This past weekend I had the pleasure of doing ladies night with a few friends.
We met up at the Woodbridge Pub, which just released it’s new Winter Menu. E and I waited for everyone to get there by having some icy cold beverages and white bean dip. The dip was really good, it started getting really garlicky as it got warmer, but luckily I’m a huge fan of garlic. Then after everyone got in, we decided that instead of going to Mexican Town like we would normally do, we’d try out Detroit’s new Seva.
Seva is Ann Arbor’s destination for veggie dining since 1973, serving breakfast (available all day), lunch, dinner, and housemade desserts. We have a full bar, featuring an eclectic wine list, rotating draft beers, artisan cocktails, fresh juice and espresso. The restaurant opened a second location in Detroit’s midtown area, at 66 E. Forest Ave. between Woodward and John R. They haven’t even had their Grand Opening yet, that’s scheduled for January 28th. But we have all heard good things, and two of the ladies had already eaten there. So we decided to give it a try.
It was like most Detroit restaurants, we walked in and immediately knew a bunch of people in there. We sat in the bark bar area at a table for 5. 3 of us split a bottle of house wine, 2 had cocktails that looked (and tasted) amazing, one was called the Ricky something, try that one, it’s amazing. We asked for the Cauliflower as an appetizer, it sounded really yummy, and must have been because they were sold out. So we split some Yam fries, since they said the kitchen was backed up, it was apparently their biggest night to date, and we had just caught the tail end of it. V ordered a Ruben, I got the Pesto Pizza sandwich, and K got the Thai noodle something. Unfortunately, and this is not a reflection on the restaurant, the food wasn’t all that amazing, my toasted sandwich was cold, and K’s food was even colder. But the atmosphere was pleasant, wait staff was friendly, and even though my sandwich was cold, it was still good.
We left there and went to Honest ? Johns on Selden. K wanted to get some food since all she had had was wine and some yam fries. So 3 of us split a 40oz. Old Milwaukee. K ate a Ruben and fries. We sat in one of the big dark booths, it’s my favorite booth in the city. We talked about all things you should talk about, lives, futures, pasts, hopes and dreams. We eventually finished 40 oz of beer and discussed where to go next. The Sugar House was closed for a private party, we could have gone anywhere, The Old Miami, Cass Cafe. But we decided to head back to the pub, E, A and I all live in Woodbridge.
So we went back to the Pub we had left only a few hours before. And it was crazy packed! There were so many people! It was Will Sessions After Party, he had played at the Detroit Institute of Arts before this and the Pub was jam packed with people dancing and having a good time! It was the perfect ending to a wonderful night in the city.
I’m glad I was able to try out Seva, and I’m glad that I understand new businesses and that I will try it again, because I know it was just the wrong time. I’m glad we got to go to all the places we went to. I had fun dancing at the Pub for the little while I was there, I left not too long after we got there, because I had a 10am meeting in Birmingham on Saturday morning. I had fun being able to eat at 3 different restaurants in the city, and didn’t feel the need to wait until a special occasion like Restaurant Week. We wanted specific things and we went and got those things. It’s an amazing city, with a vibrant life that you have to see to understand.
And I hope you plan on seeing and eating all that Detroit has to offer in the new year!
Inside Detroit, marketing and social media.
So, it’s the new year. 2012. Let me tell you a little about my 2011 in Detroit MI.
I got laid off in January. Never worked more than 40 hours a week on any one job. Spent most weekends gallivanting around Michigan taking photos of bicycle races. Spent 3 weeks driving out to CA and back. I got my dog a puppy.
Worked up to 4 jobs a week. Become friends with people in all sorts of different social groups. Put on the first sanctioned road bicycle race in the city of Detroit in over 20 years. Turned my dreams into reality. Turned my reality into dreams. Started blogging for the Huffington Post Detroit. Started thinking about the future as a project that I can manipulate however I choose. I spent a week in Dallas with family while George Clooney was filming Ides of March at Inside Detroit. I turned 28. I extended my circle of bicycling friends beyond measure. I’m working on more new projects every day. I tossed around the idea of moving to warmer climates for a job and a new life. I’ve watched the one of the co-founders of Inside Detroit get married in a public ceremony in the middle of Downtown Detroit. I went to a few Tigers games. I watched the Lions have a hell of a season. I started work with the D:hive. I went to a party in the David Whitney Building. Watched Christmas Trees get put up on the Hudson Site. I rode the People Mover and made some new friends while doing it. I met Emanuel Steward and Tommy Hearns.
