A Visit To The Shelby Mall

First off, the “Shelby Mall” is not a mall.  It is a huge surplus store.  You might say a surplus store on steroids. It is a place you can buy everything from a surplus 2 and a ½ ton military troop carrier to new decorations for your home.  There are aisles and aisles of parts […]

First off, the “Shelby Mall” is not a mall.  It is a huge surplus store.  You might say a surplus store on steroids. It is a place you can buy everything from a surplus 2 and a ½ ton military troop carrier to new decorations for your home.  There are aisles and aisles of parts for lawnmowers, automotive supplies, camping equipment, house wares, nuts, bolts, rope, garden supplies and, of course, military surplus.

Jennifer Arms, the owner’s daughter, laughs and says, “The real name is Glen’s Surplus, but our customers about ten of 15 years ago started calling it, “The Shelby Mall” and the name just sort of stuck. Lawnmowers are really our bread and butter.  About half of our business is lawnmower repair parts.” Jennifer says they have the parts for just about any lawnmower that was ever made.  In fact they have one room just dedicated to lawnmower blades and another room for wheels for lawnmowers.

Located in a century-old former manufacturing plant near downtown Shelby, the sales floor covers over thirty-thousand square feet.

“We have become a destination for tourists.” Says Jennifer Arms, “First time visitors come in the front door and just stop and stare because there is just so much stuff.”

There is a room filled from floor to ceiling with military surplus and law enforcement equipment, both new and used.  There are new field uniforms and flags, used parachutes and field generators.  From a basket full of practice hand grenades to camouflage coveralls, known as “Ghillie Suits,” that give the wearer the appearance of a Sasquatch.  They also buy back personal uniforms and military gear from returning soldiers.  Jennifer laughs and says, “The one thing I won’t buy though is used socks and underwear.”  Outside the store are row upon row of surplus military trucks and vehicles, still wearing their camouflage paint.  All of them are for sale.

But it is not just military surplus.  They buy and sell just about anything that is on the surplus market.  .   Jennifer says, “We have been told that we have the largest selection of wall-paper in a 150 mile radius.”

Over the years they have sold medical equipment for blood transfusions and even a gynecologist’s examination table.  The most unusual item they sell right now is unused, surplus body bags.  “Hunters and campers buy them because they are waterproof and use them for a variety of purposes.” Jennifer said.

★ You can read the entire story in the Saturday, April 28, 2012 edition of the Plain Dealer or on-line at their website: http://www.cleveland.com

Watching The Birds Return To Ohio

This week in my monthly Ohio Road Trip in the Plain Dealer we travel to Ottawa County…here’s an excerpt: It’s that time of year when bird-watchers start flocking to northwest Ohio for the return of hundreds of different kinds of birds that either make Ohio home or are just passing through on their way to […]

This week in my monthly Ohio Road Trip in the Plain Dealer we travel to Ottawa County…here’s an excerpt:

It’s that time of year when bird-watchers start flocking to northwest Ohio for the return of hundreds of different kinds of birds that either make Ohio home or are just passing through on their way to Canada.

Magee Marsh, two-thousand-acres spread across the shore of Lake Erie is seventeen miles west of Port Clinton and is operated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.  It is considered one of the top spots in North America to bird-watch.  It’s located on one of the major north-south migratory paths where millions of birds funnel through each spring and summer and it is a natural resting spot for the birds before they start the long flight over Lake Erie to their destination in Canada.

How popular is birding?  Just ask Mary Warren, Naturalist at the Magee Marsh, “Last year we had 50 thousand visitors from 44 states and five foreign countries.”  She says it usually starts in late March and builds through April and reaches the peak in May as the warblers return.  “There are 37 varieties of warblers; they are tiny birds, very colorful and very fast.”

On your way to, or from a birding expedition along Lake Erie’s shore you can also stop for a really big ice cream cone at Toft’s Dairy in Sandusky. …..You can read the whole story in the March 24th edition of the Plain Dealer or on their website:www.cleveland.com

Auction Day in Middlefield

For over sixty years Monday has been “Auction Day” in Middlefield the Geauga County home of Ohio’s second largest Amish population.

Starting at 9 AM in the winter months auctioneers Leona Cliszka and Chuck Smith start walking up and down the line in the auction barn selling eggs, produce, poultry and sometimes sheep and goats.  It is an open-consignment auction, which means anybody can bring just about anything to the sale to be sold.

