Wednesday, 9 January 2013

New Hampshire New year

Another trip abroad, this time to the familiar shores of America and the not so familiar destination within America of New Hampshire!

The trip started with a groggy 6am wake up on Boxing Day and although we left with plenty of time to spare, I made a grave mistake. I forgot to pack my trusted travel buddy Kevin the Shark. Disheartened but excited and ready for the long trip I met Welshie and his Brother (our chauffeur) in the glamorous surroundings of Leigh Delamere Services.

Boring stuff; we arrived at Heathrow, checked our bags and successfully flew to Paris and then onwards to Boston. Highlight of this actually included pretty good airplane food. Well done Air France, about the only thing the French get right.

Enough French congratulations for this entire year out of the way, we had arrived in Boston successfully and collected the rather swish (for a cheap hire car) Ford Focus and headed north to pastures new, New Hampshire to be exact. In the hire car office some American had been becoming increasingly irate because the vehicle he wanted was so big it had had to be taxied in from elsewhere and hadn't yet arrived. Half his alleged gripe was there was a storm coming and he didn't want to be trapped. We put this down to general moodiness and hyperbole. However it turns out most road signs on the way to New Hampshire did in fact warn of an impending storm to come and on the way up we had some sleety snow attempt to hinder our travels.

We always manage to get lost leaving Boston but we managed to arrive at our desired location in New Hampshire fairly quickly. To meet our host Kevin Winders (who the shark is actually named after) and his awesome pad. We realised the snow was now coming down by the bucket load, grabbed some quick pictures, beer, food and promptly crashed out after a full days worth of travelling.
Enjoying the Snow

Pimping Ride

The first actual day arrived and we awoke early, which was quite easy as we felt it was more like 11am than 6am. It being New Hampshire, it was time for another new activity I haven't actually undertaken before, as living in a country where if there is snow, you doss off whatever it is you actually have to do and go sledging. What was this new exciting activity? Shovelling snow! We had to shovel the driveway if we had any hope of getting out. I say "we" Welshie mostly spent this period doing anything but shovelling... There was a good foot or two to contend with but job done we settled for a breakfast bagel and headed for the mountain to Ski in the fresh snow. We took this drive very carefully as the roads weren't completely clear and at one point we lost traction and had to push up a hill.

We arrived nice an early in one piece and sorted our rental gear and headed straight up the mountain, aptly named "Crotched" and standing a staggering 630 metres high (Even Mt. Snowdon is bigger than this at a comfortable 1,085m) we skied all morning, my ability being the lowest of the group. We retired early afternoon to hit the bar and essentially crash exhausted.

Back in Merrimack we went out for Dinner somewhere, a rather nice Italian and we also met Winders girlfriend Amanda who promptly laughed at our 'girly' cocktails - A Manhattan (mine) and Welshies Sangria in a wine glass with Ice. After dinner it was once again time to retire as we were still fairly exhausted and Jetlagged.

Day two and the sun had eclipsed the snowstorms and the roads were a lot safer, Winders unfortunately had to work but with the roads safe we could take our own hire car and once again headed to Crotched for another full day of Skiing.
Due to Snow

Crotch Morning

Crotch Afternoon!

Snow still on the Car
Skiing completed we headed back to sort our lives out for evening activities. We were given directions to Elliots house (we'd never met) and were essentially invited to a Xmas party. It transpired that this was also a gift giving occasion and we even had presents to open ourselves, with no prior warning to this we had obviously turned up empty handed (we had already given our host a bottle of Rum and Welsh Whiskey - who knew), except for our obvious British charm and wit. Dinner was an amazing full buffet spread of Ham, Turkey, Stuffing, Potatoes and Salads, far too much to remember it all. Gifts were then shared, we received Beer a plenty and we headed off to the local town to invade it, cause havoc be merry. We got the Americans playing "Howzat" or "Long-arm", a game which usually involves covering yourself in beer. I may have forgotten the Carly Rae sing-along in the car over.... or not.

Nashua raided we returned to Elliots so I could crash on a comfy chair whilst others discussed the nuances of Terminator 2 and other such [pointless] things.

Long Arm
We awoke from slumber and agreed to head out for Breakfast, a classic American Breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, 'home fries' and English muffins. After breakfast and a return to the house for showers we were off to Boston to collect Rap, and perhaps more importantly, Bread Bowl Chowder! We met Rap at the station and went straight to Quincy Market to get some of the famous Chowder. Chowder mission successful we went for a walk around the harbourside, stopping by the Aquarium to see the seals. Which are visible from the outside for free, seeing as they are the main attraction seems like poor logic. Especially as half of the Aquarium is currently out of service due to upgrades. The seals are so famous that they have radio adverts to announce the fact that they are back on display. They also look thoroughly miserable and depressed, we promptly moved on to the next logical location with us being in Ireland Boston, we went to an Irish bar that Welshie visits everytime he comes to Boston (by that same logic) everytime I've been to Boston. With warnings of another snowstorm coming we watched Villa lose on the TV (Sucks to be Stoney) quickly finished our beers and made the hour or so journey back to New Hampshire.

