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, December 14, 2018

Just Breathe

December 4, 2018


Just Breathe

Personally, I have never been much on attending memorials, funerals or life celebrations. They just fill me with sadness and loss and I have a very tough time keeping it together. However if there is any bright spot of such gatherings it is that you get to share your grief with so many family, friends and loved ones. Weddings and funerals are sometimes the only times that I get to see some people, something that in itself is somewhat sad, but also provides a reminder of just how important that so many people are in our lives.



My brother-in-law’s calling and funeral service was just such an occasion. It was the first time that I had seen my four nephews together in ages and I was able to meet two of their girlfriends for the first time as well. Also my mother was on hand and I got to spend some real quality time with her. Family and friends on Jerome’s side of the family were present in abundance as well and it was nice to be able to see them and meet even more family members and friends. 

Michael and Kevin 

Michael, Ted and Rizzo at Brugge

Jerome’s brother Bill and his wife Jane hosted a wonderful gathering after the service at their home in Zionsville and it was just a wonderful gathering under some very unfortunate circumstances. It was especially gratifying that some of my friends made an effort to attend the calling, it was something that I had not expected and was so pleased, it meant a lot to myself and my sister Michele.

at Twenty Tap

Of course while in Indianapolis, I also made a point to stop and see friends at some of my favorite establishments including Brugge Brasserie and Twenty Tap, where I can almost always find friends on hand. It was a tough time for many of my friends due to the passing of our mutual friend Packy, but sometimes hanging out with people and just reflecting on the nature of life can be so comforting. I can’t say how much I love and appreciate the people in my life.

The night before departing Indianapolis and heading home to Key West, I took the opportunity to return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for "Lights at The Brickyard”, the annual festival of holiday lights at the famed oval. This is the third year that the Speedway has transformed a two mile path that winds through the infield and then onto the main straightaway into a holiday lights display.


It is another Speedway activity that I had never seen or participated in and that I really wanted to do while I was in town during the holiday season.  It is a driving only activity that winds through literally dozens of holiday lights displays featuring over three million lights. There was a light snow and virtually no one else driving the course while I was there, allowing me to drive super slowly and take in the lights without being rushed.


The opportunity to drive onto the track in the short chute between turns three and four and then turn down the main straight passed the pagoda and over the famed yard of bricks that marks the start/finish line for the Indianapolis 500, is something that I always cherish and it was so cool to drive it at night with the lights and no one at all around. 


While I was in Indiana, Kathy was back in Key West preparing for a pre-planned trip to Colorado and New Mexico and attending a concert by the legendary band the Kingston Trio at the Key West Theater. She had an amazing time and enjoyed the show immensely and even got to meet and hang out with the band after the show. Here is a short video from the show.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

He Is Not Dead

December 3, 2018

He Is Not Dead

“I cannot say, and I will not say
That he is dead. He is just away.
With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand,
He has wandered into an unknown land
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be, since he lingers there.
And you - oh you, who the wildest yearn
For an old-time step, and the glad return,
Think of him faring on, as dear
In the love of There as the love of Here.
Think of him still as the same. I say,
He is not dead - he is just away.”

-James Whitcomb Riley

Michele, Will, Patrick, Christopher, Jerome (LJ) and Jerome


So the reason that brought me back home to Indianapolis this trip was a sad one, the passing of my brother-in-law, H. Jerome Noel, Jr.  Though not a complete surprise as Jerome had battled some health issues for some time, it is always still something of a shock when the inevitable finally does occur. I came to Indianapolis to show my love and support for my sister Michele and nephews, Jerome, Patrick, Christopher and William and to all of Jerome’s extended family and friends at this sad time for my family.