“If you can legally have it in your possession we can auction it off.” Says co-owner Tina Mooney, who along with her husband, Tom, has operated the Sale Barn Auctions for the last three years.  “We don’t sell anything pornographic,” Tina adds, “And we can’t sell cars unless they are part of an estate.”

Both Cliszka and Smith are selling things at the same time; the auctioneer’s chants roll over the crowd as they move from lot to lot that is being sold.

You never know what you will find at the auction.  When the eggs, poultry and produce are gone, the auctioneers begin selling household goods and other items brought in that morning to be put on the auction-block. “The strangest thing we have sold, so far, was a mounted Moose head,” says Tina Mooney.

“The auction lasts until the last item has been sold.”, says Tina, “Usually that is around noon in the winter but in the summer, even with three auctioneers working at the same time it often runs until late afternoon.”

…….There is more…you can read the whole story in the February 25 edition of the Plain Dealer or on their website at WWW.Cleveland.com

 

MORE NEWS

I am officially going back to work for Fox 8 TV.  One Tank Trips will become a part of the show, New Day Cleveland at 10 AM on Tuesday, February 28th.  I hope you will join us and travel with us to some fun new destinations in Ohio and surrounding states.

A Visit To The Tropics In Lorain County

Picture yourself, in the middle of winter in Ohio, sitting under a large tropical banana tree watching a huge stalk of bananas just starting to ripen. The Lorain County Metro Parks newest attraction, the Miller Nature Preserve, in Avon, has huge banana trees, palm trees, and other exotic plants, highlighted by a panoply of over […]

Picture yourself, in the middle of winter in Ohio, sitting under a large tropical banana tree watching a huge stalk of bananas just starting to ripen.

The Lorain County Metro Parks newest attraction, the Miller Nature Preserve, in Avon, has huge banana trees, palm trees, and other exotic plants, highlighted by a panoply of over two-hundred orchids of every color and description. Avon was chosen as the location for the new nature preserve to commemorate the large number of commercial gardens and nurseries that once flourished in northeast Lorain County.

Opened just eight months ago, in May of 2011, the 5000-square foot Conservatory contains seven different plant and tree collections, located in three different climate-controlled areas, ranging from jungle palms to a desert landscape

The jewel of the nature center is a unique display of orchids from all over the world.  It is the work of Dr. Ibrahim Eren, of Brownhelm, who has been collecting and raising orchids most of his life.

Park Manager Linda Paull pointed out that the exhibits are constantly changing. “ For example, Dr. Eren who provides the orchid collection, is here almost daily exchanging orchids that have bloomed for those just starting to blossom, so we always have something fresh to see and enjoy.”

Another is the Bonsai Tree collection that is in a separate part of the conservatory.  “The local Bonsai Tree Club, who supplies the miniature trees for the exhibit, brings new examples almost weekly, so what you see today will be different in the coming weeks.”……You can read the rest of this story in the Saturday, January 28 edition of the Plain Dealer or on their website at www.cleveland.com

 

Mantiques For Men

Just off the Ohio Turnpike southwest of Port Clinton is the tiny town of Elmore.  Population: 1,487. The main avenue through the quaint town is called Rice Street and it contains among other things, two banks, a couple of restaurants, four antique stores and a place called “Mantiques.”  The motto of the store is, “Almost […]

Just off the Ohio Turnpike southwest of Port Clinton is the tiny town of Elmore.  Population: 1,487.

The main avenue through the quaint town is called Rice Street and it contains among other things, two banks, a couple of restaurants, four antique stores and a place called “Mantiques.”  The motto of the store is, “Almost everything a man could want.”

Mantiques is pretty much like the name implies, antiques for men.

It was the idea of Ernie Scarano A life-long collector who was passing through Elmore one day in 2000 when he saw an abandoned historical building that once housed a hardware.  He bought it, restored the structure and moved in upstairs. He then started wondering what to do with the store space on the first floor.  It coincided with a time in his life that he wanted to start thinning out his collection of all kinds of collectibles and so Mantiques was born.

Opened in 2007 it now fills three rooms with all kinds of unusual antiques that probably appeal more to men than women.  Things like unopened packs of cigarettes from the 1920’ and 30’s; Copies of “Esquire”, a man’s magazine in the 30’s and 40’s that was a forerunner of Playboy and other similar magazines;  Military uniforms and weapons; A signed letter from Samuel Clemons, better known as Mark Twain; and even a pair of unmentionables that, reportedly, once belonged to Adolph Hitler’s girlfriend, Eva Braun.

