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Nights in Neon

A frigid late November night in Detroit Michigan. We rode the People Mover around and around, taking in the city sights as the sun set.
Hungry for food, we stepped off the train car at the Greektown exit and headed toward the faint glow of pink and blue.
Bright neon lights in the cold winter night, led us down the winding concrete stairs to the loud festive streets of Greektown.
The lights illuminated the walkway, some flickered and gave off a low hum of electricity. It felt a little like being in an alternate universe.

Another corner of Detroit, overflowing with character.

We sat in a Greek restaurant, devouring delicious food and reminiscing on the fun we had that day, wandering our homeland.

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Monument Valley

When planning a trip to the desert, Monument Valley almost didn’t make the list.

It was a bit out of the way from other sights and didn’t seem possible to fit into the tight itinerary. But we ended up extending our trip one extra day, which meant an evening could be spent at Monument Valley.

  I barely knew anything about Monument Valley, but when it got added to our trip I was so excited.  It seemed like a place I had to see!

The day that ended at Monument Valley was a long one.  It started off before seven AM at the frozen Grand Canyon, and after a quick frigid morning walk and a hot breakfast, we packed up the car and were off down the road that curved along the Grand Canyon rim.  I didn’t think the drive away from the Grand Canyon would take as long as it did, but stopping at nearly every overlook to admire the canyon views could not be avoided. We continued through the crazy desert landscape of northern Arizona, an area that ended up being my favorite part of the trip. I wished we could have spent more time in some places, but Monument Valley was waiting. 
After many hours of driving, it was nearly five PM and we were both very tired  and nearly crazy from being in the car so long, when we finally arrived at The View Hotel.




Soft Navajo music was playing throughout the hotel lobby, big windows overlooked the towering monuments that were glowing orange in the setting sun. Everything felt so calm and peaceful. I wasn’t sure I had ever been in a place as peaceful as this before.


Every room at The View hotel has a balcony which overlooks the vast rock formations that make up Monument Valley. Except for the lone car traveling occasionally down the dirt road, there wasn’t another soul in sight for as far as the eye could see.



After a little walk around the outside of the hotel, it was time to head to the restaurant inside the hotel for some traditional Navajo food. This was where we first discovered Navajo fry bread. 

Navajo Frybread is delicious, and so was the taco filling that was contained inside mine.











After diner we stared out at the monuments as the icy night arrived.

Monument Valley ending up being on of my favorite stops on the trip despite it barely making the list.

  Some day I hope to return to this place for a longer visit. 




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The Neon Boneyard


Just outside of the old downtown Las Vegas lies a final resting place for the neon signs that were once shining bright, high along the strip.



The old signs; some restored, some in mere pieces, form a maze of dizzying lights under the dark desert sky.





We visited the boneyard on an icy February desert night. The bitter wind whipped around the signs, as they glowed eerily in the night.

We learned about the sign’s past lives, and how the neon is made.









As we turned the corner, under the remnants of the enormous Stardust sign, was a  cat that called the boneyard home.













The Neon Boneyard tour was an exciting little adventure during our short time in Las Vegas. 

There was another neon exhibit on display that we thought about visiting, but I didn’t feel up to it. My body felt like it was giving up.. 

Then I realized that between waking up at 4:00 AM that morning and the time difference, we had been awake nearly 24 hours. After that realization I felt almost dead! So it was then we decided to crawl back to the hotel to go to sleep. 

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Dark Nights on the Ambassador Bridge


The bridge between Detroit Michigan and Windsor Canada stood as an eerie beacon in the dark winter night, as we drove closer and closer towards it. 
About to embark on our Canada Adventure.



The teal and red lights illuminated the black sky.  
It felt a little retro. It felt a little like an alternate reality.




Then we stood on the other side.
 Staring at the same bridge from a different country. So similar, but so different. 

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I Went to Canada and All I got Was A Picture of Detroit


A Canada visit was planned during our week in Detroit. But time got away from us. Soon we found ourselves on the evening of Thanksgiving, leaving the next day.. It was our last chance to go to Canada.

I’ve never been out of the country before, and there Canada was, I’d been staring at it all week across the water front. A place I’ve often dreamed about moving to when things are rough here. I had to go.


We didn’t think about it too much, we just continued to drive, past our hotel, through downtown, following signs for Canada.


The Ambassador Bridge glowed eerily in the distance as we passed the point of no return.






After waiting in traffic we finally got to the border patrol agent. He asked why we were coming to Canada, we told him we had never been and wanted to spend a few hours in Cananda and take pictures. He replied with “DRIVING AROUND IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY IS NOT A DESTINATION. 

