Take a Trip to Hell and Back and Live to Talk About it

The next time that friend who has been everywhere asks you where they should go for their next vacation, you could always tell them to go straight to Hell. That's right. Hell comes in many forms across our great USA, and in the Caribbean, too. There's Hell, California, Hell, Michigan, and even Cayman Islands Hell.

Hell, Michigan
Hell, Mich. is located not terribly far from Detroit, about 40 miles north of Ann Arbor.
There actually is a lot to do in Hell. It is surrounded by beautiful lakes and you can rent canoes or kayaks. You even can get married in Hell -- there's a chapel. As the city's unofficial website Gotohellmi.com says, "After all, a marriage that starts in Hell has nowhere to go but up!"

Yes, Hell, Mich. has indeed has capitalized on its unusual name. There's even an online Hell store loaded with gag gifts aplenty, like a T-shirt that reads, "Beer in Hell is Safer than Water in Flint."
Hell, no. Before anyone starts ranting about bad taste, $5 from the sale of each shirt goes to helping the water situation in Flint. I had the pleasure of speaking with Bob Colone, unofficial mayor of Hell, on the telephone. He told me they are delivering a check for $1,830 to Community Foundation of Greater Flint this week for the proceeds from 366 T-shirts sold.

Colone is a veteran and also supports military groups with the proceeds from his store. Before we hung up, I thanked him for his service and said "Have a good one," as we often say "goodbye" where I live, in the Quad-Cities. His response? "Have a HELL of a good day."

Hell, California
I've been to Hell and back – Hell, Calif., that is. The main thing about Hell, a desert town located on the Interstate 10 freeway about three miles east of Desert Center, is – well – it's hotter than hell. Temperatures soar well into the triple digits during the summer months.

Interstate 10 ends on the California Coast in Santa Monica, and that's only 189 miles from Hell, even if they may seem worlds apart. Nobody lives in this place called Hell, although there is a song called "Hell, Calif. Pop. 4" by a group called Love/Hate. You can listen to it here. It's one of those punked-out tunes you may have listened to as a freshman in high school. Kind of catchy: "I'm in Hell, Cal-i-for-nia, pop-u-lation fourrrrrrr."

I've driven through Hell a few times. The nearest major town is Blythe, which is 29 miles away and has a small regional airport. I even drove through Hell with my cat riding in the front seat in her carrier -- twice. You can't get to Los Angeles without passing through Hell first if you take the 10 freeway coming in from any state east of California.

There isn't even a service station in Hell. If you decide to visit just for the hell of it, you probably will want to get the hell out of there pretty fast.

Hell, Grand Cayman
It may be the Cayman Islands, but it's still Hell.

Hell, Grand Cayman actually is a group of black limestone rock formations that, well, resemble what one may expect the Biblical eternal hell to look like. Sort of.

Jagged limestone formations at "Hell", Grand Cayman Islands.
Dan McDougall/Cayman Islands Department of Tourism
Jagged limestone formations at "Hell", Grand Cayman Islands.

For more information about going to Hell, Cayman Islands-style, visit their website.

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David Heitz has been a journalist for three decades and has scoured every inch of the Quad-Cities. He says he knows too much so he mostly writes about health these days, but still enjoys pointing out what's right about the Quad-Cities.