"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Eclipse Experience: $500/Night With No Hookups?! No, Thank You!

This following is from a website called Eclipse Experience. I first learned about this on Facebook.

The website reads:
Come park your RV or trailer on this parcel of prime Oregon farmland, adjacent to the beautiful North Santiam River. Located smack dab in the center of the moon shadow's path, you will marvel at a TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE,  where the stars come out in midday, the air chills and the birds stop singing ! Unobstructed 360 degree view from sunrise to sunset. Duration of totality at this location is 2 MINUTES LONG ! Located in charming Scio, Oregon, only 7 miles east of I-5. Scio is the "Covered Bridge Capitol" of the Northwest. Parking for SELF-CONTAINED RV's and trailers ONLY, as there are no water or sanitation hook-ups... There are markets, taverns and restaurants nearby, concerts and many events celebrating this historic cosmic event. @@@ NOTE ! @@@ There is a 2 night minimum stay ($500, $250/night). We accept most major credit cards. All reservations are final, no refunds. This is a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event, not to be missed ! All hotels and campgrounds within a 2 hour radius are SOLD OUT ! Reserve EARLY, as parking spaces are LIMITED ! Share this cosmic event with friends, family and loved ones... Leash friendly... woof !

Granted, most RV parks and campgrounds (not to mention hotels and motels) near the eclipse's path are already booked up. But $250/night for RV parking in a farm field with no hookups with a minimum of two nights?! I'd pass and boondock somewhere instead. But I already have my campsite reserved in Idaho.

I did think using the image from Spaceballs was rather cute.

To go to their website, click here.

“Yo-Semite Valley” Was Made A California State Park On This Day

Above, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum depiction of President Lincoln
reading the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today in history, in 1864 to be exact, the first step in making Yosemite National Park a national park took place. It began with a stroke of a pen by President Abraham Lincoln.

According to the Smithsonian Magazine:
On June 30, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln put his signature on the Yosemite Grant Act. This represented an important precursor to the national parks system, because it was the first time the American government had taken the lead on preserving a wilderness area in a way that would become typical of the national parks.

The Act granted the “Yo-Semite Valley” and the nearby Mariposa Big Tree Grove to the state of California. But there were a few important provisions: “...that the said State shall accept this grant upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation; shall be inalienable for all time,” the Act reads. In plain English, what was happening was that Lincoln was charging California with taking care of Yosemite–already a burgeoning tourist destination–as well as developing it by putting in things like roads, so more people could come to view its dramatic vistas and towering sequoias.
This moment has been heralded as an important precedent for the national park system. But creating Yosemite was also an act of erasure. “Native Americans were the main residents of the Yosemite Valley… until the 1849 gold rush brought thousands of non-Indian miners and settlers to the region,” writes History.com. “The crown jewels of the U.S. national parks system, including Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier and Grand Canyon, are all customary indigenous territories,” writes Stan Stevens in Indigenous Peoples, National Parks, and Protected Areas: A New Paradigm.
Above, Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here

The Makeover of Shibuya Station

Shibuya Station and Shibuya Crossing probably first caught the attention of kaiju fans through the battle between Gamera and several Gyaos in Gamera 3 in 1999.

Above, construction already started at Shibuya Station in 2015. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Currently, Shibuya Station is undergoing a major reshaping through a big redevelopment project. We will likely not find the station's look a familiar one once the redevelopment project is completed.

According to Nippon.com:
Tokyo’s bustling neighborhood of Shibuya has a reputation as a fashion and pop-culture hub, drawing hordes of visitors from around Japan and further afield. Easily recognized for its lively and much-photographed scramble crossing, the area around Shibuya Station is undergoing a massive makeover ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020 that will reshape the look and feel of one of the metropolis’s most popular cultural and consumer enclaves. 
The long-term project has already been underway for some time, and once complete it will provide Shibuya with a new skyline of high-rise buildings and also significantly bolster the area’s infrastructure. Heralded as a once-a-century undertaking, the renovation is scheduled to be mostly completed in time to greet the influx of tourists and other visitors expected to descend on Tokyo for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020. 
Shibuya Station, a pulsing commuter hub housing a complex tangle of nine train and subway lines, is set to undergo a major revamp that will make it easier for travelers to navigate the sprawling terminal.

To read more, go here.

Yee Olde RV Junk Drawer

Above, the "junk drawer" in The Beast. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Pretty much everyone I know has a "junk drawer" in their home. These drawers, usually a kitchen drawer, if for odds & ends such as tools, screws, nuts, bolts, extra extension cords, hardware and all kinds of things that are needed on an occasional basis.

