A Travellerspoint blog

August 2014

Road Trip - Detroit to Denver, Colorado.

We picked up our Grey Ford Fusion from Detroit Airport and set off towards Indiana, which we soon found out must be the corn growing capital of America!
Needing a GPS, we hit the local highway and came across a large fireworks factory that serves the public. Like kids in a candy store we stocked up on the necessities, (Roman Candles as thick as your arm, big mortars, crackers and rockets) all for a 10th of the price we pay back home. The manager of the shop even served us beer whilst browsing. ☺ This was the only thing he asked i.d for!

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After getting a few hundred kilometres under our belt, we stopped in a small town called Muncie and slept amongst some cornfields. Having not purchased any camping equipment yet, Daniel slept awkwardly across the back seat, whilst Luke slept beside the car gazing at the fireflies whilst becoming mosquito food.

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Our next day begun by heading to Wall Mart and buying camping equipment that will see us through the impending journey. We quickly learnt that Wall Mart stock a large range of BB Guns and air rifles so it would have been rude of us to not partake in such activities! ☺

Our destination for the day was Turkey Run State Park located in Marshall, Indiana.

http://www.turkeyrunstatepark.com/

We spent a good day hiking the many trails on offer, passing through the sandstone valleys, ravines and natural waterfalls that represent Mother Nature’s handiwork. One of the clear highlights was Daniel almost stepping on a snake trying to be adventurous and not use the steps provided. If only we caught the shocked look on his face, it was highly entertaining!

Now fully equipped and in need of a shower, we paid $10 and stayed in a fully serviced camp ground near by. It was crazy to see how big some of these American RV’s can be – They are literally a home away from home for these folk.

Later that night, Turkey Run certainly put on a great lightning show, however it was not accompanied by rain. Winning ☺

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Our first stop for the day was Springfield, Illinois. The Capital of Illinois, which was once occupied by the famous Abraham Lincoln. Hungry and wanting to get amongst the beautiful parks on offer, we stopped for breakfast in the National Park where hundreds of local people partake in their daily exercise around the park.

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On our way out of Springfield we saw an old classic car collector, which had old, worn out American Muscle Cars. We instantly relived childhood memories of our father telling us stories about these car yards existing, so we took the nearest exit and backtracked through cornfields to find out what gems where left to rot in this field.

Soon after arriving, we were met by an eccentric bloke telling us not to take photographs. His tone soon changed once he knew we were no harm and began to tell his life story.
Dave has been in the game for 16 years, collecting old barn finds and sending them to new homes around the world so they can be restored to former glory.

http://www.davescc.com

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All listened out, we hit the highway again only to see a monster sized car yard so we once again stopped to check it out. This yard was different to Dave’s as it contained old collectables that are in far better shape.

http://www.countryclassiccars.com

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Hungry and a bit over seeing these beautiful cars and having no money to by them, we made some distance and stocked up on supplies. Nearing sunset, we stopped in this very wealthy area and could only find a piece of swampland nestled amongst mansions to set up our tent. As we were visible to the neighbours, we went and made dinner in some near by corn fields, watched the sunset with some local beers and testing out some of our newly purchased rockets! ☺
That night we were put to sleep by what sounded like thousands of crickets having an orgy!

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St Louis was the next city on our agenda. Conscious of all the trouble going on in near by Ferguson, we kept it low key and checked out a few of the local sites.
We stayed in this pretty run down hostel just beside the baseball ground, which had all the comforts required.
We were pointed in the direction of 4th St, which has all the happening bars and settled in. Once again, the accents made us a lot of friends, one in particular, a 32 year mother of 4 who was busy boasting about her newly purchased fake breasts. She had the moves of a stripper and even offered to show us how she can still lactate! We thankfully declined and headed to a Karaoke bar with a friendly group of people, which quickly escalated into a drunken party that stretched into the early morning.

Awake, and seriously hung over, we began our journey towards Kansas City.
Nearing the end of a days driving, we really struggled to find anywhere to camp out. This particular region that we had stopped in had these enormous sand flies that would surround the car as soon as we came to a halt. Annoyed by this, we got a caffeine hit and continued to drive towards Kansas until fatigue started to kick in. We got off the highway and managed to find a piece of land beside a dirt track to sleep the night.
Unaware of our new surroundings, we were woken up by farmer Joe screaming like a boy whose balls have not yet dropped demanding we leave straight away.
Abiding and apologetic, we used this early wake up to get some km’s under our belt and head to Bonner Springs for a “Life in Colour” paint party.

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Upon arriving in Bonner Springs, we found a campground located close to the amphitheater hosting the paint party. Hot and Humid, we put some swimming shorts on and heading to the local aquatic park that was heavily signed. To our surprise the aquatic park had no water in it as senior school had commenced, which meant that all the life guards were unavailable to keep watch. So we headed to the library to complete those accumulating errands you get when traveling on the road. (Mainly Facebook)

The Bonner Springs Amphitheatre hosted a Life in Colour party, featuring some our favourite electronic DJ’s such as Loudpvck, Pegboard Nerds and Kill the Noise. Excited by what was to come, we were greeted by a young energetic crowd, wearing next to nothing and ready to get amongst some paint. At the gate, securities main concern was to stop Glow Sticks coming into the venue so everything was happy days. For the next 4 hours we bounced around to some great music and got drenched in paint. Being the tall people we are, girls kept coming up wanting to sit on our shoulders and get a better view. A few days on, Luke still cant feel his right shoulder!! ☺

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Leaving Bonner Springs, we now had our sights on heading to Denver, Colorado.
We found a trucker’s rest stop, which doubled as a campground for the night, which provided a good opportunity to rest before committing to the 800 km trek that remained for Denver.

