"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.

Buy The Amazon Kindle Store Ebook Edition

Buy The Amazon Kindle Store Ebook Edition
Get the ebook edition here! (Click image.)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

How much do you know about the JFK assassination?

Above, yours truly in Dealey Plaza in 1984.

How much do you know about the JFK assassination?

Standard News.com has a quiz on the assassination. For the fun of it, I took the quiz and got 98%. The one question that I "missed" was one where all answers were correct, but they wanted one answer in particular.

It helped that I saved the newspapers from November 1963, have several books, attended a talk by Secret Service Agent Clint Hill and have visited Dealey Plaza in Dallas.

To take the quiz, go here. Good luck!

Japan Airlines Resuming Non-Stop Service To Kona International Airport

Above, one of the gates at Kona International Airport. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan Airlines is resuming non-stop air service to Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Pacific Business News reported:
Japan Airlines will resume nonstop flights between Tokyo and the Kona airport on Hawaii Island this fall after a seven-year absence, providing $84.2 million in annual visitor spending 
The daily flights between Tokyo’s Narita International Airport and the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport begin on Sept. 15, and will be operated with Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.
To read more, go here.


Here's a little something that I drew around 1992:

It is the E Clampus Vitus version of evolution. When the Yahoo! Group for Platrix Chapter No. 2 was started in 2005, I incorported it into the description for the group. It is still there today.

Support The National Park Service Legacy Act

Above, the historic Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Here's a national park-oriented editorial I totally agree with. It is from The News Tribune of Tacoma, Washington.

It is in support of the National Park Service Legacy Act. The intent of the legislation is to address the growing backlog of needed maintenance and repairs at our national parks that have been deferred for the past several years. It is fast approaching $12 billion.

Here's part of what The News Tribune editorialized:
At a time when talk of America’s failing infrastructure focuses on roads, bridges and airports, leave it to a pair of Puget Sound area congressmen to bring vital attention to our crumbling national parks system. 
Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, and Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, are part of a bipartisan team that recently introduced the National Park Service Legacy Act. If it passes as we hope, the Park Service will be able to take gradual steps to address a daunting backlog of deferred maintenance projects. 
In 2016, the NPS saw a record 330 million visits, but decades of rising use are taking a toll. Roads, visitor facilities, electric and water systems, trails and cultural and historic artifacts have fallen into disrepair. 
Many roads are closed indefinitely or reduced to one lane due to storm damage or deferred maintenance. Veteran TNT outdoor writer Craig Hill says some trail damage at Mount Rainier is more than a decade old, dating to the historic floods of 2006.

I am, for one, all in favor of fiscal restraint in government, but the parks do need to be maintained so that they continue be safely enjoyed by visitors and to benefit the neighboring communities.

As the editorial states:
People who visit national parks for recreation and wildlife that live there wouldn’t be the only beneficiaries. Every tax dollar invested in the park system generates $10 in economic activity within 60 miles of national park sites, according a NPS study.

It isn't going to get any cheaper to get the backlogged work done. It is high time to get the work started. Contact your member of Congress and ask him/her to support the National Park Service Legacy Act.

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/article153673079.html#storylink=cpy

Celestron Eclipse Solar Shades

In preparation for the August 21 solar eclipse, I bought the Celestron EclipSmart Solar Shades Observing Kit, which includes four ISO Certified Solar Eclipse Glasses & 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Guidebook through Amazon.com.

Celestron is a big name in astronomy equipment and supplies.

Looking at a solar eclipse can lead to blindness if an observer's eyes aren't protected.

To order, go here.

Booking Campsites At Recreation.gov

Above, The Beast at the North Pines Campground in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The best way to reserve a campsite in a national park (not all national parks have campgrounds where people can reserve a site) is Recreation.gov. Besides campsites, it will also let people sign up for other things.

I made use of the reservation site in November 2015 to reserve a campsite at the North Pines Campground in Yosemite National Park in April 2016. I found out the date and time the reservations start and I was ready on that date and time by setting it on my cell phone's calendar. It was a good thing I did as sites were gobbled up in short order.

The features I like the most is that a map of available (and taken) campsites is provided along with a photograph of each site. This way, people can see what's available and see what the site looks like without blindly selecting a site and finding later on arrival that the site is too short for their 40' motorhome.

