3 States, 1 Timezone, 470kms and a German

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
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Trip End Oct 18, 2012


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Flag of United States  , Michigan
Friday, August 10, 2012

Howdy folks,

The next morning, we said goodbye to Charles as he made his way to work and had a lazy morning getting ready until Isabel returned from her run. We parted ways and drove along the pretty Lake Shore Drive south past Museum Campus to South Chicago where the Museum of Art and Industry is located. Just like everything else in Chicago, the museum is huge and not wanting to pay $20 for parking, we found a spot on the street a few blocks away. When we got in, we had to walk down 3 flights of stairs just to get to the lobby and there were plenty of people about. As part of our CityPass, we got to see a 3D movie and go on a simulator ride so we headed back up to the 3rd floor to go on the ride first.

The museum is set out like X marks the spot and each different wing has something different on each level. On the 3rd level near the motion simulator rides were hung a number of aircraft from the building: a spitfire, a stuka and some biplanes. The ride itself was pretty average, but there was also a full size cutout section of a Boeing 727 with some exhibits on flight and basic aerodynamics. Further along the level was a huge section on the human body including a room full of embryos at different stages of development and full displays of the nervous system and various other body parts. It was disgusting and interesting at the same time.

Down on the main level under the planes was a transportation section full of early trains, a jet car and a huge scale model railway track complete with Willis Tower and the Seattle Space Needle. In one corner was a full size recreation of a cobblestone street and shops from the turn of the century and a makeshift coal mine. Steffie and I were getting hungry, so we went down to the basement food court which was huge and braved the crowds for lunch. We didn't have time to go back up because the Omnimax Movie was about to begin so we toured through the early cars and scale models of ships section to the space area where the line was. I didn't know what Omnimax was and walking into the cinema was like walking into a fishbowl 5 storeys high. We walked up halfway to get a seat and it almost felt like you could tumble out and fall down to the bottom because how steep it was. The screen was massive and the Born to Be Wild movie played for almost an hour not just in front of us, but all around the curved screen. It was hard to know where it to look first!

Unfortunately by the time we got out it was nearly 3pm and we still had to drive more than 400kms so we had a quick look at the full size U-505 submarine in the basement and totally missed about half of the museum. We had planned on driving to the Indiana State Dunes and Michigan City, but we had to drive instead. On the way out of the museum and back to the highway, we passed through South Chicago where there was not a white person in sight. It was definitely a different slice of American life where there were shops with bars on the windows and people hanging out on the street corners bumming around. We felt much safer to get back onto Highway 94. We avoided Highway 90 because of the tolls and it was only a few miles longer to go on HIghway 94 instead.

We crossed into Indiana at 4pm and although I like to get a souvenir pin from every state, it wasn't really possible. By 4:45pm, we crossed into Michigan and Eastern Standard time making it 5:45pm. This is our 4th time zone in the US so far in as many weeks! It was getting dark and starting to rain. We had to stop at Jackson which is in the middle of Michigan for gas and Burger King before we finally started driving into the outer Detroit suburb of Romulus. We checked into a hotel across the highway from the airport where Steffie's best friend Steffi was set to fly into the next day. It was after 9pm and pretty dark so we just crashed into bed.

In the morning, we didn't have to go anywhere but my brain was up early. We went to the lobby for a waffle breakfast and lounged around the hotel room. Around 11am, I called up a local glass repair shop to get the front windscreen replaced for our Dodge Grand Caravan. The lady told me I could either bring it in or wait until the afternoon. We still had 3 hours before Steffi arrived, so I drove to the guy's place which wasn't too far away. He was a small business and usually does on site repairs so it was interesting to see his place. It took over an hour and we spent most of that time sitting in his outdoor patio and having a chat. He struck me as a really nice guy, family man and easy going.

He finished just in time and I drove back to the hotel to pick up Steffie and drive to the airport. We must have waited for almost an hour, but finally Steffi walked out through the US customs into America. There was definitely lots of hugs and catching up. It was 3pm and we hadn't had lunch yet, so the first stop was the Big Boy restaurant near our hotel which was pretty good. It was like fast food done in an old school diner way.

We just hung out in the hotel room for the rest of the evening and went for a little drive around the neighbourhood. We weren't really in the mood for doing much else, but we are going to have a great 5 weeks together!
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