Such is the case of my Winnebago Minnie Winnie 22R motorhome. As it is a "home away from home", having a junk drawer is a necessity for keeping similar odds & ends that may become needed while on the road.

Since space is at a premium, my RV junk drawer is more organized than the one in my apartment. Since I gave up cigarette smoking some time ago and have taken up cigar smoking on an occasional basis, I have obtained some wooden cigar boxes. Some I use in the house to store things in and when I find any that will fit in the RV junk drawer, I'll put loose items into them. The boxes are sturdy and handy.

As you can see from the photo above, I have two wooden cigar boxes in the junk drawer. It is the top drawer below the wardrobe closet. In the boxes, I have small bungee cords, padlocks, wires, nuts, bolts, screws and other odds & ends. These boxes make it easier for me to find stuff. Larger items that don't fit into the boxes are left out. From the photo, there is a pair of binoculars, a handheld CB radio (with antenna, charger, power cable), cat harness and leash, bubble level, reading glasses, flashlight, Dutch oven pliers and other things.

Many cigar stores have cigar boxes available (in most instances, free) to customers.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Federal Judge Grants Stay of Enforcement of California Magazine Ban

The NRA-ILA sent the following email:

view the web version of this email
NRA-ILA: Institute for Legislative Action

California: Federal Judge Grants Request to Stay Enforcement of California’s Magazine Ban

Today, attorneys for the California Rifle & Pistol Association, supported by the National Rifle Association, obtained an important injunction in the case of Duncan v. Becerra, a federal lawsuit challenging California’s restrictions against standard capacity magazines. The injunction prevents California from enforcing the recently enacted ban against the mere possession of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds, while the case is pending. The ban was set to take effect on July 1—less than 2 days from today. 
In granting the injunction, Judge Benitez explained that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed in this lawsuit because “public safety interest may not eviscerate the Second Amendment.” 
Filed in May of this year, Duncan is the second in a series of carefully planned lawsuits challenging the package of gun control laws passed last year that have collectively become known as “gunmageddon” in addition to the anti-gun Proposition 63. The case challenges California’s restrictions on standard capacity magazines on the grounds that it violates the Second Amendment, due process clause, and takings clause of the United States Constitution. 
As a result of the injunction, California gun owners will not be required to surrender or permanently alter their lawfully owned property by July 1. Instead, the injunction preserves the “status quo” while the constitutionality of the law is decided by the court. 
To stay up to date on NRA’s legal efforts in California along with other important issues surrounding your second amendment rights be sure to subscribe to NRA-ILA alerts, check your inbox and the California Stand and Fight webpage . To help contribute to NRA’s legal efforts in California click here.

Hawaii Tourist Spending Up 8.7% In May

Above, a hillside view of Honolulu with Diamond Head in the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

May tourist spending is up 8.7% over last year, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Travel Agent Central reported:
Visitor spending in Hawaii rose 8.7 percent year over year in May for a total of $1.3 billion, according to the latest statistics from the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA). 
Total visitor arrivals also rose 4.5 percent, fueled by growth in air arrivals (up 3.9%) and cruise arrivals (up 49.1%). 
Hawaii’s four largest visitor markets -- the western United States, eastern United States, Japan and Canada -- all reported year-over-year increases in visitor spending and arrivals for the third straight month in May. Spending from the western U.S. rose 9 percent, while spending from the eastern U.S. was up 16.4 percent. Visitor spending from Japan rose 9.7 percent, buoyed by the introduction of direct air service to Kona and increased air service to Honolulu, while the Canada market continued to rebound with an increase in visitor spending of 19.2 percent. Visitor spending from all other international markets combined declined in May by 3.9 percent due to a drop in visitor arrivals and lower daily spending.

To read more, go here

July 4th Weekend In Yosemite To Be Busy

Above, campgrounds on the reservation system such as North Pines are fully booked. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is anticipated that the Fourth of July weekend will be a very busy one at Yosemite National Park.

The Sierra Sun Times has an article on what people can expect, tips and what is not allowed in the park.