Do It Yourself RV has an article with 5 tips to using the government website.

They wrote:
Recreation.gov lets you search and reserve campsites, lodging, permits, and tours at the largest inventory of federal land in the country. Not only can you reserve a campsite, but you can also sign up for cabins, group facilities, lotteries, and special events. With campgrounds becoming more and more crowded on summer trips, these five tips will help you plan an RV trip ahead of time using the online service.
Once people sign up in Recreation.gov, they'll always have an account to make future reservations and see their past reservations for future reference.

To read more, go here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Kathy Griffin's Tasteless Joke Backfires

Another tasteless "joke" by a leftist "comedian" has backfired as the backlash over a photo forced Kathy Griffin to issue a video apology.

According to the Daily Mail:
Kathy Griffin has apologized for posting a photo of President Trump's severed head after furious backlash - including from Chelsea Clinton - and the Secret Service tweeted suggested she may be investigated over the stunt. 
The controversial comedian tweeted 'I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong' after Griffin was seen slowly raising Trump's head during a photoshoot with infamous photographer Tyler Shields. She also posted a video promising to remove the offending image. 
But the apology was not enough to stop an army of critics, both Trump supporters and Democrats from attacking Griffin on social media for the outrageous stunt. 
Her long-time New Years Eve co-host Anderson Cooper said he was 'appalled' by the photo shoot, which he described as 'clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.' 

To read more, go here.

UPDATE (5/31/17):

CNN has fired Kathy Griffin from the New Year's Eve specials, according to Variety.

Godzilla vs. Kong Director Selected

Legendary Pictures is steadily getting the crew on board for production of the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong movie.

AL.com announced:
Alabama's talent pool Hollywood continues to shine bright thanks to director and Birmingham native Adam Wingard, who just landed the biggest project of his career. 
The Hollywood Reporter writes that Wingard, a go-to horror director on projects like "Blair Witch" and this year's "Death Note," will direct the announced Godzilla vs. King Kong movie for Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, following up 2014's "Godzilla" and 2017's "Kong: Skull Island." 
The film is scheduled to open in theaters May 22, 2020. 
The writer of the article is forgot to mention the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters that will tie in with the G v K movie.

To read more, go here

National Park Service Offers Free Annual Passes To Military Members

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

In appreciation for our men and women in uniform and their families, the National Park Service is offering free annual passes.

WSAV-TV reported:
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As a gesture to honor the work they do and the sacrifices they make, the National Parks Service is offering free annual park passes to military service members and their families.

This offer is also extended to current National Guard and Reserve members and their

To read more, go here.

Foreign Travelers Staying In Japan Up 8% In 2016

Above, turrets and outer wall of Osaka Castle. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

2016 was a great year for Japan as more foreign tourists stayed in the country than they did the year before.

According to Nikkei Asian Review:
TOKYO -- The number of foreign visitors to Japan who stayed at least one night grew 8% in 2016 from a year earlier to 70.88 million, according to government data released Tuesday.

To read more, go here

Maxine Waters Meltdown

Above, an ad by L.A. street artist Sabo near her townhall meeting.

Rep. Maxine "Mad Maxine" Waters has always been a loon, but since the election of President Trump, she has become more unhinged.

She has a "safe" district in Los Angeles, but that isn't stopping constituents in the district from putting her feet to the fire.

She's been screaming for the impeachment of President Trump, although no crimes have been committed. But that's not stopping her.

Now, people have been calling for her impeachment. And, lampoon ads have been popping up in her district near where she held a townhall meeting calling for her impeachment. (Maybe she's better off remaining in Congress for our comic relief.)

The American Mirror posted:
Is all the impeachment talk boomeranging on Maxine Waters? 
A constituent filmed an encounter with the California Congresswoman on Monday and the two clashed before Waters declared that a member of Congress couldn’t be impeached.
A member of Congress can be impeached and removed from office.

Up to now, Waters has never felt the wrath of people for her lunacy. Now she's getting the taste of her own medicine.

To read more, go here.

T + L: How To Survive Quicksand

Above, Frankenstein's Monster (Glenn Strange) and Dr. Niemann (Boris
Karloff) could have used a few tips from the
Travel + Leisure article.

