Posted on 8/16/02
July 27, 2002
Chicago, IL to Michigan City, IN
We were up early and ate a hearty breakfast delivered by Kapra at 8:00 AM For some reason, I felt lethargic and almost suggested we take another day off. Finally as we prepared to roll the heavens opened up and rain pounded down on the street. It was a warm rain and Cat wanted to go. We took a picture with Kapra’s hubby, Miguel and pushed off in the drizzle at 10:10.
Once we got through the traffic and terrible sidewalks of North Avenue, the rain slackened and we rode the Lakeshore Bike Trail passed a school of long distance swimmers. The rain made no difference to them as they calmly swam in proper lanes. It wasn’t until we passed a time clock and cheering onlookers that we realized they were racing.
Sears Tower Underground? 0:18)
“In the Southside of Chicago, in the meanest part of town,” well we didn’t meet Big Bad Leroy Brown but we did ride past lots of apartments and some run down homes. The bike trail and marked streets would take us all the way to the Indiana border.
We could see the sign for Indiana from the window of Giappos Pizza Parlor. While we ate Chicago deep dish we called daughter Lori. She is really excited about her new career in Real Estate and has chosen to associate with First Team Realty. We are sure that she will be a star in short time.
The ride through Gary, Indiana was no big deal, contrary to popular opinion. Some of the guys we had talked with said, “You’ll be riding along through there and all of a sudden you’ll only have handle bars left.” Or another said, “You’ll find your bikes up on cinder blocks with the wheels missing.” It was an industrial town and the traffic was light probably because it was Sunday?
The toughest part of Gary and today’s ride would be the hot, muggy weather. It left Cat feeling hypertensive and having a hard time breathing. We stopped at a Mini Mart for cold water. We rode old highway 12 all day then began to ask directions. Later we were told to take a turn and get over to highway 20 that parallels 12 to find food and lodging.
Finally, Michigan City. We made a bee line for a nice, new looking Motel only to find that it was completely booked. The nice young lady there called all of what she considered the better Motels in town and all were full, no room in the Michigan City Inns. She tried one down the street called Travel Inn and they had a room.
The Travel Inn was a left over from the 1950s. In its glory days it had been a Travel Lodge. It still had a picture of Sleepy Bear in the tile of the shower. The people of Indian decent were nice. The room was like we would expect in India or Africa. The furnishings were worn. Some of the wood on the dresser and head board was held together with clear packing tape. The bed springs squawked and there were flies buzzing around. This would be good training for our venture into third world countries.
What a Dif a Day Makes 1:06)
We dined at Applebee’s, just across the street. They had a nice bottle of wine and Chaz, as his name tag said of Chuck, as he introduced himself, was a very good waiter. Even the food was pretty darned good for a semi fast food chain.
Our neighboring table, 3 couples, two from MC and one from Erie, PA, were in deep discussion about cholesterol and high blood pressure. We thought they were medical pros but it turned out that one of the brothers was a Paramedic, the rest were just thinking about their own health. We enjoyed talking with them but didn’t even get their names.
July 28, 2002
Michigan City, IN
to St. Joseph, IN
It was warm, we had cut the air about midnight and it was hot at 5:00 AM. My eyes opened and I never got back to sleep. We were up by 6:00 and sitting in a booth at Lindo’s Family Restaurant by 7:30 with loaded bikes just outside the window. It’s Sunday and the church crowd was thick.
The first 5 miles were a struggle, we tried to find a short cut and were lost. Up a couple of hills and into a narrow road through a residential neighborhood. We were worried that we had taken a turn into a dead end. A nice couple set us straight, just go to the end of the street and turn left. Finally we found and rolled north on 12 East. By 9:30 we were on the outskirts of Michigan City, Indiana and I needed a toilet. The Fire Station was there so I took it. Nobody around and a vacant Men’s Room, I was relieved. When I exited, voices called out, “Who’s there?”
I thanked them, gave them a card and chatted for a few. Cat continued to circle the parking lot. The bad news, and I hated to break it to Cat, was that in just a few miles we would cross another milestone in our Odyssey, the Eastern Time Zone. The bad news, of course, was that it would blow the early start we were so proud of. However, it was a short 45 mile ride so we should still get in early even with an hour lost to EST.
A couple of cyclists were repairing a flat along the road. We asked, as we passed, if they needed anything. It was just a courtesy ask because we could tell by the look of them that they were totally prepared.
We stopped for a photo op at the Michigan border. As we rolled the couple who had been dealing with the tire came up and stopped. They were on a tandem, a very sleek tandem with bags on board. Brent and Mary live near Chicago and they were taking a couple of days cycling up coast to Grand Haven. She had taken their kids to her parent’s home, left the car there and rode a train back. They cycled from Chicago and will spend a couple of nights off while the Grandparents take the heat of family. In a short time I saw them at a Mini Mart then they came screamin’ past us again and shouted out encouragement, again.
