We have been quite fortunate in so many ways. The weather has been extremely good to us. The day we left Montana the temperature was in the 70’s, which is pretty incredible for November. The very next day, Dad told us that is was snowing back home. News of more snow and bitter cold temperatures back home, just made our trip more exciting. We had left, just in time!
It had been twenty-six years since my last trip to Michigan. Much has changed, and yet some things seemed exactly the same. I was blown away by the changes in my old neighborhood, where I grew up. Hills seemed smaller, the trees towered, and the Cardinals seemed redder. I felt as if I were in some sort of time warp.
The growth in twenty six years was incredible and the later falling apart of Detroit from corruption and the U.S. auto industry tanking made for a unique picture to observe. In the Detroit metro area, what used to be open space are now parking lots, stores and subdivisions. In the Detroit inter city where neighborhoods used to be, are ghost towns.
To me, parts of Michigan seem to have lost an appendage of ingenuity and a sense of self. The Upper Peninsula seemed the same without much change at all, as if it been stuck in time.
The best part of the trip was connecting with my family and friends from several chapters ago in my life. It was great to spend time with them, noticing how they had changed and realizing how I have changed.
Living on the road, you have to expect things will not always go as planned. I guess that is part of what makes life interesting. We decided we’d better take care of a few things before we left Michigan, like getting the computer fixed and take the van in for some minor repairs and maintenance.
Sherry was super bummed out over the computer freezing up, as the warranty had just expired. We rely pretty heavy on our computers, as they provide our lifestyle. Sherry didn’t tear out all of her hair over it, but almost. We scheduled an appointment at the Apple Store in Troy in the Somerset Mall, hoping that the crew at the Genius Bar would have good news for us and do a little shopping.
Walking to the Apple Store was amazing!! It was like stepping into the future. (Our store back home, is like an office with two desks and a dog to greet you at the door.) The energy was electric, to say the least and no pun intended. The latest and greatest Apple Computers, gear and gadgets, were everywhere. It was an exciting place to be.
The Genius Bar was at the rear with several solution stations. The whole place was buzzing with activity; we were checked in right away and waited nervously. Sherry said it felt like waiting at the doctors’ office. Finally, it was our turn.
(Dr.) Bill asked us a few questions and proceeded to take the Mac into the backroom. He returned several minutes later and told us some bad news…the hard drive could not be opened up. I was surprised that Sherry did not cry. Bill talked with his manager and said that since the warranty had just expired that there would be no charge for this repair. He asked us if we could wait a couple of hours to pick up the computer.
I think the combination of getting the computer back the same day, fixed, at no charge was a band-aid to loosing information. All was good.
We took off to tour the mall and to explore what was new for Christmas this year. One store we wandered into was the All Things Detroit. A great place if you are interested in Detroit Products, Motown Music and memorabilia from the Motor City. We had a great time covering all three floors and talking to folks from the area and observing all the unique holiday decorations. Shopping can be great exercise.
We arrived back to the Apple Store two hours later and Bill saw us coming and greeted us with a finished product ready to go and even gave us a few pointers. We wished each other a Happy Holiday Season.
Again, we would like to thank Bill and all the Apple Store Crew Members for the great customer service and going the extra mile!
Later that afternoon, we went to the Bean & Leaf in Rochester to catch up on some projects. It is a quaint little corner coffee house with wi-fi, great coffee and fun employees. I found it interesting, as there is a Leaf & Bean in Montana.
Rochester is also the home of Leader Dogs for the Blind. While we were sipping our coffee, 2 dogs in training came in with their people. Sherry bounced right over and struck up a conversation with the trainers and even got to love up the dogs. She would have signed up as a volunteer right then and there, but chose to continue road trekin.
About 270 students come to the center each year to be paired with a guide dog. This is a special place and for some, it means independence, for others self worth, as well as safety.
The main reason we were in Rochester was to see the incredible Downtown Christmas Light Display that everyone had been raving about.
At 6:00 pm sharp, all the Christmas lights came on and lit up the town! It was absolutely beautiful.
We walked the main street taking pictures, then hopped in the road trekin van and put the mile long main street on video. The video just doesn’t capture the feeling of being there. From there we picked up a hot pizza and headed down the highway.
We spent five weeks wandering around Michigan and it only really snowed once. Sherry dug out her snow pants to sit in the snow and take pictures of all the fabulous birds That is probably the last time she’ll use them for awhile, cuz…were heading south!
Stay tuned for our next stop in Cleveland at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.