There's been a lot of movies over the years that featured quicksand. In those movies, unless someone pulls out the victim, he/she is a goner.

But that's really a myth as an article by Travel + Leisure points out. The article also tells out to get out of quicksand.

They begin with:
Quicksand seems like a rare hazard found only in the jungle based off the movies, but it’s more common than one might think. The liquefied soil can also be spotted on riverbanks, coastlines and marshes. And while you really will start to sink if you’re entrapped in the substance, don’t worry — you can, and probably will, survive.
Interesting article! Dr. Gustav Niemann and Frankenstein's Monster could have used the tips provided in the article as they ended up in quicksand at the end of House of Frankenstein.

To read more, go here

Japan Now No. 15 As World Tourism Draw

Above, Asakusa's Nakamise Street. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan's drive to be a more inviting destination for foreign tourists is paying off. The country is now number 15 in the world.

The Japan News (Yomiuri Shimbun) reported:
TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan ranked 15th in the world in terms of the number of visitors from abroad last year, a government white paper said Tuesday. 
The number of visitors to Japan grew 21.8 percent from the previous year to 24.04 million, according to the 2017 white paper on tourism. 
Nine of the country’s 10 regions saw an increase in the total number of foreign visitors who stayed at accommodation facilities. Notably, the Shikoku region had a sharp increase of 46 percent, led by visitors from Taiwan and Hong Kong. The Chubu region was the only region that saw the number fall.

To read more, go here

Monday, May 29, 2017

Tiger Woods Arrested For DUI

Above, Tiger Woods's mugshot with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office.

One of professional golf's top players has gotten himself into hot water this morning.

Japan Today reported:
Tiger Woods was arrested early Monday on a DUI charge in Jupiter, Florida, and spent nearly four hours in a county jail before he was released. 
Woods, the 14-time major champion who ranks second with his 79 career victories on the PGA Tour, has not played for four months. He is out for the rest of the season while he recovers from his fourth back surgery. 
Woods was arrested on suspicion of DUI about 3 a.m. Monday and taken to the Palm Beach County jail, Jupiter Police spokeswoman Kristin Rightler said. He was arrested on Military Trail, south of Indian Creek Parkway. 
Jail records show that the 41-year-old was booked into Palm Beach County jail at 7:18 a.m. and released on his own recognizance at 10:50 a.m. The jail released a booking photo of Woods in a white T-shirt.
It is sad to see Woods's life spiraling down like this. It seems that his life took a bad turn after his father passed away. I hope he uses this incident as a wake-up call and straightens out his life.

To read more, go here.

Baby Boomer Divorce Leading To Financial Woes

Above, the Little Church of the West in Las Vegas, the oldest building on the Las Vegas Strip. Wikipedia photo.

After looking at an article that MarketWatch posted about the steep rise in baby boomer divorces, I guess I am lucky (all things considered).

My ex-wife and I split up 24 years ago and finally finalized our divorce three years ago. It is my understanding that she has remarried (she didn't exactly invite me to the wedding), so she's someone else's problem.

It is interesting to read about late-in-life or "gray" divorces.

According to MarketWatch:
Looking ahead to the next phase of life can seem pretty dreadful if you can’t stand the person who you’ll be spending it with. 
That may be what some boomers are facing. Among U.S. adults ages 50 and older, the divorce rate has roughly doubled since the 1990s, according to a recent Pew Research Center report. 
Statistically speaking we’re healthier and probably going to be living a lot longer — possibly 30 years longer — than average retirees once did. The surge in late-in-life — or “gray” — divorce is one possibly unintended consequence of this so-called longevity bonus.

Since I am financially secure and am in good health (knock on wood), I feel rather fortunate. It is funny to remember years ago that while at a friend's house we heard a wedding caravan of cars pass by. To that, he said, "Why buy a cow when milk is so cheap?" Based on the statistics, maybe there's some truth to that.

To read more, go here.

Yellowstone's Ecosystem and Wolves

Above, a wolf in Lamar Valley. Wikipedia photo.

When my daughter Amber and I visited Yellowstone National Park two years ago, we managed to see elk, bears and other animals. But we didn't see any wolves even though they're there.

The Plaid Zebra has an article on how the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park "saved" the park. I don't know about "saving" the park, but they did much to restore the ecosystem within it.