What I didn’t do in 2011 – I did not want. I never looked around and felt sorry for the city I live in. I never felt scared in the places I’ve been. I’ve said goodbye to the co-founder of Inside Detroit, and wished her well on her new endeavors. I’ve seen a few good places close (Bureau of Urban Living which was replaced by Nest, so it wasn’t a bad thing really). I know of people’s houses and cars that have been broken into. I didn’t get so wasted that I threw up in public. I didn’t do anything all year that I wasn’t completely thrilled with the results. I didn’t do anything I regret. I didn’t go to a few parties that I should have.
Things that excite me for 2012 – Getting to go inside the GAR Building.
Putting on the second annual Criterium Detroit City. The possibility of absolutely everything. Riding my bike. Running my first 1/2 marathon. Being a tourist in my own town (sometimes you’ve just gotta). Being an insider. Cinco de Mayo. St. Patty’s Day Parade. Dally in the Alley. Noel Night. The Hoe Down. The Jazz Fest. Winter Blast. Running a 5k on Belle Isle on New Years Eve (I didn’t get to in 2011, but I will in 2012)! The Detroit City Futbol League. Going on Canine to Five walks with my dogs. Being a part of something bigger than myself, all while being myself.
Again Detroit, thanks for making this all possible on a 20 hour a week pay check and a car when it snows.
Inside Detroit came about because 2 people saw a need for something and they did something about it. They saw a need for a space where people could get information about Detroit, where people who wanted to learn more about Detroit’s past could. That’s how things happen in Detroit. People see where there are holes in the system and then fill them.
The same thing is happening right now, 6 years later, Inside Detroit is growing. We’ve expanded our space and we’re now cohabiting with a new, just starting up, non-profit, The D:hive.
“The D:hive will be a non-profit partnership that will help individuals connect with information and resources relevant to living, working and engaging in Detroit through the direct assistance of a D:hive team member. D:hive team members will act as “air traffic control” for many institutions, programs and projects that wish to serve, assist and partner with new Detroit residents”
Thursday, December 8th was the D:hive’s pre-launch party at the Madison Theater Building.
They asked for help pollinating the D:hive. Over one hundred fifty people were able to come out and share ideas on nine different resource questions that the D:hive is working on to assist individuals wishing to live, work and engage in Detroit. The questions were
1. Welcome to Detroit What information/resources exist, and what is needed to help individuals get to know Detroit?
2. Partner & Parallel Initiatives In Detroit, what efforts/entities already exist that the D:hive should know about, understand and possibly partner with?
3. Real Estate Information What residential and/or commercial real estate information is needed for those new to Detroit?
4. Retail Recruitment What essential retail is missing in Detroit?
5. Data Everyone Needs What data exists to assist newcomers to Detroit? What else is needed?
6. Innovator Profiles What other Detroit Innovators should be profiled and connected with?
7. Project Build Classes Please share names/contact info of individuals with project ideas who may need help writing their plan.
8. Grow Roundtables Please share names of existing urban innovators who may be interested in small monthly problem-solving gatherings. What specific topics should be covered/presented to assist existing urban innovators?
9. Job Postings How can more attention be brought to great job opportunities in Detroit?
The D:hive is located inside Inside Detroit, they ask that you come into the space and add your opinions to the boards. The goal of all these boards is to see what people are talking about.
Jon and I worked Table #1, Welcome to Detroit, and it was amazing to see what people knew about and what they didn’t. We split our boards into two different sides, one was what resources do people need to get to know the city, and one was what resources already exist to help people out?
The D:hive and Inside Detroit both invite you back into the Welcome Center, located at 1253 Woodward, to continue the conversation. The reason we want your feedback is so that we can make this the most complete list anyone has ever seen. We know that when only a few people are heard, voices get left out, and that’s not what we’re looking for, we want to incorporate all of your ideas, thoughts, and hopes.
So stop in, check out the 60+ merchants that are selling things in the Welcome Center. Then step back into the D:hive and help us make a better Detroit by sharing what you know!
Come and help us fill the boards!
Social Media / Marketing for Inside Detroit
The other day I sat in the Inside Detroit Conference Room (if you haven’t seen it yet, it sort of looks like a fish bowl), and as I stared outside I watched the rain turn to snow. I moved to the front desk after our meeting and watched more and more snow fall, but not stick to the ground. And as I left the Welcome Center at 6pm, I noticed the Trees in the Hudson’s site.
