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Advice for a Kiwi wanting to come to the ABANA 2012 conference.

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I was tossing round the idea of taking July off workand coming over to the states for the ABANA 2012 conference in Rapid city. There is a sale on flights to San Francisco which is too good to pass up, so i was thinking of hiring a car and driving there and back over several weeks. I also wanted to attend a few smithing classes along the way. So what i want to know is of any good classes in intermediate techneques between San Francisco and Rapid city. Also any must see tourist spots along the way anyone could recomend would be aprreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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You would be starting in a great spot for a tour of the western U.S. and blacksmiths.

I would start with Mark Aspery in CA, then go south into AZ and NM to see Frank Turley and Thomas Powers.

Redwoods in CA - lost wages in Nevada - Grand Canyon in AZ are logical cool things to see.

North through western CO - avoid the blank area of eastern CO if you can help it.

WY is the cowboy state - find a Mint Bar and stay a few days. Kiwi's will feel at home with these folks.

Hit the Rushmore state and plan to explore the Black Hills. Absolutely great people in South Dakota.

Circle back into Buffalo, Sheridan, and Cody WY. There is a blacksmith that gives leasons in Buffalo.

I was raised in Eastern Montana and it is wide open country, but the people are welcoming. Miles City is the Cow Capital of the world and a spot to see.

I'm in Montana and know nothing, but am a place to swing through. I may put you to work if you show though! My wife and I spent our honeymoon in N.Z. and had the best time. We had the feeling we were seeing family at every stop, even though we had just gotten there.

You have to hit Yellowstone, though the smells are just like Rotorua, but it is still very cool. The Beartooth Highway is specatular. Glacier National Park is another stop in MT. The Going to the Sun Highway is an amazing drive. The Flathead Lake area in Montana is beautiful as well.

I am a member of the Northern Rockies Blacksmith Assoc -http://www.hallowellco.com/nrba.htm - there are members around the state including Moris Hallowell in Livingston, MT. His place would be worth a visit.

Then it is on to the Pacific Northwest and the home of the Northwest Blacksmiths Association. I am also a member there and the Seattle area seems like a hotbed of blacksmiths. You have missed Grant Sarver, who passed away this winter...and will be missed deeply. But his work lives on in tools and the people who knew him. I would make a point to see Larry Langdon (Monster Metal) in Seattle. That would be a must stop for me. Look at www.blacksmith.org for more info.

Then you are on the turn to NorCal and back to San Fran....

The more I think about this, I may have to make the swing myself! I wonder if I can sell my wife on this HAHA!

All in all, do a bit of searching here for blacksmith associations and then make some contacts. It will be a tour not to be forgotten.


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How deep a dip south are you willing to do? Frank Turley is about 1 hour north of I40 and I am about 1 hour south of I40 both of us right off I25 which is a north south highway. Also in New Mexico is the G3 school the Gunters run in Moriarty about 1 hour east of the I40 I25 junction.

What kind of things do you like to do and see?

America, especially in the west, is the land of long drives, it's a 2500 kilometer drive for me to attend Quad-State!

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As Thomas pointed out, you need to swing south to get to Santa Fe, NM, before going northeast to Rapid City. I googled the distance between the two cities: 1255 km = 780 miles; 12 hours 48 minutes driving time. I'm not attending the conference, so I should be at the shop. You are certainly welcome, but please make an appointment to make sure I can meet you and show you around.

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