Day 1: March 15, 2011
Return of the Buzzards
Previous Day
Next Day
Site Home
Trip Home

I'd read that things started around 6:30 so managed to arrive a few minutes before that. The hard core, the guys with buzzard outfits, were already there and so were a pair of important Bobs. The Bob on the left is the PR man for the Metroparks but he has a last name I'll never remember. The Bob on the right is Dr. Bob Hinckle, the official buzzard spotter. Pay no attention to the numbers on the Buzzard Scoreboard. They're left over from last year and will be erased several minutes before this year's counting begins.

A couple of blazing fire barrels -- note the bird shaped vents -- help keep people warm and before long coffee, donuts, and souvenirs are available in a big tent. The coffee and donuts are free; the souvenirs reasonably priced. As the sky lightens, people start to glance toward the tree tops and a group from a nearby rest home joins in. Volunteers pass out free plastic 30 power binoculars while Dr Bob conducts one last interview with the help of a human sized buzzard.

The official start-looking time is 7:00 and Dr Bob has predicted a 7:15 sighting. Both come and go and so does last year's first sighting time of 7:56. It is officially 8:28 when the official buzzard spotter officially spots a buzzard and I take an unofficial picture. The buzzards have once again returned to Hinckley -- officially -- and the crowd of a hundred or so starts to disperse. I take off with the bulk of the watchers while the three TV crews start packing up and some of the regulars start comparing this year with others. I was interviewed early on by the Channel 5 crew, presumedly for a guys-who-travel-a-long-way-to-stand-in-the-cold feature but I don't know if any of it actually aired.

I had more or less planned on eating here tomorrow since buzzard spotting is unpredictable and I thought I'd find something near Hinckley. When the buzzard spotting moved along quickly and I found nothing else along the way, I decided that today was the day for breakfast at Mike's Place in Kent. The place is tastefully decorated inside and out with an impressive and entertaining menu. Both boat and bus seating is available. They offer an outstanding $2.99 breakfast special (bacon, sausage, eggs, home fries) but only before 10:00 AM. I arrived at 10:03 and had a tasty western omelet.

TEMPORARY: At the time of posting, Mike's website was misbehaving so here's a link to a Roadfood review.

What happened on the Kent State campus on May 4, 1970 was one of the most traumatic things to happen in my life in my state yet this is the first time I've been here and, yes, I am ashamed. The time and the events are summed up reasonably well by the two sided marker. The floor of the granite memorial contains the words "Inquire, Learn, Reflect" and Neil Young, who wrote the song Ohio, has said that this was "Probably the most important lesson ever learned at an American place of learning." There is no doubt that we learned a lot from the lesson but it feels like there is still more to learn.

A series of seven panels like the one in the last picture surround the commons and contain a phone number which accesses a narration recorded by Julian Bond. More information is available here.

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in Ohio.
    --Neil Young

[Prev] [Site Home] [Trip Home] [Contact] [Next]