After a summer hiatus due to Bar Mitzvah preparation, we resumed our trip with a drive to the west in August 2001, getting national park stamps in western Pennsylvania and Ohio. This trip was only four days, since Dad decided he couldn’t do another 8 days of driving.
I was a little less obsessed with national parks this trip (mostly because there were much fewer stamps to be acquired) so we also did some more sight-seeing and touristy things.
Day 1 (August 21, 2001): We picked up and headed out west through the radio wasteland of the Appalachians to Fort Necessity NHS and Friendship Hill NHS. Pit stop for the night was suburban Pittsburgh.
Day 2: Pennsylvania to central Ohio to Cleveland. We stopped in Akron to do two touristy things, the extremely fun Harry London Chocolate Factory, and the Football Hall of Fame, which was less impressive. We stopped in Canton to see the First Ladies NHS, a newer site, that unfortunately hadn’t gotten a stamp yet, but they gave us a sticker. We ended the day in Cleveland.
Day 3: The morning brought us to what would become one of my favorite museums of all time, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The beauty is in its layout and design, and the awesome exhibits inside were a treat too. Dad even enjoyed the museum, and he hates pop music. It was also a landmark day for him – he got a senior discount for the first time ever, having turned 55 earlier in the year. We rode past the stadium of the Cleveland Indians, but they were away that week.
In the afternoon, we headed out of Cleveland to what Dad called “the best kept secret in Ohio,” – Perry’s International Victory Memorial in Put-in-Bay, on South Bass Island in the middle of Lake Erie. We rode a ferry to the island, and drove around via a rented golf cart. The memorial itself was a huge tower. We rode an elevator to the top, and the view was crazy even though it was foggy. I could’ve stayed on that island for longer, but alas the last boat left at sunset and we had to be on it.
Day 4: Up bright and early, since we had to do the Cleveland-Baltimore drive, and pick up a stamp along the way at James Garfield’s home in Mentor, OH. We literally camped out in the parking lot with bagels and cream cheese, running in to get the stamp at the visitor’s center and look around for about fifteen minutes before packing up and heading home.
It was a short trip, but a pretty good one. Only a few stamps, but many more unique experiences (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Put-in-Bay, Harry London). A lot less happened in Western PA and OH than in New England.
This was also the last year of the true “road trip.” Next year’s trip was to the south, but with flying to our main city, renting a car and doing “excursions” rather than a continuous road trip.