Wednesday August 8th
On the way north we skirted Detroit to the west, but starting this morning we are already ‘into’ the metro area so trying to sort out what tack we should we take to get past the city. Wait, we’re not sailing – well if the saying fits use it right? Rabbit trail: mixed idiom perhaps, I can’t keep figures of speech straight. So that makes it a malaphore right! Ok, back on track. Hey, what about straight east then hug the Detroit River shore all the way south to Lake Erie… Humans are attracted to water like a moth to a flame so there should be something interesting I would think.
We so enjoyed breakfast with our nieces we ended up leaving pretty late, just in time for lunch! Oh, and we are so close to empty the very first order of business was getting gas – or we’ll be walking!
So bike fueled up, lunch in our tummies and we are off. Nothing really to speak of on 16 mile, blah. It is curious to name streets by the number miles from the city center, nice to navigate, utilitarian but pretty boring right? We finally hit water at Lake Sinclair park – we would have ridding in and looked around but there was a pretty hefty fee just to take a gander so we moved along. It was pleasant with water on the left and homes on the right. The road is close enough to get some views now and again. Homes were nice to over the top.
Interesting to see the Ambassador Bridge at kind of the business end of things. This is clipped from GoPro footage so is certainly not a ‘planned shot’ but I enjoyed the fact that we captured trucks above and below, sometimes lucky is just as effective as good :-). Interesting to note that over somewhere between 15-25% of US – Canadian trade passes right over head at this very spot.
I remember seeing an article in the paper (Washington Post) some years ago describing some of the controversy over this bit of road connecting the US with Canada. At the time I glanced at the headline and moved on, not all that interested in some local politic half a country away. Now here I am riding under it. Small world right?
So my curiosity is a piqued and I did a search, read a few articles. Evidently the billionaire owner, Matty Moroun, is quite a character. Described as a bare-knuckle business man, he is of Arab decent and grew up hard. I’m not going to take time and space here to say all that much, if you are interested, it’s easy enough to find out more. Here are a couple of fun tidbits though. An article in the Detroit Free Press recounts his ties with Jimmy Hoffa quoting Matty saying ‘I was close with Jimmy, since he used to buy gas at my fathers station’ and another recounting the day spent in jail at 83 years old for not fixing the bridge after the Canadian government rolled over and relinquished it’s fight for control in exchange for his promises to repair the structure. They (Canadians) are now building their own bridge and it is probably safe to say that that no small part of their motivation to shell out $7.5 billion for an alternative is contempt of the Morouns. Humans certainly are funny creatures.
Next stop historic Fort Wayne. Cool looking place, mostly rotting away. The original earthen works fort and sandstone barracks have been restored the rest is a decaying mess. Evidently it was handed over to the city of Detroit, sorta wonder why they took it? Had I known there was a museum to the Tuskegee Airmen there may have tried to stop (web site says by appointment only) so on we go.
I suppose one of the themes of the trip is bridges, today was certainly that way. Lots and lots of bridges. And like snowflakes, I suppose, they are all a different… Some are fancy, others grand. This one is rather industrial with a touch of grace.
The next bridge we crossed was a rather small at the entrance to Elizabeth Park. Unlike the earlier park this one is open to the public with lots of trees and grass – and even a wedding party taking photos!
And the next bridge? The ‘Free’ Grosse Ile swing camel back truss bridge, how’s that for a mouthful. And here is what it looks like west – east.
So why Grosse Ile? I duno, why not? Turned out to be a pretty spot, more houses and river views. At the south end is a marina that had a certain charm (and two more bridges, of course…). Here is a feel for the island.
Hey, Gibraltar? Have to go there! Well, big name, not really that much going on ;-). Worth a try right?
Well, we have used most of the day and are a whooping 33 miles (as the crow flies) from where we started. Oh my! Ok, time to pull up a map and tighten up the day. Given the distance from our destination for the night, the time, the fact that we need to get an external hard drive (Hard drive on my laptop is full, and the memory card in the camera is nearly full… At the end of the day it’s all about logistics isn’t it (Sean :-)) Looks like the best thing is some highway driving to Toledo, hit a Best Buy for the disk, grab dinner, then back on the small roads to our nightly stop. So here we go…
We didn’t really have time to explore Toledo but the building above caught our attention while we were sitting at this red light, mostly because one of these isn’t like the other. It’s not particularly stunning but compared to the neighbor across the street and the others near by…
And what do you suppose came next?
A baby version of the mighty Mac :-). It crosses the Maumee River running through the once famed ‘black swamp’ which some considered to be so treacherous that it was only deemed passable by adult men! Not so much anymore, lots of farms land and a city focused on industry. The glass capital of the world by some estimates and home to factories turning out Jeeps since 1941. At the other end of the bridge we couldn’t help but note and old historic church, and… some more friendly people! I love the waves and interaction we have been privileged to enjoy on this journey.
With the time pressure we didn’t stop to take any ‘proper’ pictures, just more frames from the GoPro then back down the road.
Soon enough we were out in the country, just in time for a lovely sunset.
Well, one more bridge then we are home for the night. A little time to rest and reflect, and wonder what will tomorrow bring …
If you have read previous posts you know the deal, if not here it is: more photos and additional details for your enjoyment on this interactive map …