8 Mile

Trip Start Jul 24, 2007
Trip End Jan 18, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Sunday, August 5, 2007

Day: 12
Location: Chicago
Milometer: 1326

"Hey Red!"

Well I've been addressed with a few hair related titles in my time, but that was a new one on me.  I'd just walked out of 'Southern Fires', one of Detroit's soul food restaurants, having polished off a plate of grilled catfish with sides of sweet potato and collard greens.  On the day that the news reports Detroit's share of the US car market dropping below 50% for the first time in history, GM's 'Renaissance Center' 70-odd storey HQ dominates this city, reminding you that despite one million residents having deserted Detroit over the past few decades, it remains the nation's car capital.  The stay in Detroit was an interesting one, a stopover on the drive from Toronto to Chicago, emphasised by the excellent and at times moving Afro-American History museum reflecting on the city's ethnic makeup and history of slavery.

So Detroit was our first stop back in the US after leaving Boston after a few relaxing beach based days and driving up to Montreal through leafy Vermont.  C'est incroyable!  I had to double check the map to see that we hadn't driven into France after crossing the border from the US.  If it hadn't been for the clean air of Montreal's non-smoking laws it really felt like sitting in a bar in Paris's Latin Quarter, complete with nonchalant Gallic shrugs.  Whilst not quite living up to the beauty of British Colombia and Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto delivered as easy going lifestyle cities... Except what's with all the crazies??  One of which, a shopping trolley pushing old woman of Chinese descent, proclaimed that Dom (one member of our travelling entourage) would crumble to the ground and die.  Dramatic stuff (well Dom does stand 6ft 4 tall), but hopefully as accurate a prediction as one from a cardboard tasting fortune cookie.  For a people as friendly as Canadians, you'd hope they'd be able to take better care of these folk.  The highlight of our brief trip through Canada was saved till last - Niagra Falls.  Surpassing expectations I was in awe of this site throughout my visit there.  Which of course had to include a voyage on the 'Maid of the Mist', providing a refreshing drenching into the mist at the base of the falls.  Anyway as they say in Quebec, "Je me souviens".  I probably will.

I'm currently writing this up from a comfy Chicago hotel room, as we stay for the 3-day Lollapalooza music festival being staged in downtown Grant Park.  Now this is one world class city.  Clean, sophisticated, and with a downtown beach on the shores of Lake Michigan thrown in.  And the pizza..!  You have not tasted it until you've tried a deep dish Chicago pizza complete with a pound of tomatoes and cheese... and then they add the toppings.

From Chicago we face some dauntingly vast drives across the plains of the Mid West then on to conquer the Rockies.  See you on the West Coast...

See facebook for some photos:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=41831&l=f9af3& id=799845526
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