"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Missouri Lt. Governor Calls For State Senator's Resignation

People are sure stupid, or plain evil. Maybe even both.

Missouri State Senator MARIA CHAPPELLE-NADAL (remember that name), a Democrat, posted on social media "hoping" for the assassination of President Trump.

The state's Lieutenant Governor, Mike Parson, issued a press release calling for her resignation:

Yes, this loon should resign or be removed from office.

Riviera RV Park Reviewed

Above, a view of the front of the Riviera RV Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To give myself something to do, I posted my review of the Riviera RV Park in Las Vegas at RV Park Reviews.

In a nutshell:
At first, I was going to stay at a RV park connected to one of Las Vegas hotels, but I found that they tack on a $27.00 "amenities fee" to the daily camping rate, making a stay for one night at about $60.00. I decided, "No, thank you!" and looked elsewhere. Then I found the Riviera RV Park. It is a nice older park that's well-maintained and who has a friendly staff. The sites are a little on the narrow side, but it presented no problem for me as it also has a concrete pad. For the price, I have no complaints! It is about 2-3 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, so the traffic is much lighter in the area. It is within walking distance to stores. I would definitely stay here again! We camped at Riviera RV Park in a Motorhome.
Above, the row where I camped. The laundry and showers are at left. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To see the actual review, go here

Orwell Called The Democrats' Strategy

VICE Magazine Tweets: Calling For Blowing Up Mt. Rushmore

Above, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We live in very strange, and dangerous, times.

The Left in this country are totally out of control. They belong in lunatic asylums.

The latest is a Tweet from the leftist rag, VICE, who calls for the blowing up of Mount Rushmore. This is right out of ISIS's playbook. Some unhinged idiot just may act on this and damage it and other national monuments.

PJ Media reported:
On the same day as a deadly incident in Barcelona that police have confirmed as a terrorist attack, a tweet published by VICE (whose website PJ Media will not link to in this post) called for blowing up Mount Rushmore.
Here's the Tweet that PJ Media copied before VICE removed it:

It is getting to the point where good citizens have to be on the alert for suspicious people who may want to do harm to our monuments and possibly cause death or injury. If I were to see someone attempt something, that person will be immediately knee-capped and their hands broken. Or worse. This is something that none of us should put up with.

Then there's a report of a Missouri state senator (a Democrat) who said she "hopes" President Trump gets assassinated. Another deranged idiot!

To see more, go here.

Made It To Las Vegas

Above, The Beast at the Riviera RV Resort. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The first stop on my little trek to see the eclipse has been reached. I'm in Sin City itself, Las Vegas. This is the first time being here since New Year's 2016.

I got in to the Riviera RV Resort about an hour ago and it is about 101 degrees outside. This is a nice older RV park on the eastern side of Las Vegas. Right now I am basking in my motorhome with Sierra with the air conditioning on.

On the way, I made the first stop in ages in Baker, California. It's the place Glenn Thornhill and I could not remember about 20 years ago.

The Bun Boy Restaurant and motel is no longer in business. That place was like an institution there. The guy at the Del Taco counter said it had been closed down for about six years.

Here's The Beast with the giant thermometer and the closed up Bun Boy Restaurant and Motel in the background:

Above, The Beast in Baker. The giant thermometer reads 100 degrees. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There's an interesting place on Baker's main drag: Alien Fresh Jerky. I've never seen it before. A friend asked if it was still there, but at the time I hadn't seen it (or knew what he was talking about).

After leaving Del Taco, I saw it and got this quick photo of it:

One thing I had to do was to exchange a new harness that I bought last night at Petco in Tarzana for Sierra. The one she had got too small (or she got too big). The new one was still too small, so I swapped it at a Petco in Las Vegas.

That one fits:

Above, Sierra with her new harness. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I don't know what I'll be doing later. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Remains Positively Identified As Kara Kopetsky's

Above, Kara Kopetsky.

A ten-year mystery I've followed from the beginning has finally been solved.