They wrote:
June 28, 2017 - Yosemite National Park anticipates a very busy Fourth of July weekend. The park expects high visitation, especially from Thursday, June 29, 2017 until Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Visitors are encouraged to arrive at Yosemite before 9:00 am or after 4:00 pm. Once in the park, visitors are urged to park their vehicles at the Yosemite Village, Yosemite Falls, or Half Dome Village parking areas and leave them parked. Visitors are then encouraged to use the free shuttle bus service, bike paths, and hiking trails to navigate Yosemite Valley. One of the best ways to travel around Yosemite Valley is by bicycle. 
Parking in Yosemite Valley is very limited and is expected to fill early. Visitors coming to Yosemite National Park should expect up to a 3-hour wait to enter and park their vehicles. There will be traffic congestion throughout the park, including in Yosemite Valley, along Glacier Point Road, and in Tuolumne Meadows. Parking is only allowed in designated parking areas. Vehicles parked off road or blocking the flow of traffic may be towed or receive a citation for up to $780.00.
And, most importantly:
Fireworks are strictly prohibited in the park. 
All campgrounds on the reservation system are completely sold out for the weekend. The park’s first-come, first-served campgrounds will fill early. There are many camping and lodging options in the gateway communities surrounding the park.

To read more, go here.

Second Header Version Is Up!

Above, the second header version by Asya.

As I had mentioned previously, just before this blog reached 2 million views, I had Asya create a new header for the blog using one of my photos of "The Mittens" in Monument Valley.

I had also mentioned that she did such a good job on two header versions, that I decided to use both, but interchangeably.

I have changed the header to the second version that Asya did. I will have it up for a while then change it back at a later date and vice-versa. (After all, variety is the spice of life, right?)

Above, yours truly and Asya at last year's portrait unveiling party at the Odyssey Restarurant. Photo by Lori Thornhill.

Besides fine art (portraits and other paintings), calligraphy and header designs, Asya does excellent logo work and other graphic works (such as flyers and invitations). If you are in need of any of these, I have a permanent link to her website at Chakra Graphics on the right side of this blog (just scroll down until you come to her photograph). You will see many samples of what Asya can do.

However, for this blog post, the link to her site is here, since you've been kind enough to read this.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tennessee Strikes Back At California Over Travel Ban

Looney Left Report

Back in January, California's wetback moron Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that the state would no longer fund employee travel to four states. He deemed these states to having laws discriminating against LGBT people.

They are: Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee. Since then, Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas have been added to Becerra's list. Becerra apparently has more in common with totalitarian dictatorships such as Venezuela or Cuba than the United States for this idiotic ban.

Well, the state of Tennessee has fired back and passed a resolution that skewers the Becerra travel ban and California.

Here's the resolution (it is hilarious):

To read The Daily Caller's take on all this, go here.

Space.com: Best Places To View The Eclipse

Above, Yellowstone Bear World is right in the path of the total eclipse. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If you are planning to head out somewhere in August to view the total solar eclipse, but don't know where to go, Space.com has six suggestions.

They wrote:
Some people may think it absurd to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to see an event that will last less than 3 minutes, but millions of people are expected to do just that to witness the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. In addition to watching this breathtaking celestial show, there are many other things to see and do in and around the eclipse path.  
The eclipse will cross the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. Skywatchers inside the "path of totality" will see the moon completely cover the disk of the sun. The path is about 70 miles wide and more than 2,000 miles long. It crosses through deserts, forests, national parks and cities. 
Here are six suggestions of great places to see the eclipse, ranging from contemporary to eclectic venues.
The suggestions are great ones. As for myself, I am headed to Rexford, Idaho for my eclipse viewing. I am already familiar with Rexford, as I visited it in 2015 with my daughter. It is the home of Yellowstone Bear World, where we stopped while en route to Yellowstone National Park. Maybe I'll visit the bears again after the eclipse.

To read more, go here.

Yellowstone Bison 'Butts' Couple, Causing Injuries

Above, a relaxing Yellowstone bison. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The following is a good example of the need to be alert when near wild animals in a national park.

KTVQ Billings News reported:
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK -A married couple suffered injuries after being "butted" by a bison at Mud Volcano, just north of Lake Village in Yellowstone National Park on Wednesday, according to a press release. 
Theodore Schrader, 74, and Patsy Holmes, 72, from Heber City, Utah were taking photographs on a boardwalk at Mud Volanco when a bison approached them. 
The bison butted Holmes who then fell into Schrader and both fell to the ground.
Above, a mud pot volcano. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The two suffered only minor injuries and are stable. They are lucky that the bison didn't butt them into the mud volcano.

To read more, go here

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tioga Pass To Open Thursday

Above, a lake along Tioga Road in Yosemite. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Tioga Pass road will reopen this coming Thursday, according to officials..

