-- From 2015/07/13 to 2015/07/19
-- From Detroit to Chicago

Detroit, Michigan

Enter the USA in Détroit

I left the campground little before 9:00 to enter the USA in Windsor/Detroit by crossing a metallic bridge above the Detroit River natural border between Ontario, Canada and Michigan, the USA. I arrived at the first control at 10:10 where the vehicle is taken in photograph and its identifiers noted by the customs officer to leave the enclosure of the Customs at 11:40 after having waited in the waiting room that my name is called for the first time to give my passport and the duly filled out the ad hoc card, then for the catch of the digital fingerprints of the two hands as my portrait and the payment of $6 and finally for the third time for the handing-over of my passport with the exit card of the USA in three months maximum with my vehicle. I had noted the coordinates of Tourism Bureau which alas had little documentation. The hostess advised me to go to the AAA, equivalent of the ACF. There was no map of Michigan! But I recovered a booklet of the campgrounds. Not having lunched because the refrigerator was empty of foodstuffs to enter the USA, I sought the museums which alas were closed on Monday. Very disappointed I went to Walmart in Dearborn to make supply and to bivouac on the spot. The security car required of me to go my way. By chance I found an overland route behind Walmart where I hoped to spend the night… The first contact with Detroit was disappointing by the length of the entry procedure then by the lack of tourist documentation. The city did not appear to me ruins some as certain reports show it, certainly it would be necessary to go in the depopulated suburbs. Alteration work is in hand in the center of the city.

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Bivouac in Detroit/Dearborn, close to Walmart


The day of French National Holiday I went within the boundary of "The Henry Ford" where ther are various activities. I started as of 9:30 by travelling by bus to go to visit the Ford Rouge Factory where was assembled Ford "T". It was recently entirely renovated for the assembly of Ford 150 of last generation out of aluminum. The visit starts with two films on a picture wall accompanied by a dazing wiring for sound. The first to the history of the innovative organization with the vertical integration of the "T" manufacturing. The second shows the design of the new generation of F150 with stunning special effects. Then a gallery makes it possible to follow the assembly of the vehicle as well as the robotization of certain tasks. Throughout the visit of the guards take care of the compliance with the rules in particular: No Photo. I returned by bus within the boundary of "The Henry Ford" to visit the museum which was created by Henry Ford in 1929 in a building with the red brick frontage and the concrete roof, interior air-conditioning is irrational. Of course the museography dates from the time of creation. The set of themes typically American and is announced: "An unforgettable way to discover and appreciate the American history". In the gallery below I show the few photos which challenged me with winks at France. I returned to my bivouac of the day before.

Ford Rouge Factory

The roof of the factory, No Photo inside

Photo gallery of Henry Ford Museum : Here

Wednesday, July 15 was a sunny day very rich in visits. I started by spending the morning to stroll in Greenfield Village made up of more than 80 houses transplanted from their origin spot or entirely rebuilt. The purpose is an immersion: “In 300 years of the American life”. As for the museum a half-day is not enough for all to see. The visitors are invited to use the means of transport of their ancestors. Of course Ford Model T is at the honor in all its states. Within the boundary of The Henry Ford I did not go to the IMAX Theatre. At the beginning of afternoon I went to the Detroit Institutes of Art richly equipped in art of all continents on three levels. I was obliged to make a drastic selection taking into account my remaining time. On the way back towards my bivouac in Paul St I stopped to see the two more famous ruins: Michigan Central Station in the style Art-Deco then the old factory of the Packard luxury cars.

Photo gallery of the Greenfield Village : Here


Detroit Intitute of Art: DIA

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Officer of the Hussars by Kehinde Wiley
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Sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett Tête de Balzac by Rodin
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Young Girl by Derain Selfie by Van Gogh
Reclining Figure by Henry Moore
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Mural "Detroit Industry"  by Diego Rivera

Detroit Ruins

Michigan Central Station

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Packard Plant

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Auburn, Indiana

On Thursday, July 16 I left before the daybreak to go to Auburn in Indiana to approximately 270 km southwards from Detroit to visit the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg-Automobile Museum in a splendid Art-Deco building. Of course the museum is dedicated to the vehicles of the company. However on the third level other luxury  vehicles appear in the collection, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar type E etc. I discussed with one the guides who knew the Schlumpf Museum in Mulhouse, France. The engineers of the company made major innovations, the Cord front-drive, the engine supercharged etc. The company disappeared at the time of the financial crash in 1930's. The gallery below exposes the most sumptuous models of the mad years on a Charleston music. In the west on the way towards Chicago I wished to see the Amish Country in Middlebury. Bof I saw on the road some buggies scurrying. Downtown no villagers of the sect. After a stop in front of McDo to test the Wi-Fi connection, which was Ok. I found by chance a bivouac on the carpark of deserted High-School in summer period.

