Saturday, August 06, 2005

Day 57 - Cleveland - Detroit, Michigan, USA

Day 57 – 4th August 2005 -5:00 GMT Total Miles 10790

Woke up at 8:30am and listened to my ipod for a couple of hours until everyone was awake, we checked out the hotel just before 12pm and I drove along the turnpike through Ohio until we got to Toledo, then we entered Michigan State and drove along the I-75 until we reached Detroit. First impressions of Detroit are that it looks very run down and grubby. We were staying at the Ramada, the building had very high ceilings and decoratively carved, but the building was very old and run down. Our rooms were huge with a kitchen area and living room, as well as the two double beds and a bathroom.

Ramada Hotel Living Room Posted by Picasa

Spent the next couple of hours in the bar having a drink and updating our blogs, I then played Reece at pool and won five games straight, even seven balled him. I then decided I would go and explore the near by casino, so caught the people mover from outside the hotel which is a two carriage train that only goes in one direction and has about 13 stops on it’s loop.

The People Mover Posted by Picasa

I went to stop seven which was Greek town and visited the Casino. I started off by winning on Blackjack, then changed tables and won some more, I also played on a few slot machines and won on 3 of them, on one I won $148.75 from 5c So a good night in the casino with a profit of over $320 in an hour.

Me outside Greektown Casino, Detroit Posted by Picasa

Went back to the hotel and we watched the X-games live from LA.

One of Many of the Concrete Car Collection Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 05, 2005

Day 56 - Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Day 56 – 3rd August 2005 -5:00 GMT Total Miles 10624

Our hotel is about 8 miles out of the centre of Cleveland, so we drove along the shore of Lake Erie towards Cleveland centre and on route stopped and walked down to the beach.

Cleveland Beach on Lake Erie Posted by Picasa

Lake Erie Posted by Picasa

The reason we came to Cleveland was to visit the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.
We arrived at the Museum around 12pm and bought our tickets, the museum is 6 story’s high and also has a basement, the front side is made up of a giant glass pyramid.

The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Posted by Picasa

We started on the basement floor and watched a double feature film, called “Mystery Train” and “Kick out the Jams”. Mystery Train covered the history of Rock N Roll, it was spawned from Blues music and gospel, the film explained who blues artist used to take the train from one place to another and covered artists like Hank Williams, Howlin’ Wolf, Lead Belly, Wilson Pickett and Ray Charles. The second film was more showing about the people who got into rock n roll side and included bands like The Clash, The Ramones, Brice Springsteen and Patti Smith . After the film we wandered around the many displays they had the denim jacket of Tiffany from the video “I think were alone now” and the jumpsuit of Justin Hawkins from the Darkness, as well as many costumes and guitars from Madonna to Metallica. They had rooms of displays of Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Elvis and the Rolling Stones as well as many others. We then went and looked around the next floor which had the history of Audio and a featured room on Les Paul (The guitar creator) and then the 4th floor where we watched a movie on the making of Tommy by the Who. The 5th and 6th floors were completely dedicated to the Who as they were the present featured artists. On the 3rd Floor we watched an hour long presentation about the inductees to the hall of fame. Every year around 6 artists/bands get inducted to the hall of fame and the feature shows a clip from every inductee. Most of the Inductees are the old musicians like Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Jackie Wilson to name but a few. The Museum was fantastic and a place I think my parents would have loved maybe more than me. We spent around 8 hours in there before driving back to the hotel, where we ordered Pizza and watched TV.

City of Cleveland Posted by Picasa

Cleveland Harbour Posted by Picasa

Cleveland Browns Stadium (American Football) Posted by Picasa

Day 55 - Mason - Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Day 55 – 2nd August 2005 -5:00 GMT Total Miles 10606

Got up at 10am and made a nice cup of tea, Janice and Briggs cooked us a nice fried breakfast and we left them just after 12pm, It was the best hotel we have ever stayed in. I just want to thank them for everything, they ran around like crazy looking after us and taxi us around. We drove on the I-71 north through Columbus up to Cleveland the journey was 370km and took about 4 hours. We checked into a Red Roof hotel for two nights. Went to an area called Choker Park where they have loads of shops and bars and cinema’s it is very new and parts are still being built. Found a restaurant called Champps and the food portions are huge, I had a large steak followed by a large chocolate sundae. Went back to the hotel where we watched the film “Waiting for Guaffman” and fell asleep.

Day 54 - Mason, Ohio, USA

Day 54 – 1st August 2005 -5:00 GMT

Stayed in the house all morning as Janice was at work. Then when Janice got in she cooked burgers and hotdogs on the outside grill for us. We then went to Sam’s a large wholesale store where we stocked up on essentials. Then we headed across the road to Fed Ex so we could post bits n pieces home, the shipping cost $91 but because Briggs works for Fed Ex we got a large discount and only paid $25 for next day delivery. Jill and I then went back to Paramount Kings Island where we went on several rollercoaster’s including “Son of Beast” the longest wooden rollercoaster in the world. Briggs, Janice and Tyler turned up an hour or so later and we watched the parade and rode a few rides then headed to the water park which we stayed at for a couple of hours. Jill and I went back to the main park and rode a few more rides whilst Briggs and Janice took Tyler home and they picked us up an hour or so later, we then bought Chinese take out for all and rented a couple of Movie’s. We had a drink and watched the film “Blast”.

