"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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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Flying J Prices Unchanged

If "no change" in gas prices can be construed as "good news", then I'll take it.

I checked today's gas prices at the Jamestown, New Mexico Flying J and they are unchanged from yesterday. 

I anticipate a spike in prices come Memorial Day weekend. It is expected that more people will be hitting the roads this year than last year. As for me, I am staying put at home.

Today's gas prices at the Flying J:


  

Fire Weather Watch and Gusty Winds

Above, the mesas two days ago. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The temperatures have been in the 80s and the winds have tapered down for the past several days. But all that is going to change in the next few days.

Starting tomorrow, we will be in a Fire Weather Watch through May 20 at 9:00 PM. On Friday, gusty winds return.

According to the National Weather Service, the forecast is as follows:

Today
Sunny, with a high near 81. West wind 5 to 15 mph.
Tonight
Mostly clear, with a low around 49. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph decreasing to 5 to 10 mph after midnight.
Thursday
Sunny, with a high near 81. Breezy, with a west wind 5 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 25 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 49. Breezy, with a southwest wind 15 to 25 mph.
Friday
Sunny, with a high near 79. Windy, with a southwest wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 25 to 30 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.
Friday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 41. Windy.

Emergency Fire Meeting and National Forest Closure

Above, the Jamestown fire station. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Saturday's breakfast/coffee gathering at the Flying J will be preempted by a community-wide emergency meeting at the Jamestown fire station at 10:00.

According to the Jamestown community Facebook page, the meeting is to discuss a disaster plan for our community and surrounding neighbors.  This is in response to our drought and potential EXTREME fire danger. We plan to have a representative from the Forest Service, the Sheriffs Department and the Fire Department.  

Starting tomorrow, the Cibola National Forest (which includes Six Mile Canyon in the Mt. Taylor Ranger District) will be subject to a Stage 3 closure due to extreme fire danger. The map below shows the Mt. Taylor Ranger District.


According to KOB 4 News:

SANTA FE, N.M. — The U.S. Forest Service announced a forest-wide closure order will be issued for the Santa Fe National Forest and the Carson National Forest, effective Thursday morning.

The Cibola National Forest will also be implementing a Stage 3 forest closure for the Mt. Taylor, Mountainair and Sandia Ranger Districts.

The orders will be in effect starting at 8 a.m. on May 19. During the closure, public access will be prohibited due to the ongoing active wildfires and extreme fire danger.

All National Forest System lands, recreation sites, roads, trails and trailheads within the restricted boundaries will be closed to the general public. County and state roads that cross through the closed lands will remain open to vehicles and businesses in nearby communities.

Violating the order carries a Class B misdemeanor, which includes as much as a $5,000 fine for individuals/$10,000 for organizations and/or up to six months’ imprisonment.

To read more, go here

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Flying J's Gas Prices Jumped Up Again


Gasoline prices have jumped up again at the local Flying J in Jamestown, New Mexico.

If this continues, the price for unleaded regular will reach $5.00/gallon in no time. The is more than I ever paid while I lived in California.

Here's today's prices:


These were yesterday's prices:


Prices in Gallup are usually cheaper. I'll find out what they are tomorrow when I go there.

T&C Travel Guide: Hawaii's Big Island

Above, double waterfalls on the Hilo side of the Big Island. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

During my 2016 trip to Hawaii, I spent a few days on the Big Island.

We stayed on the Kona side of the island, but we took the 77-mile drive across the island to Hilo to catch our Blue Hawaiian Helicopters tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and waterfalls. 

Yahoo! Life Town & Country section posted a travel guide to what the Big Island has to offer.

They begin it with:

Forget revenge when it comes to vacations this year, what we all need is sunny spot to rest. May I suggest Hawaii's Big Island? It's a little more locals-only than Maui and its microclimate offers the rainforest on one side of the island and sunny beaches on the other. We recommend staying at least four days to really nail the blend of adventure and relaxation— after two days of cabanas and cocktails, a waterfall hike is just the thing. Below, the very T&C things to eat, do, and see on Hawaii's Big Island.

To read more, go here.

Active Seniors Trip Ideas

Above, some seniors prefer group camping trips with like-minded friends. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Seniors (age 50+) vary in interests and vacation preferences like all other age groups. So "one size doesn't necessarily fit all" when it comes to senior. Not all seniors are into cruises or bus tours.

