Detroit, MI

Disclaimer: This blog was written at a significant delay (December 2018). As in, the delay was so significant, that I don’t feel that I can accurately represent our time at this location in story form. So, I am just going to post photos I captured here and then ramble about some of my clear memories of the place via some bullet points.

How did I get so far behind? Well, there was a summer visit from a nephew, and also a giant party in Rochester that needed to be planned for. But, also, if it comes down to blog writing or sleep – I will always choose sleep. So anyways, back on the blog game. But in abbreviated form until I catch up to the present day.

While we were in the Grand Rapids area, we realized we were not too far from Detroit. Upon this realization, we decided that while we wouldn’t have much time to spend there – we would be going to Detroit. Spending several years of our childhoods secretly listening to Eminem (secretly because we all wanted to maintain our ‘cool punk rocker’ statuses), we were not going to miss a chance to pay homage to Slim Shady.

We positioned Dyna in a spot at Sterling State Park, about 45 minutes South of Detroit. We chose a site, that according to the park map, looked like it would be within view of the playground. The map was a trick. Our site was separated from the entertainment center (playground) by a vast swath of very tall weeds. When we decided to try and forge a trail through these weeds to get to the playground, we quickly aborted mission and spent the next 10 minutes removing ticks from each other. In a feat of ingenuity, we decided to holster a walkie-talkie on Dexter’s shorts, tune up his scooter, declare firm boundaries of exploration, and send him on his merry little way. We then called his walkie-talkie once every 20 minutes and occasionally decided one of the adults should climb atop Dyna’s roof with a pair of binoculars to visually confirm his continued health and prosperity. Being an adult in charge of a smaller human who is gaining independence skills is nerve racking.

  • We spent only three nights at Sterling State Park. 2/3 of those nights involved swarms of Mayflies. Which was both creepy, and really neat all wrapped up into one plethora of horny bugs flying around our heads in the evenings.
  • Sterling State Park is surrounded by power plants. We spotted the towers of at least 2 separate power plants from the roof of Dyna. These power plants make for nice additions to Andy’s creative photography hobby.
  • The sunsets at Sterling State Park while we were in town were spectacular. Even Dexter mentioned that he thought they were nice.
  • Sterling State Park offers Ranger activities for kids. Dexter fell head-over-heels in buddyship with one of the rangers, and learned how to measure the width of trees in the process of following his new hero around the park.
  • Jake took an afternoon off of work so that we could go check out the Ford Factory and catch a tour. We were all entertained by Ford’s love for Ford. We also enjoyed seeing the factory floor and getting a glimpse at the process used to build F-150s. Recommend.
  • After touring Ford, we headed out in search of one of Eminem’s childhood residences. We crossed the tracks to the wrong side of 8 Mile, just like in the song. When we finally arrived at what Google Maps declared was ‘Eminem’s House’, we were greeted by an empty lot in a neighborhood that was mostly empty lots.
  • We spent a few hours walking aimlessly around center city Detroit. Dexter wormed himself into a game of ping-pong with another family, which is not an uncommon occurrence with our 7 year old crew member. My brother found his photographic creativity overtaking him again. We climbed on scultpures, marveled at yet another building dedicated to the auto industry, and gazed across the river into Canada.

While none of us felt we had spent nearly enough time exploring the city that built Eminem, there is a NASA Visitor Center in Cleveland that a certain 7 year old sometimes aspiring astronaut is going to really enjoy.


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