Upon arriving in Indianapolis, I learned even more tragic news as one of my childhood friends had very unexpectedly passed away. Patrick “Packy” Hoyt and I had been friends when I was a teenager and had once worked together at Hamaker Pharmacy. His sudden passing, leaving behind two young children was a punch in the gut to myself and so many of our friends who loved Packy. I had not seen him all that often in recent years, but he made a lifelong impact on me as one of the most wonderful and engaging people I have had the good fortune to know. My deepest sympathy to all of his friends and family. I am including the obituaries for both Jerome and Packy here. I will miss you both.

Jerome Noël, Jr., of Carmel, Indiana passed away on Nov. 20, 2018. He was born on January 20, 1950 in Indianapolis to H. Jerome Sr. and Louise Noël. He graduated from La Lumiere School in LaPorte, Indiana. He graduated in 1973 from Cornell University with a BS, and then an MBA in 1978. Jerome worked for Indiana Transit Service Inc, where he was the Corporate Secretary from 1978 to 1981. Also, in 1978, Jerome and his brother, Bill, founded Physician’s Practice Management. They ran PPM from 1978 until 1995, when they sold it to another company. He owned and ran Chaudiere Lodge, in Ontario Canada, near the Upper French River, from 1998 to 2009. Jerome also served on the Board of Director’s of PPM, the board of American Spoon Foods, the board of La Lumiere, where he was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1992 to 1999.

Jerome is survived by his wife of 33 years, Michele; his children, H. Jerome Noël III, Patrick Noël, Christopher Noël, and William Noël; siblings, Louise (Robert) Malachowski, Nancy (George Mast) Noël, Irma (Jim Rand) Noël, William H. (Jane) Noël, and Carol (David Lohman) Noël; 2 nieces and 15 nephews; and many other family members and friends.

Patrick Stewart Hoyt "Packy", beloved father, son, husband, brother, uncle, friend, neighbor, and sales rep, achieved his number one goal on November 23, 2018 – he arrived in heaven and was welcomed into the loving arms of his Holy Father.

Born on May 5, 1969 to Judy and Dan Hoyt, Packy became the fourth child of nine, giving him four brothers and four sisters. He came into the world a fighter, surviving Hyaline Membrane Disease, and this trait of a fighter stayed with him until his death. Packy didn’t just exist, he was an active, passionate, and determined man who loved life to the fullest.

As an active member of Boy Scout Troop 174, Packy showed his desire to be above average: he sold more wreaths than the other boys –and earned his Eagle Scout and Fire Crafter in record time. It was in Scouts that Packy fell in love with the outdoors and, more specifically, with Colorado. After a skiing trip to Winter Park when he was 10, Packy declared he would one day live in the mountains.

Always the goal setter, Packy moved to Colorado after graduating college, first living in a tent and selling sunglasses at a shop in Winter Park and later building his own business, Hoyt Co., and living in his dream home in Golden, Colorado. Over the years, he achieved countless goals such riding his bike solo coast to coast and making it to the basecamp of Mount Everest.

Among Packy’s priorities was building solid relationships. He realized this throughout his schooling, his years at Camp Eberhart where Packy was a favorite counselor of countless campers, and on his travels around the world where he befriended all he met. The personal friendships he created and nurtured through his business were unprecedented. Those with whom he worked, accounts, vendors, and colleagues, were like family to him. With his deep integrity, he never sold a product he didn’t believe in wholeheartedly. Patrick was a devoted friend to all, and his contagious smile stayed with those he met long after he left. He will leave a deep void in his much-loved Mountain Ridge neighborhood.

But, above all else, at the center of Patrick’s life was his family. His two children, McCormick and Mary-Therese, provided him with his most cherished and favorite role, that of a father. Patrick gave his greatest self, his deepest love to his 2 beloved children. Jane, Patrick, and the kids lived faithful and active lives, spending time hiking, skiing, traveling, and, always, praying. Packy kept the cleanest house known to any of us, and he joked about creating his own reality TV show called “Pat’s Clean House.”

