Thursday, August 31, 2006

An alien world underground!

Day 58: Camdenton, MO. I had to go check out Bridal Cave in Missouri because I heard it was spectacular...and it was! I couldn't help feeling I was standing on an alien planet...or at least a set the H.R. Gieger designed. It was an eerie feeling that the entire cave was alive and growing even though not a single bug or animal was to be found(except for an occasional sleeping bat). I was also relieved to get back into the sunlight!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Chillin' out in Ilinois!

Day 40: Rochelle, IL. I'm going to hang out at my friends house in the this small town (pop. 10000) west of Chicago for a couple weeks before heading west. I haven't really taken any pictures yet...and you already know what cornfields look like!

The Henry Ford

Day 39: Dearborn, MI. I was really interested in visiting a car museum in the city appropriately dubbed Motor City USA. What I didn’t know was that The Henry Ford Museum would quickly become the most amazing museum I had ever visited! Instead of just an auto museum, it is a museum of all American industrialization(including current events and pop culture) from the 1700s to today.

There were plenty of cars to be seen, but there were pleny of other machines that you would find nowhere in the country. Some were small. Like this hand-feed machine that creates the grove on the end of a screw:

Some were larger(and look like they could have been in Mad Max) like this Avery Traction Engine from 1916:

And then some were enormous installations like these steam engines and this generator that powered a small city:

Here’s a prefabricated house, called the Dymaxion House, from the 1940s. Only 2 were ever built and fairly recently The Henry Ford was able to acquire both:

A really dug some of the neon signs they had here and there:

But I was most fascinated by the exhibit of popculture that started in the year 1900. I must say though that it made me feel a little old to see some of the stuff I played with in the late 1970s…like this Pong video game. And I’m pretty sure I even owned this Star Wars lunch box! J

After the museum I toured Ford’s Rouge Factory that produces the F-150 trucks. This is Ford’s newest assembly line factory. Unfortunately they wouldn’t allow me to take pictures inside. But I can assure you it was pretty cool…and a lot quieter and cleaner than you’d expect from an auto plant!

Monday, August 14, 2006

I'm back in the America baby!!!

Day 38: Detroit, MI. After crossing the Ambassador Bridge, waiting in line, and then answering a few questions to the impatient customs official, I entered back into the good ol' US of A in Detroit. This city feels extremely old...some of the roads were still brick and abandoned buildings were the norm downtown. It was a surreal contrast to the futuristic-looking GM building(I grabbed that picture off the internet because I couldn't find a good place to stop and take the picture).

A Detroit Tigers game was that evening at Comerica Field and what seemed like the entire town was heading to the ballpark on foot. Because of the game, it was difficult to drive around the city and there wasn't any parking anywhere. Instead I headed to Dearborn to spend the night.

Across from Comerica Field was this pretty cool looking Fox Theater.

Interesting Canadian road signs

Day 38: All over Canada. I thought it was very considerate of the Canadian police (mounties?) to put out menus of the consequences of speeding. I made sure I was traveling less than 119 kph (or over 141 kph) at all times to avoid any fines!

The other London!

Day 38: London, Ontario. This town is famous for two things...the LaBlatt Brewery and Pixar's very own Scott Lemmer. Hope your having a great time in California Scott!

I finally get to visit a maple syrup farm!

Day 38: Beachville, Ontario. I never did get a chance to visit a maple syrup farm while I was in Maine and Vermont, so when I saw Jakeman's Maple Syrup I had to stop. Apparently Jakeman's has been voted the best tasting maple syrup in Canada. I didn't get to see them harvest the syrup from the trees because it wasn't the right time of the year...but they were packaging the bottles in the back room.

After checking out there store I drove around the dirt roads of the local farms. Coincidentally I was listening to the "Signs" soundtrack at the time and decided I should hightail it out of there before I ran into any visitors in the cornfields!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Toronto...guess I'll visit you another day!

Day 37: Toronto, Ontario. After a long drive from Montreal(and a few stops in between) I arrived in Toronto around 9:00pm. I had no idea how large this city would felt like I was in New York City. I drove around downtown for about a half hour but felt a bit overwhelmed by the size of the city and the fact that everyone was out walking around. It seemed like a really happening place, but I was tired and drove half an hour outside the city to get a hotel room. After a night's rest I decided I'd drive back into the city and do a little exploring. But the traffic heading downtown was pratically at a standstill(even though it was about 10:15am). I figured I would visit another time(perhaps with someone who knew there way around the town) and headed south toward the US.

Murney Tower Museum

Day 37: Kingston, Ontario. Of course I had to go and check out this museum because it was so unusual looking. I think it was built at some point to defend Canada from the Americans(but I could be wrong). After climbing a spiral staircase in this fortress I could see the huge cannon that was on a track so it could fire in all directions. The tower was actually 3 stories tall...and it felt more like a dungeon on the bottom floor(where the tower occupants would have ate and slept).

Montreal, Quebec

Day 37: Montreal, Quebec. Montreal was a pretty interesting city. It's completely a french-speaking fact I'm pretty sure they frown at the few English speakers there. Vieux-Montreal(Old Montreal)was a pretty cool area to walk around. The buildings's were old and the streets were narrow. The downtown area was a bit more modern. Here's a view out my downtown hotel room.
And here's a couple of shots of the Basilique Notre-Damn in Vieux-Montreal...I loved the way the interior glowed with both gold and blue!

Extremely low tide in Nova Scotia!

Day 35: Advocate Harbor, Nova Scotia. I think I read in my tour book that difference between high and low tide in this area was 15 feet. And as you can see from these pictures that's just about what it looks like. This site was very eerie to me...especially since no one else was around the area. It also reminded me of that scene in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" when that ocean liner appears in the middle of the dessert.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cape d'or

Day 35: Cape d'or, Nova Scotia. I can't remember what got me to want to drive down this dirt road...there must have been a sign saying an incredible view awaited. About half way down this 4.5 km drive I was tempted to turn around. The road was incredibly bumpy, curvy, and steep at times. But the view at the end was spectacular! After parking the car I had to walk down a smaller dirt path to the rocky outcrops below.

Wild black bear spotted in Nova Scotia!

Day 35: near Southampton, Nova Scotia. Ever since I got into Maine I kept seeing signs to look out for Moose walking onto the roads. I never did see one, but I was stunned to see a black bear standing in the middle of the road in an area of Nova Scotia where I hadn't seen another car pass by for a while. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and hesitated before grabbing for my camera. I guess I could have stopped the car too, but by the time my camera was out, the bear had walked back into the trees. The artist rendition below shows precisely what it looked like out my car window.
I was disappointed I didn't get an actual picture of the bear, but that faded as I explored more of Nova Scotia's natural beauty!