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NAI Auto Show

It had been quite a while since I ventured into Detroit proper. In fact, I can't really remember the last time I was there, other than that I'm pretty sure it was before Calvin. There are lots of reasons to go to the Detroit and when I was in college I made it to the big city at least once a year, if not for a Lion's game, then maybe the Tigers, if not for a stage play, then maybe a musical performance, and the one event that kept us returning every frigid January was the North American International Auto Show.

Now, I could swear that the last time I went to the show was, well, not all that long ago, but if that were true, then Jon would remember having gone and he swears up and down that he has never been before this year, so that would mean that this was my first visit to that illustrious event in at least nine years. Nine years??? That's not possible, we're not that old, are we? At least we're not old enough to remember cars like this one that greeted us when we walked in the door.

On the other hand, there's nothing quite like seeing your firstborn climb into the driver's seat of a car to make you feel ancient, right? I can't tell you exactly what car he's sitting in here, but there's also a good shot of him sitting in a Corvette convertible.

The thing that most caught my attention this year was the very toned down atmosphere of the usually elaborate event. In comparison to years past (be those ever so long ago) it seemed that fewer representatives were breathing down your throat, far fewer elaborate stages were set, and exponentially fewer of those gratuitous, and often undesired, booklets were being shoved in your face. I can only imagine why (oh so tongue in cheek), and these seemed like vast improvements to me. It's hard to say which is the "greener" improvement, the paring down of printed materials, the decrease in materials used for elaborate but worthless displays, or the greater emphasis put on greener vehicles; the whole downstairs this year was dedicated to a test drive track for electric vehicles, and it was decorated with what seemed to be entirely reusable resources (as in still potted trees and plants).

A good time was had, in between chasing the quick little three year old who was intrigued by everything, that is. Between boxy cars displayed in boxes, trucks hung from the ceiling, and working engines displayed in cases...

his little legs just could not carry him fast enough to see it all, which was good because that way we were able to keep up.

I think his favorite thing about the whole trip, though, was the ride we took on the People Mover over to Greektown and back. The kid does love trains, and this is about the closest he's come to one since riding the El in Chicago while visiting Uncle Curtis (which makes Uncle Curtis, who also gave him train stuff for Christmas, a very popular fellow).

A quick tour on the People Mover is a great way to not really see Detroit. The only part of that tour that really caught our attention, besides decrepit buildings of course, was the view over the river into Windsor. And any trip that results in a stop at a little bakery for ice cream and mini mouse cakes is a winner in my book, although I don't recommend ever eating at the Parthenon for any reason whatsoever, even for the flaming cheese.

And on the way out we stepped back into the show for one last view of those last classy cars: My favorite, the Morgan, and everyone else's favorite... Mercedes anyone? All I can see is the Delorian from Back to the Future; it's those darn gull-wing doors.

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