"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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Monday, June 5, 2023

Target Backing Org That Wants Mt. Rushmore Closed

The Target Corporation is backing a far-left group that advocates demilitarizing the U.S. military and closing Mount Rushmore, as a "symbol of white supremacy".

Fox News reported:

FOX NEWS INVESTIGATES – Since the George Floyd protests and riots of 2020, Target Corporation said it ramped up its diversity, equity and inclusion work. This agenda extended far beyond enhancing representation and support of historically marginalized groups externally and in its stores, and dipped into funding organizations with far-left and blatantly political agendas.

Target's "accelerated" its DEI program in response to Black Lives Matter activism under the leadership of its diversity chief – Kiera Fernandez. The chief has demanded that "White women" get to work to combat the proclaimed systemic racism in America. 

Fox News Digital found that Target, via its nonprofit foundation, which has been directed by the retail giant's senior corporate treasurers, funded a grantee pushing to shut down and give away U.S. sovereign land such as Mount Rushmore – believing it to be an "international symbol of White supremacy" and to demilitarize the "violent" U.S. military. The same grantee also supports the destruction of Israel's Jewish character through what is called the Palestinian "Law of Return" and implementing economic warfare tactics against the Jewish State, such as boycotts and sanctions, to "Free Palestine." 

 To read more, go here.

Climate Madness: Kill 200,000 Dairy Cows

The United States isn't the only country in the west with Leftist lunatics.

The Left in Ireland wants to destroy the dairy farm industry. All in the name of climate change.

The Federalist Papers reported:

The high priests of climate change are at it again, this time decreeing that 200,000 dairy cows must be put to death to satisfy the left’s global warming religion.

This latest outrage is coming from government officials in Ireland who have announced the destruction of tens of thousands of dairy cows so that officials can meet their climate change goals.

One proposal claims that by reducing the country’s dairy herd by 10 percent, the equivalent of removing 65,000 cows a year for three years, will help officials meet their emissions reduction plans, according to Farmers Weekly citing the Irish Independent newspaper.

 The Telegraph’s Jamie Blackett called the whole plan a sort of “madness.” 

“Spending vast sums of taxpayer’s money on destroying productive animals would be a perfect summation of the net zero madness infecting the West. The Irish Department of Agriculture has said that the report was just a ‘modeling document’, but no sane government would even get to the point of including such a plan in ‘a deliberative process’” Why? Because it is irrational,” he wrote.

“The government’s Environmental Protection Agency produced a report in February this year proposing a 30% reduction in Irish cattle, which would equate to killing well over half a million cows,” the outlet reported.

Governments are also pushing synthetic foods in hopes of replacing real food.

Such “innovations” presumably include eliminating meat and forcing everyone to eat bugs. Other “solutions” could involve the development of synthetic meats that apparently contain precancerous cells.

These sort of harebrained schemes to meet climate goals are the talk of leftist governments everywhere, granted. Recently President Joe Biden’s “climate czar,” John Kerry, also talked of targeting America’s family farms for destruction to satisfy the left’s climate change obsession.

To read the full article, 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. 

To start off the week, we have The Pretenders with a song that is familiar to people, especially conservatives, as it was the opening theme song for the Rush Limbaugh Show, "My City Was Gone". It was used with their permission, by the way.

From Wikipedia:

The Pretenders are an English-American rock band formed in March 1978. The original band consisted of founder and main songwriter Chrissie Hynde (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), James Honeyman-Scott (lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards), Pete Farndon (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Martin Chambers (drums, backing vocals, percussion). Following the deaths of Honeyman-Scott in 1982 and Farndon in 1983, the band experienced numerous personnel changes; Hynde has been the band's only consistent member.

The Pretenders were inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Gallup Lions Club Rodeo Coming Up

Above, bull riding event from the 2022 Gallup Lions Club Rodeo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In slightly less than two weeks from now, the Gallup Lions Club Rodeo will be taking place at the Red Rock Park Rodeo Arena (just east of Gallup).

