S: 2009 Manchester Sweepstakes Convention
FC: 2009 Manchester Sweepstakes Convention A Star Spangled Celebration
1: 2009 Manchester Sweepstakes Convention A Star Spangled Celebration Pictures by John Miller, Greg Johnson and others Text by Greg Johnson
2: Day 1 Saturday June 27th Grand Rapids, MN to Milwaukee, WI Departing time: 6:45am - Arrival time: 3:30pm We set out on our road trip at 6:45am! We didn't plan to stop very often because we wanted to get to Milwaukee in time to see KISS in concert! We did visit a few attractions that were right along our route.
4: We stayed with Oranjkaat and her hubby the first night. We got there early enough to get a bite to eat and so I could change for the KISS show. Oranjkaat and her hubby ROCK!
5: KISS played at the annual Summerfest held in Milwaukee, WI. I had several people come up to me before and after the show asking if they could take pics of me and my boots - I felt like a rock star, something I could easily get used to!
6: Janky was gettin' excited! The Who song "Won't Get Fooled Again" was playing and they lowered the infamous KISS Kurtain - the show is about to begin! The KISS show ROCKED! It was the best show I've been to. They played a lot of their older obscure tunes that I had never heard them play live. Gene and Paul can still put on a great show and Eric and Tommy are - in some ways - better than Ace and Peter were the last time I saw them.
8: We didn't make many stops on this day, We started a bit late which meant that the planned Cleveland GTG was canceled. Baked did mention that this might be the last road trip for his truck - the drivers side mirror fell off while we were driving towards Chicago. It surprised us cuz we thought the passengers side mirror would be the one to fall off since it is the one that shakes quite a bit while driving. The rear view mirror had fallen on a couple of previous road trips - but stayed on during this one. Also, around the Chicago area the GPS had us take a detour that brought us through Chicago - with the high temps and the stop and go traffic in Chicago the truck was getting close to overheating. We ended up pulling into a parking lot to let the truck cool down. One stop that we did make was the Jack Benny statue in Waukegan Illinois, it's facing the Genesee theater where he used to work. We finally made it to Tfacey's near Cleveland, OH around 10:30PM. We chatted with Tfacey and her hubby for a bit - and we checked out her gorgeous back yard! We hope to come back to Tfacey's someday to party in her back yard. Tfacey and her hubby ROCK! | Day 2 Sunday June 28th Milwaukee, WI to Cleveland, OH Departing time: 11:30am - Arrival time: 10:30pm
9: Day 3 Monday June 29th Cleveland, OH to Northeastern NY Departing time: 9:00am - Arrival time: 10:30pm | After we said our goodbyes we headed over to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Shame, oooops I mean Fame in Cleveland, OH. You may notice another troll in the pic - Oranjkaat's troll Professor OLS wanted to come along on the road trip! L- R Plex, NeanderTroll, Professor OLS, Jebus, Janky and Paul. There was a memorial to Micheal Jackson in the lobby of the Hall of Fame, he had passed away just before we started our road trip. Near the Hall of Fame the USS Cod, a WWII era submarine, is berthed.
10: The Steamship William G. Mather and part of Cleveland skyline, to the right is the Cleveland Browns Stadium | The Collinwood School Fire memorial. 172 teachers and students died on this site in 1908.
11: I heart Lucy so we had to stop at the Desilu playhouse in Jamestown, NY. | And Lucy's grave. | In Buffalo, NY we stopped at a giant Victorian head.
12: My favorite spot in Buffalo was the Anchor Bar where we met the AWESOME IronButterfly and her hubby. | We had what one traditionally has while at the Anchor Bar - an order of wings and the infamous roast beef on Weck. IronButterfly and her hubby ROCK!
13: Our last stop of the day was the famous Niagra Falls!
14: Day 4 Tuesday June 30th Northeastern NY to Northeastern Maine Departing time - 8:30am Arrival time - 11:45pm | Our day 4 plan was to go thru Vermont and New Hampshire and end up near Acadia National Park in Maine. In Vermont we saw A grave with a window in it - not much to see in the window, it was very dark and it had moisture on the inside. | Frozen GI - Rutland County Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Rutland, VT is home to the first chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. | The Frisbee Dog Memorial, If you look closely you'll see they didn't take Bob Barkers advice! | A car dealership with a unique gorilla statue.
