Take a Gander: A Guide to all things Michigan- part three


Welcome to the last part of this Michigan travel guide series! Today’s article will be all about the things you can only really find in Michigan. 

  1. The Michigan Left. I heard that a few years ago, Chicago got its first Michigan left, and the news reporters spent 15 minutes explaining how exactly that you use it. If you ask a Michigander how to use it, you will get different responses, but mainly:
    1. Every ¼ mile or so on main roads, a left turn, referred to as a Sharp Turn by Google Maps,  will be seen. If your destination is on the opposite side of the road, you use them to get to them instead of having to use side roads or making an Illegal U-Turn. When you go on one, you usually have to stop at the end. There will be either a Stop Sign or a Light. You wait for the oncoming traffic to stop or be thinner, and then you can turn left onto the road. I use one to get to School! They aren’t hard, but a lot of people seem to not be able to use them right. 
      1. You are allowed to Turn on Red if the traffic is clear, and no sign says otherwise. 
      2. You are allowed to go straight onto a road that’s in front of the Michigan Left.
  2. Party Store
    1. Usually an Alcohol Store, or a place to get cheap snacks.
  3. City and Street names.
    1. Lincoln Park = Linkin Park
    2. Pontiac = Pawne-ak
    3. Livonia = Levounya
    4. Grand Rapids = Gran’rapids
    5. Grosse Ile =Gro zeal
    6. Charlevoix = Sharle voy
    7. Ypsilanti = ‘Epselani or Yipselani
    8. Livernois = Liver noy
    9. Gratiot = Gra shet
    10. Lahser = Law sur or La sher
    11. Sault Ste. Marie = Soo Sain’t MA ree
    12. Bois Blanc Island =Bob low Island
    13. Dowagiac = Dow wah jak
    14. Onondaga -On on DOG ah
    15. Oqcueok = Ah key ock
    16. Detroit = Deh troy’, Duh Troy or Dee troy
      1. To name a few
  4. Potholes. I get it. Other states have potholes. But do you have potholes that flip cars, is the question? 
  5. Weather. Due to the Great Lakes and all, we get some odd weather. One day it will be really hot, and might not rain for days, and then when it does rain, it might drop easily from 70 to 40. In summer. Yeah, we complain lots, so feel free to join the crew! 
  6. Unsalted Beaches. Yep! That’s a thing. The Great Lakes are home to some beautiful beaches….but also cold water! Lake Michigan, in particular, can be pretty cold! 
  7. Speaking of Cold. Some Michiganders (or people in the Midwest in general) might not care about how cold it is. I am guilty of this myself. It could be 50 or 60 out, and I would be wearing a hoodie and jeans with normal shoes on. Out of staters might gawk at this, but we’re just used to it by now.
  8. Using a hand or two for a map. Since Michigan is shaped like a Mitten, a lot of people will use their hands when talking about other places in Michigan. Here’s an example:

Michigan is a great place to live – honest! Sure it takes some getting used to, but hey, if I can do it, you can too. Thanks for reading this explanation of what makes Michigan tick.

Have any other topics you’d like to see covered by the Michigan Travel Guide? Feel free to contact me with any Michigan things that I might have missed. Hit me up at nklawren@umich.edu.

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Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence is a Junior majoring in Secondary Education in English and Minoring with an ESL certification. He's been a part of the Journal for all 3 of the years that he's attended UM-D, and has loved every minute of it. He is an avid creative writer, shutterbug, and experienced writer. He enjoys food, seeing movies with friends, and trying new ideas for writing!