4/27/19 to 4/29/19
Visiting Greenfield, The Henry Ford Museum, and the Ford Rouge Assembly Plant
Saturday 4/27/2019 The big day is finally here. We began our preparations to travel about three weeks ago and today we finished packing up around 11 am and began our four-month road trip. Our first stop is 212 miles away and we'll be staying for three nights at the Wayne County Fairgrounds and RV Park in Belleville, Michigan. Belleville is approximately 25 miles from the attraction we are here to visit - The Henry Ford Museum and the outside area called Greenfield Village. The museum is near the Ford Motor Company's main campus in Dearborn, Michigan.
We arrived at the fairgrounds around 3 pm, checked in and found our site. This is a pretty small fairground, much smaller than Canfield Fair. It had the usual barns to house the animals and a small midway section. The RV sites are full hook-ups but all of them are just in the grass. Unfortunately for us and the other campers, it was already muddy and more rain was on the way. We were able to set up ok but later an extremely expensive RV (think Greyhound size) pulled in next to us and was not so lucky. He immediately sunk into the ground and couldn't move. He tried on and off for the next hour trying to get un-stuck but he just dug himself deeper into the mud. Eventually, a good Samaritan had a truck and a chain and was able to pull the RV out far enough that they could leave. I think they spent the night in the gravel parking lot. I posted a photo of the ruts they left behind.
Sunday 4/28/2019 We checked the weather and today was the only day where rain was not predicted. We decided to visit the outside portion of The Henry Ford Museum - Greenfield Village. It was a chilly, windy day but full of sunshine so the six-mile walk throughout the village was very pleasant. The village is full of historical homes that Henry Ford had moved to this campus. Our first stop was the original shop of the Wright Brothers from Dayton, Ohio. It was a bicycle shop but also where they began to tinker with the airplane inventions to come. There was also Thomas Edison, Stephen Foster, Robert Frost homes and of course, Henry Ford's childhood home. There were others, but I can't remember all the names. He moved frontier homes, mercantile and hat shops and even slave quarters from the south. It was a very beautiful, peaceful setting and nice to visit and walk around the town. If you didn't feel like walking you could buy a ticket for a ride in an antique car or a horse and cart ride.
This weekend happened to be a special weekend for the kids - Thomas the Train was in town. For an additional fee, you can treat your kids to a ride on Thomas. There were a playground and various other activities for the children.
Monday 4/29/2019 It worked out great that we saved the indoor activities for today. We woke up to a very cold, rainy morning. We drove back to The Henry Ford Museum and began the first leg of our day. We boarded a bus that drove us to take the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. (Named Rouge after the nearby river.) This is the plant that assembles the Ford F-150 pick-up truck - the best selling vehicle in America for the 42nd year in a row. We began the tour with a short movie about the history of the plant. We were supposed to watch another short movie after this, but the projection system wasn't working so we continued on to the actual tour of the assembly line. They built a walk-way above the work floor so visitors can look down at the workers while they are performing their individual tasks. We were also able to watch all the amazing robotics that they use to do a great deal of the work. Actually, the human work appeared to be very robotic also. They perform the same chore over and over again, ten hours a day, four days a week. But it's pretty amazing how everything comes together to assemble the trucks. No pictures were permitted in the factory.
After spending about two hours on the factory tour, we boarded the bus back to the main museum and started roaming around there. It's a massive museum filled with antique, odd and historical cars. We found a replica of a Texaco gas station that brought back many memories for Rose and family. They've moved huge trains, tractors, and even a Wiener Mobile into the museum. We enjoyed dinner at Lamy's diner. It's an old-fashioned train dining car inside the museum. It surely doesn't have old-fashioned prices, though!
The sheer size of some of the displays was astounding. We saw electric power stations, steam turbines and even an aluminum round-house of the future that never found a buyer. It was named the Dymaxion House. There was old furniture, weaving looms, and various items from all time periods. The Atari is now a museum exhibit. The museum heavily promotes the actual bus that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on. They purchased it from a private seller for around $ 450,000.00 and then had to put another $ 200,000.00 into it to refurbish it. It was listed on eBay and The Henry Ford Museum beat out the Smithsonian and a museum in Denver to acquire it.
We stayed at the museum until it closed at 5 pm and then drove back to our muddy mess of a campground.
Tuesday 4/30/2019 We were a little worried if we would be able to pull the trailer out today because of all the rain yesterday. It was wet but not muddy right in front of the trailer so once we hooked up, we pulled right out. For the next four days, we will just be driving and only spending one night in each campground. Today we are headed to Indiana Dunes State Park in Indiana.
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