Leaving freezing Chicago heading for Detroit you turn your car heater on full blast to melt the icicles that have formed in your hair. Thankful that you have a car and not a Tauntaun you watch the city skyline fade as you head to the East side of Michigan.
Darn near the exact midpoint of your journey you come to a town called Battle Creek. Wanting a break you get off the motorway and head downtown. It must be a weekend as there is no traffic and nobody on the streets as you easily find a parking space smack dab in the center. Getting out of the car you are first struck with the temperature. It is like an oven compared with Chicago. Leaving your heavy coat you start your exploration and quickly find a map. Here you are hit with the motto of the town, “Cereal Capitol of the World”. Intrigued you proceed towards a sign that reads “Tourist Information”. Here is a little room full of cereal souvenirs and other knick-knacks. You peruse for a bit, read the history of the town, and then leave without buying anything.
It turns out this is the home of Kelloggs and Post. They appear to own the town. Everything is named for them and about them. The airport, the buildings, everything. It is exactly the same relationship as GM in Detroit, and with the exact same result. It is a dying place. Cereal is the only job opportunity. That being said they are doing a fantastic job trying to survive.
As you roam the town you come across a quaint main street with the usual restaurants and shops and a single Starbucks. As you pass behind the main street you are greeted with a fine river dwarfed by a fantastic high school rising behind it. How has this building come to be in this place? It belongs in a rich neighborhood of Washington D.C. Extremely impressed you continue your walk, finding nice bike and walking paths and little parks.
What a surprising few hours you have spent. It isn’t a beautiful place or very interesting but for some reason you like it. Having seen everything this town has to offer you head back to your car. Driving out of the town you come across other beautiful buildings of learning. Their education budget must be very high. You also notice for sale signs on houses and stop to look at a few, almost buckling your knees as you look at the prices. Housing is ridiculously cheap. Again amazed at this town you continue on and come across the lifeblood of this place. The cereal factories. There is little beautiful or impressive about a factory, and cereal isn’t exactly worth stealing, so you leave well enough alone continue on.
Outside of town and before getting on the motorway you come to a lake. Investigating more closely you find a quiet, pretty, clear, and peaceful lake. Perhaps in the summer it gets busy and noisy but for now it is tranquil. As you stand there you wonder if you would be happy living here, enjoying a cup of coffee or glass of wine on your balcony overlooking this lake. It is possible.
Farewell Cereal Capitol of the World, we wish you the best.