They began their article with:
Walking through Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming you’ll be happy to see an abundance of willow and aspen trees and hear the melodies of song-birds, a very different impression than that of 20 years ago. This change in the park’s ecosystem is due in part to the restoration of wolves in the area that has rejuvenated the environment. 
By the 1930s people had killed off all the wolves in the park. Wolves were seen as competitors in the hunting of elk so killing off the population was done in part to make human survival easier. It was also done during a time where the euro-centric public discourse favoured civility, of which the wolf represented the opposite. 
Then, due to a changing attitude toward the environment in the 1970s and the creation of the Endangered Species Act, there began a movement to bring back wolves to the area. Finally after much consideration and public debate in 1995, 41 wolves were taken from areas in western Canada, tagged, and transported to Yellowstone National Park over a period of three years. Once taken to the park the new wolves were hesitant to leave their cages, now 20 years later the population has reached its carrying capacity of around 100 wolves.
To read more, go here

A More Sedate Memorial Day

Above, the gathering at Pioneer Memorial Cemetery in Sylmar. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This year, I made no plans on how I would be spending this year's Memorial Day.

Last year, Platrix Chapter No. 2 of E Clampus Vitus took care of that as the chapter took part in Memorial Day celebrations at the Pioneer Cemetery in Sylmar by dedicating a monument there. The event was well attended and following the ceremonies, the chapter members migrated to the clubhouse at El Cariso Golf Course for adult beverages and munchies.

Pioneer Memorial Cemetery was made "famous" as the location where Bela Lugosi's scenes were filmed in 1956 for what became Plan Nine From Outer Space by Ed Wood.

Above, Dave Nicholson and Armand at Pioneer Memorial Cemetery.

I will probably be moving a few things out of the overhead cabinets in The Beast and putting them into the newly-discovered storage space under one of the dinette seats. Other than that, I will be barbecuing a steak for dinner. This will be a more sedate Memorial Day compared to last year's.

Above, XSNGH Glenn Thornhill and Armand at the El Cariso Golf Course clubhouse. 

What else today has in store for me is anyone's guess.

Above, the newly-discovered storage space in The Beast. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day!

Dollar Slightly Firmer at ¥111.30

The U.S. dollar is still down, but is slightly firmer at ¥111.30.

Jiji Press reported:
Tokyo, May 29 (Jiji Press)--The dollar was slightly firmer around 111.30 yen in Tokyo trading on Monday, partly supported by buy orders from Japanese importers. 
At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at 111.29-30 yen, up from 111.24-25 yen at the same time on Friday. 
To read more, go here

Remembering Those Who Have Fallen

Memorial Day 2017

Above, the marble wall that bears the names of all those killed on the Arizona
 in the shrine section of the USS Arizona Memorial. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

"To the Memory of the Gallant Men Here Entombed and their shipmates who gave their lives in action on 7 December 1941, on the U.S.S. Arizona"
— inscription in marble with the names of Arizona's honored dead

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Bela Lugosi Would Love This: A Secret Storage Compartment!

Another for the "You Learn Something New Everyday!" file!

One of my fellow members of the Facebook Minnie Winnie Group posted that there's a "secret" storage compartment under the dinette seat directly behind the driver's seat in the Minnie Winnie 22R (and the other models).

This was news to me! I never knew that there is a compartment under the seat. I checked, and sure enough, there is one!

It looks like a lot of things can be stored in it. I've a few things that can be transferred from the overhead cabinet above my bed into it.

Bela Lugosi came to mind when I saw it. He'd probably say (if he were still alive and a RVer): "We can hide all the bodies in here!"

Above, the dinette seat. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the storage space inside. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

North Korea Missile Lands In Japan's EEZ

Above, the Sea of Japan from Niigata. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

North Korea has apparently launched a missile that landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Sea of Japan.

