Oh, Oh, Oakland! And that’s just the beginning of the idiosyncraticity that is Detroit. (I made up one of those words.)

This TDH was a little longer than usual (as I remember, about 40 miles), but it repaid itself over and over again in maybe-only-in-Detroit visual thrills. Get ready, there are a lot of photos in this post. The Legal Eagle has been threatening to garnish my pay check if I don’t get a post up. He’s found some archaic Michigan law that he believes applies to overdue blog posts, so I could be on the verge of some time in the clink if I don’t get something up on the intertubeswebthing pronto. Which raises the question – do you actually read this blog, or just look at the photos? It’d be a lot easier if I just threw up some photos and let you have at it, so: First poll of the post:

On the way to Oakland, we passed this tagged building on Milwaukee. That’s nothing unusual for my fair city, but I was struck by the verve of the taggers who manage to make their marks on what appear to be relatively inaccessible portions of the building.

Perhaps the “n” is backwards because the painter was disoriented

The recently reopened Tangent Gallery and Hastings Ballroom (now featuring Booze!) was where we right handed onto Oakland. If you were paying attention in math class, you’ll recognize the significance of the sculpture that adorns its exterior

Please note the intersection of the line and the circle. It’s called a ______?

Directly across the street is a sort of homage to a venerable printing facility. The facility itself appears to have disappeared, unfortunately.******

Any backstory, Night Train: Detroit?

**** I was misinformed about Rusas Printing.  I received a very nice note from Mr. Rusas himself “I was contacted by a friend to check out your site and found that you have a photo of my sign posted. You mentioned in your post that the printing facility has disappeared. Although the buildings surrounding me have been abandoned and completely covered in tags, We continue to operate out of the hood & have for over 40 years! The blight of our city has been wide spread throughout, there are still companies doing our best to battle the elements without the help of the city or the police. Recently, I was contacted by the “Better Block” organization & they choose our city block out of all the city blocks in Detroit for a beautification push to be spotlightedduring the Detroit Design Festival Sept. 22 & 23. After 2 30 yard & 1, 10 yard dumpster along with the help of multiple volunteers. Joe at the Tangent Gallery, the Better Block Organization and myself have managed to clear the debris and clean up the abandoned buildings and clear the empty lots that have been left by their careless owners of the abandoned properties.

I think I’ve found my new pied a terre in the city. Looks comfy, n’est-ce pas?

Just right for the single man on the go

Once on Oakland, a veritable yellow brick road of unusual sights began to unfold before us.

Here’s a cool building that clearly has a commissioned exterior decoration (it’s signed by the artists)

Dig it? I do

Someone has re-imagined the City of Detroit flag on another building. For reference, here’s the “official” version:

The flag of our fair city

The version on Oakland has additional built-in Detroitness: For one, our motto is actually in English, and there’s a nice nod to the Tigers. (The Old English “D” for those of you not from around here.) And a reminder that we’re not all white.

Dig that Caddy in the upper right quadrant

A little further up, we cycled past a building I should’ve heard or read about before. Alas, I hadn’t. It’s a retail/educational facility the likes of which I’ve never run across before. Voila:

Jazz+Shoe+Shine+Art=Legendary

Other artwork abounds on Oakland. Should your interests lie in the plastic arts, there’s this triptych:

I wish I could give you more details about this, but I’m drawing a blank

Ride around Detroit a while (or even for a short spin), and you’re pretty much guaranteed to pass by some spell fails: Like so:

I like the $ at the end of “Dollar Items”

Did you notice anything special about the bricks on the top of the building? This used to be “Charlie The Pencilman’s” {sic}, which according to some cursory searching online used to sell incense and dream books. This whole block was populated in the 1930’s by European Jews, which explains the location of Detroit’s Russian Banya, or as we’ve always called it around it around here: The Schvitz. It’s still open.

For Men Only

It’s no secret that there are many many many abandoned homes in Detroit. This building’s owners made their feelings pretty clear:

And you’re probably never coming back

Not to worry, as this building will provide you with some reassurance about outcomes, if not word spacing:

God decided not to open the store today

Next up, a building with a certain amount of panache, of braggadoccio, if you will. There are innumerable buildings in Detroit, but this one is the one according to its owners:

Accept no substitutes. This is the real deal

I am not blessed with a thick, rich head of hair, so the possibility of it actually “breaking” is something beyond my imagination. It must be an issue amongst others, as evidenced by this beauty salon’s promise:

What can you do if it’s all falling out?