From the official website:



JUNE 15TH 2023



Here are the times:











This is one of the big rodeos that will be held this year.  I have attended each one since I moved to New Mexico (except for the pandemic years of 2020-2021 when they were cancelled).

For additional information, go here.

Experience Godzilla Daily Attacks In Atami

Above, Atami Castle sits on a hill overlooking the town. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Atami has the distinction to Godzilla fans as the place where the battle between Godzilla and King Kong ended in King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962).

After demolishing Atami Castle, both monsters tumbled into the ocean.

Today, Atami has a new Godzilla attraction that fans may want to check out: daily Godzilla attacks.

Japan Today reported:

Atami has long been one of Japan’s most popular seaside travel destinations. Located in Shizuoka Prefecture at the eastern entrance to the Izu Peninsula, Atami’s abundant hot springs and sweeping ocean views make the archetypal itinerary a nice long soak and a luxurious meal served in your hotel room as you gaze out at the sea as the sun sets.

However, if rather than destressing you’re looking for something that’ll get your heartrate up in Atami, the Atami Bay Resort Korakuen hotel has just the amenity for you: daily Godzilla attacks.

The hotel is currently running the Escape from the Hotel Being Attacked by Godzilla escape room game. The event is one of the latest creations from Scrap, the Tokyo-based escape room design company (and also the people behind the amazing real-life Metal Gear Solid game). And even though Godzilla is targeting the hotel, non-guests can get in on the fun/terror too, since the game is offered in two formats.

To read more, go here

RV Travel Poll: How Far Away Do You Store Your RV?

Above, my RV garage and motorhome. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When I first bought my 2015 Winnebago Minnie Winnie 22R motorhome, I was able to store it at my apartment's parking space. I had a double space and was able to park it and my Mustang there.

Since then, I moved to New Mexico and have a two-acre property. I had a garage built to store my motorhome. 

Some people aren't so lucky and have to pay for storage somewhere.

RV Travel has a poll on how far away do people store their RVs.

It begins with:

Are you one of those lucky people who can store your RV on your property when you’re not traveling with it? Or do you store it elsewhere?

If you live in an apartment or condo, there may be no place to keep it on the property. Or perhaps your home HOA (homeowners association) prohibits keeping RVs on your property.

Increasingly, cities are prohibiting the storage of recreational vehicles in front yards or even in a side yard where the RV is visible from the street.

So what about you? How far from where you live do you keep your RV when you’re not using it?

Remember, if you are on a slow internet connection it can take a moment for the poll to load. So stand by.

To read more and answer the poll, go here

Rep. Tim Burchett on Government UFO Evidence

Above, the first report by the Roswell Daily Record. Photo by Armand Vaquer

The Roswell Incident of July 1947 is the most famous (or infamous) UFO story.

As it had been reported, a big lightning storm is alleged to have caused the crash of a flying saucer near Roswell and Corona, New Mexico. The military is said to have retrieved the craft and alien bodies.

The incident was originally reported in the Roswell Daily Record, then the military got into the act and began the cover-up. Despite the cover-up, the story will not go away and the city of Roswell now embraces the flying saucer story and has an annual UFO Festival in July and the Roswell International UFO Museum and Research Center.

Today, the government seems to be a bit more open about UFOs and one Tennessee congressman believes that the government has in its possession alien spacecraft.

From the Gateway Pundit:

On Friday evening Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) joined Steve Bannon on The War Room.

Burchett spoke about the Democrat Party’s purposeful destruction of the country. Then in his follow-up segment Burchett spoke about the UFOs and how the US government is hiding evidence of alien encounters from the American public.

Rep. Burchett said he believes the US is holding onto an intact recovered alien aircraft.

To read more and see the video exchange, go here.

Above, from Stars & Stripes.

Remember folks, Keep watching the skies! 

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Six Mile Canyon Today

This afternoon, I took a little Jeep drive into Six Mile Canyon.

Funny thing, unknown to me, my next-door neighbor had the same idea and was driving into the canyon ahead of me. I was behind him and turned off at the windmill and he proceeded on.

There were some campers in the canyon. While I was in the canyon, it looked like it would rain at any time, but it didn't.

