I keep my blog as a personal record of what I'm up to, which might be seen as working towards "An elegant sufficiency, content, retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books, ease and alternate labour, useful life"

I'm certainly not there yet.  There is quite some way to go!

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Monday
Jun192017

The Henry Ford

 

Leaving Lansing on a Sunday morning, we anticipated a lunchtime arrival in Detroit.  Perfect for an afternoon at the Henry Ford then.

 

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We hoped the owners of the car parked next to us remembered they’d left their drinks on the back of their vehicle before they drove off!

 

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It being Father’s Day, it was pretty busy.  It was also pretty pricey and with only a basic idea of what was to see and do here, we struggled to decide which ticket to buy.  My Hero returned from the queue with combined museum/village entry for the three of us and eyeing the darkening skies outside, it seemed the logical thing to head for the museum first.

 

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Stepping inside the entrance though, we wondered what we’d just paid for.

 

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There appeared to be a random display of old agricultural vehicles on one side and vintage kitchens and furniture on the other.

 

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Well, we weren’t too interested in the tractors, so headed towards the furniture, finding solace in the exhibit about the construction of an Eames reclining chair – Made in Michigan, it seems!

 

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Across the way was a bright and quirky space which immediately attracted our attention.  We headed there next.

 

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We had no idea what the exhibition was about, but there were a few colourful things on display and it was surely going to be more interesting than old tractors.

 

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Perhaps it was about creativity?

 

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I was attracted by the items chosen to display and the overall style, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was about.

 

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Living a good life, perhaps?  We’ve noted how there’s a number of new magazines on the shelves here concerning wellness, creativity and mindfulness.

 

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But Evil Knieval’s jumpsuit?  Maybe it’s about taking risks too?!

 

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We were a little confused but hey, the displays were well put together and I was curious enough to want to see more.

 

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So we carried on through.

 

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There was certainly the most unusual collection of things on display.

 

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Including a display of fonts.

 

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I think I’d heard of Rat Fink Fonts.

 

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Several of the exhibits concerned fonts and lettering.  Maybe that was the theme?

 

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Or?

 

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But just as I thought I’d got it, I spotted Heath Ceramics, another familiar brand.

 

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Alongside was a different pottery brand.

 

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Across the way was a display of Herman Miller goods too.  They’re the firm that makes the Eames chairs amongst other things.  But there’s lettering there too.  Hmmm.

 

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I caught up with Mark and Mary by the silk screen printing display.  “Have you worked out what this is all about yet?” they asked.  Hah.  I’d been about to ask the same question!

 

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I replied that I had no idea, but I was enjoying the exhibits and was taking plenty of photographs in the hope of working it all out later!

 

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But standing nearby was a young woman staff member and rather than wonder any longer, I thought I’d ask her to explain.  Please.

 

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We hadn’t been far from the right idea, but hadn’t quite got it yet.  House Industries had started life as a design house, branching out into font designs along the way.  The exhibition’s intent was to show how early enthusiasms had influenced the designers’ later work, which included graphics for Heath Ceramics and Herman Miller amongst others (Adele, Shake Shack, The New Yorker…the list goes on)

 

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The last display showed the designers at work, alongside their products.  Maybe we should have started here?

 

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But it appeared we were not alone in not quite getting the point of the exhibition.  We’d missed the explanatory introduction at the entrance “but everyone does – no-one reads it”

 

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Well yes.  Later we returned and there it was.  We watched as visitors arrived and saw their eyes fall on those colourful dolls and bright banner on the left, not even noticing the panel on the right which was so dull in comparison.

Exhibition design!  But how surprising that a design-led exhibition got it wrong!

Having worked it out, we enjoyed it all the more and felt rather more positive about the museum as a whole as a result.

 

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Now, how about this, the Dymaxion House?  Buckminster Fuller’s 1946 design for prefabricated housing to accommodate large numbers of people returning from WW2.

 

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Well, interesting but rather strange inside.  No wonder it didn’t fly (metaphorically speaking!)