USA Today has an article with five trip ideas geared towards seniors.

They begin it with:

The internet offers a bewildering array of senior travel tours and ideas for older travelers. Many of us have the time and resources for serious travel and we’re aware of the health benefits of physical activity. But we are also a diverse group, so not all of the senior adventures that pop up on the web or in brochures will be relevant to all of us.

For one thing, the senior age range (50 and older) is wider than that of any other group. We bring to the table a variety of life experiences and physical capabilities. A friend my age (74) spent last summer vacation doing her “usual activities”: cycling, canoeing and backpacking. I prefer to take long walks to get to know a destination. Other seniors use their vacations to visit the best dude ranches or luxury glamping resorts or simply take advantage of AARP travel discounts at nice hotels. 

Some active seniors may not want to go full-speed on every day of a trip. Some may have health or mobility issues, or be traveling with someone who does. We may wish to travel with people who have very different interests and physical capabilities – a skip-gen vacation with our grandchildren, for example. And while some seniors have very specific bucket lists, many simply want to go somewhere, do something and stay healthy. 

Here are five different types of trips for active seniors that take into account a variety of travel styles and interests. 

To read more, go here.

Japan Letting In Foreign Tourists This Month On Trial Basis

Above, small group tours like G-TOUR will be allowed in Japan this month. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan is starting to allow foreign tourism this month by allowing small organized group tours from several countries, including the United States. I guess you may call this a "tippy-toe" step on Japan's part.

According to the Asahi Shimbun:

Japan this month will allow foreign tourists to enter the country for the first time since early 2020, when the border was closed to such travelers to prevent novel coronavirus infections.

On a trial basis, small group tours will be allowed into Japan from four countries: the United States, Australia, Thailand and Singapore.

“We will move forward with the plan while trying to achieve a balance between socio-economic activities and anti-coronavirus measures,” tourism minister Tetsuo Saito said at a news conference on May 17.

The four countries are not on the Japanese government’s list for tightened border control against novel coronavirus variants. The government also said the infection situations in those countries have stabilized.

The entering tourists must be triple vaccinated and will be accompanied by tour conductors from travel agencies.

It looks like this year's G-TOUR can proceed if all works out with this trial.

To read more, go here

Cimarron Firearms: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Yesterday, the newest issue of American Rifleman (cover date June 2022) arrived in the mail.

While thumbing through it, an advertisement by Cimarron Firearms caught my attention. It was in reference to a line of handguns (I guess you can call it commemorating) of the classic spaghetti western, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966) starring Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef. 

Here's the ad:


Each gun is named for one of the characters in the movie: "Man With No Name", "Angel Eyes" and "Tuco Special".

I went to the website in the ad and found that Cimarron Firearms specializes in reproduction western firearms and leather. From their website:

Cimarron is recognized as the leader in quality and authenticity in replica firearms. For the past 30 years, Cimarron has worked continuously to perfect the authentic detail, fit, finish and function of our line of frontier firearms. There is no other firearm that is near equal in value, strength, reliability, and authentic detail as is the line from Cimarron Firearms Co.

Interesting stuff!

Above, Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef on location.


For more information, go here

Monday, May 16, 2022

Biden's America: Even Water Costs More

Above, I used to get these at 2 for $4.00, now one costs $3.19. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A few minutes ago, I returned home from picking up my mail at the Flying J.

While there, I was going to buy two one-gallon jugs of water for my coffee maker. I was shocked to see the price for one-gallon: $3.19

Before today, I was able to buy two for $4.00. Not anymore! So I just bought one.

I use bottled water for my coffee maker as the aquifer water is too hard for it with the mineral deposits.

Since I have to go into Gallup Wednesday to take Larry Lucier to his physical therapy, I'll buy more at Albertsons where they're cheaper.


Unbelievable! 

We can thank Joe Biden for this!

Let's Go Brandon!

Gas Prices: Where Will It End?

 A little while ago, I checked the Pilot/Flying J website for today's gas prices and found they have risen again at the Flying J Travel Center in Jamestown, New Mexico.

Here's today's screenshot:


Yesterday, I was in Gallup and saw the prices in town were a dime cheaper at $4.299/gallon. 

Where will this all end? It's anyone's guess.



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Grand Canyon Shuttles

Above, a Grand Canyon shuttle bus. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

During my last visit to Grand Canyon National Park in November 2017, my roommate Jessica and I stayed at Trailer Village at the Grand Canyon Village inside the park. It is the only campground for RVs with full hook-ups. Reservations are advised.

We made extensive use of the park's shuttle system. A shuttle stop was at the entrance to Trailer Village, which made it easy. The shuttles are free, by the way.

For those who don't want to drive inside the park, shuttles are available. AZCentral posted an article on the Grand Canyon shuttles.

AZCentral starts with:

Summer is the busiest time of year to visit Grand Canyon National Park. Lines to enter the South Rim are long and parking fills up fast.

Peak-season visitors can expect up to a two-hour wait at the entrance station north of Tusayan and parking lots hit capacity as early as noon. 

Want to avoid that lengthy traffic jam and frustrating search for parking? Leave your car outside the park and ride the free Grand Canyon shuttle. 

The seasonal service begins Saturday, May 28, and connects visitors to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center where they can hop on other shuttles that traverse the South Rim. 

Here’s how to ride the Grand Canyon shuttle.

To read more, go here

Speaking of Eclipses...

Above, the diamond ring effect of the 2017 solar eclipse. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last night's hoopla over the lunar eclipse last night got me to look up some information on the upcoming solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 that will have a path that crosses the U.S.

The area of the path of totality nearest to New Mexico will be in Texas. 

Here's a map of the path across Texas:


I saw the 2017 Great American Eclipse in Idaho. The path went across Roberts, Idaho and that's where I went to view it. I plan to head to Texas to view the next one. Hopefully, there will be no clouds to get in the way.

Viewing a solar eclipse should be one everyone's bucket list.

According to the National Eclipse website:

On August 21, 2017, America was treated to its first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly 100 years. It was also the first total eclipse exclusive to the U.S. since before the nation's founding. From Oregon to South Carolina, the eclipse traced a 67-mile-wide path of totality across the country and millions of Americans and visitors from around the world witnessed the Moon passing between the Earth and the Sun and day turning to night for up to almost three minutes.

The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. will occur on April 8, 2024, traveling through the country from Texas to Maine. In some ways, the 2024 eclipse promises to be even more spectacular than in 2017, crossing over or coming close to more major cities and with a maximum duration of totality that's almost two minutes longer!

As we count the days until nature's greatest show returns to the U.S., NationalEclipse.com will continue to serve as a one-stop source of information and resources for America's next total solar eclipse and other eclipses around the world.

For more information, go here

Lunar Eclipse Was Eclipsed By Clouds

Above, a partial lunar eclipse from 2019. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last night's lunar eclipse was a dud.

At least that's as far as Jamestown, New Mexico was concerned. Before the eclipse, cloud cover moved into the area, obscuring any views of it. Oh, well.

I've seen many others before, so it wasn't too much of a loss for me.

According to Newsweek:

A total lunar eclipse appeared in the night sky, with people across the globe enjoying a spectacular phenomenon—and photographers took the opportunity to capture the dazzling celestial event.

A total lunar eclipse happens when the sun, Earth and moon form a near-perfect line-up in space. During these moments, which only occur during a full moon, the Earth casts a shadow on our natural satellite, changing its color and brightness.

To read more and see some photos, go here.

Classic Rock Music Monday

The stuff that now passes as "music", particularly rock 'n roll, leaves me cold. So, to start off the week, here's a video of a classic rock artist.  

Today is "Crossroads" by Cream, that consisted of Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce. They were active from 1966 to 1968.


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Pressure Builds To Reopen Japan To Tourists

Above, the Akihabara section of Tokyo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If a new article on Japan tourism is accurate, the hope that the country will be reopened in June is questionable.

The Akihabara News posted:

SNA Travel (Tokyo) — Representatives of Japan’s tourism industry are stepping up pressure on the Kishida administration to accelerate the country’s reopening to foreign visitors.

“We believe the weaker yen will help the tourism industry, and we see this as a business tailwind. This should be a great opportunity for the government to bring tourists back to Japan,” Japan Association of Travel Agents Chairman Hiroyuki Takahashi said this week.

Other organizations lobbying the government for opening the borders include the Japan Hotel Association, as well as major airlines and railway companies.

A formal request from these business groups was submitted to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, specifically asking that the daily cap on entrants to Japan be abolished.

At present, the Kishida government has decided to raise the entry cap from 10,000 to 20,000 people per day beginning in June, but it still intends to maintain the controls.

