Monday, May 02, 2011

NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh

We have attended our second NRA Annual Meeting, this one being held in Pittsburgh. We stayed at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel. We attended the Freedom Experience, Leadership Forum and spent a lot of time on the exhibition floor.

Travel time to Pittsburgh is about 5 hours from here. I plotted two routes, both through West Virginia and allowing, time permitting, quick stops at friends homes or at Fort Necessity. I've wanted to visit this historic site for many years. This is the first image I ever saw of it. There have been changes since 1932 (of course). We saved that for the return trip on 2 May. Interestingly, the travel time doesn't change much even though the two routes (going and coming) were substantially different.  That was kinda surprising.  We did get to see more of West Virginia.  I like West Virginia as I lived there for about 9 years. 

Of course, I wanted to visit Fort Duquesne or Fort Pitt but Point State Park isn't quite the same. One can visit the Blockhouse and the Fort Pitt Museum.

Of course this took a lot of planning as my wife and I had to coordinate work schedules/time off, make hotel reservations, board the dog, etc...  I thought I was undone at one point because I couldn't find my confirmation sheet for the hotel.  So, I tried to get it on-line, must have used the credit card this one replaced and it wouldn't use that for the second ID.  Called.  The nice young lady couldn't find the reservation at first!  My heart skipped a beat.  All that effort and I knew that my sweet bride wouldn't be at all happy.  She checked the spelling, "AH, there it is, 28 Apr to 1 May", and a confirmation number.  "Thank you, thank you," I said.  That was close...

This year the NRA negotiated the venue with the requirement that CHP holders be able to come and go.  Fortunately Pennsylvania AND West Virginia honor the Virginia CHP.  I felt much better about going to Pittsburgh.  I used my Simply Rugged pocket holster and Smith and Wesson 642 and I don't think anyone ever realized I was carrying. 

The hotel was nice, there were some good restaurants nearby and you could get a nice view of the confluence of the rivers.  Parking was $20 a day which I suppose isn't too bad but I'll never get over paying for parking at a hotel.  Parking is one of those hassles that keeps me out of the cities.

View from Mt. Washington in earlier days...
The weather wasn't forecast to be all that good with showers, partly cloudy and mostly cool, 52-64° highs, days.  Good walking weather I thought if it doesn't rain...   We wanted to take the Monongahela Incline to the top of Mount Washington but didn't have the time.

What we did do is register on Thursday and meet with Clint and Debbie B_____ for a few before leaving for dinner.  Nana was a bit tired from the winding ride up.

Friday, we got up and went on over to arrive about 9:15 (the exhibit opened at 0900) and since nobody was hanging about got caught up in looking at all the exhibits. Shook hands with Phil Spangenberger.   We had covered about half of it in a bit of a rush when we ran into some acquaintances at the Ruger booth.  We were supposed to meet at 10:30 but I don't wear a watch and lost track of the time.  Unfortunately Matt Olivier of the Ruger Collectors' Association had already moved on.  I couldn't find him afterward.  I wonder what's up with that?  As I write this I wonder if there is a reason we haven't met.  Maybe the "fates" are trying to save me money or something...  Anyway, Nana got a photo of our group.

That afternoon we went to the leadership forum and I got to meet and very briefly speak with Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive Director.

Grandpa and Wayne LaPierre
Among the speakers was Herman Cain.  I thought it was a powerful speech.  I got to speak with him also, again very briefly, and shake his hand.  10 years older than me, he still has a good grip!  I hate to say, but contrasted with Newt Gingrich's rather dead fish handshake, I like Mr. Cain a bit better.  Many of these speakers have some sort of political aspirations.  Among those was Newt Gingrich with whom Nana was photographed.  She's really proud of this!

I noticed that that some of them talk a better talk in front of the NRA membership than they do "in public". Overall we both enjoyed it though.

On Saturday morning Nana took a break and I went to the exhibits by myself.  Got to look at stuff and talk with some of the exhibitors.

The new President of Ithaca Gun showed me their adjustable stock they are making in lieu of a wood stock which was pretty neat albeit of a synthetic.  He said that if a wooden youth stock was wanted he would just cut a standard to length.  They have a 20 ga. "riot" gun that would be perfect for many small stature people for home defense.

I also went over to the Shiloh Sharps booth and drooled a bit.  Kirk was busy with others so we didn't get to speak. However, I did get a close look at the military rifle and carbine. I would like, someday, to have a .50-70 like Scott T_______'s but we'll just have to wait and see.

I got to see a demonstration, of sorts, and speak with Mike Holm about the Federal Guard Dog ammunition.

As I was typing it was announced the Osama Bin Laden has been killed in a US Navy SEAL operation in Pakistan. He was apparently staying with a courier whose home was nearly next door to a major Pakistani military base. Asked to surrender, shot by a SEAL and already buried at sea. This was the result of unrelenting pursuit by the combined American intelligence and military assets. There have been spontaneous celebratory demonstrations of many kinds last night and this morning.

1 comment:

Windy Wilson said...

A wonderful story. Glad everything worked out, the NRA annual meeting and everything else you did certainly sound worthwhile, PLUS OBL achieves room temperature! What could be more splendid!
Do you think the NRA will ever visit the unfree states, eg California? Since I am self-employed, a closer venue would be more doable.
Again, thanks for reporting.