The Kansas City Star reported:
Ten years after Kara Kopetsky walked out of Belton High School and was never heard from again, her remains have been identified. 
DNA tests have confirmed that the second set of human bones found in early April in Cass County belonged to Kopetsky, the high school junior whose 2007 disappearance captured — and has kept — the community’s attention. 
Police officials from Belton and Cass County went to the home of Kopetsky's family Wednesday afternoon to tell them what the parents have said they already knew in their hearts.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article167627987.html#storylink=cpy

Nixon Foundation Remembers Elvis

The Nixon Foundation posted this on Facebook today:
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the passing of the King of Rock and Roll. On December 21, 1970 Elvis stopped by the White House to meet President Nixon where this photo was snapped, now the most requested photo in the National Archives. To see more artifacts surrounding the meeting, visit our online archives: https://www.nixonfoundation.org/artifacts/?artifact_search=elvis&artifact_type

Some Elvis Fans Gripe Over Admission Charge

Above, the Presley gravesite in the Meditation Garden at Graceland. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Some fans of the late King of Rock 'n Roll Elvis Presley are griping over the admission charge to view Elvis's grave during the candlelight procession. Some are calling it "gouging".

Fox News Entertainment reported:
Elvis Presley's fans were ticked off when they were charged a whopping $28.75 to visit the late singer's grave on the 40th anniversary of the rock 'n' roll icon's death. 
Presley fans have been making a solemn procession past the "Love Me Tender" singer's grave at his Graceland mansion during the annual candlelight vigil commemorating his death, without paying a penny for nearly four decades. 
Those who attended the vigil that began Tuesday night and runs into Wednesday were required to purchase the $28.75 Elvis Week Property Pass wristband to walk up the long driveway and past the graves where Presley and relatives are buried. The wristband also provided access to a new $45 million entertainment complex at the Memphis tourist attraction. 
Graceland, operated by Elvis Presley Enterprises, said it anticipated large crowds and it updated its security measures for Elvis Week, the annual celebration of Presley's life and career in music and movies. Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, in Memphis.
Given that crowds of 30,000 to 50,000 (or even more) were expected for the 40th anniversary of Presley's death, to give them a safe visit, the charge was for security and crowd management was made necessary.

The $28.75 charge is not unreasonable, in my opinion. The gravesite in the Meditation Garden at Graceland is a small area and it is necessary to secure the site and manage the throngs coming through the gates. And, it also admits people into the new Elvis Presley's Memphis entertainment complex.

To read more, go here.

Just About Set

Above, The Beast leveled for the refrigerator to be started. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The last bit of preparation for the Great American Eclipse trek has been completed.

I went and topped off the propane tank (it needed almost 3 gallons) this morning. Given the crowds and traffic expected, it is better to get it filled now instead of waiting. As Dawn said, "It is always better to be over-prepared than not prepared at all." How true.

After getting home, I turned on the refrigerator/freezer. It will be cold enough this evening to load all of the perishables. 

I also stopped at the post office and put a vacation hold on my mail.

All that will remain to do is to load up my duffel bag and Sierra in the morning and we're off.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Idaho Meeting Eclipse Management Challenge

Above, this resident of Yellowstone Bear World will have a ringside seat to the eclipse. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

With the expected high numbers of people flocking to Idaho to see the eclipse, the state's transit authority is planning to meet the challenge of managing it.

The Weekly Mailer reported:
BOISE — It's only one week away from the biggest astrological event in the Gem State since 1979. Dubbed The Great American Eclipse, it could also be the biggest tourist attraction and traffic generator in Idaho history. 
Along with many other local and state agencies, the Idaho Transportation Department is preparing for the total solar eclipse that will be visible across the southern portion of the state Aug. 21. ITD is organizing a statewide plan to be responsive when necessary, ready to assist law enforcement, and reduce impacts to travelers in the days surrounding the eclipse.
To read more, go here.

Minnie Winnie Chases Solar Eclipse

Above, The Beast at Lake Cachuma. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It looks like mine won't be the only Minnie Winnie RV that will be chasing the solar eclipse next week. (I'm sure there will be others.)