I walked to my car, brushed the snow off the window’s, not much there, but enough to make it hard to see out the back windows. The I turned left on Library, left onto Clifford, stopped on the corner of Clifford and Woodward for the light. And I’m not sure if you’ve seen the window display’s in Tall-Eez Shoe Store window, or in Oslo’s windows, but they are filled with christmas tree’s with the light blue/white Christmas lights on.
There are two Christmas Tree’s in front of Somerset’s City Lofts, with the same blue/white lights on it.
A beautiful way to see the city. The snow flakes on the Woodward street lights lit up with the same color lights as those window trees. The city is in sync, the holiday lights match.
So how does this relate to you? Well, if you haven’t been downtown in a while then you should go and check it out. It’s a side of Detroit that you haven’t seen before. It’s bright, sparkling. It’s a whole new Detroit. The streets seem brighter, cleaner, newer, and most of all you can tell that the lights have brightened the spirits of the people of Detroit.
What winter in Detroit means to me is friends that are willing to brave the cold. I know that no matter how sick you are, you will have friends from all over the city offer to bring you meals to make you feel better. I know that I can ride my bike any where in the city and be safe. I know that I can go to most bars in the city and talk to the owners. I know I can start a conversation with any one sitting next to me, because they are here for the same reasons I am, to get out of the house.
As the thunder starts to roll on another Detroit evening, rain starts to tap on the windows, I sit here and hope against hope that it does not turn to snow. I long for summer when I can ride my bike without looking like the kid from “A Christmas Story”. I long for the Detroit summer with its hot gusty winds, the summer smells in the city, the sounds of Tigers games echoing throughout the city.
Writing like this makes me feel a little “Sex and the City”, but what can I say, I love Detroit. I don’t have sorted affairs with men, I can’t afford Manolo Blahnik’s, even though I’d really like too. But I do love my city. Detroit to me has everything I’m looking for. It has a gritty and amazing past. Someone posted a comment to my last post “Speak to your family and no matter what your ethnicity, you will find Detroit as part of your families historical DNA.” Detroit’s past is something that never ends. It has that of the old world, gossip, intrigue, the rise and fall of greatness… Detroit is the American version of Rome. We have Michigan Central Station, they have the Coliseum. I used to read Russian history books, Russian history is a real life soap-opera. I didn’t think America was old enough to have the intrigue that Russia did. But here I sit, surrounded by a remarkable history, that I’m reminded of every time I shepherd a tour with Inside Detroit. Every time I learn something new. Ask me about the Scott Fountain.
Detroit has a gritty present, we’ve been plagued by corruption, exodus, failed mass transit, you name it, we’ve had it, recently. But we’re combatting it. Now, right now. The people in this city, my friends, me, we are here making the city a better place. Making events, restaurants, stores, things, we’re making things happen here. The buildings that have been left behind are empty, blank, cheap and ours to make whole again. The Woodbridge Pub, was once a liquor store, could you tell? I have watched The Bronx and Motor City Brewing Works grow, The Park Bar and Cliff Bells get remodeled. The opening of City Bird and The Bureau of Urban Living and then watched that change into Nest… How amazing to be able to watch things grow, change, reinvent, and then do it again.
and the future will be what we make it.
Watching the lights pop up on Woodward, the Tree Lighting Ceremony, and the general amazingness of the holiday season in Detroit, put me in an unusually good mood for the cold weather.
As the photo says, And then they lived happily ever after. Won’t you be a part of that happily ever after?
hoping you enjoy the weather.
We received an email and wanted to share it with all of you. I hope you enjoy, and please share your stories too!
I married my best friend, Garrett Menzel, on Saturday, October 22, 2011! He is a wonderful man, he is an awesome step-father and the best partner a woman could ask for. We met at a Super Bowl party on Sunday, February 7, 2010. I was not going to attend due to the fact I was sick. However, something “pulled” me to the party. I spent 75% of the party talking with Gary. We started dating immediately after that and have been inseparable ever since. He proposed to me at Iridescence in Motor City Casino-Hotel on Saturday, February 6, 2011. We completely enjoyed our dinner that evening as well as our stay at Motor City Casino Hotel. As we planned our wedding, and honeymoon, we decided we would wait to see the Detroit Lions’ 2011-12 schedule. If there was a home game near our wedding date, that was where we would go and stay Downtown for a few days. As it happened, they did have a home game on Sunday, October 23, 2011. Our plans for “Honeymooning the D” had begun. We then purchased a Groupon for Small Plates, Finn & Porter and Coach Insignia. We reserved a corner, king room at Greektown Casino-Hotel. As we told people our plans there was a mix of responses, from REALLY??!!! WHY??? and WOW! That is awesome! As our wedding date grew closer, we became increasing excited for our “Honeymoon in the D”.
