Custer State Park in South Dakota

Custer State Park in South Dakota
We saw a LOT of these guys at Custer State Park in South Dakota!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Detroit Michigan

There is really nothing that I can say about Detroit that has not been said before.

If I told you that Detroit is amazing, and that you should take your family there for a nice, relaxing vacation, well, I would be telling you a lie. And, you would know that I was not being truthful.

Still, with that being said, I find myself going there for vacations once or twice every couple of

Here are some strange things that I have personally witnessed in the town over the last few years:

I have watched people (more than one) throwing up on the side walk. I saw cops with their guns drawn after pulling a car over. A ticket scalper cussed me out for ignoring him on my way to an event. I also had a person approach me to discuss the upcoming alien (from space) invasion.

I am not throwing those stories out there to knock the area, I am just stating some facts.

On the flip side of that, I have had some great experiences too, and I appreciate a lot that the area has to offer.

If you are a comic book fan, Detroit has one of the biggest and nicest comic cons around. The urban architecture is unmatched. The Henry Ford Museum alone is a must stop for any fan of cars, history, and the weird. Oh, and on this trip we discovered one of the greatest used book stores in existence (see previous blog entry). I don't
even have to mention how great this town is for a sports fan. Comerica Park is easily one of the nicest ballparks ever. I could go on and on.

Let me back up a bit, and make a comparison that has been made before.

Have you spent any time in Pittsburgh over the last decade or two? Pittsburgh is awesome! I love going there these days. It is a big city with lots going on, working class pride and just a good vibe in general.

I might not have said that about that area a decade ago. After some work, the place pulled itself up, and developed in to something better. It is cleaner and prettier. Sure, it still has its flaws, but it is improved.

Detroit had a big push a year or two ago to do the same.

I absolutely love the Chrysler commercial showing the car driving around Detroit with "Loose Yourself" playing in the background. That is a cool commercial, and a cool way to show off Detroit.

I think the locals are taking pride in their area, and are trying to sell Detroit for more than it has been sold for in the past. I hope the ticket scalpers stop cussing out visitors to the town simply for having no interest in buying their tickets. I hope the cops are careful about drawing their guns. BUT, I hope the place keeps its character too.

I think about that LCD Soundsystem song, "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" which is about New York being better before it was cleaned up.

Detroit is like that. You go there because it is still preserved in a bit of a grungy state. If you improved it too much, it wouldn't be itself anymore.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Spirit of Detroit, MI

The Spirit of Detroit is one of the nicest monuments in any city. I would like to see so more of him, actually. i am not sure why he doesn't figure more prominently in commercials and other Detroit references.

When the Tigers, Lions, or other area teams make it to the play offs, he sports one of their jerseys! While I was in town, he had a shirt on promoting local schools.

The Detroit Shoppe had some postcards showing him, and they had a pricey, but very nice, small version of him.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Frankenmuth MI

Check out these photos from Frankenmuth, Michigan! The town is pure touristy fun. Check the town out on wikipedia, there isn't much I can say that hasn't been said before. I love places like this when I travel!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Skyline of Detroit, Michigan, at Night

This great postcard describes the front-

On a broad, level expanse, by the bank of a deep blue river, sits Detroit, a most modern metropolis.
Detroit presents to the world a picture that is modern- a beautiful city, beautiful in its own way and to the standards of its present generation that has made it so.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Greetings from Paw Paw Lake Michigan

There is no description of the lake on the back of this postcard.

There is a fun message from probably a teenager to their parents. It sounds like they are having a good time at a camp here. The message was sent in 1950.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Detroit Shoppe, MI

I have noticed that many cities have very cool stores dedicated to the city. Cleveland had a great one in Tower City last time I was there.... and Detroit has "The Detroit Shoppe"!

I almost hate to admit it at times, but I do enjoy walking through malls when I travel. If you are a mall fan and you are in the Detroit area, the Somerset Collection is a place where you have to stop. It is a very classy, layered mall. There is a skywalk with a moving sidewalk. let that sink in for a moment. This is easily one of the nicest indoor malls anywhere.

And, right in this very cool mall is a Detroit Shoppe. The place had a great selection of local inspired t-shirts, postcards, posters, etc. They also had historic artifacts from the cool town! The place is almost a cross between a museum and a museum gift shop.

They had a fun selection Tigers baseball items, including the videos about the group that tried to save old Tiger Stadium!

I was very happy to find some postcards of the Spirit of Detroit here.

The place is non profit too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Love This Bar and Grill, Detroit, MI

We stopped by Toby Keith's "I Love This Bar and Grill"while in Michigan. It is at the Great Lakes Crossing Mall.

As you can probably tell from this blog, I am personally not a huge country music fan. I'm more of a classic rock and folk guy.

Still, I have a ton of respect for Toby Keith. A pal saw him at a very small intimate show in Afghanistan..... Oh, and he doesn't apologize for his patriotism.

I like the fact that he goes with his gut and will give an honest interview. He doesn't give middle of the road bland answers.

So, when a guy like that opens a restaurant and I am in the area, I do feel good about patronizing the place.

The food was good, and I felt like I was in Nashville, though I was a bit further north.

On the menu, there is a note about active service guys getting a free meal, not just a discount.

Take note of that every other restaurant around!

Ford Motor Plant and 3,000 Cars, Detroit, MI

Sent from Detroit in 1918 (yes, read that last statement again!).... I was very excited to come across this one!

The sender encourages his friend to come to Detroit to apply for a good job.

I have been by this area recently, and it does not look as good.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum- Grand Rapids, MI

I MUST take a moment to mention our trip to the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids.

First off, Grand Rapids is a very nice area. It is, without a doubt, a very under appreciated tourist stop. There is more going on than people realize. We found some great restaurants, a cozy coffee shop, and some top notch attractions in town. I know most people see it as a nice town to stop through on your way somewhere else. That is not a bad idea, but Grand Rapids justifies a full seven days of taking it all in.

Back to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Ford was before my time. Honestly, I don't know a lot about him.

Some friends assured us this was worth a stop and they were correct.

Go there yourself, but Ford had some very impressive connections to the Kennedy assassination investigation, Watergate (obviously), sports, and the Vietnam War. I could go on.

Some of the more interesting items displayed included documents relating to all of the above mentioned events, and artifacts from the events. Oh, and oddly, there is a gun on display confiscated during an assassination attempt.

I learned a lot, including that Ford experienced a name change, and that he was never elected president.