Cleveland Rocks! – Streetsboro, OH


Our chief reason for going to Cleveland was to see an old friend of ours, whom we hadn’t seen since 1979. Don and I were stationed at Omaha, Nebraska at Offutt AFB for a couple of years and it is he with whom I endured an F4 tornado bearing down on our butts. It was one of Omaha’s worst tornadoes to ever hit, and Don and I will surely remember it for the rest of our lives. Fortunately, life for us moved on and he has since married Gay and they have three kids, one of whom is a captain in the Air Force; a third generation USAF man. We thank you for your service, Michael.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is a pyramid, much like the Luxor in Las Vegas. I hope its windows don’t leak like the Luxor’s (I had a work PC ruined by that there)

We planned to go to the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday. What I didn’t realize is that it would be free because of the harbor’s 50th anniversary. That’s $42 worth of tickets for free! Alayne and I couldn’t believe our good fortune.

Just outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a nice marina, although I saw only stinkpots (power boats) in it

The Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located right on Lake Erie. It is a pyramid shaped building, much like The Luxor in Vegas. As such, the ground floor houses most of the collection, which gets smaller has you escalate to the six floor. The basement floor houses the bulk of the collection from the beginning of Rock and Roll to current day, while the top floor provides a few artifacts such as a Jackson Five outfit, and some early rock artifacts. Alayne and I found the third floor, which houses an exhibit of Les Paul’s development to be very interesting. The very first Les Paul prototype is there, as is his experiments with solid body luthiering (crude luthiering intended to prove the electro-mechanics more than replicate a 1958 Gibson Explorer). The story is made even more interesting when you ponder that Les Paul virtually begged Gibson to develop solid body guitars 7 years before their primary competitor, Fender, beat them to the market; a 1958 Gibson solid body Explorer is one of the most valuable instruments today at about $22,000; and Gibson recently declared bankruptcy, proving once again that industry leaders can and do die.

I’m compelled to put this upfront and center given Aretha Franklin had just died two days before we visited Cleveland
This is Jimmie Rodger’s suit (left) and Johnny Cash’s suit and guitar. Jimmie Rodgers is the father of country music. Those same G, C, D and occasional Em chords have formed the backbone of rock and roll for many years
As well as country music being the backbone of rock and roll, so was the blues. Robert Johnson, a big influence to Eric Clapton, is pictured lower left with cigarette in mouth. T-Bone Walker’s guitar and strap are upper middle. I think his guitar is a Gibson Barney Kessel archtop, but I’m not sure. Buddy Guy’s Gibson ES-335 is in the center
This is Les Paul as a very young man with his first real nice guitar, a Gibson L-5 (left). With his red hair, Paul performed as Rhubarb Red in his younger days. Shown right is the first Gibson Les Paul prototype in front of a picture of the finished product coming off the line
Carl Perkins’s 1956 Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster Guitar known as the “Matchbox” guitar (left), next to one of Roy Orbison’s guitars (a heavily modified white Fender Telecaster). A vintage 50’s Switchmaster goes for upwards of $12,000, while a vintage Fender Telecaster can go for double that
One of John Lennon’s 1960’s Rickenbacker. Somewhat hard to see is the Scotch tape on the horn which is holding the set (play) list for his convenience
If you are an Eric Burden fan or like House of the Rising Sun, here’s your chance to see their instruments (another Rickenbacker here with a Premier drum kit). This appears to be the exact drum kit used on The Ed Sullivan Show, as it was auctioned back in 2016 and can be found online
A couple of the guitars belonging to Beach Boys’ Carl Wilson. I’m fairly certain the one on the left is a Gibson ES-335, while a Rickenbacker 12-string is on the right. The Byrds’ Jim McGuinn and Tom Petty used Rickenbacker Model 360 12-strings quite a bit, although it is McGuinn who made its sound a 1960’s rock staple
John Entwistle’s Status Buzzard bass (center) and one of Pete Townsend’s surviving Les Paul’s (right). Townsend had a habit of smashing his guitars onstage, and somehow this one escaped. The guitar on the left is a Danelectro 6-string. Since most basses are 4 and 5-string, I’m a bit taken back why the museum labels this as John Entwistle’s instrument. I have seen pictures of Entwistle playing a 4-string Danelectro bass identical to this on the internet, so something might be amiss with the description here
You can read the caption above. I’m impressed with the handwriting of many of these artists. I guess that’s what happens when you write for a living
One of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Stratocasters next to Joe Walsh’s lyrics for Life’s Been Good. I like his way of labeling the refrain (“blah, blah, blah”)

Our second day in Cleveland was very exciting. Don, Gay, Alayne and I attended one of the Cleveland-Baltimore games. This was only the second baseball game Alayne had ever attended and with the bases loaded – largely on walks! – the tribe scored a grand slam in the bottom of the fourth. With two on the board already, another two runs batted in before the fourth inning finished, and with the Orioles at zero, the conclusion was pre-ordained and we left early.

Our trip to Progressive Stadium to see the Cleveland Indians face the Baltimore Orioles. It turned into a blowout at the bottom of the 4th inning when Baltimore pretty much gave up the game on walks
Here’s Gay, Don and me sitting at Blossom Music Center just ahead of a concert featuring the songs of Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra performed by the Cleveland Orchestra. It appears I was feeding my face instead of posing, but it is a good picture of them
I had to include this picture because Alayne caught the stink eye for leaving the flash on

Following a blowout performance by the Cleveland Indians, we attended a Cleveland Orchestra concert at Blossom Music Center featuring the songs of Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. It was very nice to sit out on the lawn, listening to music, and catching up. I’m sure we could have enjoyed several more hours of conversation after that full day and evening, but one of us had to get up for work the next day. It wasn’t Alayne. It sure as hell wasn’t me. And it wasn’t Gay. Don’t worry, Don. Your time will come soon enough. 😀

The sites at Woodside Lake were pretty cramped compared to many other places we’ve stayed, and the water was so laced with iron that people surely won’t need Geritol if they stay there. The water was yellow and stunk so bad, we feared for our fixtures

We stayed at Woodside Lake Park in Streetsboro, Ohio. I gave it a three on Google, which might be a little harsh. But to be fair, the pull through sites were cramped and the well water was unusable for anything other than flushing the toilet (and its iron left a stain doing that). I’d much prefer the stinky Sulphur water in Florida to water that demolishes your fixtures. In the first case, you only smell it when you run it. In the latter, you pretty much want to take a shower to wash off from the first shower.

Here’s Alayne begging the very stoic Willie Nelson to get us tickets to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was a waste of her time because tickets were free that day

After a couple of days in Ohio, it was time to start heading to Chicago with an intermediate stop along the way.

One thought on “Cleveland Rocks! – Streetsboro, OH

  1. Steve:

    Great report on your Cleveland excursion. Thanks again to you and Alayne for visiting us. It was fantastic to catch up with you after 40 years. I enjoyed every minute. Keep in touch. -Don & Gae


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s