Sunday, October 23, began with two of our friends joining us for the Lions game. In the 3rd quarter my husband saw the “wedding present” I set up for him “Happy 1 day anniversary” up in lights on the jumbotron. After the game we met up with my new sister in law, Sandy. She took us to Cliff Bells for a drink to celebrate our marriage (and to “drown our sorrows” due to Lions loss to Atlanta). She then took us on a tour of “must sees and must dos” within Downtown Detroit. We ended with dinner at Vicente Cuban Cuisine Restaurant. We were off to a wonderful honeymoon!
We checked into Greektown and enjoyed the nighttime view of Detroit! Out our window was the Blue Cross building with its pink ribbon lights. The other buildings that we could see were beautiful and made us wonder about their histories.
On Monday we proceed to ride the People Mover around and then ended up back at Endzone Restaurant in Trappers Alley for breakfast. We then went to Avanti Press for a tour and to pick up some greeting cards. This was not a planned part of our excursions, but it was a lot of fun and very interesting! For lunch we went to Hudson’s Café. It was a flood emotions for me, as this was a place that my mom and I would frequent when I was younger. My mom has been gone 8 years. The food was amazing and the atmosphere was modern yet comfortable. We went about stopping in a few stores and buying I <3 Detroit shirts for our children. I rested for a bit in our room and Gary gambled in the Casino (he broke even lol).
For dinner, our two-day anniversary, we went to Coach Insignia at the Renaissance Center. The view was amazing and we enjoyed watching the sunset. This was our second trip to CI and we will not be returning.
On Tuesday we set out for brunch/ lunch at Small Plates. They were not open when we arrived so we proceeded to Simmons and Clark Jewelers. Gary purchased a charm for my bracelet to commemorate our honeymoon. We then went to Small Plates to eat. THIS WAS AN AMAZING MEAL! The service was almost as enjoyable as the food! The staff congratulated us (everyone, including the manager). They even gave us a complimentary dessert, their chocolate chip cookie and ice cream and caramel creation, DELICIOUS!!
After lunch we stopped next door at the Detroit Brewery for a taste of beer. I am not a beer drinker and the bartender was very attentive in helping me choose one to my liking. We bought souvenirs for our “home bar”.
We proceeded to walk over to Inside Detroit and read some literature and looked over the merchandise.
We retreated back to our room for rest and gambling again. On the agenda for Happy Hour was Roast. We enjoyed an hour of drinks and appetizers. For dinner we went to Finn and Porter. Again, this was an amazing meal and experience! The service was terrific. The food was absolutely delicious and cooked perfectly. They treated us like VIPs. We spent 2 hours there, by our choice, and enjoyed every minute and morsel.
We spent our last night at Greektown by enjoying the view from our room.
We have shared our experiences with our friends and families. There are outings already scheduled for our return.
Detroit, MI, November 17, 2011 Holiday events and market hours. Christmas and New Year’s day fall on Saturday this year. Eastern Market’s “Public Market” will be open Friday December 23rd 7am- 2pm, Saturday December 24th 7am – 12pm and Saturday December 31st 7am – 2pm.
Eastern Market is open for all your holiday shopping needs. Whether it’s fresh food, holiday gifts or a quaint place to enjoy lunch or dinner Eastern Market offers it all. While shopping at Eastern Market please make a donation to one or more of the giving campaigns happening at the Market. Thank you for your support!
2011 – Holiday Events Schedule
Forgotten Harvest Every Saturday November 12th ~ December 24th
Forgotten Harvest is metro Detroit’s only food rescue program. Help feed hungry people in our community by donating fresh fruits and produce. When shopping, please consider those in our communities that will otherwise go without healthy food options! Donation Stations are located in Sheds 3 & 5
Gleaners “Give a Hand for the Holidays” Saturday December 3rd
For more than 33 years, Gleaners Community Food Bank has been nourishing communities by feeding hungry people. You can make a difference. Donate non-perishable food items today. Donation Stations are located in Sheds 3 & 5
Holiday Carolers Performance Saturday December 3rd
No holiday celebration is complete without the stunning sounds of carolers singing in the spirit of the season! Enjoy our local high school choirs as they bring the season to life! Performances in Shed 5 on the landing
Salvation Army Red Kettle Collections & Coats for Kids Drive – Saturday December 10th
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle & Coats for Kids Campaign. Give a coat, warm a child and feed your soul! Donate a new or slightly used coat and help keep a child warm. Donation stations are located in Sheds 3 & 5
Creative Ice Carving by Roy-Saturday December 10th
Ice sculpturing is the highlight of the day as Roy creates extraordinary carvings from huge blocks of ice. Performances at 10AM between Sheds 3 & 4 and 1PM between Sheds 4 & 5
Toys for Tots Drive-Saturday December 17th
The Marine Corps Reserves “Toys for Tots” partners to collect new unwrapped toys. Deliver a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters! Donation Stations located in the Welcome Center (7am-4pm), Shed 3 (9am-2pm), Shed 5 (10am-1pm)
Santa & Mrs. Claus-Saturday December 17th
Take a photo with Santa & Mrs. Claus for $5.00 per photo; or bring a new, unwrapped toy for the “Toys for Tots Drive” and your photo is free! Santa & Toys for Tots Donation Stations are in Shed 3 & 5
Retail shops and restaurants are independent from the Saturday Public Market and may have different holiday hours. Their contact information can be found on our website www.detroiteasternmarket.com. Please give them a call to determine their hours of operations during the holiday season.
