Week 38 – Detroit v’s the World
We officially moved back into Milton a week ago but we were still kicking about Columbus tying up loose ends, saying goodbye to family, taking in a Buckeye game and making a little bit more money, which is always needed.
But now we’re on the road, our first stop was Detroit, we’d been talking about Detroit since we were back in London and the idea of doing this came to us, for whatever reason we were both very drawn to it, originally it was on our list of cities to live in, but we’ve moved up our timescale a bit for various reasons.
The media will lead to you believe various things about Detroit: that it’s abandoned, unrecoverable, dangerous, scary and ugly. Which some of those things may be true, it is surely ¾ abandoned, it’s a big scary, it’s may not be recoverable but it’s certainly not ugly. If there’s any one things I love in cities it’s stark contrasts. Shanghai is still my favourite with the old lane houses jutting through the high rises or New Orleans’ abject poverty next to opulence wealth or how you can suddenly stumble onto an amazing little green oasis in the middle of London, it’s what makes a city interesting. Detroit from the moment we stopped to park up (we stayed outside the city and drove in each day, there were no Planet Fitness’s downtown) there was a beautiful restored Victorian house sat between two empty overgrown lots and across from another Victorian looking like it would soon join the overgrown lots. Detroit set the tone straight off the bat.
We took our bikes out and explored the city, there’s lot to see the first day we did the east, closer the river and downtown the bits that are perhaps recovering or trying to. We ran the bases at old tiger’s stadium, gave Canada the finger across the rivers and explored the food and antique markets, but best of all we explored the street art, Detroit is absolutely full of it, it’s like paradise for an artist (or a homeless person), it’s beautiful and everywhere. The second day we headed for the “abandoned Detroit” further away from downtown and very clearly victims of the fall of Detroit, we cycled to old factories now abandoned, including the Packard factory which was once the biggest in the world and now has trees growing in it. We cycled through neighbourhoods full of empty lots where houses once stood, burned down remains from arson fires where house still lingered, houses where people just up and left and every now and then someone who stayed to see it through, who was taking care of their house and their lawn and pulling for the Detroit, I’m pulling for Detroit it takes a lot to get that far down and declare war on the world trying to say you can’t do it, Detroit vs. the world is a popular slogan.
After leaving Detroit we cut through the middle for the west coast, in the summer apparently it’s heaving with families on holiday and resortish, I can tell you in October it is not and it’s not terribly interesting. We saw some wooden shoes and stopped for some pie, Jonathan attempted to eat a lot of chilli dogs but mostly we just hustled over to Chicago where we spent the weekend with good friends and their little one. There is nothing better than a relaxing weekend with friends or family or friends who are family, lucky us.
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