This next sign will probably only make sense to a real Detroiter, as it makes reference to our very own wacky billionaire.

Maybe he’ll swing by after he straightens out his issue with the new bridge

One of the things I enjoy most about cycling around Detroit (particularly on Sunday mornings) is the virtual lack of automotive traffic. It’s just a great place to ride along and enjoy the scenery. Like so:

Every wall’s an easel

Someone went to a great deal of trouble to paint the 10 Commandments on side of a building on the corner of Manchester. Wish they’d gone to the trouble of bringing a dictionary along with them.

The Sabeth? Adultry? And, what, exactly, am I not supposed to covet? Anything?

In an earlier post, I wrote about the Satan’s Sidekicks M/C. But I neglected to show you a photo of the mother chapter: Here it is, over on Fenkell.

Don’t know if they still sport red helmets with devil’s horns

Back in Detroit’s early days, the St. Francis Home for Orphan Boys was founded. At one point in time, it must’ve been a beautiful building. It’s just tragic that it’s fallen apart, with no evident sign that it’s going anywhere but further down. Here’s the cornerstone, still intact:

9 years in the making

And here’s the building, in its current sad state

What a disaster

My spirits soon picked up after I passed a very special car wash.

I can only imagine how clean my car would be

For those with a less spiritual bent, just down the road is a more civic-oriented car wash:

President vs The Lord for top car wash

I have no idea what this business is (or was), or what it does (or did). All I know is that it’s got a pretty bad ass logo:

Panther _________

This company:

Back when I was wee lad, the two great jazz clubs in Detroit were Baker’s and Watt’s Club Mozambique. Clearly the jazz road didn’t work out for the owners of Watt’s, which is bad news for jazz lovers, but potentially good news for those of you looking for some exotic manliness

Only the finest in exotic male dancers

As mentioned above, I am somewhat follicly challenged, so I have almost no need for this salon’s speciality:

I’m more in need of a slim fade

As we got nearer to our turn around point (Schaefer Highway) I heard “Jesus Loves the Little Children” being played on a saxophone. The player turned out to be an affable gentleman named “Jack”. “Black Jack”. Being just down the street from Watt’s, we reminisced about the olden days when it was a jazz club. (Black Jack talked about seeing Roy Ayers there). When I asked him which Alto players he admired, he said: “Me”. Then he launched into a very nice version of “Satin Doll”. Thank you, Jack. Nice to meet you.

“Black Jack” Alto player supreme

There was still a lot more to unfold along Fenkell. (BTW, Fenkell is not, I think it’s fair to say, the best place to show off our city to out-of-towners). I passed one of my side businesses; I just added the tattoo sign to try and snag some hipsters. (That’s not actually true. I don’t own this place.)

My attempt to get some street cred (that part is true)

This establishment will try anything to make sure you come in and shop; even pointing out which door you’re supposed to use to get in, in case you’re confused.

Neither a side door nor a back door be

If you’re a regular Tour De Hood reader (see poll above), you’ll remember that I’ve noted a number of hair-type stores I’ve passed on my rides. This seems to be the place to get the best bargains. Either that, or something that must smell truly disgusting.

Liquid Hair: The greatest invention since sliced bread

There wasn’t a whole lot to see on Schaefer Highway, though I did dig the wheel setup on the car featured here, at yet another car wash.

Caprice Classics rule the road in Motown

Grand River presented us with a plethora of interesting things to view. There is a lot of nicely-executed curated street art along its length. For example, this exuberant celebration of dedication to the Queen of England (I think)

Perhaps it’s dedication to the King of Belgium

A bit further along, there was a lot more to see – but first, I wanted to point out a nicely recycled gas station, taking on new life as yet another beauty salon. (Detroit’s gas station architecture is pretty recognizable. I think it’s safe to say this actually was a gas station at one point.)

Change the oil, and just a little off the top, please

As for the aforementioned street art, there’s a super nice cluster on Grand River and Vermont. Example #1:

Dude

Example #2: (This is actually part of the signage for a barber shop)

And perhaps my favorite of the bunch: a trenchant observation on the general flabbiness of our nation, as well as our indefatigable dedication to eat anything that comes in an extra-large size, example #3:

Sad but true. We’re a flabby old bunch, aren’t we?