The Japan Times reported:
North Korea fired off an unidentified missile Monday morning that landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, the latest in a spate of ramped-up test-firings that have unnerved the region. 
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that the missile, launched around 5:40 a.m., appeared to have have fallen into Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan. 
Suga said Japan had issued a strong protest with the North, calling the launch a clear violation of United Nations resolutions. 
The missile was fired from the eastern coastal city of Wonsan, according to a statement released by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
To read more, go here

T + L: Elvis Presley Jet Up For Auction

Above, the Lisa Marie at Graceland. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of Elvis Presley's original private jets is up for auction, according to a Travel + Leisure article

According to the article:
Now modern travelers can get a taste of The King’s iconic, over-the-top aesthetic by bidding for one of his original luxury private jets. 
Elvis’s 1962 Lockheed Jetstar was designed by the legend himself, from the woodwork to the red velvet seats and red shag carpet. The plane was especially dear to the musician as he shared it with his father, Vernon Presley. 
For the past 35 years, the jet has sat abandoned on a tarmac in Roswell, New Mexico.

If the winning bidder wants to fly the jet, they'll have to get some engines for it as the jet doesn't have any at present.

Two of Presley's later jets, including the Lisa Marie, are on display at Graceland.

To read more, go here.


According to Fortune.com:
A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley sold for $430,000 at a California auction on Saturday. 
The 1962 Lockheed Jetstar has sat on a runway in Roswell, New Mexico for 35 years and has no engines and an unrestored cockpit, GWS Auctions Inc. said. 
The person who bought it and the buyer's plans for the plane have not been released, the Associated Press reported. However, GMS Auctions Inc. estimates the buyer could earn millions off the plane once it is restored.
To read more on today's sale, go here.

RV Purchases Growing In Popularity

Above, camping on the Keene Ranch. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

More members of the baby boomer generation (those born in the years following World War II) are entering retirement age (like me) and are looking to buying an RV for traveling in their "golden years". Younger generations are also buying RVs to enjoy with their growing families.

Such is the case of residents of Eastern Idaho, which is what an article from the East Idaho News prompted this blog post. It is also true for baby boomers elsewhere and other generations elsewhere.

They wrote:
IDAHO FALLS — With RVs already in the driveways of many homes in eastern Idaho, one would think the local market is already saturated and sales at local RV dealerships would have slowed. 
But in fact, the opposite is true — RV sales are growing in eastern Idaho and local dealers say 2017 looks to be a good year. 
John Hollist, a sales representative at Smith RV, said as local residents grow up taking trips in their parents’ RVs, naturally they want to buy their own RV when they have their own families. He said for many it’s about have a certain type of lifestyle. 
“From here, you can go two hours in any direction and be setting up camp,” Hollist said. Many locals love taking advantage of all the outdoor opportunities close by. Being in a warm RV doesn’t hurt, either. 
He added that their RV lot consistently has an upward RV sales trend. Even if the economy is iffy and fuel costs go up, Hollist explained, rather than spend more money on bigger trips, people will opt to get in their RV and take a shorter trip. 
What has changed, though, is what types of RVs people are buying. “There is a big trend toward lightweight stuff that people can pull with their SUV,” Hollist said. Anything with bunk beds always tends to sell well.
To read more, go here.

Kazakhstan Officials Visit Yellowstone

Above, terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is fascinating to see officials from other countries visit our national parks to see how they are operated for ideas to develop their own national parks. The latest visitors were officials from Kazakhstan.

According to U.S. News & World Report:
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Officials in Kazakhstan are looking to Yellowstone National Park and their counterparts in Montana as they work to develop tourism focused on national parks at home. 
A group of state and local officials from the Central Asian nation along with an entrepreneur and embassy assistant visited Yellowstone last week.

To read more, go here.

What Was Yosemite Like Way Back When?

Above, El Capitan shrouded in clouds. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Practically ever since it was discovered, Yosemite National Park has always been popular with people and with photographers in particular.

The best known Yosemite photographer was Ansel Adams. His photographs of the park are famous and there's an Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Village.

The San Francisco Chronicle has a photo gallery article on Yosemite over the years with 46 photos from over the years.

It begins with:
Yosemite is undeniably beautiful and crowded these days — but it's always been that way. 
Back in June of 1866, a Chronicle headline read: "Yosemite Getting Popular." According to the story, "There seems to be a mania for visiting the Yosemite this year, and already there has been about as many there as the average of any of the past five seasons."  
Fast forward to 2017 and a Google search of "Yosemite crowds" yields articles like, "How crowded is 'crowded'?" and "Yosemite Slammed," not to mention a plethora of articles advising visitors how to avoid the herd. Sound familiar?
Above, The Beast at Yosemite's North Pines Campground last year. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Although there were plenty of people in Yosemite when I camped there last year, the crowds weren't overwhelming. That's one advantage of being retired. Retirees can travel whenever they want and when the mood moves them, especially during the off-season.

