We were up very early, booked out and set out in the taxi for
the airport. After about 4 kms, I realised that I'd left Benny Bruin in the
room. Of course, I couldn't go without him, so it was back to the hotel. The
driver didn't mind - of course not, more money, but Benny was pretty miffed at
being left behind. The girls on the front desk at the hotel wondered why I'd
come back, but when they saw Benny they could understand. They also
said they would have looked after him well if I'd left him. As if!
We set out once again in the taxi, picked up our tickets and we were off on our
three and a half hour flight to Toronto to meet our girl (and some other strange
people as it turned out). I sat next to one of the biggest men you
could get on a plane. We had to have the seat dividers up so that he could sit
there. He was HUGE. We were served a very untasty breakfast. Not up to
Australian standards. However, it was a good smooth flight and that's more
important. No good going down with a full stomach. We could see the lakes
as we flew over. We arrived in Toronto at 12.10 after a two hour
time change - again, and guess what - there was Dave
Bramble holding up a 'Jenny and David Smart' sign - of course. We didn't know
Dave was in the USA. Tracy had kept this secret well and they thought they
would surprise us - they did. Out came Tracy and Lisa laughing their heads
off. After some 'rearranging' we all fitted in Tracy's car for the trip to
Detroit. It took us about four hours or so to drive to Detroit, to Lisa's house.
It was a lovely day, but lots of the leaves in this area had fallen so it wasn't
quite as pretty as I had hoped. We did see lots of red barns though so that made
up for it. About half way we stopped off at an apple farm for some cider
and a comfort stop. I won't mention the toilets! Probably some of
the worst I've seen. As we approached Detroit, we crossed into
the USA. The fellow here on the check point was so slack.
Tracy told him we'd flown in from Calgary, but he didn't seem interested - never
even checked our passports - only Tracy's. We hoped this would not cause
trouble later and it didn't, but he was very slack. We could have been
spies or something. Lisa's home is a pretty little place, set
amongst trees. It reminded me a lot of Mylor. She'd had her house
painted, kitchen redone and had set up a lovely bedroom especially for us, even
hired beautiful furniture for our room. As well as all of this,
there was a lovely gift basket sitting on the dresser for us. We
were so spoilt. We had a rest then got ready for a
slap-up wedding anniversary dinner, paid for by Tracy, at Morel's, a top class
restaurant nearby. It was a delicious meal and during the evening I finally
realised why the tips are so important to Americans. Their wages are disgusting.
Waiters and waitresses are paid $2.75 an hour plus tips. On a good night they
would make a fair bit, but what about other times? How do they live? We
then took David back to the house as he'd blown out and Dave, Lisa, Tracy and I
headed out to the Rainbow Room - a dance club supposedly like the Mars Bar, but
give me dear old Adelaide any time. This was pretty awful - dreadful music and
so smoky. We didn't stay long. When we got home I fell into bed and
straight to sleep. Quite a long and exciting day! It was so great to
see Tracy again and meet Lisa, not to mention 'putting up' with Dave.
Tracy and Lisa took Dave to the airport - just imagine, he'd come all that way just to see me for a few hours - well.... I went for a short walk around the area, which is very pretty. Much more peaceful and attractive than I'd imagined, being so near a big place like Detroit - about 15 miles out. Tracy phoned through to tell us to be ready for pick up as Lisa had lined up in a queue for breakfast at the Original Pancake House. When we got there the queue was still very long. It is the place to go on a Sunday morning after attending church. Beautifully dressed African American people. Gorgeous kids. We had the most delicious brunch. Here we tasted grits for the first time - we thought they tasted like sago. I loved this place. In fact, I love the way Americans decorate their restaurants - usually on a theme. It is more of an experience than just a place to eat. Great!! We then drove out into the countryside to Blake's Farm, where we walked through a cornfield maze, patted animals and generally had lots of laughs. It was time then for a hay ride out to choose our pumpkins for Halloween - three of them. Lisa, Tracy and David looked so funny hauling their pumpkins around. I just..well..watched and took photos. Then we set out for Franklin Cider Mill. The police had closed one of the roads we wanted to go on and we remembered that Al Gore was campaigning in Detroit that day. I said he was pioneering, but I meant electioneering! We had just come to another closed road when I spotted a police escort coming nearby. They crossed a bridge about 300 metres from us so Tracy pulled over for us to watch and I jumped out to photograph Al Gore's bus and shout "Go Al!" We were real Al Gore fans - us girls anyway! It was quite exciting - well I got excited anyway. We eventually got to Franklin Mill, a great place. It was as it sounds, an old mill and they make all sorts of apple 'thingies' there. We bought apple cider, sliced apples with coconut dripped all over them (!), donuts and 'stuff' for dinner that night. Sat on the bank of the creek running through the area, eating donuts. The afternoon was glorious, weather-wise, and it was such fun to be doing all of these harvest and Halloween things. When we got back to Lisa's the others made a fire while I prepared the food, not that it took much preparing, and we enjoyed a 'picnic dinner' out by this wonderful fire. It was great. We sat out there dining and wining for quite a while until the cold drove us in. What a wonderful day!! I almost felt like an American except that I didn't talk funny.
A generous OGD smokes the sausage for us all!
