For Saturday, bunny_hugger and I had planned to visit Ann Arbor, take in the shops and the atmosphere and --- alas --- not a movie as they weren't showing anything we wanted to see at a reasonable time. Even the collection of Oscar-nominated animated shorts wasn't playing that Saturday. But it's not like the city hasn't got other things to offer, and the weather forecast said the intermittent snow would recede by noon.
All was going fine until we got to about Fowlerville, one of the prominent towns heading east of Lansing, where there was a massive traffic-stopping jam. Worse, the highway was closed, implying a severe accident, and diverting us to Grand River Avenue. That road roughly parallels the Interstate, if you want to reverse the order of things, but goes through the many towns between Detroit and Lansing and Grand Rapids. We decided to drive along the road even past the first chance to get back on the Interstate, to see what we might in small-town mid-Michigan.
What there's a lot of, on this stretch, is really charming-looking small towns, with apparently all of them having a downtown cinema featuring great neon signs and still showing first-run movies. We had no idea, but it certainly improved our impressions of Fowlerville and Howell. We also confirmed that that town where we couldn't find an International House of Pancakes, back in August when we were coming back from seeing Walk The Moon, wasn't just difficult because we were there late at night. That town has plainly never seen an IHOP, never even met anyone who's been to one, and is so innocent of pancake life that people there buy maple syrup without ever knowing why, as they have never imagined pouring it on anything.
Less merrily, we passed a burned-out building with a historical marker in front of it. Both of us, independently, had the impression it had been a fire station, making the destruction all the worse, but we turned around and drove past again. It was an historic school and, of course, no less sorry to see destroyed.
As part of our off-the-Interstate thing we drove a little while along Old US Route 23, which turns out to just parallel Current US Route 23 at least until we got to a roundabout that spat us onto the bigger road where we could, finally, get to 70 miles per hour again. We were glad to see so much of what we saw, but it did mean we spent time travelling to instead of being in Ann Arbor.
Trivia: The first steamboat to ply the Potomac River, in 1815, was the Washington. Source: The Grand Idea: George Washington's Potomac And The Race To The West, Joel Achenbach.
Currently Reading: Year's Best SF 17 Editors David G Hartwell, Kathryn Cramer. I foresee only a happy ending for the Soviet Union fanboys who take up residence in an abandoned Late 80s-model Soviet space colony on Mars, especially since the circumstances of the worldbuilding prohibit any possible rescue or supply expeditions.