Before we stopped for some nourishment, we passed yet another motorcycle club. I don’t know if they’re a “good” motorcycle club or a “bad” motorcycle club. Do you?

A suggestion for Mr. Toro (Or is that Toros?) A little more consistency with the ‘s (or not) would help give your brand some added punch

We repaired to the Lafayette Coney Island for a richly deserved brunch, Motown-Style.

If you’d like to duplicate this tour yourself, here’s a Google® Map to show you where we went.

Back to my question at the beginning: did you read this, just look at the pictures, or both?

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Nerd Tastic!

The Tour De Hood is an informal affair. Usually, the Legal Eagle tries to find a road or street we haven’t visited, figures out an interesting way to get there, and we’re off!  Over Memorial Day weekend, we engaged our inner nerd-selves and picked a destination (actually two) and rode there, not particularly caring about how we got there.  (In short, we rode down some streets we’ve been down many times before).

Greyhound (I believe) used to claim that “getting there is half the fun”, and that’s always true riding around Detroit, because you never know what new delights await you. It’s certainly tons more entertaining than a bus ride.

To wit, I’ve ridden down Mack Avenue many times, but saw some new things I hadn’t seen before.

Hoods {sic} Tire Service has an eye-catching new sign.  Scroll through the back pages of the Tour De Hood, and you’ll find the old one, which promised that they wouldn’t buy stolen rims.  The new one is very nice.

Been in business since the days of bias-ply tires

I don’t remember there even being a “Kita Pita” before – but that could be because I hadn’t noticed it before it had this swanky paint job.

I don’t know what a “Kita Kream” is or what it tastes like

A new food shop/car wash/auto sales retailer was celebrating its grand opening. But it wasn’t open when we rode by; nor were there any cars on offer in its lot.

Maybe I’ll try to get lunch there some day

Next up, a religious sect or local version of Mary Baker Eddy’s church of Christian Science.  This was founded by Ann Ryan back in ’47.

Mental Science: Didn’t catch on quite as widely as Sigmund Freud

After the “Dew Drop Inn”, the Elbow Room/Lounge has to be one of the most popular bar names in America.  This particular iteration of same has a nice new sign.

Nice new signage; same old paint job

Public art always brightens a neighborhood. A local metal fabricating company has pitched in with this outdoor sculpture.

Sturdy, recycled materials, What’s not to like?

Still on Mack, we passed an auto repair emporium that’s new to me. Pretty butch name, eh?

Better check out the availability of that URL, stat!

Mack Avenue behind us, we veered left onto Gratiot, where more discoveries awaited.

Sad to say, Jimmie’s bicycle repair shop is closed.

I love ghost signs.  A little snooping around online turned up a couple of interesting things about Laurel Stoves. They were made by Detroit’s own Art Stove company, and had the kind of advertising tchotchkes (If you prefer, tshatshketchachketchotchkatchatchkachachketsotchkechotski, or chochke; the standard Yiddish transliteration is tsatske or tshatshke) they just don’t make any more.

Here’s an ad for Laurel Stoves from a Cass City dealer in 1912:

Be Sure To Show Up At Two To Win A Free Stove

As for the advertising giveaway, I’m not sure why you’d want to attach your brand to a potentially lethal weapon, but I guess things were different back then.

Maybe it’s for making “Chop Suey” (ha!)

Jimmie’s Bike shop may be on the move closer to downtown, judging by the sign on this defunct small-engine repair shop.

Motown/Mowtown. Get it?

They’ve recently spruced up Capitol Park.  While the buildings surrounding the plaza are in various states of renovation (or non-renovation), the park is very nice, and has a nice scale model of Michigan’s first Capitol.

n.b.: Approximately 1/75 scale. SIgnage honesty rules!

Our destination was nearing. The Legal Eagle wanted to visit a couple of rail marshaling yards. (See title of this post).  So did I.  (See title of this post). Look at all those non-moving trains. You can’t beat that for a great time.

Lots of trains. Little movement

I only managed to snag a couple of photos before a very nice gentleman arrived and urged us to leave the premises.  He did admit we didn’t look like scrap metal thieves, but we’d been caught on the railroad’s CCTV system, and got the boot.

All that riding, only to be escorted from the yard. (We tried another location, but got tossed from there, too).  Anyway, before we headed home I did get a snap of this somewhat mysterious sign on a freight car.