The Sierra Star reported:
Officials in Yosemite National Park have changed their mind about keeping Tioga Road (Highway 120 through the park) closed for the season. 
In a release issued Tuesday afternoon, officials said the road will completely reopen for the season at 8 a.m. Thursday, June 29. There will be limited visitor services available from the Tioga Pass Entrance Station to Crane Flat. 
Tioga Road will open for bicycle and pedestrian users at 8 a.m. tomorrow. 
To read more, go here

Airlines Confident Hawaii Is A Top Travel Destination

Above, the show at the Big Kahuna Luau in Honolulu. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Hawaii seems to be a big draw for world travelers. (Frankly, I don't see any reason for doubting that.)

eTurboNews reported:
The President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, George D. Szigeti, says that more than ever, global travelers want to visit to Hawaii. They want to bask in the beauty of the islands, feel the warmth of aloha, and experience a welcoming culture found nowhere else. 
Adding flights to the Hawaiian Islands is a clear sign of confidence in Hawaii’s tourism industry by air carriers able to fly their aircraft anywhere in the world. In response, Hawaiian Airlines, Philippine Airlines, AirAsia X, Virgin America, Japan Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines have all either added new Hawaii routes or are expanding existing service from key markets worldwide.

To read more, go here

CNN: Russia Narrative "Bullsh*t"

Project Veritas has exposed CNN's reporting on the Trump-Russia as "bullshit" in a hidden camera video.

From Project Veritas's website:
(NEW YORK) -- Project Veritas has released a video of CNN Producer John Bonifield who was caught on hidden-camera admitting that there is no proof to CNN's Russia narrative. 
"I mean, it's mostly bullshit right now," Bonifield says. "Like, we don't have any giant proof." 
He confirms that the driving factor at CNN is ratings: 
"It's a business, people are like the media has an ethical phssssss... All the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school you're just like, that's adorable. That's adorable. This is a business." 
According to the CNN Producer, business is booming. "Trump is good for business right now," he concluded. 
Bonifield further goes on to explain that the instructions come straight from the top, citing the CEO, Jeff Zucker: 
"Just to give you some context, President Trump pulled out of the climate accords and for a day and a half we covered the climate accords. And the CEO of CNN (Jeff Zucker) said in our internal meeting, he said good job everybody covering the climate accords, but we're done with that, let's get back to Russia."
Obviously, this video shows that CNN is spewing fake news to the public. What little credibility they had is now gone.

To see the video and read more, go here

Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery Closed To New Burials

Above, one of two memorial plaques at the Watchtower. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I've been to Grand Canyon National Park several times, but I was unaware that there is a historical cemetery at the South Rim.

U.S. News & World Report said that due to a "lack of space", no new burials will be taking place at the Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery. There are about 400 individual graves there, including 29 unidentified passengers from the 1956 TWA-United Airlines plane crash that took the lives of 128 people. I blogged about this plane crash last year.

Above, the view of the crash site in November 2016. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more about the cemetery, go here.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Free Tokyo Views

Above, a view from Tokyo City View at Mori Tower. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Want to get a bird's eye view of Tokyo but don't wish to pay a lot or any money to do so, like this view from Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills? It takes a few yen to go get an above view from their Tokyo City View level.

City-Cost.com has a list of places where visitors can get a commanding view of the city.

They begin with:
Making holidays in Tokyo can be a very expensive business. But not everything around the Japan’s capital has to cost you a lot of money. One highlight of every city is seeing the area from above. Everyone knows Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree. You can have an amazing view from above, but these towers costs a lot of money. But don’t worry about your expenses; it is also possible to see Tokyo from above for free! 

To read more, go here

Tioga Pass: Closed Indefinitely

Above, The Beast at a Tioga Pass turnout last July. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Oh-oh! It looks like Tioga Pass through Yosemite National Park will remain closed. "Indefinitely" is the operative word (at least according to the Bee's email).

The Modesto Bee reported:
Snowmelt flowing over the roadway, along with a variety of infrastructure repairs being made, combine to keep Highway 120/Tioga Road closed through Yosemite National Park, according to the park and Caltrans. 
There’s no estimated opening date for the route, which is closed to all traffic, including bicycles. In years with similar snowpack, the road has opened in late June or early July. In recent dry years – 2012-16 – it opened no later than mid-May, according to a chart on the nps.gov website.
It looks like travelers will have to wait a while longer for the east entrance into Yosemite National Park to open.

To read more, go here.

