Happy Fourth of July from The Tour De Hood

I hope you are having fun celebrating the Fourth of July today. I wish I could transmit aromas via the web, for all along the TDH route this morning, I could smell charcoal being ignited for afternoon and evening festivities. (For you non-Detroiters, we have a very weird fourth, as we sort of co-celebrate with our Canadian neighbors to the south, whose national holiday is on the first. The city’s official “big” fireworks display was last week. Today, it’s taken over by individuals and smaller municipalities. By the way, fireworks are “illegal” in Michigan, but that doesn’t stop Detroiters from blowing things up in impressive style.)

Here’s a big 4 to remind you of the date. (And inexpensive tire repair – a hallmark of American independence)

happy4thSuch a Deal

Much of “urban” Detroit is abandoned or on its way to being abandoned. As a consequence, you’re more likely to run into prairie-ish areas than you might imagine. 2 miles from the heart of downtown it looks like wheat is making a comeback.

prairieAmber Wave of Grain – right next to a major thoroughfare

Detroit being Detroit, though, this prairie-like setting is a block or two away from an abandoned factory. (Continental Aluminum).

continentalNot Continental Motors

Nearby, I rode past an interesting exhortation to the local populace:

becoolAll the kids are doing it

What interested me was the addition (you can barely make it out on the left side of the photo) of the remnants of Nancy Reagan’s personal war on drugs.

nancyreaganJust say no to crack

I didn’t pass any dealers – weed or crack, along the way, but it was kind of early, and maybe they were taking the day off to celebrate the 4th, too.

Yesterday, I posted an in-progress mural across the street from Cliff Bell’s. Chris Steve Coy finished the job, as you can see by the photo below.

finishedmuralHygienic Dress League Mural #2

Good news is that the Predator in drag has a man friend now.

terminatrixmateGas mask guy ‘n’ gal.

For those of you who didn’t click on the Chris Steve Coy link yesterday, here’s the Hygienic Dress League’s first mural. (It’s on Cass, not far from the murals shown above).

hygienicdressHygienic Dress League Mural One

Many more people used to go downtown for their entertainment than they do today. This sign, I am sure, used to point to much fun for many people. I have no idea what restaurant, club, bar, or lounge the sign originally lured people into – perhaps someone can weigh in with an opinion or historical fact.


It still doesn’t feel like summer here. Grrrrrrr.  Maybe if the sun would come out for more than a few moments at a time it would heat up. But we’ve been living with semi-cloudy (semi-sunny for you optimists) weather for much too long to get any warmth momentum going.

4thskyLooking up on the 4th.

Finally, I spotted a unique pothole this morning. This photo doesn’t capture its peculiar qualities very well (sorry).  The best way I can characterize it is thusly:  It’s virtually horizontal.

horizontalpotholA non-vertical pothole

The potholes of Detroit continue to amaze in their variety.  I hope you all have a Fourth of July to remember.


Cast off the cobwebs. TDH, 2009 economic crash style.

It’s not as if the economy of Detroit had anything going for it last fall, but this spring, we’re adding the teetering of GM & Chrysler to the woes of Motown. Ah, well, winter is now officially over, and it’s back on the bike.

First, some good news. (Though part of the drama of the TDH is now removed). The world’s biggest pothole (see earlier posts) has been repaired. Now all that’s left is a good-sized regular pothole any city could claim as its own.


Not as impressive as it was last year.

I did, however, make a couple of interesting discoveries today. The first of which I’ve dubbed, “The Unidentified Lying Object”.  No clue what it is. If you have an idea, please let me know.


As I mentioned earlier, the economy on the TDH route shows no signs of improving.  In fact, I noticed a couple of burned out buildings that were more or less intact last fall.

Here’s a must-be-out-of-business pickup truck bed/company.  It’s a shame Nate went to so much trouble to advertise his services, only to fail.  Clearly he could multi-task.


This morning was pretty grey, and that may have affected my mood. Nothing was too uplifting on the east side today.  If you live in the vicinity, and are having problems with roaches and/or rats, here’s a number you can call for help. They guarantee their work.


I also noticed a sort of graffiti battle on a wall on the corner of Fischer and St. Paul.  On the top, representing the D, God.

On the bottom, either a salute to the Purple Gang (Detroit’s Jewish prohibition-era rum runners) or an anti-semitic slur, or just confusion. (Star of David, Killer G?)



Finally, most of you live in neighborhoods where houses are still inhabited and standing.  If you’d like to take a look at a house that has simply fallen down where it stood, here’s a sample from my ride this morning.


All the bits and pieces are there, I think. It just looks as if it gave up, and gravity took over.

New gigantic pothole winner

You think your city has big potholes? Ha! Ha! I scoff at your puny excuses for depressions in the thoroughfare. If you want to see a big pothole, come on the Tour De Hood.  This beauty is on the corner of Lycaste and Kercheval, and is quite new. And large.  See?

Here’s another angle, showing off its breadth to advantage. I don’t know (or care to know, really) what that tan stuff is.

A word to the wise on the Tour De Hood: Stay alert.

Father’s Day Fun

Had a nice spin along the TDH for Father’s Day. Even though I went through downtown around 11:00 am, people were already gathering for today’s Tigers v Dodgers game. (I have no clue how they’re going to spend the two hours waiting). Took some new photos: Bunchys Chicken Biscuit (sic), Snyder Wholesale, and Zaccaro’s, a new Fine Food Emporium across the street from Atlas. Unfortunately, I cannot figure out how to transmit the photos from Spencer’s phone onto my laptop. I think I need “administrative” privileges, which my company will not give me. Noticed a gash in my tire, too.

The World’s Biggest Pothole (#2- see map) is still there, even though there appears to have been some major street repair in its vicinity.

The end for now.

Update: Got the pictures of Snyder Wholesale and Zaccaro’s. Les voila:

Here’s the storefront shot of Zaccaro’s sign: