"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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Friday, November 24, 2017

Is There A Store Nearby?

Thanksgiving Day was spent at my cousin Maria's in Wildomar, California.

While there, other family members were asking and congratulating me on the home purchase. More than once, I was asked if there are stores nearby. I said yes, there's a Pilot Flying J Travel Center at the off-ramp at Interstate 40, which is about a couple of miles from the house.

It has a Denny's and a Subway there. And, they sell fireworks!

The first photo is of the Pilot Flying J Travel Center from the Yelp website:



There are more photos of the Pilot Flying J Travel Center, some even has the place covered in snow.

Here's an aerial view of the Travel Center and where the house is located (white "X"):



As you can see, I'll be a little bit "up the hill" from Interstate 40 and Historic Route 66. This will come in handy as I get a five-cent-per-gallon of gas discount at Pilot Flying J Travel Centers through the Good Sam Club.

Fireball Over Japan



A big fireball was seen over Japan Tuesday night and it was caught from several vantage points with video cameras.

NHK World reported:
Skies over Japan were lit up Tuesday night by what appears to have been a meteor. It was seen in Odawara, west of Tokyo, and other areas. The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan said it was probably a fragment of an asteroid that burned up in the Earth's atmosphere.

Maybe it's a Toho publicity stunt announcing that King Ghidorah is arriving in Japan?

Videos of the fireball can be seen here.

Osaka's Dotonbori Aims To Expand Nightlife

Above, Dotonbori is known for its unique signage. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the highlights of my trip to Japan two years ago was a visit to Osaka. It was the first time I've been in the city since the 2004 G-TOUR.

And, one place visited for the first time was the Dotonbori shopping and dining district. Osaka is now planning to expand on its appear to foreign visitors.

According to the Asahi Shimbun:
OSAKA--In hopes of turning the Dotonbori commercial district here into a sightseeing spot of world renown, a travel agency has teamed with a local association of shops to promote the district to attract more tourists from within Japan and abroad. 
JTB Western Japan Corp. on Oct. 26 signed an agreement with the Dotonbori Store Association saying that both parties will work together to expand the lineup of available nightly entertainment options. 
The JTB group is also hoping to tap into the potential for consumption by a growing number of visitors to Japan.

To read more, go here

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Leftist Loon Xavier Becerra and National Park Fee Proposal


The Looney Left Report

California's leftist loon Attorney General Xavier Becerra is leading a group of mainly Democrat attorneys general of 10 states to threaten legal action if a proposed national park fee hike (to deal with a $11 billion backlog of projects and maintenance) goes through.

SF Gate reported:
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led top attorneys from 10 states Wednesday in threatening legal action against the Trump administration for planning to more than double national park entrance fees. 
A letter drafted by Becerra and signed by representatives of the mostly blue states says the proposal to increase the price of admission at Yosemite and 16 other marquee parks — to $70 per vehicle during the busy season — is not only unfair to many less affluent Americans but is inconsistent with national park policies. 
“Our goal as a nation should be to make our national parks supremely inviting and encourage more families to visit them,” Becerra said in a prepared statement. “Instead, the Trump administration proposes the complete opposite.”

Gee, where was Becerra when his party jacked up the gasoline tax and increasing the cost of vehicle registrations in California? That will put more of a damper on the "less affluent American's" means to visit national parks. What do you say to that Mr. Becerra? Does jacking up registration fees and the gas tax even bother you?

I am not in favor of the fee proposal in dealing with the backlog, but it seems that these lunatics are always willing to spend taxpayers' money on politically-driven legal actions. Hypocrites!

To read more, go here.

No "Shin Godzilla" Sequel Until After 2020

Above, the Godzilla mural at Toho Studios. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A sequel to Toho's Shin Godzilla won't be produced until after 2020, according to Comicbook.com.

It is strange that this is being reported only now when co-director Shinji Higuchi stated as such at last summer's G-FEST. G-FEST is held every July in the Chicago area.

Comicbook.com wrote:
Did you enjoy Toho's new take on Godzilla in Shin Godzilla? Too bad it won't get a follow-up for a few years. 
Speaking at a Q&A during G-Fest XXIV, Shin Godzilla co-director Shinji Higuchi detailed the Godzilla rights deal Toho had made with Legendary Pictures. It turns out the multi-year partnership with Legendary allows the Western film company to make Godzilla films like 2014's Godzilla, and the upcoming sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters but not leaving room for much else. 
With Legendary planning to produce an eventual crossover with Kong: Skull Island, Godzilla vs. King Kong in 2020, Toho actually can't make another Godzilla film until after 2020. Meaning that any hope for a quick turn around on a Shin Godzilla has been dashed.

To read more, go here

Two Different Kinds

Trump Wine:




Liberal Whine:



Thanksgiving 2017

For this year's Thanksgiving holiday, I'll be heading down to my cousin's in Wildomar in The Beast.

