I woke Tuesday morning, worked out at the gym in my hotel and hit the road. As far as I could tell from all the research I had done and all the bicycle people I reached out to there were no ghost bikes in Detroit. There was a small chance for one On the very north side of Detroit, but I wasn’t counting on it.
For years people have been telling me that Detroit is terrible, that there is no need to ever go there. Of course this has made me ALWAYS want to go there. I figured I would definitely be able to find some dilapidated buildings and things to shoot. I would give myself the morning, because I still had to get to Orion township and toronto by the end of the day.
I started just south of 8 mile road. Which as near as I can tell is the dividing road that delineates the area. I found so many abandon houses and many burned out ones. I stayed shooting many crumbled houses until it felt the the people in the neighborhood were tired of this white girl crawling around their neighborhood taking pictures.
Next I headed toward the old downtown area. This part of downtown is filled with abandon buildings. I was able to get into the farewell building to take a few shots.
Next I headed to the old train station Michigan central depot. I was hoping to be able to jump the fence, but there were people working on it and they wouldn’t let me in to take photos. Boo!
Along the way I stopped to shoot this burnt out house. As I scurried into to house some girls at the bus stop said “girl, you are brave!” now, I’m not sure if they thought I was brave to walk into a burnt out house, or to be running around that neighborhood (white as I am) with a camera. My guess, the latter. I hadn’t seen a white person pretty much since I left the hotel. Again you all will have to wait to see any of these pictures.
I headed north to not find the ghost bike I had little hope of finding. So I continued to Orion township to shoot the bike for Ralph Finneren, by th GM plant.
Later I found out that there should have been two bikes for him along that stretch of road, but I only saw the one.
It is possible that I didn’t see the other one, I have been running myself ragged on this trip, but I think it would be hard to miss another ghost bike on that stretch of road, an I drove the stretch of it (I think). Obviously Ralph was loved, because there were a number of questions about the other ghost bike once I posted a picture of the one I found.
I arrived at the border. They asked me a slew of questions: what is the purpose of your visit? “shooting a photo project on ghost bikes.” what do you do for a living? “bartender, photographer” how much cash do you have on you? “$7” do you have credit cards? “yes” have you ever been arrested? “no” (yes that’s right people I am a sweet and innocent-I’ve been trying to tell you for years!)…please go over there and talk to immigration.
They almost did not let me in. Their reasoning: I can do my jobs anywhere, so I have no incentive to return to the states, I do not have reservations at a hotel, my car was a rental, I only had $7 in my pocket so as far as they are concerned, I can not support myself for the two days I am there. If I had a copy of my bank statement, she would have been more willing. In a nut shell she felt I had no reason to return to the states.
Eventually, she gave in. Welcome to Canada, NOT! I arrived in Toronto and found hotels to be way too expensive, but I was stuck. So I had to pay over $100 to sleep. I did however see a ghost bike on the airport strip I stayed on that was not on my list of bikes to look for.
I later checked my email and found out that my Toronto contact had emailed me letting me know that the bike was placed earlier that day!
In the morning I did the research to fine out about motels in Ottawa, but it was the same thing, way too expensive! I decided that I would shoot the bikes in Toronto, make the drive to Ottawa, shoot the bikes there, and then get stateside to spend the night. This would be a race for time, as there are only so many hours of daylight in a day.
I shot the bike near the airport, then went to Sir Czowiski Park to shoot the tree that was planted for fallen cyclists in Toronto and Canada.
Toronto is a beautiful city, I could even tell in the rain!
When I shot this one the rain was crazy!
The fourth bike I was to find was no longer there. The neighborhood looked a little like it was sort of bad, so I was not surprised. It does make me sad that when I drive into a “bad” neighborhood to find a ghost bike, I am never surprised to see it gone.
As I got closer to Ottawa, I was hopeful that I would have enough light to shoot the bikes there if I could find them easily and not get too lost. Once the rain finally stopped the drive was very pretty, the sky was doing incredible things.
I found the first bike without a hitch, and boy was it spectacular!
The next one I looked for was supposed to be at 125 Sussex. It was not there. That section of town is bustling with tourism, so I assume it was taken down because of it possibly being in the way. Here are a couple of pics I took with my phone as I was driving around that area. Incredibly beautiful!!
I did however find the third bike!
Photos taken with just enough light! Now to get stateside and try and find a “cheap” motel!
Today I drive to Maine, tomorrow, Boston, Rhode Island and Gardner, MA.