Day 3: The Unplanned Day

When taking a trip, I find it fun to have a day where there are no real plans. A day when you can just wake up, see what the weather is doing, pick up some pamphlets and figure out what to do with your time in a strange location. It’s explorative. It’s exciting. And it’s what we did on Day 3.

The plan all summer had been to spend at least some amount of time at one of the Lake Erie beaches during our stay, since we originally wanted to go to a real beach but ran short on resources. Lake Erie is an acceptable compromise. With this in mind, we woke up, packed bags with towels and swimsuits and sunscreen and drove out to some suburban beach about 20 minutes outside of downtown Cleveland.

The beach was nestled in the back of a place called Euclid Beach Park, which until five minutes ago I didn’t know used to be a real cool amusement park for over 70 years, a fact I just learned when I went to Google to verify Euclid Beach was the place’s actual name. Apparently from 1895-1969, Euclid Beach Park was a really happening joint with a family-friendly atmosphere, cool wooden roller coasters, a big famous ferris wheel, kiddie rides, bath houses, a dance hall, a racing derby and concrete piers.

According to Wikipedia, there were riots there in 1915 when the park held African American-only day. In the 40s, a number of protests between CORE and the park managers happened over racial presence there. By 1969, it had closed entirely, and since then almost all of the original remnants of the park have burned down from a combination of wildfires and arson, save for a few guy-wires from original structures and this famous archway that leads to the area, which is now a Cleveland landmark protected from demolition.

Though as I said, we didn’t know any of that at the time. We just liked the looks of its pictures online and it didn’t seem like it would be too crowded, so we hunted it down at random. It is still fairly well maintained, clean and policed. There is a trailer park occupying space in the back.

The shame is that by the time we got to the beach, exited the car and went to check it out, we realized it was no more than 70 degrees and breezy, which is pretty terrible beach weather. Instead of lounging on the sand (which 0 other people were doing), we just took a walk along the water, enjoyed the footprints of seagulls in the moist sand and sat on a bench enjoying the scenery. There were very few other people at the park – mostly older couples walking or hanging about, and a group of teens that looked to be doing water tests as part of some sort of environmental group. It certainly wasn’t what Laura and I planned for our beach day, but it was peaceful and still managed to occupy a few hours where we could just sit and enjoy each other’s company.

But we still had lots of time to kill.

The Cleveland Science Center sits right between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Cleveland Browns Stadium, so obviously we’d noticed it there. It seemed like a reasonable enough thing to do to occupy some more time, since we knew where it was. Laura and I had never been to a science center before, and neither of us had ever been to one aside from Pittsburgh’s, which isn’t bad.

It’s been a while since I was in one.

There sure are a lot of… youngsters. Really loud, obnoxious youngsters. With really boogery fingers and bad manners. And energy. And boogers.  And fingers.  Possibly extra fingers from adult humans, so they can spread extra boogers around.  We were the oldest people in the building that didn’t have kids with them.

We had fun and checked out every single thing there was to do. We made vortexes and tornados and I tried playing “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” on the theremin, which was a mega fail.

But wow, kids can be rude. There seemed to be about 1 adult for every 16 kids. As such, tons of stuff in the science center was broken or shut off because of abuse, and because none of them read the signs to see what they were actually supposed to be doing with the experiments.  They all just wanted to run around and turn knobs and smack things. Sure, that’s what you expect a four year-old to do in such a place, but most of the kids there were old enough that they should be starting to know better. The ones who did have parents with them weren’t much better, since their parents weren’t trying to help them or instruct them or even bother to try and get them to act with respect, for others or for the equipment. We got a little frustrated since the Science Center charges you $22 to enter, and when you get there it’s basically just a one-floor daycare with lots of broken stuff you can’t even use. Plus, boogers.

At least the Science Center had a cool frog exhibit in the basement. Frogs are neat. Though none were available for licking.

After all this, we decided to take it easy, head to dinner, and rent a movie. We spent the last night of our vacation drinking red wine from plastic cups in our hotel bed, eating chocolate chip cookies and watching Daniel Radcliffe’s “The Woman in Black” followed by some Dance Moms. It was excellent. We were together.

Not going to lie, I kind of pooped a few times during that movie. It was surprisingly chilling.

That’s all there is to it. That was a vacation. We woke up and drove home the next day, picked up the pups at my parents’ and both immediately went to work that afternoon. No recovery time. Such is life. Overall we had a great time and it was excellent to get away for a few days, even if it was just a short car trip one state over. It was lovely in all ways, and I had the best company.

Except for the boogers.

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