I never could have foreseen when I first started this blogging journey that there would be such cool perks – especially the opportunities to travel. I have been able to take trips to faraway places and attend events I would never have gone to otherwise.
I had one such opportunity last week when I was invited by Ford Motor Company to go to Detroit to attend their 3-day Digital Summit at NAIAS along with 149 other bloggers from around the globe. I had the good fortune of attending another Ford event back in June and just like that event, Ford pulled out all the stops – greeting us at the airport and escorting us in Ford vehicles to our hotel – driven by local active and retired police and firefighters. They wined and dined us in style, and showed us one amazing time – AMAZING all around!
This trip/event was different from the first one I attended and I was the only home/DIY blogger in attendance this time. The very first blogger I met while we waited at the airport to be taken to the hotel was Tanya, a young mom blogger from South Africa. I then met Greg – the Tornado Hunter from Canada, Ollie a business start-up blogger from Indonesia, Lyndon a tech blogger from England, Lenore a mom blogger from NYC, and Lesley a natural DIY beauty product blogger from Colorado.
I am sure Ford wanted the bloggers to get excited about the hybrid Fusion, AppLink technology, and the unveiling of their new concept truck – Atlas, but as cool as they all were – I got inspired from a whole lot more.
To me what stood out about the trip was Henry Ford – the man, the pioneering vision, the innovator. His vision to create a company 150 years ago has stood the test of time – his innovation and ingenuity had me saying – “amazing” at every turn.
Although getting to sit in a few cool cars and dream that they were mine on the last day was pretty amazing, too, but…
the highlight of the trip for me was The Henry Ford museum.
I would have made the journey just for this, and likely will again as I didn’t have nearly enough time to explore it all. It is the best museum of American history that I have ever had the opportunity to explore. I liked it far better than the Smithsonian. It is one fun and interesting place.
It is worth a trip to Detroit all on its own. I could get lost in there for days. It is that fascinating! The Henry Ford is an awe inspiring museum and it is NOT just about cars. I found myself smiling at every turn and kept wishing my family was with me as I knew they would have loved it as much as I did. The organizers of the evening had to literally come and get me when it was time to leave as I was having such a good time, I wasn’t watching the clock and didn’t realize it was time to go. I didn’t want to leave – too much I still wanted to see.
The sweeping, single-floor space with its soaring 40-foot ceilings and beautiful wood floors covers nine acres dedicated to showcasing the finest collection of its kind ever assembled. Artifacts preserved for all to see. I wanted to jump into that turquoise Edsel and take it for a spin. I could just imagine all my girlfriends piled inside, having a good time cruising in vintage style.
The most popular exhibits were the bus on which Rosa Parks was arrested. I sat in the seat she refused to give up, while listening to her story retold in her own voice. The limousine that President Kennedy was assassinated in, and the chair that Lincoln sat in the day he was assassinated – were again, amazing to actually see up close and personal.
The museum was closed to the public while we were there. There were food and drink stations set up buffet style. We got to roam around the museum freely all evening eating and drinking. I literally felt like a kid in a candy store as there was even a candy station set up with paper bags for us to fill with sweets to enjoy as we walked around to explore.
The size and scope of the exhibits had me gasping at times – planes hanging from the ceilings, massive locomotives, and ornate steam engines the size of McMansions all on display for us to walk right up to and see all the glorious detail in the construction. There is a furniture exhibit, and a walk down memory lane for each decade showcasing popular items of each era. I can’t wait to go back. You can see some of it online by clicking to the website – The Henry Ford Museum
The next morning we went to the Rouge Factory where some of the first cars were made back in 1917. I felt like I was at Disney World. We got to see one film about Henry Ford and another about the history of the company. We were then taken into the actual factory to see F-150 trucks being made. It was a bright and cheery place – not at all like the grimy dark factories of the past.
The detail and logistics that go into the automated production line are beyond amazing and synced with exacting precision. I will never look at a car the same way again. Every little part down to the sticker on the door jam is put on by one of the workers. We were not allowed to take any photos, which was so hard not to do, as I wanted to take a picture of everything I saw – truly marvelous technology and innovation.
The paint plant turns paint fumes into fuel while the world’s largest living roof (10.4) acres covers the entire Rouge plant, helping keep the cost down and helping the environment as well. These are just some of Ford’s initiatives to make their imprint on this earth more sustainable.
Perhaps one day – I can get one of these fuel cells for my house as I use enough paint and spray paint to power my whole neighborhood -with one installed – clearly it would cover my electric bill every month. :)
The main event though for this summit was the Ford cars being shown at The International Auto Show. We got front row seats to see a rock concert style production to unveil the new concept cars to the media – FUN and cool new designs with new technology that integrate voice command apps in the cars so no hands are needed. The new truck, the Atlas, was lowered to the floor from the ceiling with men at work on girders behind it – like I said – rock concert and the Atlas was the star.
On the last day – walking into the arena where the North American International Car Show was being held – my first thought – there are no economic cutbacks happening in here. This show was all about the WOW factor and… men! If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, then you know I tweeted that all single females looking for love should head straight to the auto show. No shortage of good looking men present there.
After three days of non-stop activities – I was content to sit on one of these comfy chairs that swirled around so you could see in every direction. You sit in them using what looks like the chair arm as a desk. Perfect for bloggers needing to use their phones to get their social media texts out.
One day we were taken on a trip down memory lane, the next into modern day -complete with new hybrid cars.
I can’t forget about the food. We did not go hungry – delicious food presented beautifully at every meal.
I had one fantastic time and now have a few new friends around the globe. Thanks Henry… and Bill Ford too, for showing me how you are trying to make a better world and giving me a glimpse into what the future can hold when you have vision and stay focused on achieving it.
It was amazing to see the broad scope of what a company can do over 150 years.
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Ford Motor Company for their Digital Summit at NAIAS. All opinions are strictly my own.