Here you find a little overview of my trip from Brooklyn, NY to Portland, OR. Since I was driving, walking, fake jogging, laughing, getting lost and throwing my hands into the air solo, this first half of the journey went through cities. Yes, that is everything I'm trying to leave behind, but the thought of camping alone without a friend or dog made me feel a coward. Are you worrying over who would capture me in the changing landscape since there was no one around? No? Well, if you had been, there was no need. Katie and Micah took care of things so that if I ever felt alone, all I had to do was peer over to the passenger's seat and see...myself. It was comforting. Here are the results of this trip and that gift combined, with summaries and links that you can choose to follow or not. I won't judge you for just looking at the pictures.
This day started with an emergency 2 AM phone call to Corrie to help me finish packing up my little (rented) HHR before I collapsed into the fetal position. She expertly and politely undid my damage and repacked it safe and sound before taking me to the Spooner home to rest my head. I woke up a few hours later, picked up my last NY coffee for awhile, and turned on Amanda's expert soundtrack while watching the city disappear. I headed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of Andy Warhol. It so turns out that The Andy Warhol Museum is half priced on Friday and open until 10, so if you too want to go on a date with yourself (or someone else), I recommend it.
Detroit stirs up two important words in my head: VALUE WORLD. Thanks to Katie and Lenaya's stories of 85 cent dresses, I could barely get myself there fast enough. It was a nothing less than a musty dreamland. Just visit my closet and I'll explain more. After tiring myself out and making friends with the local Value World shoppers, I decided to take a drive around to house hunt. The home above was a gem among many. While having fun snapping myself in front of my new place, I noticed that the shiny new phone that doesn't suit my general technological tastes of old and slow, and the fancy car I wouldn't really own were looking....flashy. As the slow moving bikers and pedestrians observed my fun, I decided to run back through the overgrown grass and move on without getting a better shot. Sorry about the flash.
After eating breakfast at Beezy's in Ypsilanti, home of Jereme and Alex's oversized loft!, and loading up at their Value World, we went to Detroit. Jereme used to live here and led us to abandoned everything- Michigan Central Station, elementary schools, factories and homes. It was 28 Days Later. The stunner of it all was Heidelberg Project, which in itself is worth driving 13 hours for. We hung out at Magic Stick, saw Canada, ate at Slows, and then headed to Ann Arbor. The rich aunt of Detroit has lots of beauty to offer, and an alley bar that feels like the dirty nephew. If you find yourself there, visit 8 Ball.
Heading from Ypsilanti back to Detroit I stopped at Dearborn to get Arabic food for the day. Cedarland was great and gave me extra everything, including tons of pita and pickled turnips. From there Katie's recommendation took me to the meticulous, intact and eerie grounds of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Point. 87 acres of money give a glimpse of Detroit's old wealth, now moved safely to the suburbs. After getting a private tour (nobody else wanted to skip barbeque's to do this on July 4th?), I went straight to Avalon Bakery in Detroit for the the best date granola bar that could possibly exist. I hung around town, picked out more houses, and since a lot was closed for the holiday went to Lawndale Market/People's Polaroids. They don't take Polaroids anymore but don't worry. You can still be famous. Just send them your picture, large or small, and they'll feature your face on their walls. To see the above picture, give them a visit. Thanks Amanda, for the tip.
The night before I made it to Chicago. Already dreading being in a city for the day, it seemed like a better idea to explore Oak Park and follow Frank Lloyd Wright's footsteps around. After stopping at Twisted Scissors for a haircut and free PBR, it was time for the burbs. Above you can find my new home and the neighborhood dog walker. It's great to walk around for a couple of hours hands on cheeks and heart doing jumps, and then visit Barack Obama and Mohammad Ali in Kenwood. Well, what you'll really see is Mohammad Ali's old home and the large Secret Service car doing anything to prevent you from seeing either the President or his house. Still, you sure do feel close and very, very important. Too many hours spent among the rich did make me crave home, so I went to Wicker Park. There's a lot of things worth seeing there, and lots of it I didn't, but this is what I know: Myopic Books, Reckless Records and Sultan's Market (dirt cheap falafel, Harem/Disney Aladdin Nintendo decor and garage blaring) are perfect. Visit them all and you can have the best night too.
I knew upon waking that I wouldn't be able to walk this way. I mean this day. Alternating shoes had left blisters on just about every surface that a shoe could touch. It was a great excuse for a boat tour, still my favorite way to see a city. The top deck was about 75 percent sandal over sock wearing tourists, so I settled in and got ready for an interesting hour and a half. Chicago does have an amazing collection of art deco buildings, and even though the skyline isn't as impressive as New York's (sorry to compare), the facades of many of the buildings really are beautiful close up. A friend's friend met me for lunch and I then returned to the car to see this. SAD. Mostly because it meant the end of the Sirius Elvis Station, and also because there wasn't going to be time now to go to Racine and eat Danish Kringle on the way to Milwaukee. How dare this person strip away music and food from me with the sweep of their elbow or bat or whatever it was! It took a couple of hours to fill out police reports and such, but Hertz was so easy and replaced it with a red Mazda minivan. Me and the kids piled in and went straight to Summerfest. Summerfest is basically a big carnival with music instead of rides. Corn on the cob and watermelon were substitutin for hotdogs that day, but in the midst of the day's activity no picture had been taken. So the guys above helped me out. The man on the right's mother was from Brooklyn, and apparently had a much, much cooler accent than I do.
The drive through Wisconsin to Minnesota was gorgeous. I took a lot of side roads, some dustier than others. The minivan is really quite a beast and up for anything. I didn't take many pictures on this trip. But if you would like to be in the passengers seat for a bit, getting a glimpse of what is an endless stretch of road, get in. The video is as long as the song playing at the time. Just pretend it's not on YouTube. The drive ended in St. Paul, at the Covington Inn- a floating bed and breakfast. Liz, the inn keeper, had started off as a waitress there years ago when it doubled as a restaurant, and ended up buying and running the place herself. On a boat. Amazing. Since there were two empty rooms, she upgraded my room for no charge to the Master's Quarters, which includes the whole deck! I spent the night with a Bombay Sapphire Gin Martini (that one's for you, Dan!), and books and paper and was probably smiling like a fool. But in the darkness of the night on the Mississippi River, who cares?
The first stop after leaving the Inn was Ax Man. I was once told to go there without much information, and now pass on the same advice to you. That's the scene of today's picture. Before going to Minneapolis it was worth visiting some of the vintage and resale shops around Selby and Snelling. St. Paul may not have as much going on, but there's some treasures. That being said, once I got to Minneapolis and went a bit through it's neighborhoods, I started falling in love with it. I won't bother with a city tour since I don't have enough knowledge of it anyway, but go! Walk through the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, even if it's a hundred degree day. I read the stones to get some wisdom and walked the bridge to get some exercise. There was so much I couldn't do because the car was overpacked and overflowing, and there was no room for Anzie. Since we were meeting the next day, this was a problem for her. Even though the plan for that night was wearing my brand new elastic band shorts and ordering a whole pizza to rest on my belly (the pure joy), Ecopolitan stopped me and instead I had an incredible raw taco pizza. Check out their menu for inspiration.
Part 2 of the post has 2 people, (plus the 5 kids, puppies, and kittens in the back of the soccer van, between the bags) so please do continue above.