Day 2: August 28, 2011
Motor City Drive Through
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I had already gone through a 5+ mile detour when I took this picture. As I set at the light, waiting to start what would be a mile and a half detour, I casually pointed the camera through the windshield and snapped this off with little expectation of using it. But, after lots of orange cones in both Toledo and Detroit and ending the day with an even bigger detour, I decided to use it to show that this sort of scenery started early in the day.

There are occasional street signs and such with the word Dixie but this was one of the brighter indications that the highway hasn't been totally forgotten. For some reason, connecting the words ice cream, Michigan, and Dixie made me smile.

I wasn't expecting to run into General George Armstrong Custer on this trip but it seems he grew up in Monroe, Michigan. That's a darned nice statue and, although it has been moved once, it's been somewhere prominent since 1910 at which point George had still been alive longer than he'd been dead.

While looking over the statue, it occurred to me that there could be some real benefit to once again having our generals ride into battle on horses.

The first picture was taken a mile or so from Campus Martius. At this point I had driven by miles of closed factories and businesses. That wasn't all I saw. There were bright spots and some thriving areas but the downtown skyline was the first thing that attracted my camera eye. By the second picture, I'm only a couple blocks away from the traffic circle that surrounds Campus Martius. You can't enter the circle on the northbound Dixie Highway (a.k.a, Fort Street) but have to turn one way or the other ar Griswold. I went right then left to connect with Woodward south of the circle. When I took that third picture, at the corner of Fort and Griswold, I was thinking that Fort might have once continued on to the circle through where those bushes now stand. After reading about how this entire area has been drastically reworked, I realize I have no idea of what was here when the Dixie was active. I do know that the Dixie headed away from downtown on Woodward which is the street in the fourth picture. There are other All American Roads (The Historic National Road is one.) but Woodward seems to get more mileage than most out of its designation. Good for it.

Just another Dixie place that caught my eye.

This detour, a little south of Saginaw, was just over five miles if you just wanted to follow it and continue on your way. It was well over eight miles if, like me, you wanted to drive as much Dixie Highway as possible. I drove past the first set of signs partly to see what "LOCAL BUSINESSES REMAIN OPEN". I believe it was just the golf course. On the other end of the detour, rather than just turning north to continue my journey, I turned south and checked out the other side of the blockage.

One of the things I found by checking out the bypassed area was the Heidelberg Motel. It isn't beyond the barricades but is south of where the northbound detour rejoins the Dixie. I saw absolutely no cars there and that's usually not a good sign. I started on to Saginaw but soon turned back. Here was a decent looking independent motel that was partially bypassed by a detour yet had a sign out front showing it was a going concern. I'm a guy traveling alone who typically seeks out independents. If I didn't stop, who would? I turned around and pulled up to the office. I asked to see a room right off and was handed a key. This is what I saw and where I spent the night. Clean and comfortable but every bit as dated as you're thinking. I think this is a PJ. $39 single, $49 double.

After I checked in, I realized that I was just a few miles from Frankenmuth so decided to pay it a visit and have dinner. These are the famous fighting chicken restaurants of Frankenmuth: The Bavarian Inn, with the clock style carved figures, and Zehnders with one of the hardest working neon signs in the business. I chose Zehnders (probably because of the sign) and ate in the Tap Room. I got the external shot after dinner. Once you've ordered, a truck load of appetizers appears. Even before the entree arrived, things looked like this. Remaining neutral in the chicken war, I went with the pork schnitzel.

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