Before Paul could get in his 2011 Explorer and happily zoom away, he was given a first-class tour of the Ford Chicago Assembly plant where the Explorer was built. The Ford Chicago Assembly plant is estimated to churn out about 1,160 vehicles per day. Roughly 70 percent are Explorers like Paul’s.
Following pedestrian pathways marked by fluorescent yellow paint, Paul saw where Ford magic really happens. With the smell of pneumatic tires hanging in the air, Paul watched as assembly line men and women raised engine assemblies into vehicle bodies, all to the whir and hum of sheet metal hitting bolts.
Tour Guide Larry let Paul jump in a newly minted Explorer just as it rolled off the assembly line. Stephen Greenwood, videographer and Paul’s co-captain for this part of the journey, captured the moment for your viewing pleasure: Ford Assembly Plant Tour: An Explorer is Born.
After the tour, Ford staff helped show Paul all the bells and whistles in the Ford Explorer 2011. Top-of-the-line navigation and the ability to park itself are just a few of Paul’s favorite new features.
Onward to the Henry Ford Museum
Just outside Detroit, Michigan, lives an imagination emporium full of trinkets and treasures as unique to America as the great summer road trip. Paul’s next big stop after Chicago was the Henry Ford Museum.
For Henry Ford, innovation wasn’t just fancy business jargon, it was a way life. Brimming with antique airplanes, cars, and farm tools, the Ford Museum pays homage to the very idea of great American innovation and industrialism. Paul got an insider’s look at American engineer and architect R. Buckminster ‘Bucky’ Fuller’s Dymaxion House. The house, which looks like it’s ready for take-off at any moment, was just one of the environmentally friendly and unbelievably funky designs in the area.
Greenfield Village – an outdoor extension of the Henry Ford – is a collection of notable buildings and designs brought to Dearborn from throughout the country. One of Paul’s favorites in Greenfield Village included the “birthplace of aviation,” Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop (moved from Ohio to Dearborn) where the Wright Flyer was originally made. Visitors the village can take a ride in a Model T, but Paul managed to get a chance to drive one. You can see Paul’s test drive of a Ford Model T as well as a great overview of the Henry Ford and Greenfield village in this video on the Traveling the American Road blog.
Traveling the American Road: NYC Tweet Up
On June 14, the Traveling the American Road crew met in New York City for a tweetup with fans and followers at Brooklyn hotspot reBar. Hosts Gadling, AOL Travel, and the Huffington Post treated guests to free drinks, snacks, and prizes. Paul was on hand to regale eager listeners with exciting tale of his travels thus far.
Does the idea of hitting the road make you drool? Let us know where you’re itching to go and how the Ford Explorer would help you get there.
Photo courtesy of AOL’s Gadling