…….You can read the rest of this story in the Dec 23rd edition of the Plain Dealer or on line at their web site: http://www.cleveland.com

The Birthplace of Christmas in Northeast Ohio

              Springfield Township south of Akron may not be the place where Christ was born but it is home to one of two replicas in the United States of the tiny cave in Bethlehem where the actual birth is said to have taken place. The other replica is located […]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Springfield Township south of Akron may not be the place where Christ was born but it is home to one of two replicas in the United States of the tiny cave in Bethlehem where the actual birth is said to have taken place. The other replica is located in Washington, D. C.

The Ohio Bethlehem Cave and Nativity Museum, is located in the basement of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Catholic Church on Myersville Road.  It was built in 1992.

It was the idea of the pastor, Father David Halaiko, whom had travelled to the holy land several times to visit the original site.  He took many measurements and photos at the Bethlehem church to make the replica as authentic as possible.

The day I visited the church I was met by Kathleen Conrad, a parishioner who serves as tour guide. She pointed out that the dimensions of the man-made cave are the same as the site in Bethlehem, but the cave is only half-the length of the one in the Holy Land.

The main feature is the Alter of the Nativity.  On the floor, directly beneath the alter, is a large metal star, exactly like the one in Bethlehem.  There is a hole in the center of the star, which contains a stone that came from the Cave Church at Shepherd’s Fields in Bethlehem.  The star is inscribed in Latin which translates as, “Here Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary.”

Across the cave is a hollowed out section of the wall that travelers in Biblical times used for a manger to feed their animals.  The Bible says that the baby Jesus was placed in this manger……You can read the rest of this story in the November 26 edition of the Plain Dealer or on their website at http://www.cleveland.com

The Bat Maker of Ohio

This month’s Ohio Road Trip takes us to central Ohio where there is a company that makes baseball bats of such high quality they are used by many major league baseball players. Now, if you thought that all professional baseball bats were made in Louisville, Kentucky, you might be surprised to learn that nationwide there […]

This month’s Ohio Road Trip takes us to central Ohio where
there is a company that makes baseball bats of such high quality they are used
by many major league baseball players.

Now, if you thought that all professional baseball bats were
made in Louisville, Kentucky, you might be surprised to learn that nationwide
there are over 30 baseball bat-making companies presently approved to make bats
for the major leagues, but, Phoenix Bats in Plain City, is the only company in
Ohio.

Phoenix Bats began because company founder, Charles Trudeau,
had a hobby; he liked to play baseball as they did in the 1860’s.  He is a member of the Columbus Ohio Village
Muffins, a team sponsored by the Ohio Historical Society, who play against
other similar teams with the equipment and the rules of baseball as it
originally was created shortly after the American Civil War.

Trudeau, who restored
old homes as his livelihood, loved working with wood and wanted a
historically-correct bat from the 1860’s.
The rules at the time stated the barrel of the bat could be no bigger
around than 2.5 inches, but could be as long as the bat creator wanted to make
it.   So he went to the wood lathe in his
garage and using pictures and drawings from the period he created his own bat.  His fellow players admired the finished
product and soon he was getting requests to also make them for other teams
across the state and he soon found that he had created a bat-making business.  As his business grew, Trudeau said he had to
make a decision whether to go full-time into bat-making, ” twenty years from
now,” He said, “ I didn’t want to look back and wonder, was I good enough to
have my bats in the top level of baseball, the major leagues?”

So, in the spring of 2000 Trudeau went to the Cleveland
Indians Spring training camp with an armload of bats that he asked Indian
players to try.  Indians Infielder John
McDonald tried one and soon ordered some bats from Phoenix, becoming the first
major league player to use an Ohio-made bat.

….You can read the rest of this story in the October 22nd
edition of the Plain Dealer or on their website at www.cleveland.com

You can also take tours of the Phoenix Bat Company.  Check out their website at www.Phoenixbats.com

Also this month congratulations to some of my friends and colleagues that were inducted into the Cleveland Press Club Hall of Fame and Friday, October 28th.  They include: Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News, Tom Beres of WKYC, Tom Feran of the Plain Dealer and Herb Thomas of Fox 8 TV who received the Chuck Heaton Award.

