Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 0: Toronto to Niles

My day began to 4pm in Windsor, where I was graciously hosted by classmate Dan and his family. Then from 5 to 6.30 in the less than cavernous Detroit Amtrak station. Then in the train to Niles until around 11pm. Now I’m in my room in Doug Fattic’s parents’ house, where I write not only without internet but also without cell phone service! Some have pointed out that framebuilding can be accomplished with tools dating to before the industrial revolution, so perhaps it’s appropriate. (Though note: others note that the materials of even lugged steel are decidedly high tech — all that butted steel in all those alloys was not happening in 1800.)

Downtown Detroit is beautiful and utterly deserted. This is an important city! French explorers, Ford, Motown, Madonna, Eminem, the White Stripes, et cetera! But there doesn’t seem to be anyone in the downtown (certainly not those people!) Most obvious was the aforementioned train station — the main Detroit station is about the size of a small donut shop. Toronto’s may be kept busy mostly with commuter trains, but it’s big, old, and lively. And I’m not the first to say so, but the evacuation of industry from this area is pretty remarkable too. Of course I’m en route to build something.

It’s just the three of us here in the house — Robert, Dan, and I — and it does feel like camp. Existing as I do in a field where I’m always suspecting others of faking enthusiasm, it’s nice that we’re all so excited and passionate about what we’re about to do. We all sat down and talked about bikes for over an hour as soon as we all assembled here, even though we’re all exhausted from travelling. I only was in Doug’s shop for two seconds to pick up a cot, but it seems like a special place – and seemed especially so all lit up across a dark field.

Finally, Niles seems like a nice town. The train station is pretty if slightly spooky. The downtown looks attractive and old, and there are lots of restaurants in the area of Doug’s shop. I’ll send this from the Starbucks I spotted, which I’m quite sure will have internet access!

More frame-buildish content to follow tomorrow…

[More photos here.]

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