A few weeks older and a little bit wiser

by Sandy

Chicago, IL

Jul 28

It’s almost certain we’ll be making a habit of this kind of trip. In the interest of educating our future selves, here is a list of points to remember. If it helps you out in planning your own road adventure, all the better.

Keep a good balance of planning and serendipity.
We are notorious over-planners, and this trip was no different. Fortunately, we were cognizant, as were planning, to give ourselves room to move. Next time I would do it even more. What I recommend is to chart out a route, research the hell out of interesting places on your route (lean heavily on Chowhound and Ask Metafilter), keep a list of them with you, and then here’s the key: use it as backup, not as an itinerary. There will be days when you’ll need that list, but you should fully expect to find new and even more interesting places as you travel.

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by Sandy

Ypsilanti, MI → New Buffalo, MI → Chicago, IL

Jul 22

The fastest route from San Francsico to Augusta, Maine, according to Google Maps, takes forty-eight hours and traverses 3,256 miles. If you take that path and bend and contort it to fit around the greater Great Lakes area, you’ll have an good approximation of the distance and shape of our trip. Except ours took nine times as long.

Our final route, more or less
Our final route, more or less

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A peek inside the mind of Henry Ford

by Sarah

Dearborn, MI

Jul 21

Henry Ford, besides all the other stuff you know about him, was totally batshit crazy. Here’s how I know: I have been to Greenfield Village.

Greenfield Village is part of the Henry Ford (that’s a lowercase t, and it’s part of the name on all the official signage), an entire campus in Dearborn, MI dedicated to Ford’s legacy, and we visited there yesterday with Jeremy, Catherine, and Floyd.

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Big screen, small town

by Sandy

Sundance Kid Drive-in, Oregon, OH

Jul 21

A current of anticipation ran through our time at Cedar Point on Saturday, as it was our plan to book it from the park that evening and make it to a nearby drive-in in time to see The Dark Knight. The closest one we found that was also in the right direction was 50 miles away, in Oregon, Ohio. At around 6:15pm, we calculated that we had just enough time to ride Millennium Force and get out of there by 7:30, giving us an hour to make it to the drive-in, where we’d hopefully arrive just as the box office was opening, since surely the movie would sell out in minutes.

Thanks to the vagaries of approximating roller coaster waiting times and parking lot distances, it was closer to 8:15 by the time we got on the highway. I was pretty sure we were now on a futile mission, but we went for it anyway. If it was sold out, we’d have an opportunity to explore the Saturday night offerings in Oregon. To our surprise, the lot was barely half-full as we rolled in about 20 minutes to showtime, and we ended up finding a beautiful spot near the center, about four rows from the front, in which to park our car and get cozy.

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Sandy, 3498 days ago

For our final leg, we're taking Michigan Avenue -- all the way from Ypsilanti to downtown Chicago. Home is only a few hours away.

Sandy, 3498 days ago

Today -- finish unraveling Watergate, play some mini-golf, find a beach, and head on home.

Sarah, 3498 days ago

The home stretch

by Sandy

Fallingwater → Pittsburgh → Cedar Point

Jul 20

The last few days of the trip have seen a slight departure in approach. Somewhere in the middle we eased up our schedule and lost a day or so. Now we’re making it up on the highways, bypassing the small town serendipity for a more destination-based type of touring. I’m a little bummed to miss the chance to drive through the Pennsylvania countryside, which I’ve heard is beautiful. So it goes. We’re a little pooped, and ready to get home, so it’s a trade-off we’re willing to make. There’ll be plenty of time to explore small-town Pennsylvania on the next trip.

Fittingly, to accompany our transition into conventional touristing, our recent itinerary has focused on some conventional destinations. Friday morning, we woke up early in Altoona and drove the two hours to Mill Run for a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. Neither of us would admit to being connoisseurs of architecture, but Fallingwater is in the pantheon of Americana, and we both know how to appreciate a fine cantilever when we see it. I had a few misgivings about touring the place; something feels odd to me about a home being turned into a museum only 30 years after it was built. It’s already been a museum for longer than that. But I got over it. The place is a marvel. When the tour guide asked who among us would like to have been invited by the Kaufmanns to party here, ours were the first hands up. Then she asked who’d want to own it, and we hesitated. From the stories we heard and the pictures we saw (or didn’t see — there was maybe one of the Kaufmanns shown actually living there), it probably works better as a piece of art than it ever did as an abode.

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June helps with her birthday cake, Pittsburgh

Watching an 1876-rules baseball game in Henry Ford's backyard.

Sandy, 3499 days ago

About to watch a movie at a drive-in for the first time in either of our lives.

Sandy, 3500 days ago

In line for what looks like a bowel-loosening ride at Cedar Point.

Sandy, 3500 days ago

The Numbers

miles driven
miles ridden by ferry
~ 105
gallons of petrol purchased
cheapest price per gallon (Roseville, MN)
priciest price per gallon (Rural Ontario)
nights spent at friends' homes
nights spent at hotels/motels
nights spent at B&Bs
nights spent camping
photos taken
unsolicited questions about the Fit and its gas mileage
unsolicited admirations about our awesome Travel Scrabble kit
lottery tickets purchased
money won
Sandy's license plate game score
Sarah's license plate game score
Head's up Trival Pursuit record, Sandy v. Sarah
Mini-golf record, Sandy v. Sarah
First game
Second game
speeding warnings received
speeding citations received
mph over limit we were driving
mph over limit nice Michigan state officer cited on ticket

The Plan

Sandy and Sarah spent 18 days road tripping around the Great Lakes. This site is an aggregation of their posts, twitter tweets, and flickr photos. Subscribe to our RSS feed to follow future adventures. You may email us at wandering@weisz.es. You may also be interested in...