The coast of Michigan is so different from that of Indiana. We rolled through Michiana, Grand Beach, New Buffalo, Union Pier, Lakeside, Harbert, Western Dunes State Park and into Bridgeman. All of those cute little resort places were found in the short distance of only 15 miles.
Another strange Fire Fighter story, my phone rang and the voice said, “Hey Pat how you doin’.” When I asked who it was he said, “Come on Pat, it’s Izzy.” I was still in the dark then he said, “Mike Yzaguirre.” Mike is a Fireman in Ventura California. Cat had loaned him a boat motor, years ago and we had used the boat once. My name was still in his phone along with another pal named Pat. We laughed then he couldn’t believe that we were in Michigan riding bikes. He hadn’t seen the newspaper and didn’t even know we were on our Odyssey. When I told Cat about the call she felt that we should contact our hometown newspaper and do another article.
Bob’s Big Boy beckoned and we responded. We sat our sweaty bodies at the only two seats at the bar. It was 80 degrees when we left Michigan City and it the air was thick with humidity. They call it the dew point, here. We thought it was better for us and all of the others. The church crowd was really in full swing and they were lined up at the door waiting for a seat and at the Breakfast Buffet. We ordered sandwiches and watched the action.
The next 17 miles, under leafy trees and cloud cover, we found it almost cool and the flat road added to the felling of fast. We were in St. Joseph by 2:00. Looking for a place close to food, we circled the town several blocks. I finally made a decision that we should get into AC. We checked in to a mid-rise called The Clarion. For the money, it was a good deal and we could see the water.
Showers, laundry and journal work filled a couple hours. We were both so drowsy we had to get out of the room. A big band had been playing in the park in an open bowl with seating. As we left the hotel they played Beer Barrel Polka with great spirit considering the temperature. They finished, the crowd gave them a standing ovation and began filing out. It was 4:30, they had played for an hour. The sign said that they play every Sunday at 3:30 and 7:30.
We walked down to the beach. That was a mistake. The water looked inviting and the sand was extremely fine and yellow-white. It was so hot that Cat almost felt faint. The restaurant, Shu’s looked like AC and a glass of wine. AS we were leaving we asked the young Hostess if the band would play again at 7:30. She didn’t know but thought that if the sign said they would, then they would. A guy in white shirt and black pants stood up and came over to us.
“Yes, we will play again at 7:30,” he said with gusto. It was Dr. Donald Moely, the Conductor of the St. Joseph Municipal Band. He told us to call him Doc. He made a joke about his Doctorate, “I got a BS and every one knows what BS is, then I got my MS and that was More of Same.” Then when he did his bit about his PHD,” it escaped me?
Cat mentioned that we had met a couple of older gals dressed funny who were members of, The Misfits. He laughed and said some fans of the band wished he wouldn’t let them break into the show but he loved the way it broke up the show.
We told him about Acadiana and how I had feared being laughed at so I did crazy things to make them laugh. When he heard how we got here he set us up to answer when he asked if anyone rode a bicycle from California in a portion of the show where he asks who came farthest to hear the band.
Well that sealed the deal, we had to get dinner and get back in time to see the performance. We walked to The Boulevard Hotel Bistro and went in to the restaurant. Once seated we took a look at the menu and wine list. I didn’t like the selections or the prices. I wanted to leave, Cat was embarrassed. We walked back to Shu’s and had a bottle of wine and nice dinner for the same price we would have had to pay for their mid-priced bottle of wine.
The band had just struck up the National Anthem as we walked around the corner. WE had a great time, Conductor Donald delivered his joke and Cat taped it. I taped the Miss Fits doing “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue.” Then I went up on the stage and did a video of the Band. It was really great fun. We would have liked to have stuck around and talked with Donald but we both had to go, so we went.
Doc intos WR2 0:59) (Movie:
The Miss Fits 1:33) (Movie:
A Municipal March 2:00)
This was to be a day of strange events, when we checked our e-mail there was a message from Clausina. She was our rep with The Star, the Ventura County Newspaper. She just wanted to let us know that she was following out trip and suggested that we do an article. Kismet?
A little more journal, TV and we were in bed by 9:45 which when put into proper perspective, was only 8:45 just a few miles back down the road. And, if that isn’t bad enough, it was just 6:45 back home.
Worth noting, Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France for the fourth time, today.
July 29, 2002
St. Charles, MI to Kalamazoo, MI
We slept so hard we both felt drugged when we finally drug ourselves from under the covers at 7:00 AM. That means that we would have slept until 6:00, Central Time, just yesterday. Maybe it was the difference in accommodations that allowed the deep sleep. What a difference an hour makes.
The Clarion even has a complimentary breakfast. It was just so-so but the room had a lot of vacationing families taking advantage of the included food. The fin thing for us was how so many of the kids would look at our bikes, parked just outside the door, then walk in and start asking questions. One Mom of 4 came to us and told of a bicycle trip across Pennsylvania she took when she was 26 and had no kids. Her boys asked lots of fun things. The oldest daughter came over and told us to be careful and that she would look for us on the Internet.