We woke to a beautiful morning. Once again I went
for a walk to have a look around Lisa's area. It was lovely
there - so peaceful. We left at 11 a.m. for Frankenmuth.
On the way we stopped off at Tony's for brunch, a tradition in the area.
This is one amazing place - I've never seen such disgustingly huge meals.
David had bacon and eggs and they serve a pound of bacon in each serve!
Mine wasn't too bad - shrimps and salad, but still too big. We all felt
stuffed after this. We then drove on to Bronner's, "the
biggest Christmas shop in the world", and believe me, it was huge.
Had a good look around - all five acres of it! They had some gorgeous
Christmas things and some gross ones. They even had a hot dog ornament.
It was disgusting and I would have bought it to take home for a laugh but it
cost about $20!! They make Christmas ornaments of anything in this
country. Then we drove on to Frankenmuth, which is a very pretty
little German village. It reminded me of Hahndorf, but much, much
prettier. They had a wonderful fudge
shop, which we just had to explore.
We all had a sleep in, then I cooked Jenny's special (not Tony's) for breakfast. It didn't have a pound of bacon on each plate! I sat on my glasses while I was getting dressed and a lens popped out. Lucky that was all. It was a gorgeous day again. We drove to Sam's Club for a few things - an amazing warehouse type of place - huge! In fact, everything about the place was huge. Huge tubs of things to eat, huge collections of everything - just. huge! We then got my glasses fixed and went on to the Ford Museum. As you can imagine, this is a great place. It was absolutely huge and so interesting. There they have on display former Presidents' cars, including the one John Kennedy was in when shot in Dallas. There are huge trains, heaps and heaps of cars, motor bikes, etc. etc. The display depicting cars through the ages was very interesting as Henry Ford first designed cars with steering on the right, as we have, but then changed to the left. I wondered just when and why he decided to change to the left and if they drove on the left all those years ago. I couldn't find this out but I thought it interesting. We wandered around here for ages, then decided it was eating time again, so we made our way to the hot dog bar, but before we did, I made myself a red plastic Meyers Wiener Mobile, which was a sight to see. Definitely a souvenir worth having! Then it was time for real wieners for a very late lunch. Following lunch we wandered through the rest of the museum, which has displays of general living utensils and electrical appliances, etc. When we'd had enough we drove back home in heavy traffic. Lisa had arranged for us to go to friends of hers for Trick or Treat, as there are no children in her area, but at the last minute they could not have us, so our hopes for a fun night were dashed. However, after much thinking Lisa came to the rescue! She came up with the idea of loading our pumpkins on her ute/truck, taking our sweets and party bags and going to find some kids. Trick or Treat on Wheels! We drove to an area where Lisa used to live and where she knew there would be lots of 'trick or treaters'. On the way we stopped off at a display of Halloween 'stuff' in a lady's front yard. We had a chat with her and she said she had so much fun with this, seeing the kids (and adults) and their reactions. It was all such fun. We set up our pumpkins, lit the candles, filled the treat bags and had a ball. People were really surprised to see us, They were a bit hesitant at first, but when they heard our accents, they came across to see what we were up to. It was really great. When we'd run out of treats, we drove around the streets looking at the decorations on the houses. People go to such a lot of bother and the lit up lanterns look a treat. Some of the houses' decorations were unbelievable - in fact some were downright scary. One place gave me the creeps as I am sure they were into witchcraft, but most people are just out to have a happy time. We bought pizza on the way home and had dinner back at Lisa's.
Once again, a beautiful day. We really were being
spoilt, weather-wise - and other ways. Our plan had been to set out
north on this day, but we decided to stay another day. We were having such
a good time and Lisa wanted us to stay on. Who could argue
with such a great host? The weather was absolutely wonderful.
I 'pottered' and David went for a walk while Tracy caught up with some work on
her lap-top. My hair had been driving me mad and both
girls thought David look very scruffy so we all set out for Lisa's barber.
I wasn't sure about this, but it turned out well. David looked a
real toff when she had finished with him. Then it was my turn.
When I saw all of my hair on the floor I was very worried, but I liked it and
then I remembered that when I went to see Tracy in England years ago, I did the
same thing, so it must be something I do when I'm let loose.
It was certainly much easier to look after. Then it was time for
something to eat. We all had 'make our own' burgers at
Fudruckers. Try saying that in a hurry! This was
another fantastic eating place. This one was on a music theme
and had music memorabilia all over the walls and hanging from the ceiling.
We sat in the Elvis booth. After lunch we headed for home and
stopped off to do some shopping for dinner as I was craving a home cooked meal,
even if I had to cook it. When we got home we all collapsed and had
a snooze. I went for another walk around the area, along
a 'bush track' in another direction. As I got onto the road
which runs past Lisa's house, there were very thick leaves on the ground, so of
course, what do I do? Fall flat on my bottom in front of about
six cars of people waiting at the intersection for the lights to change. Nobody
came to my rescue and luckily I didn't hurt myself, only my pride, so up I got
and trotted off home. Well it was probably more of a pained
stagger than a trot, but I made it. I cooked a normal sized
delicious dinner, and then we watched "Birdcage" which must be one of
the funniest films ever. Another great day.
Copyright © Warriordoc and OGD 2000, 2001. All