Plans for an evening visit to Portland Pie and then out to bars were cut short because we had been busy neglecting to look outside at the weather. Impending Snowstorm that we had hurried back from Boston from was in full effect and even if we had managed to get a car out of the driveway the roads would have been way to risky and getting back from Nashua nigh on impossible. With ample beer in supply we settled in and like the true manly men we are, waited for Wendys to arrive from someone who was prepared for such weather and had snow tyres equipped. This happened to be Amanda, our life saver.

To save time tomorrow to get out of the drive, we also shovelled the drive again the night before, in the middle of the blizzard. Whether it was being snowed in or the beer but my first experience with Wendys was a very pleasant one. I think they called it a Baconator.
Snow Tree

Shovelling #2

Snow Begins in Boston
Chowderrrrr (Different trip, but its the same)
It was time for another day of skiing, with another batch of fresh snow we went further afield to Cannon. We had called in the 4x4s for this trip to deal with the snow. On the entrance to the freewar we slid out a bit straight in to a snow mound. We carried on after this without further incident and made it to Cannon. More mountain, almost twice as high and twice as cold. On the second run of the day we went to the top, and almost froze. My leg decided it didn't want to play ball so I took it proper easy in the morning with barely any runs. After a lunch of Chilli and fries. We all headed back out for a full afternoon of skiing, my leg seemed to be back in shape and I joined Welshie and Elliot and skied until the lifts closed. Of course no full day of skiing would be complete without a few bails, an on cue I bailed into a nice drift of powder snow on the last run of the day, this was totally fun though(This implies I only fell over once, that would be misleading, or a complete lie...).

After Skiing we went to what appeared to be the largest restaurant, hotel, brewery combo ever. We enjoyed more a snack/full meal that we planned to and drank some more tasty beers. Despite not very close to the sea I had some excellent fried calamari. Someone suggested we stop at the gas station to get some beers. The reason for this soon became apparent; this gas station stocked almost every kind of beer ever. Selecting two I hadn't heard off, one of these was infused with Chilli, the catch came at checkout when it turned out the beer was about 12 dollars a pop!

Back at base we settled in once again in front of the projector to watch some films and fall asleep. Big day tomorrow with it being New Years Eve. The often over hyped main event
We woke on time as usual and headed to Red Arrow for another proper American breakfast. This time hash browns with Chilli and eggs on the side. Welshie had Crabcake Eggs Benedict which looked and sounded amazing. Food envy right there, a good start to the day.

What we did next will probably not win approval on all sides, especially considering the current climate. But it happened and it was quite enjoyable. In a safe environment we went to the shooting range to look and experience some guns. It turns out I'm quite a good shot. Anyhow, without going into politics of it all. It was enjoyable, but no I don't want one.

After shooting we headed to Portland Pie for pizza and beer as per the failed trip a few nights before. We then returned to the sticks to prepare for a night of games, clubs and cigarros. We began this evening by playing what can only be described as a deprived game of hilariousness. Not for those with a genteel sense of humour (or decency for that matter). The Limo arrived (yes were high rollers) and we popped champagne, beer and whatever else was in the limo as we headed to the club. Arriving merry we popped out and straight in to a non moving queue. It turns out Bouncers and Club in America are just as retarded and snooty as everywhere else. To really add insult, one of our party was refused entry. Entirely ridiculous. Disheartened but not defeated we proceeded to dance and drink through the new year before ditching the club, re-finding the limo and reuniting with the refused to carry on the party back at the house.

Final day arrived, hungover as you should following NYE. We smoked some cigars on the balcony and went to breakfast at a different..... Red Arrow! I had Crabcakes Benedict, so I got it after all. We had a fairly lazy day and packed for the trip home. We then ordered dominoes, finally watched all of Looper and then some Game of Thrones.

RPG anyone? no? WW2 Rifle?

Horrible Party People
Post it notes...
1&2. on a trip to the supermarket to buy some supplies (read beer) - wait, I actually had items to pick up such a pop tarts, peanut butter flavoured m&ms and chocolate, we came across a American gossip magazine, their favourite past times are to make up stories about the royals and this time was no different...
3. Brrrrrrrrrr
4. New Hampshires Motto


It says -10'c (it dropped to -15'c)

or 'Ski Free or Die'