To those who've visited this blog before: Take note that I've corrected a few figures in the fast-ferry posts below. To everyone: I'm now on vacation in southernmost Michigan, just having crossed over from Toledo, Ohio. I took my folding Dahon on the bus to Toledo and plan to pedal west to the south shore of Lake Michigan, then on to Chicago to see family and the big city.
Toledo is a classic Rust Belt city, Great Lakes-style. (Maybe we should call them the Rust Lakes, so universal is the region's urban decline, and so widespread is the water pollution.) I first found myself in a downtown wasteland, one mitigated with significant 19th-century architecture. Then I hit the East and West sides; they could have been East Buffalo or Rochester's "Crescent." Then I went into the appropriately leafy city of Sylvania, apparently the area's Brighton or Pittsford, well-scrubbed, trendy, and flush with Beamers and cappuccino emporia.
The contrast is nothing new to me or you or anyone who has seen apartheid. But some political thoughts about all this are percolating in my overheated brain as I ride through the heat wave. I'll post something as soon as I can chill. Maybe a nice tall Guinness will do the trick later in some Midwest oasis.