The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Greetings from New Hampshire

Posted on | September 4, 2011 | 10 Comments

“In the course of this apparently endless campaign, I have set up the National Affairs Desk in some of the worst hotels, motels and other foul commercial lodging establishments in the western world. Politicians, journalists, and traveling salesmen seem to gravitate to these places – for reasons I’d rather not think about, right now – but the Wayfarer is a rare and constant exception. The one that proves the rule, perhaps . . . but, for whatever reason, it is one of my favorite places: a rambling, woodsy barracks with big rooms, good food, full ice machines, and . . . yes . . . a brief history of pleasant memories.”
Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72

We left Worcester, Mass., about noon and hooked a left onto Route 13 North through Townsend toward the New Hampshire state line at Brookline. Da Tech Guy’s big Buick Le Sabre is a big car for such a small road. North of Townsend, Route 13 is a lumpy two-lane running through the forest, and the first thing you notice when you cross into New Hampshire is the higher-quality of highway pavement. No more of those rutted and badly patched Massachusetts roads here.

Unlike Iowa, where Council Bluffs is 130 miles from Des Moines, New Hampshire is a small state and the distances are short. After crossing the border, we drive about 10 miles, hang a right onto Route 101 East, and then it’s about 15 miles to Manchester. So the total drive time from Worcester to Manchester is barely 40 minutes, although I’m sure we could have trimmed that time considerably if Pete had let me drive the Buick, which has a powerful V-8 that could have us rocketing along at 90 mph, were I behind the wheel. (And we haven’t seen a New Hampshire State Trooper yet. “Live Free or Die” is a motto incompatible with rigorous enforcement of speed limits.)

New Hampshire state legislators are paid just $100 a year, the legislature only meets part-time and there is no state income tax. By contrast, Massachusetts state legislators make $50,000 a year, the legislature meets year-round and the state income taxes are so high that there is a continuous out-migration of fed-up residents moving to neighboring New Hampshire. Unfortunately (and perversely), the immigrants from “Taxachusetts” often bring with them to the Granite State the same liberal values and Democrat political loyalties that have made the Bay State increasingly unlivable.

We arrived in Manchester and drove directly to Herman Cain’s New Hampshire campaign headquarters on Lowell Street. Nobody was in the office, but there was a note on the door: “If locked call 570-604-0809 for Cain info.” No problem. Right across from Cain HQ is the world-famous Red Arrow Diner, visited by every presidential candidate in recent memory.

From here, we were due to push on to Concord, where Mitt Romney is scheduled to headline a 6 p.m. rally at Rollins Park. En route, however, I wanted to stop by a famous local landmark. But when we got to 121 South River Street . . .

Alas, the Wayfarer Inn — that “rare and constant exception” to the western world’s “foul commercial lodging establishments” — is no more. It was boarded up and surrounded by a chain-link fence, parts of it covered in graffiti. I did, however, manage to get a photo of the main entrance, site of one of the most hilarious scenes in Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72.

Somewhere, I’m sure, Frank Mankiewicz was still hiding in the shrubbery, waiting to waylay innocent journalists. So we moved on . . .

Yes, I’m filing this from the Playland of a McDonald’s up the road from the Wayfarer. There’s probably a metaphor in this, but no time to think about it now. Next stop, Concord.


10 Responses to “Greetings from New Hampshire”

  1. Dell Hill
    September 4th, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

    You may not have seen a NH Statie yet, but they’ve seen you.  See all those bushes, Stacy???  You’d be amazed at how quickly a cruiser comes flying out from behind them!  I speak from many years of experience.  Let Pete drive.

  2. Greetings from New Hampshire « That Mr. G Guy's Blog
    September 4th, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

    […] Greetings from New Hampshire. […]

  3. Anonymous
    September 4th, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

    Welcome to the Granite State! Dan Collins and I will be looking for you tomorrow.

    Also, plug the “no sales or income tax” thing about New Hampshire, too. We’re damned proud of that.


  4. Charles
    September 4th, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

    “And we haven’t seen a New Hampshire State Trooper yet. ‘Live Free or Die’ is a motto incompatible with rigorous enforcement of speed limits.)”

    Ha ha ha. And driving with Massachusetts plates. Ha ha ha. You don’t see the state troopers? Better scan the sky for aircraft…. Ha ha ha ha.

  5. Anonymous
    September 4th, 2011 @ 11:34 pm

    Am thinking posting from McDonald’s is to become frequent feature of this blog, if only because Waffle House doesn’t have wi-fi.

  6. Dianna Deeley
    September 5th, 2011 @ 12:19 am

    Playland! Wasn’t it noisy?

    The last time I was inside a Playland, my niblings were participants in the free-for-all, and it was loud. I couldn’t imagine writing anything!

  7. Fear And Loathing 2011: The Angle From New England « The Camp Of The Saints
    September 4th, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

    […] filed a report earlier today, which mentioned, among other things, his and Pete’s visit to some hallowed ground.  Pete […]

  8. JeffS
    September 5th, 2011 @ 3:22 am

    In just a few years, Stacy can get free coffee refills.  That ought to reduce the drain on the Shoe Leather Fund.

  9. Adjoran
    September 5th, 2011 @ 3:25 am

    Stacy should be charging them for product placement.

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