Cross Country Road Trip Part Six: Indiana, Ohio and Detroit

Updated: Dec 11, 2018


Motor City. Detroit, Michigan

We are so close to the end of the road trip, and the end of this serial blog. Weekly posts will continue of course, but more in the vein of one-off topics and not the magnum opus of blogs.

When you last saw Alex and I, we were somewhere in Indiana. We woke up in a very sad motel and decided we were worthy of a leisurely morning and a good brunch, since we were in much less of a rush on our last full day together. Our stop that night was an Airbnb on a small farm outside of Detroit and it was only about a 4-hour drive. Compared to the days early on where we were on the road for 10 hours, this was a breeze.


We did some intense googling and picked a restaurant in Indianapolis called Milktooth that had good reviews and solid brunch options. Upon arrival there was a pretty solid wait since it was a Saturday, but we found parking and wandered around the surrounding streets. Neither of us had even been to Indianapolis before and we both became instant fans, especially after brunch. I dream about that brunch. I would drive back there just for that brunch. If I have a situation where I get to choose my last meal, it will be brunch at Milktooth, hands down. If you’re near Indianapolis or have cause to be there, or if there’s any way for you to get there…GO. You won’t regret it.


Full of joy and amazing food we got back on the road and continued on to Detroit. We arrived at our Airbnb and met our lovely hosts who raise pigs and do organic farming as a side project. We met the pigs and their adorable and energetic puppy, unpacked our things and drove into Detroit proper around mid-afternoon.


We had grand plans to find our way into some abandoned churches, but flooding and/or some serious fences kept us out. We did meet a local older gentleman who had lived in Detroit for 70 years and who told us all about the history of some of the churches as well as about himself and his mother and their lives in the city through its various transitory stages. He recommended that we check out the Packard Automotive Plant if we wanted to see some more of abandoned Detroit. Alex and I took turns going inside and seeing what had become of this once booming plant. If you’ve ever played the game The Last of Us, it felt like a scene out of it. In the absence of humans, nature finds a way to survive. Trees had sprouted out of the cement, couches grew moss as the buildings around them slowly crumbled, letting in more and more light.


We stopped next at the abandoned central train station, a once beautiful building, sadly now closed to the public. All around these abandoned places though, is so much life. A music festival filled the streets surrounding the train station. We wanted to see a lot of the abandoned stuff, but that’s not all of Detroit by any means. We had an incredible meal at a very fancy restaurant (Lady of the House), who wins many points for having a stool with Ryan Gosling’s face on it in the ladies room. The next day I got coffee at one of the most hipster coffee shops you could ever find. In many ways, this is a thriving city on a backdrop of loss. People are resilient, and Detroit has become a fascinating and beautiful place in so many ways.


After dinner and some shots at dusk we headed back to the quiet of the farm. As we drove out of the city into clouds that promised a torrential downpour, we could see some fireworks, early events to celebrate the life of Aretha Franklin, who’s funeral was the following week.

The downpour definitely came, and we had some hope that we might get some lightening shots if we took some from the barn. Our hosts very kindly humored our being in there and we waited for lightening that never came. Lightening shots had been elusive and sadly we would end our trip without any of note.


We drank a tiny dram of fancy scotch to celebrate our last night together and headed off to bed. Next time, I cross the boarder alone. My last road trip entry to follow.

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All images © Katherine Barcsay

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