 

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Next up, an exhibit of recent history, aimed at a series of generations from the Eisenhower generation right through to Generation X.  We found some aspects amusing – I stood and listened to Blondie on an 8-track stereo whilst Mary and Mark sat on a sofa watching 1970s TV.  But seeing the (very popular) children’s hands-on Lego table overshadowed by the Shotguns and Rifles exhibit right next to it cancelled out some of those more positive feelings I was having about the place.

 

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Around the corner was a “rights and responsibilities” area, with four distinct areas which matched four of our road trips: Womens’ Suffrage (Boston to Chicago, 2014), Civil Rights (the South, 2016), Independence (Washington to Savannah, 1999, pre blog!) and Freedom and Equality (Little Rock to Chicago 2015)

 

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But with an eye on the time, and bearing in mind we hadn’t even thought about the village yet, we decided to focus on the flight exhibit, around the corner.  Here was a Ford Flivver, Henry Ford’s personal airplane design, the “Model T of the air”.  He imagined that everyone would have their own plane in time, but after the sad demise of his test pilot on a test flight, plans for mass production were shelved.

 

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The Ford Trimotor was here too, with pictures of wicker chairs inside and maps of the four day journey across the country.  We moved quickly on to other, more serious designs.

 

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There were three grades of airplanes to fold; beginner, intermediate and advanced.  I started with the beginner model whilst my hero folded an intermediate level design.  Whilst he took my simple plane for its test flight, I moved quickly onto the advanced model.

 

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Both survived for eventual display in the journal!

 

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unlike others, which ended in the scrap bucket!

 

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There were cars here, of course, including this Ford Edsel, a short-lived design of the late 1950s.

 

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My Hero had eyes on the Railroad engines though – enormous beasts like this Allegheny of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.

 

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An enormous Canadian Pacific snowplough was nearby, dwarfing the smaller, older engines – and those standing alongside.

By now, we were more or less back where we’d started, but a glance at the time confirmed that there was no way we were going to be able to do Greenfield Village justice before the closing time of 5pm.  Perhaps we could request a raincheck on that half of our ticket and come back tomorrow?  My Hero headed back to the entrance and asked the question.  We could but hope.

Well, he who asks, gets!  Yes, of course….the unused ticket is valid until 2088!

Feeling positive once more, we looked at the plan to check if we’d missed anything.

 

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I decided I’d like to pay another visit to the furniture display, to see how my Eames rocker was made.

 

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As I watched the video of moulding fibreglass, I spotted my desk chair right opposite – a Herman Miller design, too.  Who knew that we owned Michigan-made chairs at home?  I only knew them to come from John Lewis!

 

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As we left the museum, we reflected on the pros and cons of our visit.  It had been a bit of a mixed bag, but the flexibility of the ticket had won us over in the end.  Nevertheless, it’s an odd collection of “innovations” and in showing such a huge range of exhibits, it loses focus.  So, there are railroad engines, but it’s not really a railroad museum.   There are cars, but neither is it a motor museum.  We felt nothing was done spectacularly well and yet, we were glad we’d been.  The House Industries display was fascinating, once we’d worked it out and I’d say that was probably my favourite part.

 

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I thought I’d leave it with a picture of the most valuable exhibit (or so I was told).  The floor.  Nine acres of solid teak flooring, with each one of those planks worth $20, the elderly gentleman said.

 

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So this evening, we’re in Detroit, having passed the bridge to Canada as we arrived.

 

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It was a great night for a fish supper too and the Huron Room was a good choice!

 

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Sunday
Jun182017

The next chapter

 

Well, yes, it was time to move on this morning; to leave Kalamazoo and take the next step in our journey.  But our first destination was going to continue the story we started in January.

 

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Here we were in Grand Rapids, at the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum.  Regular readers will know how interesting we find these places and the opportunity to find out more about what happened after the events of the Nixon era was too good to miss.

 

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The Gerald Ford Museum is situated by the river in Grand Rapids and we found ourselves amongst a mere dozen or so visitors in there for most of our visit.  It’s always good to have the run of such a place!

