"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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Saturday, August 18, 2018

New Awning

Above, The Beast with its new awning. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today, I posted a photo of the new awning at the Minnie Winnie Owners Facebook page. I was asked, "What happened to the old awning?"

My response:
Well, not too long after getting the RV, I was parallel parking it on the street and I didn't notice a telephone pole was leaning towards the street. It rubbed against the awning and did something to it. Years later, due to weathering, it started to separate more. A good wind would tear it further. It was not repairable, so I got a new fabric.

Getting a new awning fabric was one of the things I had done yesterday at La Mesa RV. The hardware was in excellent shape, so it wasn't necessary to replace it.

Fun With Fox News Aretha Franklin Mess-Up

From People.com:
Fox News has issued an apology for using a photo of singer Patti LaBelle in their Aretha Franklin tribute following the news of Franklin’s death on Thursday. 
“We sincerely apologize to Aretha Franklin’s family and friends,” Fox News Vice President, Media Desk Jessica Santostefano said in a statement given to PEOPLE.

Users in social media have been having fun with this story by posting Aretha Frankin "memorial" photos with different people including Oprah, Whoopie Goldberg, "Aunt Esther" from Sanford and Son and others.

For more on the Fox News screw-up, go here.

I guess this can go into the Ron Burgundy Hall of Fame!

Home Again

Above, the welcome screen at La Mesa RV. My name is at the top. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Everything that needed fixin' got fixed yesterday at La Mesa RV in Albuquerque.

I got to Albuquerque Thursday afternoon and stayed at the Route 66 RV Resort. They are only about 8 miles from La Mesa RV. I spent most of Thursday relaxing at the RV park. That evening, we had some thunderstorms come through.

Above, at Route 66 RV Resort. Rains started a minute after I took this shot. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I had a 9:00 appointment with their service department and I was first there. But that didn't guarantee that I would be first done.

There were three things that needed to get done.

First, replacement of the awning fabric. The old one was beginning to tear away from where it is connected to the RV. This was caused three years ago when it rubbed on a leaning telephone pole that I didn't see. It presented to problems over the succeeding years, but exposure to he elements caused it to begin separating or sightly tearing. If it were deployed in a very strong wind, I would have been ripped away. It was not repairable, so a new fabric was installed.

Next, a part of the molding at the bottom corner of the back end was bent and pulled out. My friend Mitch's driveway was very steep and when he drove the RV up the hill at an angle, it caught the corner of the unit. This was repaired (at no charge).

Finally, the dash air conditioning had a vacuum leak that caused the blower doors inside not to open or switch correctly. When it started, the a/c would cut out when driving uphill. I thought this was a design to allow more power to the engine for climbs, but gradually it happened uphill, downhill and level. Thanks to fellow Minnie Winnie owners, I found that this is common with Ford E350 chassis and is due to a vacuum leak.

Above, free lunch at the La Mesa RV grill. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The first two items were completed within two hours, but the service techs had a difficult time trying to find the location of the leak(s). So it took them several hours and they weren't done until after 4:00. I left their facility around 4:30. At least I got free lunch there (carnitas tacos) as they have free lunch day every Friday.

It was a long wait and I made friends with an older couple from Texas who were having a radio replaced on their Fleetwood Bounder. The chairs in the waiting area were not the most comfortable, so I went out to the lot and sat on a sofa in a Class C RV for a while. It was much more comfortable there. I also wandered around the lot and looked at the new RVs.

After an hour and a half drive, I reached home at around 6:00 last evening. Much of he drive was through monsoon downpours. Still, it was an easy and pleasant drive.

Friday, August 17, 2018

12 Things To Do In Tokyo With Kids

Above, Tokyo Skytree is the largest free-standing broadcasting tower in the world. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Many people traveling to Japan often travel with their children. Most will spend a good portion of their visit in Tokyo but wonder what's there to entertain their children.

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has posted a list of 12 things to do in Tokyo with kids.