Of course, I took a few pictures.


Documentary: "Leaving California: The Untold Story"

California, once the "Golden State", is now a sh*thole and thousands of residents are fleeing the state. I left five years ago. I am glad I did without any regrets.

This is what happens when the radical Left Democrats have total control of the machinery of state government. It is essentially a one-party state that is destroying the state.

There is a new documentary that all people should see, especially those who are thinking of moving into California (or, as many of us know it, Commiefornia). It started streaming on April 21 on EpochTV.

From the documentary's official website:

“Leaving California: The Untold Story” is a feature-length documentary that portrays the multifaceted challenges of living in the Golden State, causing an unprecedented mass exodus.

Siyamak Khorrami, host of the show “California Insider” and editor of The Epoch Times: Southern California, guides the viewers through compelling narratives and diverse voices, exploring the untold perspective of Californians as they grapple with the heart-wrenching decision of parting ways with their beloved state.

Here's the official trailer:

For more information, go here.

Navajo Nation Not Happy With Chaco Canyon Drilling Order

Above, Fajada Butte in Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Department of the Interior has decided capitulate to radical environmentalist groups and spit in the face of the Navajo Nation by ordering a 20-year moratorium on oil and gas drilling in a ten-mile radius around Chaco Canyon.

The Albuquerque Journal reported: 

SANTA FE — After an extended review, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland issued an order Friday withdrawing federal lands within a 10-mile radius of Chaco Canyon from new oil and natural gas leasing for the next 20 years.

The order was immediately lauded by environmental groups who have pushed for permanent protections in the area, but drew criticism from fossil fuel advocates who described it as arbitrary and potentially harmful to Navajo Nation residents who financially benefit from drilling royalties.

Haaland, a former New Mexico congresswoman who is the nation’s first-ever Native American Cabinet secretary, said many tribal communities have raised concern for decades about the impacts of new oil and gas drilling in the northwest New Mexico national historical site.

However, Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren criticized Haaland’s order, saying it undermined the nation’s sovereignty and self-determination.

“Secretary Haaland’s decision impacts Navajo allottees, but also disregard’s the tribe’s choice to lease lands for economic development,” Nygren also said.

Meanwhile, the congressional delegation announced last month it had reintroduced legislation that would permanently block new oil and gas drilling and leasing on most federal lands within the 10-mile buffer zone. Similar legislation passed the U.S. House in 2019 but fell short of final approval.

To read the full article, go here

New Ethanol-Gasoline Blend Bad For Some RVs

There's a new blend of gasoline that has been introduced that could harm older RVs.

It is a blend of gasoline and ethanol that contains up to 15% ethanol. Newer RVs can handle it, but older ones can be harmed.

RV Travel posted a detailed article on what problems can happen with this new blend.

They start with:

As you tool about the U.S. this summer in your gas-burning RV, you’ll find a sticker on the fuel pump. That sticker tells you how much ethanol, or alcohol, is put in the gas. When first introduced, E5 meant 5% of the fuel dispensed was ethanol. Then it was E10. This summer, you may find E15 fuel. Does that mean 15% ethanol? It can—it could vary between 10.5 and 15 percent. Will E15 fuel help, or harm, your RV? Here’s the lowdown on alcohol in your gasoline.

E15 gasoline has been touted as a way to save money, and extend the availability of gasoline. Up until now, E15 has not been sold during the summer months. But a recent ruling by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has extended the sale of E15 in a number of states across the country. 

To read more, go here

Friday, June 2, 2023

"The State of America..."

 "The state of America in one picture." - Dan Bongino

Gold, Silver Regained Ground

June is off to a better start for gold and silver.

May had been a lousy month for both precious metals, but they have "solidly" regained some ground in spot pricing yesterday.

Kitco News reported:

(Kitco News) - Gold and silver prices are solidly higher in midday U.S. trading Thursday, amid a big U.S. economic data dump that culminates with Friday morning's U.S. jobs report. The precious metals are boosted today by ideas the Federal Reserve may pause in its interest-rate-hiking cycle. August gold was last up $15.80 at $1,997.90 and July silver was up $0.403 at $23.985.