15: Our next stop in Vermont was at Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream for a factory tour. After the tour Jebus and Janky shared a sample of one of their latest flavors - Orange Sorbet Swirled with Vanilla Ice Cream! Me and Baked each had a banana split, I tried to get Baked to try the Vermonster - but he said he wouldn't be able to eat 20 scoops of ice cream and all the toppings .
16: We came across Santa's Village in Jefferson, NY. Janky wanted to take the giant candy cane along with us! We finally got to MMCarter67's place around 11:45pm - it was a bit late but we did get to chat for awhile and we had some time for wigs and boots and trolls - oh my! MMCarter67 and her niece ROCK!
17: Day 5 Wednesday July 1st Northeastern Maine to Manchester, NH Departing time - 9:45am Arrival time - 8:00pm After leaving MMCarter's place we stopped at the Penobscott bridge and observatory - whoever designed this bridge is a genius! It's really cool that they put in an observatory for visitors to check out the bridge and surrounding areas. | Our sturdy road trip vehicle from the top of the observatory.
18: Next we stopped at the harbor in Rockport, Maine where Andre the Seal used to spend his summers. The ruins of the old Rockport lime kilns are located nearby.
19: Lunchtime in Maine - the only thing to eat is fresh LOBSTER! Well, not the only thing, but probably one of the best things. | While we waited for them to cook the lobster I went beachcombing and Jebus and Janky tried to catch their own lobster!
20: The Lobster was YUMMY! For dessert I had blueberry pie and Baked had raspberry pie.
21: After our lobster lunch we happened to see these cool metal figures in someones yard. It was one of those unexpected attractions we saw as we were driving. Our next stop was at Red's Eats for their world famous lobster roll!
22: Our final 2 stops before we rolled into Manchester, NH were the worlds largest rotating globe, and the worlds largest chocolate moose. It is 1,700 pounds of chocolate that was sculpted in 1997. His name is Lenny and he happened to be celebrating his birthday the day we stopped by. We almost got kicked out when Baked tried to lick the moose! They recently added a dark chocolate mama bear and two cubs.
23: We arrived at our hotel in Manchester, NH at 8pm. We ran into Xan and Risavjl at our hotel then we all went over to the convention hotel to see who else from OLS showed up. We found KB, Nicole, RewCatherine, cinnameist, CARAN52, vgmaster81 and a few others there. Later Xan, Risa, RewCatherine, Baked and myself went to Margarita's to get a bite to eat - we got there a bit too late for dinner so we ended up eating some appetizers and drinkin' margarita's.
24: Day 6 Thursday July 2nd Manchester, NH After checking in with the convention and getting our packets Xan, Risa, RewCat, Baked and me went to lunch at Tinker's Seafood. We started off with appetizers, mussels and snails - both were yum yum yummmmmmmy! | Janky thought the lobsters looked yummy! But he got scared when he saw the sign.
25: Crab Salad roll | Lobster Roll | Scallops | Salmon
26: That afternoon we walked around downtown Manchester. We ran into Fidel at a local cigar shop! | I got quite a work out in my boots! We did a little shopping at dumbass and scoped out the location of the Red Arrow diner.
27: That night there was an ice cream social at the convention. We met Uncle Sam and Fabio and got some lucky ducks to decorate. Best of all was all the prizes they gave out!
28: After the ice cream social we went back to our hotel party room and updated everyone on-line about the convention's first night. Late that night a few people went out on a covert op...something to do with the pool room and a potted plant! | Here I am with my smokin' pals Xan and RewCatherine!
29: Day 7 Friday July 3rd Manchester, NH A few pics of the first session of the convention. Eric Friedburg from www.itseasytowin.com was one of the morning speakers. I won 500 envies and Recatherine won a nice bundle of goodies!
