The first week is over, and this is my first chance to write a post, because cell phone coverage and internet were non-existent in the national park and state parks we have been camping so far.
Coming from Hilton Head, Ben and I drove past Charlotte straight to Shenandoah National Park, located in the middle of the famous Blue Ridge Mountains, where we stayed for three nights in the Big Meadow Campground, next to the main road that traverses the park from north to south for about 100 miles.
|Just 5 minutes away from home, and we’re sitting in the traffic. Can’t wait to get away!|
|Big Meadows is located on a high plateau at about 3,500 ft elevation.|
We spent the days with hiking in this wonderful national park, and for the first time Ben wasn’t complaining, but genuinely enjoying the hikes. He is growing up!
|Hiking a foggy morning|
|They are really blue, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and not just on photo pictures!|
|Wildlife right next to the campsite. Notice the antenna at the deer’s neck? Something we never saw in the West! (Maybe a reminder that Washington, DC, is only 75 miles away?)|
From Shenandoah, we drove across Pennsylvania and Ohio towards Detroit.
|West Branch State Park in Ohio|
|Rustic campsite right next to the lake|
|Our campsite right at the shores of Sugarloaf Lake in Waterloo Recreation Area|
We are currently staying in the Waterloo Recreation Area west of Ann Arbor, a lovely, relatively large area with over 30 named and countless unnamed lakes and ponds.
Yesterday, we took a plant tour of Ford’s truck assembly plant in Dearborn, right at the place where Henry Ford established his legendary manufacturing with the first moving assembly line in the world. Another part of his efficiency-optimizing philosophy was to avoid dependency from suppliers by making everything in his own plant, including rolled, forged, and cast steel starting from ore and coal, and even his own glass for the windows starting from sand. I guess if they had used plastics at the time, he would have build his own oil refinery, polymerization, and molding plants!
|Ford Dearborn plant with the old steel manufacturing and processing units in the background|
O course, the present-day operation does not include this kind of bottom-up integration anymore – it would be so inefficient that Ford cars would probably cost twice as much as they do. The tour of the assembly line, however, was very interesting, although it comprised only about a third of the overall assembly operations. No photo taking allowed, unfortunately!
Tomorrow, Silke will join us and we’ll start the next leg of our trip – across Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota towards South Dakota and into Canada.