Chalk up a few more counties, this time in Michigan. After attending a one-day conference at Kent State University in northeast Ohio, I headed a bit farther north (and west) to the Great Lakes state (or the Wolverine state if you prefer).
The night before the conference, I overnighted at the Fairfield Inn in Streetsboro, Ohio, a typical representation of the brand. While I didn't get the usual, “Thank you for being a Gold Elite member” greeting, I did see a my first name and last initial on display at the reception desk along with the other MR members staying that night.
The drive to the Detroit area took about as long from Kent as it would have from Columbus, so I'm not sure I saved any time by combining these trips, but since the conference was on Thursday, I preferred collecting a few more counties over going back to the office on Friday.
I chose the lovely and historic Dearborn Inn based on several recommendations from MR Insiders. It is well worth a visit. Automotive historians will love all the photos and lithographs of old Fords (both the cars and the people). Aviation fans will enjoy similar treatment of the Ford Tri-motor. While not the most luxurious property I have ever visited, it is one of the nicest. Certainly one that oozes with both character and history. Definitely worth a visit.
Having arrived relatively late, I opted for dinner in the bar. Quite a varied menu and if for some reason nothing appeals, guests can order off the menu from Edison’s restaurant, just across the hall. One thing to note—the hotel is near several Ford facilities as well as Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum, but distant enough from everything else that dining elsewhere will require a short drive.
Friday morning dawned overcast and rain was forecast by midday. Not the best driving weather, but not the worst either. After a nice breakfast in the Concierge Lounge, my route took me north by way of Pontiac, the Oakland County seat (which I collected in July 2013) and on to new territory. Here is a look at the Lower Peninsula before and after (once the postcards arrive early in the coming week, my green thumb will turn blue).
I stopped in the county seats of Lapeer, Caro, Sandusky, Bad Axe, Port Huron, Mount Clemens, and Detroit (in that order). The rain began about the time I reached the shores of Lake Huron. From Bad Axe, I drove the extra 15 miles to Port Austin (at the tip of the thumb) and followed the lake all the way to Port Huron figuring it might be a scenic drive. On a nicer day, I probably would have stopped for a few pictures, but the steady rain kept me in my car. Despite that, I enjoyed views of the lake for well over an hour as I traveled M-25. The rest of the trip was unremarkable—a brief stop in both Mt. Clemens and Detroit, followed by a 3½ hour drive home to Columbus.
Twenty-five counties in the Lower Peninsula remain uncollected. I may try to knock those out later this year. If not, certainly in 2015. I still have the two far western counties in the U.P. to visit, but those will likely come as part of a visit to Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Up next is a long weekend visit to St. Louis in a couple weeks. My goal is to complete both Indiana and Illinois (2 and 42 counties respectively). I’ll add a few in Missouri as well. Also on tap is lunch with MR insider jerrycoin. Between the two of us, I have no doubt there will be pictures of that meeting posted on this site.
Look for the next blog entry in mid-May.