30: On Friday Baked had a surprise visitor - his arch nemesis from OLS Trivia showed up. If you play OLS Trivia you know that both Baked and Gdad are usually in the top 5 for the days scores. We got to chat with Gdad and his wife MomofMandC for a bit between sessions. Gdad and his family ROCKS! | Janky and I putting our tickets in for the afternoon session drawings. Janky checks out some of the prizes they gave away during a session
31: There were lots of winners in the afternoon session! Xan, Risa, Baked, KB, me, Brent, Rewcatherine and CS! The afternoon session was AWESOME!
32: Friday night was the BBQ Buffet, everything was great except for the corn on the cob. It was a little sad to see all the decorations were made in China! There were more prizes to award though!
33: KB and CS both won $500 in gift cards! Nicole won some stamps and other goodies! I won a $100 bill from Sweep Sheet! Baked won some stamps and envies! Xan won $1000 in cash!
34: It took a couple of years and a cool pair of boots - but I'm finally taller than KB! | After the dinner a bunch of us went out to a sports bar for a few drinks!
35: Day 8 Saturday July 4th Manchester, NH CS and KB are hardcore sweepers...they were working on snail mail sweeps during the morning session! Beanie shows her winners paddle and I win a prize!
36: After the Saturday morning session was over Xan, Risa, RewCat, Baked and me went to have some sushi! RewCat, Baked and me had never tried sushi - so it was a new experience for us. Janky could see from the fish tank that the sushi was really fresh! We even brought some back for KB!
37: Saturday evening we were treated to dinner at the ballpark while the Fisher Cats played the Sea Dogs. The Fisher Cats won the game 2-1. Congrats! | Some of us didn't stay for the whole game and walked back to our hotel, along the way we say this bull. Yes it is a bull as Janky found out!
38: Late Saturday nite Xan, Risa, RewCat, Baked and me went to the infamous Red Arrow Diner and got De-Virginized! Janky made a new friend at the diner! We all had some really awesome breakfast meals!
40: Day 9 Sunday July 5th Manchester, NH The final day of the convention. | KB won a laptop! Rewcatherine, Risa, Xan, Baked and CS were also winners! We had an AWESOME time at the convention!
41: A few of us OLS'ers after the convention ended Front row - RewCat, Xan, Nicole, Risa, LivLikeDiane & Hubby, Baked Back row - KB, me, CS and Brent This was my 3rd convention I've been to and probably my favorite one too! Most everything went smoothly, the food was plentiful and tasted great, lotsa cool freebies and there were lotsa prizes given out. Taniah and the rest of her crew did an AWESOME job putting this convention together! They raised the bar and future conventions will have a tough time equaling this convention!
42: After leaving Manchester, NH me and Baked headed to RewCats. After stopping at RewCats the 3 of us - RewCat, Baked and I drove down to Providence, RI. The main reasons we went there was to say we've been to Rhode Island and to see a few cool attractions. | In Massachusetts we saw the Mary Had A Little Lamp statue and a cool castle! In Providence we visited the HQ of Hasbro Toys!
43: We visited the grave of HP Lovecraft, nearly getting locked in the cemetery in the process! We had an awesome dinner at a place called India. We finished off Rhode Island with a visit to the Big Blue Bug and a dragon at the children's museum!
44: Day 10 Monday July 6th Boston | Rewcat, Baked and me headed to Boston to check out some sites. The Bull & Finch - the bar that was the inspiration for the TV show Cheer's
45: Various sights around Boston Commons. We saw the swan Romeo in the lake - but we didn't see the other swan Romeo. There was a cool statue of George Washington on horseback and the well known Make Way For Ducklings statues based on the children's book. There was also a cool old cemetery there!
46: Outside Trinity Church we found a bronze rabbit infested with trolls and a turtle that enjoyed domination! We saw the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House and Faneuil Hall.
47: Our last stop in Boston was at the Omni Parker House Hotel the home of the original Boston Cream Pie! It was yum yum yummy!
