|A beautiful morning in Mackinaw City – what a shame that we have to leave now that it is so nice out. Our first stop is at an RV service center some miles down the road to get our brakes worked on for the third time during our trip and to have our GCI plug replaced. Two hours later and some odd dollars of work to fix our brakes (third time is a charm, we hope) we were on our way south towards Detroit. As we were to find for both Detroit and our next stop, Cleveland, camping near a big city like this is near to impossible.
We camped in a nice little suburb called Howell about 45 miles outside of Detroit near Lake Chemung. This campground was really more of a resort of permanent mobile home dwellings that, we were guessing, were used by folks on the weekends in the summer time. The only strange thing was that many of these residents had their pontoon boats sitting shrink-wrapped in their driveways instead of lakeside ready for use. Perhaps the high cost of gas was preventing them from using their boats or maybe the weather has just not been good enough to take the boats out?
After quickly setting up the camper we jumped back in the car and drove about 20 miles to Ann Arbor to visit the University of Michigan and the “Big House” (their enormous football stadium). Surprisingly, we found the UM campus to be a hodgepodge of different building styles, some even reminding us of our own campus at UF. The campus, as one could imagine, is absolutely huge. There is a north, south and central campus and we were only able to see a small portion of the central campus while we were there. We walked through the student union where a plaque proclaimed (and another marked the exact spot) that this was the spot where, in 1960, John F. Kennedy had first announced the concept of what would become the Peace Corps (strangely the plaque said that he spoke to the students at 2 a.m. – why in the world was the speech given at 2 am?). We also walked through the Law Quad, the “diagonal” (a large green space area), and the newly finished Weill Hall which houses the Gerald R. Ford Public Policy department. Our final stop was the UM football stadium, where construction was underway to add additional seating to this already enormous arena. The campus was actually very busy considering that it was late on a Friday evening in the summertime. This school was obviously going strong even in summer.
Ann Arbor itself was a pretty cute little city. Several streets nearby the campus were lined with busy restaurants overflowing with customers on the outdoor sidewalks enjoying the wonderful weather. While in Ann Arbor we decided to visit Zingerman’s Deli which we had read about in our Road Food book. This place was absolutely awesome (we need something like this in Denver). In addition to its selection of freshly made kugel, blintzes, deli meats, breads, olive oils, sauces, side salads, and sandwiches, it had an absolutely huge selection of cheeses. Along with our newly acquired taste for good chocolate and wine, Mark and I have also acquired a taste for good cheeses on our trip (okay, maybe I should say ME; I think Mark can take it or leave it).
Well, the guy behind the counter spotted my “sucker born every day” countenance as soon as I walked in and he knew I was a sure sale. Sadly, I get this quality from my dad - I am all about the infomercial, tastings, demonstrations, etc. I will buy anything that seems remotely interesting and today was no exception. After several tastings of gouda, cheddar, comte, and a few others that I do not even remember, we walked away with $16 worth of cheeses. But, oh so yummy! The guy behind the counter was a great sales person and he followed us around the store inviting us to taste olive oils and balsamic vinegars with him (resisting the urge to purchase these was not difficult since they were $40 and up). It was very fun to have someone like this guy, who was extremely passionate about his cheeses and oils, spend some time educating us about these delightful delicacies. In a store such as this, that is how you make sales – you shower your customers with attention and allow them to taste the items that they are interested in buying.