They begin with:
Japan is a safe and family-friendly travel destination. There’s no shortage of activities and attractions to keep kids of all ages entertained. 
Here are 12 things to do in Tokyo with kids on your next visit.

To find out what they are, go here

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Dinner and Jesse James

Above, the Route 66 Casino. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For dinner tonight, I eventually decided to go to the Hungry Cowboy buffet in the Route 66 Casino.

Before actually deciding on it, I walked around to check out their offerings. It as after this that I decided to eat there.

The food items I selected were heavily on the veggie side. I did try out a spicy pork dish, a little bit more that a taste. Along with the meal, I had a glass of white zinfandel wine.

For dessert, I had to skip the elaborate desert section and had instead a half of a peach.

Above, a Jesse James wanted poster. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Hungry Cowboy buffet is in a large room in the casino and decorated with western memorabilia. There are a couple of large video screens showing old (as in 1930s) westerns. I saw one vintage wanted poster for Jesse James, which got me remembering the line from an old folk song about James:
But that dirty little coward
That shot Mr. Howard
Has laid poor Jesse in his grave.
It looks like we're going to have some thunderstorms tonight.

Foreign Visitors To Japan Reached 2.8 Million In July

Above, the Hachikō statue at Shibuya Station in Tokyo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan saw a new record in foreign visitors to the country in July, according to an article in News On Japan.

The article, originating from NHK, reported:
The number of foreign visitors to Japan in July hit a record for the month, supported by growing ranks of individual travelers from China. 
The Japan National Tourism Organization says an estimated 2.8 million foreign nationals visited the country last month, up 5.6 percent from a year earlier. 
Officials say visitors from mainland China made up the largest group at 880,000.

To read more, go here

RV Types Explained

Above, The Beast, a Winnebago 22R Class C, at a KOA in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you should be well-versed on the kinds of recreational vehicles that are available on the market.

If not, a "definitive guide" by Curbed.com should get you up to speed. Here, they describe each kind and class of RVs.

They begin with:
There’s a lot to love about campers and RVs (That’s why we started a new community group just for camper addicts, join us!) But even the most enthusiastic camper aficionado can get confused: What makes a Class C different from other RVs? Why is a fifth wheel trailer called, well, a fifth wheel? And are camper vans considered an RV or...something else? 
Whether you’re looking to buy a new camper or just want to level up your camper vocabulary, this guide is a good place to start.

To read more, go here

In Albuquerque

Above, The Beast at the Route 66 RV Resort. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today (and tomorrow) I am in Albuquerque at my favorite RV park in the city, the Route 66 RV Resort at the Route 66 Casino and Hotel.

I am having some work done to The Beast tomorrow and got here a day early to get a haircut and other business.

It is partially cloudy in Albuquerque with thunderheads in the distance surrounding the city. The National Weather Service says we're to have 40% chance of thunderstorms tonight. Maybe I'll get a nice light show tonight.

After arriving in Albuquerque, I had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel restaurant and then a haircut at Supercuts a block away. When I was done, I checked into the Route 66 RV Resort and took a nap.

I am in somewhat of a quandry, though. Usually, when I stay here, I'll have a prime rib dinner at the Thunder Road Steakhouse and Cantina in the casino. Since my July 27 heart attack, I have not had any red meat (beef, pork, etc.). Tomorrow will mark four weeks since the heart attack.

I'll have to think about it.

Aretha Franklin died this morning. I heard the news early this morning while driving to Albuquerque. While waiting for my haircut appointment time, I was listening to Rush Limbaugh, who said this about her:
Aretha. Ladies and gentlemen, I was 16; I was just starting to work in radio when Aretha Franklin bopped on the scene. I was telling Snerdley, “Everybody’s calling her the Queen of Soul,” and there’s no doubt she was. I think that doesn’t go nearly far enough in describing Aretha Franklin, who she was and what she did, her talents and so forth. She was soul, there was no question. 

