Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The main purpose of our recent trip north was for Clay to attend a work meeting in downtown Detroit.  

  Hanging out in little hotel rooms in big cities is not really our style.... But we are very thankful that it has been possible for us to travel with him on these cross country work trips. We may get some odd looks from the well-dressed business executives who share the hotel with us, but we appreciate every bit of time we get to spend together as a family.

And for our country kids, life in the big city is full of amazement (though, I was happy to see, it also made them impatient to get back home to the farm, animals, gardens & wide open spaces). 

By sheer good fortune we found the correct parking garage and even parked in exactly the right spot for our hotel room - though we had no idea where we were, and were mostly focused on not hitting a bump and smashing the roof of our behemoth van into the ominously low parking garage ceiling.

I ventured into the GM Renaissance Center with the goal of checking into our hotel, located in the central GM tower that is surrounded by six other interconnected skyscrapers. 

It being well into the evening the towers were mostly empty -- which proved to be both a blessing and a curse. For a country bumpkin like myself, it was a relief to not have so many people witness my aimless wanderings as I strove to not look profoundly lost and disoriented. Unfortunately that also meant that there was no one around for me to beg assistance from. 

The thing with seven interconnected skyscrapers is that there are a whole lot of escalators and elevators and endless looping hallways to venture down, and a surprising lack of maps and signs directing out-of-towners which way to go. 

And poor Clay back in the van with the five tired kids.... After what seemed like hours of endless searching, I managed to locate the correct tower and the correct floor where the hotel reception lobby was located. The well-groomed business travelers kindly made room for me with ingratiating smiles as they sipped on their champagne glasses in line. I must have missed the pre-check-in-beverage line.

But now I was heading back to the van with key cards in hand... Success! And I felt like such a native as I competently led the fam weaving in and out of doorways and corridors to the correct elevators which were reserved only for Marriott guests. Zipping up the high rise elevator and: Presto. Fiftieth floor.

After overcoming the fear of one of my children somehow plunging out of these floor-to-ceiling skyscraper windows.... I was able to enjoy the great view.

Hello, Canada!

The kids spent the next two days glued to this window. They drew pictures by it, wrote in their journals by it, ate pizza by it, read books by it, and just sat and stared out of it.

Aren't they just so cute?

Day one of Clay's work meetings we slept in, lounged around in our room, and then ventured out to explore the skyscrapers. Hotel living at its roughest. 

There wasn't a whole lot to see, but we did thread our way around glass walkways, up and down various elevators, up and down escalators and through revolving doors (HUGE hit with the kids). We shopped at CVS and admired the palm trees. All without ever stepping foot outside. We also provided countless city-goers the opportunity to gawk at five farm kids clustered around a stroller, so I think we did our good deed for the day.

Day Two we needed some sunshine.

Amelia poses in front of our hotel.

We found the Detroit Riverwalk to be a pleasant diversion, if a bit different from the San Antonio Riverwalk.

Clay was able to join us a bit over his lunch break, and we found this little slice of nature in the middle of the city.

We even found a friendly muskrat to watch for a while.

Then we wandered past the carousel filled with crazy water creatures...

And made it all the way down to the little lighthouse that we could see out our 50th floor window. 

There was a brief moment when I thought I may have to defend our little group against a burgeoning gang war, but it turned out to just be some nice old fishermen having a little too much fun in their souped up sports cars and motorcycles on the sidewalk before parking. We returned their friendly greetings and wished them a pleasant day as we strolled relievedly by. 

That evening we walked the other way on the Riverwalk after Clay was done with his meetings. It was a beautiful evening and we enjoyed having a nice place to walk downtown.

I'm not sure what this is supposed to be, but it seems to suit Detroit very well:

 Back in the tower we ordered pizza (again) and watched some more baseball on T.V. Living up the big city life. But thankful that the business portion of our travels were over, and that the next day we would be on to new and more exciting adventures.


  1. I liked your "good deed for the day"! ;)
    It's so fun imagining your crew exploring the big city - thanks for the glimpse into your adventures (and Detroit)! Your kids are growing so tall!
    It was nice having you close to Canada's border for those few days, too ;)