A Not so Rockin’ Detroit

The Wild Rockies Field Institute (WRFI) course during which Laura and I met had us backpacking and kayaking across Montana with eight other crazy folk with whom we grew very close. One of them was Sarah, whom we stayed with in Cleveland, and another is Pete Muehmel.

Papa Bear

Papa Bear

Pete, or ‘Papa Bear’ as we call him is currently in the Northern suburbs of Detroit earning some loan money for school, so we thought we would stay with him while we saw what was in The Motor City. It turns out there is not much to see, or blog about for that matter. Abandoned buildings obstruct the view of other abandoned buildings as you approach the downtown area. When you get there GM’s headquarters looms over the lake, a reminder of what the city was built upon. The feeling of being in Detroit was like teetering on the edge of a cliff. It was as though we could feel the mistakes of the past and the uncertainty of the future. At this point it would seem appropriate to launch into a summary of what new, efficient cars the Big Three plan to manufacture to save the American auto industry, but there is no point. Right now most of the world lives in cities, and in a couple more decades 2/3rds of the global population will be set up in urban areas where bus and rail systems will, hopefully, efficiently transport people.
GM's house

GM's house

Where people are highly concentrated, cars only add to pollution, congestion, and accidents; and dependence upon cars in urban areas only prolongs the delay of the development of convenient, comfortable, and sustainable public transit systems. Realistically I know people will keep buying cars, especially when foreign, low cost production cars hit the American market in a couple of years, but more cars are not the answer.
It was sad to be in such a depressed city, but our mood was lightened with some grilled kebabs and ice cream. Ice cream does amazing things for hindered spirits. The next day it was time to say goodbye to Papa Bear and leave the comfort of a friend’s home to once again battle the four wheeled beasts I just slandered. Michigan gets a D- for road maintenance, which is funny given how much Michiganders love their cars, and the intimate relationship between cars and roads. It is a little frustrating trying to avoid cracks and scattered potholes with a two wheeled trailer, so luckily a bike trail took us part of the way to Ann Arbor, our next stop.
Even with such a great reminder as the message written on the pavement (pictured below), I still managed to not call my father on father’s day. Last year I missed mother’s day because of a bike trip, so I was just evening the score…
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1 Response to “A Not so Rockin’ Detroit”

  1. 1 calvin August 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm


    great to hear from you dude, congrats on the coast-to-coast!

    looks like a great reunion with papa bear, and a week in missoula!? lucky dog, you. get home safe we got swimming holes to bike to


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