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Posted by camenbrothers 15:08 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip cars tent camping fireworks amphitheater st_louis classic_cars illinois state_park camaro kansas_city charger life_in_color bonner_springs turkey_run kill_the_noise edm american_muscle_cars Comments (0)

Detroit

The world’s general view on Detroit is bleak, it’s seen as a city riddled with crime and unemployment, which came about from the automotive industry crashing some time ago. A city that had a proud population of over 5 million people now stands at approximately 650,000.
Taking this on board, we took it on ourselves to check it out and make up our own view of a city that has recently become bankrupt.

As a result of the financial crisis, a lot of business have either gone bust or packed up and moved elsewhere, leaving old historic buildings abandoned and left to rot. This allowed us the opportunity to do some urban exploring and get a feel for what this city once was.

To celebrate Daniels 25th birthday we ventured up to Rochester Hills for the Mad Decent Block party and enjoy some of our favourite DJ’s.
As the Detroit public transport system is scarce, it meant we could only take the one daily bus there, arriving 6 hours early for the party. This certainly worked out in our favour as we stumbled across the worlds biggest car cruise – “Woodward Dream Cruise” which saw more than a million people observe over 30,000 Muscle cars cruise down an 11 mile circuit. We were in heaven! ☺

http://www.woodwarddreamcruise.com/

So now arriving over an hour late for the party, we were greeted with an eye full of Detroit beauties, a lack of clothing, portable beer stands and filthy electronic beats that were enjoyed by the Molly crazed crowd. Bliss…
Our aussie accents made us a lot of friends, one in particular was a beer stand worker who was kind enough to drive us back to Downtown Detroit, avoiding a sleepless night until the 8am bus arrived. On our drive back we passed the infamous “8 Mile Road” ironically on the same night Eminem was playing in Detroit.

http://www.maddecentblockparty.com/

We woke the next morning to the sounds of Rotary, V8 and turbocharged drift cars taking over city streets in a legalised event – Again catching us by total surprise. ☺ This place seriously caters for all our needs!
So we scoffed down breakfast, jumped on some push bikes and watched some crazy American drifters display their skills in front of the famous abandoned train depot.

http://omgdrift.com/midwest-dopeness-midwest-drift-union-2014-round-4-streets-of-detroit/

Having access to push bikes gave us the freedom to explore the diverse street scape and local neighbourhoods of Downtown Detroit. We were able to check out the Heidelberg Project, A non for profit communal area that converts abandoned household goods, toys and furniture into decorative art that has changed the whole demographic of the area and has now become a tourist hotspot rather than an area you would once avoid.

http://www.heidelberg.org/

Detroit has, and will continue through tough times. Serious potential is shining through with investing business beginning to come back and a community presence that is banding together to make this city great. We feel Detroit is very similar to Berlin (Post Berlin Wall) that is just on the brink of becoming magical.

For all those planning a U.S holiday, see past the negative press and give this city a go. You’ll be greeted by such friendly people that are willing to give up their own time to help out where needed, or even to share a simple hello, alternative restaurants and bars, a big sports culture, beautiful architecture and a great American Muscle Car community. After all, it is known as the motor city.

Along the lines of Fedde Le Grand – “Put your hands up for Detroit, (We) love this city” ☺

Abandoned Detroit Train Depot.
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Abandoned Book Tower - Tallest abandoned structure in America
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Woodward Dream Cruise
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Mad Decent Block Party - Rochester Hills MI
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Nissan S15 - One of the many drift cars
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Heidelberg Project
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Posted by camenbrothers 10:51 Archived in USA Tagged buildings travel detroit historic_buildings drift abandoned_buildings urban_exploring car_cruise v8 downtown_detroit rochester_hills mad_decent heidelberg_project dillion_francis immunity brothers_wandering Comments (0)

New York

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After four consecutive years travelling through Europe and South America, it was now time for us to explore what Northern America had to offer.

New York, the concrete jungle was our first destination. We were fortunate enough to be hosted and made sincerely welcome by our mothers friend May.
Situated in Queens, 40 minutes from Manhattan we had a great apartment and a kitchen that just kept producing amazing American / Haitian meals.

Only having 3 days in this city meant that time was against us, so we hit the ground running. Making good use of the extensive subway system, we were able to visit the touristic hotspots and get a feel of local life by taking a train to a random station, getting lost and finding our way back from there.

A lot of childhood movie memories were bought back to us when exploring this busy city. In particular seeing Times Square come alive through the cover of darkness, observing the business folk of Wall Street rushing to their next big meeting and the leafy Central Park morphed us right into scenes from Home Alone.

The way of life here is large, busy and can be summed up as a city that does not sleep.
Stay classy New York, until next time.

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Posted by camenbrothers 09:24 Archived in USA Tagged bridges buildings wall_street new_york world_trade_centre time_square sky_scrapers Comments (0)

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