Driving in Michigan

It's that time of year to enjoy the many scenic drives of Michigan. Here are a few urban myths and frequently asked questions the State of Michigan has answered:

  • Can you turn left on red onto a one way street from a 2-way street? The answer is yes, unless otherwise prohibited, for both 1-way or 2-way onto a 1-way (the one-way being in the direction of the left turn). It is often reported that you can only go from one-way onto another one-way. However, MCL 257.612 (1)(c)(ii) states "..may make a left turn from a 1-way or 2-way street into a 1-way roadway carrying traffic in the direction of the left turn, unless prohibited by sign, signal, marking, light, or other traffic control device."
  • Riding in a trailer? From the Michigan State Police Urban Myth release: There is nothing in the Michigan Vehicle Code that specifically prohibits riding in a trailer, regardless of the type of hitch or configuration. Two-way communication between driver and occupants is not required. (reckless driving of course still stands)
  • Barefoot Driving? Also allowed. From the same release: "There is nothing in the Michigan Vehicle Code that prohibits barefoot driving. Careless or reckless driving would really be a stretch, as an argument could be made that a barefoot person has more control over the pedals. "
  • Driving with headphones? Allowed, although "A driver could, however, be cited for careless, reckless, or failure to yield to an emergency vehicle if a police officer could show that the headphones interfered with the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle."
  • Open Alcohol in RV's and trailers? Prohibited, as an RV is considered a vehicle and in trailers with passengers are considered the same. "Alcoholic beverages are required to be stored in an inaccessible area if there is no trunk available".

More information on the rules of the road can be found at the Michigan State Police website. Drive safely this summer!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #268

South of Superior by Ellen Airgood. I loved it for the rare "up north" setting, snippets of local history, the pace, the colorful cast of characters, and a lovely excuse to spend an afternoon in the sun with a good story.

Madeline Stone walks away from her job, her home in Chicago, and a well-planned life with a respectable guy, to move to McAllaster, a small town along the coast of Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, just because Gladys Hansen asks, and mind you, none too graciously either. You see, Madeline has unfinished business there and also, she is curious - curious about the unforgiving family and the heartless town that abandoned her, left her in a church basement with strangers when she was very young.

While Madeline is eager for the truth and assignation of blame, she is unprepared for how the community will teach her about life, love, friendship and grace; and how to take charge of one's own happiness.

First-time author Ellen Airgood lives and runs a diner with her husband in Grand Marais, Michigan, the inspiration for the fictional McAllaster. She is quick to point out that she did not get an MFA or study writing in school, the craft of storytelling she learned from waiting tables for 19 years.

South of Superior is a Midwest Booksellers Association Pick for June.

Readalikes (also coming out this month): Susan Mallery's Already Home, and The Definition of Wind by Ellen Block.

Steve Hamilton Author Talk on Thursday

Michigan author Steve Hamilton will be giving a talk on his latest novel Misery Bay on Thursday, June 9th, at Aunt Agatha's Book Shop.

Misery Bay is set in Paradise, Michigan, and is a part of the Alex McKnight mystery series.

This year Hamilton won the Edgar Award for Best Novel and the Alex Award for The Lock Artist, also set in a Michigan town.

The talk will take place at 7pm, and admission is free. Aunt Agatha's is located at 213 South Fourth Avenue, about a block away from the Downtown branch.

Park & Read Passes Have Arrived!

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Now's your chance to get a free one-day pass into any Michigan State Park or recreation area with a Park & Read Pass from AADL this summer! How does it work?

  • A limited number of passes are available at each AADL branch. Passes are available on a first come, first serve basis and can not be reserved. Only one pass may be checked out to a single library card holder at one time. Each pass is good for the free entrance and parking of one car (bring the whole family if they'll fit!) at a State Park or recreation area.
  • When checking out a pass, you'll be given a printed admission card and brochure by the Circulation desk. This admission card is your pass and is turned in at the park on arrival. You don't have to return anything to the library! Passes must be used within seven days of checkout, and can only be used once.
  • For a list of parks and areas you can visit, click here!
  • Park & Read Passes are available this year until October 1st, 2011. Get your pass today and enjoy summer in Michigan at the park!

    Made in Detroit

    There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about the much-photographed Detroit “ruins.” The abandoned, empty, decaying buildings, collecting dust, getting transformed into “beauty” for the camera. Amid the talk has been also controversy. Some feel that these “beautiful” photographs of the “ugly” shed a bad light on Detroit, as photographers travel from afar to walk among the ruins. Whether you’re a fan of this type of photography or not, there are two newer books that feature some spectacular architecture of the city’s past. It’s a timeline of the old infrastructure, the bones of Detroit. Abandoned factories, schools and libraries that were closed.

    Lost Detroit: Stories Behind the Motor City’s Majestic Ruins highlights twelve historic landmarks and tells the stories behind them: The Vanity Ballroom, Cass Technical High School, Michigan Central Station, to name a few. What’s nice about this book is that it features photos of then and now, so you can see how the buildings have changed over time as you read about it.