I don’t know how or why you’d want to hump a freight car

Anyway, we had a great time while it lasted, and as we headed back north, we passed under I-75, where I noticed this piece of graffiti on a supporting column.

Copyrighted and trademarked. To what end?

A Nerd Tastic time was had by all. And Greyhound was almost right. Getting there was even more than half the fun.

If you’d like to re-create this ride, the Legal Eagle has provided this handy map of our route.

Boating Season in the Hood

I’m the first to admit that I’ve let much too much time elapse since I’ve updated the blog. Sorry about that. Anyway, Memorial weekend came, family gathered, and in what’s becoming (if you can count two holidays a trend) a kith ‘n’ kin tradition, we went on a group spin ’round the hood.

It also happened to coincide with Michigan’s traditional boating season – which is celebrated in its own peculiar way in the hood, too.  I don’t know about other cities, but there seems to be a trend of sorts of “storing” your boat in an empty lot, or trailering it where it’s difficult to extract it.

To wit: On the corner of Kercheval and (I swear) Lakeview (!) we spotted this lovely day cruiser

Ahoy, Mateys! Smooth seas ahead.

A bit further downtown I espied this little runabout in a back yard.  Don’t know how long it’s been there, or where it’s headed.

Land yacht

This isn’t just an east side thing.  Down ’round the edges of the Dearborn a “parking lot” was home to this previously-sea-worthy craft:

Yearning for open waters

In a much earlier post, I recorded what I believed (and still believe) is the shortest bike lane in the world, but since then, Detroit has become a veritable Disneyworld(r) of bike lanes. That, coupled with the paucity of vehicular traffic on the weekends makes Detroit more of a cycling heaven.  Voila! The St. Jean Cycling Lane, ready for your delectation.

Smooth riding ahead! (Note family member’s calves)

Even though bike lanes are sprouting, so is the “grass” in the vacant lots.  The city is seriously strapped for cash (again), and is cutting back on services (again), and has been remiss in tending to its greenery.  Note to self: This is what happens if you never cut your lawn.

 Oh, beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of neglected grass

Along with grass growing, I discovered a new record pothole. (I think this one’s an 8 on the misterarthur scale).  Unfortunately, my photographic ineptitude doesn’t show it off to full advantage.  Trust me, it’s a big ‘un.

The Bike-Swallowing Pothole: Not just deep, but long and wide, too. 

Ossian Sweet’s Home (see this post for details), has a nice rose bush in full bloom.

A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell so Ossian Sweet

The Detroit Waldorf School (building designed by Albert Kahn) is a wonderful institution (depending upon how much you buy into Rudolph Steiner’s er, somewhat oddball philosophy/religion/farming technique beliefs).  Truth is, my son had a wonderful experience there.  It’s a lovely building.  (Mr. Kahn also designed the Belle Isle Conservatory, the former GM building, Detroit’s crowning glory of ruin porn, the Packard plant, and many other famous edifices around our fair burg.)

The inside is beautiful, as well

The Waldorf School is on Burns and Mack, in Indian Village, and a block from a new-to-me-and quite-lovely garden.

The Indian VIllage Centennial Garden. Lovely

A bit further down Mack, things were a little more dodgy. The great Spanish poet, Garcia Lorca wrote: “La vida es sueño”. So is el former ice cream shop, now but a memory of frosty treats.

I don’t think Garcia Lorca ever saw the Dream Twist

We pressed forward to our destination (the Avalon Bakery), diverting through the Eastern Market to get there.  Along the way, I spotted two customized stop signs:  I guess both are warnings of sorts. The first suggests we keep our eyes lowered.

Roger that

The second, put there by either a philistine or an über-ironic urban hipster:

Oh, the irony. (Note family members in background)

Following some tasty treats and cappucini  at the Avalon, we meandered our way back home again.

I saw this nice typography on an electric substation.  I miss the days when cities used real designers to select municipal fonts. These days they just seem to slap Helvetica on everything and call it a day.

Note: Nothing to do with Submarines or the U.S. Navy

It was the day before Memorial Day, but we got a head start on matters by visiting the Elmwood cemetery, and more particularly the section honoring the soldiers who fought in the Civil War.  There’s a section of the cemetery dedicated to them; you ought to visit it some time.  One of the soldiers buried there was an adjutant on the staff of Ulysses S. Grant.