Some news outlets have taken note that Aretha Franklin died on the 41st anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Curio Cabinet Finished

Finally, the replacement part for the curio cabinet I purchased online (and had to assemble) arrived exactly one week after notifying the manufacturer of the broken mirror on the section.

After it arrived, I proceeded to finish assembling the cabinet.

It took about an hour and a half to complete. Once done, I was able to completely empty two boxes of collectibles.

Here's the finished cabinet:

I have to go though another box for more stuff when I return from Albuquerque this weekend.

UFO Over Lake Norman In North Carolina

A man shot a video of a UFO over Lake Norman near Mooresville, North Carolina.

The video is shaky but the UFO is hovering over the lake for about two minutes.

Man Breaks Silence of Alien Abduction 45 Years Ago

Above, the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It seems that more and more people are coming forth with their stories of UFO and alien encounters.

The latest is from a man who, 45 years ago, was abducted with a friend in Mississippi by aliens.

According to the Clarion Ledger:
On October 11, 1973, Calvin Parker, Jr and Charles Hickson reported being abducted by aliens in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Decades later, in a rare interview with the Associated Press, Parker breaks his silence and stands by his story. (Oct. 11) AP 
It was an event he has been reluctant to speak about, yet it shaped much of his life. 
Calvin Parker, now of Moss Point, along with friend Charles Hickson, claimed they were abducted by aliens while fishing on the Pascagoula River and now Parker has written a book he hopes will set the record straight. 
"Pascagoula — The Closest Encounter, My Story" was recently published. It contains the first full account of the event given by Parker along with how it affected his life. It includes photos, documents and newspaper articles written through the years. It also marks the first time a transcription of a hypnosis session with Parker has been published. 
Parker hopes it will clear the air.

To read more, go here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

"Big Jake"

A few days ago, I ordered some DVDs of John Wayne movies, one of which was Big Jake from 1971.

Along with the Duke, it also stars Maureen O' Hara.

Here's a couple of favorite scenes from Big Jake:

4 RV Cooking Tips

Above, cooking dinner in The Beast. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The one thing that my RV doesn't have much of is counter space. However, that had been solved by buying a sink cutting board/cover and a stove top cover.

These have been very handy while for meal prepping.

There are other ways to make cooking easier while traveling in a RV. Do It Yourself RV has four helpful tips.

They begin with:
RVs come in all shapes and sizes. 
But with a few exceptions, the one common feature is a kitchen with little counter space and limited storage. 
This can be a challenging situation for many people and often the solution is to eat out more often—or only use the RV kitchen sparingly. 
But it doesn’t have to be that way! With these 4 can’t miss tips from hard-fought experience, it’s entirely possible to feed the whole family—and feed them well—in even the smallest RV kitchen.

To read more, go here.

Buying A Used RV: What To Look For

If one's budget for purchasing a RV does not allow for buying new, then buying used is the next best option.

But many people haven't a clue on what to look for when buying a used RV. Fortunately, a new article in RV Life will help steer them in the right direction.

They begin with:
Buying a used RV can be a nerve-racking experience, but it can also be a way to avoid breaking the bank on a brand-new model. If you know what to look for in your potential purchase, you might just score the deal of a lifetime. 
Shopping for a used RV 
Before you decide to start looking for an RV, figure out what type of motorhome or trailer will best suit your lifestyle. If possible, rent or borrow an RV and take it on a weekend excursion to see what you’re comfortable with. Can you drive a 40-foot rig? Do you enjoy camping in smaller vehicles, or do you need more space? 
What floor plan is most convenient for you? When you have what you’re looking for in mind, establish a budget for yourself. Remind yourself of your budget while shopping for RVs and don’t exceed it. This will prevent you from overspending. You can also request quotes from your insurance company to determine what your insurance will cover.

To read more, go here

Monday, August 13, 2018

Beginner's Guide To Climbing Mt. Fuji

Above, a shinkansen view of Mount Fuji. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Scaling the slopes of Mount Fuji in Japan was an easy task for Godzilla and King Kong in 1963. For the rest of us, well, it's not that easy.

