Tire-biting dog to Pleasantville and back

Today’s ride was a veritable photo-opportunity-fest. I accompanied my cousin Paul as he continued his epic quest to photograph every fire station in Detroit. (By the way, all the firefighters we’ve met are really nice – and happy to talk about their particular fire station.) Aside from his FS knowledge, Paul knows all sorts of cool history of Detroit. (Like identifying an abandoned building as a former Detroit Bank & Trust building from the “1849” on the facade – the year DB&T was incorporated).

Look at the wonderful Detroitest things I spotted today.

There was the tire-biting dog:


There was the hood’s most honest tire and rim shop:

nostolenNo hot goods here

There was the graphic that pointed out the financial advantages of trading trash for cash at City Recycling. (I particularly like the way they used that protective grillwork as part of the art).

cityrecyclingI-beams for ingots

There was the misspelled store name:

varityVerily, I shall name thee Varity

There was the legendary, but now shuttered Gospel Hands car wash:

gospelhandsThey even used to get your car’s soul clean

I even saw a box of shotgun shells in a gas station’s restroom. (The restroom was not really for public use, as the guy behind the three-inch thick plexiglass had to let us into the inner sanctum of the station to use it).


I think “game load” means to maim, not kill, humans

I spent a fair amount of time on Livernois Avenue  today. The avenue is named for the descendents of Paul Benoist dit Le Nivernais.   It’s a long story, which I found summarized in an article in the Monterey County Herald, of all places.

Livernois Avenue’s pleasures and perils abound. There’s a strip club (of course):

brasskeywide“Adult Entertainment” is code for strip club, I think

An unremarkable name, particularly compared to the “Please Station” (see below), but its logo is a real charmer: (And the model has unusually long & thick hair, in addition to a booty to die for).

brasskeylogoPossibly NSFW logo (though it is on a public thoroughfare)

In case you get too revved up over the entertainment at the Brass Key (they’re looking for waitresses, if you’re interested), a bit further up the road you’re reminded to keep things on the up and up:

godseeyouDon’t be messing around

Near Livernois on McGraw, we stopped at “Double Deuce”, the Detroit Fire Department’s Ladder 22:

l-22McGraw Street’s Finest

The fire station’s logo is the best part. It’s painted on a window on the second floor – and unfortunately, it’s partially blocked by a flagpole.


Ladder 22 Does Not Mess Around

We also met the “Lords of Livernois” – the firefighters of Engine 34.  They have really cool T-shirts, but the firefighter we spoke to who was wearing one said they hadn’t printed any in a long time. Dang. Who wouldn’t want to be a Lord of Livernois?

I got a little depressed at the unfortunately-named “Last Chance Academy”. Here’s a photo, lest you think I’m making that up:

lastchanceWhat happens after this?

My glass was only temporarily half-empty, as the fellows at the Detroit Fire Deparment Engine 42 have taken it upon themselves to rename the area “Pleasantville”. (It’s right next to the LC Academy)

pleasantvilleHappy to be here

Then there was the reminder that no matter how dismal things are, they’re not always going to stay that way.

troubleThings will get better. Some day.

That made me feel a little more cheerful.

But what made my day was riding by what I think has to be the best intersection in America. Who wouldn’t want to be able to give the pizza guy directions to this address?


Freeway of Love meets Psychedelic Shack
There are also streets named after the Four Tops, The Miracles, and the Marvelettes.  You gotta love Detroit, if only for that.
Finally, advice we should all take to heart:



All in all, a 38 mile TDH to remember. I hope tomorrow brings more unexpected gifts from the hood.

P.S.: Thanks to Paul for the tighter shot of the Double Deuces logo.

Gold vs. God

No big discoveries on the TDH today. A great day out on the road, though it was a bit breezy headed downtown. (Plus half my back is seized up). That said, I did run by some points of interest.

First, the house that comes with its own graveyard (see prior post, please) is no more. I don’t know if they plan on pushing all the debris into the big hole – but maybe next week I’ll be able to report back to you if that turns out to be the case. Voila: The ex-house.

knockeddowonhouseNewly-dead house

The owners of said house had a clearly non-effective sign trying to keep the area tidy:

nodumpingCareful! Security Camera is watching!

