Well, this FFF represents our last full week on the road with the RV. Hard to believe! We have been moving at a fairly quick pace for these last few weeks. In part, because we have things to take care of before we set off on our new adventure in India but also because we are ready to stay put in our home for a little while. This has been an amazing trip and we’ll have some interesting blog posts to write after we’ve had a chance to stop moving and reflect a bit, but for now, I think we’re each looking forward to certain aspects of being back in our (non-wheeled) home.
Michigan (Dearborn, Ann Arbor)
Edison’s Menlo Park Lab
Going beyond just the expected history and impact of the automobile in America (which was very interesting), Henry Ford established a museum to house a history of innovation in America, from its revolutionary roots to a circular home of the future (which never did actually catch on). Right next door is Greenfield Village, also created by Henry Ford. In this expansive area, Ford relocated the homes or workplaces of many of America’s innovators that he had acquired over the years (including his own since Henry Ford himself was an innovator that had an impact on American history). It was just like stepping back in time to the streets of the late 1800s and being able to visit places such as Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park, New Jersey laboratory (where the electric light bulb was perfected), or the Ohio home and bicycle shop where the Wright Brothers earned a living and worked on their ideas for creating a “flying machine.” Both the museum and the village are good places to visit for a fun dose of US history and innovation.
Besides these stops in Michigan, we were able to visit Ann Arbor, my birthplace, and get a quick look around the University of Michigan campus. An additional bonus: I was able to embarrass Miles yet again when we tried to find the street my parents lived on when I was just a baby and take a photo of the house we lived in. But since I didn’t know which house was the right house, I just hopped out and started taking pictures of all of them, regardless of who was watching the strange woman walking down the street, taking photos with her phone. (side note: according to Miles, I’ve been able to embarrass him many times on this trip, which I think is pretty impressive since I haven’t even been trying that hard).
Ohio (Cleveland and Akron area)
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Ohio brought rock and roll and reconnection. On our short visit in Cleveland we toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It has a good bit of rock and roll memorabilia to view (Michael Jackson’s outfits, Jerry Garcia’s guitars, etc) but, if you plan to visit, it is definitely a richer experience if you take the time to watch the many videos throughout the museum showing things such as the Hall of Fame inductees’ performances or American Bandstand clips from its many years on the air. On my favorites list for this museum was the audio and video clips of the Beatles commenting on their work and playing in the recording studios, and, album by album, demonstrating how they grew and changed over the years. Besides the videos, taking the time to stop at the various music stations to listen to inductee song libraries, one hit wonders, roots of rock and roll, etc. definitely made us want to add some tunes to our music library.
Besides our visit to Cleveland we were also able to get together with Eden, one of my roommates from my days in Atlanta. It was so great to catch up on life’s adventures and meet her lovely girls and the boys were quickly dashing around outside and having fun with them – happy to be around some kid energy again. (another side note: I think if there’s one thing the boys have really missed on this trip, it’s been the daily dose of kid energy that they are used to in school!)
New York (Niagara Falls)
Getting soaked at Niagara Falls
We weren’t sure how full our experience here would be since we would not be able to go over to the Canadian side (our passports are in the process of getting our Indian visas) but it turned out to be better than we anticipated! To watch the rapids pour over the edge of the American side of the falls was to watch the power of nature. Impressive. And loud. We were also able to ride the Maid of the Mist boat over to the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side and that was impressive. And wet. But a giggly sort of wet fun. Watching the crowds of people in ill-fitting blue rain ponchos try to get photos while simultaneously trying to keep their hoods from blowing off, while keeping their balance and their cameras dry was a good laugh. And to be that close to the falls was pretty cool. We went to Goat Island the next morning to stand on the point closest to Horseshoe Falls and were treated to a double rainbow over the falls. Now maybe that happens all the time, but it felt pretty darn special to me.
New York (Seneca Falls and Ithaca)
“All men and women are created equal.”
Women’s Rights National Historical Park: The beginnings of the women’s rights movement in the US can be found here in Seneca Falls, NY. A smallish town for such a big undertaking but in a case of right time, right place, right people, a group of women came together, recognized that change was needed and that someone needed to do something about it, and so they drew up the Declaration of Sentiments which was presented here at the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848. This podium that I am standing at is believed to be the same one that Elizabeth Cady Stanton first read the Declaration of Sentiments (based largely on the Declaration of Independence) and used the words “….where all men and women are created equal.” And while I don’t have daughters who might internalize these women’s stories on a more personal level, I do have sons whom I hope we have raised to believe the above to be true and to value the stories of this country’s amazing women, as well as its men’s. I am gratified to have had them visit this historical site and gain a deeper understanding of the fight for women’s rights in this country.
Following our time in Seneca Falls, we drove to Ithaca to look around this college town and take in the pretty waterfalls and gorges, the college campuses, and the town center (which, I have to admit was not as quaint as usual as it is largely under construction). Overall, another nice day in New York!
So, now we have one more partial week on the road and then some time at home unpacking the RV, booking movers, and starting to tackle the boxes left in our basement from China and deciding what will be shipped to India. Following that, we’ll be off to NYC for a few last stops in our travels of this diverse country. And while Harvey might like one more hurrah, living it up in the Big Apple, he’ll be staying back at home, looking large in the driveway and trying to attract a buyer. Anyone interested?