Friday, July 18, 2008

Last weekend Kate came to visit and I took her on a little Detroit-a-thon. It was only appropriate after all of the sightseeing she coordinated when Jon and I visited her in Nicaragua in February.

We spent Friday night eating Thai Chicken Pizza (Kate guessed right away that it was a Rachael Ray recipe) and then headed to my old home town of Rochester Hills for a bike ride on the Paint Creek Trail (a 10 mile rail trail from Rochester to Lake Orion, MI).

On Saturday we went to Dearborn, MI to see the Ford Rouge Factory Tour and then visit the Henry Ford Fair Lane Estate. We got free tickets to both of these museums through the Detroit Adventure Pass. If you're in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area, be sure to check out these passes from your local library in order to get 2-4 free tickets for tons of museums in the area!

The Rouge Factory is on its first ever two month hiatus from building the Ford F-150. It was so telling of the current economic situation to see this plant completely still except for the tour groups passing through. We did learn a lot about the factory and assembly through short videos at stations around the 1 mile elevated walking path over the plant floor.

The coolest part about the factory was seeing all of the environmental
innovations that they've made to improve energy efficiency and collect
rain water. They have a living roof that is over 10 acres and is filled
with sedum.

And they have solar panels, orchards, windmills and porous parking lots to collect rainwater.

After the plant tour, we visited the Fair Lane Estate. Kate and I now have a much greater appreciation for Henry Ford. He not only invented the first car, he brought things like Kingsford charcoal into the world. His house has many innovations that still aren't available in some homes today like indoor heated swimming pools, central vacumning systems, and central hair drying systems. We were a bit disappointed that the house didn't have original furniture (his grandchildren sold it after Henry and his wife died) and was a bit dilapidated, but overall it was extremely interesting to see all of the inventions throughout his house.

We ended the day with a tour of downtown Detroit - Eastern Market, the Detroit People Mover, the Guardian Building, Belle Isle (that's Canada over there) and Mexican Town.

And I'll leave you all with this parting (overexposed) shot:

Road construction in Michigan!


  1. wow, you guys visited a ton of places! looks like fun, i think the best part of touring places is the dinner afterwards.:)

  2. i've never been to michigan but i sure hope to visit sometime soon! thanks for the virtual tour!

  3. I was pleasantly surprised to read that the factory is making an effort to be environmentally friendly. Glad you had such a wonderful visit with a good friend. :~)

  4. I used to live in Lake Orion and did the Paint Creek Trail often... Did you wonder over to Bald Mountain by any chance???

  5. you're making me long for detroit. ;)

  6. I used to live in Utica and we biked the Paint Creek Trail many times.. thanks for the memories!! I live in California now.

  7. I have been wanting to do the Rouge Factory plant tour. We live in Chelsea.


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