I left Syracuse at 8:05 AM and it was 68 degrees and rainy, so rainy that I ran to the car with my bags. I had a sausage McGriddle at McDonalds for breakfast. The rain stopped shortly after getting on the road but it was overcast so the ride through western NY and western PA was just kinda boring. I planned to be on I-90 all day until I hit Cleveland. There’s pros and cons to interstates for extended driving times. The rest stops are easily accessible and well-stocked, relatively speaking. They can be pretty boring though. I passed the morning listening to Sirius radio; Howard Stern and the NFL station, so it was a pleasant morning. Driving on smaller roads like I did through VT is nice because driving through towns usually provides interesting sites and I noticed that VT has a great smell, but the smaller roads require that I pay full attention to the road because there’s bikers, sharp turns, and the occasional stop.
Whizzing by Niagara Falls was on my mind when I left Syracuse so I was monitoring the weather. My mind was made up when I stopped at a rest stop close to the turn-off of I-90 for Niagara. It was way busier than the others I had stopped at so I said forget these tourists and pressed on towards Cleveland. I paid toll on I-90, $6.65. Then I paid another $3.15 as I exited NY and Hall and Oates welcomed me to PA.
After a stop at McDonalds in Erie for a pie it got dark. Then it rained relentlessly for 25 miles. A downpour – cats and dogs. So bad that I considered pulling over or off. At the Ohio border Siri put on the Illinois playlist, and I was about to give her a geography lesson but I found Smashing Pumpkins surprisingly reassuring during the monsoon, so Siri was redeemed.
As I approached Cleveland I made a quick exit in downtown rather than check-in at tonight’s Motel 6 because Motel 6 is about 15 miles southwest of Cleveland so instead of backtracking I decided to exit and check out the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. $22 later I was ready to explore lots of guitars and stage outfits. I was still wet because I got caught in a downpour on the walk from the parking lot. I checked my Red Sox sweatshirt and Patriots hat at the coat check, and the attendant said she liked my Abide Lebowski tee shirt.
The R&R HOF is cool enough. The highlights were seeing the couch that Jimi Hendrix grew up playing on, Elvis’ purple Cadillac, John Lennon’s piano, and the coolest was Michael Jackson’s red jacket from the Thriller video.
From the HOF I trekked through downtown Cleveland to Progressive Field. I walked away from one scalper who thought I was interested enough that he sent a biker scalper after me. I knew the game wasn’t sold out so I didn’t bite. On the way to the box office I saw an artist who drew caricatures. In the Fenway mindset I expected like $20 which I would have refused, maybe, but it was free, because he was employed by the Indians. Rollie said he had done caricatures for 30 years outside all the sports teams’ games, loved it, and was paid well for it. Awesome. There was a Billy Joel quote at the HoF “If you’re not doing what you love, what are you doing?” I walked to the box office after snapping a photo of Rollie with his work and bought a ticket for $58, and it was satisfying because I wasn’t extorted for service, convenience, and venue fees.
I bought a scorecard outside the park for a buck because I thought it would give me something to do during the game. My voice has been hoarse the past two days, so I didn’t just want to sit there and not talk to anyone. I hadn’t eaten since the s’mores pie in Erie – I may have had an oatmeal raisin Clif bar driving – but I was hungry. I wandered in the direction of my seat with the thought of a hot dog in the back of my mind. I saw an open area with picnic tables so I approached the concessions adjacent to it. I saw Mega Hot Dog on the menu for $9.25, but that is just too much dog, so I asked the woman if she had an non-mega hot dogs and she pointed me to a stand across the concourse. I got a bratwurst instead because that sounded better, and a Mountain Dew. After I paid I was handed a pre-stepped-on brat wrapped tightly and a medium lid-less Dew. I asked where I could acquire a lid, and she informed me that the “green” policy of Progressive Field has eliminated lids and straws in the whole ballpark. All righty then.
I’ve been to a hundred baseball games, so I mostly observed the people. The upper decks were empty and there were tons of Red Sox fans, maybe as much as a quarter. Keeping my scorecard kept me into the game, but two things stuck out to me about the crowd. Compared to Fenway, people seemed to take the national anthem more seriously, and later when a guy proposed to his girlfriend on the jumbotron the crowd was more genuinely happy for them – they got two cheers. When that happens at Fenway they’re on the screen for like five seconds and after people are like -did she say yes?
I left after the 6th inning because I had over a mile walk to the car and a bit of a drive. Cody Ross homered in the top of the 6th and right before I walked out Cleveland scored to make it 3-2. downtown Cleveland was a ghost town, it seemed like everyone was waiting for the Indians to finish before Friday night started. When I got back to the car I noticed that I left the driver side window down for like 6-7 hours. Oops. It was all good.
I booked a room with a $3 extra mini-fridge, so I could chill my gatorade, and when I entered my non-smoking room I thought I was walking into a wildfire. I planned my trip around Motel 6s, kinda. the reason is because it’s cheap, easy, fast, they have a phone app that let’s me quickly book a room, and they always leave a light on. They’ve both been similar, err, quality, but I was able to get comfortable last night, so that was fine, and I’m exhausted now so I think tonight will be just fine too. I have a big day tomorrow – I’m looking to get to Madison, Wi, or thereabouts.
Miles traveled today: 353
Total miles: 663
Highest elevation: 1156 ft in NY (that I noticed – it’s on the GPS)
Yesterday’s highest elevation: 2300ish in VT’s Green Mountains
McDonalds stops: 2
Cups of coffee: 2
Miles walked round-trip from HoF to ball game: 2.2
# of times hearing Call Me Maybe: 3
Cost of 2 sharpened Indians pencil at gate: $1
16 ounce bottled waters consumed: 5
States today: 3
States total: 7
Eye of the storm
People in Cleveland love their onions!