Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Michigan - Detroit

“If you sifted all Detroit in a wire basket the beater solid core of dregs couldn’t be better gathered.” (232)

“The moment we were in the new Chrysler and off the New York the poor man realized he had contracted a ride with two maniacs, but he made the best of it and in fact got used to us just as we passed Briggs Stadium and talked about next year’s Detroit Tigers.” (234)

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Detroit consists of lots of beat up American cars. I only know this because I couldn't help noticing how many domestics compared to imports are on the road in that city, though it makes perfect sense. There was also some indistinguishable classic rock show going on downtown (or somewhere near there), which kind of fit the profile I had for Detroit. Perhaps hearing that music is why the first comparable city that popped into my head was Pittsburgh; central to Detroit's identity is Ford/GM/Etc., while central to Pittsburgh's identity is football (specifically the steelers). Aesthetically, though, and in my opinion, Pittsburgh is nicer. Maybe it's a tenuous connection, considering I was only briefly in Detroit, but a parallelism struck me--or maybe it's not so much the perceived connection between Pittsburgh and Detroit, but the connection midwest (and in Pittsburgh's case midwest-esque ... pardon the neologism) cities have with each other. Regardless, I wouldn't want to live there.

Ohio - Ashtabula, Toledo, Cincinatti

“It was an ordinary bus trip with crying babies and hot sun, and countryfolk getting on at one Penn town after another, till we got on the plain of Ohio and really rolled, up by Ashtabula and straight across Indiana in the night” (11).

“In the misty night we crossed Toledo and went onward across old Ohio. I realized I was beginning to cross and recross towns in America as though I were a traveling salesman—raggedy travelings, bad stock, rotten beans in the bottom of my bag of tricks, nobody buying.” (234)

"The dark and mysterious Ohio, and Cincinnati at dawn." (243)

(Unfortunately I have no pictures of Cincinnati; was getting late and I only took one shot, which was motion-blurred. I'm not too broken up about it).


Ohio is boring as hell to drive through, and I zipped across (and up, and down...) that state as fast as I could. Really, I have nothing remarkable to say about the Ohio portion of this day's trip, despite the fact that it was a considerable haul--I left from Pittsburgh, PA then went up near Ashtabula, through Cleveland (shudder), then cut up to Michigan for Detroit, then back down through Toledo, near Cincinnati, over to Indianapolis, and then stopped for the night in Terre Haute, Indiana. More on that later. No wonder Ohio was little more than a collection of bus stops in On the Road.

For more on Cleveland, and even a little on Detroit, watch this video.