The Wall Street Journal reported today the Fed is likely to pause in its rate-hiking cycle at the June FOMC meeting, before raising rates again later this summer. That's a shift from the consensus marketplace belief just recently that the Fed would again raise rates at the June FOMC meeting. However, a "sizzling jobs report" on Friday would throw cold water on the Fed pause, said the Journal report. 

To read more, go here

Americans Report Financial Suffering In Record Numbers

Forty-three years ago, during his debate with then-President Jimmy Carter, Gov. Ronald Reagan famously asked the American people, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" We can now ask the same thing and, unfortunately, get the same answer.

The American people are suffering financially thanks to the mishandling of the economy, rampant spending and inflation.

Peter Reagan (no relation), a financial market strategist at Birch Gold Group, has an opinion piece on the current situation at Newsmax and finds Americans are reporting financial suffering in record numbers.

It begins with:

Two years ago, we referenced various reports about Americans’ savings (consumer and retirement), reporting that they had dropped to the lowest point in years.

Unfortunately, things haven’t improved much since then.

We just discussed the state of consumer debt, and it isn’t very good at all, reaching a record $17 trillion.

Since the economy is primarily driven by consumer spending (currently 68% of GDP), if American households are tapped out and buried in debt, the stage is set for an economic disaster.

So today we’re going to explore the current state of the typical American household’s finances, and extrapolate the future consequences for the entire economy.

To read the full article, go here.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Navajo Lake Is Filling Up Fast

Above, Navajo Lake last summer from the marina parking lot. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The water level of New Mexico's Navajo Lake looked pretty good to me last summer. Then again, I am not a lake water level expert.

My former roommate, Jessica and I rented a pontoon boat and had a great time boating on the lake. We camped at the Cottonwood Campground nearby.

According to an article in The Journal, Navajo Lake is filling up to levels last seen about six years ago.

They wrote:

With 12 feet of snowpack in the San Juan Mountains and 3 feet of snow melting in the past 24 hours, the lakes and rivers of the southwest are full.

The Animas River below Aztec, as of June 1, had a depth of 9.67 feet and was running at 4,160 cubic feet per second. The depth dropped to 7.75 feet at Farmington with a flow rate of 3,610 cfs, according to the U.S. Geological Service’s National Water Information System.

The San Juan River near Bloomfield, as of June 1, had a depth of 7.91 feet and was flowing at 4,760 cfs with water releasing from Navajo Reservoir into the river. At the confluence on the Navajo Nation, the San Juan River’s rate increase to 8,230 cfs, and it was reported as being 11.18 feet deep, according to the USGS.

Despite water flowing out of Navajo Reservoir the lake’s capacity has been increasing. “For a while we were going up over a foot a day,” said Jarrett Johnson, president and CEO of Navajo Lake Marina.

The lake was sitting at 43 feet deep as of June 1, making it 34.61 feet higher than this time last year, Johnson said.

“The last time we were this high or higher was six years ago. It’s pretty good water,” Johnson said, adding the depth is dropping because of releases. “They’re releasing as fast as they can release. “We’ll probably start falling, but they’re going to stop the release on June 14. We may come down 5 or 6 feet, but we’ll still be in phenomenal shape.”

Above, the view from the pontoon boat. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here

Got New Tires

Above, this morning's breakfast burrito. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This morning, I set up an appointment at the Gallup Pep Boys for buying and installing two tires for the Mustang along with a wheel alignment.

I just needed two front tires as they were badly worn. The rear ones were okay. I can't complain as they lasted five years.

I got down to Pep Boys just before my appointment time and was told that they could not get to my car until later in the day. They claimed they tried to call me, my phone indicated otherwise. I decided that this wouldn't work for me and so I left. They lost my business.

I then went to a tire dealer that Larry Lucier recommended and they got me in and out within 25 minutes. I have to go back tomorrow or the wheel alignment. 

Above, Grandpa's Grill in Gallup. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since I was in town, I went to Grandpa's Grill for a breakfast burrito after the tires were installed. 