From the Statesman Journal:
The Minnie Winnie is stocked and ready to roll. 
Our destination is Solartown, a makeshift camping area just outside Madras off Highway 26. Organizers are converting a farmer’s field into a checkerboard of more than 5,000 RV and tent sites for the eclipse. 
Madras is considered by meteorologists, astronomers, and umbraphiles — better known as eclipse chasers — as one of the best viewing spots in the country. 
Because of its predictable weather, low light noise, favorable elevation, scenic mountain views and wide open spaces, it should provide a perfect sky for the first total eclipse to sweep across America in 99 years.

To read more, go here

Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers

Above, the Celestron Solar Shades kit I have. It is on the AAS approved list.

People with common sense know that looking directly at the sun, during an eclipse and otherwise, will lead to permanent eye damage. That means...blindness!

The American Astronomical Society has posted a list of reputable, and most importantly, safe vendors of viewing glasses, filters and viewers.

They start with:
Here you'll find lists of reputable manufacturers and authorized dealers of solar filters and viewers; these include companies with which members of the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force have had prior (and positive!) experience as well as companies whose products have been certified safe by authorities we recognize and whose certification we have confirmed to be genuine. Your eyes are precious! You don't need astronomers to tell you that, but you do need astronomers to tell you where to get safe solar filters: from the companies listed on this page. To do otherwise is to take unnecessary risks. If a supplier isn't listed here, that doesn't mean its products are unsafe — only that we have no knowledge of them or that we haven't convinced ourselves they are safe. For more information see our Eye Safety pages.

To read more, go here

Stopping At Crater Lake National Park

Above, a panorama view of Crater Lake. Photo by Epmatsw via Wikipedia.

One place on my itinerary during my eclipse trip is Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. I have been there twice. The first time was a day trip in 1968 and the second was a camping trip in 1971.

Thankfully, I have camping reservations and will spend a couple of nights there.

According to the National Park Service's Crater Lake website:
Crater Lake inspires awe. Native Americans witnessed its formation 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Scientists marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and perhaps the most pristine on earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range.
From Crater Lake, I will be heading down into California to stop at Lassen Volcanic National Park and the northern areas of the Mother Lode (a.k.a. Clamper Country).

Monday, August 14, 2017

Las Vegas and Dump Station

Above, today at the dump station at Malibu Creek State Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

More things got accomplished in preparation to my trip north to see the eclipse.

Last night, I was going to reserve a site at Circus Circus RV Park in Las Vegas for a night. The stated price was $31/night. Sounded reasonable enough. But when I went to make a reservation, it automatically tacked on a $27 daily resort fee to it. And that's not counting taxes!

Sorry, Charlie! But $58+ a night is not what I call a reasonable price. I don't remember a daily resort fee when we stayed there two years ago.

So, I found another RV park that is under $30 a night. Much better!

Today, I headed off to Malibu Creek State Park to fill the fresh water tank and to empty the black and grey water tanks. That went smoothly.

Then, on the way back home, I stopped and filled the gas tank. I won't need to get gasoline until I reach Utah.

So, I am pretty much done. I do have to get a few more groceries, but other than that, we're good to go.

40 Years Ago This Week

Above, Memphis newspapers announcing Elvis Presley's
 death on display at Sun Studio. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Tuesday, August 16, 1977 was a relatively quiet summer day. It was warm, but humid out as there was a monsoon flow coming up from Mexico into the Los Angeles area.

But the day would turn out to be one of those days where a news event causes people to remember exactly where they were at and what they were doing when the news hit.

I was at home in Hawthorne watching a James Cagney comedy movie, One, Two, Three (1961) that was directed by Billy Wilder. It would be a couple of hours later that I would have to go to work in Redondo Beach. My mother was outside working in the yard.

Above, Graceland mansion. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A news bulletin interrupted the movie. It was announced that singer Elvis Presley had been found unresponsive at his Graceland mansion on Elvis Presley Blvd. in Memphis, Tennessee and was rushed by ambulance to Baptist Memorial Hospital, where efforts to revive him failed and he was pronounced dead.

After hearing the bulletin, I rushed outside to tell my mother, who was a big Elvis fan.

Later, when I went to work, it began to rain. It was strangely appropriate. It was a strange day all around.

This all occurred 40 years ago.

Above, Elvis Presley's grave. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Currently, this year's Elvis Week in Memphis is commemorating the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's passing.