However, Japan Today has posted a beginner's guide to climbing it.

It begins with:
TOKYO - If you were looking for an image to represent Japan, chances are the perfect, snow-capped cone of Mt Fuji would be high on your list. It’s not just there to admire from a distance, however. Conquering Fuji is at the top of many people’s bucket lists and with just a few weeks left in the climbing season, now is a great time to take up the challenge! 
To help you along the way, here’s our beginner’s guide to tackling this most iconic of mountains.

To read the guide, go here

David Hogg Desk Figure

Above, the new David Hogg desk figure. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Now in at the local Flying J is this desk figure of your favorite anti-gun attention hog.

If you are a fan, you can keep it on your desk. If you're not a fan, you can use it as a voodoo doll!

Get yours now!


During my visit with Bill and Linda Wilson at they Flying J yesterday, Linda took this shot of me inside of their "living quarters".

FBI Fires Peter Strzok

Gee, this couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!

Fox News reported:
FBI official Peter Strzok, who played a lead role in both the Russian meddling and Hillary Clinton email probes but became a political lightning rod after the revelation of anti-Trump text messages, has been fired.

It's about firggin' time!

To read more, go here.

News From Graceland

See '68 Special in Movie Theaters
Covered head-to-toe in black leather, the king reclaimed his throne in 1968. Don’t miss the 50th anniversary celebration of the Elvis ’68 Comeback Special in theaters for a special two-night event! The iconic television performance that relaunched the king's singing career is coming to select cinemas on August 16 & 20 only!
Get Tickets

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Surprise Visit!

Above, Linda Wilson behind the wheel about to depart the Flying J. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

As I was relaxing after coming home from the Gallup Inter-Tribe Indian Ceremonial, I received a call from longtime buddy Wellington "Bill" Wilson. I've known Bill since junior high.

Above, Linda and Bill Wilson. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

He and his wife Linda (both truckers) were stopped at the Flying J for a break and asked if I were available to come down for a visit. I said I was and headed over.

Above, their dining area and pull-down bed. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The last time Bill saw me was when the paramedics were working on me. Bill said he saw sweat pouring from my head and "out of it" during my heart attack in Wells, Nevada.

We met up and sat in their living quarters of their new semi and chatted for a while. I told them what transpired after the helicopter picked me up from Bella's Restaurant and Espresso and took me to Twin Falls, Idaho.

Above, Bill with one of the three dogs. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

They presented me with get-well card signed by people associated with the Wells Fun Run. That was very nice of everyone to do so. It is much appreciated.

Bill and Linda drive cross-country in their new semi along with their three dogs. It is larger than the one (and that was big as well) Bill showed me a few months ago. They were on their way to Los Angeles with a load from (if I remember right) the Washington, D.C. area. The last place I knew they were at was somewhere in Ohio.

Here's the get-well card they brought:

Thanks to all!

97th Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial Rodeo

Above, the girls' steer riding competition. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today, I decided to go back to Red Rock State Park for the last day's rodeo of the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial.

Above, I guess you can call this a parody of the Beatles' "Abbey Road" album cover. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When I arrived, I perused (again) the exhibit of artwork by Indian artists. Most, if not all, items are for sale (if one happens to win a prize ribbon, the price tends to go up). They consist of rugs, pottery, jewelry, fetishes, sculptures and paintings.

One painting, a parody of the Beatles' "Abbey Road" album cover by Irving Toddy of the Navajo tribe, had an asking price of $2,800.

Above, holding pens of some of the rodeo participants. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I was able to see more today as the crowds were a little thinner.

It is interesting to see the prices for the Navajo rugs. The lowest I saw was around $2,500. My dad paid under $200 for ours back in the 1970s in Page, Arizona. It's still in great shape!

After browsing around the exhibit hall, I headed to the rodeo arena to catch the rodeo. The pre-rodeo entertainment was by sheep riding by young children.

