Michigan: Part 2

I never really finished my account of my Michigan trip. I was lucky enough to get my first-choice flight home on Sunday. I also got an assigned seat when I checked in, which typically doesn’t happen when flying standby. Not a lot was significant in the last day and a half…just some apartment hunting, shopping, and having a night alone at the Clarion. But these following topics were curious enough to bring up in my blog, since I’ve been thinking about them for the last week.

Blinking red light left turns – In the left turn lane at stoplights, it threw me off to see a blinking red light. I thought Taylor was running a red light. Instead of having a solid green light when yielding to oncoming traffic, the red light blinks when it’s time to yield. Most lights give you a protected left turn arrow at the end of the light cycle, but some just go to solid red and you have to wait to turn in the next cycle. The stoplights are also big yellow columns that have lights for all 4 directions of traffic.

No right turn lanes – So much congestion on side streets would be eliminated if there were right turn lanes. Instead, traffic backs up and random people slam on the brakes because nobody uses turn signals. It’ll take some getting used to.

Rest stop between airport and Canton – Detroit Wayne Metro airport (DTW) is about 25 miles west of downtown Detroit, and Canton is about 10 miles north of the airport. It was funny to see a rest stop in between DTW and Canton, because you don’t have to drive too far from the airport to feel like you are in a forest. Hope that my bladder is never weak enough that I can’t make it home from the airport without stopping.

Colorful houses – Not many stucco or brick homes in Michigan, but lots of colorful painted homes. People are more adventurous with color there than I am used to. It reminded me a lot of Martha’s Vineyard. I saw plenty of Blue and Gold homes in Ann Arbor, which made sense for UM. But seeing a pepto-pink gabled home with plum trim? I guess in the snowy winter whiteouts, you do what it takes to find your home.

Value City – After driving by three or four times, Taylor and I were curious about a store called value city. The best I can compare it to is Big Lots meets Ross meets K-Mart meets Payless Shoes. Very bizarre combination. Prices were pretty cheap, but the only thing we bought was a pair of gloves for Taylor. We didn’t venture into the Value City furniture store next door. I can only imagine…

Meijers – You know how some movies and tv shows will make up their own version of a warehouse store or chain grocery store? Meijers is Michigan’s version of the Walmart. The signage, store layout, products offered, and general feeling was the same…but the lines weren’t long and there weren’t as many screaming kids as Walmart. The best part was their international foods section. I will enjoy having easy access to several of my hard-to-find favorite confections.

I-94: Detroit or Chicago – I’m used to seeing Ogden, Pocatello, Provo, San Bernardino, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Diego on freeway signs, since I’ve driven I-15 for the past 11 years. But it was a trip to see an interchange where my options were Detroit or Chicago. Oh, the places you’ll go!

Smoking section restaurant selection – I don’t think I’ll ever be used to having a waitress was me “Smoking or Non-smoking?” I’m glad I’ve lived in states that have had smoking banned for years. Going into a restaurant that allows smoking is never very pleasant, but I was happy to be in the far corner away from the smokers. And on the topic of smoking, it was crazy to see the Speedway Gas station chain advertising cigarette prices on the same sign as the gas (Unleaded $3.19, Premium $3.39, Marlboro $4.87)

Grits – I finally tried grits. Erin made grits on Saturday morning. They’re kinda like cream of wheat. But instead of adding sweet stuff (brown sugar, honey, ice cream, etc) to bland hot cereal, the base flavor tastes like chicken broth. Added on top was a mixture of meat, eggs, and salsa. It was different, but I liked it.

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