Labor Day weekend in the hood.

Ah, the prospect of a long weekend. Plenty of time for exploring and cardio stretching. But the weather didn’t fully cooperate.

Saturday was just plain too windy. You’ve heard of the Beaufort Scale, no doubt, but since that is based largely on observed conditions at sea, I’ve made my own, based on observed conditions around my house. Saturday was too gusty for an enjoyable ride. I rate it a B.O.T.P.F on the misterarthur scale of wind velocity. (B.O.T.P.F. = Blowing Over The Patio Furniture). My neighbor’s bench and etagere had already blown over when I got up. So I skipped a tour on Saturday.

Sunday was glorious. Our stated goal was to visit the abandoned Dorais Velodrome at Mound Road and Outer Drive. That said, there were plenty of unplanned delights en route. You can follow our passage here: (Map courtesy of the Legal Eagle, official TDH cartographer).

I got a hair cut on Friday, but, alas, it wasn’t here: Someone’s retail dreams shuttered and shattered.

Nails? Hair? East Side Madame de la Farge?

The next place I photographed seemed as likely to cause an accident as cure one.

Get injured by falling mortar, get cured inside?

Harrell’s could be many things. Furniture shop. Interior Design Firm. One of those people who figure out your personal color scheme. Wall-painting service. Set Design. I guess part of its charm is its mystery. It turns out that Harrell’s is a re-upholstery shop. Looks like color is one of their specialities.

I’m not sure how you reupholster a coffee table

Across the street and down a bit is the mighty Davezilla’s self-proclaimed favorite store sign.  I can see why he likes it. When you got roaches, the one thing you want is someone to get rid of them, stat! This place makes its expertise immediately known.

Wonder if they can do anything about Detroit’s recent plague of bedbugs?

The first mystery entry of the day appeared shortly thereafter.  Nice new paint, and the store’s purpose is abundantly clear. Pet Supplies. With an accent on dogs. I get that. I’m a little nervous, however, about the offering between “accessories” and “houses”. Look closely at the photo:

I’ll take an ulna, a kidney, and a pair of lungs

There has to be a good, legal reason they’re advertising the fact that they sell body parts. My question is, whose body? Which parts?

Got meat? Need a case? Here’s the place for you. Cases galore, both new and used.  It’s too bad it’s not closer to Shopping Cart World.

The perfect birthday gift: A used meat case

The Legal Eagle, as you well know, is a fan of Fire Stations. As the front door was open, we decided to stop in and say hi to the fire fighters from Engine 46, who were first responders to the unfortunate fire at the historic Eastown Theatre (which I have photographed pre-fire in an earlier post).

Engine 46 of the Engine 46 Station

The firefighters were a gracious, gregarious bunch, happy to invite us in for a cup of coffee.  They were also pleased to show off their self-made recreation area/garden, complete with pond & ice machine. (The two aren’t connected). Almost every fire station has a nickname. The “Double Deuces”. The “Lords of Livernois”. The “River Rats”. Engine 46 is no exception. Their nickname’s taken from decorative water feature mentioned above.

I am a friend of the pond with the cigar-smoking fish

Should you be interested, Engine 46 has t-shirts and patches for sale. I encourage you to support the station by getting one, or both, for yourself. They are truly nice guys.

Getting closer to our destination, we rode by an auto repair shop that may well be a superior fix-it place. Or not. But they will scane your auto.

I read a book called Flowers for Enginon in Middle School

This week’s recycler award goes to this fence builder on Mound Road. He has repurposed a tarp and a billboard into a delightful patio surround.

I hope this isn’t the future

The Dorais Velodrome was abandoned some time in the 1980s. We (the Detroit Metro Area) have a new velodrome,  but it’s way out in the burbs. The Detroit Velodrome, neglected for 30 years, is showing its age. But it could be worse. Detroit’s own “Mower Gang” has at least chopped the grass down in the area, so you can approach it on your bike. Here it is.

Ceci n’est pas le velodrome d’hiver

Even if you’ve ever seen a track race on television, you’re likely to be quite surprised at how steep the banking is in the flesh, as it were. (It reminded me of turn one at Daytona). Perhaps this will give you a clearer idea:

Take it to the bank

We took a lap, though our ferocious speed was limited by the cracks and potholes in the surface.  Here’s a shot I took riding on the flatter bits.

