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, February 22, 2019

Take A Chance On Me

February 12, 2019


Matt, Kerry, T, Andy, Shanda and Kathy


Los Lobos

Take A Chance On Me

Tribute bands have never been one of my favorite things to see. I get that they can be fun, sometimes talented and generally seek to honor the band that they are imitating, but in many cases I have seen the original band in person and no tribute band can ever do them justice. Even if that is not the case, for some reason I just shy away from seeing many of them, which is somewhat ironic because I always love seeing bands play cover versions. Oh well- This week, I made an exception- mostly because Kathy has been on an Abba fixation since the “Mama Mia” movies came out and wanted to check out Arrrival, the Swedish Abba tribute band that was playing this week at the Key West Theater.

Andy, Jamie and Kathy 

I was a little hesitant going in, but I have to admit that Arrival put on a damn good show. I never had the opportunity to see Abba live, so I did not have much to compare it to, but this band sounded great and did remarkable covers of all of Abba’s greatest hits and even a few of their more obscure work. They took their role very seriously and there is a reason that they are the best Abba cover band in history, having actually now played together longer than the actual band Abba ever did.

The show was also just a ton of fun. Often times people will ask me if a show was good and sometimes my reply is that the show was way more fun than it was good. This means that even though the band itself was not so great or maybe in their prime (such as when we recently saw Air Supply), that the show itself was so fun that it overcame any musical deficiencies.

The crowd was so in to this one as everyone was dancing and singing along to the well-known lyrics of the Abba classics that it would not have really mattered if the band was actually any good or not, though these guys were pretty talented in their own right, so the show was almost as good as it was fun. It did not hurt that much of the crowd were decked out in their 1970s style bright and shiny fashion. It really was a great time.

Andy and Jamie 

Carol and Kathy

The other musical event we attended was a concert by Folk artist Susan Werner at the Studios of Key West. This was about the exact opposite of the Abba show in a lot of ways. Susan is a singer/songwriter who performed an intimate show with just her and either her guitar or piano in the small performance space at the Studios. No extravagant lighting, costume changes or dancing- just quiet yet beautiful and sometimes funny songs from the heart. Perhaps not the crazy fun of the Abba show, but the quality of the music was off the chart and Werner delivered a powerhouse set of beautiful songs.


Erin and Susan Werner 

Afterwards, we had the good fortune to attend a private party in honor of Ms. Werner where we were lavished with a delicious buffet of appetizers (including fresh Wisconsin cheese curds) and drinks at a fabulous gathering. It was a fun time hanging with old friends and music lovers hosted by Jay and Caroline. 

Caroline, Jay and Susan

The third musical extravaganza of the week found us back at the Key West Theater with our friend Andy to take in the earlier of two shows the same evening by Los Lobos. The Tex-Mex outfit from East LA was celebrating 45 years together. Most people no doubt remember them for their 1987 cover of “La Bamba” from the movie about Ritchie Valens of the same name, but they have been playing and touring together since 1973.


Grant and Jenn

Their show was really good, even though the lead singer was about 25 minutes late joining the band for some reason, still the band displayed an ease and tightness that can only come with so many years under their belt. The sold-out crowd was really in to this one as well and the show was yet another solid presentation by Rams Head and the Key West Theater.


This week is also special because some of my oldest and dearest friends returned to the island. My long-time friend, former roommate and one of my all-time favorite people on earth, Shanda is in town. I have known her since she first stepped on the island back in 1992 and our paths have crisscrossed ever since. At the same time yet another of my most favorite and best friends was also here with her boyfriend as Kerry and Matt were here from Colorado. Sadly the reason for this wonderful reunion was the passing of a mutual friend, but I can’t help but to feel happy and energized whenever either of these two amazing people are around and having them both here at the same time is fantastic.

Kerry and T

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Polar Bear Plunge

February 10, 2019


Polar Bear Plunge

You have probably seen the videos, crazy people from frigid Northern climes jumping into frozen lakes or rivers in the middle of winter. These Polar Bear plunges are popular and have always been a source of amusement for me. Of course, not to be left out, Key West has its own version of a Polar Bear plunge held in February each year at Higg’s Beach near Salute restaurant.


The irony is of course is that it is never frigidly cold, or even usually slightly chilly here, though sometimes the water temperature in February drops below 70, which generally keeps locals on shore. This year that was not even the case as it was a sunny and warm day for the plunge as a few hundred hearty souls gathered to brave the waters of the Atlantic to support a charitable cause. 


The entry fee to participate entitled each person to receive a t-shirt and a small Conch Republic flag. The money raised was all designated to go to the non-profit Samuels House which provides services to homeless women and children, so as is usually the case in Key West, the fun was had to the benefit of a deserving cause. 



The water was pretty nice as at the crack of noon, word was officially given and the hundreds on hand headed out into the water to make the plunge. I was both a participant as well a documentarian as I took my waterproof point and shoot camera out with me. It was a great and very fun early afternoon and the water felt so great that I really could have stayed at the beach all day.

The other highlight of this week was a wonderful sunset sail where we joined our friend Bill Rowan and a great crowd of revelers to celebrate his milestone 75th birthday. We have been friends with Bill and his family for many years, almost since arriving in Key West back in 1991. We count them among the truly interesting, creative, fun and wonderful characters we have come to know and love on this island community.

Aviva and Bill

Bill has always opened his heart and home to the wide range of friends and family and we have spent many a happy Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday at Rowan Manor, because to know the Rowans is like being a family member and when so many Key Westers find themselves away from their own family during the holidays, the Rowans have always offered a family setting to their friends.

Josh and Bill

Kathy and Gae

This sunset sail was along those lines as well, as Bill invited the regular cast of colorful Key West characters to share in his birthday celebration aboard the beautiful “Argo Navis” a 75 ft. luxury catamaran that was able to easily accommodate the crowd of well-wishers, friends and family that assembled to share and celebrate Bill.


The sunset sail was wonderful, mostly for the wonderful people and many friends who were on hand. Of course the vessel is one of the nicest in Key West and the ride was comfortable, the food and drinks flowed freely and the weather cooperated nicely as it was somewhat overcast, but otherwise lovely and smooth. 

Gae and Steve