Getting to Detroit was quite a saga in itself as my flight from NY was delayed by a few hours. I think I ended up leaving at the time I was meant to arrive in Detroit. Thankfully my mate Tony was aware of what was happening so he didn’t find himself waiting at the airport unnecessarily.
On arrival we went straight to the hotel to settle in before heading to Cheli’s sports bar for dinner and few ales. Unfortunately the kitchen was closed, not that the waitress knew, so we didn’t get what we ordered though it ended up being pretty good pizza with an entrée of salad for me. The meal worked out cheap as the waitress gave us 2 for 1 pizza and gave us the entrees free due to her being sorry for not knowing about the closed kitchen. Nice little start to the trip.
That night I literally slept like a log and didn’t get up until about 10am, missing the hotel breakfast. During the day we headed out to the Henry Ford Museum, which I would have to rate as one of my favourites. It had something for everyone from seeing the US Presidential vehicles, including the one JFK was shot in to all sort fo cars and bikes as well the chair Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in with a section dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. There was also a section on the 20th century and how things have changed. To see my childhood in a museum doesn’t really make one feel young anymore. I guess I should accept the reality I am getting older now.
That night we headed into downtown Detroit to see what its like. Much to my surprise it wasnt as downtrodden as I imagined. Wouldnt say I felt 100% safe either. Going in the General Motors building (Renaissance Centre) we took the elevator to the 72nd floor to get some awesome views of the Detroit River and looking into Canada. If only Tony had his passport, we would have crossed over as it was so close. I could have then claimed another stamp for the passport. Back to Cheli’s again for dinner but this time we were early enough to have the meals we wanted the night before. Wasnt as cheap this time around. Oh well!!
Next day we out to Ann Arbor which is home of the University of Michigan. Today was a huge day for college football as its literally on everywhere and is telecast for about 15 hours straight! We started off the pub crawl from lunch time and visited some great microbreweries in the area. Those being, Arbor Brewery, Jolly Pumpkin, Blue Tractor, Grizzly Peak and Bar Louie. Much to my surprise the beers were really good, especially for US ones. The standard US beers such as Budweiser, Coors and Miller are pretty bad at best. I think I watched that much college football I can now consider myself an expert, maybe that’s stretching it a little too far, but now I have a greater understanding of the game.
During the day we also just wandered around the outside of the University campus, watching people go about their normal day, even if it was a Saturday. Student life there seems to pretty full on, even on weekends with study groups everywhere and cafes full of students using wi-fi enabled laptops completing assignments. Well those students not in pubs supporting University of Michigan in their football match!
The day after we headed back to Detroit the long way to see the Detroit Pistons play the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA. To get there went through Royal Oak for lunch and they had one hell of a bakery there, then through Birmingham on the off-chance we may see the Dallas Mavericks leaving for the game from the Townsend Hotel. Must have been my lucky day as when we got there, they were loading the players luggage onto the bus. Spotted players such as Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion and Drew Gooden leaving the hotel, then the coach, Rick Carlisle.
The game itself was great and the Palace of Auburn Hills is a great venue. Pistons lost at the death but I thoroughly enjoyed the day. We ended up sitting about 10 rows from court side which provided great views, and you could actually hear the coaches calling out to the players plus seeing all the expressions on the players faces. Definitely my best NBA experience to date but still got a few more games to attend yet.
Once again I crashed pretty much straight away but had to get up early to catch my flight to NY then catch the bus to Boston.
Big shout out to my mate Tony for his guiding and Michigan knowledge plus organising all the accommodation and tickets. It made the time there so pleasant and I’d love to go back again at some stage.