The Henry Ford — Leg 4 of AK trip

A distinct advantage of full-timing is our ability to travel without much itinerary. We have a destination (Dawson Creek, B.C., Canada). We have a timeline (Dawson Creek by July 12). But we don’t have any big idea of what all to do and when to do it in the 2,500 miles and thirty-six days before July 12. We are winging it, simply flexible.

If you’re just joining us on this trip, this is the third leg of a many legged odyssey from Kannapolis NC to Alaska. We left Kannapolis May 30, drove to Copper Hill VA (Virginia Highland Haven Airstream Park), and to Dayton Ohio. And the story continues:

Sunday was a nice driving day from Dayton OH to Belleville MI. Sunny, windy, nice temperatures, and increasing traffic as we drew closer to Detroit. We met up with a few Airstreamers on I-75N at a rest stop, they had attended a big airstream rally in Jackson Center OH, Alumapalooza and were traveling in our direction.

We heard from some of the Airstreamers in the rest stop about the Ford Museum in Dearborn MI, and a nearby county fairgrounds with camping. Sounded good, we didn’t know what we were going to do in Michigan. The fairground campground is in a good location for touring Dearborn. Nice grassy sites, good quiet location, two-point hookups plus wifi — checks most of the boxes!

Monday we spent all day at The Henry Ford, an all-American museum since 1929. The museum kicked us out at 5pm as we were finishing our last exhibit. We started touring the trains exhibit and were most interested in the huge 76 feet long Allegheny 160, the last and largest steam locomotive.

We saw perhaps a hundred cars in the museum ranging from a tiny electric to Charles Kuralt’s motorhome. We had several favorites. Airstream and VW campmobile, Honda Accord, Bugatti limo, and Lotus Indy winner, a game-changer after all those front-engine bigger Indy cars.

Lamy’s diner

We finished trains and cars and found ourselves at the Lamy’s Diner. We’ve eaten in diners in various places. We had not read any history about them until eating in Lamy’s, where we could read while briefly awaiting our club sandwiches. The diner was very nicely restored to like-original condition.

One of our favorite exhibits was Bucky Fuller’s Dymaxion house — we want one! Sure, we like the aircraft aluminum exterior, the fresh air management, the zero wasted space, and the right-sizing. We’re a little unsure about total lack of insulation but suppose we might be able to work that out. Interesting too was rainwater capture. This house was way ahead of its time. And the investors thought it was too far ahead. The project never took off.

Another fun exhibit featured Charles and Ray Eames and their lasting impact upon furniture design. Exhibited were a chair-mold for their fiberglas chairs, some of their other chairs, stools, and pieces of furniture. And the curator included some nice informative displays about their life and impact on Herman-Miller Company and furniture design.

Thursday morning we attended the factory tour of the Ford Rouge plant. A ten minute bus ride from the Henry Ford took us to the Rouge plant, an absolutely huge vertically integrated automotive manufacturing plant.

The plant, built in 1917, employed 100,000 workers at one time. The plant manufactures F-150 trucks. We watched a couple of great videos and toured the factory’s production area from a catwalk above.

The factory tour was self-paced, easy, interesting, and not too long. The first activities were a pair of movies in very very nice viewing rooms, then the plant tour, overlook of the roofs, and finishing in the ground floor exhibit area to see the eight featured cars from a Model T to a Mustang.

Our favorite things from the museum? We spent one entire day in The Henry Ford and half of another in the factory tour (also part of “The Henry Ford”) but, based upon what we saw and learned, it looks like much longer. Difficult to pick a favorite in this vast museum, we like so many things. We’ll let you select any from these following pictures — it was all great!

Montgomery AL 1955 bus from Rosa Parks incident

Airstream at The Henry Ford (babe optional)

President Kennedy’s limousine

Dymaxion house living room

Dymaxion house kitchen

See You Down The Road!

Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees

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3 responses to “The Henry Ford — Leg 4 of AK trip

  1. Sounds like you two are having a great time. Thanks for keeping us in the loop. We are sitting in Cheyenne Wy. in a very noisy hail storm right now. Left Boise for Sedalia Tuesday in a rain storm so we are filthy dirty already, maybe this will wash some of the road grime off.

    • Hi Bob and Faith,
      How big was the Cheyenne hail? No damage, I guess, to your moho? Good luck with the grime! We were so shiny clean and waxy then drove West Virginia and Ohio to Dayton through blinding rains. Wouldn’t you think these would wash the trailer so well? Not so. Trailer and truck have a dull coat and some zero day I might just get out there and rub off some of the dirt.

      Happy trip!

  2. Richard Hunt

    One great advantage of unhurried travel, is the opportunity to visit great local landmarks. You are an inspiration for our doing more of them. Thank you for the report and photos of the Henry Ford Museum. We loved also getting taken back in time at Greenfield Village.

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