I get a better night’s sleep but breakfast in the hotel ends at 9 am so I have to get up anyway. There’s a limited choice available but at least I get a banana and some yoghurt. To finish, I even made myself a waffle in the machine they had on the side. You pour some dough mixture from a dispenser and let it cook for a couple of minutes – it was not too bad either. I’ll see similar machines in every hotel from now on but I can’t recall ever seeing them on previous trips, maybe I just never noticed them before. For the money, the hotel is good value and it’s well placed for my morning visit.
Before heading off there though, I check the car’s tyre pressures again. After initially appearing to be correct in Cleveland, they were low again when I arrived last night. Not too bad though and at least they were still equal all around. Plus on the drive down from Cleveland I had none of the handling issues from the previous night. The readings remain low this morning so whilst the guy last night helped, I need more air. After checking out of the hotel I drive around to find a gas station. Just down the road I come across one – and its air pump is broken. A few hundred yards further down the street there’s another gas station – with another broken air pump!
I then remember when searching for a hotel pre-trip seeing a Sears Auto Center on the map just across from the hotel. So I retrace my route and pull up outside. There’s no reception area that I can see so just wander into the garage and find a mechanic. Situation explained, he says “Sure, bring the car in.” 5 minutes later I’m driving out on 35 psi tyres, and because it was an Auto Center the guy used a proper tyre pressure gauge. Big shout to Sears Auto Center for helping me out! Hopefully they’ll be no more mention of tyres or pressures on this road trip. (NB. There isn’t…)
The Pro Football Hall of Fame
Back onto I-77 S and towards the Pro Football Hall of Fame a couple of miles south. It’s a damp, miserable and overcast day, just the sort to be inside in a museum. I’d read before that the Hall of Fame charges $10 to park, a complete rip-off. Searching on Google Maps and Street View I’d found some streets nearby where it looked like I could park for free. But when I get there, it’s a building site. The HoF is undertaking some massive new developments like a hotel and other things, and they obviously bought up the land nearby and Street View is out of date. There’s no other option other than to go and park in their lot. Not happy. Please note HoF, to charge $10 on top of the entrance fee is outrageous.
Pro HoF ticket
At the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame yesterday I’d bought a discounted dual ticket that gave me entrance here as well – it saves about $5 on the separate tickets. Thing is, when I presented this entrance ticket to the young man on reception here, he had nothing to do other than say “Oh OK, you’re all set to go in” – and forgot to ask me if I’d parked in the lot. So I was not asked for $10! Result! Not saying this might work for you, but you never know.
Insiders Tour badge
I’d bought an Insider’s Tour ticket in advance, which was timed for 12 noon. The guys on reception offered some suggestions as to which exhibits I could visit before, which weren’t on the Tour, as it was only 10.45 am when I entered, and that worked out fine. The Insider’s Tour is where a docent takes you around the HoF and offers some insights and stories to enhance the exhibits. Our guide, Mike, was good and whilst the Tour doesn’t take you anywhere ‘off limits’ that others can’t see, I did find his commentary interesting. There were plenty of ‘inside’ stories I wouldn’t have heard otherwise. You don’t get to stop at all the exhibits, just at the ones he takes you to.
Pro HoF Visitor Map
But one advantage I thought was that he pointed everything out as you walk around, and in the recommended order, so you don’t miss anything. So I made mental notes as to where I would stop when I did a second walk-round on my own afterwards, lingering and reading all I wanted. My only criticism was that at 90 minutes I thought it was too long, an hour – which is the advertised length – would be better. Mike did say at the start however that it would take longer than an hour.
After the walk-round on my own, browsing at leisure, there’s a small café where I have a roast beef sandwich for lunch, which was good. So having completed two trips around the place, I thought it was great. I ended up spending 4½ hours inside. It’s definitely recommended for any football fan. As I mentioned there are some huge developments underway, all slated to be ready by 2020 for the NFL Centenary.
Towards Wheeling, West Viginia
When I exit there’s drizzly rain coming down and I set off for Wheeling, West Virginia in the overcast gloom. This is my start point for a couple of days of scenic driving that will see me end up in Nashville. This short section of 80 miles or so today turns out to be a good drive despite the rain. I’d chosen a route off the beaten track, avoiding Interstates, so I would see the Ohio countryside. In some places I was almost on single track roads through forests: it was definitely a rural route and off the tourist trail. And all the better for that, driving over rolling hills, twisty roads, through forests and open fields equally, via small towns and villages, and seeing the folks out in the sticks.
I really enjoyed the varied and interesting drive from Canton to Wheeling. Of course it would have been better in nice weather but at least the rain stopped soon after leaving Canton. I arrive at the Hampton Inn in Wheeling just after 5.30 pm and after check-in and chilling out for an hour or two, I walk across the street – literally – and into TJ’s Sports Bar & Grill. It’s very, very busy inside but manage to find a seat at the bar. I have a very good burger and fries plus a few beers. There are some huge TV screens on the walls plus a host of smaller ones showing everything that is on live sports-wise in the US that evening. The folks who come and go either side of me tonight are all with friends so talk to them and don’t bother to chat to me, and the bar ladies don’t fully engage either although they are pleasant enough. But I’m OK watching the sports and eventually decide to retire after another good day. To bed!