Monday, July 16, 2012

Metro Monday

Water Wonderland

The city of Detroit lies on the north bank of the Detroit River, which technically isn't a river... it's a strait.  When it was founded by the French in 1701, the city's original name was le detroit du Lac Erie (the strait of Lake Erie).  And to further demonstrate the complexity of contrasts that abound within Detroit, the strait upon which the city resides isn't even straight.

Lake Erie at the bottom right.  Going north through the Detroit River, you'll find Grosse Ile (the big island) before traveling in a crooked line up towards Lake St. Clair.  
If you put your finger at the very top of Lake St. Clair and travel east until you get to that first inverted "v" of green, you've found my house.  Stop on by anytime ;-)

((Photo Credit to Wikipedia who took it from NASA))

When most people think of Detroit, they picture industrial complexes, assembly lines, dirty smog, crumbling buildings.  When I think of Detroit and of Michigan as a whole, I envision our license plates of the 1980s... bright blue and emblazoned with the words "Water Wonderland".  Michigan is at the very heart of the Great Lakes system, surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes: Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior.  Even inland, you never have to go far to find water. 

Although Detroit may be urban, we have an extensive park system.  The Huron-Clinton Metroparks are comprised of 13 parks throughout five counties in southeast Michigan.   These parks provide area residents with thousands of acres of hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, sports, and nature areas.  Kids can even visit a working farm and lend a hand.  Last week while looking for something to do, I stumbled across a cruise schedule on the Metroparks' calendar.  I hadn't been out on a boat in years... even though I'm a native Michigander, I've never been much of a water person outside the shower.  I love to sit on the shore, watch my kids play in the waves, and enjoy a good book on the sand.  Lately, however, I've been drawn back to the water.  So I snatched up a reservation and drove down to the marina.

The marina at Lake Erie Metropark, where I began my adventure.

We motored out of the marina and into the northern end of Lake Erie and traveled up to the Detroit River.

Freighters and sailboats share the water with charter boats, speed boats, and jet skis.

Ships from around the world navigate these passages to travel the Great Lakes.

The Livingstone Channel, the main commercial water route to Detroit.  On a clear day, you can see the city skyline in the distance.

There are 14 Bald Eagle nests along the Detroit River.  Here is one of their occupants.  This particular bald eagle was being chased by a seagull.  The ultimate scrappy scavengers of the waterway, never ever try to come between a gull and its food.  ;-)

Sugar Island was one of the first "leisure" islands in the Detroit River.  Beginning in the late 19th century, Detroiters would take ferries to the island for picnics and camping.  

The concrete moorings leftover from the ferry docks.  In the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, Sugar Island was home to the first island amusement park in the area complete with roller coasters, carousels,  and other rides.  Defunct by the end of World War II, most native Detroiters have never heard of the park... we tend to think of another one instead (and I may have just dropped a major hint about a future Metro Monday... )

Sugar Island is completely deserted now... except for the gulls partying it up on the beach.

Oh yeah... I forgot to show you the gratuitous industrial shot.  This is Canada.  ;-)


A Weekend of Wild Whiskers in the Window

Our weekend....

Um... Guys?  What happened to the blinds??

"Henry has absolutely no idea what happened, Lady."

Wrecking the window treatments can sure tire the teeny tiny tabbies out.

Meanwhile, out in the general population...

Penny made herself right at home.


"At least I'm not knocking them down... "

Which isn't to say that she didn't try.  Miss Penny is graceful, kind of.  She leaped up towards the upper sill, grabbing on with her front legs, and swung back and forth against the window until she could get enough traction to climb the rest of the way up.


I'm not certain how the kittens keep flipping the box up on its side, but Eloise prefers it this way.

A pictorial illustration of exactly how light Miss Eloise really is.

"Hey, I'm teeny!"


  1. Michigan is SO purty. I'm jealous of all the water! I usually prefer the ocean, but I'll take some pretty lake water, too. :)

    I love that shot of Penny in the window. Eloise truly is a teeny tiny tabby - I think that makes her the Mayor of Teeny Tiny Tabby Town!

    1. My kids just came back from the ocean. They went swimming several times a day but were begging to get back to the lake where they can swim with their eyes open ;-)

      Eloise is just a little peanut. The difference between her and the boys is astronomical (and I canNOT get a picture to demonstrate it!)

  2. Henry is completely innocent. The blinds are obviously defective. :-)


    1. That's exactly what HE said!! :)

  3. Thanks Kelly for the history, water, and kitties. The best of everything. If you include a rainbow next time I will literally have to kiss you or something (not the creepy kind-just the friend kind). The Penny picture is beautiful.

    1. There's rain in the forecast for tomorrow. Perhaps a rainbow will appear ;-)

  4. Pretty Penny, w/ the beautiful blue sky behind her. Henry looks a bit guilty.
    Big freighters, lots of sailboats & glimpses of Canada in the distance; exactly how I remember MI summers. Well, that & working on endless ‘Dad assigned’ boat-related chores. The only access to his boats was thru chores. Good find on bird’s eye view of water & Metro Detroit. I can see my mom's house from here. Great post, I'm starting to look forward to Mondays, thanks.

    1. Thank YOU! Of all people, I know what it feels like to be away from "home". I'm glad to be able to give you a Detroit-fix on Mondays. :)