close look at the turtle before the release and it really makes an impact on teaching the kids the value of saving these beautiful creatures.

I concluded the week by attending the stand-up comedy performance by the iconic comedian Louie Anderson at the Key West Theater. It was sort of a last minute decision to go, with Kathy still out of town, I was not sure I really wanted to go out, but I am sure glad that I did. It was hysterical and sweet at the same time. What a funny, warm, wonderful gentle soul Mr. Anderson is. He is touring in celebration of forty years of being a stand-up, in addition to the many films, TV specials and network shows he has been on, everything from Eddie Murphy’s “Coming to America” to the current TV hit show, “Baskets”.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Sebastian Inlet

September 29, 2018

Sebastian Inlet

The second day of our drive back to Key West found my dog Jack and I traversing the East coast of Florida, opting to get off of I-95 and take US 1 and A1A instead to enjoy the beautiful beachside drives and parks along the route. We made a few stops most notably at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, Melbourne Beach, and at Sebastian Inlet State Park.


The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge stretches across 20.5 miles between Melbourne Beach and Wabasso Beach along Florida's east coast in Brevard and Indian River Counties. The refuge was established in 1991 and was named after the late Dr. Archie Carr, Jr., in honor of his extraordinary contribution to sea turtle conservation. The Refuge is a direct result of Dr. Carr bringing attention to the world's declining turtle populations due to over-exploitation and loss of safe habitat.

The incredibly beautiful stretch of beach was designated to protect habitat for what is the most significant area for loggerhead sea turtle nesting in the world, and the most significant area for green turtle nesting in North America. This represents 20-35% of all loggerhead and green sea turtle nests in the US. It also serves as a minor nesting area for the leatherback sea turtle, which is one of the world's largest and rarest sea turtles. The long stretches of quiet, undisturbed sandy beaches, with little or no artificial light, are essential to the reproductive success and survival of the 15,000 to 30,000 sea turtles nests that can be found there annually.

Just down the beach from the Archie Carr refuge is another of my favorite spots in Florida, the wonderful Sebastian Inlet State Park.  The 755 acre park is located along both sides of Sebastian Inlet where the Indian River Intrercoastal Waterway opens to the Atlantic Ocean. It is at once the preeminent surfing spot in Florida as well as the best fishing that is found along Florida’s East coast. A huge fishing pier juts out in to the Atlantic at the point of the inlet and it is constantly packed with fishermen.

While we were there, we got to watch some guys taking to the waves and surfing and see the many fishermen along the pier catching snook, redfish, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel. We also saw a couple of manatees frolicking in the surf and saw a couple of the large land tortoises that make their home in the park. I kept Jack firmly leashed so not to disturb the tortoises who live in huge burrows that dot the landscape of the parks interior. There were tons of birds around as well, ospreys, seagulls and pelicans as well as many smaller shore birds.

I just love that area of Florida, I spent a summer in the area while I was in High school taking classes at the Florida Institute of Technology and I still have great memories of my time there. The natural areas located in and around Melbourne are some of the most beautiful in the state and the diversity of wildlife is really something special. It is so great that areas like the refuge and state park have been able to protect these places from being developed and managed to maintain small pieces of natural Florida.

From our stops there, back to Key West was a smooth and easy trip with very little traffic and no issues at all in getting back to Key West in time to attend one of the coolest events of the year, the 72 Hour Film Challenge at the Tropic Cinema. The brainchild of my friends Michael Marrero and Juliet Grey, this year marked the fifth installment of the annual event.

Juliet and Mike

It calls for amateur Key West filmmakers to create short films (up to about 10 minutes) in a 72 hour time frame which are then screened at the Tropic. About eighteen entries were featured this year and the screening is a truly fun event. The films ranged from incredible, with about 4 or 5 truly excellent entries to almost unwatchable, but all should been given credit for putting themselves out there.

The good certainly overwhelmed those that were not so great and they all were fun to watch seeing the creative talent of the island and having so many friends involved, either on screen as actors, as directors, filmmakers or producers it was another great evening of entertainment and a great way to be welcomed home after being away.

Film by Mark Hedden for 72 hour film challenge