Road Trip ’08 – Day 5

Niagara Falls, ON to Cleveland, Ohio
______ miles, ______ hours
Total miles so far:
States driven through: Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio
ead deer seen on side of road: 23
Smokies: 28
Cranky Canadian Border Guards: 1
Royal Canadian Mounties seen: 0

I didn’t want to wake up today. My pillow and bed at our hotel was just too awesome. But alas, all good things must come to and end and we packed up shop and said goodbye the Falls.

We crossed the border and drove through New York, Pennsylvania and into Ohio with little fanfare.
Once we hit Cleveland, however, things got a little rougher. Downtown is all one way streets and exactly half of them are closed for construction. It made navigating to the Holiday Inn Express a less than pleasant experience. We finally made it, and it was a good thing because a few more minutes and I would have shifted in to Angry Brian Mode. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (hereafter referred to as “HoF”), our real reason for the trip (forget Syracuse), was only a seven-minute walk from the hotel so we set out to find it and bask in its glory as its waves of Rock and Roll goodness washed over us in an auditory baptism of guitar riffs and drum solos.

OK, so it wasn’t that dramatic, but it was pretty darn cool. So cool, in fact, that it warranted that 63-word sentence above.

The HoF (not to be confused with The Hoff) is a very large amalgam of a Louvre-like glass pyramid, some wicked spiral staircases and any building designed by Frank Gehry. It looks like it should be housing great works of art instead of the relics of rock and roll. Not that those aren’t art. You get my point.

We each paid our $22 and checked our cameras because of the HoF’s stupid policy. I’m not aware of the Hoff’s policy on photos.

If you imagine the HoF to be like visiting a Hard Rock Café on crack, you’d be wrong. First off, most rockers these days prefer heroin. Secondly, no one is pressuring you to order cheese fries. Thirdly and most importantly, this place is actually a museum.

From the very beginning, the HoF is very overwhelming and it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s not just a collection of guitars and drumsticks. It’s a very academic place, if you can imagine that. The basement level is especially so. It traces the birth and growth of Rock and Roll from the 40s all the way today. The displays were largely set up to depict the regional growth of Rock and Roll.

One of my favorite exhibits were interactive and allowed you to trace a certain artist’s influences. For instance, you could click on Janis Joplin and hear a certain song, then click on her influences and it would play two songs by here influences and mashed together they pretty much equaled Janis Joplin.

The other exhibit I thought was really fun offered you an interactive map and you could trace how different disk jockeys and radio helped spread certain subgenres of rock and roll through out the country, region by region.

I’ve never really been a huge Jimi Hendrix fan, but I really enjoyed looking at his childhood drawings (he was really into drawing football scenes) and reading some of his early poetry. Had he not become a guitar god (or choked on his own vomit), he probably had a future in art.

I really enjoyed that they reached back way further than your typical VH1 rock-umentary, mentioning hundred of rock and roll forefathers from the 30s and 40s.

The second and third floors were largely dedicated to the technology of rock (wax cylinders, records, transistor radios, TV, Walkmans, iPods, eletric guitars, amps, etc.

The fourth floor (it’s a porch, really) is all about Pink Floyd’s The Wall and is creepy.

Up the stairs to the fifth floor was a special exhibit about The Beatles’ movie, HELP! It was fun, but would have been more interesting if I had actually seen HELP!

One more spiral staircase and we were on the final floor, which housed a special exhibit on The Doors. I enjoy Break on Through, Touch Me, Light my Fire and of course Riders on the Storm, but beyond that Jim Morrison scares the crap out of me. While Leslies cruised the exhibit, I watched a concert performance and… wow… I can’t even describe it.

Our Rock and Roll odyssey at an end, we browsed the gift shop. Aside from HoF stuff, they also had a very large music selection. I escaped having only purchased some postcards and a fridge magnet.

My only real complaint with the HoF is that there isn’t a wing dedicated to Queen. Yet. Also, I’ve become keenly aware just how inadequate my iTunes collection is.

We went back to the hotel ordered some pizza and watched E!, marveling at how dumb it is and wondering what kind of idiots watch it.


What else is there to say? Cleveland rocks!


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