Friday, 23 July 2010

A Mixed Day....

I haven’t thought to mention this so far, but I really object to paying for connecting to the internet in hotels. This seems to happen all over the world, but I am pleased to say that it happens far less in the USA than other countries. So far on my tour, in most of the smaller hotels, motels and B&B’s, wi-fi is completely free. But in most of the larger hotel chains, you have to pay. Now, I don’t mind paying for things if the price is fair, but the cost of wi-fi in large hotels is ridiculous. $12 - 15 per day seems to be the going rate and this is simply a money making rip-off. I now have a policy of asking them to remove this cost from my bill when checking out, by saying that I do not pay for the internet. Result so far? About even, with some removing the charge and others not. Give it a try next time!

Guess what? I saw another lighthouse today! This was the first of two to be closed, but I didn’t mind this one being closed as I did get there quite early. I will tell you about the second one being closed (snarl) later in this post! Here is the light in Fairport Harbor, OH....




























Just as I left Fairport, I went passed a sand yard, where they handle loose sand. I liked this huge pile of sand and the shape it made....






















I rode through Cleveland today and was quite impressed. Many of the larger cities I have been to have seemed as if they are on the decline. Cleveland didn’t feel that way. I saw lots of operational heavy industry around the Cleveland docks area, which was good to see. It struck me that in this area of hard work, sweat and muscle was just the place to locate an American Football team, which is of course exactly where the Cleveland Browns are located. Good choice of location!

The view as I entered Cleveland....














The Leading Ladies outside the Browns stadium....




























I couldn’t work out what this statue was when I first saw it....




























Looking back across Lake Erie, as I left Cleveland....




























I rode through Lakewood, just west of Cleveland and I was impressed. Being so close to the centre of Cleveland, the area is very good, with the lake nearby and some fabulous houses, set amongst clean streets lined with trees. Set amongst many other great houses, this one caught my eye....






















I like meeting people. Today I stopped for lunch at Rocky River, Ohio at the Cravings Cafe. A very nice place....






















There I met another customer, Ralph, a silver haired man with the look of lots of experience in his eyes. He told me he has visited 70 different countries, including the UK. He worked in Russia in the 60’s during the cold war period when “people asked you in the street if they could buy your shoes or your jeans”. Ralph rides a Vespa with nearly 100,000 miles on the clock.....






















Ralph doesn’t wear a helmet when he rides his bike. He told me that when people ask him if he feels safe not wearing a helmet, he says “I have been shot at in Vietnam and I had to avoid landmines. I have been deported. Do I feel safe not wearing a helmet? Yes I do!” He is considering riding a Vespa down through South America – what a great idea, but there would be many challenges on such a trip. I am sure he would cope though!

Very soon, I spotted something very strange in the front garden (US = front yard) of someone’s house....




























Quite what a gondola from a ski lift in Aspen was doing there, is anyone’s guess. I wanted to knock at the house and ask, but it looked as if there was nobody there.

On my journey west, I have now travelled most of the length of Lake Ontario and then Lake Erie, but riding along these Great Lakes has become less interesting today. Most of the lake edge is owned by private houses and there is a strip of houses along most of the lake with a road running parallel to and one block away from the lake itself. This means that in order to even see the lake, you have to turn down one of the roads that lead to and stop at the lake edge. Sometimes you can gain access to the lake, sometimes not. This means that rather than simply enjoying the view of the lake as you ride along, you have to make the effort of turning onto a different road to even catch a glimpse. I got tired of doing this so I gave up. It is a shame that the lake is right there, but most of the time you cannot see it. Great for the house owners though!

I stopped at the Quaker Steak and Lube in Vermillion, OH. This is a cool place, with bikes and cars used as part of the decor....




























This is the view from their balcony bar....






















I went passed Cedar Point – which looked good if you like roller coasters....






















As I approached Marblehead I saw these houses. Nice, normal up-scale row of houses....






















BUT look what they had in their back yards!!!!.... How cool would this be!....






















Finally for todays post, everyone on my tour so far has been kind, helpful and really nice. Until today. I wanted to see the lighthouse at Marblehead. It was out of my way, but I thought it would be worth the extra miles. I arrived and parked in the car park and walked towards the lighthouse taking a couple of pictures as walked....























































As I walked along, I had a good view of the lighthouse and the attendants by the door, must had had a good view of me. As I got within 15 seconds of the attendants, they rose from their chairs, one walked away and the other entered the lighthouse. As I arrived at the door, the female attendant come out and said “we are closed, please come back tomorrow at one o’clock”. I was flabbergasted, I had arrived at 4.45 pm and they closed at 4.45. If I had been 15 seconds earlier, I would have been allowed in. I explained that I had come a long way (!) and that I couldn’t come back tomorrow as I was on a road trip. It didn’t matter to her – she said the last group had already entered the lighthouse and no I couldn’t join them. This group was there for another 15 minutes and it would have been very easy for her to say “OK, just pop in, but be quick”.

I was really annoyed by this woman’s attitude.

When I got to my motel for the night I enlarged the pictures I took and here is the one I took just 15 seconds before arriving at the door of the lighthouse. As you can see, the attendants have just got up from their chairs to close the place....






















I hope that she is happy with the way she treated me today. There was an e-mail address in the window of the lighthouse of the people that run the facility. I am going to write to them to complain. If you, dear readers, want to also write to them, the address is.....

east.harbor.parks@dnr.state.oh.us

11 comments:

SonjaM said...

Sorry to hear about the inattentive lighthouse attendants. Maybe they are German or they work for the government? I hope it didn't ruin your day completely.

Mishy Moo said...

SLD,

Did you know about the Quaker Steak & Lube ahead of time or did you just have luck to find a cool place like that. Liked the photos.