To sum up Packy’s life is like trying to grab all of the sand from a beach. He was a faithful son to his earthly parents but also to our God in heaven. He was generous to a fault and his love was enduring. We recognize that the enlarged heart that took his life from us also further symbolized the person Packy was – he LOVED. It is with sadness that we bury our treasured Packy, but it is also with great peace that we know we have an angel in heaven. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to the Hoyt family for the continuous education purpose of Patrick's children. Please make your check payable to Jane Hoyt and put Hoyt Children Fund in memo. Donations can be left at the church services or mailed to Ellis Family Services, Attn: Hoyt Family, P.O. 270334, Littleton, CO 80127.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Hoosier Thunder

December 1, 2018

Hoosier Thunder

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of my favorite places in the world, I have been visiting the place annually since my first visit with my father and grandfather when I was all of three years old in 1968. I have attended forty-seven straight Indy 500 races and come May of 2019, I should be back in the stands again to take in my forty-eighth race. In addition to the Indy Car races, I have attended numerous NASCAR Brickyard 400 races, a few of the Formula One races, three MotoGP motorcycle races as well as any number of other events at the facility from the annual Mutt Strut pet event to receptions, parties, the opening ceremonies of the PanAm games and even a funeral service for my friend Matt Elliott.

I seem to be drawn to the place whenever I am in town for any reason and this visit was no exception. One of the days I was visiting, it started to snow pretty heavily and in addition to being excited to just see snow, I wanted to head out to the Speedway to see it in the snow, something that I have rarely done. There is something quiet and magical about seeing the huge facility covered by a dusting of snow.

While there was not much of a measureable accumulation, it was enough to cover the track, stands and everything with a nice layer of white that I wanted to see. I started out by visiting the museum, and even though I have visited literally hundreds of times before, there is almost always a new rotating exhibit on display and this visit featured a new exhibit since I was last there in May, Hoosier Thunder: Indiana’s Short Track Heritage.

Hoosier Thunder tells the story of the many drivers and families who have made Indiana short-track racing a way of life: surnames such as Carter, Darland, Elliott, Kenyon, and Kinser among others. It also honors the drivers, such as three- and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon, respectively, who made a name for themselves on Indiana bullrings on their journey to superstardom.

The exhibit is the largest in the IMS Museum’s 60-year history, with 41 Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown series cars along with many trophies, drivers’ suits, helmets, and artifacts. A floor-to-ceiling wall map lists the name and location of every known oval short track, used for motorized competition, that has existed in the state of Indiana.

Nine decades of USAC (United States Auto Club) race car development is on display, from a 1937 Dreyer Special midget, to the car that carried a young Jeff Gordon to his first USAC midget victory, to Kody Swanson’s 2018 Silver Crown Series championship-winning car. It was a pretty cool exhibit about a form of racing that has played an important role in the development of the Indianapolis 500 over the years and one that I am largely unfamiliar with.

Of course I also took the opportunity to do something that I rarely do and that is take the guided tour bus around the famed oval. I was the only one to take the tour and had the bus to myself with the driver and a tour guide. It was the first bus since the snow had started and the track was covered with a layer of snow, especially the turns and back stretch, the front stretch was largely in the sun and not quite so white. Still it was pretty magical to tour the track mostly covered in fresh snow while the heavy snow continued to fall.

The driver and guide were also huge race fans and they ended up turning off the recorded tour and we simply talked among ourselves as long-time race fans. It was a pretty cool and amazing experience having basically the track to ourselves and all the time we wanted to circle the track.

Before the snow began and I headed out to the Speedway, I took in the large murals that have appeared in recent years in downtown Indianapolis featuring people who are either important
Hoosiers or have been important in Indianapolis history. There are three so far including writers Kurt Vonnegut and Mari Evans and the newest, former Indiana Pacers star, Reggie Miller. The murals are part of the continued growth and development of downtown Indianapolis as a cultural and entertainment center. The city is getting better and better each time I return as far as that goes.