    Detroit Disassembled is 96% photographs, which makes for a nice coffee table book to let your eyes wander through. The large images contain sharpness, texture and depth amidst the apocalyptic landscapes.

    The Thunderdrome: Unearthing a Gem in Detroit

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    Let's time travel. It's 1969 and we're in Dorais Park, Detroit, near E. Eight Mile and Mound Road. Construction has just been completed on a brand new velodrome -- a cycling venue consisting of a steeply banked, concrete oval loop, 250 meters long -- in anticipation of the U.S. National Track Championships held there later that year. This Championship and the many that follow are bright spots in a declining neighborhood. For the next 20 years, the city maintains this bastion of bike racing against urban devastation, marked here by the closure of the Chrysler assembly plant across the street.

    Eventually, the Dorais Park Velodrome is abandoned by the city and handed over to the elements. Illegal car races are sometimes held here, accelerating the cracking of the concrete that was only designed to sustain bicycles, while bushes, grasses, and trees split apart the fissures. Two decades of neglect take their toll.

    Welcome to 2010. A group of renegade urban landscapers, known as The Mower Gang, take their lawn care equipment to Dorais Park, unearth the velodrome, and begin rehabbing the battered beauty. It's renamed The Thunderdrome, an homage to the post-apocalyptic Mad Max film series from the '80s, and a race is staged for two-wheeled vehicles that October.

    As race organizer Ben Wojdyla writes, "the Thunderdrome wouldn't be limited to just bicycles. We wanted higher speeds and more excitement. We wanted loony subcultures, weirdos, a scene, a spectacle—something people could get excited about. So in addition to traditional fixed-gear road bicycles, geared bikes and mountain bikes, we also invited racers on mopeds, scooters and pit bikes". The Fall race is a success, drawing hundreds of spectators and racers and spawning the demand for a Spring race, which will take place this Saturday, April 30, at noon. Detroit reinvention and DIY spirit charge headlong into the future of the city.

    The latest issue of Bicycling Magazine, with holdings at all AADL locations, has an article on the Thunderdrome, as does the October 2010 issue of Popular Mechanics. Check out the Thunderdrome's website for more details on the race.velorace3velorace3

    Still Young After All These Years

    Neil Young takes the stage at Fox Theater in Detroit on Wednesday, May 4, as part of his eleven city solo tour, Twisted Road. Playing acoustic and electric guitars, pump organ, piano, and (of course) harmonica, the folk-rock legend is likely to play a mix of his greatest hits, like "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)", "Tell Me Why", and "Cinnamon Girl" along with a strong helping of songs from his 2010 Grammy award winning release, Le Noise, produced by Daniel Lanois. Young won Best Rock Song for "Angry World", his second ever Grammy in a career spanning more than four decades.

    Later this year, Neil Young will rejoin Stephen Stills and other members of short-lived '60s band, Buffalo Springfield, for a reunion tour that will make stops in California before headlining the multi-day music and arts festival, Bonnaroo, in Tennessee. Looks like it's going to be a great year for Neil Young fans.

    The AADL music collection includes dozens of albums that span Young's impressive career. If you're new to his music, this writer recommends starting with Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Harvest, and On the Beach.

    April 16 - 19 is National Park Week

    The U.S. National Park Service is celebrating National Park Week from April 16 - 19, which means free entry into 394 National Parks this week. There are six National Park locations in Michigan, though the most famous are the majestic Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire, MI, and the stunning Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula.

    The NPS will host numerous events at the parks throughout the week, such as Junior Ranger Day and an Empire Bluffs Sunset Hike. If you can't make it away this week but want more information on these fantastic natural resources in Michigan, check out Michigan State and National Parks by Tom Powers or the nearly 200 National Parks guidebooks from the AADL.

    101 Things You Didn’t Know About Ann Arbor…

    …But Are About to Find Out Why is a new book by Martin Woodhouse. The author presents “fascinating tangents and tidbits in purposely random sequence” about the fair city of Ann Arbor. He ups the “quirk quotient” and treats readers to some interesting stories and facts about A2 and some of its story-worthy inhabitants.

    Perhaps you’ve read Wicked Washtenaw County, Strange Tales of The Grisly and Unexplained, and are looking for more facts about the area. This book is right up your alley. Also recommended for some local trivia is another new book, Ghostly Tales of Michigan, which shares ghostly tales of some of Michigan’s more ghostly places.

    Check Out a Museum Adventure Pass!

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    Looking for some indoor fun this winter? Come to any of our branches and check out a Museum Adventure Pass! There are over 30 museums you can visit, and the passes admit 2 or 4 depending on where you're headed. Why not take a look around the corner at the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History? Exhibits include displays on prehistoric life with the most extensive dinosaur exhibits in the state of Michigan, Michigan wildlife, anthropology, geology, and a Planetarium. Have fun, learn, and stay warm all at the same time!

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