A couple of weeks ago, I pointed out a couple of sinkholes. The lesser of the two appears to be destined for repair. (At least that’s what I think, judging by the paint. It could also be an alert to walkers, riders, and drivers).  If you’re on Kercheval, and you see it, you can tell your friends you saw one of the Tour De Hood landmarks. Gives you instant street cred.

fixsinkholeFamous sinkhole

I think Detroit has general issues with its sewage system. While I’m not a civil engineer, I believe most of the sinkholes and enormous potholes I see are because of busted sewer lines and/or water lines leaking into the ground and eroding support for the pavement.  On the opposite side of leaking is clogging, as demonstrated by this sewer, which by my lights is a seweren’t. (I had to put this picture in just so I could include that jeux de mots). Or, if you prefer, it’s a Storm Drain that Drain’t working.

sewern'tStorm Drain’t.

You’ll notice it’s lost its ability to actually drain water.  A bit further along I rode by the erstwhile “Peace in Heart Crusade Church of God”.  Looks like the neighbors prefer lucre to the promise of eternal happiness.

goldoneThere’s Gold in that there Hood.

I may be wrong, as I passed another building (a former restaurant supply shop) that is much more blinged out.

gold2Gold, Cutlery, Scales and Meat Hooks

You’ll notice on the upper left “MOCAD 3/29”.  MOCAD stands for Museum Of Contemporary Art Detroit. So this Gold stuff may actually be some kind of conceptual art that I’m too much of a philistine to appreciate.

Until today, I hadn’t known there was a downtown Synagogue. Here it is, or was. I can’t really tell if it’s still in use for that purpose.

synagogueThe Downtown Synagogue – must be the only one

I love the door handle.

mogendavidMagen David

Right across the street is a new (to me – I don’t spend much of my time looking for, or frequenting, adult entertainment enterprises) place to spend some time and money.

erosGenerous drinks for fat white guys

Looks new to me. Maybe this is the result of the Stimulus Money Detroit is supposed to be receiving from the Federal Government. If anyone knows if this place has been around for a while, and I’m just ignorant, please weigh in.

That said, there’s one thing for sure. The Tour De Hood is always filled with interesting things.  This graffiti just about sums it up.wackshit

No kidding

I saw an Immelman today

I took a short-ish ride today. (Had the day off of work to go to pick up my wife & son)  Along the way, I heard a jet flying at very low altitude. It was low and loud. Low and loud enough to set off car alarms. In one point, it was flying below the tree line. It was really weird.  It turned out to be a fighter jockey from Selfridge Air Force Base. I think he was practicing his moves for next weekend’s air show, because he was trying out some fancy moves, including an Immelman turn, which I’ve never seen performed before.

Here’s a really bad photo of him in the distance. (Look to the right of the telephone pole).

jetF – something or other above the hood

I passed a number of mystery green rectangles. One circled (rectangled?) some soon-to-be dead grass.

greensquare2Green around the green

Another surrounded nothing that made any immediate sense to me.  And just so you know, there were more. Some around trees with decorative cast-iron surrounds, some around cast-iron surrounds with no trees.

greensquare1Rectangle signifying something I can’t recognize

Slightly after passing these rectangles, I stopped to chat with some Detroit Water and Sewage fellas. The jet fighter mentioned above made another very low pass. I asked  if the sound had surprised them. One of them replied “We’re from Detroit. Nothing surprises us.” In a Good Samaritan way, I alerted them to the sinkhole I spotted a couple of weeks ago. They left to check it out. So better get down to E. Lafayette ‘twixt Townsend and Baldwin before it’s fixed.

Finally, I spotted a burned-out house that looks like it comes with its own grave site.  (The pic doesn’t show the depth of the hole next it).  You might think this hole is for a new basement, though I can’t figure out why you’d build a house right there when so much other empty space abounds. As for the house itself, I didn’t stick around long enough for its last rites.

housewithcemetaryAshes to Ashes, etc.

If it doesn’t rain too hard tomorrow morning, I’ll be sure to update the state of affairs in Detroit for your reading pleasure.