As much as I enjoy giving Ohio a hard time, it does have some redeeming qualities.
Ohio has approximately 2 redeeming qualities.
One of them is that it is home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which we knew we’d enjoy visiting.
Of course, since we were coming all the way from Southern Illinois, we had to make a pit stop to break up the long drive, so we stopped for a night at the the Clark County Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ohio. We pretty much had it to ourselves, which was terrific.
Our next stop was another set of Fairgrounds, this one for Cuyahoga County. It is one of the few camping options near Cleveland, so it was busy, but served our needs well.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
On our one full day in Cleveland, we headed to the Hall of Fame.
The downside was we were there during the summer, so it was pretty crowded. It actually probably wouldn’t have been that bad if not for the shape of the building, but a cool looking exterior can mean a less-than-convenient interior. In the case of a pyramid-shaped building, it can mean sloping ceilings and crowded exhibit areas (because a lot of the space in the building isn’t really useable). So, that wasn’t great. But, if you can visit when it’s not tourist season, it’s a pretty cool place.
There are exhibits about the history and development of Rock & Roll – including early versions of the morality police yapping about how Elvis and his pelvis were corrupting the kids:
and a later version of the morality police yapping about how heavy metal, rap, punk, and every other kind of music were still corrupting the kids.
The museum chronicled the rise of rock’s various genres, sounds, and subcultures…
as well as the evolution of musical styles and the importance of particular cities in the development of individual genres of music. These panels also captured the outsized influence certain artists brought to nascent styles and sounds.
Other sections of the museum offered individual displays about various inductees as well as assorted personal and professional artifacts:
Honestly, I thought some of the displays were a bit lacking and could have done a better job presenting the artists – especially compared to what we saw at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.
What was not lacking, however, was the profound sense of injustice that permeates this place.
Display after display reminded visitors of the incredible musicians the world lost too soon. Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston, John Lennon, Prince, Janis Joplin, Tom Petty, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon, Kurt Cobain and more. All gone way before their time.
But Justin Bieber? You know that little punk is gonna live forever.
During our visit, the Hall of Fame was also featuring a special exhibit about Super Bowl halftime shows. The displays reminded visitors that until the mid 90’s, halftime shows were nothing of significance. It was Michael Jackson who, in 1993, started the trend of big name entertainers putting on complex, choreographed mini-concerts, that have only become more elaborate with time. The exhibit contained interviews from some of the producers and performers as well as costumes, props, and set pieces that should look familiar to anyone who has watched these events.
Additionally, the exhibit recounted some of the most memorable moments from these shows – like Whitney Houston’s gold-standard rendition of the national anthem in 1991 or U2’s poignant post-9/11 tribute in 2002, or Prince’s iconic performance of Purple Rain in the pouring rain in 2007.
(I tried to embed the videos of these performances from Youtube in this post, but it won’t work because the stupid NFL claims it’s their intellectual property and Kevin is insisting that he will not take on the NFL’s legal department when they inevitably sue me for copyright infringement even though he totally could if he wanted to, so you’re just gonna have to go look these up yourself and if you feel like you’re wasting your time while you’re doing that, you can blame Kevin.)
Toward the top of the pyramid, there’s a room where all the inductees names are inscribed on the walls, listed by their induction year, as well as listening stations to hear samples of their music:
Finally, there’s a theater that shows footage from various induction ceremonies.
All in all, a fun place to visit – just don’t go in July.
After our quick stop near Cleveland, we zoomed through a chunk of Pennsylvania and then started across New York. We stopped for the night at the very convenient Seneca Allegany Casino in Salamanca, New York, where we found an absolutely enormous parking lot and friendly staff who were happy to let us stay. When we woke up the next morning, we found another RVer had come in late and parked behind us, a typical thing people do – safety in numbers and all.
It was a perfect place to take a break and we highly recommend it if you’re crossing New York.
Next up were a couple nights at a COE campground known as Tompkins Recreation Area just south of the NY/PA line in Lawrenceville, PA. This was another place where we had some good timing.
When we parked and set our jacks down, we realized something was off. So we tried to retract them, but they wouldn’t budge. That’s not good.
It was late in the afternoon, so we immediately called Tiffin Service and, fortunately, the technician was able to quickly diagnose the issue (shuttle valve on the hydraulic system went ker-plooey). He then walked Kevin through how to override it and release the jacks while ordering a new valve to be delivered to us asap. The lucky part was, immediately after the call, our cell phones lost connectivity. Turns out, we were in the middle of nowhere and our phones were roaming on some other network’s towers. Unfortunately, our particular data plan only offers a small amount of roaming and then cuts you off. (Stupid, but true.) Fortunately, we were able to get in touch with Tiffin, diagnose and solve the immediate problem, and get a long term fix figured out, just before our cell phones turned into pumpkins.
This was also another time we were so happy to be dealing with Tiffin. To call the main number of a huge company and have an actual living breathing human being pick up the phone and fix your problem in no time is amazeballs. Getting that competent human being on the line without having to fight through 8,000 rage-inducing automated messages first, and having it all happen at the very end of their business day, and then later realizing your cell phone was seconds away from becoming a useless pumpkin is chef’s kiss perfection! Thank you, Tiffin!
In general, Tomkins Recreation Area was a very nice park, but our plans to hike there fell apart because:
That’ll be a hard pass from me, thanks.
The Corning Museum of Glass
The reason we stopped at Tomkins was because we wanted to visit the Corning Museum of Glass. For those who are unfamiliar, it might sound boring, but this museum is highly acclaimed and offers a ton of interesting stuff, from colorless works of art:
to colorful works of art:
to the corollary works of art from my first grade project:
From intricate cut glass masterpieces:
to brilliant vases and bowls:
Old works of history and art:
But it’s not just a museum about pretty things. Glass is everywhere and affects all parts of our lives, from the mundane like street lights and light houses:
to the remarkable like fiber optics and satellites:
But yeah, there were plenty of day to day things too. From the bowls and containers you definitely had in your house in 1980:
to the wonderful Corelle dishes we currently use and love so much:
(Seriously, I bounce these things off the bottom of my sink at least 3 times a week and they never break! A true marvel!)
Speaking of marvels, check out this piece:
This is the largest cut glass punch bowl in the world. In order to create it, the artist had to design a pulley system capable of lifting and maneuvering the massive block of glass he started with, before he removed some 50 pounds of glass in order to create what is here. It took over 200 days to complete the project.
You would think the museum would have put this monument to exquisite precision on a large enough table to place the matching glasses in a perfect circle, but, alas, not so much. The circle isn’t perfect and there are extra glasses half-assedly (which is not a word, but I’m going with it anyway) placed inside the circle.
There should be a sign warning people who have OCD to avert their eyes.
After our quick stay near Corning, we continued east to a small campground we first stayed at in 2017. Arrowhead Marina and RV Park stands out because of its unique design (with sites facing outward from hub and spoke style circles) and incredibly lush, green surroundings.
We spent two days in Schenectady just catching our breath and taking care of our normal life stuff before packing up and hitting the road for one final push.
And then, just as we might have expected, the place we’d left some two years earlier welcomed us home with a characteristic view:
Ah, the East Coast. It was good to be back.