Since traffic in Southern California is expected to be heavy, I will try to get on the road as early as I can.

But, until then, here's a Thanksgiving greeting:


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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

How To Stay Young



I saw this today:

HOW TO STAY YOUNG


1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever, even ham radio. Never let the brain idle. 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.' And the devil's family name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.


AND, ALWAYS REMEMBER:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

And, if you don't send this to at least 8 people - who cares? But do share this with someone. We all need to live life to its fullest each day!!

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting

'...man, what a ride!'

The Big Island Travel Guide

Above, a luau at the Waikoloa Marriott Hotel and Resort. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

People who are contemplating a vacation to Hawaii should also include the state's Big Island in their itineraries. Many don't have a clue on what the Big Island has to offer.

Fortunately, Coastal Living has an article what will enlighten them.

It begins with:
The largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago offers a stunning array of beaches and activities, not to mention food, drink, and resorts. Get your bearings in paradise with this list of bests. 
Larger than all of the other islands combined, Hawai’i Island has earned the fitting nickname of “Big Island.” Its diverse geography and history means you can stargaze at Maunakea, explore historic Kona coffee country, and encounter endangered sea creatures at Kaloko-Honokohau National Park in a single vacation. 

To read more, go here

National Park Fee Hike Proposal Comment Period Extended

Above, the Grand Canyon. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The period for public comments on a proposed entrance fee hike to deal with the $11 billion backlog of projects and maintenance at national parks has been extended.

The Hill reported:
The National Park Service is giving the public an extra month to comment on its proposal to hike entry fees at popular parks. 
The public comment period for the proposal expanded Tuesday to allow for another month of input, according to the Park Service website. The agency was originally due to take comments through Thanksgiving, but its new deadline is Dec. 22. 
The Park Service in a statement that it was extending the comment period "to accommodate interest in this issue from members of Congress and the public." The agency said it had received more than 65,000 comments on the proposal.

To read more, go here

David Cassidy Dies At 67



If one were a teen in the early 1970s, they cannot avoid the publicity that David Cassidy garnered during that time.

He was the heartthrob to millions of girls while his show, The Partridge Family aired on prime time television.

I wasn't a fan of Cassidy or of the show (at the time, the only redeeming feature of The Partridge Family was Susan Dey in my opinion), but I saw a few episodes as a friend's kid sister would watch it. I subscribed to Rolling Stone back then (when it was really the go-to magazine about rock music) and articles on Cassidy appeared on occasion (such as the one from 1972, pictured above).

It is still an odd feeling that, although not being a fan, someone so prominent in their youth would die at age 67. At 63, age 67 does not seem old to me.

According to Variety:
David Cassidy, pop culture idol of the 1970s, died Tuesday in a Florida hospital. The musician and actor was 67. 
His publicist JoAnn Geffen confirmed his death, with a statement from his family. “On behalf of the entire Cassidy family, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, our uncle, and our dear brother, David Cassidy. David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years.” 
He had been hospitalized for several days with organ failure. Cassidy announced his diagnosis with dementia in early 2017. He performed at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York in March, talking about his dementia, and said his arthritis made playing guitar an ordeal.

With pretty-boy good looks and a long mane of dark hair, Cassidy was one every girl’s favorite teen crush in the early 1970s and drew screaming crowds at concert appearances. David Cassidy was part of a showbusiness family that included his father, Tony-winning actor Jack Cassidy, stepmother Shirley Jones, half-brother Shaun Cassidy and daughter, actress Katie Cassidy.

To read more, go here.

Closing Date

Above, an aerial view of the house and land.

Going through a bunch of materials that the realtor sent to me yesterday, it looks like the closing date of the sale of my new abode will be January 31, 2018.

That gives me much to work with when contracting with a moving company and for shipping the Mustang to New Mexico. Naturally, everything is contingent upon the results of the home inspection that will take place this coming Monday.

It also gives me plenty of time to go through everything and dump what is no longer needed, wanted or necessary.

It has been 19 years since I last moved and the move will come three months shy of 20 years. At least staying put in one place for a long time helped to keep my rent lower in comparison to newer renters. But, since I will be buying the house outright, I won't have to deal with rents and drawing it out of my accounts on a monthly basis. Plus, owning a home and property is a good investment. Probably one of the best lines about land came from the movie Hollywoodland when George Reeves said to Eddie Mannix, "You know what they say about land, they aren't making any more of it!"

Since I'll have two acres to play with and given the fact that I'll be living in a horsey area, I could get a couple of horses. But as I said to Asya the other night about it, "I could get a horse or two. But I don't know a thing about them. Maybe I'll settle for an elephant." I told her there's plenty of wall space for her painting.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Grand Teton To Raise Fees On Weddings and Other Activities

Above, Grand Teton National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If you are planning to get married at Grand Teton National Park, you'll have to pay more in fees for this and other activities in the coming year.