Even as we pushed off in the parking lot we were stopped by two families who wanted to know. We love to talk with the kids and encourage them to have dreams. Finally we were up the street, over the bridge out of St. Joseph and down into Benton Harbor. The road is called Red Arrow Hwy. but changes names sometimes in different cities. We had very specific directions given us by the maintenance guy at the Clarion.
We lost count of the red lights and never saw a sign for the airport as he had described. Almost without warning we were thrust out onto the shoulder of the Interstate, Highway 94. As we rolled down the shoulder toward the first exit it began to rain. Big drops at first with lots of space between them. By the time we were at the off ramp we were in a deluge. It was wet but, it was cool. Not cold, just cool and that felt pretty good.
Whatever we had done wrong, we righted ourselves at the bottom of the off ramp. We were back on track on Red Arrow. The rain let up but continued to drizzle. The road was wet and fast. We came through a stand of close trees and brush, almost a valley of foliage and the cool fresh air was suddenly filled with the scent of mint. Very refreshing and we couldn’t believe the difference from yesterday afternoon.
The town of Hartford we sought out a grocery store to see if we could get a sandwich to have down the road. We weren’t hungry yet but knew we would be, soon. They didn’t have a deli or sandwiches so we remounted and started out of the parking lot when a gal stopped us. She had seen us in the pouring rain on the Freeway. She wanted to know if that was legal. It isn’t of course at least not here but we sure have ridden a lot of them.
Lawrence, a village that the clerk in the store told us was smaller than Hartford, was like a ghost town. At a coffee place that promised interesting food on the billboard told Cat that the only place for food in town on Monday was a Mexican place a block off the road. He did tell her that they have American food, too. Guess he doesn’t realize that Mexico is in America, too.
Our lunch, chicken tacos and quesadillas really filled the bill. Two young guys came in while we were eating. One, a tall blonde named Carson, came right up to our table and asked if we were the cyclists. He was so excited and full of questions that it lit up the entire restaurant. His friend, Jaime, came over and joined in the questions and conversation. They were both dressed in relaxed slacks, short sleeved shirts and ties.
When I asked what they did for a living they both almost in unison, “We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
“You make money as Jehovah’s Witnesses,” I asked with jest.
“No, no,” said Jaime, “I work at Sears.”
“I’m a salesman,” said Carson.
When I asked what he sold he said something like, “Right now I’m doing windows but I have done sales campaigns for Milk and Epson Printers.
We finished the great food and were getting up when Carson started talking with us, again. He told us that he spoke Spanish. He was a very proud young guy, likeable too.
I asked if he and Jaime would pose for a picture with us. They were really excited, they asked if it would be on the web-site. Carson wanted to see how heavy the bike was so I invited him to take it for a ride. We set the camera on top of a car and took a shot of the four of us. Carson ran to his car and back with a little booklet entitled “A Peaceful New World, Will it Come?”
Carson Rides 0:15)
I told him my feeling that all religion is good if it does good and brings good to peoples lives but it seems to me that Religion is all too often the cause of hate rather than love. I used the Israelis and Palestinians as an example. How can the guys who invented the rules, “Thou Shalt not Kill and Love Thy Neighbor” treat others the way they are treating their neighbors right now. He mumbled something about the things done in the name of religion, I shook his hand and we rode away.
Back to Red Arrow and a couple of blocks east we came upon a unique looking old house. I went across and asked Cat to take a pie of me in front of it. As I posed a car pulled up and honked. I thought it was a well wisher so waved back. The car then turned around and shot across the street toward Cat. I thought we had a kook so jumped on the bike and headed toward them. It was Lorenzo, our waitress from Resturante Acapulco. We had been so into doing the pictures that I forgot to pay for lunch. How embarrassing! I told Cat that they probably looked at each other and said, “They go around the world eating then not paying?” Funny in a twisted sort of way, I’m sure my face was red. The three of us laughed once Lorenzo had the money in her hand.
A few miles out of town it began to rain, again. Not just drizzle but really rain. We held tough for a while but it was becoming a curtain of water and dangerous. Looking for shelter, the best we could do was a grove of trees. It wasn’t dry but a lot better than being out in the direct flow from the skies.
It is Only Water 0:22)
Fidgeting, I decided to call daughter, Stephanie, during the lull in riding. We had a nice chat, she told us about how the neighbors are accusing Aubrie and a neighbor boy of stealing their dog. A 5 and 6 year old stealing a dog? Well it may be possible but didn’t seem plausible. Cat talked girl talk with her as the drops off of the leaves thickened.
When the drops felt thicker than they looked on the road we pushed up the dirt drive and rode the rain. We were soaked, we were soggy. I needed a toilet so we stopped at a Sub Sandwich shop. The young guy working there was really nice. His boss seemed to just put up with me. They did cut a plastic bag for us to put the camera in. Our fingers were totally pruned out. We looked like we had been in the hot tub too long.