Above, the kiddie sheep-riding competition. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Then, after the opening ceremonies, events including girls bull-riding, men's bronco riding and others took place.

Above, what's a rodeo without some bronco riding? Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I stayed for about an hour. I could have stayed longer, but I thought it prudent to not overtax myself and headed on home. Besides, I didn't want to endure any more of the rodeo clown's bad jokes. He's worse that Bob McArthur.

Above, headed back to The Beast for the 8-mile drive back home. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Hopefully, I will be in better condition to enjoy next year's Ceremonial, which will be their 98th (it started in 1922).

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Democrat Leaders Need To Stop The Mobs

The Looney Left Report

The tactics of the Left of harassing members of the Trump Administration, congressional members and supporters is becoming more frequent. These actions are nothing less than fascist mob tactics. 

Fox Business's Stuart Varney has an excellent video and article.

It begins with:
Maxine Waters famously encouraged her followers to harass anyone connected to President Trump. She said: “If you see anyone in a restaurant, department store, gas station, you create a crowd. Tell them they are not welcome.” 
That is exactly what the left did to two conservatives who are regulars on this program. Charlie Kirk and Candice Owens. 
They walked into a café in Philadelphia. Four Antifa people were already inside. Far-left people, shock troops – they got on their phones and organized a crowd. That’s right out of Maxine Waters’ playbook: create a crowd. Within minutes they were outside shouting about Nazis. The two conservatives paid their check, walked outside and were immediately surrounded by a hostile crowd. Someone emptied a bottle of water over Charlie’s head. Others blew whistles right in Candice’s face. It was ugly. White kids screaming about white supremacy at a young black woman, and black police officers. 
It’s time for Democrat leaders to lay down the law: step up and tell their violent supporters to knock it off. That would be the responsible thing to do. 

To read more, go here

Follow Ian Fleming's (and James Bond's) Footsteps In Japan

Above, a view of Fukuoka from Fukuoka Tower. Ian Fleming visited the city in 1962. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan is more often associated with Godzilla, anime and other genres of pop culture, but James Bond and his creator, Ian Fleming, also visited the Land of the Rising Sun.

Now, visitors can follow in their footsteps.

Above, my copy of You Only Live Twice.

The Japan Times reported:
Tasked to trace the route across Japan that Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond, took in 1962 — and which Bond himself largely follows in Fleming’s penultimate 007 novel “You Only Live Twice” (1964) — it was suggested I could experience the same route but with modern sensibilities. 
In truth, if you wish to follow the two-week trip Fleming took across Japan — beginning in Tokyo and winding your way down to Kyushu — you can assuredly do so, either in one go or knocked off in discrete sections. You can visit nearly all of the places that Fleming went to and see the eternal sights that he did: the Mikimoto pearl fisheries and the Grand Shrines of Ise on the Kii Peninsula; the Nijo Jinya and Shimabara brothel district in Kyoto; and take a ferry ride from the city of Kobe along the islands of the Seto Inland Sea to the “hells” of Beppu, to finally arrive at the magnificent caldera of Mount Aso in Kyushu before taking in Fukuoka on a bullet train back to Tokyo.
Above, Sean Connery and his co-stars of You Only Live Twice at the
Pinewood Studios set. Thanks to G-FEST's Stan Hyde for finding this photo.

To read more, go here.

Yosemite Valley To Reopen Tuesday

Above, a view of Half Dome from Yosemite Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There's good news for those who want to visit Yosemite Valley before the summer vacation season ends.

The Visalia Times Delta reported:
For those still hoping to see the wonders of Yosemite National Park before summer is over, you're in luck.  
Yosemite Valley, which has been closed due to a wildfire burning to the west of the park, will reopen at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, park officials said Friday afternoon.  
The park closed to visitors more than two weeks ago because of bad air quality and firing operations in response to the Ferguson Fire. Smoke filled the park making it hard to see. 

To read more, go here

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