Detroit, 2004

I'd wanted to ride the new Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point amusement park ever since hearing that it was the fastest and tallest in the world. A BBQ at a friend's house in Detroit provided the opportunity to combine a few things into on trip, especially as my TN visa was coming up for renewal in a month.

Thu Aug 19

Ducked out early from the conference call (it had started late), and walked up to Hynes. Picked up the green line no problem as I walked in, and then the blue line just as I hit the platform. The Airport station had been redone, I had to follow the signs to find the shuttles, but one was just about to leave for term E. The check-in counters are all redone there as well, and the shuttle went a round about route to drop me off. Sat and read while waiting for Cris, I got there at 5:40, him at about 6:20 - coming up the elevator just as I called for him on the cell.

Got all checked in and through security, though Cris had to go back and take off his boots. Sunset from the plane The flight over was uneventful, though the sunset was gorgeous, fiery red in the west, fading to orange and blue as it trailed off east. I finished the in-flight magazine (weak) and napped a tiny bit. Didn't want to run down my palm batteries. Only carry-ons so down to ground transport, walking to the very end of the car rental pick up area to get the shuttle to Enterprise.

Not much choice on the lot, I turned down a Jeep SUV for a car, they upgraded me to the luxury Kia Amanti - leather seats, but no seat warmer, 6 disc in dash changer, power steering as smooth as butter. Joy called as we were settling into the car, Amy arrived okay, we'd see them tomorrow.

Some construction but light traffic to navigate through downtown and up into Madison Heights. The Woodward Dream Cruise was taking up rooms, we got put in a smoking one first, but went back and got a non. Room okay, but the tiny bathroom was too reminiscent of the one in San Diego where I spent a miserable 48 hours with food poisoning. It was close to 11 at that point, so, showered and to sleep, alarm set for 8:30am.

Fri Aug 20

Woke just before the alarm and got dressed and ready to go.Walked over to Bennigan's to get breakfast, but it was closed. Ended up at the New York Hots diner. Basic pancakes, quick service. Walked back to the hotel and called Amy to say on the way. Easy trip to Joy's, she was outside waiting. Called Krista, she was up already, and we made it there via Woodward (wrong turn on 13mile) but it was luckily not all shut down for the Cruise. Ava was barking at us, but Krista came out so we didn't have to brave Art's dog. :) Got a bit turned around, but found our way back onto I75 south. It rained on and off, heavily at times. Stopped for gas/snacks/money just before Sandusky, and I called Cedar Point. Half the coasters were still up and running, so we continued on.

Found easy parking close to the entrance (it was fairly lightly crowded, but still lots of people out braving the rain). I loaded up with basics - hat, rain coat, wallet w/o debit card (in the process of trying to keep it safe, losing it, dammit), and car keys in the velcro tabbed pockets of my cargo shorts. Got our tickets and Cris picked up a rain poncho to join the ranks of the blue robed attendees. Despite promises to the contrary, and a break in the rain, the Top Thrill Dragster never opened. We hit almost every other one though, doing the Raptor 2x in a row as we waited for Amy then went again with her. Longest wait was on the Millenium, but that was just half an hour. Tried a very weird crispy French "waffle" and a giant elephant ear and a slice of cheese pizza and mourned the wine dinner at Sel de la Terre two nights before. Did the Siam Swings with Krista, and sat out the bumper cars with Cris. The Iron Dragon had dumped water on me (the tarp between cars was filled with icky rusty water) so I used the jet engine driers to force some of the water out. Last ride was the Carousel, a nice way to wind down. Going twice on the Raptor (still my fave) was a bit much, had to rest a bit to stop being dizzy. The Wicked Twister used jet launching tech to start us off - the countdown was off, the operator only got to 2 and we were off. It rained on and off all day, but we would sit out the worst of it under umbrellas.