The sky was dark and traffic thickened as we rode into Kalamazoo. We kept singing, “We’ve got a pal in Kalamazoo.” We couldn’t remember the words but the melody has been on our minds for two days and so has Lester, the guy we met in Edgemont, Wyoming. We wished that we had gotten his phone number just to say Hi and let him know that we had made it.. I rode out in the middle of the lane to keep drivers from trying to squeeze by, two abreast.
We passed on a rough looking Motel called the Downtown, and then saw the Radisson. Cat circles down the block, looking for any other places. I asked a well dressed young guy if there were any other hotels. He told us about the Downtown and we told him we had passed on that one. It was The Radisson!
I asked and received a discount on the regular rate. It was still more than we usually spend. The young guy, Scott, at the door was really intrigued with us. He helped us get through the doors and continued to ask questions. We saw the sign for the Arcadia Ballroom and had to have a picture for Cat’s parents who live in Arcadia, CA. As he Scott shot it we were joined by Mark, the assistant Manager. He too loved the look of our trip and called the event manager over to meet us. Then the General Manager happened in and joined the conversation. What a royal welcome, almost overwhelming.
We hung wet cloths every where in the room. They didn’t have a laundry or cloths dryers at The Radisson. Showered, we dressed and went to dinner at The Burdick Room. Good food and service then we had a glass of wine at the bar. Good conversation with a fellow traveler, here on business from Omaha. The girls at the bar were so concerned about a place for us to stay that they called a friend who lived in Albion, our goal for tomorrow. They were glad to report back that we would find a place to stay.
July 30, 2002
Kalamazoo, MI to Albion, MI
Another deep sleep night, another drugged feeling morning. We decided to find a local restaurant for breakfast. I had wanted to try to cultivate a relationship with Radisson. When we looked at the world wide directory we found that they really didn’t have that many locations. On top of that, we tried to get a room in Detroit only to find that their property there is actually 30 miles from town. As we exited I drooled over a 70s era Citroen parked out front. One of the guys out front told us it belonged to the owner of the Hotel and he has a lot of classic cars. I was tempted but Cat pulled me away from the car and back into reality.
One of the young men working at the door was from Senegal. He got very excited when he saw that we were going through Senegal. He told us that it was very safe and the cars in the Paris to Dakar race pass through his home town.
Theo & Stacy’s Restaurant was just down the street but it is a one way street so I walked and Cat rode to the door. She was already in a conversation with two older guys and a young girl when I arrived. Her name is Grace, she rides bicycles and really wanted to know more about our journey. Bud, her Grandpa and his friend Monte were torn between telling us about their work with the annual Flower Festival and questions about time and cost of our ride. Bud asked if we had called the newspaper. Cat told him that we were just in town for the night and interviews take time and effort to set up.
Seated, we had just ordered breakfast. Cat went out to get her pills and came back with another older guy. He came in asking about some guys who had been there earlier then sat down across from us. The waitress handed him a glass of water just as his seat hit the seat. He was definitely a well know local. He introduced himself as Walter Watkins. Cat took her seat and whispered that he delivers Pizza and wants us to stop and have one on him as we leave town. Once he began to talk with us I felt compelled to accept. He delivers the pizzas on bicycle. We promised that we would stop.
When we pushed across the street after breakfast we saw Bud and Monte with their tail ends up in the air while Grace watched. They were pulling weeds in a flower bed of the Kalamazoo Court House. I rolled up and asked if they knew what they were doing. They both popped up like Siamese twins and quickly began telling us how they volunteer to keep these flowers looking good. His is their territory. They pointed out the big circle planter and said that the Rotary Club had that one but it was the worst one n the grounds. They were pretty aggressive in their criticism, not, I thought, because they didn’t like the Rotary Club guys but because they wished that they would spend more time working in the garden. Cat thought the coolest thing was that Bud and Monte were teaching Grace how to know what is a weed and what is a flower and, how to pull a weed.
It was beyond late when we finally rolled down Michigan Ave. We talked about whether to stop at Walter’s Pizza place but a guy in Theo and Stacy’s had asked, “How can you not take his offer, even if you have to throw the pizza away?”
Bimbo’s Pizza almost jumped out at us. We pulled up just as Walter came around the corner on his three wheeler. What a proud guy, he whisked us inside, interrupted a meeting and introduced us to the Bimbo guys. They wanted to know about us. Walter brought us menus to take around the world. When I asked if he had an e-mail address he gave me a baggage tag from Delta Connection with his name, Walter J. Watkins and address, inside the laminate. He asked us to send him cards from around the world.
Prior to Walter, the three wheel bike was used at Eaton Industries to deliver parts and messages. Walter’s biggest order was 40 Pizzas and he got a $40.00 tip. What a wonderful man doing a simple thing with great pride.
About 15 miles down the road we found ourselves in Galesburg. We had to get a picture for our friend, Gale Wergeland. There was even a housing project called Gale Acres.
The ride was up and down. The weather was warm abut we enjoyed a little boost from the wind. We were in Battle Creek in two hours, a very fast ride. We stopped at a Mini Mart and I had an orange smoothie. Cat had to move from in to outside and back. She was too cold inside and too hot out by the bikes.