To see the gallery, go here.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

National Geographic Guide To National Parks Arrived

Two days ago, I posted a blog about the review of the latest edition of National Georaphic Guide To National Parks of the United States (8th Edition).

I then proceeded to order a copy and it arrived today, thanks to the folks at Amazon.com.

After its arrival, I did some perusing inside and found it loaded with lots of information on each national park along with beautiful photographs of each.

This will be a very handy tool for future visits to the national parks. It'll be a great addition to the growing library of books in The beast.

To order a copy through Amazon, go here. Their price: $17.95.

Japan Info: How To Use The Train In Japan

Above, a bullet train (shinkansen) pulls into Atami Station. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the nice things about Japan is that their public transportation system will get people to virtually any place.

Tokyo's subways may seem complicated, but once you've mastered their system (along with color-coded maps), using the subway is a cinch.

The same goes for their train system.

Japan Info has an article on how to use the train in Japan.

It begins with:
If you happen to visit Japan, you will undoubtedly use the train at some point. Even if you plan to rent a car the entire time during your visit, you are likely to hop on a train between the airport and where you’re staying. Particularly in big cities such as Tokyo (東京), Osaka (大阪), or Nagoya (名古屋), trains are a large part of Japanese life and for many, it is the main method of getting around. 
A few great things about both the above-ground trains and subways in Japan is that they are clean, safe, and (usually) punctual. Riding the train in Japan isn’t too difficult, but can seem a little daunting at first due to the vast number of railway lines, the crowds during rush hour, and the sometimes complicated ticket machines. This article aims to prepare you for riding the train in Japan and help you make the most out of your journey.
To read more, go here

Yosemite RV Resort Was A KOA Kampground

Above, the Yosemite Visitor Center. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When I posted the press release about the new Yosemite RV Resort in Coarsegold, California yesterday, I checked the main website for RVC Outdoor and found that the new resort is the former KOA Kampground, Yosemite South Coarsegold KOA.

According to the website:
The campground, which was previously operated as a KOA franchise under the name Yosemite South Coarsegold, has been expanded and received extensive upgrades over the past several months to prepare for its relaunch as part of the RVC system.
Before planning last year's trip to Yosemite, I checked the KOA Kampground Directory and considered the Yosemite South Coarsegold KOA. However, I was able to make a reservation for a campsite in Yosemite Valley at the North Pines Campground, which I enjoyed very much.

The newly expanded and upgraded campground looks very inviting.

Yosemite RV Resort is located 25 miles from the South Entrance of Yosemite National Park.

For more information, go here.

Closed Campgrounds and Hazards At Sequoia and Kings Canyon

Above, Dorst Creek Campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Visitors to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks will feel the squeeze this summer as some of their campgrounds remain closed.

Bakersfield.com reported:
Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks are starting the summer season with one-third fewer campsites and very dangerous river conditions, the National Parks Service announced Thursday. 
Work on the campgrounds is ongoing, but the amount of trees killed by drought, insect activity and a heavy winter have created more hazards than expected, NPS said in a press release. 
Sequoia National Park campgrounds in Foothills are open, but Dorst Creek and Cold Springs are closed. 
The closed campgrounds in Kings Canyon National Park are Sunset and Moraine.

To read more, go here

MRC's Bozell Blasts Dishonesty of USAA

The far left lunatics have been on a mission to silence conservative spokesmen and commentators. The latest target is Sean Hannity of the Fox News Channel.

They are currently waging a campaign to get Hannity's sponsors to pull their ads from Hannity's show.

Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center posted the following message on Twitter that blasts the USAA Auto Insurance Company for pulling their ads and lying about it:

James Bond Was A Clamper!

This definitely goes into the "You Learn Something New Everyday" file.

According to sources from the Joaquin Murrieta Chapter No. 13 of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, an event took place at the Dunsmuir House on October 6, 1984. That is when James Bond became a Clamper. (I became a Clamper the year before.)

Sir Roger Moore, who was in San Francisco filming his last Bond movie, A View To A Kill, was inducted into the order. Those who were there for Moore's induction never forgot it and is a fond memory.

