Ohio: The Buckeye State

Continuing through the midwest, we had another opportunity to visit with friends from Portland, our former neighbors Peggy and Chris who moved to Ohio in late 2020.  When we last saw them and said our good-byes, we were just starting to plan this year-long adventure and vowed to visit them along the way if we indeed made it happen.  Well, we did and we did! 😉

We enjoyed our time in Upstate New York, but were looking forward to getting off their rough roads. Though we had a reprieve as we cut through western Pennsylvania, Ohio’s roads had their own challenges. Many of them are also pretty beat up, and the transitions between highways was often confusing and required quick action with both left and right exits happening almost as soon as we entered a new highway. This was further complicated by the fact that road construction was ubiquitous on nearly every road, and involved even more detours, lane shifts and barriers that left us scrambling at times to get to our final destinations.  

West Branch State Park

Peggy and Chris live near Akron, so we chose to stay at a state park just east of Akron in Ravenna called West Branch State Park.  The check-in was brief and we were on our way to our site.  Well, we happened to pick one of the tightest, smallest, muddiest sites. 😂 Yes, it rained a lot during our stay, but it was still one of the muddiest sites I saw.  It was oh so ironic that we had JUST cleaned our RV prior to our arrival at a truck wash.  C’est la vie. 🤷🏻‍♀️

As for amenities, there is a general store at the campground entrance, four centrally located clean and spacious shower houses with restrooms and laundry, and other forms of outdoor entertainment, including a playground, sand volleyball and basketball courts along the main park road.  They have trails, but were fairly mucky as well.  We saw a challenging disc golf course, some neat fungi, and caught a few nice views of the reservoir before hustling back just in time to avoid a hefty downpour.  If you can investigate the campground ahead of time, maybe you will have better luck than us at getting a more spacious and less muddy site.

More friendly visiting

Peggy and Chris were our neighbors in Portland, Oregon for roughly five of the years we were there, before we both decided it was time to move on.  Per usual, as soon as we arrived at their house, we got to talking and I forgot to take any pictures, but it was so fun to see where they landed, meet Peggy’s sister, and hear about their most recent adventures flying to Ireland and back.  They were not immune to the chaos you may have heard about on the news with misplaced and damaged baggage, but hopefully everything gets straightened out soon. 🤞 Peggy and Chris always put on a great feast, so the food was lovely and the company even more so.  We both hope that once we get settled we can meet up again. ❤️

Chris and Peggy on their beautiful property – Photo courtesy of Peggy

Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame

Visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio is a unique museum experience, in part because as you walk up to this pyramid-shaped building with big, bold letters out front, you are hit with the sound of loud music.  Yes, it’s a music hall of fame, and yet I wasn’t expecting it since most museums are places where it’s quiet and everyone speaks in hushed voices.  Note that you will need to buy tickets online in advance to enter.

We started downstairs on floor zero.  As you walk into a dark hall, you are introduced to a lot of the early influencers in rock and roll, including Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie, Howlin’ Wolf, Billie Holiday, Pete Seeger, and Nat King Cole, just to name a few.  The genres contributing to what we know as rock and roll today run the gamut from R&B, soul, blues, gospel and jazz to folk, bluegrass and country music styles.  And the evolution of this music over time includes punk, funk, metal, grunge, rap and electronic music as well. 

As you continue to wind through the halls, you will see large displays with artists’ instruments, clothing or stage costumes, sheet music and photos.  Currently, there is a section dedicated to the work of photojournalist Baron Wolman, who was a famous contributor to Rolling Stone.  There are videos playing everywhere, talking about how rock and roll incites people’s passions, excitement and even fear.  With all of the sound clips and videos, it’s loud, with music pumping in all directions, and standing in certain spots it’s an overwhelming cacophony. 🎶

Presently, there is an Elvis exhibit, which is timed well with the release of the recent Elvis movie, and another display on the Beatles done in tandem with the Get Back documentary that came out in 2021.  They also have big displays on artists such as Hendrix, Joplin, Petty and the Rolling Stones. As you walk through the halls you can see how musicians have influenced fashion throughout history, including more recent artists like Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Billie Eilish, and Lada Gaga.  The basement floor contains the brunt of what you will see…it is the base of the pyramid, after all. 😂

The first floor, where you enter the museum, has a food court and gift shop.  On the second floor is a “garage” where you can play instruments and perform in a sound studio.  We saw people noodling on instruments or getting together in the studio to play songs.  It was a lot of chaotic noise most of the time with everyone doing their own thing. 😵‍💫 

The third floor presents plaques for those inducted into the hall of fame since it began, a list of current nominees, a suggestion area for future nominees, and a section in memoriam for the recently deceased, even including the recent death of Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins. 😔 The fourth floor has a Pink Floyd’s The Wall display of tour replicas and the Foster Theater, which shows various Rock Hall film series.  There was a long line to get in the theater, so we didn’t spend a lot of time here.  

The fifth floor (the Legends of Rock) was the least impressive to me, because all I saw were more mementos, and I didn’t see anything special compared to the base floor (floor 0).  Finally, the sixth floor is dedicated to four legendary guitarists, including Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, Eddie Van Halen, Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, and Quicksilver’s John Cipollina.  The displays showed their original gear set up (guitars, amps, pedals, etc.), and they had video clips from all four of them talking through their signature styles.  I liked this floor the best because it was calm and pointed, with each video playing in succession. 

After walking through the whole place, I can see why people become members to visit time and again.  It’s a LOT to see!  I was so exhausted after just a few hours. 😝 Though it was really crowded, loud and in your face in a lot of sections, with raucous sounds coming at you from all directions, it touches on so many musicians that are intertwined with my memories, bringing back flashes from my past and a vast array of emotions that have molded me into the person I am today.  Without music, I would be a wholly different human.  If you love music like we do, this place will bring you joy and moments to reminisce in your own memories. 💗

And we are off again, this time to Minnesota to see my family.  In between, we had some long hauls across the midwest, which I will share in my next post.  We didn’t stay long at each stop, so I will only have reviews on the campgrounds we stayed in each night.  Until then, stay cool everyone! 😎

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