Cleveland – January 2016 – Motorcycles, Cars, Planes and Harvey Pekar

The International Exposition Center in Cleveland, better known as the IX Center is a 1 million square foot exhibition hall. Originally built in 1942 as a GM factory building bombers for World War II, it served for many years after that as a tank plant. When the tank plant closed it was eventually repurposed into the convention hall, complete with a 125′ tall ferris wheel that is enclosed in a glass atrium rising above the main roof.

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We have attended numerous events at this location including car shows, boat shows, RV shows, home shows and others. This day we were there for the Progressive International Motorcycle Show. Ohio, despite the cold winter weather, has one of the highest per capita motorcycle rider population in the country.

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This show featured the world’s leading manufacturers including BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidsosn, Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph, Yamaha and others.

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In addition to the new bike displays, there were numerous vendors with accessories. The highlight of the show was a collection of helmets painted by local tattoo artists. While we were there two of them were working on their latest creation. Another area had a collection of custom ‘artistic’ bikes.

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After the motorcycle show we headed across town to the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum, located at the Western Reserve Historical Society in University Circle on the east side of Cleveland. The Crawford was recently remodeled and I wanted to check it out.

Cleveland has a long history of auto manufacturing and it is celebrated here. Founded in 1965 it’s collection of vehicles include antique carriages, early Harley Davidson’s, a P51 Mustang Airplane hanging from the ceiling that was used in the famed Cleveland National Air Races of the 1920s and 1930s.

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It is most known for it’s collection of cars over 100 years old, as well as the aforementioned Cleveland based automobiles, including a 1932 aluminum bodied Peerless.

A recent addition is the refurbished carousel from Euclid Beach Park, an amusement park that was located along the lakeshore that closed in the late 1960s.

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It is just a short distance from here to the Cleveland Heights Library where they have a small display on Harvey Pekar. Harvey is sometimes referred to as the Poet Laureate of Cleveland, going through life with a cynical attitude and skill in writing and illustrating underground comics. He is most known nationally for his series of combative guest appearance on the David Letterman show. If you haven’t seen one try this…

He will likely either amuse you or offend you, but not both. But he is ‘true Cleveland’

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So Harvey was a loyal supporter of the Cleveland Heights library, and in reward after his death they had a small statuette made for him. We had to make the pilgrimage to see Harvey’s statue.

Having completed our pilgrimage we made our way home, stopping by the frozen Brandywine Falls on the way. After passing the ‘closed trail’ sign with everyone else, we had a magnificent up close view of the ice covered waterfalls.

Another great day road trip was now complete.

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