The Great Falls Tribune reported:
JACKSON, Wyo. — Grand Teton National Park in northwest Wyoming will increase fees for various permits, including backcountry camping, weddings and motor boats. 
Park spokesman Andrew White said the fee adjustment is part of the park's annual review of programs. 
"It's not a response to any sort of budget issue," White said. "We're just making sure we're recovering the cost associated with these programs."

To see what the new fees are, go here

Meteor Crater RV Park

Above, some of the sites in the direction of the store at Meteor Crater RV Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After house-hunting in Gallup, New Mexico, we headed back into Arizona for the next part of the trip, a stay at Grand Canyon National Park.

Rather than driving all the way from Gallup to the Grand Canyon, we elected to spend a night midway at Meteor Crater RV Park. It is a few miles west of Winslow, Arizona on Interstate 40.

I saw Meteor Crater RV Park last year when I stopped to visit Meteor Crater. It looked to be a nice RV park.

Above, Meteor Crater RV Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We checked in at the registration desk inside their convenience store, which also include a gas station. It only took a few minutes, even though I made no reservations (a benefit of traveling during the off-season). I was given a map of the RV park and a gate code to get into the campground. The RV park is quite secure with walls and fencing around the perimeter.

The park is nice and clean and well-maintained. The sites are clearly marked a we were assigned to an end site, which gave us more room.

Above, The Beast at Meteor Crater RV Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The RV park was empty except for about a dozen other RVs. It only cost $27 for the night's stay (after applying my Good Sam discount) for a water and electric site. I didn't need a sewer hook-up sitw, but they have them available.

The RV park has showers and restroom facilities (the water pressure seemed low). They have have free Wi-Fi that worked good.

Above, Meteor Crater. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I would recommend a stay at Meteor Crater RV park for an overnight stay or for visiting Meteor Crater (only a few miles up the road). I'd say it's a better-than-average RV park. Also, pay a visit to Meteor Crater. It is the best-preserved meteor crater on Earth.

My grade: A.

Manson Dead

Above, Sharon Tate's grave. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It was in August 1969 that I was camping with my parents at the Watchman Campground in Zion National Park when word came over the radio that a mass murder took place in Benedict Canyon in Los Angeles.

It was the first word of the murders of actress Sharon Tate and her houseguests that a group of killer hippies, who later became known as the Manson Family, to reach the world.

Now, nearly 50 years later, Charles Manson, the leader of the group, has finally died.

The New York Post reported:
Charles Manson, the ’60s cult leader behind one of the most notorious killings in American history, died Sunday in California after a prolonged illness, officials said. He was 83. 
Manson – housed at Corcoran State Prison since 1989 – died at 8:13 p.m. local time at Kern County Hospital, the California Department of Corrections said in a press release early Monday. 
He’d been in failing health for months and was first hospitalized back in January, reportedly with serious gastrointestinal problems.

The Manson Family conducted more crimes. They include murders of the LaBiancas in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles, the attempted burglary of Western Surplus in Hawthorne, California (not too far from my home) and the attempt on the life of President Gerald Ford by Manson follower Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme in Sacramento.

All one can really say is, "Good riddance!" Maybe I'll listen to the Beatles' "White Album" to celebrate.

To read more, go here.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

George Reeves Superman Costume To Be Auctioned

In two days, a costume worn by George Reeves in the Adventures of Superman will be auctioned at Bonhams.

It is similar to this one (now on display at the Super Museum in Metropolis, Illinois):

Above, a George Reeves Superman costume at the Super Museum. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For more on the auction, go here.

One Year Ago

Above, The Beast at Goulding's Lodge Campground in Monument Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One year ago today, I left Goulding's Lodge Campground in Monument Valley to return to California from what became the longest trip I've ever taken (exactly 3 weeks).

I left early in the morning and stopped in Cameron, Arizona for breakfast at the Cameron Trading Post before driving through Grand Canyon National Park.

Above, The Watchtower at the Grand Canyon. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After driving along the canyon rim to several viewpoints and stopping in Grand Canyon Village to see the Visitor Center, pick up some groceries and do some banking (did you know that Chase has a full-service bank in Market Plaza?), I headed out towards Williams. I wasn't sure where I would be staying that night.

Above, The Beast at the Needles KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Ultimately, I ended up staying at the Needles (California) KOA for the night so that I would have less of a drive the next day to reach home.

Getting Moving Costs

Above, the house in Jamestown, New Mexico. Yes, it occasionally snows there.

My preliminary checking on prices for moving all my stuff and the car from Tarzana to Jamestown, New Mexico tells me that the costs will be a lot cheaper than I imagined.