 

 

 

The Running Of The Pigs

It’s autumn and roadside farm markets around the state are bulging with fresh produce. Farmers are using some new ways to entice customers to their road-side stands. It’s called “Agra-tourism” and for the past several years farmers have found that providing entertainment for tourists and charging for it is just another way to make money […]

It’s autumn and roadside farm markets around the state are
bulging with fresh produce. Farmers are using some new ways to entice customers
to their road-side stands.

It’s called “Agra-tourism” and for the past several years farmers
have found that providing entertainment for tourists and charging for it is
just another way to make money off their land.
It started many years ago with hay-rides, then came corn mazes and now  pig races are the latest idea of a Trumbull
County farm couple to attract customers to their farm market to buy the
products they raise and sell.

Sharon Grover and her husband, Steve, are the fourth
generation of their family to operate Ridgeview Farm in Mesopotamia Township on
state route 87 in rural Trumbull County.
They came up with the idea last year and it proved so successful they
decided to do it again this year.

Starting September 24th through October 30th,
the running of the pigs will occur each weekend during their “Fall Fun
Weekends.”

How do you teach pigs
to race?

“It’s not easy,” laughs Sharon Grover, “The secret is
cookies.  Pigs love cookies.”  She went on to explain that when they first
get the young pigs they just don’t get the concept of running in one direction
in a race and some of her five children have to literally chase the squealing
piglets around the small race track to the finish line the first time. There
one cookie is waiting for the winning pig.
“Pigs are smart.”, Says Sharon,  “
It doesn’t take long for them to realize that the fastest pig to the finish
line gets the cookie and the pigs soon can’t wait for the sound of the horn that
starts the race.”.  By the way there is
no charge to watch the pig races.

……You can read the rest of this story in the Saturday,
September 24th edition of the Plain Dealer or go to their website at
www.cleveland.com

ONE TANK TRIPS NOW ON FACEBOOK

Don’t forget that you can now follow One Tank Trips daily on Facebook.  Just go to Facebook and type, :”Neil Zurcher One Tank Trips” in the search bar.

You can find updates on places and things that I am doing and where I am headed this week in search of new travels.

Gateway To Amish Country Has Other Attractions

The Dover-New Philadelphia area is often considered “The gateway to Ohio’s Amish Country”.  But there is more to see than just the horse and buggy culture of the Amish. While this area is noted for places like the Warther Carving Museum, this is home to many other attractions, like the historic Lynn Drive-In Movie Theater.  […]

The Dover-New Philadelphia area is often considered “The gateway to Ohio’s Amish
Country”.  But there is more to see than just the horse and buggy culture of the Amish.

While this area is noted for places like the Warther Carving Museum, this is home to many
other attractions, like the historic Lynn Drive-In Movie Theater.  The Lynn is not only the oldest,
still-operating, drive-in movie in Ohio, it is also the second oldest such theater in the entire United States.

2011 marks the 75th season for this venerable outdoor movie theater.  Started
in 1935, owner Rich Reding is the fourth generation of his family to operate
the theater.  The Lynn is located at 9735 State Route 250 in Strasburg.  You can
call for information at 330-878-5797 or visit their website at: www.lynndrivein.com

Early morning visitors to Dover follow the aroma of freshly-made bread to Bread Head
Bakery on north Wooster Avenue.
Self-proclaimed “hippie”, Jason Cannon, presides over the ovens and
turns out mouth-watering, made-from-scratch creations with interesting names
like, “Bad Breath Bread” (made with lots of fresh garlic), “Hippie Bread,”   and “
Far-out Focaccia”, among others.  The Bakery/café is located at 320 North Wooster Ave., Dover, or you can call 330-602-2434 or visit them on their website at: www.breadheadbakery.com

A really unusual museum is housed in a Dover funeral home.  John Herzig of the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home long ago started collecting programs and other memorabilia from the funerals of
famous people.  It now fills several rooms at the North Wooster Ave. location.
Herzig calls his mini-museum “Famous Endings”.  Here you will find the funeral arrangements
and program for Elvis Presley’s services; there are the mourning vests worn at
the funeral of President James A. Garfield; memorabilia from the funerals of
comedians Lucille Ball and Bob Hope.  You can see the accordion played at the funeral of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Display cases are filled with thousands of the famous endings of celebrities, politicians and entertainers.  Admission is free but call for an appointment to view the exhibits.
Toland-Herzig Funeral Home, 803 N. Wooster Avenue,  330-343-6132 or visit their website at www.tolandherzig.com