Our regular Saturday Market will resume its normal hours beginning on Saturday January 7, 2012, 5AM – 5PM. We invite everyone to avoid the long lines at the mall and do their holiday shopping at Eastern Market.”
Detroit Eastern Market – History
Since 1891, Detroit’s Eastern Market has been home to an amazing community of farmers, merchants, food lovers and residents. Eastern Market is a year-round Saturday public market attracting 10,000 in December through March and from 30,000 to 40,000 per day April through November. Detroit Eastern Market encompasses a wholesale market with 40 to 50 vendors in mid-June to November, 80 small-scale processors and distributors around the market, 15 restaurants and over 40 small retail related businesses.
Eastern Market is a tradition passed on from generation to generation. Detroit Eastern Market is the largest historic public market district in the United States. Every Saturday, Michigan’s largest and most colorful market is host to more than 150 farmers and vendors from Michigan, Ohio, and Canada offering a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, breads, baked goods, jellies, jams, honey, apple cider, cheeses, spices, herbs, plants and flowers.
Eastern Market Corporation – Mission
To run a successful market on a daily basis, imagine, fund and implement a series of capital improvements to the market. To serve as an official economic development organizer as well as strengthen the market for the Eastern Market district; and work with a number of collaborators and partners to strengthen the regional food systems in southeast Michigan.
Eastern Market-Detroit is located between Gratiot and Mack, bordered by St. Aubin and the I-75 service drive — just northeast of downtown Detroit. The Market is open on Saturdays from 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information, contact 313-833-9300 or visit the website at www.detroiteasternmarket.com.
I grew up in the middle of the California dessert, we had no phone, and our source of electricity were generators. I had to go to a national park to talk to my grandparents on my birthday from a pay phone. We had chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, sheep, guineas, dogs, cats, rabbits, and I’m sure there were some more animals peppered in there. I have had an amazing life, one that people tell me I should write a book about. And I thought once I moved away from there that I would have nothing else to write about. That is until I got a phone call for a job in California. This phone call has made me think of the possibility of leaving this city that I have fallen in love with. And while I didn’t get the job, it did put these thoughts in my head.
I have fallen in love with you. Slowly at first, then like a rock dropped into a pool; head first, fast and with ripples that touched every part of my body. My first visit to you was in 1997, I was a slow talking high school freshman from Texas. My high school cross country coach lived in an apartment over Nikki’s Pizza in Greektown, I came down to watch the Detroit Marthon. I knew nothing about Detroit history, nothing about the riots, segregation, the auto industry and the people. I’m not sure if back then I would have understood or cared about any of that. I just loved the sights, tall buildings, a ton of people, and good food.
I came in every once and a while, for a Tigers game, to run the Turkey Trot and to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. But never really gave Detroit much thought. I went away to college, 2 years at Ferris, 1 year at Ohio University and then I moved back home and went to OCC. I realized I needed a college degree from a 4 year university, so I switched to Wayne State. The advisor said 3 more classes and I could have a degree in Photography (those 3 classes turned into 3 years, and I loved each and every one of them).
So 6 months in Hubbard Farms, a summer in Italy and 4 years in Woodbridge, and, I thought I had to choose: Detroit or CA.
CA – Dream job. New beginning. Pay check, benefits, 401k. Sunshine. Snow only in the mountains and only when I want to see it. 80 degree’s all year long, no more pit bull in a sweatshirt in the winter. Furthering my career.
