We had some time to kill Sunday morning before we were due to arrive at Bill & Jessi’s but don’t cry for us, Michigan-a — Roadside America had our back.
Imagine my sheer delight and giddiness when I discovered that Howell (where we had stayed Saturday night) was only several miles away from Hell, MI! A tourist trap, to be sure, but one that even Henry was quietly on board with.
First though, we stopped at the Pinckney Diner in, omg, Pinckney. I was wearing my Bled Fest shirt in hopes that some of my Bled Fest peeps would be there, but no. Just basic breakfasting locals.
I ordered some type of “healthy” scrambled egg and fruit cup bullshit, and Chooch thought it was hilarious that it came with a small orange juice and I try not to let him bully me, but man did I feel self-conscious drinking it, like I needed to create a curtain with my napkin.
It was a nice place but nothing to write home about so don’t be expecting a post card.
After a slight directional snafu (in which Henry was reminded that I do not understand how to read a map even when Google is practically reading it for me), we whizzed past a short stretch of road that housed a Hell-themed diner called Hell in a Handbasket and a gift shop called Screams, and a bar called the Hell Hole.
“Oh well, everything is closed,” Henry said in a sing-song voice because I had angered him enough on the way there that he was now ready to forgo the idea and find the nearest gorge to drive into.
But before he had a chance to get very far, I had the proprietor of Screams on the phone confirming that they were set to open in a few minutes, so downtrodden Hank had to turn the car around and head back to Hell, which probably just felt like Groundhog Day to him because when is he not heading back to Hell.
I appreciated that the man at Screams answered the phone with a robust, “How the hell are ya?” I was even more stoked at this point to make it rain in this kitschy souvenir shop.
And it was pretty much exactly as expected – a fun-loving, tongue-in-cheek tourist trap. It provided just enough of a time suck for us to arrive at Bill & Jessi’s right on time and didn’t stress out Henry too terribly much so we showed up in a collectively fine mood.
Without even faking it!
I bought a Hell, MI coffee cup to use as a future succulent vessel and hopefully my asshole cats don’t shatter it. And of course I also bought a magnet because that’s my thing. My closet-thingy at work is covered with magnetic tokens of all my Americana travels, I give it a once-over every morning and it fills me with early-morning joy!
(I mean, my morning coffee also helps with that joy-filling.)
We chatted for a bit for the elder manning the register and it turned out he’s the mayor of Hell! What a piping hot honor! I asked him how much these really cool postcards were that depicted a Hell homage by some local artist, and he was like, “Aw hell, you can just have it.”
HELL FUCKING RULES.
We said goodbye to Mayor of Hell and went outside to mill about the property. Mini golf was open yet, but there was a mini lock-covered bridge to stomp across, a DAM to look at, and a CHAPEL.
No joke, if the chapel had been open, I totally would have come home to Pittsburgh a married woman. I’m not sure who my husband would be, but at least I could tell people I got married in Hell.
Henry doing his favorite thing: looking at nature and trying desperately to tune out our cries of “I WANT I WANT I WANT!!”
And then it was time to get back in the car and embark on our 45 minute drive to the Wayne-ish area of Michigan, while I yapped on and on about Bled Fest the entire way because I had the time of my life.
No, I never felt this way before.
Yes I swear.
Blah blah blah.