48: Baked and I had a great time hanging out with RewCat at the convention and with her and her hubby after the convention. RewCat and her hubby ROCK! Their cat Arthur and dog Chanupa rock too! I think someone was bored in the middle of the nite! I woke up covered in trolls!
49: Day 11 Tuesday July 7th Northern MA to CT via NY Departing time - 6:30am Arrival time - 10:00pm | The Dr Seuss memorial in Springfield, MA was probably one of the best I've ever seen. Instead of focusing on just one of his characters they had statues of most of his characters.
50: One of our destinations today was Hyde Park, the home of FDR and his grave site. The pipe is cool, if you look close you see the profile of FDR!
51: We also visited two KISStoric sites! The Colgate Mansion in Sharon, CT where Ace Frehley recorded his 1978 solo album! And in Newburgh NY the grave of Eric Carr. Eric Carr - the drummer for KISS for 11 years - The KISS Army will always remember you!
52: We came | A patriotic turkey and horse were unexpected roadside attractions this day! We were kinda disappointed in the statue of the headless horseman in Sleepy Hollow, NY. But we were not disappointed when we arrived at Terfool's in Connecticut. She and her hubby has an awesome steak dinner waiting for us!
53: Day 12 & 13 Wednesday July 8th & Thursday July 9th New Haven, CT to NYC and back to New Haven We took the train into NYC from New Haven, CT We had a hotel booked near Times Square for the nite and planned on spending the rest of Wednesday and most of Thursday checking out NYC.
54: After arriving on Wednesday we took a long walk around Manhattan seeing a bunch of famous NYC sights! That afternoon we went to see the musical Chicago! We were so tired we were nodding off during the show so we took a nice nap afterward. By the time we got up it was dark and we went to explore more of the city!
55: View of the "Chicago" theater from our hotel room. | Our first stop on our night time stroll was John's Pizzeria for some YUMMY New York style pizza!
56: Janky plummets from the GE Building, visited the Ralph Kramden statue at the bus station and was dazzled by the lights in Times Square! We also saw the USS Intrepid, Rockerfeller Plaza and the George M. Cohen statue.
57: We even saw Elmo and Batman in Times Square! We saw in the news that this Batman was arrested a couple of days later for punching a cop! Holy No-No Batman!
58: We started out on Thursday by wondering around the city a bit more before taking the NBC Studio tour. We saw where they film SNL. It's the same studio where Fred Allen used to record his radio show! | We headed uptown to see Grant's Tomb! Groucho Marx's favorite question was, "Who is buried in Grant's Tomb?" Now we know!
59: Next we visited Strawberry Fields, the memorial to John Lennon in Central Park across from the Dakota where he was killed. We were hungry and I really wanted to try a New York hot dog. I wasn't too impressed.
60: We visited the Empire State building next. It was a long wait through several lines and multiple elevators before we got to the observation level but it was worth it!
61: Former location of Bell Sound Studios. KISS recorded their first album here! | Former location of Record Plant Studios. KISS recorded a few albums here. | The high school that Paul Stanley attended. | The site of the Diplomat Hotel - where KISS was discovered | While in New York we visited several KISStoric sites!
62: Our final stop in NYC was to lower Manhattan where we visited the World Trade Center site, saw the Statue of Liberty and saw the Bodies exhibition. The Sphere is a sculpture from the World Trade Center in nearby Battery Park. | We were tired pups on the train ride home...but we had one more stop we wanted to make that night.
63: We were exhausted but we really wanted to go to Louis Lunch in New Haven, CT - the birthplace of the hamburger! The cook and owner is the 4th generation to operate the diner, they even have the original vertical cast iron grills from 1898!
64: Day 14 Friday July 10th CT to Harrisburg, PA Departing time - 10:00am Arrival time - Midnight Before we left Connecticut we took some pics with Terfool and her hubby. Believe it or not but this is the only time I've been photographed wearing one of the troll wigs! Terfool and her hubby rock!