We followed signs back toward the highway, and stopped at Perkins for supper (and a change of clothes for me) at around 8pm. The drive back felt longer. Dropped by Art's first, and hung out until Monica, Axel and Sio showed up and a bit beyond. Dropped off Amy, made sure she got in, and back to the Econolodge for a hot scrubby shower with their soap - the housekeeper appropriated my 5th Element bar. :/

Sat Aug 21

Went to Bob Evans for breakfast, after figuring out that the veggie restaurant that we were aiming for was now the place we'd eaten yesterday. Slow and okay, but insane squirrel woman kept munching on her baby's head behind me. Then it was off to the AAA offices to try and get a map of Detroit - got there at noon, it closed at 12:30. They couldn't find the map that had Oxford on it, but we got a Detroit and northern suburbs one. Turned out to be an easy trip up to Oxford, despite my missing the exit. We just detoured around the GM plant and picked up the road that went right into Oxford (24 aka Lapeer aka Washington).

Got parking okay, and walked over to 5th Element. Waved and smiled at Deb as I came in, but she didn't recognise me until I was checking out. Replenished my soap stores, got some tea to go and a sample of the vanilla chai from Deb, and a neck warmer trigger point thingy. Back to Madison Hts, via the grocery store to get ground beef and turkey and buns and peaches and a juice drink for me and beer for Cris.

Back to the Econolodge at around 2, fobbed off house keeping (didn't put my new soap out!), and out again in 10mins to head to Art's.

Put stuff in the fridge, waited for them to wake up Art, Joy, Steph and Martin arrived and left again to check in, and we stole Krista, Axel and Sio and I drove us downtown to John J. King Books on Lafayette. Mmmmm, 4 flours of booky goodness. We gave ourselves an hour, and all came out with stacks of books. Bliss. But dusty!

Back to Art's, where I badgered him to start up the grill around 6. Dodged wasps, Cris made up tea burgers, and I threw the turkey ones on asap. Met some of Art's friends (John, a coworker and his wife, Nancy, Danni, Ann, Bob was there too). The classic cars would occasionally cruise past. Sean gave me a computer box to pack our books in for the flight home. Went off to the store to get a drink, Art gave me money for smokes. I got carded for the smokes (score!) and found a 6 pack of K cider (score!) and drank a grapefruit juice on the walk back.

Steph let me borrow her velvet jacket, it was chilly. Martin showed off his car (new Audi). Talked about travel and cooking - hadn't known that Bob was a cooking afficionado. Things started winding down around 1, and my allergies went nuts - the dust from the books, Ava's fur, cat hair on the jacket all stuffed me up and made me worry for my lungs. So, back to the hotel and took a hot shower with the Northern Spring bar, and it cleared me right up. Also warmed up the trigger point pillow and wore it a bit and then draped it on Cris.

Sun Aug 22

Got a call from Art at 9:15, got up, ready, packed, got Steph's jacket back to her - they were next door, checked out, and followed them to Habana Cafe for cuban brunch. Very odd things, the omelettes were open face, but decent. Mango shake didn't taste much of mango. Very sleepy still. Dug through the car looking for the debit card, no luck, called it in lost (wrong number, though). Said goodbyes to people as they were going to hit the road soon too.

Found the record store that I asked Bob for, grabbed a Tom Waits comp and an Eddie Izzard DVD.

Then down to the tunnel and through with not much of a line for us, but going around we got caught in major traffic. So lit off to the bridge and across no probs. But, they didn't have a TN specialist on staff, I saw them debating if they could renew mine. No quiz. They denied a woman getting her first one though. Had changed into a work shirt from a tshirt when stopped for gas.

Began a quest for a cafe, no luck, ended up at the Ramada Inn diner, cool Erte betty boop table cloth. Had a shake, and shared wings. Read for a bit. Then topped up gas, and taped up the box for check-in. Returned car, easy check in at the garage, took tram to gate, flight delayed 1.75 hours. *sigh* Typed this up in the departure lounge after Cris had supper, I had tea (cool in here, we moved into the sun, but bad once it's down).

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