If you are afan of old gasoline pumps, auto memorabilia and cars from the 1950s and 60s, New
Philadelphia offers a unique restaurant called “Hot-Rod City…

You can read the rest of this story in the Plain Dealer, Saturday, August 27th
edition.  Or you can find it on their website: www.cleveland.com

-30-

 

NOTES FROM THE ROAD

Is it just me or have prices in restaurants seemed to jump?  Bonnie and I were in a “Amish-themed” restaurant in Geauga County this past week and found that prices were nearly a dollar higher on many of their offerings as compared with similar items in restaurants in the Berlin-Sugarcreek area.

It’s County Fair time in Ohio.  The Lorain County Fair in Wellington is wrapping up this weekend and

next week, one of my favorites, The Great Geauga County Fair in Burton, Ohio gets underway.

Don’t forget the biggest one-day festival in Ohio is coming up on Sunday, October 9th.  The 2011 version of Dick Goddard’s Woollybear Festival in Vermilion, Ohio.

What are you and your family planning to do over the Labor Day weekend?  let me hear from you.

 

Using a Historic Boat To See The Lake Erie Islands

A historic old tugboat, converted into a luxurious cruise boat is the latest addition to the attractions of South Bass Island in Lake Erie. Scott and Susan Market, part of the Miller Ferry Boat  family, that provide Transportation from the mainland to the islands, have purchased the 73-year old Tugboat that was originally designed for […]

A historic old tugboat, converted into a luxurious cruise
boat is the latest addition to the attractions of South Bass Island in Lake
Erie.

Scott and Susan Market, part of the Miller Ferry Boat  family, that provide Transportation from the
mainland to the islands, have purchased the 73-year old Tugboat that was
originally designed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Since the Markets
have bought the 38-foot boat, they have added some modern amenities, but also
have taken the external look of the craft back to its appearance nearly 75
years ago.

The Markets say that there was a need for a more private,
smaller, upscale cruise boat that would let visitors enjoy a less-crowded way
to see the Islands. Both afternoon cruises of the Bay and a popular sunset
cruise where you can see a world-famous Lake Erie sunset are available for 65
dollars per person.  Snacks, soft drinks,
water and ice are included in the price of the cruise.  “It’s a romantic way to celebrate an anniversary
or it’s a really unique place to hold a small wedding.” Says Susan Market, who
doubles as the one-person crew on the “Restless.”  “If you don’t own a boat, this is an
inexpensive way to have the privacy of your own boat and crew for an afternoon
or evening.”

The Markets named the tugboat “Restless”.  The tug was originally ordered, prior to
World War II , by the Corps of Engineers as a prototype tug to be used for
moving barges and carrying crews to other boats.  However the Corps decided not to go with the
prototype and so it was put up for sale.
A man in Milwaukee purchased the boat and added a main salon, bathrooms
and sleeping quarters.  The craft
eventually ended up in Traverse City, Michigan where further restoration was
done to the boat. This year the Markets heard that the tug was again for sale
and so it found a new home at Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie.

The Markets who just a few weeks ago started offering public
cruises on the boat, says the converted tug can carry up to six passengers.  It is a beautiful way to see the islands
surrounding South Bass Harbor and Captain Scott Market, a fifth-generation
islander, offers commentary about each of the passing islands as well as an
insider view of living on Lake Erie.

The rides on the “Restless” are by reservation only.  You can contact them at the Miller Marina on
Put-in-Bay.  Phone 419-285-5902 or visit
their website at www.putinbaycruises.com

…You can read the rest of this story in the Saturday, July
23rd edition of the Plain Dealer or on their website, www.cleveland.com

………..0………..

My thanks this week to the good folks at the Willard, Ohio Public Library who came out to hear me speak on the hottest night of the year.  Perhaps it was the air-conditioning that brought out the capacity crowd.  In any event, it was great meeting so many folks from Huron County and trading stories about our travels around Ohio.

On Wednesday, July 27th, I will be speaking at the Ashland, Ohio, Public Library at 224 Claremont Avenue in Ashland.  The event starts at 7PM.  It is open to the public.  I hope to see you there.