The Henry Ford Museum

At last, we pulled into Dearborn about 10AM at the much heralded Henry Ford Museum.sign

We had previously decided not to spend an entire day touring Greenfield Village as our focus was on the museum and the River Rouge tour. So first into the museum.

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Here we are on-site. Another thing I decided when I started on this trip was that I would not take my usual 7,000 photos and that I would spend more time enjoying the trip rather than memorializing it with hundreds of shots that no one might ever see. I, therefore, will be using mostly mine but will add some found online that are better than mine or just stuff I didn’t shoot. Be warned.

Mr. Ford has it all:

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Trains: This (non-Ford) monster built to drag coal across the Alleghenies.

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Planes: This Ford Tri-Motor mail plane was one of many aircraft.

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And of course, lots of automobiles. The Ford folks were good enough to include great cars by other makers as well as a ton of Fords.

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A classic 1956 Continental Mark II.

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A stunning Buick Riviera

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1959 Cadillac Fin-mobile. Glowed like a particularly ostentatious pearl.

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A Model A from the dustbowl era.

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A VW Camper from the 60s. (I would buy this off the floor.)

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And, of course, the Oscar Meyer Wiener-mobile (After original 1950s version.)

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A “toothy” 1950 Buick Roadmaster. My aunt had one back in the day.

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And the Rosa Parks bus from the 1955 Montgomery AL bus boycott era.

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History aside, it looks like I could just sit down and drive it away. And how cool would that be to own a like-new 1948 GMC transit bus? What a camper it would make!

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Joe is a big guy, so this shows how big that Allegheny locomotive is. They had a bunch of locomotives and cars but they were all in one section, lined up side to side and it was hard to get any decent photos of more than a portion of one train.

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This plow will be seen on the Braintree Red line this winter.

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A pastiche of old roadside restaurant signs stood in front of Lamy’s, a working diner from the streets of Detroit. We had lunch there.

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It was really nice inside with old songs on the tabletop jukebox and signs advertising food at 1950s prices. Of course, the real 2015 prices were on a paper menu, but I guess Mr. Ford has to make a living, too.

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That is a Faygo root beer I’m drinking. It is a Detroit staple that is a sort of talisman for the world’s “Juggalos”, the followers of Detroit creep-rap group Insane Clown Posse. It was actually pretty tasty, despite that.

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We left on the tour of the River Rouge plant around 12:30. It was 15 minutes away, over 600 acres in area and employed 100,000 workers at its height in the 30s. To support the war effort, the US financed extensive upgrades in the early forties and it has been modernized continuously since. It was It was currently busily producing Ford F-150 pickups.

When Ford built it he bragged that iron ore and coal would flow in one end and Model As would flow out the other. It is huge, complex and impressive. We walked around on catwalks over the assembly lines for about two hours and discussed (bickered about) what we thought we were seeing 20 feet below. Why a wire harness inside a tailgate? Back up camera!

Unfortunately, NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED AT ANY TIME!!!

Too bad, because it was great fun and the guides just let us wander around until we thought of a question. We had plenty.

Then the bus back to the museum where we continued to see a lot of “stuff”.

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You can walk through a Dymaxion Home by Buckminster Fuller that looked like a fun place to live.

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A very practical giant steam tractor.

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Lots of old farm machinery. Now we know why farming is such a dangerous job. Each device has eight way it can kill or maim a careless operator.

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There were several doll houses.

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This, I believe, is a kitchen from the 1920s.

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A cool old restored 1954 Federal truck.

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And one of my favorites, the 1958 Desoto Fireflite sedan. So much chrome! Such big fins! One of my favorites, ever.

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Here she is driving away.

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Of course, I had to sit at the controls of the big Allegheny.

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As did Joseph.

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The aforementioned controls. I swear, if I could have found where they put the ignition key…

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Also the Kennedy assassination vehicle, a 1961 Lincoln Continental. It was heavily modified after he was shot (Ya think?), with a roof added and much more bulletproofing in all the glass. But it was the same sad car. Johnson and Nixon used it as well. I would have wanted a new car, were I president, but whatever.

We left about 5PM, exhausted and footsore and began the drive south to the Air Force museum in Dayton OH. We got back on I-75 and drove south into Ohio to Bowling Green, where we stopped at the Super 8 Motel across from the university, where, for $60, the tattooed biker chick behind the counter promised a clean, if never modernized, motel experience.

It was clean. It was quiet. The wifi worked. But….

There was no shower curtain, someone had ripped down the rod. And security had been enhanced, possibly by the previous tenant..

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After checking the condition of the back door and the latches and locks, we approved the additional level of security and even enhanced it by piling our cooler full of waters and cokes on top (see rectangular wet spot).

But it was clean, cheap and we awoke safely the next morning. Showers were fun with no curtain, but they gave us enough towels for six people, so I think that was meant to be an official Super 8 workaround.

We hit the road at 8 AM, south to Dayton.

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