We have lived in Michigan for 22 years and have spent very little time exploring this state. Usually when Brett has some time off and we want to go somewhere, we head to Arkansas or Texas to visit family, or to someplace out of state we want to see, like Mt. Rushmore. Brett had to burn off a couple of vacation days this week, so we decided to visit three Michigan towns we’ve heard about a lot since moving here, but had never visited. And of course we went geocaching in each town because that’s what we do.
Our first stop was Hell. Literally. We took the highway to Hell.
I had a little fun inverting the colors and some other editing on this photo. There is a geocache on the sign; we always like it when we can combine a geocache with a photo op. We got to Hell around lunchtime.
Turns out, there are some pretty good sandwiches in Hell, made with homemade bread and served on coffin-shaped plates.
Turns out, the Gates of Hell lead to a kitschy miniature golf course. Who knew?
There were also several of those signs with holes in them to stick your face through. Who even does that anymore? So tacky.
I have no idea who those people are.
Hell was not an easy place for geocaching. We got three or four caches there and quit before I was completely devoured by mosquitoes. Brett didn’t get a nibble. When I complained about it, he explained it to me in scientific terms. “Genetically, you are chocolate and I am turnips,” he informed me.
We left Hell and drove to Chelsea. It’s a very pretty town with a gorgeous clock tower.
I also spotted this cool cow hanging off the side of a building. I was so focused on the cool cow, I didn’t notice the sign above it’s poor, doomed head.
We didn’t have much luck geocaching in Chelsea, mainly because it was so freaking hot and we’d been guzzling water and couldn’t find a public bathroom. We did find one cache at the clock tower. While Brett was looking unsuccessfully for another cache, I wandered down the road about a block to see the Purple Rose Theatre.
The Purple Rose is owned by actor Jeff Daniels and I’ve been wanting to see a play there for a long time. I’m going to keep an eye on their productions and make an effort to get there in the next year.
We left Chelsea and continued northeast to Frankenmuth. Well, technically we went to Birch Run, crashed a local geocachers’ monthly Meet & Greet, and spent the night at the Hampton Inn. A funny thing happened at the Meet & Greet. There was a woman there from Texas who was visiting her mother. She looked at Brett’s geocaching name (waldowalking) and asked, “Are you the one I heard about that was at GeoWoodstock?” Yep, that was him! He wore his Waldo costume at a gathering of thousands of geocachers in Missouri and somebody from Texas recognized him on the other side of the state from where we live. A couple of other people said they’d either seen him or pictures of him. Small world. He was so tickled he went out to the van, put on his Waldo costume and posed for pictures. (Of course we travel with a Waldo costume. Doesn’t everybody?)
The next morning we picked up a few caches in Birch Run before heading to Frankenmuth. We could tell from the very beginning that we were going to have a great day. Frankenmuth was definitely the most geocacher friendly town we visited on our mini-trip. For those of you not from Michigan, Frankenmuth is a picturesque town with a Bavarian theme. There was a covered bridge…
… and a quaintly painted barn…
… and lots and lots of Old World Bavarian architecture. While we were walking near the covered bridge, somebody stopped their vehicle and asked us, “Pardon me, could you direct us to the glockenspiel?” I’ll bet you’ve never been asked that. We ate lunch at the Bavarian Inn and were serenaded by a man in lederhosen playing polkas on the accordian. No photo because Brett fled, and whither he goest, I goeth when we’re far from home and he’s got the car keys. After awhile, the cuteness and quaintness began to feel like a humongous version of It’s a Small World. But we found every single geocache we looked for that day.
We ended our time in the area at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. It’s like a Christmas version of the Vegas strip. We bought our Christmas ornament for this year and found something for a friend. We also found the geocache hidden under the giant Christmas tree at the bottom of the giant man-made hill with the giant Santa Claus on top.
One hour at Bronners had us suffering from sensory overload, and we only went into the West Addition of the store. I couldn’t help thinking that we’d begun our little trip in one Hell and ended it in another.
It was fun getting to see some bits of Michigan we hadn’t visited before.