Week Five: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland, Ohio) and Niagara Falls (New York)

Cleveland, Ohio

We were only in Cleveland for one day and our sole purpose was to  visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  We drove from Saline to Cleveland in the morning and parked the RV at a Pilot Truck Stop  and took the car downtown.  A Monday afternoon in late September is the perfect time to visit the HOF; very few people were there.  The senior rate of $17 is worth every penny and more!  We were there from 1:00 until closing (5:30) and were busy the entire time.  In addition to the artifacts, there are films to watch.  My favorite film was Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.  I remembered several of the clips because I was a regular viewer of the show.  They also showed videos of the HOF inductees over the years.  It was hard not to sing along with all the music.  They  have great music playing throughout the museum and it truly is the soundtrack of my life.

The artifacts ranged from John Lennon’s report card, Roy Orbison’s glasses and original pencil and paper song lyrics to guitars, costumes and Johnny and June Carter’s tour bus.  There are exhibits groups by famous music cities: Memphis, LA, London and of course DETROIT!

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Ralph, the newest Rolling Stone

Ralph, the newest Rolling Stone

The special exhibit was Herb Ritts” Rock Portraits.  Herb was a self-taught photographer and you would recognize some of his work. In addition to photographs, there are album covers and videos.  He ended up forming long friendships with several of the people he photographed, but unfortunately he died much to young at around 50.  I very much enjoyed his work.  See more at herbritts.com.

Cher and Ralph's favorite Herb Ritt photograph

Cher and Ralph’s favorite Herb Ritts photograph

After they basically kicked us out, we headed back to the Pilot truck stop and decided to stop at Two Bucks for dinner.  We slept (not well) at the truck stop and headed out around 9:30 am for Niagara Falls.

Can anyone tell me why truckers run their engines ALL NIGHT LONG???  Even with earplugs it was very noisy.  I don’t know how the truckers get any sleep at all!

Niagara Falls

Oh the mighty falls! This has to be the big kahuna of water falls.  I’ve never seen anything like it…ever.  The photos will not do it justice.  We didn’t take the Maid of the Mist or the Wind Cave.  Neither were necessary to get the feeling of awe and power The Falls conveys. (Yes, I consider them The Falls.)  It was a chilly and windy day and mist was flying everywhere.  We wore our motorcycle water-proof jackets and they did the job well.  We walked a lot on both the American and Canadian sides.  In my opinion (well, let’s face it, my blog, my opinion 🙂 ) the Canadian side is better. The Canadian side provides a much better view of The Falls.  You can actually see both of The Falls.  Yes, there are two waterfall’s separated by an island.  There are beautiful gardens all along the viewing areas.

The awesome Niagara Falls

The awesome Niagara Falls from Canada

IMG_1217Interesting to see how the stone has eroded under The Falls.

The American side has Niagara State Park and a high overlook to view The Falls. We parked at the Seneca Casino and Hotel and it was only about one mile to The Falls.  The town of Niagara Falls, New York surprised me.  It is not a prosperous small city; quite the contrary.  There are only two grocery stores and the one we chose via Google was a little scary. It was in a poor area of town and when we drove around  we saw more of the same.  Then I found an article about Niagara Falls and the New York Power Authority (NYPA).

Since 1957 the NYPA has controlled all the electrify generated by the Niagara River on the American side.  When the 50 year license expired in 2007, elected officials from Niagara Falls agreed to renew the rights until 2057.  After a half-century of NYPA control, the people of Niagara Falls who have the greatest natural hydropower in the world have neither the control, nor use of that power, nor inexpensive electricity. The NYPA generates a billion dollars annually from the Niagara – out of which a quarter billion is net profit, from selling power to New York City, to government agencies downstate and to seven other states and sells NONE of it to the city of Niagara Falls!  The Niagara region gets their power from burning coal and other expensive methods, purchased at high mark-up from a British company called National Grid. The New York State Legislature created the NYPA to provide low-cost electricity to the people of New York.  Instead it became an entrenched political institution with the Board of Directors appointed by Albany politicians with no accountability to the people. Over the decades the NYPA has accommodated ten-thousand back-door sweetheart deals that have diverted every benefit of having hydropower in the midst of Niagara Falls.  Instead of providing low cost electricity for the region (as they were promised) the profits  from Niagara’s  hydropower pays for thousands of high-paying “administrative” jobs mostly in Albany and White Plains (a suburb of NYC).   All Niagara gets is $850,000 per year for the next 40 years and at current rates of inflation, will be $187,000 in 40 years.  The article asks, “Where else could you find a place which produces a billion in electricity annually; has is sent to other places at cheap prices; then pays high electric rates; is all but broke; has local leaders who relicensed the same “Authority” who created the mess, and an apathetic, uninformed public?”  This is just another example how the American public does not pay attention to what government officials are doing “on our behalf”.    Rant over!

We took the River Road about eleven miles to the Small town of Niagara on the Lake located on Lake Ontario.

Niagara on the Lake

The settlement, known from about 1781 as Butlersburg, in honor of Colonel John Butler, the commander of Butler’s Rangers, was renamed West Niagara to distinguish it from Fort Niagara and it was a British military base and haven for pro-British loyalists fleeing the United States during the volatile aftermath of the American Revolution.  Niagara played a central role in the War of 1812. Niagara was taken by American forces after a two-day bombardment by cannons from Fort Niagara and the American Fleet, followed by a fierce battle. Later in the war the town was razed and burnt to the ground by soldiers as they withdrew to Fort Niagara. Undaunted by this, the citizens rebuilt the town after the war. The historic Centre had already been designated as a provincial Heritage Conservation District.

The little town is absolutely beautiful.  The buildings are well maintained and the entire town is covered in flowers. Nice upscale shops and many, many restaurants.  It made our Niagara experience complete!

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Next stop Vermont!

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The Happy Campers - a little cold and wet1

The Happy Campers – a little cold and wet!

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