 

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I realised how little I knew about the man and his presidency.  How long had he served?  Where did he come from (well, Grand Rapids, it seems)  but beyond that…what was his background?

 

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We were to find all the answers to our questions in the next couple of hours.

 

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As usual, the first part of the exhibit concerned his childhood.  Looking at the Boy Scout record cards and school reports, I wondered how many of our mothers kept all of these things?  Mine certainly did and it seemed, Mrs Ford did too, though I doubt very much that she ever imagined where they would eventually be displayed.

 

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The exhibits were well designed, if a little static.  Still, they told the story well and explained what I needed to know.

 

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I did know a little about Betty Ford, though.

 

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This display included a little interactivity and it was interesting to read of her story.

 

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I wonder how many women have had similar thoughts at times?

 

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Anyway, having set the scene, the elephant in the room was addressed.

Watergate.

We’d learned about this at the Nixon Library but it was useful to have a reminder of the details as background to the scenario President Ford inherited.

 

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What was clear time and again was that Gerald Ford provided a safe pair of hands in a crisis.

 

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But a couple of assassination attempts must have left him wondering why on earth he had accepted the challenge.  Here, the bulletproof lining to his raincoat was on show

 

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complete with typewritten cleaning instructions!

 

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Here was a replica of his Oval Office and alongside, the story of Betty’s breast cancer diagnosis was told.  Those days must have been far from easy for the whole family but her determination to be open about her health and to speak frankly about sex, drugs, abortion, equality and gun control provoked reactions from all corners.

 

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Unsurprisingly, Betty Friedan expressed her wholehearted support for the First Lady, but a letter from Maria von Trapp was written in a rather different tone

 

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I failed to take a photograph of the gracious reply!

 

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Her best known legacy is surely the clinics which bear her name and an ongoing open conversation about breast cancer and drug/alcohol dependancy.  Her words “Being ladylike does not require silence” were there, high on the wall above her portrait.  How true.

 

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Meanwhile, Betty’s husband failed to win the Presidency and continued in his role as an elder statesman until his death in 2006.  We watched the video of his funerals – three of them, near the Ford’s home in California, in Washington DC and then finally, in Grand Rapids MI.  There, standing beside their four grown children at all three, was Betty.  What an ordeal.

 

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We’d chatted to the museum staff about Grand Rapids and thought that it would be worth walking over the bridge and exploring a little of the city.  But as we left the museum, the Gay Pride rally was assembling on the bridge and as we approached the crowd, preparing to “excuse me” through, the man on the stepladder began a lengthy prayer and we all stood in respect.  Eventually, we managed to make our way through, only to find a deserted townscape without a coffee shop in sight.  We “excuse me’d” all the way back again!

 

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As we did, the crowd was beginning to disperse, party as a result of the arrival of four or five people wearing orange, offering free cheesy snacks.  Well, it doesn’t take long to discover where peoples’ loyalty lies, especially when the offer to “fill your rucksacks!  The sooner we can give all these away, the sooner we can go home”.  The gay pride rally scattered as people gathered a few snacks and began a bit of a procession.  We helped ourselves to a handful and returned to our car!

 

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An hour or so driving through the Michigan countryside brought us to the outskirts of the state capital, Lansing.

 

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Though really, we could have been anywhere in suburban America.

 

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We were completing this day of politics and government with a visit to the State Capitol.

 

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The entrance was a little unprepossessing.  I wondered if we’d got it wrong but a security guard confirmed that this was indeed the Capitol and we should continue down the corridor.

 

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Eventually, we reached the “right” part and found the visitors’ desk, where Renee welcomed us to her tour.

 

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Standing under the dome, we gazed up to the central blue “sky” with gold and platinum stars up there.

 

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Each as “big as a dinner plate” said Renee.  We believed her.

 

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The light fittings were elaborate, originally designed for gas power and the low level lighting we’d noted already was a deliberate choice to recreate the original feel of the building.