At the City Limit I recalled times huddling around a radio, listening to voices and conjuring up pictures in our minds. We listened to all of the shows on the radio and that always inspired us to want certain kinds of breakfast cereal. You know, like the sponsor of the Lone Ranger offering a silver bullet or the Green Hornet, a secret decoder ring. They were always found in a box of Kellogg’s Cereal from Battle Creek, Michigan.
Tom Mix, Green Arrow etal 0:34)
By 1:15 PM, I was hungry, the only option seemed to be a Burger King. The best news was that it was fast. We were back in the saddles before 2:00. The clouds thinned, the wind died down and we pushed through humid, 90 degree air for the rest of the afternoon.
They have a bill board campaign that we really like, here. It is about drinking and driving. It says, “Drive Hammered---Get Nailed.” One variation has a State Trooper looking through the window of a car and it says, “Meet your designated driver,” then the Drive Hammered thing underneath.
Despite the afternoon heat we found this area to be quite beautiful. Bud had urged us to a place called Port Huron, our pal and Associate in Real Estate, Jeff Paige had mentioned it too. We liked the thick wooded feeling of much of the roadside that would open to rolling fields of green and gold. How much more beautiful could Port Huron possibly be?
Part of the beauty lulled me into memory land. As we past a swamp thick with cat tails I deep in the labyrinth of my youth in Spokane, Washington. My brother and I used to hike up the bluff to a small swamp and play with the cat tails. Those ready to seed were really fun, we would hit them on our hands or a tree and watch them explode. And, speaking of explode, Cat called out and broke my spell, but too late. The shoulder stopped abruptly and I went flying out onto dirt, rocks and tree branches. The bike really bottomed out when it hit the dirt. It must have been a 3 inch drop and I was going at least 20 MPH.
I maintained control by just holding on for dear life and now swerving to avoid the rocks or to jump back onto the pavement. Pretty hairy for a minute or two, pretty shaky once I got stopped. It took a few minutes to re-compose.
Our friends in Kalamazoo warned us that the locals don’t say Albion, it’s albee-in. We were in town and lost by 4:00. We stood at a corner with right turn traffic flowing by. We tried to flag down someone for directions. Finally a couple stopped at the expense of the others behind them and told us how to back track and find a motel.
Felpausch is the name of the local chain of grocers. We found essentials, bananas, Gatorade and wine. It was extremely hot in front of the store as we loaded up and rolled out of the parking lot. There was a car wash on the edge of the parking lot. We stopped and I degreased the chain and shifters then rinsed them. Across the Interstate to the Days Inn, they had a room, the price was right but no King beds. We looked at the 2 doubles and took them.
Cat iced the wine and showered while I greased the chains and shifters. Restaurants were not within walking distance so we ordered pizza and salad from Dominoes. They sent Cheesy Bread as a bonus. The pizza was just okay but the Cheesy Bread was so good we decided that we would just order it and salad, next time.
Time flew, we worked on the journals after Cat checked the internet then we hit the hay by 9:30.
July 31, 2002
Albion, MI to Ann Arbor, MI
It was easy to leave the Days Inn behind. We did meet some guys that were there with Albion Caster Company. They were in from all over the mid-west for a sales meeting. Nice guys, I relate well to Sales People.
Alice’s Restaurant for breakfast and a conversation with Larry and Richard. They were seated next to us. Larry spoke and joked with every one who walked in. He told us about life in Albion and his business’. He has 28 residential units, 3 commercial buildings and 3 Carpet and drapery stores. His sons run them now. He also has a farm that he and his youngest son work. Richard is retired and seems to follow Larry around, he said that he helps him. I tried to tell Larry about our friend Donald Hunt. In a way, Larry reminded us of Donald. I never got the story in between Larry’s stories and the handshaking interruptions as the door swung too and fro with people coming and going.
The landscape took on a roley poly posture. Lots of ups and downs in the same thick trees and open farm land variations. We are once again experiencing the old heat index. “The air is so thick,” as my father used to say, “that you could cut it with a knife.
Lunch was served up by Bob Evans, a restaurant chain that we have seen here. We were seated next to a table with four women, they were waiting for three more. When their friends arrived we were in a quandary. All three were very big gals and they couldn’t fit at the table. It was pretty comical watching them push the table and chairs around trying to make room. It took effort but they finally all squeezed in. One in shorts and a tight fitting sleeveless tee shirt really worked up a sweat helping her Mother get situated.
One of the servers, Jennifer, helped Cat get water and asked if we were jogging. She had just started running. When she heard what we were doing she wanted to see the bikes. She was very demonstrative and promised to send us an e-mail.
At about 40 miles into the day we rolled into Chelsea. I should say I wobbled into Chelsea. I stopped and found 3 broken spokes. A young guy in the market pointed just across the street when I asked for a bike shop. Chelsea Bike and Sport couldn’t have been more conveniently placed. The guys were great, they put us right on the rack and checked the wheel. I had really blown some spokes, 5 in all. Probably started the breakdown when I rode off into the dirt and over the rocks and big branches, yesterday.
