Going to bullet point this as it's going to be long. Most likely going to break it up into parts. 4 days of musings, and observations, so read at your own risk.
> Lets get the bad stuff out of the way first. Firstly, there was actually VERY little bad stuff!!! Amongst the primary issues were my side acting up. It's not really my back/side, it's actually my stomach, lower left side, under where I sag, which leads me to believe I may be developing a hernia. Not sure yet what KIND of DR. to even go to for that. The periodic stitches of extreme pain made the weekend A LOT less pleasant than it could have been. Second, was my wife getting her bank card hit by hackers. They cleaned her out and she had to cancel it. We're still not even sure where we used it that they got us. That leads to the tertiary issue, which may actually be even with the primary one. We were unpleasantly, nerve wrackingly low on funds for the entire weekend. It seriously cut into our enjoyment and made every decision one of.."Can we afford to do this and still get home?" I BUSTED MY BALLS to get my taxes done early so as to have access to my refund on time, and it STILL isn't here.
> The Important stuff. : When we decided to check out NH, it was because it's somewhere I really wanted to see. I'm incredibly taken by the idea of the Free State Movement. Linda has always been kind of...MEH about the idea, for honestly very reasonable and sensible reasons, so to some degree she was indulging me by going. Now that we have gone up there, NH has gone from a very vague maybe, to a 50/50 contender with PA. We BOTH really liked it!!! And we both agree we could make it work up there. We have changed up our future itinerary a bit. Instead of the next 3 trips being to PA, we are going to give PA another go in March, then one more to NH in April. If we haven't decided one way or the other by then, we'll give one of them one last go. If we HAVE decided, we may instead use the time and the few vacation days I have left to do a short Pennsic. Either way, PA or NH, we will decide by June.
> The trip itself: Friday. We got up and going in good time. Fast swing by the bank for cash, and a stop for gas, and we were on the road. The trip out was pleasant. The weather was gorgeous. Some of the slow poking MF'ers on North Country we're irritating, but we made the Orient ferry on time and were on the water by 9AM.
We grabbed some bad Seattles worst coffee and breakfast on the ferry. The ride across was near glass smooth, and we enjoyed the view. Nothing interesting to see at Electric boat on the way in sadly. We docked, disembarked and toodled along through Conn.
Linda had some variety of small, hand held device, possibly her kindle. To my great surprise and delight, it functions as a GPS, and provided us with good, and reliable directions all weekend. Kudos to my favorite Navigator!!
The trip through Conn, and Mass. were relatively uneventful. Pretty country once you're out of the cities. We made one short stop to use the restrooms, and grab a snack in a gas station/C-store in Berlin Mass. Linda thinks this may be where she got hit by hackers.
We rolled into town about 1:20. The Super 8 was pretty strict about no check ins before 2, so as we had noticed that MANCHESTER FIRING LINE RANGE!!!! was diagonally across the street form the Motel, we decided to head over there to kill time.
Ohhhh...... oh my......3 of the 4 walls of the warehouse sized building are COVERED in machine guns, submachine guns and automatic rifles.. COVERED!!! If you can name it, they have one. WITH the exception of a Lewis gun, they had at LEAST 5 weapons I'd hock an organ to fire there. They had 2 different 20mm cannons!!! A Lhati, and a PZB 39!!! Unfortunately none of them are for rent, as they are a SMALL PART of the owners personal collection!! The manager referred to then as "Merely the tip of the iceberg!!!". The place itself is NOT a retail business. If you want to buy something they direct you to their retail store about 3 miles away. they're strictly a range. They DO rent firearms though, including full auto, MUCH cheaper than the place I was in for Matts wedding too!!
However, regardless of HOW cheap they were, we could NOT afford to rent any of the guns. It was incredibly frustrating. We did get to chat with the counter guys, and got our first good shot of local info on the job and housing markets.
We headed back to the Motel and checked in. It's a bit run down, but it's clean and suited our needs. We're probably going to use it again when we go back up. A Fun aside. Apparently the crew of the blog "The Young Turks" were staying in our hotel in advance of next weeks caucus in NH!! I don't have any use for the Leftist twats, but some of our friends like them as I under stand it. The staff was friendly, and we checked in with no issues.
We settled into our room, and then began figuring out our itinerary. We killed some time, watched a bit of TV, then Linda mapped our route, and we headed into Manchester proper for a dinner meet up.
We went to a really nice little joint called "Strange Brews." It's right in the center of the city down the street from City hall. We had been sent here by some folks on the FSP page as there is a semi regular Friday night meet up for the local Porcupines there. We told the very nice hostess why we were there, and she said none of them were here yet, but she'd let us know when they came in. Not knowing what the time frame was we ordered. The food was VERY good, (reasonably priced too!!) and Linda thoroughly enjoyed her sampler flight of some of the Beers.
The Free Staters finally showed up, and we moved over to their table and hung out with them for about 4 hours. We met a good 7-8 very cool, very nice folks!!! We had a great time talking, and milking them for local knowledge. Just a really cool, solid bunch of folks.
Around 10, we headed back to the hotel, after changing the TV remote for one that worked, we fell into our INSANELY COMFY bed and conked out.
End of Part 1.