 

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We had a glimpse inside the Governor’s grand ceremonial office,

 

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taking special note of the door hinges.

 

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It being a weekend, the house was not sitting,

 

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and the Senate was quiet too.

 

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The wall decoration in the former Supreme Court was pointed out, since it was original and created using horse hair it seems.

 

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Though no horses were harmed in the creation, we were assured.

 

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Standing for a final look around the portraits of former Governors, one caught my eye.  It appears it’s the same one as catches the eye of most visitors and is of John Swainson, a young Governor who considered his life and work to be unfinished when he left office, choosing to have his portrait reflect that.  Interesting!

 

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We were finished with the Capitol though and had just one last thing on our list for today; The Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame.  We’d copied the location from our guidebook, checked it this morning and then again this afternoon as my Hero set the satnav.  But when we got there…

 

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It looked pretty empty.  Derelict, even.  We hummed and hawed a little before decided to leave it.  Only on a further search when we were back at the hotel did we read that it had relocated last month.  Huh.

The interesting sign of the day was to be found in the centre of Lansing this afternoon:

 

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I can think of several places where that sign could be very useful!

Saturday
Jun172017

Cars or planes?

 

When planning our road trips, we do a bit of research to identify places of interest and prepare long lists and google maps of things we’d like to do or see.  Today, there was a clear choice – was it to be the AirZoo or the Gilmore Car Museum?  Both were on the list but we had time for just one or the other.  Which was it to be?

We are headed for Detroit along our route and surely, we will be immersing ourselves in the motor industry along the way.  So perhaps the Airzoo would be a good choice?  But our guide book suggested the main focus was on the military and highlighted exhibits aimed at families with small children. 

 

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We plumped for the cars.

 

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The museum is set in a large area of parkland, with exhibits housed in several large barns.  Equipped with a map and advice from the docent on the welcome desk, we headed out to see what’s what.

 

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First impressions were good and the first hall of shiny old cars whet our appetites for what was to come.

 

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This was way more than a collection of dusty old cars!

 

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Saving a visit to the diner until later, our first stop was a barn filled with Hudson vehicles – a new name to me.

 

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Here was a collection of lovingly restored cars from the days when motoring was part of a glamorous lifestyle for those who could afford it.  Here too was my favourite vehicle, it turned out; quietly sitting in the middle of the display, nothing special in any way…

 

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until I took a closer look.

It’s a 1937 Railton, fitted out by Rippon Brothers in Huddersfield especially for Colonel Rippon himself and the style and finish is breathtaking.

 

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Inside – sorry for the reflections – the rear seats have the advantage of drop-down compartments, with silver cases for cigars, cigarettes and matches, plus four glasses and a couple of hip flasks on “his” side.

 

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On “her” side, is a similar compartment, but with space for aspirin (!), a hairbrush, cologne, smelling salts, chocolate and a notebook.  In between, there’s a shared space with a silver box for sandwiches, a couple of pencils and their mobile phones….   I was immediately thinking that in my road trip compartment, I’d have my sketchbook, scissors, crayons, a pot of water….!

 

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In front, there was a small shelf for the map and other compartments for who knows what?  Gloves?

 

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And the luggage?  All tailor made from matching leather, to fit snugly into the boot.

How gorgeous is that?  Nearby, there was a short film about the couple who restored this unique car – we watched it a couple of times, gasping at the detail.  Spot the first aid kit!

 

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Well, it was hard to follow that.  We amused ourselves by testing a few car horns in the Shell Service Station before making our way into the next barn.

 

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Now, pedal cars were just not going to cut it, were they?  We needed something a little more than that!

 

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Like a pink Cadillac maybe?

 

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This car was enormous!  Even so, there wasn’t a vast amount of room inside.  Just how many acres of space is there in that boot though?

Wow.

 

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Here, each car manufacturer had their models arranged in a building devoted to their brand.  Having ooohed and aaahed around the Cadillacs, browsed around the Pierce Arrow display, we found ourselves in front of an old Ford showroom.

But we’re heading for Detroit, I thought.  I really didn’t want to pre-empt the Henry Ford stuff there.

