On the 31st Day of the PapiBlogger Family Road Trip, the Ruiz clan traveled from Chicago to Detroit where we visited General Motor’s OnStar service headquarters and also enjoyed our first Major League Baseball game together ever as a family at the Tiger’s Comerica Park.
ONSTAR’S CENTRAL COMMAND CENTER
Following a five hour drive from Chicago to Detroit we landed at the General Motors headquarters building for an exclusive inside tour of OnStar’s central command center.
OnStar Corporation is actually a subsidiary of General Motors that provides subscription-based communications, in-vehicle security, hands free calling, turn-by-turn navigation, and remote diagnostics systems. Our PapiMobile (aka 2010 Chevrolet Traverse) is equipped with one and it has been a lifesaver to us in many ways.
The kids and I didn’t know visiting OnStar would be as interesting as it was. The command center actually looks like a nuclear war room with giant plasma wall screens equipped with live U.S. maps and graphs tracking everything from the latest news that can affect travel and weather patterns throughout the United States to where OnStar equipped vehicles are stalled, stolen or have been involved in accidents. The 24-hour center doesn’t actually take calls from OnStar subscribers. It’s role is to manage the three centers outside Detroit that do.
One of the highlights of the visit was when Jonathan and Elena got to sit in an OnStar car simulator. They each got to test the system and call family as if they were the driver.
A couple of noteworthy things about our visit with OnStar and GM:
- OnStar originally began as an exclusive install on Cadillac cars but now comes with all GM vehicles. You get a free one year subscription with your purchase of a GM car.
- Each car with OnStar has its own phone number. You can make and receive calls exclusively through that car number or your own.
- If you have OnStar you may be able to skip your AAA membership because OnStar comes with roadside service.
- Everyone has always been told to change their car’s oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. That’s not the case with ANY of General Motors newer vehicles. GM now has an Oil Life Monitoring System that will typically warn you when it needs a change or hits 10,000 miles, a far cry from the old 3,000-mile standard.
- If you leave your keys inside the car, don’t worry. All you need to do is contact OnStar and they will remotely unlock your car.
- Of the Big Three automakers only General Motors is officially based in Detroit.
SMALL PLATES HAS GOOD FOOD
We had a quick and very delicious dinner at a restaurant called Small Plates, two blocks from the Detroit Tiger’s new Comerica Park. If you’re going to see a game in Comerica Park, which is right next door to the football stadium where the Detroit Lions play, visit Small Plates. It’s a quick walk away from the ballparks.
FAMILY ENJOYS FIRST MLB GAME
Comerica Park is only a couple years old but reminds me of the wide-open baseball field design of many classic, old school ballparks. It’s smaller and only has one jumotron screen to see replays but I like it more than the current Florida Marlins stadium where my team plays. In the outfield part of the ballpark there’s a row of large, action-style statutes of Detroit Tiger baseball legends that my Jonathan and I really enjoyed.
We thought we would bring some Miami magic luck to the Tigers but not only did the game almost get postponed due to a late innings deluge but the Texas Rangers whopped the hometown team 8-0. The final score didn’t matter to us though because we had a great time.
SPRINT NEXTEL ROAD TRIP TIP OF THE DAY
Don’t try to save luggage space at the expense of shoes, especially for your kids. Good trip planning should include a pair of sneakers, protective water shoes, secure sandals and flip-flops. Each of one of these shoes will play a key role in your road trip so pack them up.