John & Brenda's Excellent Tour travel blog

Home suite home in the Holiday Inn Express

Riffing in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and...

Brenda gets ready to tour in Johnny's bus

For Katie - from the Phish video

July 22

When travelling in hotels day after day, you take your blessings as they come; this day it was the pleasure of taking our time with the noon hour checkout (as opposed to the usual 11:00 am). Brenda headed off to the gym and her workout while I worked on Journal updates. Heat and sunshine were with us again and I worked up a decent sweat packing Blue.

Our original plan was to drive to Detroit through Windsor but a quick check of our maps and a vague recollection of the location of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame showed us that Cleveland offered a better and more entertaining alternative. The only downside would be that we wouldn't get to drive through Tillsonburg ("my back still hurts when I hear that word"), a tribute to old Stompin' Tom.

We drove the 35 kms to the Peace Bridge over the Niagara River between Fort Erie and Buffalo, New York, where we flaunted our NEXUS passes to get around the high volume Sunday traffic. After a slightly looping (loopy?) detour around Buffalo we located I-90 west toward Cleveland along southern shore of Lake Erie.

It was a beautiful driving day as we passed through 3 states and 1 province - Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. At a rest stop we finally found some of our treasured hotel/motel discount coupon books. Brenda's research led us to a brand new Holiday Inn Express about 15 miles south of Cleveland. For $79 USD per night we got a beautiful suite with fabulous linens and all the amenities. Come to think of it, the dollars are so close now that I'm wasting typing strokes differentiating.

July 23

Rising from a wonderful sleep in our deluxe beds, we made our plans to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on the Lake Erie waterfront in downtown Cleveland. The beautiful I. M. Pei design causes me pause for having slagged his monstrosity of the Portland Art Gallery in Maine. It is a glass pyramid 6 stories high with much of the interior bathed in natural green house type light while allowing the precious exhibits to be protected by housing them in a maze of rooms.

We had no trouble using up the 5 hours we had allotted for the tour of the Hall of Fame, several movies, tons of artefacts and historical writings. They currently have special exhibits of The Beach Boys, The Doors and The about covering the musical spectrum of rock styles. The only thing they have in common is their first name, which, trivially, is also Smoky the Bear's middle name.

Brenda's memorable highlight was an interesting personal touch in The Eagles exhibit where, tucked away in the corner was a duffle bag full of hotel room keys that had been collected by Timothy B. Schmit on their tours over the years. Probably the highlight for me was Johnny Cash's 1979 vintage MCI tour bus parked outside the entrance. For an extra $2 we were able to walk down the aisle and see Johnny and June's exclusive ride. We were very impressed by the loving care taken in maintaining the bus in its original condition, like a rolling Graceland.

We're establishing a pattern with our arrival in or driving around major cities, as we seem to time it exclusively for rush hour. This day, we left the Hall of Fame at 5:00 pm and began a slow, deliberate crawl on our return trip. Back at the hotel, we had dinner and caught up on our laundry. Our last act of the night was to watch the premiere of a new TV series called Saving Grace, starring Holly Hunter and set in Oklahoma City. Apart from Holly Hunter being an excellent actress, the reason I mention this is the last scene of the show was set in the Oklahoma City bombing memorial, a touching reminder of our visit there

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