 

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But this was just a showroom of Model A Fords, without any particular focus or description.  We wandered through, stopping only by one particular exhibit.

 

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“Make this dependable tractor from your old Model A Ford”.

It seems easy terms were available to buy the kit, if you felt the need to do such a thing.  Mind you, the first step was “remove the body from the chassis of your Model A”.

Not a job for cissies then.

 

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By now, we were a little car-blind.  Yes, there was another great Chevvy or a remarkably beautiful Mustang, but they were so static.  I was wanting to climb inside one, to interact in some way or even, to watch as someone else did.  Heck, I’d even settle for opening the bonnet to admire the engine!

(what?)

 

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Just as we’d decided that we’d seen all the cars we wanted to see today, Mary spotted a familiar shape – an Auburn, just like those we’d seen in that beautiful Art Deco showroom a few years back.  Shame about the colour, but hey, it’s still a beautiful car.

 

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We’d really enjoyed our visit to this excellent museum, but after a few hours, we’d realised that we are not quite the petrolheads that much of the museum is aimed at.

 

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Give me a little compartment with a bottle of aspirin and a silver chocolate case every time!

 

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This evening, we headed for Bells, where the evening was just warming up and we were able to snag the last table upstairs.  The food was great and the portions generous.

 

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The beer wasn’t half bad either!

Friday
Jun162017

And now we are three

 

Mary’s delayed flight meant she didn’t arrive till around 9.30pm last night, so plans for a reunion Giordano’s pizza were shelved in favour of breakfast at Tempo instead.

 

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Larger than life, especially for you, Lesley, it was worth waiting for, believe me.

 

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An hour or so later, noting 27224 miles on the clock of our Dodge Grand Caravan, we set off on our road trip proper, heading south out of the city towards Gary, Indiana.  The scenery ranged from a light industrial landscape to steel works after steel works.  Arcelor Mittal appeared to occupy most of the land here in northern Indiana and most of it wasn’t a pretty sight.

 

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At times like this, I look for signs which give some idea of where we are.  On this railway bridge was a big clue.

 

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We were driving along the I20, the very same road we’d driven a couple of years ago, but in the opposite direction.  I well remembered the blog post I wrote at the time, to Chicago via the washing machine because driving on a stretch of the Interstate near Gary was a pretty scary experience.  I was pleased the weather was a little kinder to us today.

 

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As well as driving the car, my Hero always keeps an eye out for his favourite railway landmarks (or perhaps I should refer to them as railroads here?)  Sure enough, he spotted this sign in time for me to snap a picture as we passed by.

 

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For as well as being the steel works centre of North America, this area is a major transport hub too, with railway – sorry, railroad – yards left right and centre.

 

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There were strange vehicles parked in the car park too.

 

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Gary, Indiana hadn’t improved much since were were last here.  Though many of the buildings in the city were of solid construction, they were all but derelict and the whole outlook appeared very bleak.  I didn’t manage to snap the huge mural of the Jacksons, sadly, but pulling up at traffic lights alongside Porky’s Pit gave us time to assess the potential and decide that thankfully, we weren’t hungry right now.

 

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Another bonus for the train fan around here, with a Pullman car on the end of the Amtrak train heading for Chicago.

 

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And shortly afterwards, we were entering the state of Michigan, our destination.  We’d been here before, in that very same blog post in fact, but this time, we’re going to be exploring the “mitten state” more thoroughly over the next couple of weeks.

 

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Soon, we were driving through “Harbor Country” and as if to confirm that, a vehicle towing a huge boat crossed over right in front of us.  Rather than heading for the lakeside, however, we were continuing in an easterly direction right now and spotting a sign for Froehlich’s bakery, closely followed by one for Three Oaks, we realised that we were still retracing our steps from that earlier trip.

 

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Yes.  Of course we drove into Three Oaks and headed for Froehlichs once again.  It was just as good as we remembered!

 

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There were tempting goodies on the shelves, though it wasn’t really the time to be buying such things.