The photo below was posted by Wally Frees on Facebook:

That's definitely Roger Moore and the guys behind him are definitely Clampers!

James Bond was a Clamper! Satisfactory! 

ECV has/had presidents and a Supreme Court Justice as members. It turns out we even had a knight, too!

Thanks to Wally Frees for his post!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Odaiba, Tokyo's Entertainment Island

Above, Odaiba and the Rainbow Bridge from Tokyo Bay. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Maybe you're not going to Tokyo for Memorial Day weekend, but if you happen to find yourself in Tokyo at any time soon, there's plenty to do there.

For starters, there's Odaiba (made "famous" to Godzilla fans through Godzilla x Megaguirus in 2000). Odaiba is the "entertainment island of Tokyo".

What's there to do in Odaiba?

Japan Info has 11 suggestions for things to do in Odaiba.

They begin with:
Odaiba is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, separated from central Tokyo by the famous Rainbow Bridge and accessible by monorail, subway and even boat. It is home to various small theme parks, museums, shopping malls, and boasts beautiful views of the sea and the city. It is a must-visit for families, friends, and couples for its ultra-modern American-style town, entertainment, and breathtaking night views. If you’re looking for an excellent day out to enjoy one of Tokyo’s most exciting and unique areas, check out these 11 things to do in Odaiba!
Above, the Rainbow Bridge and the Statue of Liberty from Aqua City in Odaiba. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To see what they are, go here

Yosemite RV Resort and Campground Announces June 2017 Grand Opening at Coarsegold, California Location

Above, Yosemite RV Resort's pool deck. Yosemite RV Resort photo.

Source: News Release

Yosemite RV Resort, a thirty-five acre RVC Outdoor Destination property in Coarsegold, California, is proud to announce the June 2017 Grand Opening Weekend. The resort's family-friendly events begin on Friday, June 2nd with coffee and doughnuts at the Welcome Center and the official ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 P.M., and concludes Sunday the 4th at 11 A.M. with our farewell breakfast. But that's just a taste of what the Grand Opening Weekend of Yosemite RV Resort has in store for its guests! Formally known as Yosemite South Coarsegold Ranch, a longtime favorite of guests looking for the best “basecamp” for visiting Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National park has undergone an almost $2.5M renovation including new welcome center, pool deck with great views and vistas.

At Yosemite RV Resort, our Grand Opening Weekend gets started on Friday. Our Family Fun Day on our lawn will be a great treat for everyone, and a local marching band will bring pomp and circumstance to our ribbon-cutting ceremony! Then, that night will be our Grand Opening Party, where everyone can enjoy live music, local food vendors, and games for the whole family.

Above, a rental cottage. Yosemite RV Resort photo.

Friday won't be the only day you can party down at our Grand Opening Weekend—Yosemite RV Park will be rocking and rolling all day Saturday, too! You won't want to miss the petting zoo we're bringing in for kids of all ages, or the traveling circus that will feature a ring show and activities like face painting, a bouncy house, and games. In the afternoon, get competitive with your weekend neighbors with our Campsite Competition, which will encourage everyone to get outside and play horseshoes or a friendly game of cornhole. You can also explore the amazing Yosemite RV Resort with a scavenger hunt. After you've worked up an appetite, join us for our Potluck by the Pool. "RVC Outdoor Destinations are all about special events, and the Yosemite RV Resort is no different," says Lace Montgomery, General Manager of Yosemite RV Resort. "If you're looking to get away from it all in early June, our Grand Opening is going to be the place to be. Our spacious camping sites in the Sierra Nevada foothills are a great place to spend a weekend even when we're not planning festivities like games, music, and even a circus!"

It's true— Yosemite RV Resort is an amazing location all throughout the year. Whether you want to spend your time in your own RV or tent, or in one of our cottages, cabins, or our truly unique yurts, families can expect to have the experience of a lifetime. Yosemite RV Resort is close to Yosemite National Park, the same amazing American expanse that inspired photographer Ansel Adams and generations of tourists. Adults will be excited to visit the Madera Wine Trail, and nature enthusiasts of any age will be astonished by the sights to be seen at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Narrow Gauge Railroad, and tranquil Bass Lake. For days you want to stick closer to home, our resort has a large swimming pool, private and community fire pits, a brand-new children's playground, and more!