The above highlighted phrase doesn't sound promising. Hopefully, the Kishida government will accede to the pressure and reopen Japan to foreign tourists. 

To read more, go here.

Best Ways To Celebrate Yellowstone's 150th Anniversary

Above, spotting wildlife in a Yellowstone meadow is a favorite pastime. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Summer vacation season is a month away and Yellowstone National Park is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

The park is usually crowded during the summer months and the anniversary will no doubt generate more visitors.

eTurboNews posted an article on the best ways to celebrate while avoiding the crowds at the same time.

They begin with:

Located in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park – the world’s first national park – is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Encompassing 2.2 million acres, Montana has three of the five entrances to the park, including the only entrance that’s accessible to year-round vehicle traffic through Gardiner.

In 2021, Yellowstone National Park welcomed 4.86 million visitors and 2022 is shaping up to be another busy year as visitors celebrate one of the most special places in the world. And while people will be visiting the park en masse this summer, here are the best ways to experience it without the masses.

To read more, go here

Outdoor Recreation Gets A Seat At The Decision-Making Table

Above, The Beast at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For years, outdoor recreation was hardly recognized by state planners and tourism bureaus. 

Today, that is beginning to change as some states (16 of them) now have governor's cabinet-level Offices of Outdoor Recreation. My state of New Mexico is one of them.

RV Travel has posted an article about outdoor recreation "getting a seat" at the decision-making table.

They begin with:

For the past nine years, a movement has been slowly spreading across the U.S. that could have a significant impact on your camping future. There are now 16 states that have added governor’s-cabinet-level Offices of Outdoor Recreation or at least established task forces to coordinate efforts on behalf of outdoor recreation.

Before you say, “Oh great. More state bureaucracy,” consider this. The addition of these high-level state offices gives outdoor recreation a seat at the decision-making table. For the first time, outdoor recreation enthusiasts have advocates in state capitols, tasked with making it easier to access the outdoors.

It’s about time. Nearly half of the nation’s population (140 million folks) at least dabble in outdoor activities, and many of those millions are full-scale outdoor fanatics. Dedicated RVers fall into that latter group.

To read the full article, go here

Forbes Interviews Jessica Tseang On Her Pop Culture Career

Above, a Godzilla panel at the 2013 Comikaze Expo at the Los Angeles
Convention Center headed by Jessica Tseang, the second I participated in.

A dozen years ago, I was contacted by Jessica Tseang with an invitation to participate in a panel discussion on Godzilla at Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles.

I accepted and met with her beforehand at a Starbucks in Studio City to talk about the panel. I found her to be very knowledgeable on Godzilla and, best of all, very easy to talk to and work with. 

Since then, I have noticed her involvement in many different conventions and her vast knowledge on comic books and pop culture in general. Her knowledge is quite impressive, to say the least.

Forbes has also taken notice of Jessica's pop culture knowledge and how she turned her interests into a career. Recently, they posted a question & answer article with Jessica.

They begin it with:

Jessica Tseang is an international comics historian and public speaker on pop culture. Tseang is currently an Eisner judge (one of the top peer-based awards in the comic book industry) for 2022 and has appeared on AMC’s Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics, and Nerdist’s award-winning documentary The Impact of Black Panther. She is a moderator, panel discussion producer and PR representative for over 500 panels at pop culture and comic conventions around the world. Tseang’s work has been built on many partnerships and projects with preeminent figures in the pop culture community including launching The Haruo Nakajima Scholarship based on the original Godzilla actor and moderating panels such as the 25th anniversary of Twin Peaks and the 10th anniversary of Parks and Recreation.

Tseang’s notable pop culture convention panels include The Forgotten Trio: Colorists, Inkers, and LetterersThe 75th Anniversary of Moomin, and Native American Representation in Comics and Pop Culture with Taboo (Marvel Comics writer and member of the multi-Grammy award-winning Black Eyed Peas). Her panels have been covered by CNN, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, New York Times and other international outlets. Tseang’s career journey has been deeply varied and she breaks down how she has build a very memorable speaking, producing and PR-based brand.

It is an interesting read, one that many can learn from.

Above, Jessica Tseang and yours truly at G-FEST XXVI in Chicago three years ago. Photo by Steve Ryfle.

To read the full article, go here.

Togetherness

Oddly, the old Canned Heat song, "Let's Work Together" comes immediately to mind.