 

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So, we just looked and admired – though actually, I’m none too sure about pickled asparagus!

 

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There was one essential piece of information about Michigan we hadn’t quite grasped yet though, but as my Hero noticed a clock in the store and gave it a bit of thought, it became clear.  Michigan is in a different time zone to Indiana and Illinois.  It was an hour later than we thought!

 

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Taking a last look around this cute little town, we jumped back in the car and began the last part of today’s journey.

 

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It was a more rural route now and within an hour or so we reached the first stop on our route.  Someone began to sing…

A B C D E F G H….I got a girl….

 

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Did you guess?  No, I didn’t know the words either, but m-i-l Bettine does, every one of them!

 

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So here we are for a couple of nights.

 

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We took a quick look around downtown before dinner tonight and found the city to be rather interesting.

 

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Surprisingly quiet though.

 

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Anyway, we enjoyed dinner at Food Dance, sitting under the enormous corn plants.

 

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Had we been staying at the Columbia hotel, paying $1.50, we might have considered a pot of our favourite Jeni’s ice cream, all the way from Columbus Ohio.

 

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But at $11.99 (plus tax) we decided that perhaps for once, we’d resist temptation.  (Note to self: Google Michigan Ice Cream makers)

One thing we are not short of here – breweries!

Thursday
Jun152017

Culture Vultures

 

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The waitress at Tempo brought over the house standard “amuse bouche” as we sat down this morning.  A prune and a segment of orange is as good as any other way to start the day, I guess, but we had other ideas, needless to say.

 

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The corned beef hash and eggs didn’t last long but sad to say, I couldn’t quite manage all my blueberry pancakes, delicious though they were.

 

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We walked off our breakfast this morning though, heading along Michigan Avenue towards the river and beyond.  It was another lovely day, getting rather warm already though there was a cooling breeze along the river.  I stopped to take a photograph, taking care to avoid the glass skyscraper bearing the current President’s name.  He needs no further publicity from me.

 

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Once over the river and almost as far as the park, I turned back to see where we’d come from.  Chicago is such a fine city and the views are magnificent, wherever we stand.

 

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Our destination this morning was the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, where we knew there was an open rehearsal this morning.

 

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The unmistakeable stainless steel curves of the Frank Gehry structure appeared through the trees.

 

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Though looking the other way, an altogether different structure was proving interesting.  Can you see what it is yet?

 

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Yes, it’s Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, always interesting, always attracting everyone’s attention.  Deservedly so – it’s very clever and a real landmark.

 

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We were soon into the auditorium though, where the orchestra were already warming up.

 

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We chose seats in the shade, together with twenty or thirty others and waited for the rehearsal to begin.

 

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The first rehearsal piece was Alfben’s Festival Overture.  We weren’t familiar with the piece but it was tuneful and the orchestra were making a very impressive sound.  We were immediately captivated.

 

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Next, Vadim Gulzman came on stage and we heard the rehearsal of Tchaikowsky’s Violin Concerto.  Gorgeous music, beautifully played.  I loved it and immediately warmed to the soloist, who appeared to have a great rapport with the orchestra and audience alike.  When the final movement came to a close and the orchestra took a break, one of the Grant Park docents came to the front and made a short presentation about the music and in particular, the violin Vadim Gulzman was playing.  Perhaps that’s why he seemed so comfortable on stage, why his performance was so remarkable?

 

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During the break, a chance to stretch my legs, I noticed a few clouds rolling in.  The clear blue sky of earlier had disappeared whilst we’d been listening.

 

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And during the second half, whilst the orchestra were playing excerpts from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, there were rumblings of thunder.

Oooo.

 

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By the time the rehearsal had finished, the dark clouds were looming rather closer and working our way towards the exit, we noted that it had already rained just yards from where we’d been sitting.  That network of overhead speakers transmits the sound from the stage, by the way, so that wherever in the outdoor auditorium you happen to sit (even on the grass, beyond the seating area) you’ll hear accurate sound with no lag whatsoever.  Clever, eh?