The pavement did not inspire the Santana song “Smooth”

The parade of misspelled retail establishments started up again once we hit 8 Mile Road. (There aren’t many photo ops on Mound, I’m sad to say).  Here’s a car parts joint.

Clearly suffering from an ED issue. Viva Viagris

I tried to take photos on the Detroit side of 8 Mile, but was drawn to this spot (which, technically, isn’t Detroit. I hope you’ll forgive me). This could be a sister company to the Anointed Hands Salon on the East Side, but I could be wrong. Unfortunately, the shadow across the window kept me from being able to get a clear shot of its slogan/promise.

I’ll spell it out for you: “Where Dance is in God’s Hands”

While I have photographed a number of strip – er – Gentlemen’s clubs on my tours, 8 Mile is the reputed king o’ the strip clubs street in Detroit. I’d have to say, given the front deck of the Colosseum, the rep is right.  Behold the mighty entry way to the splendors of Roman Sybarites, D – style.

Veni, Vidi, I was stunned

Now that’s a Gentlemen’s Club. Upon closer inspection, it seems clear that the owners of the Colosseum care not a whit for historic accuracy. The Colosseum (the real one) was Roman, no? And even though there was that Marc Antony/Cleopatra thing happening, the reign of the Pharaohs had nothing to do with Caesar, et. al., did it? So then why were these Egyptian maidens decorating the facade of a romanesque building? I don’t know.

That column looks Egyptian to me

Around back, we espied more day-to-day splendor, like these ( lap dance?) chairs being chastised for their impertinence.

Have a seat, make it rain

Best of all were the signs in the parking lot. The Colosseum owners have installed devices to slow vehicular traffic. In every case I have ever seen, they’re called “speed bumps”. Not at the Colosseum. Perhaps they refer more precisely to the services you can look forward to within its walls of temptation. Your guess is as good as mine.

Your headquarters for Speed Humps

Anyone caring to invest in Detroit’s future should know there’s a building for sale on 8 Mile. Use it for a business, or for your new home. Evidently, it’s zoned, (but not spelled) for both.

I also dig the random capitalization

Over on Gratiot, an insurance firm seemed to be preternaturally optimistic.  What happens to you or your car, though you may think is bad news, could well be cause for rejoicing.

Everything’s dandy

The other side of the sign, while carefully painted, is yet another example of professional-painter-without-a-dictionary. 6 letters, and two of them are artfully transposed.

Qiute the misspelling. And you can qoute me on that

I don’t know why this street name made me laugh. It isn’t intrinsically funny. But it seemed to fit with the neighborhood.

We went down Pfent

50 cent is a famous fellow. His little brother may be the owner of the now-defunct establishment we spotted below. However, if you’re being technical about it, the decimal point intimates that this is a rare 1/4 cent and up store.

Gods Seven, misterarthur Zero

The weather was more like fall than Labor Day, so an ice cream cone wasn’t something I was hankering for. Should you be in the mood for one, you could stop by here:

Careful! That ice cream’s driping on me

This week’s “Stump the misterarthur winner” is a beauty supply store.  I leave it to you to decipher what, exactly, you get for your $5.99 or $7.99. Nor do I have any sense of whether those are good prices or not. You decide. And decipher.

I prefer chicken Teriyaki, myself

There was more to see, of course. A couple of splendid murals; one of Captain Metro Man knocking out his competition, AT&T, Verizon, Nextel, and T-Mobile.

Nextel’s in the trash heap!

Another, a luxurious and enticing display of beauty products.

Those eyes follow you as you move around

Finally, a store with a very uninhibited selection in stock. Everything from Toys to Jewelry to Coach Purses, no less, to Nacho’s. {sic}

I wonder if Slush is only available in the winter.

On Monday, Labor Day, we attempted to have a family tour. First we had to pump up the Legal Eagle’s brother’s tires. Then the Legal Eagle’s sister-in-law had a brake pad rubbing on the rim issue. (This was within .2 miles of departure.) Once under way, all seemed to be going well.  The Geomaster was having fun, as you can see. (That’s the Legal Eaglet behind him.)

The Geomaster, racing up Grand Blvd.

