Michigan, Toledo OH and Steven's Birthday

Ohio / Oct. 7, 2012 / by Gelb
Michigan, Toledo OH and Steven's Birthday

This week found us mostly in Michigan and by the end of the week, in Ohio. We covered a whopping four stories this week - another busy one for the Bus 52 crew. The Bus's odometer finally ticked over 100,000 on our drive to Michigan on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Quite a milestone for Stanley!

After getting into our campground at 2:30 after a long drive, we were pretty exhausted. Sunday, I let everyone sleep in. I couldn't sleep as long as the other of course, because of the lovely sunshine coming through, but managed to have a leisurely lie in until about 9:30. After the others all got up around 1pm, we set about getting some work done. We were staying at the Detroit Greenfield RV Park in Ypsilanti, Michigan - one of those few parks where the pictures are all accurate and everything just works as advertised. It was so refreshing to have such a beautiful setting that additionally was all covered in a beautiful blanket of wireless fidelity.

Monday was also a work day. We managed to get into Ann Arbor a little ways and found a welcoming Barnes & Noble that was right next to a Panera Bread. Two heartily approved-of establishments for the Bus 52 Crew. We worked the day away, organizing stories and getting ourselves situated. Chris stayed back in order to get some recording done on the bus.

On Tuesday we again wanted to get some work done, so made our way into the heart of Ann Arbor and found Espresso Royale which fit our bill quite nicely. We worked away all day there, and then headed over to a sushi place to celebrate Steven's Birthday. The sushi place, Sadako, was excellent. I wonder who suggested it?… After the delicious Sushi, we headed over to the cinema to watch Looper which was incredibly good. I love time-travel movies. Hopefully Steven had a fun birthday.

Wednesday we woke up bright and early and headed out to Panera Cares in Dearborn, MI. Panera Cares looks just like any old Panera Bread, except Panera Cares is completely pay-what-you-can. This means that even if you are not in a position to be able to afford a Panera meal, you can still come and have one, or bring your family to have a nutritious, enjoyable meal out. Setting up a nonprofit network of stores is an incredibly unique thing for a large company like Panera to do - and it is not without its risks. I think you're going to enjoy this piece, almost as much as we did filming it!

We were only at Panera Cares in the morning. At 12, we headed downtown to meet Steve Tobocman, the founder of Welcoming Michigan. Steve is involved in a number of different community outreach efforts to revitalize Detroit - he is an incredibly interesting individual to speak with. Unfortunately we only have a few minutes to profile, I would have wanted to ask all sorts of other questions! Welcoming Michigan is an effort to make specific neighborhoods and towns more open and welcoming of immigrants in living, working, and involving themselves in their community. We visited one such area in Chadsey Condon where there are several different ethnic groups (Arabs, Hispanics, African Americans, and Caucasians). Much of the population are immigrants, and Welcoming Michigan is doing a lot of different things to try and help them as well as those from the United States provide and create a welcoming and productive atmosphere. It's a very interesting organization.

On Thursday, we hopped in the van and headed about 1.5 hours away to Lansing, Michigan to visit with the folks at Peckham Farms. Peckham is a very large organization that trains people with disabilities in a variety of jobs and then helps them get job placement. Recently, they started a farming venture that they have been having a lot of success with. It is a really great and very worthwhile organization. I know you're going to enjoy the piece - the food they make (we were very kindly given jars of home made salsa and jam and a bucket full of vegetables) is absolutely delicious.

Friday saw us head back into town, to Chadsey Condon in order to shoot some more b-roll of Welcoming Michigan. The afternoon was spent cleaning the bus. I was on a personal mission to more securely hold our lighting onto our roof. I think I've found a very elegant solution (blog on it soon!).

We woke up at 6 on Saturday and headed out to Toledo, OH to meet the folks from Hannah's Socks. Hannah, who is just 11 now, started an organization centered around accepting donations of socks and giving them out to the homeless. Every Saturday she, her dad Vic and other volunteers hand out socks at a local library. It is such a wonderful story - when we spoke with some people receiving the socks, you could tell how grateful they were for them. Many times, as Vic pointed out, no one thinks of socks. On a morning like that one, in which the entire Bus 52 team (me included) was in warm clothes, the idea of not having socks when living without much is acute. This is going to be a great story.

We headed from Toledo and got into our campground outside of Columbus in the late afternoon. This week, we are going to be doing one more story in Ohio and then hopefully one in West Virginia!