Published: January 21st 2007January 21st 2007
We left Toronto headed for Detroit Rock City. On the way however we hit a slight glitch with some -9C temperatures and snow. The tortoise was performing to its maximum capacity although this didn’t include heating and we were all freezing and losing feeling in our outer appendages. The snow subsided and we eventually reached the border. We couldn’t resist the duty free again. Ian got a $15 bottle of 1L Jim Beam Black and Gell really lived it up with a litre of Bacardi 151 which is, as the label states, 151 proof (about 75% alc). This stuff could actually be used as rocket fuel. The border crossing took slightly longer coming back into the USA with their over zealous border control and customs officers who think they’re comedians. When we told him we were Aussies he suggested that all the drinking we partake in is going to our head and that’s the reason why we were in Detroit in mid-winter. We kindly told him to get stuffed and move out of our way so we could get into Detroit. We found some accommodation ready for some real touristy stuff the next day.
Emma stayed in the hotel all
day due to some sort of cold related illness so Ian and Nick left her in the Emmafied room ready to see Detroit. First and foremost, Detroit is not as bad as you see on tv. We were told this by a nice security guard who set the benchmark for the people of Detroit, who turned out to be lovely folks. One of our aims of Detroit was to see the Joe Louis Arena and have our photo taken in front of a Detroit Red Wings sign. For those who don’t know, this is the ice hockey team which is loved by a high school friend back home named Seaward. We accomplished this and moved on in our sight seeing adventure of Detroit to the world headquarters for General Motors who of course own Holden Australia. However, there were no Commodores to be found which both angered and confused us but on a positive note we saw the brand new Corvette and Hummer as well as some other yankee cars. From GM World we caught the bus out to the ‘burbs’ of Detroit where our squeaky clean tourist image stood out like sore thumb compared to all of the poor
less than squeaky clean people out there. The reason for going was ‘Hitsville USA’ or for those uninitiated Aussies, the home of Motown music. It was very cool to be standing in the same room as such great performers like Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Meatloaf. Yes, before you start abusing our blog, Meatloaf actually started out in a band called Rare Earth which was signed by one of the Motown record labels. Part of the museum there hasn’t been touched since 1972 and is still exactly the same as Berry Gordy left it when he moved into a bigger facility. Ian and Nick also got to sing the Temptations famous song ‘My Girl’ in Studio A in exactly the same place as the original recording all those years ago. The tour guide said that the soothing angelic vocals should be used today in recording a cover of the same song and offered us a free recording. We told her to comeback with large wads of cash and we would consider it.
The Henry Ford Rouge Factory Tour was first and foremost on today’s schedule for Ian and Nick whilst Emma found her way out
of bed and to the previously stated Motown Museum but since you’ve already heard about that I’ll talk about the Ford Factory Tour. The Rouge Factory is situated on the banks of the Rouge River, hence, its name and is one of the marvels of the early 20th century industry. Henry Ford built it with a conveyor belt all the way through it and this was the first example of the modern production line. On the tour we got to see the Ford F-150 truck (or ute as we call it) getting built in the Dearborn Truck Plant. This was very cool although I’m sure the guy who’s job it is to stick the logo on every truck that comes through every day he’s there doesn’t think so. After Ian and Nick finished at the Ford Factory and Emma finished at the Motown Museum we hit the road for Chicago.
If anyone tells you that Chicago is the windy city, tell them to get stuffed, it’s not that windy. However, it was bloody cold. Our first day started with a visit to Millennium Park which is in downtown Chicago. This park is right next to the arts institute and
it shows. There are weird contemporary water fountains and sculptures as well as an amphitheatre that looks like Donald Trump’s hair (to quote Emma). This park is intended to be the meeting place for the new millennium and to see off the past. As our pictures show it is very artsy to say the least. After this arts extravaganza we headed over to Navy Pier which as it suggests is a pier that sits on Lake Michigan. It is full of shops and restaurants as well as auditoriums and the roof has an amusement park on it. This has a ferris wheel, mini golf and remote control boat racing among other cool stuff to do. However, as has been a common trend, stuff like that is shut due to the fact that it’s winter over here so in place of the fun park we went up to the Signature Lounge of the John Hancock Building which is the second tallest building in Chicago. And remember second comes right after first. The Signature Lounge is where all the movers and shakers of Chicago meet to have vastly over priced martinis and cocktails and where all the tourists go to avoid having
to pay to go to the observation deck of the building. The views from the lounge were spectacular with 360 degrees of Chicago. From there Emma and Ian went to the Green Mill Jazz Bar which is situated in one of the worst parts of town. We even had someone tell us that we should take a taxi home from there because you don’t know who you could bump into on the way to the train. The Green Mill is quite famous as being one of the favourite hang outs of Al Capone in the gangster era. We were lucky to see a world renowned sitar player whos name I can’t remember but was playing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra the next day. Who knew that a sitar could be incorporated into jazz music. Suddenly we felt so much more cultured after visiting a jazz bar.
We needed to sample some of Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza today so we headed to Pizzeria Uno. The name should be changed from deep dish pizza to pie. The pizzas were awesome. After our artery clogging pizza we thought that some physical activity could be in order so we went bowling. On
the way we even saw the new movie, Fred Claus, being filmed. Unfortunately we didn’t see Vince Vaughn and we couldn’t watch for long because some lowly paid, shitkicker, high numbered AD’s moved us along. We got a great deal at the bowling alley with $15 for 3hrs really paying off as we had heaps of time to kill. We bowled 5 games with Emma winning one and Ian winning the other four and having a top score of 130 as well as a turkey (that’s three strikes in a row). Now he’s thinking of joining the pro leagues. After our workout we went for a walk down the Magnificent Mile which is a mile of exclusive shops on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. It’s basically the same shops as on Fifth Avenue in New York. Needing to kill some time because of the scungyness of our hostel we headed to the local cinemas to watch Primeval. If you haven’t seen it yet, DON’T. IT IS SHIT!!! It is cheesy poo and not even funny cheese. The stand out piece of writing is when the two protagonists are stuck in mud near a lake in their 4WD and the female
shouts out: “It can’t be stuck, it’s a Range Rover.” Another classic line is when an African kid saves the American and the black American says: “Even if I have to shove you up my ass to get you through customs, you’re coming to America”. One of the worst movies ever made.
We left Chicago in the freezing cold and avoiding a blizzard by the skin of our teeth. Our next destination, Nashville.
There are more photos below