So I’m getting ready to head out of Pittsburgh and mapping a route to the Chicago area where I thought I’d be stopping for the night. At the same time I see a social media post of a photograph of my friend Kerri playing drums somewhere in Chicago. Perfect!
Yeah, so I contacted Kerri right after seeing the photo, telling her I was heading that way and it’d be great to meet up. Turns out she had already left but was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, now, and I was still welcome to stop by. Checked out the map and it seemed to be a comparable drive for the day so what the hell. Even though I was already a couple days behind schedule it seemed like this would be worth it, so an unplanned side trip to Michigan it was.
Kerri was visiting her parents for a couple weeks and they graciously took me in for the night. As it’s been customary, a driving tour of Grand Rapids was in order, and it was a beautiful night to be there.
I didn’t get out to Falling Water when I was in Pittsburgh, but to my complete surprise, I got to see a couple (unmistakably) Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Grand Rapids.
Now I know I don’t know a lot about very much, but if FLW built houses here, GR seems worthy enough for me to have also heard by now that it’s the second largest city in Michigan, that it was once a furniture-making behemoth, and that it’s the home of the Amway and Bissell corporations. Alright, not exactly cultural shakers in the Carnegie vein, but really interesting nonetheless. Unfortunately, my stay would be short and sweet.
Until, that is, I saw the ferry- the one between Muskegon, MI and Milwaukee, WI- as a potential route west from GR. 2.5 hours across the lake three times a day. I’d avoid driving through Chicago (I was ready for some open space at that point). Pricey, but totally worth it. Because it was such short notice though, the earliest I could book a ride was another day away, so it looked like I’d be staying another night in GR.
Kerri and her parents were happy to have me (so they said), so we took advantage and got in one of the most important culinary stops on my trip- lunch at the legendary Yesterdog establishment (think modestly good squishy cheap hot dogs). We also ended up touring the city a little more hunting for President Ford’s childhood home. And that night we ended up seeing some live music at the Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. So worth it. All of it.
Inspired by an original work by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Kerri left no angle undocumented.
The bands were fun, and the evening was gorgeous, if not a bit warm when the sun got out from behind the clouds as it set.
I made the portrait of Mary, Ken, and Kerri up top on the first day I was there since I thought that’d be my only chance. They were very generous with their time, but unfortunately Mary thought she looked “dorky” when she saw a preview. Sorry Mary, if that’s your dorky, it ain’t dorky enough! I love it. And I really appreciate how open and friendly you were to some stranger rolling through town and staying at your place on such short notice. Thanks again for some great Michigan memories!