As I had to go back into Gallup tomorrow anyway to pick up a prescription and a case of Alien Amber Ale that I ordered, going back for the alignment was no big deal. 

Oh, yes. The breakfast burrito was great.

Replies To Numismatic News On Counterfeit Coins

Above, the counterfeit coins I bought last year. Photo  by Armand Vaquer.

Recently, Numismatic News asked this question:

Have you encountered or unknowingly acquired ma counterfeit coin? If so, what did you do?

They received a number of responses and all are interesting.

As readers of this blog know, last year I bought two counterfeit coins. It turned out that they originated from China and were sold through an ad on Facebook. I had my suspicions, but I took a chance anyway.

When they arrived, I gave them the magnet test. Sure enough, both coins stuck to the magnet. Silver is not magnetic, by the way.

My bank reversed the charges, so I didn't lose anything. I turned the coins over to the New Mexico McKinley County Sheriff.

To read the responses to Numismatic News's question, go here.

Dollar At ¥139 In Tokyo

We're now in a new month and it is time to take a peek at how the U.S. dollar is faring against the Japanese yen in Tokyo's foreign exchange.

From Jiji Press:

Tokyo, May 31 (Jiji Press)--The dollar fell into the upper 139-yen range in Tokyo trading Wednesday, pulled down by the Nikkei stock average's fallback and lower U.S. long-term interest rates.

At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at 139.74-75 yen, down from 140.26-26 yen at the same time Tuesday.

Considering how hotels, attractions, restaurants and (coming this fall) the Japan Rail Pass are jacking up prices, this is beneficial to American travelers.

To read more, go here

See What's On Your Phone's Google Calendar Today?

If you are weary of the bombardment of LGBTQ stuff (to put it politely) all over the media, news and advertising (Bud Light and Target come immediately to mind), well, it doesn't end there. Take a look at your phone's Calendar.

I noticed on my phone's Calendar app that "LGBTQ+ Pride Month" is listed today as a "holiday" (or observance). 

The calendar on my Android phone is a Google app that comes with the phone.

From Wikipedia:

Google Calendar is a time-management and scheduling calendar service developed by Google. It became available in beta release April 13, 2006, and in general release in July 2009, on the web and as mobile apps for the Android and iOS platforms.

Google took it upon itself to include holidays and observances on their Calendar App, including "LGBTQ+ Pride Month". This may offend some people to a huge extent. 

Supposedly, you can remove such calendared items by following this:

Some have said that cherry-picking what events to remove is not possible and that in order to do so, one has to remove all of them. I'm personally not going to bother. I find it more amusing than annoying.

It seems this is just another move to make the LGBTQ community "mainstream". I don't care what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms, but I do resent being bombarded with the campaign to make deviant behaviors "normal". Is it any wonder why there is now a backlash?

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Japan Hotel Visitors Top 10 Million

Above, the Tokyo Skytree and Asahi Beer Hall. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Foreign visitation to Japan is inching up to pre-pandemic levels if the following is any indication.

From The Japan Times:

The number of foreign nationals who stayed at hotels and other accommodation facilities in Japan topped 10 million in April for the first time since January 2020, government data showed Wednesday, buoyed by a weaker yen and an increase in the number of international flights.

The figure rose more than nineteenfold from a year before to 10.38 million, equivalent to 92% of the total in April 2019 before the coronavirus outbreak, according to the preliminary data released by the Japan Tourism Agency.

To read more, go here

2023-W Uncirculated Silver Eagle Debuts

Above, a 2023-W American Silver Eagle I bought months ago. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The U.S. Mint has started selling the 2023-W Uncirculated American Silver Eagle coins.

According to Coin News:

Last week, on May 25, the United States Mint started selling the 2023-W Uncirculated American Silver Eagle for $76.

U.S. Mint sales figures show collectors purchased a total of 117,035 coins in the first four days, making it the Mint’s best weekly seller. As a comparison, last year’s edition opened with five-day starting sales of 143,738 coins.