Some group or group of people had taken the trouble to mark the section with American flags.  If there can be beauty in a cemetery, it was on full display here in 2012.

Civil War Memorial Section, Elmwood Cemetery

All in all, a lovely family tradition continued, and a great day in the hood.

Mini Tour (Tourette?) De Hood – The 2012 Début

Spring hit us early this year – it’s been unseasonably warm for a couple of weeks. Unbelievably temperate weather, and great news for everyone around here except skiers. Anyway, I decided I was overdue to work the kinks out of my legs and take a jaunt ’round the hood.  It was such a short ride, it doesn’t even deserve a map. I basically wanted to get moving again, and see what had changed since last fall.

First up, the most excellent Good Girls Go To Paris has opened a suburban location.  It’s half-block from Detroit in Grosse Pointe Park.  It’s been open for about four months, but new to me. Here’s one of the great French movie posters that decorate the interior.

English translation: “Magnet of Doom”

It’s on the border of Grosse Pointe Park and Detroit, so I guess it’s Kosher to include it here. Do stop by. I recommend, as usual, the “Good Girls” crepe. (Nutella and Banana).

See how close it is to our fair city?

Note the clean street and sidewalk 

Once in Detroit proper, (I was on Charlevoix), I noticed some new (to me) graffiti. I think this guy has been trying to determine his nickname. Otherwise, I’m pretty stumped trying to decipher this:

Lush, You Rant Junk Tweak Ranger?

The next tag I rode by made more sense, I guess, but I’m not sure of the starting date, or whatever the countdown refers to:

Maybe it’s a Mayan Calendar Thing

A bit further along, a nicely-done new (to me) urban garden has been created by the Northeast Guidance center. I’ll try and check on its progress as the year moves along.

Don’t know if vegetables or flowers are in its future

Over on Lycaste, I spotted a wheel cover that both looks new, and newly abandoned. It definitely wasn’t there last fall.

New plastic wheel cover looking for good home

Something that definitely wasn’t there last year was my own “tag” (actually drawn with a piece of mortar I found on the sidewalk) on the former AT&T building on Lycaste and Kercheval.

Non-permanent proof that misterarthur was here

On the way back, I noticed a couple of developments I had either missed before or were new.

This tree (part of the Greening of Detroit project to re-tree Jefferson) seems to be alive, but is missing some sort of ingredient

Meet the tree that has no “G”

When we planted trees along Jefferson, someone specified, purchased, and volunteers planted the wrong species, one that can’t make it through Michigan winters.  That’s why there’s a burnt orange dot on this specimen.  It has to be re-planted.

This is a defunct tree

Part of the sidewalk along  the road has erupted or collapsed over the winter. (Depends if you’re a glass half-full or half-empty kind of person).

Maybe someone was looking for buried treasure

In the same optimist/pessimist mode, the holding lot across the street from Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly was empty, which means that either the Jeeps they’re making there are selling like hotcakes, or they’ve temporarily shut down the line. (I’m hoping for the former).  There may be some other reason, of course, as I’ve seen everything from Fords of various types to Volkswagens waiting here to be delivered to dealerships.

A very exciting photo of an empty parking lot

 The Redyns Co building has finally given up the ghost.  To be honest, I haven’t seen much activity here for a while.  Here’s what information I can glean about Redyns online: “Redyns CO in Detroit, MI is a private company categorized under Tonics, Hair. Our records show it was established in 1946 and incorporated in Michigan. Products or Services: Natural Hair Tonic, Kreml Hair Tonic, Black Lily Hair Tonic, Herbal Hair Tonic and Hair Growing Tonic.”

Farewell, maker of hair tonics of all sorts

A couple of blocks further along, a housing auction sign caught my attention, though the “house” in question was a little, uh, “questionable”.  Maybe it’ll be of interest to an antique brick collector.

The auction is next Saturday, if you’re interested

Anyway, every Spring, I try to be optimistic, following the lead of Alexander Pope, who wrote: “Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is, but always To be blest:”  

To that end, I also rode by something more uplifting than falling-down buildings.  So I leave you with something that made me feel great. A bunch of young men having a great time playing basketball, shirtless, outside enjoying the marvelous March weather.