We told him we were visiting family in Michigan and wanted to visit Canada while we were up here. 
His Response: THIS IS NOT MICHIGAN.

He continued to grill us and I thought he was going to make us turn around, but then he finally said “Welcome to Canada” and opened the gate.


Had we really made it in? It didn’t seem real. It felt strange, my phone didn’t work, the signs were in French, the speed was in kilometers, everything looked slightly… Different.. But almost the same.

 Like an alternate reality.

We drove around for a bit, almost getting lost since I couldn’t pull up directions, but we eventually found our way to the water front and admired how pretty Detroit looked from the shores of Canada.



We felt like we were someplace we didn’t belong. We felt strange and out of place, like we had sneaked into the country! Probably because the border guard gave us such a hard time.
 And maybe because it was almost midnight by now.
Maybe it was because Windsor wasn’t a very exciting city.
Maybe because we didn’t plan anything out and had no idea what to do. 
Maybe because nothing was open at this hour of the night.

I stared across the water, missing Detroit.

We thought about stopping somewhere, getting some food, making the most of our Canada trip. But we mostly just wanted to get back to America, because part of me was paranoid they wouldn’t let us back in for some reason.


But this time it was much easier, no crazy questions, we breezed right through, we made it back.



So my first trip out of the country wasn’t anything like I had expected.   But now I am looking forward to a proper trip to Canada, one that is more planned out! 
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Parking Lot Carnival

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One late spring afternoon, a carnival came to town and began to set up in the parking lot of a mildly run down shopping center down the road. We waited until evening, and then ventured down to see what awaited us.

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A few rides, and some food stalls stood clustered together in what was usually an empty area of the parking lot. But on this night, the shopping center was more packed than anyone had ever seen. People were walking towards the carnival from all directions, there was no admission and no one really seemed to be in charge.

It was a bizarre scene.  Across the way stood the Taco Bell, a Radio Shack that was going out of business, a Chinese Buffet we had been to a few times but regretted, our favorite Mexican restaurant and a number of strange stores we had never been too. On the other side stood the interstate.

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Beneath the swirling clouds people lined up for the rides, waited for their food, and didn’t appear to think this parking lot carnival was a strange abnormality.

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 I’ll never forget the time that a carnival inexplicably appeared in a shopping center near my house.

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The Night Fair


The magic of the fair really emerges at night.
 As the sun goes down, and the lights comes on, it’s like whole different magical world.



The rainbow lights illuminate the black sky. 
There is so much to look at, I can’t look away. And when I get home and go to bed, I can still see the flashing lights when I close my eyes.


The rides spin in a blur of lights, as more and more people pour into the line, hoping to catch just last more ride. I am happy to avoid that nonsense, and just stand to the side in the shadows, snapping away.


I just wander through the huge crowds, in my own little world. 
Seeking out empty spaces, and quickly snap a picture before it once again becomes engulfed by the sea of people.


(Wait…Fried bubble gum????!!! Gross!!)




I love the energetic atmosphere of the fair at night. 

Despite being quite antisocial, enormous crowds have never bothered me. I don’t mind weaving around the lines, and dodging people; it’s all part of the fun!
 (As long as I don’t have to talk to anybody!!)
I like to stand back and watch the hurried, frantic crowds, staying isolated from the madness.
However,  I can’t imagine how incredible it would be  to wander around an empty fair..

That’s one of my life dreams.

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Lightning City

On July Fourth after our party was over, we decided to go to the top of a parking deck downtown to look for fireworks in the sky.

 Even better than fireworks was a big lightning storm rolling past!



The storm stood ominously at the edge of the city, lighting up the sky in shades of purple and blue.






It was an exciting end to the holiday!

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Night Drive

The city is always changing. Every few months a different building is restored, or a new road is built. We like to make a habit of driving around every so often, and seeing what has changed.

As the sun set, the clouds looked dramatic over the innovation quarter. Just a few years ago this area was completely run down and crumbling. Now the buildings have been refreshed and filled with research labs, start up businesses, and fancy new apartments. 





I love this part of the city.



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Christmas Lights

It’s a Christmas eve tradition to drive around and look at Christmas lights, after we’re done stuffing our faces with delicious snacks while watching Christmas movies and drinking eggnog. It’s such a fun way to end the night.

These are some photos I took on last year’s adventure. It was a cold foggy evening, the perfect Christmas atmosphere besides snow.

I love how the houses stand out, wrapped in their rainbow lights, illuminating the darkness that surrounds them.

This house has an upside down Christmas tree inside!

Do you like to drive around and check out Christmas lights too?