Then things kind of fell apart. The Geomaster picked up a shard of glass. I patched the hole, but tore another one in the tube putting the tire back on the rim. Then the pump didn’t work. So we rode the wheel over to a gas station on Mack and pumped it up. By the time we got to the ex-Pfeiffer brewery, it was clear the fix wouldn’t hold. While the rest of the party continued on, Geomaster and I walked/rode down Beaufait, where we were lucky enough to spot this altered signage. (I can’t believe it’s accidental)

What the eff do you want polished, anyway?

The Geomaster and I made it (mostly on foot) to the Tim Horton’s on Grand Blvd. His rear tire was officially kaput.

Well, at least we enjoyed a donut

Mademoiselle misterarthur was gracious enough to pick up the Geomaster while I continued home on my bike.  Halfway back, I saw the Legal Eagle and Eaglet by the side of the road. Poor little Eaglet had run over a safety pin, and the Legal Eagle’s pump was totally kaput, too. Fortunately, L.E. (bro) and L.E. (S.I-L) continued on and came back to pick them up.

Ah, well. Sunday made up for it all. I hope you had a great weekend, too.

Up Down Hoe, Along Grand River, Across McNichols, + Avoiding a $10,000 fine.

This is a pretty long post. I won’t be able to post next weekend, so this’ll have to tide you over.

Summer has finally hit Detroit. Following a monsoonish rainfall yesterday, Sunday was hot ‘n’ humid out on the pavement.  There’s a “Heat Advisory” in effect until 10 pm tonight.

To help you follow my peregrinations, I made a simple Google Map to show the route Paul and I took today.  Last week, I rode up Grand River, but only as far as Grand Blvd. This week, we decided to go farther up the road, to cover some fire stations Paul hadn’t photographed yet, and to see what other interesting sights might unveil themsleves.

First, we had to get to Grand River itself. We decided to ride down Charlevoix, mostly because I had just watched Gran Torino, which was filmed in Detroit. I thought I recognized one of the locations, where Clint’s Hmong neighbors’ daughter gets hassled by some punks:

GranTorinoGran Torino Location (I think)

There are two other Gran Torino locations I’m sure of. One is Pointe Hardware & Lumber, (my hardware store) which sells a “Gran Torino” tool kit consisting of a can of WD-40, a roll of duct tape, and a pair of Vise-Grips. (See the movie, and you’ll understand). Also “my” tailor, Vince of Artona, plays himself assisting Clint in buying a suit. (Vince does a great job playing himself, by the way).

A bit further along, we passed the Ossian Sweet house. You can read more about him at the link. It was a tragedy set off when Dr. Sweet, an African-American, moved into an all white neighborhood. A mob gathered outside his house, threw rocks and bricks, and shots were fired from the house, killing one of the people in the street. Clarence Darrow wound up successfully defending Dr. Sweet. Here’s his home, on Garland and Charlevoix

ossiansweetThe Ossian Sweet home

I’m guessing he and my grandfather knew each other.  My grandfather was a physician as well, and lived and practiced a couple of blocks away. He also treated African-Americans. I have a notebook of birth records he kept; while most of his patients were listed as “white”, he had African-American obstetric patients, as well as (as he wrote) “Syrian”, “Indian”, and “Finnish”. I have no idea why he specified “Finnish”, but the entries date from 1915, so who knows?

I spotted a piece of graffiti, and asked a gentleman on the porch of the house next door if I could take its picture. “Sure”, he said, and I did. I can’t figure this out, and neither could the gentleman with whom I spoke. “Used to be, graffiti made sense,” he said, “I don’t get this new stuff.”

updownhoeAnyone help me out here? Casey?

There are tons and tons of places to get your car repaired in Detroit. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can take your vehicle to “Jalloppy’s” anymore for its maintenance needs.

jalloppy'sWhere am I going to find Genuine Red’s Hydraulic Products?

Our local public radio station, WDET, used to have the longest-running blues program in the country, hosted by the estimable, but also difficult-to-understand at times Famous Coachman.  He also had a record store. Mr. Gasm, one of Detroit’s most prolific taggers, (along with Mr. Porab) has claimed the territory, but you can see that at one point, you could even buy vacuum tubes chez Monsieur Coachman.

famouscoachmanThe one and only Coachman’s Records

Once on Grand River itself, we stopped to see the inside of the Michigan Theatre. This was one of those movie-palace places. Right now, it’s being used as a parking garage (!). As the Tigers were going to take the field today, it was open, so we ducked in for a couple of shots.

michigantheatrePark your whip in style

The most impressive window is blocked by a wall, but incredibly (this, in a city where copper gutters have a life span of about a day) some original marble is still in place.

michtheatre2Is your parking garage graced by marble?