"Ten Things You Didn't Know About Japan"

Above, the Godzilla statue in Hibiya. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Everyone enjoys trivia. Well, almost everyone.

If you are in the first category, you'll enjoy reading an article of "Ten Things You Didn't Know About Japan" from Travel At 60.

They begin with:
Japan is one of the world's powerhouses for technology, but it's also has a culture that's firmy steeped in history and tradition. A unique culture with interesting customs has developed in the island nation – here are a few facts that surprised us, and will hopefully pique your interest, too.
Kaiju fans will find number 6 of interest.

To read more, go here

Sunday, August 13, 2017

California RV Show and Others Coming Up

Fall is not too distant in the future, which means RV shows will be held around the country.

If one is interested in buying a motorhome or trailer, seeing what's new and available in one location is quite handy.

The California RV Show will be held October 6 - 15 at the Fairplex in Pomona. I am going to try to attend this one. Along with RVs, accessories and other vendors usually set up booths.

Do It Yourself RV has a list of RV shows and they begin with:
Fall RV shows are coming up soon.  They’re fun to attend even if you’re not looking to buy a new rig.  You can get a sneak peek at the latest 2018 models and find end-of-the-year deals if you are considering upgrading your home on wheels.  Acres of RVs, trailers, fifth wheels and more are on display, as well as a variety of seminars and new camping products. 
These are fifteen of the annual RV shows that are set over the next couple of months.  Check out if any of these events are close to your neck of the woods and be sure to add them to your calendar.

To read more, go here

8 Exciting Things To Do In Tokyo

Above, the Nijubashi Bridge at the Imperial Palace. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Wondering what to do in Tokyo after getting there?

India Today has a list of eight "exciting" things to do while in Tokyo.

They begin with:
Japan's frenetic and crowded capital is a mix of the uber-modern and the traditional, with neon-lit streetscapes, mega malls, alongside sprawling parks, Shinto shrines and lantern-lit pubs and restaurants. Our pick of eight ways to experience the city.

To read more, go here

'Inbound Insurance' For Japan Visitors

Above, Nakamise Street in Asakusa. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Foreign visitors to Japan hit a record 24.04 million in 2016. While this is great for Japan's economy and with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just around the corner. This also presents a problem. Many foreigners who had to seek medical care while in Japan didn't pay their bills.

Insurers are looking to push for more "inbound insurance" to be made available to visitors.

According to The Mainichi:
Major non-life insurance firms are focusing their efforts on the sale of "inbound insurance" to foreign visitors coming to Japan that covers illness and injury, it has been learned. 
With the number of inbound tourists rapidly increasing, there has been a spate of uninsured foreigners receiving medical care before returning home without paying -- prompting insurance firms to offer and promote "inbound insurance" to individual travelers as well as companies involved in their trips.

To read more, go here.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Elvis Week Is On In Memphis

Elvis Week Kicks Off Today
It's time to rock 'n' roll - Elvis Week starts today! This week is full of Elvis celebrations, from the Elvis Fan Reunion today to the Conversations on Elvis panels to the Salute to Sun Concert and everything else in between. A few events are already sold out, but it's not too late to join the party - go to ElvisWeek.com now to see a list of events and to purchase tickets. If you're celebrating at home, click here to find out how to stay connected to everything Elvis Week.
Guest Blog: Top 5 Things I Can't Wait to Experience at Elvis Week
Elvis Week Blogger Jon Waterhouse has packed his blue suede shoes and he's ready to tackle Elvis Week. From Elvis Presley's Memphis to live concerts, Jon shares the Top 5 Things He Can't Wait to Experience at Elvis Week on his first Elvis Week 2017 blog.
Read the Blog

Bear Encounters At Mesa Verde National Park

Above, a black bear at Yellowstone Bear World in Rexburg, Idaho. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This story caught my attention as I've camped at Morefield Campground at Mesa Verde National Park twice. The first time was in a hard-sided travel trailer and then in a tent trailer (or pop-up trailer). During both visits, we saw no bears (just a lot of mule deer) and we really weren't aware of a bear population at the park.

According to The Journal, bear and human encounters at Mesa Verde are on the rise.

