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Ford Had a Better Idea

October 21, 2021

Today was go to Detroit day, since it was going to rain and it seemed a good day to be inside somewhere. Except we decided to go instead to Dearborn — just outside of Detroit — and see the Henry Ford. Yep, they call it the Henry Ford.

We’d made reservations for the 11:00 tour of the Rouge Ford Factory, again, based on the glowing recommendation of the other folks staying at the Burnt Toast earlier in the week (just remembered the guy’s name: Pat). Dearborn’s about 40 minutes east of Ann Arbor. We parked at the Henry Ford and took a short bus ride over to the plant.

Here we are (it looks like I’m scowling, but I’m not really.. just concentrating on my selfie, or perhaps annoyed by the mask-averse photo-bombers behind me?):

Not having much interest in cars, I was dubious about touring a car assembly plant. But what a great decision it was! As I’ve said to many people since: more than many museums, the experience of walking around this one — a working factory — will stick with me for a long time. The combination of the historical aspects of assembly-line car building, including all the union history, and watching real live people going about their daily (hourly, minutely) duties was fascinating. The tour included two short documentaries, both of which were excellent, a 1/3-mile catwalk overview of the plant floor (which we did twice), and a trip up into a tower that overlooked the entire 900-acre complex. All extremely interesting.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the plant part, but I found a picture online of that. Here, then, are a few pics:

First, and unrelated to cars, a photo of a lovely flower bed at the Henry Ford. I notice that these colorful domes of flowers were all over Michigan (at least A2 and Dearborn)… are they mums? Yes, I think so:

Seriously, they were everywhere!

Here is Henry Ford himself:

This is the entrance to the assembly plant, one of many, many buildings:

This is what the inside of the plant looks like. You can’t see it here, but there is a huge/wide conveyor belt that carries the cars in the various stages of assembly from station to station where a factory worker will perform his/her piece of the process. They all have the same amount of time to complete their task so that the vehicles, on the belt, snake smoothly from beginning to end. We watched people attach windshields, sunroofs, headlights, and so so so many other things.

Here are a couple of the information placards; they explain things so I don’t have to!

We learned that today, they spit out about 1200 vehicles a day at this plant. On this day, they were making F-150s, all to order! They make nothing on spec; every single truck coming out of this plant is made according to a unique pre-order.

Here are a few of Ford’s notable products, this display starting with the Model A and ending with the ’64 Mustang:

Okay. Way enough car talk.

~~

A bit about Dearborn from Wikipedia:

“As of the 2020 census, it had a population of 109,976. Dearborn is the seventh most-populated city in Michigan and is home to the largest Muslim population in the United States per capita.” (About 1/3 of the population identifies as Arab-American or are of Arab descent, mostly Shia from Lebanon and Iraq.)

Therefore, some great Middle Eastern restaurants! We had a late afternoon snack here, and it was superb (pita plate with hummus, baba ganoush and tabouli).

My favorite cuisine. We’ll be back.

~~

This was a Peter and Maya night. We met them for dinner at The Earle in downtown Ann Arbor. What a great way to spend an evening!!

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