MI Travel Guide
Last month Shepard Fairey completed his most ambitious piece, a 185 feet tall by 55 feet wide mural, in the most unlikely of places.
The mural was commissioned Dan Gilbert's Bedrock real estate firm and can be found on the side of the One Campus Martius, Detroit, headquarters of Quicken Loans, which is also owned by Gilbert. Fairey also created separate pieces on The Z and a water tower on a building near Grand Circus Park, both of which are owned by Bedrock, too.
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Thank you, local news station, for bringing us a truly inspiring tale of American ingenuity.
Because having a woodshop in your garage is totally #BasicBitch, suburban Michigan man Andy Millin spent 11 years of his life building his own operational airplane, not in a hangar but inside his house. Millin, who wasn’t even a pilot at the time (read that again, let it sink in) built everything from scratch, wings to fuselage to engine, according to WWMT Newschannel 3, which recently profiled Millin’s tale. But wait, there’s more.
"Homebuilt" planes are actually more common than you'd expect, but the special bit of Millin's construction is that he and his buddy/partner-in-insanity built an addition to his house, which served as their hangar/workshop. Today that space has been converted to a master bedroom, a condition of Millin’s crafty wife, who inadvertently inspired this whole plan when she booked her husband a birthday ride on a B-17 back in 1995.
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When it comes to extra-long layover ideas at Detroit-Metropolitan Airport, we would suggest such cultural activities as visiting the Yankee Aviation Museum, taking in the Detroit Institute of Art, or heading downtown for a Lafayette's coney dog. There is, however, one less than savory option that never fails to give us a little laugh on the drive into DTW from the highway: The Landing Strip Lounge.
There is some historical value to what has deemed itself "top flight topless entertainment"; The Landing Strip occupies a 1902 building near the airport and has what is arguably the best phone number in the area: 1-800-2-RUNWAY. There's even a complimentary shuttle from the terminals.
Should you plan a layover in Detroit just for the "experience?" Although it looks like the stereotypical neon-lit club straight out of a movie, the place has been raided.
Stay classy, Detroit.
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Above: the new Batmobile on the streets of Detroit
To some, Detroit might be a city of 20th century ruins, but, to film director Zack Snyder, Detroit reminded him of a modern day Gotham City for the upcoming Batman vs. Superman film, starring Ben Affleck.
So what all does that mean? Well, in addition to finding the film locations for the movie, we decided to document The Ben Affleck Tour of Detroit, since he loves the city so much:
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Our favorite piece of travel technology to spread in 2014 is the Automated Passport Control (APC) Kiosk, and every new airport added to the list of users is one more notch for progress. Joining the club this summer have been Newark, Atlanta, andnewest of allDetroit Metropolitan International Airport, who just completed installation of 30 shiny kiosks.
The APC, which began at Vancouver International Airport, now allow travelers arriving from international flights to quickly enter their details, snap a photo, receive a stamp, and continue on their merry way into baggage claim; this is as opposed to waiting in a long line to see an agent for the usual passport review and stamp. It's not Global Entry; it's something better than Global Entry, not to mention the fact it's completely free.
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If your holiday weekend isn’t already filled with summer cookouts, fireworks, and trips to the beach then may we suggest a food festival? The National Cherry Festival kicks off in Traverse City, Michigan on July 5 and runs through July 12.
Parades, family goodies, and activities especially for the kids are just the beginning, as the festival does its thing along Lake Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay. There are races from a 5K to a half marathon, and there are even two airshows scheduled to take place this Saturday and Sunday—featuring the Navy’s Blue Angels among other performers and planes.
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Good news for those who travel to or through Detroit Metropolitan Airport, as the airport has just added a place for service animals to make a little pit stop during their layovers.
Over in the McNamara Terminal—the one with all the Delta traffic—airport officials have set up what they’re calling Central Bark Animal Relief Area. Basically it’s a restroom for service dogs complete with a couple patches of grass, as well as a fire hydrant to set the mood.
Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
The plan for Detroit in 2014? Simply to keep afloat after declaring bankruptcy in 2013. Of course it wasn't always such a sad state of affairs in the Motor City, and one time the outlook for the future was extremely bright, blindingly so.
In the late 1960s, a special section of The Detroit News illustrated what the Detroit of the 21st century could be. Personal transportation modules travel through a lower network of highways, which don't interfere with a pedestrian-friendly surface of broad plazas dotted with leafy trees.
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It's not every day you see a wedding at an airport, but they do happen. Hey, those chapels are there for more than just a few minutes of pre-flight prayer. Still, it's even rarer to have an entire wedding ceremony out on the airport tarmac itself. In fact, it may have only happened once: last week, at Detroit-Metro Airport.
The nuptials of Joe and Ilona occurred smack dab on runway 9L at DTW, their "I dos" delivered with a soundtrack of jet engine noise as aircraft continued to take off and land on a nearby runway.
A wedding this like may never happen again, and for the details on why exactly the couple chose Detroit Airport for their special day, and how this all came to be, we spoke with the best man, also the Airport Authority's Public Affairs Manager, Scott W.:
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In some ways airports are like our children, as it’s pretty hard—if not impossible—to truly admit that one is our favorite. Some have slides and movie theaters to kill the time while others have restaurants that rival the best dining establishments; however, if we had to pick just one—at least domestically—we’ve got to show the love for Detroit Metro Airport.
Things at DTW are getting even better this week, as they’ve finally slipped the switch on full-time complimentary WiFi. That means no more swearing under our breath when accessing the WiFi waves comes with a request for credit card digits. Things used to be free—for a bit—but after like 30 minutes or so you were required to pay up.
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So-called "hallelujah moments" often serve as inspiration to travelers, whether it's hearing a language for the first time and deciding to study it, or meeting someone on the other side who you know will be a friend for life. For Jaunted Editor Cynthia, one such moment was something as simple as her first bump up to a better seat on a flight.
I didn't pay for the upgrade.
There were no frequent flyer miles exchanged, as I had none.
It wasn't even a result of airline status, because I didn't have that either.
Instead, my first-ever upgradefrom "World Traveller" to "World Traveller Plus" on British Airwayscame about after I shed some honest-to-goodness tears in full view of the check-in desk at Detroit-Metro Airport.
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The United States isby any standard, historical or otherwisea staggeringly rich and sophisticated civilization. We have developed a travel industry of enormous complexity, and it keeps humming even when politicians who have no idea what they're doing try to break it. Every single day thousands of flights take off, follow their flight paths, and land. The combination of paths we plan for them are guided by incredibly sophisticated mathematical models taking into account thousands of variables.
So of course the people in charge of maintaining airports are turning to goats, sheep, llamas, and to even more low-tech animal-related solutions to help them with their jobs. We already told you yesterday about the barnyard menagerie at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is using to mow its lawn. It sounds fake and it's low tech, but it does actually seems to work.
It turns out that other airport officials have come up with even faker-sounding solutions to problems.