Monday, July 30, 2012

Motown and Friends

We moved on to Southern Michigan between Detroit and Ann Arbor to spend a few days with friends, Richard and Valerie Frayer.  We had a fun time exploring the area and getting caught up with what has been going on the their lives.
The first day we went to the Ann Arbor Arts Fair.  This is by far the largest such event we have ever attended.  There were hundreds of artisan and vendor booths covering several blocks with many unique and interesting works of art. It was crowded even though it was a Friday afternoon.  I can't imagine what it was like on the weekend. Here are Nanc, Richard and Valerie in the crowd.
On Saturday morning we drove to the Eastern Market in Detroit.  Here you could buy all the food you want direct from the farmers.  There were also very large selections of plants and fresh cut flowers.   
This young man grows his own food and will deliver it on his bicycle.  Talk about sound environmental practices.  The Eastern Market is a great stop if you are in the area on Saturday during the summer. 
Next it was on to the Motown Museum on Grand Avenue (Barry Gordy Blvd).  The museum is a collection of houses where Gordy started his recording and entertainment empire.  Before moving the whole operation to Hollywood so he could make movies, he was making $20,000,000 a year out of these houses.  Studio 1, where many Motown hits were recorded, was built in the garage of the Hitsville house.  During the tour, the guides would have the whole group singing old hits and everyone knew the lyrics like they had just heard them that morning on the radio.  Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed so you missed seeing me perform as one of the Temptations (lucky you).  The Motown tour is a real step back in time and a worthwhile stop.  
We also visited the Henry Ford Museum that has a great collection of the nation's history and industrial might.
Here are Richard, Valerie and Nanc with their boarding passes for the Titanic exhibit.  Each person was given a pass with the name of a passenger and at the end you could check to see their fate.  Richard knew immediately he did not survive because they recognized him as an engineer and gave him the card of the ship's builder.  Nanc was the only one who survived.  The display included a large frozen iceberg and many artifacts brought up from the wreck.  After seeing so many shows about the Titanic, including the movie, it was very interesting seeing so many of the original items, how well they held up and also the stories behind many of the items.  No pictures were allowed. 
Locomotive 1601, a Allegheny class engine, was the largest steam engine ever built.  It was built in 1941 to haul mile and a quarter coal trains across the Allegheny Mountains for the C & O railroad.  It was only used for 15 years because diesel engines where more efficient to operate.
Other trains, included a snowplow that was used in Canada, an old steam engine and the DeWitt Clinton (right) the first steam locomotive in New York.  The cars of the DeWitt were just stage coaches with railway steel wheels.
Just a few of the many very large industrial machines on display.  Top is a generator and an old steam powered machine.  Bottom is a light bulb maker used by Corning to manufacture billions of  bulbs.
The display of early flight included a Wright Flyer and a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis.  We are pictured in a display that showed the size of the passenger seating in old planes.  We are on a Ford Trimotor.  It was really narrow, but not much different from today's big planes with many more seats.
This is the only Dymaxion House in the world.   This all aluminum round house was designed by Buckminster Fuller. He never raised enough money for the project to be a commercial success and only two were ever built.  This one was built using materials from those two.  For those of us who live in less than 400 square feet this 1100 square foot home is very spacious.
A few items from the Driving America exhibit.  I'm sure many will recognize these old signs and the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile.
Here we are ready to take off on a road trip.
Here are an old Ford, Vette, Studebaker, Nash and Model A.
There was a big exhibit of race cars, including the 2011 Daytona 500 winner.
Here are two Presidential Limousines.  Left is the car that President Kennedy was in when he was assassinated in Dallas. It was refitted with a hard top.  Right is the limo used by President Reagan.  I believe this is the car he was in when I saw him in DC.

As I write this we are in Bowling Green, OHIO.  Last summer when we went for a horseback ride in North Dakota, the stable owner told us her vet was Dr. Tidball.  I googled Tidball and, in addition to the vet, I found a Blues bar named Tidball's in Bowling Green and have been planning to stop there since then.  We arrived Tuesday and when I began doing a bit more research I discovered Tidball's is in Bowling Green, KENTUCKY.  Duh!!!!!   Oh well, we have a stop to look forward to. 

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