If, for some reason, His Fraudulency should leave office, it is not comforting to know that this loon would become president.


Can't she even come up with a coherent thought?

Baby Formula Shortage of 2022


This topsy-turvy country (and world) has gotten even more insane.

Now it's an infant formula shortage.

I personally know of two people (one is a relative) who have infants. Thankfully, one has a mother who bought two cartons of it months ago (they are probably used up by now).

She told me:

I bought them two cartons of formula a few months ago when she thought I was nuts and being a crazy prepper since no way they wouldn’t have formula.  Of course she also had no idea formula might be needed.  Two boxes of it was $216 plus tax.  And now you can’t even get it even if you could afford it.

How did this all come about?

According to an article in Fortune, there's a lot of factors involved. Two main culprits are the monopoly of the baby formula industry by three companies and the FDA (run by the Biden Administration, naturally). (I had a feeling that Biden was somehow involved.)

They wrote:

A baby formula shortage gripping the U.S. since March has parents in a panic over where and when they’ll be able to find the products they need to feed their kids.

The out-of-stock rate, representing the amount of formula that’s not in stock compared to what’s typically available, was 43% for the week ending May 8, according to Datasembly, a provider of real-time product data for retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands. 

With no easy end in sight, caregivers nationwide have been forced to devote their free time to driving between stores in search of formula, prompting retailers to limit the number of cans customers can buy. Others have turned to Facebook groups and informal support networks to acquire the nutritional products that work best for their kids. 

“I've looked online, I have my mom in Boston looking, my mother-in-law in Florida looking,” Elyssa Schmier previously told Fortune about her trouble finding formula for her 8-month-old son. “Everyone we know is looking for us and no one can find it.”

How did a baby formula crisis spring up in one of the world’s richest countries? Experts say a recall by one of the industry’s largest manufacturers, persistent supply-chain issues, and a market dominated by only a few players have combined to form what one consumer goods expert calls a “perfect storm” affecting the supply of essential formula to millions of babies across the U.S. And the shortage could last for months. 


Many are digging up old recipes for homemade formula and making their own along with using the old stand-by: moo juice. So-called pediatricians of today are opposed to DIY formulas of yesteryear. They seem to forget that us baby boomers survived it just fine.

To read more, go here.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

New Mexico Voters, Take Note

 This sums up Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham:


It is estimated that New Mexico lost over 40% of its small businesses due to Gov. Lujan Grisham.

Today's Coffee/Breakfast Group

This morning, our coffee/breakfast group gathered at Denny's at the Flying J for our usual Saturday coffee and breakfast.

Joining us today was Nandoh Munoz. There was one of our group missing, Roger Slape, who was in Heber, Utah.

I had our waitress photograph the group.

Above, (left to right) Nandoh Munoz, yours truly, Larry Lucier, Greg Lucier, Russell Azbill and Victor Gomez.

 

Telstar 1



While listening to the song, "Telstar" by the Tornados, I became curious about Telstar 1 satellite.

I remember when it was launched by NASA in 1962.

According to Wikipedia:

Telstar 1 was a communications satellite launched by NASA on July 10, 1962, it was the satellite that allowed the first live broadcast of television images between the United States and Europe. It remained active for only 7 months before it prematurely failed due to Starfish Prime, a high-altitude nuclear test conducted by the United States. Although it no longer works, it is still in Earth orbit.

To read more, go here.

The song, "Telstar" by the Tornados may not be a familiar title, but the tune is:


48 Hours In Key West

Above, Key West's Sloppy Joe's Bar. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is hard to believe it has been three years since Mitch Geriminsky and I took a five-day cruise to Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba aboard Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas.

While Havana was interesting, I enjoyed Key West a lot more. There's plenty of things to see and to there.

Florida for Boomers has an article on things to see and do if one only has 48 hours to spend in Key West. That's a lot more time than what we had. I was hoping to go back two years ago, but the pandemic nixed that.

They begin with:

There is nothing like a weekend getaway down to the Florida Keys, and this time we are heading down for a “Southernmost” adventure in Key West!

Famous for warm weather, tiki bars, live music, more tiki bars, and great food, Key West is a Florida vacationer’s paradise with a nearly endless number of options for places to stay, things to do, and excellent restaurants.

Assuming that you’ve never been down to The Conch Republic before, here is how we suggest spending your 48-hour weekend in Key West. 

To see more, go here

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