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home : opinions : commentary December 17, 2014

4/2/2014 9:38:00 AM
One Man's Rant
It's time to plan your vacation
By Wil Williams

I've gone to considerable trouble researching vacation destinations that you probably won't consider. It's very unlikely, but you might just be missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime.

Before you pack your Samsonite you'll want to know that here you won't get higher than Weed, Calif.'s, 2,938 feet of elevation. The town's name has nothing to do with cannabis. It was named after lumber mill owner Abner Weed around 1897. Dagnabit!

Hey, why not shuffle off to Why, AZ? It's in Pima County and you'll see the less-than-famous intersection of Highways 85 and 86. The whole thing looks like a large "Y" on the map. Seriously?

Feeling saucy? Mention Climax, Mich.; Sexi, Peru, or Intercourse, Penn., to your travel agent. My sources tell me there is also an Intercourse, Alabama, that was named for the intersection of the crossroads there. At that time, an intersection was called an "intercourse." Yeah, I don't believe it, either.

Or if you just want to get away from the over stimulation of your normal everyday life, you can check out Boring, Ore.

You can always go to Hell, Mich., about 15 miles northwest of Ann Arbor. The town began in 1841 and sported a sawmill, gristmill, distillery and tavern. There's controversy about how the town obtained its name, but let's not go there.

I hesitate to mention My Large Intestine, Tex. So I'll only say that while it doesn't show on the map, a resident swears that it's 30 miles east of Eden, Tex., in Concho County with a population of 143.

If you just don't have the stomach for traveling to Concho County, you might try something completely different such as Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Wales. This is the longest official one-word place name in Europe. Its short-form name is Llanfairpg which is still unpronounceable.

Oh, want to know what the 58-letter Welch word above means? I really don't either. But for the two of you out there who are insanely curious, it means "Saint Mary's Church in a hollow of white hazel near the swirling whirlpool of the Church of Saint Tysilio with a red cave." Wouldn't it have been easier to just say that Saint Mary's Church is next to the BurgerKing on Wirhleighpsitinifh Street?

If your dentures can't handle the Welsh language, you might try Ai, Ohio. It's a ghost town in Fulton County, Ohio, that was founded in 1843. There are a lot of single-letter place names, too, but that's a rabbit trail without end, I suspect.

I fully understand the historic significance of naming a town, village or burg after the founder or something that happened on that spot, but why can't the whole naming process be simplified, I ask you? Why not just name a town John or Larry? Or Howard? How about a town called...Bruce? Well, there is one. In 2002, you not only could have visited Bruce, but you could have bought the whole town for a mere 110,000 pounds. Bruce, Australia, consists of a Victorian railway station turned guest house, a derelict pub, four residents and three dogs. Just think of the possibilities.

All this travel planning is exhausting. I think I'll stay home this year.

To comment on this column, email Wil Williams at wilaugust@gmail.

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