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, March 15, 2019

Hunahpu X

March 10, 2019

Michael, Kathy and Brian 

Hunahpu X

One of the great things about the scheduling of the 2019 Indycar opening weekend at St. Petersburg is that it coincides with two other fantastic events that I love attending, but may not travel all the way from Key West if they did not happen to fall on this same weekend. One is the Gasparilla Music Festival in downtown Tampa and the other is the annual Hunahpu’s Day Beer Festival, held this year for the second time at Raymond James Stadium, the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


This is the tenth annual Hunahpu’s Day festival which celebrates the annual release of Cigar City Brewing’s Hunahpu Imperial Stout. One of the premier craft beer events in the United States, the event attracts thousands of rabid beer fans descend on Tampa, Florida from all over the world to collect bottles of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout and celebrate its release with over 150 of the world’s finest breweries while sampling their finest and rarest offerings in unlimited 2 ounce pours. Bottles of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout, a commemorative tasting glass, food, entertainment and camaraderie are all included in the cost of the ticket.


Tickets are a hot item to this premier event and go on-sale months in advance of the actual event and beer geeks from all over the US and many other parts of the world line-up in the field next to where the festival is held in advance of the 11 AM opening and then sprint, literally racing to get in line for some of the rarest and most difficult to find craft beers from breweries from all over the world. The opening sprint in itself is something to see as thousands of mostly large, bearded men run for perhaps the first time since last year’s Hunahpu’s Day for all their worth to line-up again in front of their favorite brewery or to get the specialty beer of the moment.


Among the more than 150 craft breweries represented are many of the very best in the world and they all bring their best offerings to share in what has been listed as one of the top five craft beer events in the world. It is something to see and experience. I think this was my fourth Hunahpu’s Day, but it was the first such experience for Kathy and she was suitably overwhelmed. The size, scope and simply amount of beer is really staggering.



My favorite breweries from my home state of Indiana were represented, including what is my all-time favorite brewery, Three Floyd’s from Muenster, Indiana was on hand serving up their own ultra-rare beer, Dark Lord as well as their popular and tasty Zombie Dust. Sun King Brewery from Indianapolis was also on hand and it is always great to see my Hoosier friends representing. 

Aimee and Brian 

We have a group of friends from Key West who make the annual pilgrimage to attend, they actually rent a house for the week, which happens to be Tampa Bay Beer Week, and attend numerous events at what is quickly becoming one of the craft beer hotspots in the entire nation. The Tampa Bay beer week events at Angry Chair Brewery have in themselves become one of the hottest craft beer tickets in the country in themselves.


This year’s festival was huge and fun and pretty damn hot as well. There were so many amazing beers to sample that I could not possibly single out any, of course there were some pretty terrible beers as well as it seems brewers have just about run out of new ideas of flavors to use to brew beers with. For example there were beers on hand made from the popular 70s powdered drink Tang and one made with Grape-Ade, neither of which I could honestly recommend, though they are always interesting to try.

Numerous delicious food trucks were on hand to provide some food to go along with the plethora of beer options, but it was the beer that was the true draw to this incredible event. It is truly a beer lovers dream event and for those like myself who like beer but are not true experts, it is a really fun way to get exposed to the cutting edge, best craft brew from around the globe.

Aimee and Kathy 

Thursday, March 14, 2019


March 9, 2019



The start of the Indycar season is always one of my favorite times of the year. For many years now I have always attended the opening race of the season as it has traditionally been held in Florida, Previously in either Orlando or Homestead but for the past decade or so, in beautiful downtown St. Petersburg on the street course that winds through the city streets and on to the runways at Albert Whitted Airport. The course goes around the spectacular Salvador Dali museum, which has sadly for the past few years, been closed over race weekend.


It had been a few years since Kathy had accompanied me to see the race in St. Pete, but I was happy to have her along and I think she was especially excited to see old friends who have relocated to the area in the past few years. It seems that we know a lot of former Key West friends who have made the move to the Gulf Coast area and St. Petersburg in particular.

Alex and Lilly 

It is easy to see why as St. Pete is a growing and thriving community that offers many of the perks of city living, yet still feels very accessible and friendly and still enjoys the beautiful weather and beaches that make it a wonderful place to live. It is probably the only other city in Florida where I would even consider residing and it just keeps getting better and better as far as culture and activities each year we visit.

Our first night in town, we spent a wonderful evening with our friends and former Key West residents Alex and Anna, enjoying a wonderful Mexican meal at a restaurant a short stroll away from their lovely home in historic Roser Park just south of downtown. The brick paved streets and lush foliage of the neighborhood is really lovely and it was so great to see our friends now that they have fully settled into the incredible neighborhood.

Robin Miller and Jake Query 

The next day, Kathy and I were on hand for the official first practice and commencement of the Indy Car series. The St. Pete Grand Prix has a full schedule of events lasting the entire day with two Indy Car practices and some practice, qualifying and support races of the other series that were on hand that kept the schedule full.

Colton Herta

Ed Jones

Joseph Newgarden 

Santino Ferrucci

I was of course most interested in the Indy Cars and seeing both my old favorites as well as the bumper crop of rookie drivers and new teams and paint schemes that are always of interest at the first race out. It was also really cool to see Robert Wickens on hand to support his team and friends. Robert suffered a severe spinal cord injury in an accident at the race last fall in Pocono and has been making incredible strides towards rehabilitating since that time. His hope is that he will be able to walk his fiancée down the aisle and dance at his wedding this fall and hopefully to get back into a race car at some point as well. 

Charlie Kimball


The Indy Car rookie class is a strong one with two accomplished Swedes joinging the series, Felix Rosenquist actually leading the speed chart after the first practice, which was quite an accomplishment right out of the box. His countryman Marcus Ericcsson was close behind in third place with fellow rookies Santino Ferrucci, Colton Herta and even Ben Hanley all doing pretty well in their initial outing. In the second practice, veteran drivers Ryan HunterReay and Spencer Pigot claimed the top two speeds and were fastest for the day.


At the conclusion of the practice day, it was our turn to take to the track, in a manner of speaking, as the annual MBA 5K race was held that allowed runners/walkers to walk the full length of the track after starting the race in a nearby park and then running around the entire track, including a portion that led up and down the pit row. I always enjoy participating in this 5K , held only minutes after the final cars are finished on the track.

You can really see the skid marks from the breaking zones and how thick the “marbles” or small pieces of rubber that come off the tires of the various race cars are. It is pretty amazing how thick and rubber coated the track actually is. I never compete in this 5k to get a good time, but simply to enjoy a leisurely walk around the race track to take the place in from a different vantage point.

You never know who you may run into while participating in the 5k and to my surprise coming out of turn two heading downtown, was Indy Car driver Graham Rahal and his fiancée and former champion drag racer, Courtney Force. They were headed downtown to eat dinner and walked out right into the middle of the 5K, they were kind enough to pause for a quick selfie, which was a cool way to remember this 5k. 

Courtney Force, Graham Rahal and me.