First and foremost, I got my exam results which were fine, and my 2nd year of medicine is finally done and dusted. Back to the business at hand, and slightly late. But hey, don’t sue me, I’m on holiday! Here’s part two.
Dennis, who lives next door to my brother, is a collector. Not just any collector, but a collector who collects everything that’s possibly collectable. Of course, this includes guns (it’s America after all). One evening my brother mentioned to him that I was interested in guns, and the next thing I knew I was sat in front of couple of WW2 era rifles (a Springfield and a Lee Enfield if you’re curious). Slightly later another rifle came out, along with a trench gun – a shotgun used in WW2. For their age, the weapons were all in good condition, and had interesting stories attached to each one. For simplicity and sheer beauty of design the Winchester M97 trench gun wins out, and in combination with a bayonet, there are few more menacing sights.
There was also some nostalgic fun to be had in a nickel arcade in Portland, where most of the games are 5 cents per play. Gun games such as House of the Dead were more expensive, but still only cost 20 cents, as opposed to £1 at most arcades I’ve been too at home. Most of the machines reward you with tickets if you are successful which can be exchanged for various prizes at the end of the visit. Lame prizes, of course, but prizes nonetheless. We ended up with a box of snapping things, bamboo flutes, and an assortment of tootsie rolls. Not bad all things considered. After the arcade a bar was suggested, but because I’m under 21 that idea was scrapped. Instead we went to Rimsky’s, a quirky coffee place in an old house in Portland. The tables and chairs were an eclectic mix, with books and scripts scattered across the tabletops, providing some more interest. The guy serving us was hilariously camp, and added to the whole experience. And the bathroom…I can’t really tell you about the bathroom, you’ll just have to go and see it for yourself. The dessert and hot chocolate were good too, though the atmosphere was what really made it.
And I haven’t even touched on the gun show. I’ve never seen so many guns in one place before, and so many which will never be legal to own in Northern Ireland. Every imaginable gun in every imaginable calibre was there to be handled, bought and sold. The show was run by Collectors West in the Portland Expo Centre. It was all fascinating, but at the same time, frustrating that I would never be able to get hold of the vast majority of them at home. The difference in gun control between here and home is incredible, though most people seem to have a better attitude and more respect for firearms over here. I’m afraid that by making it so difficult to get hold of them in the UK, the government has created a very negative and irresponsible attitude, in turn making it more difficult to hand back responsibility for the people. What ever way you look at it, guns will still find their way into the wrong hands no matter how strict the laws – why punish people who are going to use them appropriately?
But I digress. I wanted them all! Some of the revolvers were incredible, and truly worthy of the title “hand cannons”. I got to hold the Raging Bull, and it is as heavy and as impressive as it looks in the picture. Nobody would mess with the owner of that gun. The AR15 style is very popular in rifles at the moment, and like the Colt 1911, every manufacturer seems to produce their own copy of the design to varying degrees of success. I got to handle an H&K MP5SD and a Steyr Aug, which are much heavier than you’d expect given the compact size.If I was living out here, I’d probably be bankrupt by now with the amount of choice. Having said that, guns are a lot cheaper here than at home, and there are a lot of used models knocking about too.
That’s as much as I can write at the moment for part two, but there’s still more to come. Multnoma Falls, Hood Mountain, and good old fashioned geese butchering!