26th November 2005
Niagara Falls to Sturgis

The weather has cleared slightly as we head south and west around Lake Erie. It's snowy, and pretty, but there isn't much around here to speak of.

The town of Erie itself seems sleepy under all the snow. We drive down through the town to have a close look at the lake but the unploughed roads are so treacherous and skiddy that we spend little time there before heading back out of town.

Before we know it we are on our way down to Cleveland and the Rock 'n' Roll hall of fame. Tucked away out of the city near the docks, the Hall of Fame is situated within and beneath a giant pyramid rather reminiscent of the famous entrance to the Louvre in Paris. Rather than famous works of art inside however, this one has a giant novelty hot-dog. Far more spectacular is part of the stage set from Pink Floyds 'The Wall'. The teacher peers down from the top of the pyramid - cane at the ready.

Tickets bought we head down into the basement where the bulk of the exhibition is housed. We are shown into the first of two cinemas for an introductory lesson on Rock and Roll. This first video is child safe and quite short. In the second cinema they are showing a much longer film with scenes that could disturb young children. It's already quite late in the day and so we choose to skip the second video and go and look through the collection of memorabilia that the museum is famous for.

It's quite a collection. The largest section is given over to displaying famous stage outfits from across the years. A lot of famous acts are covered Elvis, The Beatles, Madonna, Bill Halley, The Spice Girls......?????? Apparently so.

Upstairs is for temporary exhibits and the current specialist subject is The Who's 'Tommy'. Original lyric sheets and scribblings are on display and if the fancy takes you you are able to sit down and watch the film version in its entirety being projected onto the wall. Halfway up the pyramid is a room about the technology behind radio and record players that helped rock and roll become the mainstay of American music.

Back on the road we find a nice Italian place called 'Olive Garden' where we order some food. It's a nice warm friendly feeling place but no tables are available. We end up sitting across from each other at the end of a long bar style table next to a group of very loud 'Why doesn't everyone who isn't American just go and live in a cave where they belong' types. Thankfully the food is excellent and helps to distract from the incessant chattering beside us.

We finish our days travelling at the town of Sturgis and rest our heads at the Quality Inn.

Chris Cottam

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