On our way to the starting pointSeptember 9, 2016 in the United States
And we're off ! Destination - New Buffalo, so not exactly Chicago, but it was suggested to us by the lovely lady at the Michigan Welcome Center to spend the night . We met her yesterday after having spent the night in the parking lot across the street. She even gave us free entrance passes to The Henry Ford museum.
Yesterday was our second and last day in Detroit. Started our day with a 1$ breakfast burrito suggested to us the night before by the group of cyclists that parked their cars next to ours. Side note - they came back from the bike ride to find Jack and I sitting on our red lawn chairs behind the car in a parking lot, looking at the bridge lights. They must of thought it was hilarious. They then proceeded having a conversation about where the safest place for us to park for the night was, and apparently we nailed it !
We started our day and parked at the casino in Greektown - free parking, as suggested by our new friend at the visitors center. We hoped on the People Mover (yep, it was called People Mover, a suspended metro), which was basically a really cheap (75c) way of making our way around the downtown core with a birds eye view. We got off at the GM Renaissance Center for a free tour of the building, mostly because we wanted to see the view from their restaurant on the 72nd floor without paying ridiculous food prices. It even came with a bunch of Detroit, the motor city, history commentary.
We then followed this self guided walking tour we picked up, yet again, at the visitors center. It included suggestions for which buildings to check out downtown, their lobbies and history. Some of the buildings are absolutely breathtaking. The downtown core was beautiful and upscale and about 3 blocks wide. Anything outside that 3 block radius was hit or miss, including abandoned and boarded skyscrapers. We checked out the theatre district, which apparently is the second biggest in North America, after Broadway. That shocked me. The Fox theatre had all the old charm and embellishments you would expect of such a cherished piece of Detroit history.
We spent the rest of the day checking out street art and noted abandoned properties. This included a really cool parking garage downtown, where each floor was covered by murals of different well known graffiti artists. I say well known because Jack could name some of them! Our drive around neighboring streets was eye opening. Churches, warehouses, plants, even the Grand Central Station, abandoned, and yet have so much to tell. The Packard Plant was notable for its sheer size and extent of graffiti work. Obviously there were 2 security cars circulating around it, so we didn't get to explore inside. It still spoke an incredible story.
Knowing we wanted to do the Henry Ford museum and/or Ford Rouge Factory tour in the morning, we decided sleeping would be safest in Dearborn, the suburb closest to the museum. Thank you Comfort Inn parking lot, another perfect, safe location for our night's sleep. The drapes I fixed up are perfect! We get to park under some light to feel like the car is safe, and yet have relative darkness with the drapes up. Perfect.
Getting to the museum, we chatted with the welcoming guy Kevin. We wanted to do the Factory tour, where they currently build the F150, but our free pass was for the Museum or the Greenfield village. He suggested we get the museum ticket, then walk over to the second ticket counter, show them our ticket, and ask for the Factory tour also. This would make our tickets half off (buy one, get one half off, but since we weren't buying it, we couldn't buy it all together). We decided instead to ask the supervisor if we could just trade the free entrance tickets for the Factory tour since it was cheaper. Instead, she gave us free Rouge Factory tour tickets, and let us keep our museum entrance tickets... That meant both were free ! We're geniuses at this! Later on, Kevin saw us again, and decided to get us free popcorn. Haha, I don't know why all these people like us, but they do, and I like it!
The Factory tour was so so cool. It started with this video basically filled with propaganda on how amazing Henry Ford was. Followed by a video about producing the F150 itself - there were so many lights and lasers, and robotics on a model truck, it was ridiculous! I felt like I was supposed to cheer in the end. Haha. Watching the factory line, and how every worker has a very specific job, and how they improve ergonomics with floating swivel chairs and the car itself that raises up or lowers depending on which station was doing what, was fantastic. So so cool. The Henry Ford Museum was just overwhelmingly huge. Henry Ford was apparently a collector and there was stuff everywhere, furniture, cars, memorabilia, historical pieces. More notable was the Lincoln red chair in which he was assassinated, the black limousine in which Kennedy was shot, and the Rosa Park bus. Pretty cool, even cooler because it was free!
So now on the road we go, to New Buffalo, where we were suggested the casino parking lot for our overnight stay, mostly because of the access to washrooms 24/7, sounds good to us !Read more