“If you’re going through hell, keep going”
State 9: Michigan - July 25, 2017
We woke up in Fowlerville, MI to a cool and brisk morning. On the agenda today was our chosen roadside attraction for the state of Michigan, which I have been looking forward to for over a year a half. Most of our roadside attractions are the largest of any given item, or other curious oddities. In Michigan, our road side attraction was an entire town. The town of Hell, Michigan. Yes, you read that right! The name of the town is Hell! As the story is told by the locals, back in 1841 the local land owners got together over a few drinks to come up with a name for their town. After hours of heated debate, they couldn't come up with any good ideas, George Reeves said “You can name the town HELL for all I care”. Everyone had good laugh, and the name of the town has been known as such ever since. Today the tiny town of Hell in central Michigan has a population of 72. I would like to apologize in advance for my gross overuse of clichés that are about to follow.
Hell, Michigan was a 30-minute drive south from Fowlersville, MI, and we were finally ready to go “straight to hell”. We decided to take the back roads instead of the “Highway to Hell”. Neither one of us had been to Hell before, so we had absolutely no idea what to expect during our visit. We decided to take things as they came during our visit, because “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. When we arrived, we were greeted by a sign that read “Welcome to Pure Hell est. 1841”. We were surprised how temperate Hell was this time of year. We surely didn’t “expect hell to freeze over”, but we were glad it was not “hot as hell” either.
We stopped in the first building we saw within the city limits. It was a retail store called "Scream", which was the town's gift shop, the creamatory (ice cream shop) and post office. When we entered, the shopkeeper greeted us by saying “Welcome to Hell!”. The store has t-shirts, cozies, bottle openers, magnets, Halloween costumes and other paraphernalia related to Hell. It looked like “all hell had broken loose”. They had postcards for sale, which they post-marked from Hell, and even burned the edges with a lighter. There was no price on the postcards, and we were afraid there would be “hell to pay”. It turns out to buy, sear, and send the post card was only $1.00, so we decided to send Lori’s Aunt and Uncle a postcard from Hell.
The shopkeeper recommended other attractions behind her shop, and promised we would have a “hell of a time”. We both gave her a hearty “Hell yeah”, and we were off. We went behind the gift shop, and passed through the “gates of hell” to view the other attractions. There a mini golf course, a chapel where people regularly married, a river, and a metal bridge where you and your lover attach a padlock. This place was “crazy as hell”! We decided not to go to the mini golf because there was no shade and it was becoming “hot as hell” outside. Instead we headed for a trail that led to a river. Actually, we were both shocked to find a river in hell, and a “damn it to hell”. Next we headed towards the metal bridge, and Lori wanted us to attach a padlock to the bridge to signify our love. I agreed to her request because “hell has no fury like a woman’s scorn”. We took a selfie with our padlock on the bridge pictured below, and then headed to the next building.
We walked over to the Hell Hole Cafe for a bite to eat. There were not many vegetarian options on the menu, so we ordered the Broomsticks (breadsticks) with marinara sauce. A few moments later, we saw the chef walk through the front door smoking a cigarette, and he then walked right into the kitchen continuing to smoke. I said to Lori, “What the hell” that was so nasty! We were both “mad as hell” and were wondering “What the hell is going on?”. We had no desire to “raise hell” with the chef. We were just “hell bent” on getting “the hell out” of the Hell Hole Diner like a “bat out of hell”. We got into Rosie, and peeled out of the parking lot like “hell on wheels”. Lori and I had “went to hell and back”, and now it was time to head to our next destination. What did we learn during our time in Hell you ask? “If you are going through hell; keep going”!
We then continued our journey north, a 1 hour drive to the State's Capitol of Lansing, MI.