As we Michiganders head north on 127 there’s one place we all usually stop.

No, it ain’t a restaurant, a gas station, or amusement park. It’s a place to go to the bathroom.

The Michigan Welcome Center in Clare County is an excessive rest stop, with statues, snacks, Michigan pamphlets, booklets, many flowers, and picnic area.

So what?
I’ll TELL ya ‘so what’.

I’ll bet 99% of us have been on our way north when somebody in the car has to go to the bathroom. Somebody else – usually the driver - pipes in and says, “just hold it ‘til we get to Clare”. C'mon... you know it's true.

People stop at this center whether they have to pee or not. It’s almost become a tradition for many Michiganders to pull in on the way north.

Road signs many years ago would refer to it as the “John C. Mackie Rest Area” but those signs are no longer up…nowadays the signage states it’s the “Michigan Welcome Center”.

But just who was John C. Mackie and why honor him with a rest area?

John C. Mackie was Michigan’s State Highway Commissioner from 1957-1965. He expanded the system of freeways and expressways in Michigan, with our state leading all others with the Interstate Highway System. Michigan became the first state to construct an interstate highway (I-94) that stretched across the entire state. He passed away on March 5, 2008.

So take advantage of this extensive rest stop and your bladder. Even if you don’t have to go, it’s a good place to stretch your legs with the others who stop here. It even has its own Historical Marker!

It’s located in the median of US-127 just past Exit 160 (to Old 27).