After my brief visit to Lansing (home of that very tall lug nut), it was off to Ann Arbor via the tiny town of Hell, where I did a quick drive through past a couple of restaurants and bars having fun with the name. Now I can say I’ve been to Paradise and Hell all in the great Wolverine state! Gotta love the chance to live the dream advertised on local post cards.

Once in Ann Arbor I explored town, ate a lot in the lovely sunshine, and went to a few more great breweries- a so so place in town, a place near the University area with great Korean food (HOMES, my fave of this town’s bunch), and one with a lovely patio space in Ypsilanti. I loved the vibe near HOMES in the pretty residential neighborhood, perhaps just the hallmark of any cool college town. I found a spot for the night on the street in a residential area by a condo complex (urban van tip, condos and apartments are the best for no one noticing random out of state visitors) then continued on towards Detroit.

I got a bunch of recs from my friend Andrea who grew up in the area. One small upside to living in Detroit! Just kidding, it was actually a great city to visit. I mean, even driving into town I was welcomed by the fantastic roadside attraction of the largest tire, so that’s an auspicious beginning, and went past the Motown record label museum (didn’t think to reserve a visit beforehand so all couldn’t tour). I walked around downtown past lots of cool street art, parks, and statues before hitting up the Detroit Institute of Arts for the afternoon. This was a great museum and they had labeled the routes through the exhibits really well to make one way distancing easy. Can I just say that I really hope a lot of these limits and timed passes stay after the pandemic calms down? No crowd induced panic attacks here, my friends.

The DIA has a diverse array of art and may be best known for a central hall decorated with a wrap around Rivera mural inspired by the city’s industries. Pretty amazing museum over all. I stopped by the Founder’s Brewery and later got some Detroit style pizza despite warnings that it was not real pizza. It was decent but not my personal favorite, though it was kind of fun to walk past the empty baseball stadium and hear a game being played with zero crowd but the lights blazing and announcer giving the play by play into the quiet night. All that plus views of Canada!

Not far down the road in Dundee (great name, btw) I was treated to waking up so conveniently adjacent to the “World’s Largest Bronze Wildlife Sculpture” outside a Cabela’s. I often wonder who comes up with these bizarre categories and figures out that there’s a window for a record… like, are there other bronze sculptures that are jealous of this record? Is there another record holding sculpture in another metal? Did they set out to break a record, or just decide after it was made that it happened to stand out? So many questions. Further south I passed by what is listed online as the tallest Uncle Sam standing watch over a closed fireworks stand (though I’ve since also been past a rival for the record in Danbury, CT… controversy of the ages!).

Just before entering Ohio I made an impulse decision to take advantage of the beautiful early fall weather and stopped at an orchard and pumpkin patch and had the great pleasure of being the only childless adult in the place. Such a beautiful day! I escaped a corn maze, had some photo fun in the sunflower field, picked a bag full of apples (side note, I love how we pay more for the pleasure of doing extra work at places like this compared to just stopping by the grocery store… bit I’ll take it), and got a yummy cider donut for the road. Well done, Michigan, it was a wonderful few weeks.

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