March Madness: Playing outside, shirtless, in the middle of March in Michigan

Obscura Day Video

The people behind Atlas Obscura Day have released a video commemorating last April’s event. The Tour De Hood’s Detroit tour is featured prominently. Take a look here.  We had a great time. Thanks to the people at Atlas Obscura, and who knows, maybe we’ll do it again in 2012.

There’s no little hotel called “The Shady Rest” on the Junction (street)

Looking for long-ish roads to cover on my rides, I decided to ride Junction Street from its foot to its head, mostly to discover the Junction for which I assumed the street was named.

(BTW, the title of this post will probably mystify anyone younger than a baby boomer – it’s a reference to one part of the “Hooterville” trilogy – “The Beverly Hillbillies”, “Petticoat Junction”, and “Green Acres”.)  All TeeVee Klassics.

On the way down to the start of Junction, I passed a “coming soon” sign for what I can only imagine is a motorcycle club:

Brick City? A nickname for Detroit that’s new to me

“Brick City”, according to Wikipedia, is the nickname of Newark New Jersey. Maybe this is a franchise of some kind.  Over at the Urban Dictionary, the claim is made that the nickname “is derived from the large amount of crack bricks that can be purchased” [there].  Your guess is as good as mine as to the truthiness of that claim.

The Mies Van Der Rohe memorial on Lafayette is looking pretty sharp, though I can’t tell for sure whether the foliage is on purpose or is just weeds.

Sadly, “Less is More” appears to refer to the number of empty shops in the plaza

To get to Junction, I rode down Fort Street.  Along the way, I passed McCarthy’s Pub. From what I can tell, via a cursory internet hunt, it’s open for business.

Free Poo

More incendiary delights awaited, as further along, I spotted a plume of smoke to my right.  It so happened that I rode past a fire station shortly after I saw the smoke, and spoke to a firefighter who informed me it was a car fire.  Sure enough, on Military & The Fisher Freeway service drive, a Mustang GT convertible was being doused with water.

Move along folks, nothing to see here

Making a detour onto Military turned out to be a good thing.  I spotted this nice sign for a defunct appliance dealer:

Does a happy owner make for happy customers?

I also pedaled by an interesting metals provider.  Devoted readers of this site will know that I have a particular fondness for misspelled signage.  In this case, however, I suspect the word in question (you’ll spot it) is probably not a mistake as much as it is some nomenclature peculiar to that industry. You decide.

How much is that fine, anyway?

Back at the junction of Junction and West Jefferson, I began my trek up the street. I wouldn’t call this intersection a junction.

Riding in the Shadows of Mistersky

I began the hunt for whichever junction that was the inspiration for the street’s name. The junction of what. I don’t think a railroad crossing qualifies.

Not exactly a junction

Nor does a Mexican seafood restaurant.

Mmmm. Seafood. Not a junction

A bit further up, I passed one of two beautiful churches on Junction.  This is Holy Redeemer.

A junction betwixt heaven and earth?

At the intersection of Junction and Vernor, I spotted some tracks in the pavement – but I think these were street car tracks, and, since they’re curved, seemed like an oxymoronic junction anyway.

Tour De Hood philosophical question: Can a curve without a stop be a junction?

At the same intersection, I spotted this nice Coney Sign. Not a junction.

Duly noted

Crossing under 4 railroad tracks near Junction and McGregor was the closest thing yet to a junction – but even they didn’t seem to be the inspiration for the street name.

Not a junction. Maybe an intersection

The second beautiful church I passed is St. Hedwig. Saint Hedwig, the Duchess of Silesia, was married at the age of 12(!) to Henry I “The Bearded”, had seven children, then took a vow of chastity. She’s the patron saint of brides and Bavaria (among other things).

Two towers do not a junction make

While junctions were difficult to find, riding up Junction Street led me past another great ghost sign.  This one’s for Finck’s Overalls.  I’m going to post a couple of photos.  One of the sign itself,

Always look for the Union Label

the other, a close-up of Finck’s great advertising slogan:

“They wear like a Pig’s nose”. That’s a good thing

As usual, the superb blog Sweet Juniper got there first, and researched the company. Please pay the site a visit to read more.

Still, a mighty ghost sign is not a junction.

I was beginning to believe that there was no junction to be found on Junction Street.  Detroit did have a Milwaukee Junction (about which you can read here), and there is a West Vernor-Junction historical district, but no actual junction that I could see.  And I was running out of Junction Street.

