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Say "Yes" To The Yaris In The "D"


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Yaris By Toyota Mural By Unknown

By Maureen McDonald
Senior Editor
Michigan Bureau
The Auto Channel


The Yaris is a tasty little Toyota I took on a spin through Eastern Market in Detroit, topped off with a little tourist action around the wall-size murals that bring the streets to life in vivid colors.


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Why not drive a different vehicle and travel to a familiar market with someone who knows the market forward and back, especially its gastronomic and cultural assets. Linda Yellin, a former social worker who now owns EnjoytheD.com, Feet on the Street Tours, invites me along with 20 participants to partake generously the market bounty.


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My nose began to twitch knowing I'd try cashew's at Rocky Peanut, smoked gouda paired with raspberries at Devries, banana strawberry smoothies at Beyond, pizza at Supinos and mixed fruit and nuts at Germack. Would I still fit in the driver's seat of this 155.5 inch car? It is actually roomy inside.


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So I fired up the 2017 Yaris provided by Toyota for a little stay-cation.


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I could be safe, even on a sunny street, knowing Toyota Safety Sense, vehicle stability control would guide me through traction and stability control, electronic brake-force distribution and even lane departure alert. What was strange was the wide-sweeping, single windshield wiper design but it worked well.


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Felipe Pantone creates this eye catching mural at Eastern Market.

The car turned with the agility of a European sports car and fits into a nimble little space. I could jump out and join the group. A couple from Clarkston came with their teenage son on a new adventure, while a family from Shelby Township wanted to know why everyone was talking about the market, and a young college student from Detroit sought continuing education credits for understanding Detroit.

The sheds and the stores are covered, so, no matter the weather we could stride in comfort on a holiday Tuesday at market. I find the back story on favored merchants even though I come monthly to market. Did I ever think the elevator at DeVries & Company is one of the first Otis installations in the nation when it was installed 100 years ago?


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We march together to DeVries where Duke Saulte teaches us about cheese, vinegar, fruit and veggie pairings for the holidays. He serves redskin potatoes with brie, and raspberries with gouda, shrimp with havarti, cheddar with herbs and blue cheese on crackers drenched in cherry balsamic vinegar. How could there be room for more?

My belly expands to accommodate. I've got a good ride home and the seat belt is generous.


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We cross over the pedestrian bridge. On Saturdays a group of Muslim merchants spread out along the metal and concrete structure selling Michael Jackson images on velvet, Nag champa incense and mud cloth garments galore. Today the bridge is empty and we scurry across to Gratiot Central Market where the manager of Red Truck Fresh Produce, Phil Jones, sets out fresh brussel sprouts and kale while talking up ways that low income folks can access healthy food at affordable prices in his store.

I'm chomping at the bit to see the murals. Linda suggests we wait till everyone has a Razzle Dazzle, a raspberry, coconut, strawberry and banana smoothie at the new Beyond Juicery and Eatery. We sip slowly and tour a new set of murals created by Curtis Lewis II inside Bert's Warehouse, where Motown stars and a host of celebrities have places of honor.


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Linda and I jump in the Yaris for some car-type touristing. On a 30-degree day, it helps to have a heater and an airtight vehicle. Up ahead I see a work by Mural Artist Kashink that consumes a giant wall with cartoon characters salivating over food.


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Mural Artist Kashink

Then we check out a mural called black girl fly, by Hebru Brantley. Many of his works feature kids with goggles, paying homage to the heroic Tuskegee Airman, "Tuskegee Airmen" refers to the men and women, African-Americans and Caucasians, who were involved in the so-called "Tuskegee Experience", the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air.

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Black Girl Fly by Hebru Brantley

Next I'm enchanted by a mirror and paint mural by Dalbs, who runs the African Bead Museum on Grand River.


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Mural Artist Dalbs

It's a legacy that the Eastern Market Corp. aims to build up. Over the past two years they have invited 40 plus world class artists from Detroit and around the world to paint large scale murals that encompass entire buildings.


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In partnership with Knight Foundation, 1xRUN and Inner State Gallery the planners curated and produced a nine-day event in fall that included painting, artist panels and a celebration called Eastern Market After Dark to unveil the murals. Any time of day or night visitors can see the murals in their splendid colors. I certainly had fun and so did Linda Yellin.


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Sated and refreshed, I drive home zipping in and out of cars with this 1.4-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder DOHC engine with extra torque and horsepower. The makers say its engine produces a broad torque curve to give the Yaris great responsiveness in everyday driving. All this for just $15,250.

On the other hand I can get a Razzle Dazzle smoothie for just $6. A Feet on the Street tour runs $29. Check out, www.enjoythed.com for its "Come Hungry, Leave Happy" tours. But I'm hungry for more. Ready to say "Yes to Yaris."

Put it all together and I'm are cruising in style and good health.

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