There’s more to Chelsea than just bike repair. We passed a music store with a statue of the King on a tall stand out front. Elvis’ image was alive and well and performing in Chelsea. I had to have a picture for Oscar, who pays tribute to Elvis in his performances, to Son-in-Law Dave, who is the King of Karaoke and of course to Franklin who is the re-incarnate of young Elvis.
It took time because they didn’t have spokes our size. They took longer ones and cut then threaded them to make them fit. One of the guys, Dave, had completed a ride across America. He could relate to our sore butts. The shop owner, Dan, and a friend had ridden 331 miles in three days last weekend for a “Make a Wish Foundation” fund raiser. They loved our stories and Dan insisted that they get spare spokes for us. He called a friend in Ann Arbor who would deliver them when he closes his shop tonight.
Makin' Spokes 0:42)
We took his advice and rode on to the outskirts of Ann Arbor to a place called Weber’s. It was a nice Hotel and Restaurant. Dan, Zac and Dan’s friend who brought the spokes, Paul and his girl friend, Jen, joined us for dinner and tall tales of the road, theirs and ours.
August 1, 2002
Ann Arbor, MI to Detroit, MI
So, after 111 days and 3,000 miles, we start a new month. We had hoped to be in Quebec by now but that was not to be. We passed the Complimentary breakfast and rode through morning rush hour traffic to a Café, Coffee House for a latte and muffin.
Fate and the small world syndrome were at play there. When we stopped a gal and her mother who were just taking an outside seat engaged Cat in conversation about the bikes and our ride. Heather mentioned that she owned Trekker’s Lodge Bed & Breakfast. Cat had chosen her place to stay a few days back, before our itinerary changes. She was great fun to talk with. She arranges and guides tours to Nepal and sells imports from there, too.
As the girls talked a guy seated near the bikes asked the usual questions then showed us his lap top. It was a new Sony 10 Gig and it was tiny. He owns a company called Coyote, “No wimpy Software”, powered by Fast Rabbit Software. He and a partner are just opening another biz they call Wide)(Wire. Serving Webs on Wireless and Middleware, what ever that is. Very high tech, nice guy named Mike Mack.
The traffic had subsided some and we started out then lost our way. The loss was our gain, we rode through the campus of the University of Michigan. Old brick buildings, trees and of course students, one of which set us straight. Back on track, we found that old Highway 12 widened and we had a lane of our own for much of the day. After we finally cleared the hills of Ann Arbor the concrete ribbon flattened and we were pushed along by a tail wind.
Today was to be another hot one. The wind at our back, although helpful, also left us in almost 100 degree temperatures at wind speed which also creates a feeling of complete stillness. We were really sweating it out. Cat even began to wish for a head wind.
The road narrowed as we entered Dearborn and the traffic thickened, again. We only have one unhappy motorist incident to report. Most of the cars and trucks, especially the trucks, were patient. A van with Enterprise Rental Car on the door was very impatient. She honked several times but where were we to go? Did she want us to stop so she could make her appointed rounds? What was it that she had to do that was more important than our safe arrival in Detroit? She finally whipped the van around us then immediately jammed on the brakes and swerved across in front of us, into a car dealer. I yelled out, “Thanks very much, thank you!”
Following good direction we entered Detroit and rode right to The Dobson House. All of the stories we had heard, including those of the guys last night, we found it fairly easy to navigate and we felt safe, with the exception of the van from Enterprise.
Cary, the owner of Dobson House and a friend of hers, Valette were there to greet us. The AC was the best part of the deal. It was almost too cool inside. Well, a close second was the filtered ice water. We gulped down 3 glasses each. I took the bags off outside. Cary helped us carry them up to our room. The furnishings ranged from original art to garage sale. The neighborhood is in decline. When we told of our introduction to the word Gentrifying Cary said that a lot of people hate that word and work hard to keep their area from being renewed. They like it as it is.
A Classic House and Car 0:27)
Cary has a 1964 Thunderbird. It needs work but is a classic. Cary offered us a ride downtown. We climbed into the back seat, Cary’s friend Lori went along for the ride. When we got out, I realized that I had left the camera in the car. I ran to the curb and waved my arms but they were already a block down the street.
Oh well, we walked down the street to a pizza place and went in to check the wine list. It was unacceptable. (Snobbish, eh?) As we exited a person grabbed my elbow and said, “I’m glad I caught you, you left your camera in the car.” It was Cary. What a nice gesture, way above and beyond the call of Innkeeper duty.
Looking for the perfect Detroit dining experience we finally chose FishBones Rhythm Kitchen Café. The sign out front said it all, “How’s Bayou.” We would eat in a Cajun place in Greek Town in Detroit?
The food was good the wine was fine and we enjoyed talking with our table neighbors. One the left was a couple from Houston, Texas and on the right, one from Maryland.
Greek Town 0:25) (Movie:
Holy Smokin' Taxi 0:54)
August 2, 2002
A day off that started at 5:30 AM for me. I couldn’t get back to sleep so began work on the journal. We had a very nice breakfast prepared and served by Cary. We are the only paying guests here. She has a friend staying but she didn’t make breakfast.
