Brisbane - Ohio - 2 to 11 October

Dad stayed at my place the night before we left, so we could catch a cab from my place. At the airport, the Japan Airlines plane waited at the gate for us.

I was so happy to be going over to the USA, probably more so than Dad was...

I thought it was a nice gesture that 2 Japanese ground crew bowed to the plane as it was pushed back from the gate. Nice, or scary.. Were they wishing us "good luck", or "GOOD LUCK". The plane has quite a few vacant seats, but Dad and I had a row of 3 all to ourselves, so we settled in for our 9 hour flight.

In Narita, we had a 23 hour stop over and stayed for 1 night at the Holiday Inn Tobu Narita (3546'47.50"N, 14022'51.25"E). Very nice place.

We noticed at the airport that there were these "boxes" that a few people went into and out of. At first, I couldn't understand what they were until I got closer.

They are actually for smokers. Here in Brisbane, you are not allowed to smoke within 4 meters of a public building's front door. Well, in Japan, they take that 1 step further and put you in a box, complete with exhaust fans. Great idea.

Back at the airport (3546'21.86"N, 14023'11.47"E) on the 3rd,

Dad and I had lunch at a nice quiet restaurant. We were amazed at how many eateries there were at the place. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say about 100. From small shopfronts to full sized restaurants. The people are very proud over there. At McDonalds, we noticed that EVERY member of the counter staff said "hello" to the customers, no matter who served them. One staff member did nothing but keep the tables and floor clean. A docket was dropped by a patron, within 30 seconds, it was picked up and in the bin. That NEVER happens here in Australia. But Dad and I had a kind of soup for 900 yen. I had chicken and vegetables and Dad had Beef and vegetables. I must have enjoyed mine more as Dad was still going when I finished..

We boarded the 11 and a half hour flight to Detroit, Michigan, USA. I can tell you the flight was packed and there was VERY little sleep had on that flight. Dad and I walked around the plane a few times, just to stretch our legs. But Detroit Airport (4212'59.14"N, 8321'12.90"W) was a nice break. And a very interesting terminal.

Along the far side window of the terminal, you can see a ledge. This ledge is an internal electric rail system used to ferry weary passengers from one end to the other or just to the centre. Even though our gate was not that far, we took the train anyway.. We WERE tired from lack of sleep after all! We did stop in at Coney Island for a burger before the next flight to Cleveland. Root Beer just doesn't taste the same over here.

The flight to Cleveland, Ohio airport (4124'20.86"N, 8151'27.63"W) was 1 hour. Here's what I find interesting about this flight. 1 hour. Yep, 20 minutes of taxying at Detroit and another 10 minutes in Cleveland. So, a 1 hour flight is half taxying and half flying. We stayed at the Ramada Cleveland Airport West (4125'14.93"N, 8151'58.56"W) just outside the airport for the night as we were too tired to continue to Akron. At the Ramada, we arrived and checked in. One of the first things I said to this girl was "Hey, you have a stron American accent, where abouts are you from?" Yeah, well.....

The next day, Dad and I headed to Cleveland city to catch a Greyhound Bus from the Cleveland terminal (4130'12.22"N, 8140'56.35"W) to Akron. We arrived at the Akron terminal (41 3'42.97"N, 8131'4.21"W) which is a rinky dink place no larger than a small petrol (gas) station. After unloading our bags, we caught a taxi to the Red Roof Inn in Arlington (4059'28.72"N, 8129'24.44"W). We spent the rest of the 4th October, sleeping or relaxing. After about 60 hours of flying, motels, taxi's and bus rides, we were FINALLY here!

On the 5th, Dad and I went to my Aunty Barbara's house (41 2'55.26"N, 8130'31.93"W), but we had been having a hard time getting a hold of her to let her know we were coming to visit.

 

So, we left a message on her phone and left. We headed to Tim's house (41 3'10.25"N, 8130'46.14"W). Tim was one of Dad's best friends in the early years. Tim had NO idea we were here. So we showed up at his front door. Tim was glad to see Dad and visa versa.

After we left Tim's, we had a long walk, about 60 seconds.. Dad's Mom's house is just behind Tim's (41 3'11.35"N, 8130'46.42"W). The house is for sale as Grandma passed away in 2005. Anyone want to buy a house in the USA?

My Aunt Elizabeth's house was the next place we visited. We tried calling Aunt Liz quite a few times but were never able to get a hold of her. So we just jumped into a cab and drove over.

After Aunt Liz's, Dad and I called another cab and asked to go to "Rolling Acres Shopping Mall" (41 2'53.74"N, 8135'2.49"W). The cab driver asked "Why do you want to go there?". I thought nothing of it until we got inside. Well, we saw a sign..

Then we looked around and it became apparent WHY the cabbie asked the question.. First up, the main centre attraction.

Then, part of the mall itself..

Customer service? Still, more service than any Telstra call centres offer...

This was the ONLY small store open. The only other 2 stores open are a Sears and a J.C. Penny.

After the excitement of the mall, it was down to one of the places I had been wanting to visit since we arrived in Ohio. The graves of my Grand Parents on my Mom's side. (41 2'39.45"N, 8135'18.15"W). Doris and Al Engelmann.

Right next to my Grand Parents is my Great Grand Parents Keokee (Grandma Chopper) and Otto Engelmann.

Dad and I had a rest day about here. With all the running around we did, we were just a tad pooped.

On the 7th, Dad and I met Paul, my cousin, and his son Joshua at Dad's Mom's house where we had a tour of the whole house. This bought back many memories for Dad as this is the house he grew up in. I personally have no memory of this house.

In the upstairs bathroom, dad noticed some "chip marks" in the paint on the bath tub. He remembered making these marks but he can not really recall how. I suppose age does that to you... Oh, and the years.

Dad was telling us about the time he hid something in the chimney of the house, so he decided to have a look and see if whatever it was was still up there.

We had dinner with Cousin Paul, his wife Rhonda

heir children Ashlee

 and Joshua

Cousin Mike and his wife Corinne and their son Chris was there too. (Chris is in the background)

The next day, Dad and I went for a walk around Akron City. (41 4'52.81"N, 8131'6.97"W)  Here's a site you NEVER see in Brisbane, or Australia for that matter..

Mad Max, eat your hear out!

Interceptor III.. What happened to the previous 2 models?

We made our way later that day to the other site I did not want to miss while I was in town. The grave sites of my Grand Parents on my Dad's side. Elizabeth and Harry Friend.( 41 1'36.20"N, 8131'34.89"W)

In front of this grave, Dad discovered Mary A Fabians' grave. His Gran Mother, so my Great Grand Mother.

Dad visiting his Parents

And his Grandma.

We had dinner at El Gringos with Ruth, Lisa, her partner and son, Bobby and Laurie that night. Ruth was OK, here we go, my Mom's second husbands, ex wife.. Got that? Good.

On my last day in Ohio before I headed to Florida, Cousin Mike, Corinne and Chris took Dad and I to Maize Valley for the Pumpkin Festival.

Dad and Mike had a long overdue catch up talk.

Dad and Corinne

On the hay ride. This was cool.. Sit on a trolly of hay being pulled around by a tractor. Nice way to spend a day.

Ever seen a pumpkin shot out of a "Pumpkin Cannon"?

And what that pumpkin can do to a vehicle?

Sweet! Anyway, the next day I headed to Florida.

So, go back to the US Holiday Page and click on the Florida and NASA link.