Detroit – my home, the only place I’ve called home since leaving CA 15 years ago. A 100 year old house. A neighborhood filled with more creative driven people than I could ever imagine. Public spaces turned to art spaces at the drop of a hat. Being able to be a part of 15 different organizations on a level where I actually make a difference. Going to rooftop parties. Being able to be an artist. Being able to be a cycling photographer. Wanting to put on a USACycling bike race in the middle of downtown Detroit and then doing it. Being able to make a difference if I put my mind to it. Being a part of the planning team for a 4,000+ person Tour-de-Troit. Friends that show up when you need a sewing machine, PBR, or a bike ride. The feel of the new morning when I get to work and hear the church bells ring on Washington. The sunny days when it rains. Being a “local”. Saying my favorite restaurant is a taco truck. Having people come in and say hi because they saw my bike outside.
I love you because you loved me first, you excepted me before I knew I needed it. Before I thought I wanted to live here, you enticed me, first with big ticket items: sports and theater. But then you reeled me in with the small shops owned by people I call my friends. Bartenders who chat with you when you’re at a different bar. The bike-able streets. The passion leaking out of every building new and old. The people who can see that passion and turn it into a reality. I have seen bars change, food added to menu’s, some open, some close, some bring new life, some bring new problems, all of them bring a little more flavor to a city I didn’t think could handle any more. I have watched parades as old as the Thanksgiving parade and as new as the Marche de le Nain Rouge. I have seen the birth of the future, and I am a part of it. It’s right in my own front yard.
I fell in love with you. And I am glad I get to stay around for the long run. I am grateful for the people who found out about the job in CA and who wished me well. Those that knew that even though I might be leaving, it wasn’t to leave Detroit, it was because I was trying to make something bigger happen. Even if you leave Detroit, it doesn’t leave you. As sad as I am to not be in CA on this cold day, I am thrilled to say that I am still a Detroiter. Thank you Detroit for making me the person that I am today. Thank you for adding another 100+ stories to a life that has so many already. And one that at the ripe age of 28 will see many more within your wide open streets. Thank you for being supportive to the arts and DIY crowd, these people are my friends and the people that will make you shine like the diamond that you are.
Well, I’m back to Detroit after a 2 week road trip out to California and back.
5,145 miles, split into 7 days of driving, 2 days staying with family in Texas, 1 night spent staying with family in Illinois, 2 nights camping under the starts in a cute little tent, 1 night spent in Vegas, 5 nights in California for Elite Track Nationals, 1 night spent a little outside of LA reliving memories from my past.
Photo montage -
I brought with me over a dozen Detroit shirts, to see if anyone would comment on them. Unfortunately no. I didn’t push my being from Detroit, but I also just hoped people would notice. The communications director for USA Cycling did ask me why I didn’t bring him gumbo from Fishbones in Detroit, but it was in response to me being from Detroit, not from the shirt.
While it was super nice to get a way for a while, I felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation when I got home. After driving in a car for 5 days your body gets a little tired and cranky and nothing sounds good, especially coming back and knowing that you have so much to catch up on. So we got home Friday night, unpacked, went to bed. Martin had to work at 7am on Saturday morning, and I had a ton of work to catch up on, so I spent 6 hours editing photos, started writing an editorial, catching up on emails I hadn’t looked at in 2 weeks. And then I got a phone call.
My friend Liz called, she said she missed me and she found an Oktoberfest party to rival any we had seen in Germany. I immediately said yes, I had missed Liz while away, and also missed drinking really good beer with her, it’s one of the things we do best when together (well beer and crafting). So she came and picked me up, and drove me to the Rathskeller Dakota Inn, on John R. and McNichols. If you’ve never been you should really check it out, it’s been open for over 30 years, family owned and operated. All the women wear dirndl’s, the beers are cold and tasty, the food is as authentic as I’ve had since leaving Germany. There were some men in Lederhosen, the band was to start playing around 8, but we had to leave as we were sitting at a table where some other people had reservations. So we didn’t stop the Detroit Okoberbest party, we just moved it along.
We went to Motor City Brewing Works, who has crafted an Oktoberfest beer, and sells it in a mas beir mug (that’s 1 liter of beer). We sat on the roof of MCBW and drank our beers, chatted with Zach the bartender about life and Detroit, Zach being one of my favorites at MCBW (not that any of them are bad, I’ve just known Zach for a long time). As a matter of fact, I had forgotten, but Martin and I went to Motor City Brewing Works when we came home on Friday for dinner. We had no food at home and wanted something delicious, and after 2 weeks on the road, nothing sounds better than brick oven pizza and hand crafted beer. Anyways, Liz went back to her house, as she lives not to far away, but in the opposite direction of me and Martin and I walked the 8 blocks from MCBW to our home.
