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Cleveland, OH
Miles Today: 123.6
Total Miles: 6115.2
Days on the Road: 123
Such a Mighty Wallop
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I Love Rock 'N Roll
N 41°29.975 W 81°41.736
Monday, June 2, 2003 - Day 123

Somewhere along the way, we hit upon this idea to write a song in every state, seeing that we're toting enough instruments for a very low-budget, eclectic band. This idea hatched just north of the Georgia/Florida border. Since then, we've passed through Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois - that's seven states -- and hardly more than a dozen lines have been set to music. While in Alabama, an earnest yet mostly disorderly song session with some friends got us thinking that maybe a better (or at least more attainable) goal would be to learn one song from the repertoire of campfire classics - you know, those immortal tunes with choruses that even the Amish might know, such as The Gambler, Hey Jude, and Redemption Song.

A few states later and with the guitar getting even more buried under tennis shoes and camping gear, our visits to the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland got us thinking perhaps we should curb our ambitions and simply aim to visit a music shrine in every state. In any case, at least we've settled on some sort of cross-country music theme.

As for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, well, let's just say that if it hadn't been for the giant Phish hotdog suspended from the lobby ceiling, we might have been awfully disappointed. Sure, we could've sat in the Jimi Hendrix theater all afternoon (if it hadn't been for the baseball-capped teens wandering in and offering loud, sneering commentary such as, "Yeah, that's before he got all messed up on LSD." Which is, of course, ridiculous:: He was always messed up on LSD.) and many of the other exhibits were worthwhile, but the museum's layout was an often a cacophonous back-to-back-to-side arrangement of competing musical spotlights. And they'd turn the volume way up for each showcase, perhaps to impart the full in-your-face rocker attitude, but unfortunately the stereo wars were more effective as a distraction and annoyance than anything else. Nonetheless, we walked away with an untarnished, if not more informed, conviction that we love rock and roll.

Speaking of the Amish, we did share the road with a few of their buggy drivers in Ohio and Indiana as evidenced by this craven image Liz shot from the passenger window. At the Menno-Hof Amish/Mennonite museum we learned, among other things, that Amish folks make surprisingly state of the art museum exhibits - the Rock & Roll people in Cleveland could take a few notes. The museum tour follows a trick most religious leaders have long practiced - maintain a captive audience by talking nonstop, thereby giving your listeners no chance to drift or stray. The Menno-Hof tour leads visitors from presentation room to presentation room, smoothly passing the group from one docent to the next. In many ways it works since you have little choice but to pay attention, and without it most people would probably never find their way into the tornado simulation room where a real Indiana hurricane is reenacted, wind blasts and vibrations included. One sure highlight of the Amish community is their fondness for a hearty game of volleyball - we drove by a game where at least 40 Amish-clad folks were playing on either side of the net.

Just before heading in to Chicago, we stopped for a day hike at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a beautiful stretch of coast nestled between Michigan City and Gary, two of the most disgusting places on earth. It's worth the trip just for the stark contrast or beautiful beaches and towering dunes with smokestacks belching noxious poopoo in the background. For a little while we were convinced some weird guy was following us down the beach, but he turned out to be just a weird guy, and not following us, except insofar as he was walking on the trail behind us, and thus technically following us.

Serpent Mound

Freedom Fries

Phreedom Phries
more photos in the archives »

Don't miss Adams County.

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