As a side note, the Mint also reported opening sales of 803 units, or 32,120 coins, of the 40-coin bulk option for dealers last year, bringing the 2022-dated Silver Eagle’s starting total to 175,858. However, this year, the Mint did not publish any bulk sales data for the 2023-W Uncirculated Silver Eagle.

Unfortunately, with the spot price of silver at $23.38/toz (at this writing), $76.00 for an uncirculated coin is a bit pricey. That's a big mark-up! I paid $80.00 for the proof version set at the National Money Show.

What's the difference between these coins and the brilliant uncirculated 2023-W American Silver Eagle coins JM Bullion has been selling for weeks starting at $41.41? (These are the ones I have.) 

Here's the answer: https://libertycoin.com/american-silver-eagle-differences/

To read more, go here.

Snakes, Why Does It Have To Be Snakes?

Yesterday morning, I saw this on my walkway while I was taking the trash out:

I had no idea what kind of snake it was, but according to some in our community Facebook page, it was a garden snake. It had an orange underside. The snake was headless. I am guessing one of the feral cats I feed got to it.

Apparently, snakes are out and about in New Mexico. 

One resident of our community posted:

Idk but they’re everywhere! I ran over 3 snakes this morning before I got to the fire station.

I guess I'll have to carry my .38 with the snake load ammo whenever I'm out in the yard. 

Missing Tennessee Woman Found Safe

The missing Tennessee woman case that had an eerie resemblance to the Gabrielle Petito case ended on a happier note.

From Fox 5 San Diego:

REDDING, Calif. (WKRN) – Police in Redding, California say they have found a Tennessee woman reported missing while she was on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend.

According to the Redding Police Department, police in Eureka, California contacted Nikki Alcaraz and confirmed she was safe.

Alcaraz was reportedly spotted in Eureka on Monday, nearly a month after she departed for a cross-country trip with her boyfriend, Tyler Stratton, and a dog to visit family in Orange County, California.

Early Tuesday morning, police responded to the area and determined Alcaraz and Stratton were “together and had been at the location.” Later in the day, someone reported seeing the vehicle Alcaraz and Stratton were believed to be traveling in. Officers found the vehicle and found both inside.

Alcaraz reportedly told Eureka Police she did not need any assistance, according to a release from the department. Stratton was taken into custody for his outstanding warrant from Tennessee for failure to appear on a theft-related offense.

To read more, go here

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Latitude 20°

This week's Classic Rock Music Monday focused on the Mike Curb Congregation.

I once saw them perform at Latitude 20°, a Polynesian restaurant and nightclub in Torrance, California around 1975. The Congregation jogged a memory of Latitude 20°.

A group of us used to go there back in the 70s. It closed in 1980, to be replaced by a Country nightclub that was short-lived called Waco's (during the Urban Cowboy fad). I think the location is now a parking lot. They had good food and Mai Tai cocktails. 

According to Wikipedia:

The Mai Tai is a cocktail made of rum, Curaçao liqueur, orgeat syrup, and lime juice. It is one of the characteristic cocktails in Tiki culture.

Remembering Latitude 20°, I took a look through Google and found some vintage cups for sale on eBay. 

Above, the cup I bought today on eBay. Photo by seller.

I found this one for $40. There was another one offered for $50, but it had a chip at the the bottom of it. I bought the one offered for $40. I tried buying one years ago by a vendor, but the deal fell through and the vendor was non-responsive to my queries.

Looking further, I saw some photos of Latitude 20° along with menus, advertisements and other cups. It was known as The Polynesian under prior owners.

Here's a sampling:

Above, the restaurant when it was The Polynesian. An undated postcard.

Above, an advertisement for Latitude 20°.

Above, a Latitude 20° matchbook.

Above, Latitude 20° menu.

In Conversation: Inflation

Philip N. Diehl, 35th Director of the U.S. Mint (1994–2000) and President of U.S. Money Reserve, and Edmund Moy, 38th Director of the U.S. Mint (2006–2011) and U.S. Money Reserve’s Senior IRA Strategist, are joined by Angela Roberts, U.S. Money Reserve CEO; Brad Chastain, U.S. Money Reserve’s Director of Education; and host Chuck Woolery. The panel discusses inflation.

