Episode 7 – Miami Festivals

Carnaval On The Mile, The Calle Ocho Festival, and Ultra Music Festival all happen in March.  All that, paired with a high probability of cool sunny weather, make this a great time of the year to visit the Magic City.

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Script and Show Notes:

At the beginning of March Miami celebrates its Carnival, which is a series of events called Carnaval Miami, organized by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana.  The two main events are Carnaval on the Mile, and on the following Sunday, Calle Ocho.

Carnaval on the Mile happens on Miracle Mile in downtown Coral Gables.  The event focuses on culture and art.  There are also food vendors from many of the local restaurants, featuring diverse cuisine from many different countries.  Several street blocks become an art gallery.

Let’s face it.  Besides the food and the drinks, the main reason I come here is for the music.  Very few times we get to see so many great live bands, ranging from afro-cuban jazz to reggae, at the same place, for free.  This year we had a special treat, as the King of the Carnival was saxophone virtuoso Dr. Ed Calle.  Here we see him playing with World Music 5 featuring the Negroni Trio, and violinist Federico Britos.  Outstanding.

We also get treated to the reggae sounds of Bachaco.

As the evening progresses we get to dance to the afro-cuban funk of Palo!, founded by Stever Roistein, also featuring Ed Calle, and Cuban singer Leslie Cartaya.

Last we enjoy the incredibly talented Pedrito Martinez featuring piano virtuoso Ariacne Trujillo.  (Talking head)

There were many other great music acts, including the grand finale with Ed Calle’s big band, but we couldn’t make it… so lets travel one week ahead in time, to the following Sunday and the Calle Ocho festival.


Calle Ocho was founded in 1977 by a group of Cuban-Americans and is one of the largest street festivals in the world, with over one million people attending each year.  In 1988 it made it to the Guinnes Book of World Records when they formed the world’s longest conga line with almost 120,000 people.  24 blocks of SW 8th Street become a sea of people dancing, food and drinks, and 30 stages with live entertainment.  It is definitely something to see if you are visiting south Florida in early March.

We get to see some local acts such as Melina Almodovar, La Muñeca de la Salsa.  There are also street performers.  It is incredible how many people are at this place.  Keep in mind this extends for almost two and a half miles.

There’s always the spontaneous conga line.  The sounds, the smells, the characters.

Local TV host Fernando Hidalgo is promoting his show.

We end the day at the stage featuring local Cuban-American idol Willy Chirino.


I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of some of Miami’s main Latin festivities.  I’d like to remind you that you can watch some of these performances in their entirety at my YouTube music channel youtube.com/roberticomusic.  Until next time, thank you for watching and see you on the road.  By the way, once it starts getting dark, get outta here.  Fast.


I almost forgot.  We have another massive event here the following two weekends.  It is the Ultra Music Festival, pricey but if electronic music is your thing and you don’t mind crowds… it is truly epic.  I know I am going next year since this year we couldn’t make it I was able to steal a few shots from the gaps in the fence, until the police told us to move.


Coming up on our next episode we visit Las Vegas, Nevada and drive to the south rim of the Grand Canyon, on route 66 no less.  Also check out our previous six episodes in which we drove on the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco and beyond.

Road Nomad is now also available as a video podcast in iTunes and Apple TV, so search for it or follow the link in our blog roadnomad.com


Hello subscribers!

While we get our next series of posts ready, I though I’d share with you this playlist featuring videos of our 2010 Alaska adventure.  We enjoyed the Midnight Sun Festival in Fairbanks, which celebrated the summer solstice.  We also explored a little bit of Denali National Park, including a rare sighting of Mount McKinley, North America’s highest peak.  Finally we drive on the world’s northernmost highway, the Dalton.  After dipping our toes in the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean, we return to Fairbanks to spend some quality time with relatives.  Enjoy.

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Episode 6 – Beyond San Francisco

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Script and Show Notes:

We’ve left our harts in San Francisco.  Now it is time to continue north.  This is Road Nomad, Episode 6, Beyond San Francisco.

We begin with Wine Country.  On this particular occasion we visit the Hess Collection Vineyard in Napa Valley, a little off the beaten path, but well worth a visit, not only because of the quality of their wines but also for the beauty of the state.

Our next stop is Domaine Chandon, established in 1973 by Moet et Chandon of France, it specializes in sparkling wines.  Moving on.

We were here once before, back in 2008.

On that occasion we passed by Sonoma Valley, on our way to Napa Valley, stopping at VJB for some fantastic Chardonnay.

Next we visit the V. Sattuy Winery for a fabulous tasting.  The also have a very well supplied deli market, with a great assortment of cheeses and other stuff.  But the highlight of the trip is Sterling Vineyards, located on a hilltop.  We take the aerial tramway to the top.

From the estate the views of the valley are fantastic.

There is a very informative tour on the art and science of wine making… and did I mention the views?

Back in the present, we pass by St. Helena.

We also visit Calistoga, but it is passed 5 pm and all the wineries are closed, so we continue north.  Tonight we are sleeping in Clearlake.  In the evening we get to see see the 4th of July fireworks from the hotel.  Unfortunately all I have is the iPhone to shoot the video and, well, and some drunken companions.

We are driving around the lake.  Clear lake is the largest fresh water lake that is entirely in the state of California.  The lake is supposed to be very popular for watersports, but we haven’t seen much of that, in fact the whole area looks kind of deserted.  Wrong time of the year maybe?


The next town is called Nice… I wonder if it is pronounced Nice like its French namesake.

A little further, to the northwest we encounter smaller Lake Mendocino, which is bustling with activity.

Going back south towards Santa Rosa, and Petaluma.  Our next destination is the TWiT Brickhouse, home of the TWiT network, which stands for This Week in Tech.  It’s founder, radio host Leo Laporte, started podcasting back in 2005 from a table at the 21st Ammendment Bar in San Francisco during MacWorld.  Now broadcasting live on the Internet from his multi-million dollar studio, I’d say he’s got this online media business figured out.  He’s inspired many people to put original content online, myself included.

Let’s listen in.

I’m streaming the show on my iPhone with a few seconds of delay.  The studio was partially financed by the sale of these sponsorship bricks, which give the studio its name, the Brickhouse.  Unfortunately we have to go.  Watch Leo at twit.tv.

Going back to San Francisco there is one more thing… as the late Steve Jobs used to say.  Let’s pay a quick visit to Silicon Valley.  We visit the obvious, Google, the Hewlet and Packard Garage, the Apple Garage where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple and we also visit the Mother Ship itself.  The have a store where you can buy t-shirt, mugs and other stuff.  But the gem is without a doubt the Computer History Museum.  The exhibits are very extensive from the first calculator, the abacus; to the early pocket calculators, classic video games, the Altair, the Apple I, the Apple II, the original IBM PC, early digital gadgets, failed robots… so much stuff… I’m in heaven!  Last but not least:  the Babbage Difference Engine, and early mechanical calculator, designed by Charles Babbage in the 1800.  The machine couldn’t be fully built until the year 2000, and lo and behold, it worked!

We get a lengthy explanation of how this incredible machine works, so I’ll leave you with some of that although I will post a longer version, nearly uncut, so look for that if you are interested.  We are saying goodbye to California for now.  As always thank you for watching and see you on the road.