Towards The Motor City

There’s no straightforward all-highway route from Indianapolis to Detroit that I could see. At least not without a lot of map reading, which is not a good idea whilst driving. Plus it’s a long drive of nearly 300 miles. So I decided it would be Interstate most of the way today. Unfortunately the route turns out to be as boring as hell. Even the section of Highway 24 (or is it I-469?) I have to travel on seems Interstate-like.

Leaving the I-465 Beltway I join I-69 heading in a north-easterly direction. The day starts out fine weather-wise but soon starts to cloud over. It looks like rain is in the air further north. I’m still seeing the flat landscape on either side of the road that I saw from St Louis to Indianapolis. But because I’m not driving through any towns, what with being on the Interstate and all, there’s nothing to break up the journey along the way. It’s just farming country for mile after mile. However I can’t see it close up as when on a highway. There’s nothing else of interest to see. I’ve driven on Interstates before in the US so it’s not a surprise, which is why I’ve avoided them if at all possible on the trip so far.

I switch onto Hwy 24 just south of Fort Wayne, entering the state of Ohio soon after, and head on this road towards Toledo. I came off the road somewhere along the way to grab a sandwich for lunch, finding a gas station near the exit. But even that was so boring I can’t remember where it was. By this time the skies have taken on a dark and overcast gloominess all over. Temperature is dropping as well. The miserable weather doesn’t help the monotonous drive. South of Toledo I’m briefly directed onto I-475 before swinging north around the city onto I-75. By this time it’s started to rain, which makes the journey even worse. Just north of Toledo I enter the state of Michigan.

“Let it rain, let it rain” *

My view of Detroit when planning my stay there was highly influenced by the city’s notoriety at that time. Namely, as somewhere that does not have the best of reputations and is somewhat down on its luck. This was one place I was not going to stay downtown and venture out for some evening entertainment. So I decided to stay in a hotel at the airport, which I figured would be safer. So another evening in the bar reading a book was on the cards.

A few miles south of Detroit city it’s onto I-275 then right on I-94, soon after which I arrive at the Sheraton Detroit Metro Airport Hotel at just gone 4 pm. By now it’s absolutely bucketing down, with torrents of rain bouncing off the road. This makes driving really tricky as the visibility is greatly reduced. I wish it wouldn’t rain anymore!

I don’t mind being a little earlier here than when I normally arrive in places. This is because I need to re-pack my suitcase tonight as tomorrow evening I get rid of the car when I arrive in Chicago. There’s no need for a car in Chicago, mainly because of the L. In fact the advice I read was to positively avoid having one in downtown. On the trip so far I’ve been leaving things on the back seat of the car, and in bags in the trunk. This was so that I could have easy access to clean clothes in my suitcase on my one-night hotel stays, and not get cluttered up with dirty laundry. For the final three nights in Chicago all the dirty clothes will have to be re-packed at the bottom and I’ll need to work with that.

Too Damn Cold

After my re-pack I head down to the bar for some bar food and a couple of beers. The Giants and Vikings are on Monday Night Football tonight. The game is on the TV in the bar, so I watch a bit of that. However the air conditioning in the bar area is way too cold and everyone, not just me, is freezing their butts off. Within just a few minutes of sitting at the bar I’d made a request to the bar staff to make it warmer. Someone went off to fix it. But to no avail, they can’t find how to do it. About 30 minutes later I go back to my room to get a sweater. Upon returning I ask the bar staff to get management involved to fix the problem.

Guests are turning up at the bar and leaving pretty damn quick because it’s so cold. The hotel’s losing business here! Some suited management dude turns up, agrees it’s freezing, and goes away. He comes back a few minutes later to say no-one knows how to make it warmer. Unbelievable!

I bear it for another 30 minutes or so, but even with my sweater on it’s just too cold. So I decide I’ve had enough, complain loudly to the bar staff and go back to my room. Where it’s warm. Wonderful. The hotel is quite modern, sleek and clean but in this day and age how the hell can they not have control of the air conditioning temperature? After a few more pages of my book, it’s lights out…

* I Wish It Would Rain by the Detroit-based vocal group, The Temptations

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