We really want to see Detroit. There doesn’t appear to be much of a mass transit system here. Cary said that in Motor City there are 2 ½ cars in every household. Okay, we will rent a car. We sat on the front porch and waited.
The young guy from the Enterprise agency, Brian Bell, got lost on the way to the Dobson house. We could see how that could happen. The street, Bagley has been cut in half by the Expressway. It just stops and then in what appears to be a completely different area it reappears. I called and they said he was on the way. He was more than a half hour late and very apologetic.
Our first stop, after lunch was The Motown Historical Museum. What a treat, to walk the simple halls of a house where history was made, over and over again. Talk about starting a cottage industry that grew into a huge business. Berry Gordy Jr. was a very lucky, very smart guy. He started out to be a Boxer and while training he met Jackie Wilson. Berry wrote songs like “To be Loved” and “Lonely Teardrops” for Jackie, they became huge hits and the rest is history.
You feel like you’re part of that history as you walk through the original house and into studio A which is the garage of the house. Imagine, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Brenda Holloway, The Temptations, Smoky Robinson, The Jackson Five (with Michael of course) all started in a garage.
William Smith, the Museum Coordinator, was just beginning a tour when we stepped into Studio A. He did a great job of getting audience participation as he told the story of the recording studio and the hundreds of artists who had stood where we were standing and performed for the recorder. The story I liked was how they would have a meeting every morning and listen to the tunes they had recorded. Gory would ask, “If you only had a dollar and you had to decide whether to buy a sandwich or this record, which would you buy?”
We were with a group here for a family reunion and a couple of other couples. William had most of us out on the line, behind the famous Mics, singing and doing the moves. The girls did “Stop in the Name of Love, the guys, “My Girl.” Fun and funny!
Stop in the Name of Love 0:58)
My Girl 2:14)
Our next stop, after a long, slow drive in gathering Friday afternoon traffic, was the Walter P. Chrysler Museum. We’re partial to Chrysler because we have, or should I say Son-in-Law Dave has our ‘61’ Imperial Royal Crown Coupe. Also Sis and Bro-in-Law Joan and Bill have a ‘61’ Chrysler Newport.
The collection, though small, was a real treat for me and Cat liked it because it was small. Yes, old cars are a guy thing, maybe an old guy thing?
Traffic was at peak rush hour, get home or out of town mode when we got back on the Expressway. Our friend and Real Estate Associate, Jeff Paige, who stood on the stairs of our office with Jack Peterson and sang, “World Riders 2. Com” for us as we pedaled out of the parking lot last April 12 and into the world, has a brother who lives here. He insisted that we get together with him.
Greg Paige met us at a land mark, the K-Mart Store and led us in to he and his wife, Mary Margaret’s home in an established neighborhood in Saint Clair Shores. We stopped and bought a bottle of wine. Greg sat it on the counter when we arrived, introduced us to MM and we took a tour of their home. It is quite cute and they are rightly proud. They have added a “California Room” with hot tub.
When Cat mentioned that we usually have a glass of wine, Greg, who is so like Jeff that we couldn’t believe it, turned and sang the line from that song, “You can’t always get what you wa-ant” and we laughed.
They are a great couple, they met at a Clown convention. He was interested in close up magic and balloon sculpting, they met in a revolving door and immediately started going around together. (Shades of Brother Jeff’s humor, too.) Greg said they started going together and she made a clown out of him. (More Jeff type humor.)
MM and Greg 0:23) (Movie:
The Swingers 0:15)
The place they chose for dinner, The Harbor Master, didn’t serve wine, either. The place was simple but the food was very good and we both had the best piece of Salmon we’d ever had for $8.95.
Greg drove, told jokes, some corny and some not. They gave us a tour of the beautiful homes along the shore of Lake St. Clair at Grosse Point. It is obvious that some folks make a lot of money building cars. Greg was an Automotive Designer for 12 years. That job dried up so he is selling Insurance now. For some folks, cars aren’t that lucrative.
We hugged like old friends and Greg ran in the house to get us one of their Clown Cards. It was a cute picture of them in costume with the words, “Clownfunentially Yours…, their names, Sparkle & Spice and phone number. It was the back of the card that was particularly appropriate.
“May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and until we meet again…
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.”
August 3, 2002
Today will be our final day on US soil. I spent most of the morning journalizing. We finally left for The Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. We were starving but came upon the Post Office so stopped, stood in line and mailed the accumulation of maps, articles and other assorted junk back home to lessen the load.
Another important stop with negative result was at the Ambassador Bridge that connects the USA to Canada. We want to ride it but the lady at the booth was adamant that no pedestrians or bicycles were allowed here or any where near here. The crossing will be in or on some vehicle. Cary our hostess at Dobson House had mentioned at breakfast that Vatelle, the gal we met her when we arrived, has read our web-site and said that she had a good mind to pull the seats out of her van and drive us across. We called and presented our case to her answering machine.
