After a few more hours at Niagara Falls we headed west through the Canadian province of Ontario for a five hour drive to Detroit. The road was unremarkable with long desolate stretches of farmland in all directions and an occasional glimpse of Lake Erie on our left. But for distance signs listed in kilometers (we were flying until I realized this) and Tim Hortons (Canada’s fast food of choice) accompanying their sandwich with a donut and coffee instead of fries and soda, it didn’t feel like we were in a foreign country.
The Windsor-Detroit tunnel put us back into the US and again the border crossing was painless. The guard who was about my age asked us a few standard questions but the strangest was “Is anyone traveling with you?” Nope we don’t have any Canadian fugitives hidden in the trunk, I didn’t say.
Downtown Detroit was a pleasant surprise given the city’s reputation. Even on a Sunday evening there were people walking around and a vibrant scene of Greek restaurants and a casino. For fifty cents, we took the people mover (resembling the monorail from the Simpsons) on a fifteen minute loop around downtown past all historic buildings and the riverfront.
We continued west to overnight in the suburb of Dearborn. This city of a hundred thousand is known nationally for having the largest Arab population in the country. Wanting to experience the culture we asked our hotel receptionist for a middle eastern restaurant recommendation. He perked up to tell us about his favorite place the, Al Ameer Restaurant , and as he spoke about how he found it and that he had been going there for years and about their new location, he got more and more excited, upgrading our room and giving us a better rate as the line grew behind us.
Even with the glowing recommendation we were not disappointed because the restaurant was amazing. I have to give a plug to the Al-Ameer Platter of grape leaves, fried kebbie, chicken shawarma, tawook, kabob, kafta, shawarma, falafel, hummus and salad. Just come ready to eat a lot.
The next morning we went to the Henry Ford Museum, which in addition to their impressive selection of cars, had exhibits on the evolution of aviation and farming equipment plus a few random artifacts such as a full size Wienermobile and the chair President Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated.
The museum had an interactive area demonstrating Henry Ford’s revolutionary idea to use interchangeable parts to create his car. Throughout the day people are called over and asked to do their part in fully assembling a Model T by the afternoon. Sarah was entrusted with connecting something very important to somewhere else.
”So in a few hours can we come by when you start the car?” I asked the docent. “No, because they don’t allow us to bring gas and oil indoors,” she replied. Henry Ford must be rolling in his grave.
The museum had acquired the bus made famous by Rosa Parks and retrofitted it so we could enter and sit inside.
The Presidential Limousines section had a row of cars used by various presidents over the years, starting with the horse and buggy used to transport Theodore Roosevelt and continuing on to the car John F. Kennedy was shot in, belatedly sporting a bulletproof roof.
Afterward it had started raining and we headed off towards Chicago.