After a long day at work, John Prisel gets away from it all by crawling into big holes in the ground. "You can go in a cave and just sit, turn off your light, and rest your head on the dirt or mud," says Prisel, a member of the Cleveland Grotto, a local caving club. "It's nice, cool, and quiet. You just drift away from reality for a while."
The Grotto is the oldest continuously active chapter of the National Speleological Society -- an odd fact, considering that Ohio doesn't offer many good caves. "Most of the caving we do is in Pennsylvania," says Frank Vlchek, Cleveland Grotto's chairman. "If you want bigger caves, you go to West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee." So the Grotto spends much of its time planning trips (about three a month), some of which are conservation projects, with members cleaning up and restoring dilapidated caves. Cleveland Grotto also offers training to novice cavers, including correct use of ropes and harnesses. And as with any good club, it's a lot about socializing. Sit in on a monthly meeting, and you'll hear members spinning tales, planning outings, and bragging about their excursions. "Cavers are some of the best partiers I've ever seen," says Vlchek. "Caving can be very difficult and very hard. So when you get done, it's time to have another kind of fun." Cleveland Grotto meets at 7:30 tonight at the North Royalton Library (14600 State Road in North Royalton). Membership is $10. For more information, visit www.clevelandgrotto.org.
-- Keith Gribbins
SUN 5/11, TUES 5/13
Hulk and Spider-Man are now forces to reckon with on the area bowling circuit. The superheroes are part of the Action Hero Bowling Club, a 14-week family league based at AMF Akron Lanes. "It's no longer a blue-collar man's game in a smoke-filled room," says AMF's Ron Hall. "You can't just hang a sign-up sheet at work, and presto, you have a league." Part of the fee goes toward your purchase of an exclusive ball that features the Hulk or Spider-Man and glows under black light. Shazam! Action Hero Bowling Club takes place 6 p.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Tuesdays through July 29; AMF Lanes is at 2911 East Waterloo Road in Akron. Weekly fees are $11 to $23; call 330-628-4822 to learn more. -- Cris Glaser
Itchin' for Ichiro
5/13 -- 5/15
The Indians are back in town today after nine days -- nine very long days -- on the road. They host the Seattle Mariners, whose season is going a hell of a lot better than ours. But at this point, any team that can break up the monotony of the Tribe's not-quite-mediocre play is a welcome sight to us. So cheer away for the hometown boys; our eyes will be on the Seattle crew. The Mariners are in town through May 15; game time all three nights is 7:05 p.m. at Jacobs Field (2401 Ontario Street). Tickets range from $5 to $55, available by calling 866-488-7423. -- Michael Gallucci
A Walk in the Park
Blossoms of May is a 1.25-mile hike, led by a Cleveland Metroparks naturalist, through the wildflowers, bushes, and trees of the Rocky River Reservation. You'll see dogwood, mayapple, and Jack-in-the-pulpit, among many other leafy items that we aren't able to tell apart. The free hike takes place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. today at South Mastick Picnic Area in Rocky River Reservation at Valley Parkway (south of Puritas/Mastick Road) in Fairview Park. Call 440-734-6660 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci