Motor City to my Home Town

Trip Start Aug 30, 2009
Trip End Sep 29, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Indiana
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

USA Day 10 Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Detroit Michigan to Portage Indiana

Breakfast was a continental affair we chose not to have the donuts as the crazy lady in full makeup and PJ's had managed to finger every donut in making here selection. So just cereal and coffee.

I discovered that the GM Collection was not open to the general public so I posted a note on the Cadillac club website asking for help on what to do in Detroit. The first reply said "my first stop would be to visit a gun shop" we were surprised by this comment as we have had a pleasant experience all the way so far. But as we started to venture into the city we could understand where his comments were coming from.

We traveled in on Van Dyke Ave and after we crossed over 15 mile road you are amazed at the decay of the place. With empty shops, burnt out buildings, rubbish, down and out people hanging about roads in disrepair etc. we head into the centre of town and there is hardly any traffic it is like a ghost town a noticeable absence of hustle and bustle of a   thriving town centre.

We muse on why this is and we think that America is a throw away society so when their areas or buildings fall in to disrepair they don’t renew they just move on and leave. Unlike our inner city areas which we rejuvenate we might stagnate for twenty years or so but then the regrow also i suppose Detroit has lost so much with the demise of the auto industry.

We pass an old magnificent building which we think used to be a railway station as there is a disused 5 story hotel nearby we cannot understand how something like this is left to rot. If this building were in Brisbane it would be heritage listed

We are heading to Dearborn where the Henry Ford Museum is located as we get closer we see a distinct difference in the surrounding area with neater streets shops and gardens.

We find the Museum and have a great chat with the doorman. Here there are 4 tours you can take


Old village with Edison’s laboratory

Tour of the rouge assembly plant

And an IMAX theatre

As we had limited time we went thru the museum. This was not just a car museum but documented a lot of the American way of life from the late 1800’s to present. They had displays of what houses would have been furnished like in different eras, old diners, farm machinery, cars, trains, steam engines, motorbikes nearly everything

The stand outs for us were the circular aluminum kit home Lamy’s Diner a restored 1940”s diner, the Lincoln Kennedy was shot in (it was repaired and used up into the 70’s), and the biggest steam locomotive I have ever seen.

We leave the museum at about 2pm and head for Portage Indiana. We take the old highway not the interstate as these roads take you thru the country side and into the smaller townships. Again more corn. On these roads small farm lets and acreages line the road. We see new houses with large dams beside them these have diving boards, paddle boats and pontoons in them. We wonder if they use them as an ice skating rink in the coming winter.

At about 5 o’clock the van starts to lose power and we limp in to a car sales yard about 10 miles after we have crossed the border from Ohio to Indiana. Here we are greeted by Dan a very friendly guy who is very willing to help. We diagnose a blown alternator. He jump starts us with his truck and recharges our battery enough for us to drive back to Ohio To his buddy’s panel beating/ mechanics shop while Dan goes into town to get a new alternator.

We head back down the road and find the shed here we meet Dave a quietly spoken guy who starts taking the stinking hot alternator off the car. We start chatting and he has just returned from Australia his daughter lives in Ipswich and has just had a baby in July. It is a small world. Dan soon comes back with the alternator it costs 90 dollars I give him a hundred but he insists on giving me change he says you never know when I might be in Australia some time.

We have the car fixed an hour and half after we stopped and we were on our way again So thanks Dan and Dave and if you are reading this and you are ever in Australia please look us up and you will always be a welcome guests.

We continue driving and are enjoying these back roads and smaller towns which make up rural America. A bit before dark we come up behind an Amish horse and cart we are taken by surprise and soon we see more carts on the road with tell tale signs of horse manure on the side of the road. We stop for petrol and see a cart turn the corner and enter McDonalds Drive Thru. A bit latter the drive past us were we can see the young lad in the back showing off his Macca’s to a passing Horse and cart.

We stopped at a diner a couple of mile up the road and on enquiring with the waitress she says this would have been a great treat for the boy maybe his birthday. She also says that this would never happen on a Sunday as no one is supposed to work on the Sabbath.

Dinner here was all you can eat fish and salad bar. This place had a lovely home feel to it with the owner who looks like your Nanna Working the cash register and socializing with the patrons. We go to the salad bar and load our plates. Cath’s surprise when the grated carrot tastes like cheese (she forgot about the orange cheese). The fish arrives with 3 pieces of lightly battered cod with chips or home fries which is delicious. After I finish the waitress asks if I am ready for more and comes back with 2 more pieces of fish. I struggle to eat but it is so good I force my self. Then the waitress comes back and asks if I am ready for more. I decline and we ask for coffee. Dinner comes in at 22 dollars

After coffee back in the car and off into the night we find our motel at Portage this is the best hotel room so far with a King bed

We have had in interesting day and meet some nice people
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