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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Final Night on the Road of the Vision Tour - Concord NEW HAMPSHIRE - "Live Free or Die"

This Capitol is the oldest one in the USA still being used in its original configuration. It is on a nice level lot downtown. It is made of granite.

Today we visited the Capitol at Concord. To say it was unusual would be an understatement. This state loves its freedom.

The state motto is "Live Free or Die." It is everywhere including across the top of their license plates. Simply it means freedom is more important than anything.

We have visited almost every state capitol - and the Concord Capitol is the only one you can walk into without going through a metal detector or any kind of search. We walked through the hallways freely and even stumbled into the House which was in session. We were able to sit down right on the rail and watch them passing laws. I asked just to make sure I could take pictures - they said of course I could. After the session was over - we all walked out of the front door together - we were parked right by the front door. It seemed like a different time - reminded me of scenes from "To Kill A Mocking Bird."

Some think the motto should be, "Live Free or Cheap." The constitution does not allow them to pass mandates without the funding. If the state makes you do something - they fund it.

New Hampshire has no sales tax and new income tax. They do have property tax and a few other fees. One thing they do is sock it to tourists. Hotel and Restaurant taxes are 9% - the steepest we have run into. All that being said - the population is not growing or falling. 98% of the people are white of European ancestry. I guess the folks from the tropics do not like the cold. We have not experienced 60 degrees since we have been here. We have had plenty of rain - fog - and wind.

About 15 years ago there was a debate about the motto on the license plates. Some of the Mennonites were covering the "die" part of the motto with tape. The state decided to arrest them for defacing public property. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court before the it was reversed. It is a violation of our civil rights to make someone wear the motto on their car.

Another funny story story is "The Old Man in the Mountain." About 200 years ago someone discovered a rock formation that looked like a bearded man. They even put his picture on their license plates. The locals were crushed in 2003 when the rock formation collapsed. But that did not stop the legislature from "worshipping" this past rock formation. If you drive by the rock formation on the highway - and look through the state sponsored telescopes - the old man appears on the glass. I guess that was easier than buying all new license plates.

New Hampshire only has 1.3 million people. It is one of the few states that has more US Senators (2) than members of the US House (1). Even though New Hampshire has so few people - the USA allows them to have the first primary election for the presidency. Explain to me how that works?

The state motto on a piece of granite cut out to look like a map of New Hampshire. We use more granite from this state than any other. Granite is simply lava that cooled underground very slowly (magma).

The state motto on this old wooden boat.

This afternoon Lulu and I stumbled into a session of the Legislature. All the doors were wide open - from the front door - to the hallways - to the chamber. I thought of how easy it would have been to have a few hand gernades in my pocket and lob them down into the gallery. They were packed together very closely without desks. They voted by pushing a red or green button. They had 30 seconds to vote. House Bill 12 passed while we were there.

The Senate already went home for the weekend.

They gave Lulu a sweatshirt with "NH" on it. Under the big letters is - live free or die.

This was our hotel at Meredith NH. Although the weather stunk - this hotel is one of the nicest hotels we stayed in. Our room was cozy.

Since New Hampshire has such a small population - there are plenty of short numbered plates like "6" or "DE." Also - this state seems to have more vanity plates per capita - it must be cheap to get what you want on a plate. Note the motto and the old man that is no more.

The Vision Tour ends tomorrow in Merrimack NH - Number 35.

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