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, August 23, 2019

Double Nickels

August 15, 2019

Dakota, Sloane, Kerry and Kathy

Carter and Erik


Double Nickels

I have never been one to make a big deal about my birthdays, the years roll by and I try to just take them all in and enjoy life as much as possible. It is not that I do not have an appreciation for the milestones as they pass, but getting older has never been that big a deal to me, I really try to enjoy every day and every age as I make the journey through life. What I do have a great appreciation for are my friends and family and the people who I love and share my journey with.

So I am thrilled to report that the celebration of my fifty-fifth birthday was spent with some of the most special people that I know and it was a day that I won’t soon forget, not so much as for what I did, but for who was there to share the experience. It started on the eve of my birthday when Kathy, Dakota, Sloane and I made the drive from Colorado Springs to Estes Park, where we were to spend the next five days.

Two of my four nephews happen to be living in Boulder, which we just happened to be passing through on our way and I had the rare and joyous occasion to see them both at the same time. We met for a late lunch and a few beers at the Rayback Collective in Boulder.  The Rayback Collective is an awesome food truck park, beer hall and live music venue. A rotating group of food trucks park and serve up an ever changing variety of food in a large ouside courtyard while inside a nice open bar serves libations to a crowd that seemed to be a lot of students and young professionals working on their computers.

Will and Pat

If hanging out with two nephews wasn’t a cool enough start to my birthday celebration, a real treat was awaiting us upon our arrival in Estes Park. Since we were traveling with Dakota and her baby, we opted to rent a cabin only a block up the street from the main downtown intersection on Spruce Street. It was a cute cozy 3B/1B cabin that was surrounded by a large population of adorable bunnies and chipmunks.


Estes Park is a cool little mountain town that is the gateway to the incredible Rocky Mountain National Park. We love it, but not so much for the obvious reasons, but because one of my best friends ever happens to call the place home. Our friend Kerry and I go back close to 30 years, once upon a time we worked together at the old Waterfront Market in Key West, now she owns a restaurant of her own, the amazing Rock Inn Mountain Tavern and we try to visit her just about every year.

Now we know a whole cadre of friends who live in the area and coming back each year is like coming home in many ways. This year Kerry hosted an amazing birthday party for me at her house and invited many of our Estes Park family. Our friend Andy from Key West was also on hand as he is spending part of his summer in Estes and he cooked us all an amazing lasagna dinner. Kerry even hired two of our musician friends to play that evening at the Rock, so we were able to go watch our friends Carter Sampson and Erik Oftedahl to cap off the wonderful evening.

Andy and Dude

Ella and Kerry

Carter and Erik play every year at the Mile 0 Music Festival in Key West and are often found in Colorado this time of year because of the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest in nearby Lyons, which is another reason we are here this time of year. Having so many of the people that I love the most in the world in one place made for one of the best birthdays ever.

There has always been something special to me about the cross pollination of having friends from different aspects of my life meet and mingle, so it was especially enjoyable to have Kerry and Andy meet and hang out with Dakota and Sloane. A plethora of blessings and it just made my heart sing. Everyone in Estes is just so amazing and the community that Kerry has surrounded herself with there is as special, unique and wonderful as our Key West family.

Cedar and Willow

Speaking of family and small worlds, Dakota’s husband Andy’s Uncle Greg happens to own a house in Estes Park as well and was in town at the same time as we were, so we were able to go out and see him and his incredible new house that overlooks the Mummies mountain range, just outside of Estes. It was a nice afternoon relaxing and enjoying the amazing vistas from his fantastic property.

Dakota, Sloane and Greg

We even found time to walk down to the weekly Farmer’s Market in downtown with Kerry. It was a great market with all sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses and vendors galore. Both Kathy and Kerry picked up a beautiful Hibiscus plant for our respective homes and we enjoyed yet another beautiful Colorado morning.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Garden of the Gods

August 12, 2019

James and Kathy

Garden of the Gods

The beautiful Colorado Springs park, The Garden of the Gods, is located just a few short steps from our house in Colorado, which is one of the best things about having a place there. It is an incredible area of huge natural red rock formations that seem to jut up out of the ground creating majestic formations that are now the most popular tourist destination in the entire Colorado Springs area. The park draws thousands of nature lovers, hikers, rock climbers and more to see the incredible formations.

Though the most popular areas are almost always packed with tourists and visitors, the trails leading away from our property are almost always quiet except for the occasional horseback tours that emanate from the Academy Riding Stables just around the corner from our house. The horse tours pass along in front of our house multiple times a day, which never ceases to interest me.

Cyndi and Roger

The area now known as Garden of the Gods was first called Red Rock Corral by the Europeans. Then, in August 1859, two surveyors who helped to set up Colorado City explored the site. One of the surveyors, M. S. Beach, suggested that it would be a "capital place for a beer garden". His companion, the young Rufus Cable, awestruck by the impressive rock formations, exclaimed, "Beer Garden! Why, it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods."

It is pretty cool to be able to take a walk or hike every morning in one of the most beautiful areas of the entire country and Kathy and I try to take advantage of it as much as we can since it is just so easy. The Garden of the Gods Park is a rich ecological resource. Retired biology professor Richard Beidleman notes that the park is "the most striking contrast between plains and mountains in North America" with respect to biology, geology, climate, and scenery.

The skull of a dinosaur was found in the park in 1878, and was identified as a unique species, “Theiophytalia kerri”, in 2006. A subspecies of honey ant not previously recorded was also discovered in 1879 and named after the park. Mule deer, bighorn sheep and fox are common. Bears and Mountain Lions can also be found occasionally and many lizards, snakes and a few amphibians. The park is also home to more than 130 species of birds including white-throated swifts, swallows and canyon wrens.

There are over 21 miles of trails through the park and while we probably have not yet traversed them all, we are actively working on it with each passing day that we spend at our Colorado home.  One of the coolest places to visit in the park is the wonderful Garden of the Gods Trading Post. Built in 1929 by Charles E. Strausenback, the a Pueblo-themed trading post at the junction of Beckers Lane and the park boundary where it was reported that, "real Indian curios will be carried, including Indian silver, Navajo blankets, pottery, etc.”

To this day Native American artisans can be found creating and selling masterpieces of art and there is also the standard gift shop and small refreshment stand. It is a wonderful throw back to a different era, and a really cool place to stop and check out. Kathy and I did some shopping there while we were here.


We also had the opportunity to spend an evening out with Kathy’s nephew James. He is currently working on a construction crew building a cool new building in downtown Colorado Springs. We picked him up at his worksite and went out for a wonderful dinner at a local BBQ joint and had a good time catching up, James seems to be doing pretty well and it was really great to see him.

Finally our friend Dakota and her baby Sloane drove up from their home in Clovis, New Mexico to spend part of the week with us. Air Force requirements kept her husband Andy from joining us, but we really were excited to have Dakota and Sloane visit. They stayed with us one night in Colorado Springs before we all headed up to Estes Park. The night they were here, we were joined by Kathy’s brother Chis and his wife Kari as well as her mother Judy for a fantastic pre-birthday dinner at the Golden Bee Restaurant at the famous Broadmoor Hotel.