Briggs and Tyler Posted by Picasa

Jill with Chloe Posted by Picasa

Shelly Posted by Picasa

Day 53 - Mason, Ohio, USA

Day 53 – 31st July 2005 -5:00 GMT

Had a lazy morning as everyone needed a lie in. Then we went back to Frisch’s and had lunch with Janice, Briggs and Tyler. We then went to the mall where Janice works and had a look at her store (The Disney Store) and spent the next few hours wandering around the mall, I bought a new pair of sandals and Jill bought some Converse trainers. We then wandered around a couple more malls until it was time for Janice to go into work for a couple of hours. The rest of us went to a Bar that is half an arcade and half a pool hall with an attached restaurant, so Briggs, Reece and I spent a couple of hours playing pool until Janice had finished, then we picked her up and went back to her house and cooked, whilst making a few cocktails. We sat up and chatted until the early hours.

Janice and Tyler Posted by Picasa

Chloe the Dog Posted by Picasa

Cassie the Cat Posted by Picasa

Day 52 - Mason, Ohio, USA

Day 52 – 30th July 2005 -5:00 GMT

In the morning Janice drove us to the Jefferson Mall where we spent a couple of hours shopping. Jill insisted that I buy new shorts, boxers and Trainers. We stopped for a bite to eat at Taco Bell and then headed to Xenia to pick up Janice’s Son from her mother in laws. We sat around and had a chat with Brigg’s parents. When we got back to the house people were turning up for the party, Briggs had cooked everything on there outdoor grill and we all sat out the back of the house chatting and everyone was in and out of the pool. Janice and I got thrown in the pool with all our clothes on. So we dried off then sat by the fire for the rest of the night drinking beer.

Janice's House Posted by Picasa

Janice's Pool Posted by Picasa

Day 51 - Mason, Ohio, USA

Day 51 – 29th July 2005 -5:00 GMT

Woke up at 10am, when we were all dressed and showered we went out for breakfast at Frisch’s which serve the best Philly chicken steaks then visited Wal-Mart for a quick bit of shopping. Then we went to Paramount Kings Island which is a large theme park with a waterpark attached, we started of in the waterpark and went on a few water slides and had a swim in the wave pool, then we headed to the main park and went on the water rides where we all got soaked and then went on a few rollercoaster’s including “The Beast” which is a 25 year old wooden coaster. We left the park around 8:30pm and headed back to Janice’s were we sat on the porch eating Pizza and playing pinball. Sat up and chatted with Janice until 3:30am catching up on old times.

Day 50 - Washington DC - Mason, USA

Day 50 – 28th July 2005 -5:00 GMT Total Miles 10377

Had to get up at 6:30am and move the car or we would get charged another 24 hours car parking. So we checked out of the hostel as soon as reception opened at 8am and set off, it took an hour to get out of Washington DC and then we drove through Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio, we passed through Pittsburgh and Columbus and after a 877km 11 hours of driving we arrived at Janice’s house (Janice is an old friend of mine from University) in Mason just on the outskirts of Cincinnati. Janice has a two bedroom Condo on a beautiful estate which has a lake at the entrance and they have a communal pool behind the house. Janice lives with her husband Briggs and their 18 month old son Tyler, they also have a cat called Cassie and a dog called Chloe. We spent a few hours at her house chatting and catching up on all the news before heading to a sports bar for a drink and some food, which led us onto another bar in the centre of Cincinnati where we drank and met many off Janice’s friends. We left the bar at 2:30am and heading back to Janice’s house and crashed out.

Janice and I Posted by Picasa

Briggs, Janice,Jill,Reece and Shelly Posted by Picasa

Janice and Shelly Posted by Picasa

Day 49 - Washington DC, District of Columbia, USA

Day 49 – 27th July 2005 -5:00 GMT

Hardly slept as it was so hot, so we decided we would spend the day on a guided bus tour of Washington. The Bus has three routes and you can get on and off at any stop and transfer between routes. So we started off by going passed Washington Zoo, then we stopped at Washington Cathedral, which is very modern as it has elevators in it so you can look out from the top of the bell towers, it also has a Darth Vader Gargoyle.

Washington DC Cathedral Posted by Picasa

Inside it has Some amazing stain glass windows and a chapel built for 6 year old’s with everything in miniature even the alter and the organ. Next we passed the spot where Ronald Reagan was shot and over Duke Ellington Bridge (Duke Ellington was a jazz musician and his father was an usher at the white house so always wore a Tuxedo, when he started playing he dressed like his father in a tuxedo and on his first day someone said you look like a duke and that’s how he got his name) then we headed to George Town which is where all the rich live and most of the Ex-presidents have lived. We stopped in George Town for a look around and some lunch. We then saw the Watergate Plaza where the famous events took place back in Nixon’s day. Next stop was the White House, George was too busy to let us have a cup of tea, but we did get to speak to the lady sitting outside who has held a vigil there since 1981 and can be seen on the film Fahrenheit 9/11.

The Front of the White House Posted by Picasa

The Back of the White House Posted by Picasa

Protester outside White House (she has been there since 1981) Posted by Picasa

Then we changed buses and went around the route which passes all the Museum’s, Monuments and War Memorials.

The US Treasury Building Posted by Picasa

We did not other getting off as the queue to get back on was to long, so we had a nice narrated tour for a couple of hours.

The Jefferson Memorial Posted by Picasa

We then transferred back to the first bus route and headed back to the hostel. We sat in the hostel and chatted with the other people staying in our room, then headed out to a Spanish Restaurant for Paella, then back to the hostel where we chatted for another 3 hours before going to sleep.
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