Here’s a place to get fit for you Tour De Hood wannabees. (That, or for people who are all agog over just sitting on the couch.)

couchpotatoesGet going! Sit There!

Next up, the remains of one of Detroit’s most historied (yes, that’s a real word) locations, The Grande Ballroom.

grandeNot so Grande any more

Do visit the website, particularly the “Gigology” page to get a sense of the great acts that played there. (My sister saw The Who there.) I’m going to take a quick detour here to give some props to two of the people who made the Grande Famous – Gary Grimshaw and Carl Lundgren. Most people think “psychedelic” art comes from San Francisco. That’s because of the “summer of love” blah blah. But it can be safely said that Grimshaw and Lundgren were among the true originators of the genre. To give you a flavor of their style, here’s a Cream poster by GrimshawD-004

Cream at the Grande, poster by Grimshaw

Here’s a sample of Carl Lundgren’s work:

_pogb_whoThe Who & Joe Cocker on the same bill

Back on Grand River, I passed a number of interesting retail establishments. One of the places offered “reconditioned” – well, I’m not sure, but it looks like “reconditioned” “reconditioneds”.

reconditionedNo unreconditioned reconditioned for me

We all need to look our best, and here’s a place that promises the coldest cuts in the city – if you think I’m  talking about deli meats, move to Indiana.

coldestcutsNot sure what’s going on in that “O”

Then there’s the mysteriously-named but tempting club on the east side of the street:

clubredfloorIt’s RED, get it?

One of the establishments has rather sneakily renamed itself. I would wager large amounts of money that this collision shop didn’t have this name in 2008. (I’m just guessing).

obama-auto-collisionSame great Service. Same great people

There are plenty of hand wash car washes in Detroit.  But really, how do you know if the hand wash you’re promised is really a hand wash?  This place wants you to understand, when they say hand wash, they mean hand wash, dang it.

handsonhandsLadies, put Wednesday & Sunday in your PDA

I know that retailers have succeeded in malls by specializing in selling things you wouldn’t think warrant a whole store dedicated to them, like “Sunglass Hut”, but this place seems a little too finely focussed to me. How many saws & files do people need, anyway?

sawnfileNot just saws. Saws and files

I love barbeque. Not “barbequed” meats. Barbeque. There’s a difference. And if you don’t believe me, ask someone from Texas or Kansas City, or North Carolina. I was both thrilled and perplexed by this restaurant.  (Well, the name is odd):

ippiseePronunciation? Your guess is as good as mine

What leaves me scratching my head is the claim that Ippissee was voted number one bar-b-q “In the State of Tennessee”.  Is that a plus?  I thought Tennessee was more famous for things like Jimmie Dean Sausage, or biscuits and gravy. I don’t remember reading anything about great Tennessee bar-b-q and, by the way, voted by whom?

Up at the top of our ride, we stopped at a beautiful fire station: Engine 54.

engine54Yes, this is Engine 54

A delightful sergeant invited us in to take a look around.  It’s a beautifully kept station.  One of the firefighters took it upon himself to shine up the original brass in the station.  Check out this door handle, from back in the day when Detroit had money, and every city took pride in its public buildings.

engine54handleBeautiful door handle

We decided to take McNichols back. It was a good choice, as we had a really nice tailwind, which took the edge off the now blistering heat. We also passed a tax return place with the simplest and best promise possible:
momoney

That’s what I want

If you’re looking for a used vehicle, you might try this establishment:

mrluckyFeeling lucky?

Mr. Lucky’s was open today, but be careful. He has a very, very, large dog. The dog appears to not like either intruders, or people, in general.

OK, readers, I need some help here. I passed what used to be a bank, and all that’s left of the original signage is this logo.  Neither Paul (who knows these kinds of things) nor I (who wan’t much help) could identify it. Anyone know what bank this might have been?

mysterybanklogoAnyone? Anyone? Bueller?

