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Snow in the desert

I can't say if the new Virgin Premium Ec seats are better than the old seats as we got the really old seats and the food is the economy food but with a menu. From the glossy ads I'd been expecting, well, a bit more. An OK flight with nice views of the ice, mountains and desert as we went - and Scotland looked pink with granite and only a little overcast. Into the car, over the Hoover Dam with only a brief stop at Wild Oats for provisions and on into Arizona. We pulled off onto route 66 at Seligman for coffee - very Cars, very Radiator Springs. Stopped the night - thursday - in Williams - where snow lay all around and we lay down and slept like logs.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
10th Jan, 2007 12:49 (UTC)
Get Simon to tell you the story about Thomas Dolby's bassist trying to convince the townspeople of Seligman that it was named for his grandad…
12th Jan, 2007 18:34 (UTC)
cool! he says he never heard that one but did tell me about Dolby playing with Foreigner...
12th Jan, 2007 18:52 (UTC)

I should add one little anecdote. When Matthew visited me in LA around 1992 he told me of a town in Arizona called Seligman. It was so named after an ancestor of his that was Abraham Lincoln’s banker. Old man Seligman helped put the railroad though Arizona, so the locals named the town after him. Matthew had known about this town all his life and could point it out on a map.

Now, I’d recently attained my private pilot’s license so I offered to fly us out there in a 2-seater plane. I figured out we could just about make it in a long day if we left Burbank before dawn. We stopped for breakfast at Lake Havasu, overlooking London Bridge. Then we flew on towards Seligman, which my airport guide said had a ‘dirt strip with rocks and livestock.’ But my desert navigation was not too great (in LA if you get lost you just fly down low enough so you can see the freeway signs!) Our first attempt at a landing turned out to be in the wrong town altogether, though it was on the right railway line. Matthew got pretty sick in the turbulence. Eventually we found Seligman, and avoiding the rocks and livestock we set down close to the ‘center’ of town. We strutted into town, Matthew all in white like a saint that came from the sky.

We went into the only place open, a lone 50’s-looking diner, for some lunch. It was like something out of a David Lynch movie. A gum-chewing waitress with a beehive came over to take our order. Matthew pulled out his British passport and said ‘look! Look at my name!’ ‘Se-LIG-man?’ she said. ‘So?’ ‘No no, it’s SEL-igman. My great grandfather built this town!’ ‘Nah-uh… this here’s Se-LIG-man Arizona, honey. You got the wrong town.’ She took our order and left, leaving Matthew a bit stunned. Then slowly an old cowboy that was sitting at the counter swung round on his stool and looked Matthew up and down. ‘So you’re a Seligman, huh? Guess my great grandaddy knew your great grandaddy. Didn’t like him much, neither.’

Last month somebody told me they’d driven through Seligman recently, and it’s become a total tourist trap, with souvenir shops and a Wild West shootout reenactment. I’m getting to the age where places I once visited have changed beyond recognition, and it’s very disconcerting. Heading for the Scottish Hebrides next week, where Kathleen and I spent our honeymoon 18 years ago, and I’m just hoping they’ve retained some measure of their bleak charm….
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


full steam ahead
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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