It was 2:00 PM and we were starving we spent a lot of time just driving around, lost or unsure of our direction. When we finally found the place we were both tired and irritable. Lunch would be simple but we did share a bottle of wine. By the time reached the Museum row we were running out of time. We decided to see the Automotive Hall of Fame first. I thought it was a free exhibit. Wrong! It was $5.50 for the senior in our group and $6.00 for the youngster. .
Cat Cranks 0:27)
It was a good look at the industry and how it grew, who contributed and how close they all were in the beginning. A lot of static displays but I did take a little video of Cat cranking a Model T Ford. We watched a movie intended as an introduction to the place as we were leaving. The best part of the entire experience was a guy named Marv Gulster, who was born in Detroit in 1920 and had worked for every Automobile Manufacturer at one time or another.
Marv made Cars 1:57)
We skipped the Ford Museum and stopped at a wonderful store nearby. Nice bananas and a lovely bottle of La Crema, Chardonnay. We may just stay in tonight?
It was after 6:00 PM by the time we got back to Dobson Camp. We hit the computers, Cat on e-mails and I worked again on finalizing our National leg of this Odyssey. By 7:30 we were famished and floundering. Suddenly a decision, we couldn’t just sit here in our bedroom and let the last night on US soil slip by. We asked and Cory, our house Mom, suggested The Rattlesnake Club. It has four $$$$ in the ad which meant expensive. We floundered again then she got a map and drew the directions. Worried that we were way underdressed in shorts and tee shirts, she called The Rattlesnake. They had a table available and shorts were A-Okay, we were under way.
The short distance seemed longer because Cory had routed us around downtown Detroit on the Expressway then back to the waterfront. Once back on surface streets we were in gridlock. Cat leaned out and saw a policed car with lights flashing. She kind of yelled back in at me that there was an accident ahead. A guy in a classic 70s Dodge next to us hollered out, “It ain’t no accident, The Temptations are playin’ at Chene Park tonight.
It was almost 9:00 as we entered the posh Rattlesnake. Many of the patrons were wearing coats, ties and gowns. We were definitely underdressed, the meal overpriced and the service was underwhelming. Not that Sommeilier / Server, Kirby Pope wasn’t a good waiter, he was all business. It’s just that Cat prefers to have chit chat and a feeling of closeness with the servers that was definitely missing, here.
When we told him we were celebrating the completion of our crossing of the USA on bicycles he warmed a little. As we were leaving he was cordial then stood in the window and gave us a thumbs up.
The warm mid-summers night air was full of the sounds of Motown. The parking lot attendant showed us the way to get around the fencing and into the arena. We decided to walk over and see if we could get a ticket.
The crowd outside the arena was thick. The performance had begun and those hundreds, like us, without tickets, were partying in the streets. People were seated along a most like pond and across the street on a grassy burme, listening, clapping and singing. We walked into the fray and down the sidewalk. At the end of the walk I talked with a guy named Hussie. He loved our story and thought he could get us in but his friend who was working as Security had just left the area.
Get Ready Cause Here We Come 0:58)
We sang and Cat danced back down the sidewalk and around to the main gate. We were teasing the Security Guards, along with several other wanna-be audience members. One guy kept trying to walk backwards into the concert. A few people were leaving and offered their ticket stubs to us but Security said, “No can do!”
Then Cat caught a guy on the way out who had an extra ticket that he gave to her. When we tried to get in with it and a stub that I had been handed, Security again, turned us back. Well, Cat could get in but I would not be allowed. Then the kind ticket giver stepped into the conversation and said, “How about this,” and he opened his wallet to expose a Detroit Police Badge.
Security looked at each other, shrugged and said, “Get in here!”
We were in, we ran and I took a video clip as we went around the wall. Another Security Guard cautioned us, “Don’t take pictures or video inside, they’ll confiscate your camera.”
Cat gets us in! 1:52)
The joint was rockin’ these were the local boys, now old men, who had come up fro the streets of Detroit to become a big hit, internationally known act. These were the guys who had stood at the microphone in Studio A and belted out My Girl like my group of singers and I had yesterday. This was very exciting for us.
Of course, we had to have a video. I held the camera under my jacket and pointed it at the stage. Later, Cat would just be blatant and shoot. The sound echoes around in the stadium but, we were there and part of a jubilant crowd. Chene Park stadium is under a huge tent like structure that reminded me of the Opera House in Sidney, Australia. Like the Opera House, it is on water and the stage is open in back so that you can see the boats and water. The boaters were out in force, too. Partying and listening to The Temptations.
My Girl 2:34)
It was after midnight by the time we got back to Dobson House. What a way to celebrate our “LAST DAY IN THE USA!”
Tomorrow we enter a new dimension of The Odyssey. We ride upon foreign shore and on into the WORLD. The journey has been pleasurable, arduous and at times very difficult. We want to thank all of those who have helped and been such a big part of our experience. We also appreciate all who follow us and send well wishes as we roll along.
THANKS FROM WOLRDRIDERS2, PAT & CAT