Sorry for your disappointing day with the lighthouses! I'd hate to be the recipient of that e-mail! I can't believe they were like that even after you told them about your trip etc. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Happy ridin'

Eve said...

I wonder if you ask the hotel before you book if they would waive the internet fee if your odds would be greater! "do you charge for the internet?" "yes" "ok....we'll I guess I'll go up the road and see if I can get it free there." "AHHHHHH here, we'll just waive that fee!" "oh...ok!" hahahaha! That does seem like a racket to charge for it.
I love seeing all the houses along your way. Google Street view has nothing on you Gary!! Well, ok maybe! hahaha! The old man on his Vespa was an interesting find. And I like that Quaker Steak and Lube!! Funny concept!
A semi-polite but firm email was sent to the park with the rude attendents. I think Sonja may be right...if they are government workers...then that is what you get...folks that don't care about their attitude because there is probably no way they can be fired. Sadly, once we are ALL working for the government, this will be a horrible place to be!
(sorry about that gloom and doom!)
RIDE ON, RIDE SAFE! :-)

biker baby said...

I'm sorry to hear about the attendant. To be in such a hurry to get off work, she must be very unhappy with her job. Maybe if she was unemployed for a while, she would be more grateful for what she has. At this point, if I didn't have Rich I would be sleeping in my car and selling my Harley. I am very grateful to him, and when I find a job...and I will...I plan to make one employer very happy they hired me.

After seeing how she treats a guest in our country, It makes you wonder how she would treat a guest in her home.

Donna aka Froggi said...

Dang! Wished I had realized you were going to spend time in Cleveland. You missed one of THE BEST and most unique Harley dealers in the country. South East Harley - http://www.southeastharley.com/miscpage_010.asp

mq01 said...

Subject; Marblehead Lighthouse Staff Complaint
Friday, July 23, 2010 10:38 AM
From: "mq01"
To: east.harbor.parks@dnr.state.oh.us

To whom it may concern;

I am writing as a concerned and unhappy US Citizen that frequents the landmarks of this great country.

A friend and fellow motorcyclist;
http://garysusatour.blogspot.com/2010/07/mixed-day.html#comments
stopped at the Marblehead Lighthouse facility yesterday to visit while touring this nation. He has traveled with his Harley Davidson to the USA from the UK and yours was one of his chosen stops, of which you should be proud.

At 4:45pm (yes, closing) yesterday, while there were visitors inside and touring the facility, you turned the out of country guest away. Surely this was a momentary and unfortunate lapse of judgment by the staff that evening. Granted his arrival was at closing time, but others were allowed to tour and he was not.

In the future, it is hoped that more care and interest will be shown to the guests of your facility by your staff. You never know when a visitor will be an online writer with connections to many readers and other online reviewers/travelers/writers.

Sincerely,
...
http://mq01.blogspot.com/

bobskoot said...

Gary:

I have had a similar situation where the store was closed on a Sunday and we were catching our flight out the same day. I could see what I wanted to purchase in the window and had to leave it behind.

I'm thinking about your internet problem. Perhaps you need a Starbucks card. If you load it with say, $20. and you register into their system, you have use of their Wifi at all their locations using your password. You could resize all your photos getting them ready for upload to your host. You could also prepare your post in a text editor and for the $15. charge the hotel was going to levy, you could have a specialty coffee instead. I have noticed that all the higher end places have a fee, so if you lower your sights a bit, then WiFi would be included (usually at no charge).

you could also email me your photos and I will make up appropriate text.

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

Bleiglass said...

SonjaM: I am German, and I would have let Gary in!!

Gary France said...

First of all, I would like to thank all of you that wrote to the Parks Department about them not letting me in to the lighthouse. There have been quite a few of you that sent a message to them and I think to be fair to the people in charge, I think they have now got the message, so it is best not to send them any more e-mails! They do understand the strength of feeling about this now (especially after reading Raul’s to-the-point message to them! Good one , Raul!).

I have exchanged a few e-mails with them myself today and it is clear they have a policy of “Once the last tour goes, that is it”. I don’t agree with policy, but they make the rules!

Sonja – it ruined my day at the time as I was seething as I rode away. It didn’t get any better as I then passed a motel that had a sign outside saying “No Motorcycles”. Marblehead is somewhere I will not be going back to!

Mishy Moo – I had read about it on the web somewhere, so as it was on my route, I thought I would give it a try. My day was much better today thanks!

Eve – I have come to learn that all large chain hotels charge, so my way of dealing with this from now on, is not to use them! I should have explained, Ralph wasn’t old, he just had striking silver hair.

BB – I think you hit the nail on the head. I think this had more to do with her getting home.

Donna / Froggy – Never mind, but I would have gone and taken a look if I had known.

mq01 – I think the online writer point was well made bu you to them – thanks!

Bob – Not getting what you want is frustrating sometimes!. About the wi-fi, it is not just that you get charged at the higher end places for this, but they are not as much fun as motels and B&B’s, where you get to meet far more people. I will take your advice and boycott the them in future. I like the idea about you making up the text. That would be very funny, so one day, I will send you the photos and let you write the words. Will you really do it?

Bleiglass – Thanks!

FLHX_Dave said...

Well...shit like this is gonna happen. "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need." I too get annoyed with the Wi-Fi crap. I never charge for the use of my wireless. It's a "thank you" service I provide for my customers. Don't these places realize that every little thing you can afford to do as a draw for clients is just more clams for your bucket?

Once again, enjoyed the picts and enjoy experiencing the states from your perspective.

Gary France said...

Dave - I am sure that hotels charging for wi-fi adds to profits, but drives customers away. Your policy is the best one - if it doesn't cost you anything why charge your customers for it? People like good personal service at a fair price.