McNichols is supposed to dead end at Detroit City Airport, but some hooligans knocked down large sections of the fence, giving access to the airport. Enquiring minds like mine see that as an opportunity explore new territories, and the runway beckoned. (There’s actually a little sidewalk that skirts the runway proper, so we weren’t actually in anyone’s flight path).

cityairportrunwayAirport with ‘bike path’

The only problem was that hooligans have left all the other fences intact, so we were, in effect, trapped inside. We spoke with two nice airplane-owning gentlemen, one of whom volunteered to let us out through the electronically controlled gate, as he was about to leave. However, on the way to said gate, we were intercepted by a security type, who had failed to see us riding around on the tarmac.  He was rather nonplussed at our presence.  He asked how we had gained access to the airport, which we told him was through a large, missing chunk of fence. That didn’t seem to concern him as much as us actually being on the airport grounds, and threatened us with a $10,000 fine. I guess maybe they needed the money to actually repair the fence we rode through.

cityairportDetroit City Airport Hangars

One thing about this airport is that there’s no sign flashing the current TSA Security level. Last I looked at Detroit Metro, it was orange; I hope our little detour on City Airport’s property didn’t raise it to red.

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:

tirebitingdogGrrrrrrrrrr!

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).

shotgun

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.

newladder22

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?

bestintersection

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:

wealllose

Amen

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.

Avant le déluge, moi, monsieur arthur.

Short TDH today, I’m sorry to say.  I don’t like riding in the rain, much less thunderstorms.  Here’s what greeted me on Wunderground’s radar this morning.

radartwoColor = Bad Weather

Fortunately, I got a short ride in and got home before the big weather (and predicted thunderstorms) hit.

menacingcloudsNo tanning opportunities today

I have some advice for Dish Network or Direct TV. You have a lot of unused dishes you should probably collect.  I see them all over the TDH, and a largish number of them are on houses that are (or at least appear to be) completely uninhabited.  To wit:

dishone

dishtwoWorking Dishes. Unworking houses.

I am happy to report that one of my sinkholes now comes complete with its own body guard. The City of Detroit’s Water & Sewerage Department put up a couple of saw horses to protect it from vehicular traffic.

bodyguard

Sinkhole: Now with personal bodyguard

The City of Detroit’s concern for its citizens doesn’t seem to extend to protecting them from electric shock. Below, for example, is an unfortunately typical Detroit streetlight base. Seems to me it would be easy to electrocute yourself. On the other hand, if you’ve got the right Leatherman tool, this could also be seen as a source of free electricity.  If you’re not worried about frying yourself it might even be a way to hook up your computer AC adapter if you’re caught on the east side with a dead battery and have to finish a Powerpoint presentation.

freeelectricityRaw power. Detroit style.

Not all was bleak and cloudy on the TDH this morning. I think the people of Detroit have come to the conclusion that no outside agency at the local, regional, state or federal level is going to do anything to help improve the city, so we’ll have to take matters into our own hands.  The citizens of Shipherd Street have planted a community garden on an abandoned corner, and invite all to come visit.

gardenCome visit any time

A Detroit “Renaissance” has been attempted many times before. Perhaps it will come back, but at least for the nonce, it is still, as this local tagger seems to have put it, in its embryonic stage.

embryoRight to choose?

The rain is now coming down. I hope things let up enough to get in a spin tomorrow. Happy cycling, wherever you are.

Sunday and all is well

I think maybe the spectacular weather today acted like a hallucinogen on Mister Arthur’s old bean. Despite the poverty, abandonment, ruins, burned down houses, weeds, broken glass, giant (and growing!) potholes etc., etc., I was in a very good mood – and actually saw some nice things.  First, a little glimpse of the townhomes designed by Mies Van Der Rohe – really ultra cool modern living in the heart of the hood. Toby Barlow wrote about his place in the New York Times, and Keira Alexander’s place was featured on the January cover of Dwell magazine.  Here’s a lousy shot of some of them. If I were single, I’d live in one of these in a heartbeat.

img_0453Mies Van Der Rohe-designed Townhouse

Detroit actually looked almost like a real city this morning, as there were live human beings gathering together to watch the Tigers play the Cleveland Indians. See? A “crowd” of people!

img_0457Detroit – Now with People!

