Gadlinks for Tuesday 8.4.09

Welcome to this Tuesday’s installment of Gadlinks. What weird, wondrous and wacky tales did we dig up from the travel world today? Read on to find out:

  • Like Rollercoasters? Maybe it’s time you booked a ticket to Shanghai, where China’s largest amusement park is set to open its gates next week. That looks like quite a wooden coaster! [Via Jaunted]
  • Looking to be inspired? This plan by two dozen homeless men in Poland to build and sail a ship around the world is an absolutely amazing story. [Via The NYT]
  • We shouldn’t forget that some of our country’s best beaches aren’t on the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans – they’re on the Great Lakes. How about this list of Seven Michigan Lake Towns to get you started? They forgot my favorite, South Haven. [Via Intelligent Traveler]
  • Sometimes, despite our best efforts to get “off the beaten trail” we end up in what is otherwise known as the dreaded tourist trap. Don’t fret, Esquire has a Five-Minute Guide to American Tourist Traps like the Grand Canyon, Disneyland and Yellowstone. The hordes of tourists are still there, but you’ll have the upper hand. [Via World Hum]

More Gadlinks HERE.

Southwest Michigan’s Sunset Junque Shop

Just north of Michigan’s bustling Interstate 94, along Lake Michigan, is little stretch of old state road called the Blue Star Highway. The little road winds its way along the lake, curving past the picturesque resort town of South Haven, headed up on its way to the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas. Along this rambling road is Sunset Junque Shop, a chaotic, cluttered slice of American nostalgia and vintage paraphernalia waiting to be explored.

Located five miles north of South Haven, the junk shop offers an acre-sized yard bursting at the seams with the detritus of American pop culture. Neoclassical statues lean against old cabinets and fun house props; retro farm equipment and cases stocked with vintage postcards. For music-lovers, Sunset also offers a treasure trove of old vinyl LP’s from the 60’s through the 80’s. It’s a delightfully haphazard and ever-changing monument to American culture.

Whether you’re a antique lover, a casual collector or simply out for some adventure, Sunset Junque is a fun diversion from the monotony of the Interstate – a chance to slow down and step inside a little slice of America’s roadside past before jumping back into the blur of the highway. When you’ve had enough junk shopping, head back to Interstate 94 through the town of South Haven – filled with plenty of shopping, dining options, nice beaches and some great ice cream.

On the road with the Lincoln MKS

When Ford contacted us about taking Lincoln’s new MKS out for a test drive, I thought that they had the wrong website. Autoblog, our sister site, takes care of all things automotive, and they would certainly be better equipped to handle a test drive. And in addition to being an airplane person, well, I’m not a very good driver.

But they made a good point: everyone on Autoblog has seen the MKS a dozen times and travelers go on road trips too. The content is just as valid. Further, since I was driving across the state of Michigan several times for Easter weekend I had ample time to test the vehicle out. So I agreed to take a look. But I made no promises about editorial content.

For those (myself included) among us that are not in the vehicle testing circles, I first have to comment on the kick of getting a test vehicle delivered. A third party company in the greater Detroit area handles the entire transaction, calling you before delivery and dropping off the vehicle wherever you want. They came to my office one sunny morning with a Mercury chase car and a pleasant woman tossed me a set of keys, asked me to sign a form and disappeared within five minutes. I was left with a bright red MKS for the weekend to do with as I pleased. Road tripping across Michigan over several days seemed like a good opportunity to acquaint myself.


As luxury vehicles go, the MKS has all of the amenities that one comes to expect: a smooth, quiet ride, powerful V6 engine, heated and cooled comfortable, leather seats, wood trim, push-button starting and embedded navigation. Where I was surprised was in the features above and beyond.

Microsoft Sync is installed in the vehicle, and navigating though the touch screen AV system I was easily able to link up my iPhone via it’s Bluetooth link. Thus, for the duration of the trip when someone called the phone in my pocket the music automatically turned down and the call when through the speakers. Similarly, if I wanted to make a call I just pressed the talk button on the steering wheel and annunciated “DIAL” etc etc. Audio quality was decent, and I only lost one caller who happened to be inside of the noisy Detroit Metro Airport.

In fact, much of the interior control was handled from the steering wheel, including adjustment and selection of the MP3 audio system that I was constantly grazing about. It’s a nice feature that many manufacturers overlook.

Though hardly necessary, there is also a backup camera and very sensitive parking system that automatically beeps with increasing intensity as you approach a stationary object. This makes parallel parking a breeze, though it’s strange getting used to looking down instead of behind you when backing up.

Part of the MKS features I learned from the simple transition from my Audi TT – that is, the complete opposite in suspension and handling. Pulling onto I-94 on my maiden voyage to Buffalo Wild Wings, I got up to cruising speed and proceeded to start messing with the navigation. Only when my passenger pointed out that I was driving 95MPH did I realize that I was speeding – I had assumed my normal “comfort speed” as tuned to the TT on the expressway. That same vibration and feel was 20 MPH faster in the MKS.

Of the road trip? I enjoyed seamless navigation, an excellent ride and ultimate comfort as I drove from Ann Arbor to Kalamazoo to South Haven to Flint to Detroit in a head turning, modern car. My weekend couldn’t have been spent in a better piece of machinery. Oh and about the bad driver comment? I was lucky enough to get through the entire state without getting any speeding tickets or bumping into anything. My girlfriend? Not so lucky.