"No, he wouldn't," Sam argues, "because it's not the same thing. But if he did, he'd be wrong. How could you only have half a cheeseburger in paradise? That wouldn't be paradise. So you wouldn't say cheeseburger in paradise unless you had a whole cheeseburger."

You wouldn't gain weight in paradise either, I think, so of course you could eat a giant half-pound burger in paradise. Especially after having ice cream, which we had been ordering at every roadside stand and little in-town dairy we came across over the last 500 miles.

But I didn't think of that at the time. Not that, specifically. I did think about gaining weight.

I also considered the whole notion of paradise. How did this wide spot in the two-lane road, I wondered, come to be called Paradise?

Paradise, the idea, has lush woodlands and waterfalls. So does Paradise, the Michigan town. Well, the waterfalls are a few miles away, but that's a quibble. The point is, Paradise meets some of the requisite notions of paradise. It is even on the shores of a lake. A bay, actually. But the bay is fed by a lake - Lake Superior, to be exact.

But when you think of paradise you don't generally think of snow. There is a lot of it in Paradise. While taking a stroll the evening before, Sam and I met a man from Paradise. They get so much snow, he told us, that his home last year was covered in snow to its rooftop. He said he's walked down the street with snow up to his shoulders. Remember, this is in a town called Paradise.

I remembered at that moment that there is a town in Michigan called Hell. What, I couldn't help wondering, was that like?