Visit the Yosemite RV Resort's web page for more information about all we offer our visitors, like Wi-Fi, an on-site concierge, pet amenities, and more. Visitors can also check our availability and book a stay!

About Yosemite RV Resort

The Yosemite RV Resort is the ideal getaway location for families and couples visiting Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, or Kings Canyon National Park. Our campground spans more than 35 acres of the beautiful Sierra Nevada foothills, where families of all sizes can gather together and enjoy the lush natural wonders of the Yosemite Valley. Stay a for a week, or stay for a weekend; the Yosemite RV Resort offers a variety of accommodation options to make you and your group or family comfortable as you take in one of the most amazing of our American landscapes.

More Information

Visit Yosemite RV Resort online  for a complete list of accommodations, rates, and amenities at our scenic location, or for directions or more information please call (866) 862-4059 to reach our General Manager in Coarsegold, CA.

What Makes Yellowstone's Geysers Erupt?

Above, Old Faithful Geyer in eruption. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

An interesting broadcast was posted at WBUR on "What makes Yellowstone National Park's geysers erupt?" of the Here & Now program.

The main thing to remember, despite the park's beauty, it is a super volcano.

The post states:
Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer travel season, and visitors will flock to Yellowstone National Park to see the geysers. 
The park has more geysers than any other place on Earth. Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson tours the geyser basin with Bob Smith, chief seismologist at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, and park ranger Rebecca Roland.
Above, a geyser erupting at one of Yellowstone's geyer basins. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To hear it, go here.

Gas & Diesel Costs Going Up

Above, gassing up The Beast. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Oh-oh! It looks like we RVers will be paying a bit more for gasoline and diesel this summer.

According to RV Life:
They say what goes down must come up and RV gas and diesel costs are no exception. This summer you need to dig out about $200 from your RV couch cushions. That’s how much the average RVer will pour into their 2017 RV gas and diesel costs. 
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. regular gasoline retail prices will go up to about $2.46/gallon (gal). Last summer they averaged $2.23/gal. The EIA considers the summer season for gasoline and diesel to run from April through September. During this time, U.S. regular gasoline retail prices will probably increase by about $.23/gallon. “. . . which, if realized, would result in the average U.S. household spending about $200 more on motor fuel in 2017 compared with 2016,” says the EIA.

During my November trip to Metropolis, Illinois, I was pleasantly surprised that many of the states I traveled through had gasoline prices under $2.00/gallon. That saved me a lot of money, considering The Beast has a 55 gallon gas tank.

Above, low gas price in Missouri. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here

Happy Birthday, Kenpachiro Satsuma!

Above, Godzilla (Kenpachiro Satsuma) near Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

As it is now Saturday, May 27 in Japan, a big Happy 70th Birthday to the Heisei Godzilla, Kenpachiro Satsuma!

Above, Kenpachiro Satsuma and yours truly in 2000 at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood for G-FEST 2000.

Islamic State Threatens Las Vegas In Video

Above, the Las Vegas Strip on New Year's Eve 2015. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A video has surfaced from Islamic State that threatens Las Vegas. Authorities are treating it as a "legitimate and credible" video threat.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported:
A legitimate Islamic State group propaganda video posted on social media last week features brief footage of the Las Vegas Strip while calling for lone-wolf terrorist attacks, and Las Vegas police are treating it as a credible threat. 
The video is about 44 minutes long, which is unusual because Islamic State group propaganda videos are often much shorter, according to a representative with SITE Intelligence Group, a nongovernmental counterterrorism organization. 
Similar, shorter Islamic State group propaganda videos are posted daily, the representative said.

To read more, go here.

Families of Allied Troops Donating To Hiroshima Peace Museum

Above, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Families of allied soldiers have been making donations of photographs and artifacts to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, according to the Mainichi Shimbun.

They wrote:
HIROSHIMA -- The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum has been receiving donations of materials, including photographs capturing Hiroshima in the aftermath of the 1945 atomic bombing, from the children and grandchildren of mostly Allied troops stationed in the city after Japan's surrender. 
A curator at the museum appreciates the donations, saying that some of the photos "show common people in the streets, and that's something that is rarely found in official military documents."

To read more, go here

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