Before its terminus, I cycled by this place for tots:

Nothing up my sleeve. Including a junction

The Kronk Community Center (on Junction & McGraw), looks as if it hasn’t been open since our former Mayor,  Kwame “The Disreputable” Kilpatrick was in office.

Kwame Kilpatrick, jailbird

At Warren, Junction Street ends. Across Warren you’ll find Hazlett Street. But at the end of the road, no Junction. No Shady Rest.  Just a do-it-all auto repair store.

Virtually no spelling errors! (Maybe there should be an “s” on “hose”)

Riding down Warren, I passed this nice community billboard

Look closely – there are ghosts on the swing set

Another sign attracted my attention. Simple and to the point.

I’ve heard of Parker House rolls, but not the sausage to go in them

I stopped, as is my wont, for refreshment and sustenance at the Avalon International Bakery.  I had, unfortunately, missed their anniversary party.  My cinnamon roll (with pecans), and a double short cappuccino were delicious, as always.  I did espy this mysterious tag on the Avalon’s wall.

Paging Dr. Brule

Junctionless, but sated, the rest of the ride was over grounds that I’ve covered before, so I won’t bore you with repetition.

Afterword.  Douglas Grant was kind enough to send me “The list of streets in Detroit, the names of which have been changed, with the dates of city ordinances changing the same”, published in 1891.  Until March 19, 1887, Junction Avenue was named “Lover’s Lane”.  Awww.

Boats, Guns, Trains, Tanks and Produce

June 19, (Father’s Day) was a lovely summerish day. While The Legal Eagle and I hadn’t planned to visit any particularly manly sights on our ride, it turned out that way after all.

For our route, click here.

Along the way to our quarry, Delray Park, we passed the apparently soon-to-be rehabbed Globe Building on Atwater. Don’t know if it’s going to be residential or commercial, but either way, prime location.

Spanning the Globe, to bring you the constant variety of broken windows

We opted to ride as much along W. Jefferson as possible, even though the street dead ends. We walked our bikes along some railroad tracks owned by our very own oddball billionaire, Matty Maroun, He owns the Ambassador Bridge (seen in the background), as well as the Michigan Central Ruin Icon.

The end of the line for the Maroun RR

Traipsing along the track ballast (that’s the stuff onto which the ties and tracks are laid) we came upon a consist (that’s the name for a bunch of rail cars hooked together with a purpose).  One had some interesting 21st Century hobo chalking:

Maybe that’s the Denver hobo sign for an Arriflex camera

Another of the cars came complete with a swanky slogan.

We Are Tank Car People (sung to the tune of  Kraftwerk’s “We are Showroom Dummies”

Among many warnings, cautions, and instructions listed on the car, one was up for mis-interpretation:

Is the rubber-soled shoes rule for your protection or the car’s?

A fenced-off area under the Ambassador Bridge looked inviting, but we couldn’t go in. Blame it, like back-scatter x-ray machines, on the all-powerful “Homeland Security” clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Due to?

Our off-roading trek continued until Jefferson started up again, where we came upon a migrating radial.

Tire in the road alert. Oh, never mind

Delray Park is pretty nice. There’s a boat launching ramp, plenty of room for fishing, nice sign out front.

Open for your parking pleasure

If you peer closely at the sign, you’ll note that it is made possible, in part, by DTE, which makes sense, as there’s an enormous DTE facility next door.  Not to mention a giant power line that delivers electricity to our Canadian friends across the Detroit River.

Is electricity included in NAFTA ?

On to the park itself. The water at the boat loading ramp wasn’t the most inviting.

There’s water under there somewhere

Nevertheless, the Detroit River itself looked quite picturesque. As you can see, the park is designed with fishing in mind: There are handy rod holders (and that pylon, again), with a nice view of Detroit.

Plenty of space for your rod

In case you’re wondering whether you can actually eat the fish you catch, well, that depends entirely on the species you happen to hook.

Steer clear of catfish and carp. And remember, cutting off the fat and skin can reduce the number of hazardous chemicals you eat by nearly 50%

The park’s fishing theme was due, in large part to the unsung hero Dave Dorrell, who gets his props on a little memorial marker.

All hail the Urban Recreation Visionary

Fort Wayne (named for “Mad” Anthony Wayne) has, sadly, seen better days.  And, apparently, ghosts. We had missed the TAPS tour from the night before.

