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Travel Log - Michigan
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Michigan, April 21-4, 2002
Dearborn to Dayton 

The museums in Michigan are definitely worth the trip.  Ya'll need to get to Dearborn as soon as you can and enjoy watching your own plastic toys being made in a VENDING MACHINE for $1!  See the original WeinerMobile and JFK's car in a line up of presidential limos and carriages.  At Greenfield Village, the acreage that surrounds the Henry Ford museum, you can see the progression of living styles and houses dating from colonial times.  My favorite:  the Robert Frost House.  It wins the interior design award for unusual colors and the outside looks like a doll house.  Moved to the Village from New England.  The Wright Brothers home and bicycle shop is a major attraction and I have been a fan of those guys for so long, I feel like a groupie.  They were the ultimate engineers, their story is fascinating even if you're not into flying.

Howard's brother Bud (Roger) drove from Virginia to investigate the museums (and thrift stores) with us.  He and Howard look so much alike that I call them the "Bookends" and I keep one on either side of me.  These two consider Princeton, Illinois their original home.

I received an unexpected and warm greeting from the President of the Automotive Hall of Fame who, when he was told of my cross country journey, asked me:  "How drunk were you when you thought of this idea?"  He and Jerry Steinard showed me the exhibit dedicated to Alice Ramsey one of the few women in the Hall of Fame.  In 1909 Alice became the first woman to cross America (with 3 of her female buddies in a Maxwell!).  I bought two books about Alice and her adventures, have already read them both.  Alice was the 3rd person to cross the country and did it in 59 days, a record.  I look forward to reading her book of this adventure. 

I learned so many things touring the Dearborn museums that I cannot recount them all here.  A blind guy invented cruise control.  Edison, an admirer of Morse code, named his two daughters Dot and Dash.  Cars used to come equipped with built in air compressors so that you can inflate your own tires. 

Left Dearborn after staying at a comfy hostel in New Boston.  Betty Johnson was like a relative you'd actually LIKE to have, instead of what you usually get.  It was easy and restful staying at her place and we met a fellow traveler--Jonathan Makepeace from Canada.  When we asked him where he was bound, there was a shocked silence.  He was off to Princton, Illinois!  We had just come from there and it turns out that everyone around the table (except me and Betty) had pioneer ancestors that had settled Princeton.  Jonathan also translated a French letter that Betty had in her archives.  The people you meet!!!

Out on I-75 from the Detroit area to Dayton, Ohio I saw several trucks with 42 tires!!!!   You could send a kid to college on the cost of their wheels.  They appeared to be hauling steel and were headed towards Detroit. 

In Bowling Green, Ohio on Church Street is a little house in front of a normal sized house.  The little house looks like a confection house made of gingerbread!!!   Only it is BIG for a gingerbread house and SMALL for a real house.  What lives in here?  It was totally precious and is my second favorite house after the Robert Frost house!

Have had perfect weather all day for getting here and made it in time to see the OTHER Wright Brothers bicycle shop and then--oh, be still my heart!--the Packard Museum in downtown Dayton.  A breathtaking, ULTIMATE car:  a 1928 black speedster with red trim.  If I could be a car I would want to be this one.  Howard, of course, liked Al Capone's Packard.  It seems Al always bought cars in identical pairs so he could send one in a direction while he slipped out in another direction. 

What would I do with two purple roadsters?  One is quite enough. 

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Greetings from Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI.  A Model T with an aftermarket accessory: Alyce. The original Wienermobile from the 1950's along with more car culture things than you can imagine.
A sobering Display: Kennedy's Lincoln -- over $1,000,000 of your tax dollars went into making it secure for presidential use. Bob custom makes little license plates -- this one for Alyce reads: GOING TOPLESS
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Roger Clark (Virginia) & brother Howard (Oregon) check the tunes on a charming roadster diner inside the museum. A crash test dummy goes shopping with Alyce at the museum shops!
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Tom, our designated employee of the month treats us RIGHT at the Ford Museum. Thank you Tom.
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