Friday, August 5, 2011

Great Lakes Road Trip: Lovin’ Every Minute of It!

For nine years in a row now, my son and I have been taking grand vacations. Maybe not grand by everyone’s standards, but pretty large by ours. It’s vacation, and I love every minute of it. And anyway there’s no shame in staying at a Bestway Motor Inn.

We just have two rules when we travel: we have to go somewhere we’ve never been before, and do something we’ve never done before. For our destination this year we chose that beloved tourist metropolis sought out by vacationers around the world: Detroit.

Yes, Motor City is gritty, but it’s got great benefits. It’s the automobile capital of the world, and most of my favorite vintage cars were built there. It sits right between Canada and the Jiffy Mix Factory, and is home to a magical place called Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum. This year it also provided us with the thing we’d never done before – taking a spin in a Model T.

Best of all, Detroit’s got Motown. Upstairs we saw Michael Jackson’s glove and the Marvin Gaye Memorial Tribute, before descending a few short steps into Studio A, the basement room where Motown’s biggest hits were recorded. Our group took parts singing “My Girl” in quite imperfect harmony. It was beautiful.

Blasting from the stereo of our rented 2011 Impala, “Detroit Rock City” became our theme song for this city with a rocky past and equally uncertain future. But our time there was up. Like a billion cars before us, we rolled out of Detroit, leaving its ragged urban backdrop for the clean, unassuming terrain of Ontario.

You can say this for Canada: it’s big. Like America, it’s got some Great Lakes. It’s got something else too, a relic of a journey that began in the U.S. and ended in Dresden, Ontario: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which I didn’t realize belonged in Canada until we made this trip. We got there just as they were closing, but that was okay; the same thing happened a few years ago when we went to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s house, which made it apropos. (I’m a copywriter, so I have to use words like 'apropos.') We still got to walk around the place, though, and I could see how the story of this slave refuge would inspire telling. I dig some real material for writing about – it always seems better than stuff I make up.

The pinnacle of our trip was our stop in London, Ontario, for a rock-n-roll festival on what would be their hottest day in history. Ah, but it was worth it. My son and I stood for hours in the baking heat to watch Loverboy, soaking in the spray of the water hoses and the sweat of Mike Reno.

Coming home from our adventures, I’m a renewed woman. I’ve brought home renewed faith in parenting, the power of communicating with a teenage son, and some new, real-material inspiration for writing about. I’m genuinely looking forward to the coming months.
School starts next week; soon fall will be in the air, and the holidays right around the corner.

I’m particularly excited about the magnetic Christmas photo cards I’ll be sending out this year. That’s right! Check it out I think with this card will really flick the switch into overdrive.


  1. apropos
    there - where do i send my bill?

    america - canada;s seedy underbelly


  2. i can;t wait for "real-material" (TM) reading..

    in the coming months..


  3. Stay tuned, Larry. More real material and thrilling vocabulary to come.