Cross Country Road Trip 2012: Michigan

Get ready for Part III of our cross country road trip recap: Michigan!

In May 2012, we drove 3,815 miles through 12 states, coast to coast. Our route took us through New York, Ontario in Canada, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, to Portland, Oregon. Check out the route:


After we finally got through the U.S. border into Michigan, we were ready to take on the day! We spent the rest of the morning at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.


I wish we had more time at the museum. You could spend an entire day here. Actually, you could probably spend two or three! The exhibits are amazing. There is so much to see, learn, and experience. The pieces here are individually wonderful but as a whole collection, it may be one of my favorite museums in the world.

The Ford Hall of American Innovation was the part of the museum we spent our time in.




What Hall of Innovation is complete without a Weinermobile?




The most impressive part of the innovation collection was the steam engines, many of which Ford built the museum around. They are all original pieces that formerly worked and now are on display. They were massive!






Next were the automotive exhibits which boasted some pretty impressive items:

the car President Kennedy was assassinated in…


a full size train on tracks built into the floor…


and a gorgeous collection of cars unlike anything I’ve ever seen.








John wanted to bring this stained glass White Castle sign home with us.


I did get to take something awesome home though. A very Domestocrat souvenir: an oven mitt in the shape of Michigan!


After about 2 hours in the museum we were tired and hungry, so we took the 15 minute drive to Detroit for some lunch.

It’s undeniable the city of Detroit was hit pretty hard by the recession. There is something eerily depressed about the city; buildings were boarded up, there were no people on the streets, graffiti and trash everywhere. Nothing seemed to be open except for gas stations and strip clubs (both in abundance). I don’t mean to reduce Detroit down to a wasteland where a city of industry once stood, but the reality is that’s what we saw. I hope to return someday and see a different picture.


For lunch we went to Slow’s BBQ in downtown Detroit. We’ve had our fair share of BBQ all over the country and Slow’s is definitely some of the best.


The food was excellent – the ribs were smoky, pulled pork was moist and delicious, the beans were some of the best I’ve ever had, the cornbread was sweet and buttery, and the cheesy waffle fries were so wrong they were right. The sauce selection is pretty amazing too – the apple was my absolutely favorite though they were all fantastic.


Full of ‘cue, we made the hour drive to Ann Arbor, Michigan.


I instantly fell in love with Ann Arbor. It’s a quaint little college town with tons to do.


We walked around the Kerrytown Market & Shops for a while, window shopping, browsing the market, buying some truffle oil and aged balsamic vinegar from Fustini’s, and sitting in the courtyard.


Afterward we took a stroll through the University of Michigan campus. It was huge and very beautiful.


The campus is nestled right in the middle of a crisscross of downtown main streets. Such a cool area.


On the other side of campus we stopped in to Pinball Pete’s arcade for some games.



After about 30 minutes of gaming, we walked all the way back through campus and headed to Zingerman’s Deli for dinner. We’d heard so much about this place on the interweb and it did not disappoint. The sandwiches were awesome and the outdoor patio was the perfect place to sit and eat.


After dinner we made the hour and a half drive to Battle Creek, Michigan where our hotel, and sleep, awaited.

Location check in!


The first thing the next morning was an early drive (about an hour) to Kalamazoo, Michigan.


John found a cool breakfast place for us to stop at called Food Dance.


The place was totally empty except for us so we got to talking to our waitress for a while about our road trip. She wanted to know all about it and asked us a million questions. Later, when she brought us our check, she also brought us a little care package she had made up for us for the road from their store – flatbread, a cheese plate, and a container of their housemade ketchup. It was so nice we couldn’t get over it! I thanked her about 30 times.


We hopped in the car with Chicago in our sights! But not before we saw an actual Chemical Bank (Seinfeld fans, eat your heart out).


On the way to Chicago we passed through Indiana (which doesn’t deserve it’s own post since we literally just drove through). Here’s a little location check in Gary, Indiana – birthplace of Michael Jackson!


Stay tuned for Part IV – Illinois!

Author: Domestocrat

I'm a lady who enjoys photography, football, cooking, long drives with the windows down, This American Life, kettlecorn, hot yoga, pop punk, my nephews, my cat Reggie, and my home: Boston.

11 thoughts

  1. This is great! I have been to Ann Arbor a few times before (love Zingermann’s). Two of my husband’s closest medical school friends moved to Detroit and another two moved to Ann Arbor, so I know we’ll be up there visiting at some point. I’ll definitely put the Henry Ford museum on the list! Also, we are considering driving to the Lake Michigan beaches this weekend, and might just have to stop at Food Dance! How nice of the waitress!

  2. 1) I love your blog. I’ve been reading for a few months now. My sister is constantly hearing me shriek “Devin! Check this out – she does this too!” from the living room.
    2) I split my life between Detroit (work) & Ann Arbor (school). It’s awesome to see such great parts of my life on your blog – and to hear how much you enjoyed it out here!
    Thanks for giving Michigan such a great review ^_^

    1. Aww, you’re so sweet. THANK YOU for reading!!! I really loved Michigan and do hope to go back some day. Did I miss anything you think is essential for the next time we visit?

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