The conversation started when Kathy and I were researching an upcoming trip to watch one of the grandkids run in a cross country meet.
We came across the town of Sandwich, which is in the northern part of the state and always brings a smile to my face. If ever someone should have been born in Sandwich, it's me. But that's another conversation for another day.
The chuckle that the town name of Sandwich brought got me thinking. What other interesting names of cities, villages and hamlets might do the same? It proved to be a wise choice of time spent. Thanks to both Google and an old-fashioned Rand McNally Road Atlas, here's a list of 10 towns the Little Woman and I have decided might be must-see, simply for their monikers alone.
1. Tightwad, Mo.: Apparently, the main draw to this tiny town in central Missouri is its bank. Customers from all over the country open accounts simply to be able to send checks with the Tightwad name and logo on them.
2. Gas, Kan.: Go ahead and say it. I know you're thinking it. When you drive past this town, you are passing Gas.
3. Screamer, Ala.: From what I could determine, this place has a noisy history.
4. Knockemstiff, Ohio: Most of the stories about the town's early days seem to involve bar brawls, moonshine and other types of spirited delinquency.
5. Why, Arizona: Located near the U.S.-Mexico border, this small community is named after the Y-shaped intersection of two nearby highways. But because of an Arizona law requiring town names have at least three letters, "Y" became "Why."
6. Whynot, N.C.: According to state lore, when 18th century settlers were trying to decide on a town name, "Why not name it this?" and "Why not name it that?" became such a dispute that -- you guessed it -- they finally reached an agreement with the term "Whynot."
7. Bumpass, Va.: I'm sure its citizens are tired of being the butt of jokes.
8. Burnt Porcupine, Maine: There are three nearby areas named Bald Porcupine, Long Porcupine and Sheep Porcupine.
9. Boring, Md.: How the town got its name is rather, well ... uhh ... boring. The town's original name was Fairview, but in 1880 residents voted to honor their first postmaster -- David J. Boring.
10. Hell, Mich.: There are two road signs near this town that read "Michigan roads suck" and "The road to hell is paved with good intentions and lots of potholes."
Around the world
The United States is not alone in bizarre namings of towns and/or areas. Check out these five from across the globe:
n Batman, Turkey: At one time, more than 26,000 signed a petition to change the town's borders to look like the bat symbol.
n Eggs and Bacon, Tasmania: Does Denny's have a restaurant in that town?
n The Office Girls, Antarctica: The name comes from a prominent two-rock display along an ice cliff. I'm just guessing, but this is probably not a vacation hot spot.
n Punkeydoodles Corners, Ontario, Canada: Oh those wacky Canadians.
n Disappointment Island, French Polynesia: From what I can tell, the area got its name for the number of shipwrecks that occurred in the region hundreds of years ago. And like that Antarctica site, this not a vacation destination.