Step On Bus Tours


23211 Woodward Ave. #121

​Ferndale, MI 48220

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Twitter: @StepOnBusTours

Monday, February 25, 2013


During the Civil War there were seas of black bonnets worn by women in mourning.
Did you know that more people lost their lives in America's Civil War than any subsequent war combined since? The blood soaked fields, not just Gettysburg, but in so many fields east of the Mississippi. 

President Lincoln said it well: "Our country is dark." He meant that literally. In 1861-1865, everywhere one looked, people, mainly women, were in black mourning their family and friends. 

When I shared this fact on the Quilts, Quakers and Questors Underground Railroad tour last week, there was a moment of silence for people who passed almost 200 years ago.  They got it immediately. This is really history. Our Michigan men died.

Now, we wear black because that "little black dress" is just sooo cute. Or, gray is the new black? Oh, the film The Blue & The Gray, which features more emotions than actual history.

History happened on our soil. There are over 300 Underground Railroad stops and markers in our State.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Fugitive slaves of the 1800s trekking north
Fugitives Slaves in the 1800's didn't patiently wait their turn for a seat on the Underground Railroad. Some conditions in the South were just too deplorable. Some "Masters & Mistresses" were just too sadistic. 

Slaves were not considered human and were not given the proper food, clothing or medical treatment. So they ran. Most didn't even know where they were running, but they had to get out.

Some ran into camps of the Native Americans -- a new language, a different way of living, a different life and not necessarily better.  The Native Americans took them into their tribes -- like they did so many others such as white children who were lost on the Prairie's, deserters from the Mexican War, people who just couldn't make a go of it on their own.

Tribes felt that the Fugitives were so valuable because of their gifts: speaking English, understanding the "white" ways, shielding them from their captors, planting and harvesting and skilled trades -- carpenters, metal smiths, furniture makers, seamstresses.  We really don't know about this side of the Fugitive Slave Story because it hasn't been told. And, it exists.

The other story we know very little of is about The Bounty Hunters, who, anxious to make a fortune off the head of a run-away slaves, pursued them relentlessly so that they could be earn the fat sum on their heads. 

This morning, I decided to divide my Quilts, Quakers and Questors Tour and feature The Bounty Hunters: The Raiders of "Human Property."  This tour swings into the far western part of the State and into Indiana and Ohio.  It is decidedly different.  It will discuss the capture of the fugitives and also the one's that got away. It was feature how the bounty hunters used the Fugitive Slave Act against the north. How children were tormented so they cried for their mamas, which lured them from their hiding spots.  It is about human tragedy and celebration.

I do hope you can come along for the ride.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Who would have thought that fugitive slaves traveling to the North would have traveled with a pet? It never dawned on me until I saw the depiction in a monument to the Underground Railroad. 

Typically, fugitives did not travel during winter months. How could they understand snow -- especially those who toiled in the Mississippi cotton fields?

Our motor coach encountered a snowstorm leaving from the Detroit area even into as far into Jones, a little town on M-60, just the other side of 131 South.

Yet, when I really thought about this, I came up with another conclusion.  Dogs were really used to root the runaways.  They could inflict some serious harm to a slave, and many did because that is the way they were trained.

I believe though, this this is simply hyperbole in that this image shows the corralling of controll of the fugitive over things that threatened their survival.  This shows that when the enslaved become more secure, that they also are more in control.  So instead of fearing the hounds -- they fought back and factored dogs into their escape. However, it was noted that at night, in some instances, the slaves would take the dogs hunting and "would tree a 'possum."  So that means, that when a bond between human and canine is established, that it is just that much more difficult for a dog to attack a person who has been nice. 

Still, dogs were feared by slaves -- more than the bite of a water moccasin, alligator or wild animal.   

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Originally Tiffany pulled glass window.
I was thinking about giving away a free trip to the Quilts, Quakers & Questors for Feb. 22 if a reader can answer a question that I think is a real stumper.  Time got away from me, but the question still remains. And I am just intrigued ... who could really know this except for one person that I casually know personally. How's that!

Well, since the tour is fast approaching, and let me tell you, and yes, there are some real excited folks, I decided to give away one of my day trips if one of my readers can answer the following by Sunday, Feb. 24.


  • A very famous southern leader during the Civil War.
  • Much loved and respected.
  • Took the loss of the South to the North professionally.
  • Loved military strategy.
  • Spoke to over 10,000 people in Michigan. 

So what do you think? First person gets the free trip while the second gets a 1/2 price.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Tatiana & Sanya, Croatian Christian Singers in Lima, OH.
A group asked me to take them to see the Christian singer Tajci, better known as Tatiana - (I don't know how to make the small v  Croatian symbol above the c of her name). 

Outside of Godspell or Jesus Christ Superstar, I am not familiar with Christian singers, especially because I am "married" to traditional Classical music of the greats -- Mozart, Hayden, Poulenc, Beethoven et al.

What a wonderful surprise.  I sat in the back pew of a Catholic church in Lima, OH, and listened in awe of this woman's gorgeous golden tones as she sang from her album: "I Thirst -- The Crucifixion Story."

Here is her song: Via Dolorosa:  I think it is just so beautiful.

When I went to, I typed in Via Dellarosa, which means the Way of the Rose; while Via Dolorosa means the Way of Pain. 

So, she gives an explanation of what the song is about and then sings it.  We were pleasantly surprised as she sang with her sister Sanya.  The two have been singing this concert since Lent 2001. Both have wonderful voices that blend in and out with each switching harmony and backup. Fascinating.

The song Eli Eli -- has some hints of the Croatian folk music as it is sung in the minor keys with some very doullful and maybe some violin music bordering on Greek melodies.  It's music where east meets west.

Tatiana was a very popular singer in Croatia and I would think in the other (former) Yugoslavian states -- when I was younger and hanging around others from the Eastern Europe Block, we all wondered what would happen after Tito, the ruler who kept Yugoslavia together. Now we know. 

Anyway, she gave up the limelight of the pop music scene because she felt empty and stumbled upon singing about Christ. We heard a few fragments about her life -- the war, being a refugee and then slide the conversation right back to singing. She gave the audience what they wanted -- her voice and her beautiful song.

So, I really liked the music. Got me back into Blogging and the rest of the Social Medi-izing that I should be doing. 

Follow here on FacebookTajci and you can get a free song each month.  You too, may be inspired.