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!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Plains, Georgia

May 10, 2019

Carter Farm 

Plains, Georgia

“In the bicentennial summer of our faded glory land, a bright new face appeared upon the scene. Of an honest peanut farmer by the name of Jimmy Carter. His eyes were set on every school boys dream.” – Blue Mountain


I love history and always enjoy visiting historic places and sites. The small hometown of the 39th President of the United States, Plains, Georgia is a place that I have always wanted to visit, but never passed through in spite of traveling past it many times on my many trips driving across Georgia on my way between Indiana and Florida. 


It always interested me how a small town boy could rise to become the leader of the free world. Jimmy Carter was born and raised in the small country town of Plains, growing up on a farm before entering politics after serving in the US Navy. With the exception of his time as Governor of Georgia and President of the United States, Carter and his wife Roslyn have spent their entire lives in Plains and live there to this day. 

Personally I feel that Jimmy Carter was one of the best men to ever serve as President, though his Presidency was beset with problems throughout and he ultimately only served a single term. Whatever one may think about how good a President the man was, there is no question that he is one of the best ex-presidents ever. An ethical, honest, decent and giving person, Carter represents the personification of the American ideal and the American dream.


To this day, both he and his wife are among the greatest humanitarians our nation have ever produced. Plains is a really small town in Sumpter, County with a population of less than 1000 in the most recent census. The National Park Service has acquired many of the historic sites in the town and created the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site and I wanted to check out the various places that were significant in Carter’s life.


I started at the former Plains, High School which has been restored and converted into a museum that celebrates Carter’s life and times. Much of the school is virtually unchanged including complete classrooms and the original auditorium which shows a film highlighting Carter and his life. One of the cool thing about a historic site in which the history is so recent, is that many of the volunteers were part of the history and many remain good friends with the Carters and they offer rare personal insights into the man and his story.

In fact everywhere I went in town, the small shops on Main Street, the church where Jimmy Carter still teaches Sunday School every Sunday, to the family farm where Carter grew up and is also maintained by the National Park Service, there were nice people who were friends of the family. 

I checked out the shops on Main Street, which were full of Carter memorabilia and cool Plains, Georgia gear. I also visited the former train station in the middle of downtown that served as Carter campaign headquarters during his 1976 Presidential Campaign. The highlight was I think, the Carter family farm, where Carter was raised until adulthood, The home and farm are maintained just as it was during his youth and is a beautiful, quiet place.


I drove by Carter’s current home, which is beautiful tree-lined compound that is not open to the public obviously, but is readily visible from the road. There are also minor Carter era landmarks to see such as Jimmy’s brother Billy’s Service Station and the home where Roslyn Carter grew up.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Sky Rearranges

May 8, 2019


Russell Cave 

The Sky Rearranges

This has been a pretty busy week for us as there always seems to be a lot happening in Key West and I have been preparing for my annual journey to Indianapolis to attend the Indy 500. This year will mark my 48th consecutive year attending the race and for the first time in ages, I opted to drive up to Indiana – it what is mostly a cost saving choice, though it is also nice to be able to take some time and stop along the way to check out stuff. Since this is Kathy’s year off of attending, she will be staying back in Key West, attending the Key West Songwriter’s Festival and basically enjoying some peace and quiet around the house.

Prior to departing there were a few more Key West events to attend, including the opening of this month’s exhibition at the Studios of Key West featuring the art of our friends Michel Delgado and Alaina Plowdrey among others. I have known Michel almost since I moved to Key West almost 30 years ago and it has been an amazing journey watching him develop from selling t-shirts and artwork on Mallory Square to becoming a world class artist who exhibits his work around the world.


One of the nicest, most humble and talented artists around, Michel has earned every bit of his success and it is fantastic to see his amazing work back at the Studios. Speaking of amazing work, our friend Alaina produced her own body of fantastic work all focused on the subject of the US Navy base where she happens to work.


Completely different, exciting and in a totally unique direction from her past work, this show focuses on highlighting the people and work that goes on at the Navy base at Boca Chica. It is a remarkable vision of something that is mostly unfamiliar for the typical art loving cultural types that frequent the Studios and creates a cool crossover between seemingly divergent aspects of our community.

Another Key West evening was spent at the Key West Theater attending the new interview show, “Off the Record with Britt Myers.” This show has the local media personality interviewing interesting and well-known locals and this month included our friend the outrageous QMitch along with the owner of Rams Head, Bill Muehilhauser and retired Broadway legend Terry White.


Terry and Britt


Next for me was the long solo drive to Indianapolis, something that I had not done in years and was sort of looking forward to, mostly because I wanted to make a few stops along the route and visit a few places that I had never been and revisit a few favorites.


Among my stops was an evening stop in Atlanta where I visited the famous Fox Brothers BBQ restaurant for dinner. I have been on a BBQ kick since visiting Texas earlier this year and Fox Brothers is a highly rated and that is well deserved as the food was spectacular. While in Atlanta, I also visited a couple of downtown breweries to sample their local brews. It made for a fun evening in Atlanta.

I also stopped at Russell Cave National Monument, which is located in Northeast Alabama. It was a random stop when I saw the sign while driving through the three state area of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. I had never been and it seemed like an interesting place. It is basically a beautiful hilly wooded area with a large historic cave as the central feature.


Russell Cave has an exceptionally large main entrance, which was used for thousands of years as a shelter by cultures of prehistoric Indians, from approximately 6500 BCE, the period of earliest-known human settlement in the southeastern United States, to 1650 CE and the period of European colonization. It is believed to have primarily served as a seasonal winter shelter. The people relied on the surrounding forest to gather produce and hunt for game and fish, stone and game for tools, and wood fuel for fires.