Photo gallery of Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg-Automobile Museum : Here

Middlebury, Iniana

Amish country

Amish's hypomobile

Chicago, Illinois

1st Day !

Friday, July 17th started under bad auspices. It had rained all during the night and at the time of my departure of the cloudburst fell making the visibility problematic. I had approximately 300 km to go to Chicago. Left at 6:30 local time i.e. 5:30 Chicago time. I had programmed the GPS with the option of the shortest road whereas usually I took the fastest road. Bad choice, I wandered in the countryside on small roads with many stops and traffic lights slowing down the progression in the rain. On the Loop of Chicago the engine of “G” lost power and the exhaust produced a noise of Diesel North-American loco. Concerned I continued my road towards the center of Chicago because I cannot stop on the shoulder. My primary goal was of going to Tourism Bureau of which I had taken the address on Internet, 301 Cermak Rd, Chicago. I stationed the truck and went in search of #301? At the end of one hour of walk and information near the natives I warned two policemen who consulted their telephones to give me a correct address. Back to the truck after one hour of stop the engine had found its power. What had it occurred? Heat was not excessive and speed is limited to 55 miles/hour on the Loop. I was very dubitative of this incident of a vehicle of 33,000 km after a revision in St John, NB, Canada. I went to the given address, 78 E Washington St, Chicago. No problem Visitors Bureau is well at this address. But no parking. I drove in the adjacent streets without anything to find. I was diverted towards Columbus Dr. where I took the place of a vehicle therefore, phew! I made my harvest of booklets by asking for the address of a Mercedes-Benz workshop, one never knows. The only campground close to Chicago is the KAO in Union to approximately 100 km away from the center of Chicago. At the reception I was informed that only transportation to Chicago is a train with Park & Ride in Woodstock to approximately 21 km for a 90-minute trip to Chicago. I lunched around 14:30 hours i.e. 9 hours of duration supplied with some concern. It is also that the journeys. It is not always part of pleasure, as someone think it sited in their armchair with a glass in hand… The temperature in Chicago was of 34°C with 70% of moisture. This a little long report wanted to be factual to show the reality of the daily overlooked. Letter to a friend of the trip to the USA. But there is only one Victor Hugo.

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Michigan Ave

2d day !

Saturday, July 18th was dedicated to “City Walk” proposed by Lonely Planet to see the main buildings which made the reputation of Chicago first city having inaugurated Skyscrapers which are in the district of the business and finance included in the Loop, Elevated Train Tracks, the elevated railway, made famous by many films and televised series. But seen closely, for me, it is an ugliness reinforces at least rusted and noisy. In this Saturday the motor vehicle traffic inside the Loop is very sparse knowing that the private carpark can reach tops with $26 per hour. The most interesting buildings of the Thirties have an architecture Art-Deco like Chicago Board of Trade. Chicago was the town of departure at the time of the great depression of the mythical road 66 called “Mother Road”. The Reliance building transformed into Burnham Hotel is known by room 309 occupied by the dentist who looked after Al Capone. The Park Millennium gathers some architectural jewels as Cloud Gate also called “The Bean” for its resemblance to a bean. It is about a remarkably polished metal structure in which Skyscraper's Line with a selfie is reflected. It was a long day started at 7:00, by heavy heat, which ended in a violent storm around 16:30 whereas I was in the train. The frequency of the trains, commuter, during the weekend is very seldom. I was back to KOA-campground around 17:45 to harness me with administrative work.

Photos gallery of City Walk, The Loop : ici

3d jour !

On Sunday, July 19 I went back to Chicago to immerse me in Art Institute. Alas the trains circulate with parsimony on Sunday, I spent only approximately three hours in the museum which gives the visitors an excellent booklet to go to essence. Moreover the first page mentions: “You are welcome to take photographs… please do not uses flashes, tripods, and video cameras.” As much to say that crowd compacts did not deprive any making problematic the approach of some paintings. I concentrated on painting. To consult the photograph gallery to click on the picture below, La Grande Jatte by Seurat which is dear to my heart; I did not remember that it was the property of the museum of Chicago as much of paintings of the French school which reach exorbitant prices that only the American collectors can pay. The gallery ends with the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni meditating on the causes of the ignorance of humanity.

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Seurat