Published: November 29th 2010November 29th 2010
I didn't realize when I left Niagara Falls that I would be entering Canada and travelling through Ontario most of the day. Lucky for me I had some Canadian $$$. This is a shot of what is known as "Blue Water" it is the bridge that connects Ontario and Michigan at Port Huron.
I have been on the go ever since I left Niagara Falls so I am hoping to catch up on my travels over the next couple of weeks.
By now most of you will know that I am going to be a grandmother again. Beverley and Casey are expecting their first baby in July. We are all very excited and are praying that all goes well.
I met a friend just west of Detroit on September 12th. Her name is Ida; she is native to Michigan and also a full-timer, so I was excited to explore the state with her.
We took a trip with another couple of friends into Detroit; their home. Detroit was a thriving city of 2.5 million people in its hay-day, today there are less than 850,000. Needless to say, the drive into Detroit shows the turn down in the city’s economy. Chrysler moved lock, stock and barrel to another site north of Detroit leaving behind buildings that have become derelict, and transforming beautiful neighborhoods into a shanty towns.
Once downtown, the sites change and Detroit is on its way back! Buildings are being renovated and new businesses are opening. A new river
Detroit's River Walk
We ate at a restaurant right on the river. This is a part of Detroit that is certainly on the way to recovery. That's Canada across the river.
walk has been developed and is beautifully maintained; we had a very pleasant lunch overlooking the river.
Michigan has a lower and upper peninsula. During the trip north it was obvious that the fertile land was in the south of the lower-peninsula, fields full of vegetables quickly disappeared and were replaced by a much more wooded landscape. The entire upper-peninsula area is a tourist attraction. The Mackinac Bridge which spans the straits of Mackinac connecting Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas was built between 1954 and 1957 and is the largest single-span suspension bridge in the world; its massive concrete foundations rest upon bedrock that is 206’ below the water surface. On the east side of the bridge is Lake Huron; on the west side is Lake Michigan. Once a year one side of the bridge is closed to traffic so that thousands of people can walk across the Straits. Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw) Island is in Lake Huron and a 20 minute ferry ride from the main land of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, the only vehicles on the island are a couple of fire engines, a fire and rescue truck, and a couple of ambulances. Anyone visiting the island must either tour
This absolutely stunning building was badly neglected but has been restored beautifully. Not a church-- it was founded on principles of faith and understanding and erected for the purpose of maintaining and continueing the ideals of financial service.
on foot or by horse driven carriage. The need for carriage drivers attracts a lot of college students willing to work for the season tending the horses and being tour guides. The Grand Hotel even employs several Hackney Cab drivers who are traditionally dressed in their top hats, white shirts and waistcoats.
Colonial Michilimackin is a reconstructed fort that was built to protect the Straits and the lucrative fur trade that existed between the early fur traders and the neighboring Indian tribes. It was occupied by both the French and British during the time when each of those countries was up to grab as much of the “New World” as possible. Docents dressed in period costume are available to chat and are performing everyday tasks of the late 18th century. There is also a reconstructed fort on Mackinac Island that served as a military post for both British and, later American soldiers from 1780 to 1895.
Our next stop was in Grand Rapids, the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum is there and my friend’s son and his family live close by. I really enjoyed the museum. I had known about Gerald Ford’s college football days and there was a lot of
The Guardian serves as the headquarters for Wayne Country and is part of the Detroit's financial district. It was built in 1928 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982
football memorabilia in the museum. Unfortunately, they didn’t allow taking flash photos inside the museum so a lot of my photos didn’t come out well. I did learn a lot about Gerald Ford though and gained a new respect for him.
One of the places Ida wanted me to visit was the Frederik Meijer Garden in Grand Rapids. Frederik made his money establishing grocery stores, and now has wonderful stores all over Michigan and northern Indiana. I’m not sure what nationality Frederik was, the Meijer could be Dutch? He apparently is very fond of sculptured art; his wife not so much. Frederik started a collection that found its way into the garage of their home in Grand Rapids. So when the ladies of one his wife’s coffee groups suggested a botanical garden, she thought of all the sculptures that she would like to get out of her garage! And the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park was established. The work of Dale Chihuly has been incorporated into the gardens over the past three years and is amazing. Actually, the entire park is amazing.
I am very grateful to Ida, I would never have seen all the amazing things I saw
This was such an enjoyable day. It was like stepping back a century. The only chance of being ran-over was if in were in the way of an ambulance or fire truck--or of course a horse and carriage. This one is delivering UPS packages
and enjoyed in Michigan if it wasn’t for her.
My visit to Michigan ended with a Solos rally in Buchanan. About thirty Solos came in their rigs (mostly motor homes.) We enjoyed five days of camaraderie and fun.
There are more photos below