(Sidenote – I spent a few minutes wondering whether to call it our house or our home. But I feel, since I’ve lived there for 4 years, and Martin has owned it for 7, that it is our home, and not just a house we live in. And that is an important distinction, that many of you may have just read over without any thought, but I had to put some thought into writing it.)
Anyways, it was an amazing way to come back to the city. Going to a new bar I’ve heard lots about but had never gone to. And then going to my home away from home, Motor City Brewing Works. And then going back to the place I call home.
Being back in the Welcome Center is nice, I feel a little out of the loop with what’s going on, but I will soon be back in the swing of things. So stop in when you’re around downtown, I’d love to know what you’ve been up to the past 2 weeks, what’s changed, how things are going, and what your upcoming plans are… There’s so much going on in Detroit right now. Gooo Tigers!
Social Media / Marketing
So I sort of forgot to mention in the last post about the shirts… I started this trip planning on wearing Detroit shirts every day hoping to run into people who had something to say about Detroit. So far no real luck, besides a man at the oil change place who wanted to talk Lions and a waiter who noticed Blaine’s Michigan State t-shirt. But below I have posted all of the shirts I’ve been wearing as well as a write up of the past few days.
Day 6 Let the racing begin.
We woke up at 7am, got ready, went downstairs to the continental breakfast, the 3 of us ate waffles and drank juice. I’m not sure if I’ve said it at this point or not. But somewhere in Arkansas I realized that I had a cold and will probably never recover. I’m coughing like it’s my job and can’t breathe… It’s really cool since I’m hanging out with a bunch of guys who want to be national champions, nothing like feeling bad about breathing! But anyways, I spent the day at the Home Depot Center Velodrome in Carson CA. It’s a pretty amazing facility but what it lacks is spectators. It turns out that not many people, it seems, know about velodrome racing. So day 1 there was the half of the omnium races. An omnium is basically a mixture of all the races, and who ever wins the most of these 6 races, wins the omnium. There was a omnium flying lap, which means you ride 3 laps gaining speed, and then they time the last lap. Then the points race, which is a longer race, with sprints every 10 laps or so, and the guy who ends with the most points wins. Then we went to lunch, ate at Panera, Martin bet Blaine an iPod Touch that he couldn’t catch a peg legged bird. He couldn’t. Then we came back to the Home Depot Center and the guys raced in another points race and then in an Elimination race. The elimination race is where every other lap the last man across the line gets removed from the race, sort of like musical chairs. It’s pretty exciting. There were women’s races too, they do all the same races as the men, it’s cool to see. Then we went to El Pollo Inka for dinner, and had some Peruvian spit fire rotisserie chicken. Then back to the hotel for showers and bed.
Day 7 – Racing continues
Breakfast as continentally as yesterday. Today we experimented with chocolate and regular waffles. They don’t taste very different. Racing started an hour earlier today at 9am. Toady, I think is the longest day. Scratch race heats, for the scratch race, not the Omnium Scratch Race. The Omnium Pursuit – which is where one guy starts on one side of the track, another guy starts on the other side, and they basically chase each other for the distance of 20 laps or something ridiculous like that. Then the omnium scratch race. Then the regular scratch race final. Then the omnium kilo – which is where you race as flat out fast as you can for one kilometer. It’s nuts. There were some other races in there like the team sprint, 3 laps, 3 people, each taking one lap as fast as they can. It’s pretty crazy, those sprinters are amazing. We had lunch at Tummy Stuffers, a chain that boasts 101 sandwiches, but to Blaine’s dismay they didn’t have any chicken sandwiches. We decided for dinner we would have chain restaurant food, so we picked California Pizza Kitchen, and finally someone commented on a shirt, unfortunately it was on Blaine’s Michigan State Shirt. They waiter asked where he was from, how long we were staying, where Martin and I were from, and told us that his brother worked for State. We went to Yogurtland for desert, had some frozen yogurt, and then went back home, it was already 11pm, a long and tiring day.
Day 8 – Short day?
Today Martin and Blaine only have one race, it’s a team pursuit, so they partnered with Andy and Derek, a few guys we know from Minnesota to complete their 4 person team. This race, is 12 laps, you have a team of 4, and you go as fast as you can each man taking a lap turn at the front. They’ve spent a fair amount of time swapping numbers, gears, handlebars and warming up/cooling down. It’s amazing the amount of time bike racing takes up, since you’re normal time on the track is between 1 minute and 30 minutes. Today there are a bunch of sprint races and paraplegic races. It should be really neat to watch and photograph.