Who ‘ya gonna call?

While we didn’t see any apparitions, we did take in some manly sights, viz.:

A Sherman Tank

A Tank-Like Object

A rather large piece of Artillery

We rode ’round the fort. It is star shaped, as was the thinking behind fort design back in the day.

The Star of Downriver

We even ran across an historical marker that is in and of itself historic, given that the presenter of the marker is now just a vague memory.

J.L. Hudson Company R.I.P.

Shortly after leaving Fort Wayne, we passed a small tentacle of the mighty misterarthur enterprises, my bait shop.

Don’t know if that fish is safe to eat or not (see above)

Truth be told, there is no mighty misterarthur empire, and some other Arthur-come-lately owns this fine retail establishment.

L’aigle jurisdique et moi are never slowed by what was, because, as is typical on the TDH, something interesting popped up just down the road.  And I mean popped up in the most literal sense. The drawbridge on Jefferson and the Rouge River had opened to allow passage of a real, live freighter.

Bridge up = Excitement ahead

It turns out the Algomarine was making its way into the Detroit River.

The Algomarine – headed for open waters

The Algomarine was launched in 1968 as The Lake Manitoba. She was refurbed in 1988. You can read all about her here at the most-aptly named boatnerd.com  There’s a boatnerd cruise in August, if you are interested.  The Algomarine’s home base is  Sault Ste. Marie, but today’s voyage consisted of a short hike over to Canada.

Yooper Vessel

According to the boatnerd page, the Algomarine  has an 800 horsepower bow thruster, but to aid its passage down the Rouge, a tug was being used to keep her steady as she goes, avast, landlubber, hard a lee you scurvy dog. (End of nautical jibberish).

Small but Mighty

That tug is owned by Great Lakes Towing, and looks much like one of the ships featured in this video, though I can’t say for sure if she’s The Idaho, The Wyoming, or some other ship. This is the first time either the Legal Eagle or I have been stopped by an up drawbridge, let alone get the chance to see a freighter exit the Rouge.

Next up on our agenda (the Legal Eagle likes to keep things organized) was Belanger Park (in River Rouge City).  A very nice park indeed, and we arrived just in time to see the Algomarine entering the Detroit River proper.

Note the rod holders here, too

Belanger Park has a great view of the water but doesn’t leap to mind has having the most salubrious location on the planet.  To your immediate left (facing the river) is another power plant:

Park with smokestack background

On the other side is a giant Great Lakes Steel facility. (I think they make steel coils there).

Park with Steel Mill background

So my advice is, skip looking to either side, and take in the phony lighthouse. It’s cute, but not a working facility. It’s a memorial.

Ceci n’est pas une phare

And be careful where you sit. Legal Eagle said the bench was quite comfortable, but I’m not quite sure I’m in full agreement.

Planking. It’s all the rage with hipsters these days. So come fill a real need here.

On the way back home, we tried to get to Fort Street directly  but were stymied by road construction, and had to wind our way to that fine road.  Along the way, we passed the International Ice Company – a victim of NAFTA?

Ice unfettered by international borders

We also saw a grim miniature mini putting golf course.

Must’ve been very tiny

The concession area didn’t look too inviting, either.

Bottle Water

We also spun by a former Hungarian [Magyar] Catholic [Kath.] Church [Templom].

Szent Janos’ [Saint John] Saint Day is June 24

Back on Fort Street, we rode by the one, the only Detroit Produce Terminal. (Bet you didn’t know we had one, did you?) Chances are, if you’ve got produce, it passed through here.

No retail sales, I’m afraid

It wouldn’t be a real Tour De Hood without a misspelled sign or two.  This store, (which never actually seems to have arrived), got a double. One word. Twice wrong.  Here’s the perp on one side of the store:

I donn’t think so

And the miscreant appears again over here.

I think Collision House would be a good name for the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland

I spotted a final piece of eye candy a bit closer to downtown.  Don’t know the history of, reason for, or painter of, this mural:

Mermaid? I’m looking for answers here.

That was it for the photo taking – and the rest of our route covered turf I’ve written about before. Anyway, as I mentioned at the intro, it was Father’s day, so we celebrated our ride with a congratulatory Coney at the Lafayette. A nice ride, but a little longer (45 miles) than we’d anticipated.