They wrote:
Like much of Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park has seen more than its share of encounters between bears and humans this summer, and its staff is recruiting volunteers to help. 
According to a news release Friday from Mesa Verde public information officer Cristy Brown, several members of the park’s black bear population have been spotted rooting through dumpsters and unattended food near campsites and picnic tables. Like other recent bear sightings throughout the region, these are likely caused by a shortage of natural food sources due to a late frost, according to the release. To prevent conflicts between bears and humans, the park plans to start a volunteer bear safety education program in conjunction with the nonprofit Bear Smart Durango and other wildlife management agencies.

To read more, go here

Yellowstone Traffic Problem May Force Changes

Above, a mother bear and her two cubs caused a "wildlife jam" during one of our Yellowstone tours. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When my daughter and I visited Yellowstone National Park two years ago, our park visits consisted of two tours and one early-morning drive-through to get to Grand Teton National Park on our way home. We got to see more of the park during the tours than we would have if we drove ourselves in The Beast, and without the headaches of driving.

A new study reveals that the average visitor spends 60 to 80 percent of their time in Yellowstone behind other vehicles. This may prompt a change.

Condé Nast Traveler has posted an article on this problem.

They begin with:
When visitors roaming Yellowstone National Park in cars see a grizzly bear and her cubs, or a herd of bison, they stop. And so do the cars behind them, every window open as cameras lurch to get that perfect shot. The National Park Service (NPS) calls these stoppages "wildlife jams," and a new NPS report reveals each one results in a 30- to 120-minute traffic backup. The study, one of two released Thursday, examines the way swelling crowds, especially during peak season, threaten not only the environment, but the visitor experience, and come to a bleak conclusion: In July, the roadways near popular attractions such as Old Faithful are 29 percent over capacity, and if action isn't taken, the entire park could hit its traffic capacity in just four to six years. If nothing changes, and visitor numbers increase with current year-over-year trends, it could lead to backups at popular sites and unsustainable degradation to the road system and the natural environment.
Above one of the tour buses we took with a private tour company to see Yellowstone. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Possible changes may include shuttle buses and reservation systems.

To read more, go here

Friday, August 11, 2017

Eclipse Humor

Knowing that I am headed to Idaho next week to view the total eclipse of the sun, a friend posted this on my Facebook page.

Funny how that should come up, especially after posting about how the online maps of the eclipse may be off at the totality's edges by about a mile.

Here's what he posted:

If this were true, it would save me a lot of driving miles!

Eclipse Maps May Be...Wrong!

Oh-oh! Some astronomical mapping experts are saying that online eclipse maps are wrong and may be off by a mile.

The Kansas City Star reported:
Anyone who has been using online maps to decide where they intend to view the historic Aug. 21 total eclipse of the sun may want to take another look. 
Those maps, provided by NASA and others, show a crisply defined, 70-mile-wide path of totality where the moon will block 100 percent of the sun. But they are not as precise as they appear, at least on their edges. 
The southern edge of the path as shown on the maps could be off by as little as the length of a football field or as much as a half-mile, eclipse mapping experts say. Likewise for the northern edge, meaning the path of totality might be just 69 miles wide.
I'm not concerned as I will be smack dab within the eclipse' umbra of totality.

To read more, go here

The Guardian Reviews "Shin Godzilla"

Above, Shin Godzilla is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Across a couple of rather sizeable "ponds" and continents, the United Kingdom's The Guardian has posed a review of Shin Godzilla, Toho's latest Godzilla flick from last year.

Their review begins with:
The myth of Gojira or Godzilla is revived again in this watchable entertainment: the gigantic Japanese sea monster rises once more from the deep to terrify humanity and destroy whole cities. 
In the original 1954 movie, it was awakened from its sleep by America’s nuclear testing in the Pacific: a symbolically transformed vision of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a complex, ambiguous expression of Japan’s own potential for rage – and retribution. In this movie, its rebirth is caused by the dumping of nuclear waste. There are lots of very shrewd and amusing scenes showing Japan’s bickering and sclerotic bureaucracy.
The Guardian has also posted an obituary on the original Godzilla actor, Haruo Nakajima. A link is included with the Shin Godzilla review article.

To read it, go here

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