We left Dallas at 7am, knowing that Google Maps said it was a 24 hour drive from Dallas to LAX, and we had to be at LAX at 10am the next morning so Logan could catch his flight back to Detroit. He has class on Wednesday and Thursday, which is why our road trip was from Friday – Tuesday. So we got up showered, ate, packed, and left at 7am. Stopped for gas right after we left.
And then boom on the road, nothing particularly amazing happened all day. We drove all the way to Amarillo, stopped for a burger with jalapeno’s at Whataburger. Went to Walmart to pick up a pillow and some snacks, then got back on the road.
Our next stop was to the gift shop in New Mexico. This particular gift shop had billboard for 5 miles before the shop, so we decided that we just had to stop. The clerk asked where we were going, but not where we came from, maybe it’s because my shirt said Detroit and Logan’s had Michigan on it. But 4 dreamcatchers and a cow skull later we were back on the road. Driving across New Mexico in the day time was pretty great. Last year when Logan and I made this trip we drove across it in the dark in order to get to the Grand Canyon. This year we skipped the Grand Canyon to spend 2 days with family.
We stopped in Grant New Mexico for dinner, the only place that looked open was a Pizza Hut, so it wasn’t the sit down nice dinner we had been dreaming about. After that long in a car nice, slow food sounds good. Pizza and more soda don’t. But it’s what we could get so that’s what we did.
Then we kept driving.
Stopped somewhere near the boarder to fill up again and go to the bathroom. Then started the drive through Arizona. The sunset in the mountains was pretty amazing.
Logan drove most of Arizona. We listened to a book on tape that was fairly rambly but kept us entertained. We had been making good time, since our stops were minimal and our dinner was short. So about 20 miles from the CA boarder we stopped and took a 3 hour nap. It was great, something about sleeping in a car on a road trip makes it a road trip. Road trips for me are sort of like a great childhood memory. We lived in CA and would make the trip every other summer to Dallas to see my mom’s family, then up to IL to see my dad’s family, then back to CA. So for me road trips leave my stomach feeling a little like Christmas, the anticipation of what happens when you wake up, butterflies in your stomach, and the heart pounding feeling when you open your eyes. So at 3am, while Logan was mostly still asleep I started to drive again. We went through the agricultural checkpoint at the CA boarder, we didn’t have fruit, just junk food.
Then we stopped for gas, an appalling $4.40 a gallon, maybe I haven’t been writing down what we’ve been paying for gas across the country, but it was well under $3.50. So we just put in enough gas to get us into LA, assuming this was just a road trip gas hike. So Logan slept a little more, I drove. He eventually woke up and we planned out our IHOP breakfast. We stopped at 7am at the IHOP in Rancho Cucamonga, had some pancakes, hashbrowns, eggs, meat and OJ. Took our time, but left by 8.
Then we drove to LAX. Traffic was backed up, but since there was two of us, we took the carpool lane and that made the trip a little faster. We reached LAX at 9:15 or so. Logan went in and printed his boarding pass. Then came back and packed all of his stuff. He left for his gate at 10. I sat in the car in the airport parking lot until 11:45 listening to some more of our book on tape. At 11:45 I went and walked to go and find Martin, his plane landed at LAX at 11:45, I found him. We hugged and walked back to the car, it felt nice to walk a little. We went to the Velodrome but registration wasn’t open yet, so we found a little Mexican food restaurant, the Burnt Tortilla, and ate lunch. Went to the hotel and checked in. I took a shower after what seemed like an eternity of not showering. And then finally took a nap. Blaine sent me a text at 6:30 that said he had landed, he wasn’t supposed to land until 7:30, so we rushed out the door to go pick him up. Went to a little Italian place that Martin and I found last year and all had ravioli for dinner. Blaine – spinach, Martin – meat, me – cheese. Then we went home, unpacked a little more, hung out and then we all went to bed. Ohh, I forgot the best part – our hotel room.
Martin and I had the same room last year, I can’t remember how we found it, but it’s amazing. For $100 a night we stay in a 2 story room. The downstairs has a full kitchen (oven, full sized fridge, cabinets and counter with barstools), a coat closet, a living room with a fireplace, AC, a room with a queen sized bed, TV and a bathroom. Then if you go upstairs to the loft there is a queen bed, TV, and a full bathroom. It’s amazing! I love it. So we gave the upstairs to Blaine. And that completes days 4 and 5 of the trip.