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05/28/2003 Archived Entry: "First report from Free State Project Grand Western Conference"

WHEN I SAID I'D BE BACK TO BLOGGING ON TUESDAY, I REALLY MEANT IT. But reality had other opinions. My road trip to the Grand Western Conference of the Free State Project was plagued by multiple truck problems, which ultimately left me sitting on the side of the freeway in the early morning rain just when I should have been heading home.

However, this was also a classic case of dark clouds having silver linings. From the moment I arrived in Missoula, Montana, with a crippled truck late Friday evening, everybody -- most especially Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association -- rushed to help. An auto-electric shop stayed open late on Saturday, and on that day my ex Significant Sweetie (who's as nice an ex as anybody could ever want to have) and a stranger named Andy hauled me back and forth to the conference. Free Staters Debra and Torry Ricketts (Debra also being Clairewolfe.com's Webmistress of the Dark) bought my lunch and brought it to me when I was too frazzled even to know what to order. Sunni Maravillosa sat in at my table to help with book sales. Rick Tompkins, who was there to sell books for himself and Vin Suprynowicz, ended up selling a bunch for me as well, and asked nothing in return. And I'm sure I'm forgetting to mention yet other acts of kindness.

On Monday -- which could have been the real catastrophe, with a dead truck in the middle of nowhere -- all kinds of kind Montana strangers helped out, giving as fine an example as any why Montana looks increasingly like the strongest Free State candidate. But the best part of that disastrous holiday Monday was that Gary Marbut swooped in once again and not only fixed my truck when no shop was open but treated me like a princess all day, gave me a free shooting lesson, fixed me a great dinner, and put me up at his house, which is in one of the most glorious spots in a glorious state. (Just take a look at the view from his front yard. After looking at the photo, multiply the gloriousness times 10. The photo was taken in poor light and misty air and doesn't begin to show the real wonders.)

All I had to do in exchange for this day-long mini-vacation in paradise was clean up the watermelon we conspired to blast all over Gary's patio. After that, I can categorically state two things:

Gary also gave me a couple of really wicked privacy ideas, which I'll share once I've recuperated a bit.

Tomorrow I'll write a bit about the conference itself (which was sponsored by the Montana Libertarian Party). The short version of that report will be that the conference was outstanding and by golly I actually think the cat herders of the FSP may pull this project off, despite all the odds. Oh yeah, and that Montana just increased its odds in the Free State voting by a great heap. Everybody there was very impressed with the conference, the state, and the super-friendly, cussedly independent Montana people. For instance, when they talk about "new gun laws," they mean ones that get rid of restrictions, not ones that add restrictions. What other state can say that?

Posted by Claire @ 04:38 PM CST

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