65: Also in Connecticut we visited Wild Bill's, an awesome place to check out if you're in the area! They have the world's largest Jack-in-the-Box. Our next stop was in New Jersey at a memorial to Thomas Edison and his invention of the light bulb
66: Late in the afternoon we arrived in Philadelphia, we weren't in time to tour the Eastern State Penitentiary but we did get to see it from the outside! | We looked for Adrian in Philly - didn't find her, but we did find Rocky! We couldn't visit Philly without having a Philly Cheese Steak and some cheese fries!
67: Note to those throwing pennies on the grave of Benjamin Franklin - Lincoln is on the penny. | The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall | Statue of Washington in front of Independence Hall | I'm standing in the room in Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution was signed
68: After visiting Philly our destination was Gettysburg, PA. We got into town and immediately knew we couldn't get a room - there were a ton of motorcycles in every hotel parking lot! A biker rally with about 30,000 people was in town! We had to go up near Harrisburg, PA to find an available room - and one with wireless internet! | Day 15 Saturday July 11th Harrisburg, PA to Columbus, OH Departing time - 9:00am Arrival time - 9:30pm | We began the day by returning to Gettysburg and taking the self guided driving tour of the battlefields there.
69: The National Cemetery nearby has a monument at the location where Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address. We met a Civil War reenactor who was happy to take a picture as long as he didn't have to hold Janky - he wasn't "of the period". On our way to Ohio we passed through West Virginia. The amount of time it took to take this picture was almost equal to the amount of time we spent in West Virginia!
70: We had spent the night with TinyMoMo in Columbus, Ohio....TinyMoMo rocks! Janky was checking out one of her birds when he suddenly found himself being checked out by him a little too closely! On our way home we ate at a Steak-n-Shake since we don't have one near us, it was yum yum yummy! In Ohio we also saw a sneaker just slightly bigger than one of my boots! | Day 16 Sunday July 12th Columbus, OH to Home Departing time - 9:45am Arrival time - 3:30am
71: In Indiana we stopped at Purdue University where they have a statue of Neil Armstrong and replica footprints of his first walk on the moon. Also in Indiana was a nudist resort with a giant lady leg sundial! Janky was having so much fun he didn't want to put his clothes back on! It might be about time for a new road trip vehicle...today we hit road construction and had to pull over because the truck was over heating!
72: And so we come to the conclusion of our road trip. Baked and I, and all the trolls and dolls had an AWESOME time on the road trip! Thanks to all the OLS'ers that helped make this an AWESOME road trip! For our final pic of the road trip Baked and I would like to offer you a toast - ya'll ROCK!
73: On this road trip we were in 15 states - MN, WI, IL, IN, OH, NY, VT, NH, MA, ME, RI, CT, NJ, PA, WV The most states we were in in one day - 4, we were in 4 different states in one day 3 different times - CT, NY, NJ, PA - NY, VT, NH, ME - OH, IN, IL, WI The state that we went through the most number of times - NY The number of days we were gone on the road trip (includes the time at the convention) - 16 Total number of miles we drove - 4,604 Total driving time - 90 hours and 38 minutes Top speed - 87.1 MPH Total number of times I was asked if I've fallen/how do I keep from falling while wearing my boots - countless Actual number of times I fell while wearing my boots - 1 Baked and I would like to thank the following for making this an AWESOME road trip - Oranjkaat & hubby, Tfacey & hubby, IronButterfly & hubby, MMCater67 & niece, RewCatherine & hubby, Terfool & hubby, TinyMoMo & family - ya'lls generosity and hospitality are very much appreciated! Special shout outs to OLS'ers BrianTulane for the KISS shirt and to GorillaDad and MomOfMandC for visiting us at the convention. Also a thanks to Maineiac, MizAttitude, Shoppin'Queen and EtchedInMemory - sorry we couldn't meet in person, but it was great chattin' with ya'll on the phone! And finally I'd like to publicly thank BakedAlaska - for without him these road trips would have never happened. Baked is the one spends a lot of time and energy putting together these trips. He researches the sites to visit, figures out the best routes to take and does all the driving. Baked is also the one that pretty much takes all of the pics - if it were me taking all the pics I'd only have a dozen or so to post. THANKS! Baked - you ROCK!