Sep 4: Ann Arbor updateSep 4: Ann Arbor update
[posted to the Wheeled Migration Yahoo Group on September 4, 2004]
A few stories to share:
I've been visiting with my sister here in Ann Arbor; she drove over from Pittsburgh, and we're staying in a hotel south of town. The road the hotel is on carries a lot of traffic and has a complicated median to prevent southbound cars from reaching the hotel; you have to go about half a mile farther south, turn around in another parking lot, and approach from the northbound lanes. Arriving by bike on Thursday evening, I didn't know what the setup would be, so I crossed the median, which involved jumping a couple of curbs. As I came down off the median to cross the northbound lanes and enter the parking lot, I heard a clinking sound behind me. I didn't dare turn and see what it was, because cars were coming, but as soon as I got off the road I stopped and looked at what the cars were all running over ... it was one of the two hose clamps that held my trailer hitch on the bike. The other clamp was still intact, so I pulled on into the hotel lot. By the time I had the bike inside the hotel room, the steel hitch, pulled down at an angle by the off-center weight of the trailer, had cut through its protective rubber layer (a piece of cut hose) and gouged a hole in the aluminum frame of the bike. Fortunately there's no structural damage, and even more fortunately I had a spare piece of hose and two spare hose clamps, so the hitch is good as new again. But if I hadn't heard the clinking sound and had spare parts on hand, it could have been worse!
Story number two... I was looking at the list of subscribers to this list and recognized an old high-school friend. I wrote him an e-mail asking what he's been up to for the last 10 years, and he was happy to supply details, but he didn't know what list I was talking about. Come to find out, he's cycled across the US himself and subscribed to this list without knowing that he knew me! I guess it is a small world after all.
Enjoy the photos! --Ben
Ann Arbor, MIAnn Arbor, MI
I hung out at Bill & Anne's this morning while they got ready to leave for Worldcon, then headed into downtown around noon. I ran some errands, then hung out at the library for most of the afternoon.
The hotel where 'Becca got reservations is on the far south end of town, near a highway interchange, so it's somewhat tricky to get to... if you're coming south on State Street you have to go past it, turn around in a parking lot, and come back north. I didn't know this and crossed the median to get there. As I came off the curb, I heard a clinking sound behind me and discovered that one of the hose clamps had broken off my trailer hitch! By the time I got the bike into the hotel room, the hitch, supported by only one clamp, had cut through its protective rubber layer and dug into the aluminum of the bike frame. Fortunately I had a complete spare hitch, so I was able to replace the rubber and both hose clamps.
'Becca arrived around 8:00 after hitting a lot of construction-related traffic all along the way. We went to the university area for a mediterranean dinner.
Total distance: 5.15 mi
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'Becca and I explored Ann Arbor this morning, starting with the home where she lived until age 2. After parking the car there, we walked into downtown and all around, maybe 7 miles in all. Not bad for a pregnant lady!
After a rest back at the hotel, we went to dinner at Hei Wa House, a co-op house that's been around since 1985. Their current, fourth house has solar hot water and some PV panels, and they've just started car sharing. They share all food expenses and other household costs, and a pamphlet from 2000 estimated rent at $92/month for each of the 6 adult residents. They shared a batch of spaghetti, heavy on the vegetables, and gave me some recommendations about other ecovillages to try to visit.
This morning 'Becca and I called Mom & Dad's friends, the Alexanders, and they invited us to lunch. We spent the morning at the newest library in the Ann Arbor system, which was designed to be ecologically correct, with passive heating and cooling and a rather complex rainwater runoff system.
The Alexanders took us to Panera Bread. Afterward 'Becca took a nap at their house and I helped Elaine and Phil make two sloppy-joe recipes for a potluck they'll attend tomorrow. When 'Becca awoke we hurried into town to do some errands and sightseeing before returning to the Alexanders' for dinner and games.
I went to a bead store and really hit the jackpot: found all but about 3 beads I was looking for for my Great Story bead strings. The clerk was very helpful once she understood what I was doing. 'Becca looked unsuccessfully for a copy of "I Am a Mouse" in bookstores. After dinner, we plaied Rummikub and Fluxx with the Alexanders.
[A note in hindsight: Each morning as 'Becca and I ate breakfast in the hotel, there was news coverage of hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast. A few months later, I traveled along that coast and saw the damage first-hand.]