Yellowstone: Top 10 Types of Wildlife

Above, a pair of bighorn sheep on a Yellowstone hill. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A few years ago, my daughter and I took two tours of Yellowstone National Park with Buffalo Bus Touring Co. One was of the upper loop and the other was the lower loop. 

Taking a tour was convenient as we were picked up and dropped off at the KOA we were staying at in West Yellowstone, Montana and didn't have to fight the traffic inside the park. We left the driving to someone else.

During the tours, we did manage to see bears, bighorn sheep, osprey nest and bison along with the geothermal geysers and hot springs. 

TheTravel posted an article listing the top ten types of  wildlife to see in Yellowstone.

They begin it with:

Yellowstone is one of the most popular national parks in the United States and is a destination that should be on everyone's bucket list. Yellowstone is particularly famous for two things: having more than half of the world's geysers and for being perhaps the greatest hotspot for American wildlife. Yellowstone is worth visiting for its landscapes and hydrothermal activity, as well as its diverse and rich biodiversity.

Yellowstone is one of the best places to go on a safari outside of Africa, with some valleys like Lamar Valley being noted hotspots of wildlife. Remember that animal behavior changes with the seasons (birds fly south, the musk season, hibernation, etc.), so plan in advance and arrange a visit around the behavioral cycles of the animals of Yellowstone. Out of all the wildlife in Yellowstone National Park to see, these species are some of the most amazing to look out for.

To read more, go here

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day Barbecue

For the first time in years, I used my barbecue grill to cook a t-bone steak. I figured that I can indulge a little bit. After all, it is Memorial Day.

The steak came out great.

So, tomorrow, I'll be back on my usual diet.


Above, waiting for the charcoal to turn white. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the steak is cooking. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above. steak is done. Photo by Armand Vaquer

Japan Rail Pass Price Hike Very Unpopular

Above, inside a Shinkansen train car. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the dumbest moves in the annals of Japan travel was the announcement by the Japan Railways Group that they will be hiking Japan Rail Pass prices nearly 70%.

During seven of my eight trips to Japan, I have obtained a JR Rail Pass and found it very convenient and a bargain. If I go back to Japan, I will likely not buy one.

Other travelers agree with me as surveys have been taken and a big majority of people are also saying "no thanks" to buying a JR Rail Pass, according to an article by SoraNews24.

They begin with:

In April, Japan Railways Group shocked international travelers thinking about taking a trip to Japan by announcing a gigantic price increase for the Japan Rail Pass. Long considered one of the best deals available for inbound tourists looking to see a large swath of the country, the “JR Pass,” as it’s also known among travelers, gives you an unlimited rides on the Shinkansen bullet train, as well as local JR-managed lines nationwide, over a period of one, two, or three weeks.

Currently, a one-week pass costs 29,640 yen (US$220), but that will be jumping to 50,000 yen. The two-week pass will be rising from 47,250 to 80,000 yen, and the three-week pass from 60,450 yen to 100,000. That works out to price increases of between 65 and 69 percent, and depending on where you’re staying and whether you’re splitting hotel costs with a travelling companion, the difference is enough to potentially equal multiple nights’ worth of hotel costs.

Needless to say, the change hasn’t been met with cheers from overseas travelers anxious to visit Japan now that the country has finally reopened from being effectively closed to tourism for almost the entirety of the pandemic. Illustrating just how unpopular is this move by JR is, Export Japan, management company for inbound-to-Japan travel portal Japan Guide, has released the results of an online poll carried out through the site in May, shortly after the Japan Rail Pass price hike was announced. When posed with the question “Will you be buying the Japan Rail Pass after the price increase?”, the responses from 1,098 participants were:

Probably not: 36.5 percent of respondents

● Absolutely not: 36.1 percent

● I can’t say for sure: 15.5 percent

● I’ll probably buy it: 6 percent

● I’ll definitely buy it: 5.9 percent

To read more, go here

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