Day 1: Here we go! (MI, WI, & MN)

A bit of a rough start today — although I certainly logged some miles.   My van’s A/C was working just fine on Friday but when I left NYC at 3am that night in the 90 degree temps — nothing.   That’s despite spending about $900 on a new compressor less than a month ago.  And that’s four mechanics now over the past couple years that can’t get this thing right.  So… since it’s the weekend, resolving this problem will have to wait til Monday.  Call me a wimp — but five weeks of 80 and 90 degree weather is more than the dogs & I can bear without refrigeration.

Got a little one and a half hour nap in the Poconos where it was certainly much cooler than home.  Then pressed onward for Ohio.  Windows down.  I took the dogs to a doggie park that I’d been to before in Stow since I remembered the huge lake there.  But the water was maybe in the 70s which was not a lot of help.  I will shop for rivers and Great Lakes on this trip rather than stationary ponds & lakes.  Or at least until the A/C is fixed.

Since we were mostly on the interstate, I don’t have a lot of photos for you tonight.  I did get a decent batch up over at Flickr (  Surely, lots more tomorrow — and over the coming weeks.

I’ve been on a giant skate quest lately.  The next SCA Journal Sign Lines piece that I wrote covers Skating Signs and Giant Skates.  Here’s a little companion page that I’m working on (rough draft folks):

And this guy will eventually appear with the other giant skates at the bottom of this page:

This giant skate  is located at Youngstown Skate in Boardman, OH.  It appears to be battery-operated and is driven around the rink now & then.  It has been painted different colors over the years.

Perhaps just as cool are the disco balls over the rink’s ceiling.  I’d love to see them in action!

While I was at Kent State to shoot the Giant Brain (see Flickr tonight), I found this little courtyard area with walls made of fake books:

This neat old place is in Akron:

On to some signs — a couple in Akron that I discovered through scottamus’ Flickr stream (thanks Scott — you are truly Mr. Ohio!).  I made a point to ask the owners’ some questions since I was really intrigued by these two.

This one’s at Flagpole Liquors:

Initially, I thought it might have been an adapted Norge Ball:
But getting a closer look at it today, I think not.  Too big, too much “guts” inside.  The owner said the hamburger-painted sign was originally used by the Flag Pole Drive Thru which was located there.  It was a truly a drive-thru place with no indoor or outdoor seating.  He said there was another location on Arlington that had a giant flag instead of the hamburger.   The flag was removed when it deemed too dangerous (likely to fall).


This bunny sign is located at Charlie’s Ribs.  According to the woman working there, the place opened in 1959 as The Bunny.  “Bunny” was Charlie’s mother’s nickname.  Later, the place was more of an ice cream place and called “Summer Bunny”.  In the 1990s, when Charlie’s mother passed away, the place was renamed Charlie’s Ribs.  The building remains basically the same.  It was always a dine-in (not drive-in) type place.  Some of the original children’s playground equipment is still there next to the dining room but insurance restrictions prevent it from being used now.

I did give in to a B-K (or B&K if you prefer) root beer float today in the heat.  This sign is in Cuyahoga Falls.  (Yes, that makes two locations in town – the other one with the adapted Dog n Suds sign that I posted at Flickr tonight.)   There are nearly identical signs in Van Wert, OH and Kokomo, IN and I’ve heard there were others that are now gone.

Lastly, I wanted to share a neat mechanical sign from E.H. Roberts in Elyria.  Wordpress wouldn’t let me upload it so I had to put it over at YouTube.   If it’s not displaying properly so you might need to cut & paste this string to a separate tab or window:

If you’re still hungry for more photos, you might want to check out the progress I’ve made in getting the spring tip photos up at my site.  I’ve managed to get about half of the TX photos up:

Time to catch up on some sleep.  Tomorrow, about 15 stops planned for Toledo and then we’re on to Michigan.  Looks like thunderstorms mixed with high temps.  Monday might be a day off for the A/C repair but I’ll still post something.  Photos of junk food & dogs soon to come.

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