Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Yesterday, we stopped at the Meteor Crater. Now that's a hole in the ground. What surpised me the most was the rim. It rises from the desert floor dramitically. The attached musuem was informative and one display allowed you to superimpose the crater over a map of Arizona. It pretty much covered Phoenix and this is a small crater compared to some of those on the moon.
We ended the travel day at the Petrified Forest National Park. The petrified logs are interesting. You're looking at a rock that used to be a living tree. You see knots where branches had been attached, bark, and tree rings--all in stone now. At the gift shop, we bought a little hunk of it. More junk for the mantlepiece, but it's purty. (The source of the petrified wood was from private lands.)
We saw more places and did more than I can mention here. I'm glad we decided to make this one a road trip.
Monday, May 18, 2009
A trio of cowboy rifles
A .45-70 revolver; some ask "why," others ask "why not"
An engraved version of the .45-70 revolver
Ya want bling, I got your bling--gold plated Tommy Guns, got to love 'em
Sunday, May 17, 2009
The NRA gets experts in a given field to discuss their topics. Yosemite Sam and I attended a workshop on handloading. I reload pistol and shotgun ammo, but I've long refused to reload rifle rounds.
I freely admit that I don't have the patience to do it. However, Yosemite Sam is thinking about getting started.
The presenters did an excellent job explaining all the how-tos. Even more interesting was a panel of industry representatives who shared their expertise in a Q&A session.
Most memorable answer came from Chris Hodgdon of Hodgdon Powder Company when asked how to tell if powder has deteriorated. First, if it has a strong ether smell, it's bad. Second, sprinkle a little on white paper and look for rust colored particles or dust. Finally, if it's warm to the touch, "throw it out yesterday."
He also added that 4th of July is real interesting at his house. I wonder why.
One of the staffers mentioned that they were expecting about 5,000 people, but demand was so high, they added another 1,000 seats. It was crowded and that might explain the table location.
Enough griping, we still enjoyed ourselves immensly--well worth the money. John Stossel gave an excellent talk on free enterprise versus main stream media attitudes.
Oliver North gave the keynote speech and was presented with the handmade flintlock. And, yes he channeled Charlton Heston's "cold dead hands" with it.
As I said, a good time, good company, good conversation, good food (braised short ribs and chorizo-stuffed chicken).
This was the second year that they separated the concert from the banquet, so dinner just ended after a young, talented lady sang "God Bless America." We're looking forward to next year.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
One official mentioned a freighter full of AK47s that came to a Mexican port bought by a drug cartel.
I can't promise that the NRA leadership has embrassed black rifles, but they are fighting to prevent a new AWB. Good enough for me.
He mentioned several things we gunnies should keep in mind. For instance, 40 percent of gun owners own their guns solely to hunt. I own guns for several reasons, recreation, collecting, self-defence, and hunting. I don't always understand hunters, but I must respect them.
Crossbow hunting can increase the time a person hunts by as much as thirty years. Older people and youngsters can't draw a hunting bow, but can use a crossbow. We need new hunters and retain them.
Finally, Humane Society of US does not care for lost animals, but is a political creature. It has used its name, virtually identical to the Humane Society, to gain members to the expense of the people who do take care of critters.
All in all very informative.
Friday, May 15, 2009
When we got there this afternoon, we found out they had adopted their summer hours (on May 12 no less) and they are closed this afternoon.
To really put the pain in the neck, the engine light in Yosemite's truck came on. We're now sitting in a PepBoys waiting for news. Sigh.
UPDATE: We finished at PepBoys. The problem was a gummed up throttle linkage. The heat probably softened some old dirt and was giving the linkage fits. The mechanic cleaned the throttle body and sent us on our way, a little poorer.
We listened to Phoenix's mayor welcome the convention. He mentioned that the banquet will be the largest single meal served in Arizona ever--6,000 people.
Then, the doors opened and a surge of people issued forth. This may be the largest convention we've attended.
Maybe it seems that way because of the convention center's architecture, but the registration lines were long, people were queued up at the escalators just to get to the floor. Simply amazing. And this is Friday, usually a slower day.
Soon we will leave the comforts of the press room and brave the crowds. I bet Paul Helmke is a sad panda today.
UPDATE: Here are the promised pictures:
Crowd waiting to register and enter the exhibit hall:
One of the exhibits: The top rifle is an M1 Garand. It was presented to John C. Garand on his retirement and is serial number 1,000,000.
We've had a good vacation. As I said in Monday's post, we stayed and ate dinner at The Big Texan in Amarillo. Here it is in all it's glory:
Note, the white limo. They have a fleet of them to take you to and from the place. Only in Texas.
After Amarillo, we beat feet to Tombstone, Arizona home of staged gunfights, tourist trap souvenir shops, western schlock, and we loved every minute of it. Here's the view from our motel room:
I grew up in a desert state. I felt at home here. We did a few of the typical Tombstone things. We visited Boot Hill, took a stage coach ride, walked on wooden sidewalks, spent money, took in a gunfight show at Six Gun City, and more.
One thing else we did there. We shot real guns at an ingenious shooting gallery, called Big Iron Shooting Gallery in a downtown storefront (link goes to a list of attractions). Someone had the bright idea of swaging brass down to hold small paintballs while still fitting a single-action revolver. A primer drives them out. We had a blast and a good conversation with the person running the place. Good times. Here's a gratuitous Tombstone pic:
We used Tombstone as a base and saw the Pima Air and Space Museum near Tucson where we saw the world' ugliest airplane and a lot more besides:
We did many more things including a trip to a Titan missile launch facility. But, my favorite place was Tombstone itself. I know it is now a cheesy tourist trap, but once past our modern cynicism we enjoyed ourselves. Despite all the souvenir shops, history really happened here. We walked past the Oriental Saloon where Wyatt Earp dealt Faro. We're still watching movies about a certain gunfight that happened in this little town.
Now in Phoenix, we're getting ready to attend the Convention. Talk to you all later.
Monday, May 11, 2009
We left Maryland on Saturday morning and drove 806 miles to Jackson, TN. Getting too old for long drives. So Sunday we up and drove 812 more miles to get to Amarillo, TX.
We stayed and ate dinner at The Big Texan Hotel and Restaurant--home of the "free" 72 ounce steak. Eat it all, plus salad, appetizer, potato and it is free along with the bragging rights. Saying we took it on and won would be a good story, but that's all it would be. We ate a much more prosaic dinner.
We're heading to Tombstone, AZ today and just left Amarillo. Another long drive. Pity me.
Friday, May 08, 2009
We are driving there this year. We're making a road trip of it and will visit many of the wonderful places in this country. We'll post along the way. See you later.