Detroit is famous (or infamous) for its statue of Joe Louis’ fist.  I like it, though it appears to frighten out-of-towners.  It is less famous for this sculpture thing, which, until today, I had assumed to be a salute to the Carp, the fish that defines the Detroit River and adjacent Lake St Clair.

img_0456Fish Sculpture?

It turns out it’s The Millennium Bell. I’ve never heard it being rung, so I stepped under it and struck the hanging-down bit with my knuckles.  It does ring.  In my book, though, it makes a better fish tribute.

I also rode by this lovely building, which, despite its exterior attractiveness, appears to be unleased.  That’s too bad.

img_0458Beautiful Building, No Tenants.

An amiable fellow who looked as if he lives on the street across from it told me it’s being torn down. “To make room,” he said.  “For what?”, I asked, as there was nothing that appeared to be headed in its direction. “Room for nothing”, he said, “It’s those idiots on the City Council.”  Ah, Detroit, when will be bad juju be gone?

Five Minute Freak Out

I had an unsettling experience on the TDH this morning. I had stopped at Good Girls go to Paris for what is becoming a habit on my rides, a banana-and-Nutella crepe and a cup of coffee. (That particular option is called a “Good Girl” on the menu, but it seems kind of odd for me to ask for a good girl. It turns out the young woman I asked for my crepe is  the daughter of someone I went to high school with.

That, clearly is not the freak out bit. This is:  (I just removed the photo. Seemed unduly invasive of the poor man’s privacy)

I was walking down an alley near GGgtP whilst devouring my crepe, and saw some feet sticking up. Upon approaching him, I freaked out because he was so still. I was convinced he had passed away. Anyway, I leaned over as close as I could to him and noticed he was breathing. (Very shallowly). So that’s good. Anyway, I was pretty rattled by it.

Other things were a bit cheerier. It was a beautiful day, even though Wunderground had predicted Southerly or Southeasterly winds, which would have meant a tailwind all the way home. That did not turn out to be the case.

The former Panther Club, on Kercheval betwixt Algonquin and Connor, has a new name and owner. It is now called Jimmy’s (or Jimmies, depending on which sign you read) Lounge, and promises the “Best Burger in Town”.  Except on Sundays, it would appear, as it was closed.

img_0442Jimmies (or Jimmy’s) Lounge

I also noticed a rusty chassis with an equally rusty “Power Dome” straight-six motor, which must’ve originally come from a Hudson of some kind.  (Oddly, if you Google powerdome straight six, you get a lot of BMW hits.  I think it’s safe to say this is not a BMW motor.)

img_0437The Mighty Power Dome

I also saw a shoe.

img_0439A shoe.

But that was it for today. The trees are just coming into flower here, I suspect I’ll get some prettier shots next week.

Tour de Hood Pothole Archaeology

Yogi Berra once said: “You can observe a lot just by watching”.  Or, in my case, by riding by it.  Today’s lesson: Every pothole tells a story, don’t it?

These two sister potholes are on Lycaste between Jefferson & Kercheval.

potholeone1

Pothole one


potholetwo

Pothole two

You see? Tracks upon which wheeled vehicles can travel.  There used to be trolley lines up and down Jefferson, so these could be part of our former trolley system. Or they could be a spur from the train tracks that still cross Kercheval and Jefferson just north of St. Jean.  Any railroad/trolley/Detroit history buffs want to weigh in with an opinion?

Closer to downtown, I noted this road hiccup, (on Concord near Lafayette) which reveals Detroit just as removed layers of ash reveal Pompeii.

potholethree

History of road construction, exhibit one.

Looks like Concord Street used to be paved with what we call “Belgian Blocks” around these parts. Then they were patched with concrete, and finally, smothered in asphalt. I like the original better, myself. And you?

It was a beautiful day on the TDH.  Downtown was calmer, as the Michigan State Spartan Fans are gearing up for the Final Four Final Two. The NCAA needs a catchy phrase for the championship game: Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four….and then? Tremendous Two? Totally Awesome Two? Someone help me out here.

Enjoy your week. It’s supposed to snow here (4-6 inches) on Monday.

As someone (wish I could remember so I could give proper attribution) wrote recently, our State Motto ought to be “What did we do wrong?”  Indeed.