Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Life From the Middle

Toledo we hardly knew you. Michigan here we come.

We were welcomed to Detroit by it's infamous urban blight.

Abandoned homes and empty high-rises mark the spot. The Michigan Central Train station built in 1913 was closed in 1988. It's been abandoned since. The current owner fought attempts to tear it down, and there is currently a proposal to restore it, but to what seems to be the bigger issue.

Detroit doesn't lack office space or housing. They are tearing down some of the housing and trying to coax the remaining residents to develop farmland. Detroit gave us a chance to look in on a foreign country.
Oh look, we can see Canada from our car window. Detroit provided a great view into Windsor, Canada.

We took this shot from the front of the General Motors headquarters.

We figured we should check it out before foreign investors snap it up. Besides, Warren Buffet says you should always check up on your investments. Since taxpayers own it, we felt that it was our civic duty to check it out. As shareholders we we were disturbed by the number of non-American cars in the building's parking garage.

A trip to Motor City would not be complete without swinging by Hitsville U.S.A., otherwise known as Motown. This is where Berry Gordy cultivated and recorded The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and the Jacksons from 1959 to 1972.
We didn't tour the museum, we wanted to catch the massive Henry Ford Museum before leaving Detroit to rust.

The museum is home to the world's largest teak floor. A claim to fame that they are apparently proud of. It's mostly a hodge podge of Americana from furniture to farm equipment, cars, trains and assembly lines.

It does give you the chance to see the car Kennedy was assasinated in.

The first Model T is here and you can tour the history of the automobile. The highlight however, was the bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. You can board the bus, and see her seat. You can hear Rosa talk a little about the experience in this video.

YouTube Video

Ron was clearly moved by the experience, later saying he was almost brought to tears. Leaving emotions behind, we headed to the rock 'n roll capital.

Somewhere past Toledo along Lake Erie Ken had his own emotional moment. He became officially sick of seeing corn.

Supposedly Cleveland rocks. There must be another Cleveland, because this one certainly did not.

It is, however, home to the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It is considered to be the birthplace of the genre. The museum is a shrine to the people who have added something to music. We wouldn't know.

The $22 admission fee and a prohibition on taking photos were enough for us to say, "forget it." On a trip where so many things have been cramped into a short period, relying on our memories, only furthers the need for photographic evidence. So, your view will be our view... The attached video pretty much sums up our visit. We spared you a tour of the gift shop.

YouTube Video

So what do you do when your passing through Cleveland. For starters, Lake Erie isn't much to look at.

A quick web search of "must-see things in Cleveland" gives you the list. After the Hall of Fame, there's a zoo, a cemetery, a stadium, and a closed Science Center. We went for the architectural choice on the list, "The Arcade."

It opened in 1890, as a center of commerce for the then booming city. It is considered to be the finest example of arcade architecture in the country. It was the 9th building in the U.S. to be put on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 2001 the upper floors were converted to hotel rooms, the lower two levels are mostly retail, however, the empty spaces far outnumber the full ones.
Cleveland wasn't going to let us go easily. Exiting the city was the first time the entire trip that we encountered traffic as we made our way to the Ohio turnpike.

Crossing into Pennsylvania, we got one step closer to Pittsburgh. Those of you who have been following this blog also know that means we are even closer to Ron's family and china.

But not before we stop and see Jenny and a night out with her friend Ben.

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