 

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As we turned right there was the loudest, scariest clap of thunder I’d ever heard, provoking screams from those around us.  I feared we were about to get very wet.

 

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We hurried through the park in the direction of the Art Institute, taking note of the sign to “respect the art”.  But the three sculptures made from old tyres and bits of metalwork were not very attractive and we questioned whether these pieces were sufficient to earn that respect.  Maybe that was why the sign was needed?

 

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We couldn’t resist a glance back at the fountains, popular as ever with the youngsters whatever the weather.

 

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We were simply glad to have made it as far as the Art Institute without getting wet!  We’d been here before, knew we didn’t have long enough to see everything and decided to focus on something in particular.  I picked up a leaflet describing a mini tour entitled “My Kinda Town”, similar to but slightly different from, this one.

 

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It suited us well to have a pre-ordained route with some destination points.   Of course, we’d see things along the way, but by having a focus, we could manage our visit well.  We began with the architecture fragments, something which had taken my eye on a previous visit.

 

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From there, we headed past this figure in a most peculiar pose, I thought – or is it just me?

 

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We did a pretty swift scamper through the Impressionists.  All very familiar, many of them, we’d seen before.

 

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actually, quite liberating to scoot past Degas’ little dancer

 

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and scuttle past La Grande Jatte, reminiscing about Columbus OH as we did.

 

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Much as we love visiting art galleries, on occasions, it’s great to have permission to walk straight past a painting or four

 

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to float right on past the water lilies

 

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and the haystacks.  Because if we always stopped in front of the same old same old, we’d never see anything else, would we?

 

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Like Georgia’s Sky above Clouds which was the next work on our mini tour.

 

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We made a brief stop in the cafe, overlooking the pavilion from this morning through the screened windows.

 

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and progressed in search of So What, by Judy Ledgerwood, but failing to find that and instead looking at a few pieces of Andy Warhol’s work and something rather familiar…

 

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Well, we Murakami experts recognised Dob immediately, didn’t we?! Winking smile

 

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I liked the Jasper John Alphabet too, but in a weird way, also liked this wall…

 

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opposite the entrance to the loos, intentional or not, the wall with faded patches as if paintings had been removed was an amusing feature and I suspect someone had had some fun there.

 

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We continued our whistlestop, focused tour through the Roman gallery

 

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to see Chagall’s American windows.

 

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Three of them, side by side.

 

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So reminiscent of Chagall’s windows elsewhere, in that remarkable and instantly recognisable blue.  So painterly.

 

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then, right next door was the reconstruction of the Chicago Stock Exchange.

 

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But my Hero gasped and described it as soulless.  Where was the life, the energy, the people?! Sure enough, it was an empty room and as far from the old trading hall as could be.  The subdued lighting didn’t help and feeling a little disappointed, we moved straight on.

 

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To Nighthawks.  A very familiar painting, last seen just a couple of months ago in London, but still as potent as ever.

 

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and Nightlife just around the corner, the last image on our mini tour, which had proved to be just right and perfect for our short drop-in visit.

 

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We said Hi as we walked past American Gothic on our way out, back at home after a short holiday in London.

 

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And I rather liked this familiar image, so reminiscent of the Peruvian ladies we met in the Sacred Valley which we passed by on our way out of the galleries.

 

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By the time we reached the entrance though, people were running through the doors looking rather wet.  The storm had broken and it was pouring with rain.

We settled down and waited for the rain to ease before opening umbrellas and sallying forth.

 

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It was a rather different walk back to our hotel from this morning’s hot and sticky trek.

 

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We’d had a fantastic day though and really didn’t mind getting wet.

 

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The trouble was, the storm had delayed Mary’s flight and rather than arriving in Chicago as scheduled at 4pm or thereabouts, she was travelling via an unexpected diversion to Des Moines, where she remained until almost 7pm.  As I write, we are keeping everything crossed that she’ll be landing at O’Hare shortly, some eight hours or more since leaving Los Angeles this morning.

Hopefully, there will be no further travel surprises!