So far, I have been given quotes for moving in the $2,000 range and to ship the Mustang would be under $500.

Naturally, once the closing date is set, I can begin to plan on the move, including packing, tossing away stuff no longer needed and contract with a moving company.

A friend gave me some great advice on moving:
Jan-Feb is a good time to move.  We moved last week of January.  Moving companies don’t do a lot of moving in the winter, so rates and delivery schedules are better.
We got three bids, all of ‘em pretty much the same.  We ended up using United.  I asked my wife if she remembers how much; she thought it was about $6,000, but that’s kind of a guess.  And it was for a full house + car.  The shipped the car inside the van, something many moving companies won’t do.  Took ‘em 6 days.
Whomever you use, get everything in writing including delivery date.  Ask ‘em for free, yes free, boxes.  They will give them to you.  They will be used and they'll want them back once you’ve unpacked, but it’s a good deal. 

I am checking further on what deals I can find. It is roughly 687 miles from Tarzana to Jamestown.

While the Mustang and my stuff are being taken to the new house by a moving company, I'll be driving over in The Beast. If I should get there several days before the moving van, I'll at least have a place to stay.




I wish I just had only three...boxes.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Man Survives Fall Off Half Dome

Above, Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A San Diego man is sure lucky!

He fell more than fifty feet while climbing Yosemite National Park's Half Dome.

KGTV reported:
SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A San Diego man is recovering from a serious fall while climbing Half Dome in Yosemite Valley.  
Alex Doria fell more than 50 feet and broke his back, foot, wrist and ribs.  
“You know the weight of my pack, and my foot slipped, and I had a lot of run out in the rope,” Doria said.  
He credits his friend Jonathan with taking care of him until Yosemite Search and Rescue came and life-flighted him to a hospital. 

To read more, go here

Japan and Female Solo Travelers

Above, the pagoda at Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If you're a female solo traveler who wants to vacation at a place that is suitable, you may want to seriously consider vacationing in Japan.

The Huffington Post has a new article on "7 Reasons Why Japan Is Amazing For Solo Female Travelers".

It starts with:
When choosing a suitable destination to travel to as a solo female, Japan may not be the first place that springs to mind, and that isn’t for any derogatory reason, but simply because there is not enough information out there about precisely how female friendly Japan actually is. 
Solo female travelers, particularly first timers or relatively inexperienced travelers may opt for places where there is a well-trodden route, where countless solo females have gone before them, and where there are plentiful resources available to help them plan their trips. Unfortunately, not all of this is in place to help a fabulous independent female plan her trip to Japan so perhaps she will wind up dismissing it as an option, and go for a ‘safer’ choice such as Europe or South East Asia instead. 
However, these ladies are certainly missing out. Not only are the Japanese extremely polite and helpful by nature, there are also many measures in place in Japan designed to make solo females feel comfortable - such as women’s only accommodation and carriages on trains. Here’s why Japan is perfect for solo female travelers.

To read more, go here

Thankful RVers

Above, The Beast in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Thanksgiving Day is coming up shortly and Do It Yourself RV is taking note of it with their article, "8 Things RVers Should Be Thankful For".

It begins with:
It’s important to take some time every November to reflect on everyone and everything that we’re thankful for.  As RVers it can be so easy to focus on the things that go wrong along the way that we forget about everything else on our journeys that have gone right. 
So, before digging into the turkey and mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving, we’d like to give thanks to the more underrated highlights from living in a home-on-wheels.

To read more, go here

415 Call

Above, the vehicle after they closed the doors. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the reasons for wanting to leave California is the rudeness and inconsideration of the people here.

Early this morning was a prime example.

At about 2:20 this morning, some people who don't live here were parked near my bedroom and were talking and laughing loudly, thereby waking you-know-who. This falls under police penal code 415 (Disturbing the peace / Mutual combat).

Above, one of the people in the vehicle. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

So, I got dressed, put a little item for protection in my pocket (who knows what I may be walking into) and went out to have a little chat with them. I reminded the so-called tenant that the manager distributed a notice a few months ago stating that hanging around and talking in the parking lot and the building's common areas is not allowed and non-tenants are not allowed to park in the building's parking lot. Despite their promise to tone down the noise (one inside the vehicle claims he's also a tenant), it kept on for another 25 minutes. I then called the LAPD.

Of course, they left before the police arrived. The dispatcher called me a before any police showed up and I cancelled the call. What's the point? The perps were gone.

So it isn't any wonder that I am choosing to move to New Mexico where I will have an acre of land on both sides of the house (one acre will be mine) as a buffer for any noise problems with the neighbors.

This kind of problem isn't just confined to California. Anytime you have multiple apartments, there will be a few jackasses around to disturb the peace.

I'll have to have a little talk with the building manager today.

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