Into The Monolith

So this is it. The big one. The white whale. The greatest and last frontier for Rochester exploring. Like everyone else, I've had a few goes at it. Nothing any good, there's almost never a way in. So you can imagine my surprise when Ian calls and says it's open RIGHT NOW. Even then I didn't believe it; there had been enough of these kind of false starts before that the only thing they found is the same high up window again. But this time was nothing of the sort: the FRONT DOOR (!) had a wide open board. And…

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Black Cats and Step Ladders

(Part 5 of my Detroit/Cleveland adventure) Right out of the cold storage, this came along meowing at me. I wanted to bring him home with me. But instead he just seemed to bring typical black-cat luck through most of the day! Four locations, and four U-turns, into the day, Mike still needed to wrap his head around the fact that not all of us can climb like lemurs... this was a perfectly doable entrance for him, and a perfect way to fall and break something for me! And nothing but more of the same at St Luke... no way in…

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This Great Dead Town

(Part 4 of my Detroit/Cleveland adventure) Highland Park itself, if possible, managed to be even more desolate and Detroiter than its Detroit surroundings. After a local financial crisis bankrupted the town in the late 90s, Michigan took it over, and consolidated its government functions, leaving what was probably once a proud municipal square to decay: city hall, courthouse, police and fire stations surrounding a deserted square. OK, you got me this time Guilty as charged! (These cells lock. I don't know what we would have done if someone didn't helpfully leave the keys, and a sign, right outside there!) I…

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Everybody’s Doing The Fish

(Part 3 of my Detroit/Cleveland adventure) Following the suggestion of the hobo in the old hotel, we found our way after a few (well, more than a few) wrong turns to the Fisher Body plant. It's no Packard, but still a good taste of the Motor City's abandoned legacy. Fisher was/is the supplier of steel auto bodies to GM, and to a lesser extent some of the European models, and still has a major facility next to GM in Dearborn, even though this one in Highland Park closed in the late 90s. Architecturally, it is a nearly perfect Detroit boxy…

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And You Shall Say, God Did It

(Part 2 of my Detroit/Cleveland adventure) Our next destination, Detroit urbex tourists as we were, had to be the Packard Plant! There is nothing like it around... over a million square feet of giant, dead factory space with nothing in it but some vagrant homes, a precariously perched RV or two, and the best graffiti in the Midwest. Only one thing could stop us: Optimus Prime! Only one thing did stop us: Optimus Prime, surrounded by a film crew and attendent security. Oh well, looks like we got a sneak peek at Transformers 4... soon to be in theaters for…

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Apocalypse: Here

After 32 hours and 1200 miles of trains (yeah about that... Chicago was nice and all but really? You can fall asleep on a train and wake up 3 states too far?) I finally arrived in Detroit. I'm not sure what I was expecting to see, maybe some third world abandonscape right outside of the train station, but it really seemed like any other American city I'd ever been to. There were cars on the road, people in the streets, a crowd gathering at the station to catch the next train to Lansing, 9am and well into their tailgate already…

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