26.05.2013 23 °C
Although I was looking forward to seeing the exhibits in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, I had mixed feelings about the visit. On our long travel days, the tour guide would make the journey go faster by playing us topical videos for places on our itinerary. Before arriving at the museum, we'd watched one on Henry Ford. It confirmed what I already knew, that despite Mr Ford being a highly successful man, he wasn't nice to his employees. Times were tough if you worked in a Ford factory. It was long hours of hard work with not a lot of pay. Worse still was his mate Edison who, while staking his claim in history, tortured animals in the process. It pains me greatly that I often see quotes of inspiration from the latter. But I went in, anyway.
There's lots to see in this Museum. It's well worth a visit, or even a detour to make a visit. As you'd expect, there are enough vehicles to keep a motor enthusiast on a natural high for hours. Not only cars, but a snow-lough train, a diner car, a wiener-mobile, and all sorts of other mind blowing things. And that's just the beginning. The car that got my gold star was the one that JFK rode on that fateful day in Dallas. It's amazing to be able to so close to something so ingrained in our memories.
If you're not into cars, it won't matter a dime. Rightfully so, we had a few hours to take it all in, but still raced from one exhibit to another, amazed at we found on display. The theatre chair that Lincoln was shot in, a round house that never took off, and the coolest museum space ever that capture the decade of your youth. Mine was the 70s, and I have to tell you, I was mighty excited to see a Pet Rock. It was like walking into a memory warp. We could have stayed for along time longer, but it was time to get back on the road. What I loved most about this museum was the ability to become fully immersed in what you were seeing. Before we left, I got the shot I had hoped for, sitting in the very bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat.
It was late in the afternoon by the time we reached Chicago. I'd been imagining Chicago to be one of the highlights of the tour. For no other reason than the very name of the city invokes all sorts of images of bad-boy history and high flying lifestyles. And then there's the skyline. Even though it was getting on in the day, true to form, our tour guide wasn't about to let a moment go by wasted. We drove around to the point where you can look back across the lake to the city, and we made a mental note to return there one evening to watch the sun go down and the buildings light up. After that it was the Sears Tower (you're not getting me up there), and a whistle-stop tour of many of the Windy City's outstanding public art displays. I learned about it's existence not very long before via the internet, but when I first saw The Bean, I don't think I was fully prepared for just how awesome it is.
Our final stop was the famous Navy Pier. We wondered around it for a while, taking the atmosphere in, and just generally enjoying the vibe of Chicago. It was nice to know we had a full free day coming up to explore the city. After we got back to the hotel, all that was left was to pop out for some dinner. While a stroll along the street to find somewhere to eat might be ordinary in many places, not so in Chicago. Just as we stepped outside a gigantic thunder and lightening storm took hold complete with torrential downpour, and we squealed and ran and jumped with ever flash of light and deafening boom of thunder, until we reached the safety of our restaurant. Welcome to Chicago.