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Cleveland, Lake Erie, and the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame

July 24, 2012

The first stop on the way to Cleveland on Saturday morning was in Ravenna.  We were hungry, and fast food wasn’t the answer.  When we gassed up the jeep across the street, we saw the Eastpark Restaurant.  The sign included the words “cocktail lounge”, but it also said “restaurant” and it was Saturday morning, after all.  We’ve had pretty good luck with these little local diners, so we took a chance.  Besides, this is supposed to be an adventure, right?

I could have shown a photo of the interior, but this pretty much covers it.  I like strawberry jelly on my toast.  I didn’t check out every one of the jelly containers, but I did find strawberry.  None of that one-little-container-of-mixed-fruit business.  These folks wanted to make sure you were taken care of.  You can tell this is a real old-school diner, complete with wood paneling, laminated advertising on the tabletop and milk/juice in red plastic “glasses”.

The place was clean, the food was good (gigantic pancakes) and the service was friendly.

Most of the drive from Ravenna to Cleveland was on state or US highways, with trees on both sides.  In other words, not much to look at.  We finally broke into the open and approached Cleveland.  My initial impression of downtown Clevleand was one of a half-dozen tall buildings, three or four huge sports arenas, and some massive stone buildings that house City Hall and other government offices.  I do have to say that there were a lot of people on the streets on a Saturday morning.

Garmin worked properly, and took us right to the 9th Street Pier and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  We could have parked at a 2-hour meter on the street, but they were hard to find and would mean a few blocks of walking.  We opted to park on the 9th Street Pier, which was an easy walk to the Hall of Fame.

This historical marker stands at the sidewalk outside the Hall of Fame.

Along the sidewalk around the front of the plaza are these monumental guitars, depicting some made famous by various musicians over the years.

The entrance atrium is a sweeping concrete and glass structure full of light, music… and lots and lots of people.

There is, of course, a large gift shop, where one can buy books about music and musicians, t-shirts, hats, CDs, keychains and refrigerator magnets.   The big book lying flat on the shelf is “The Guitar Collection: An Elite Gathering of 150 Exceptional Guitars”, and yep, the price is $1,500.  You can even buy a Les Paul Hall of Fame Guitar for $6,500.  We bought a refrigerator magnet.

“Eliminator”

Eliminator is a 1933 Ford Coupe, built for ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.  The car was built by Buffalo Motor Cars and SoCal Speed Shop, and appeared appeared in the group’s first videa “Gimme All Your Lovin”.  It subsequently appeared in at least two more videos.

Joan Jett’s 1983 Jaguar XJ-S H.E.

Joan Jett’s first car, purchased before she had her driver’s license.  She drove it off the lot with just a learner’s permit.  The day she bought the car, she was in the process of recording “I Love Rock ‘n Roll”.  The sign by the car says that between recording sessions, she went joy riding with teenaged actor Matt Dillon.

We don’t know who these guys were, but some of them got off a rented band bus, and received a warm welcome from Hall of Fame officials and security.  We assumed they were one of the older groups being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

At a pier next door to the Hall of Fame, one can tour the steamship William G. Mather, a 618 foot Great Lakes freighter…

…or take a ride on the Goodtime III from the 9th Street Pier.  One can spend a lot of money on admissions, tours and attractions if one so desires.

I wanted to see Lake Erie.  At first, after leaving downtown Cleveland, we drove east along Lakeland Parkway.  We finally saw a sign leading to Lakeshore Boulevard.  Lakeshore Boulevard took us through residential areas, but never came close to the lakeshore.  We could see water about three blocks away down narrow residential streets, but didn’t feel comfortable entering the neighborhoods.  I’ll admit to a bit of frustration.  After all, I had never seen one of the Great Lakes, and civilization was getting in the way.  Dinosaur that I am, I had Nell stop at a gas station so I could buy a map.  The kid behind the counter looked at me like I’d just arrived from another planet.  Map?  What’s that?  I considered trying to enter “water” into Garmin, but Nell said it wouldn’t work.

Eventually, we turned around and drove back through Cleveland and continued west past a big marina until we came to Edgewater Park.

Here, we found chess players intent on their boards in the shade of lots of trees…

…some guys flying a huge kite the size of an SUV (seriously).  It’s tethered to a tree beside the white car at the far left of the photo, and it’s flying directly out in line with the car.

And we found a beach.  One of my disappointments at the 9th Street Pier in downtown Cleveland was the breakwater that ran along the entire length of the waterfront.  It serves a valuable purpose, of course, but it takes away from the view of this great expanse of water.  Here at Edgewater Park, the lake continues to the horizon.  It was like any other warm day at the beach, complete with sailboats, jet skis, swimmers and sunbathers.  It was nice to walk on the sand again.

Finally, we headed toward “home”, having had a full day of both driving and walking.  It was late enough in the day that cooking dinner at home wasn’t an option, so we stopped at a Chipotle and treated ourselves.

It was another good day.

Next:  a boat ride on the Erie Canal

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bllie Turley permalink
    May 5, 2016 11:53 pm

    The East Park has been torn down and road construction is going on there. I live in Ravenna, OH and my hubby and I have bought us a motorhome and plan to do what you have done. I love to read your posts.

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