Kyoto Locals Complaining of "Hordes" of Tourists

Above, tourists flock to the stores below Kiyomizu-dera. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A new article in the Asahi Shimbun is an excellent example of why foreign tourists visiting Japan (or any other foreign country) should be respectful and on their best behavior while touring. 

According to the article, Kyoto residents are getting weary of the "hordes" of tourists visiting the ancient capital.

They wrote:
KYOTO--Endless crowds, unknown neighbors and unruly behavior have drained many residents here of their sense of “omotenashi” (hospitality). 
They now say that the hordes of overseas tourists who keep coming to the ancient capital are eroding the quality of their traditional lives. 
In 2015, a record 56.84 million tourists visited Kyoto and spent nearly 1 trillion yen ($9.12 billion), also a high, according to the Kyoto city government. The spending was up 30 percent from the previous year. 
The central government is continuing its campaign to draw sightseers from overseas countries to revitalize local economies suffering from population declines. 
But in Kyoto, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, some residents are begging for an end to the rush. 
They say the numbers have “exceeding the limit” and are describing the situation in the city as “pollution by tourism.”
Above, visitors cover the stage of Kiyomizu-dera. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We visited Kyoto two years ago, but the visit was during the off-season and we had no problems while visiting the city. It is possible that during the summer vacation season it is a whole different story.

We took a half-day organized bus tour that originated out of JR Kyoto Station.

Above, the tour group photo taken at Kiyomizu-dera.

To read more, go here

Thank God For Ducted Air!

It is roasting here in Tarzana, California.

According to the above graphic from Weather.com, it is 103 here. It got up to 109 yesterday (some areas got up to 110 yesterday).

The temperatures reminded me to go into The Beast to flip over my TravaSak sleeping bag to the summer side.

Above, the TravaSak under the Yellowstone blanket. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

While doing so, I fired up the generator and started the roof-mounted air conditioner. I may as well take the opportunity to give both some exercise. The Beast has ducted air conditioning, so it is distributed throughout the coach.

All this heat in June seems pretty much like it was last year. There was not much of a "June gloom" of overcast skies last year and it was hot early. Then, we got record rains. Will we get a repeat?

How To Reserve A Campsite

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

The Los Angeles Times has one of the better newspaper Travel sections (in the Sunday editions) around. It used to be better, but it is still good.

Online, they have a new article on "How To Reserve A Campsite".

It begins with:
Ready to go camping? Don’t start packing the car just yet. Your trip begins with your computer and/or your phone. 
“Campsites in California are very popular and can book up quickly, so making reservations as far in advance as possible is recommended, especially for national parks like Yosemite and Joshua Tree,” Scott Ammons, REI’s Southern California outdoor programs and outreach manager, said in an email. 
“Each park system has different policies about how far in advance they will take reservations, so go online and take a look.” 
Online booking sites let you reserve by showing you the location and sometimes photos of individual sites. (Do you really want to camp next to the outhouse?) 
The best strategy is to find out when the reservation window opens for the campground you want and try to book on that day.
The article includes websites and, in some cases, phone numbers to make campsite reservations for public and private campgrounds.

To read more, go here

JFK: Democrat or Republican?

Here's some political science for you.

Prager University has an interesting video on JFK: Democrat or Republican by Larry Elder.

According to the promo for the video:
He was one of America’s most popular presidents. He believed in a strong military, lowered taxes, opposed abortion, and hated racial quotas. He was not a Republican. No, John F. Kennedy was a Democrat – when the Democratic Party held liberal (not leftist) views. In this week’s video, author and talk show host Larry Elder runs through the reasons why JFK would not recognize what the Democratic Party has become.

To view the video, go here.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

RV Camping In Napa Valley: Refreshing, Relaxing and Great Scenery

Above, a vineyard near Calistoga in the Napa Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Back in the 1980s, I used to head north to the Napa Valley wine country region of Northern California for relaxation and to hit the wineries to re-stock my wine supply fairly frequently.

My favorites in Napa Valley were the Robert Mondavi and Beringer wineries. They had great tours that ended with a tasting session in the wine tasting room.

Above, the campground at Bothe-Napa State Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

While there, I camped in the Bothe-Napa State Park. It is a nice state park with a great campground. And, it was right smack in the middle of the winery area, which made it handy.

The Daily Press has an article on RVing in wine country.

They begin with:
This is shaping up to be a fantastic summer to visit many places in California that had great benefit from our rainy season. Russ and Lori frequently travel up U.S Highway 395 over to Interstate 80 in the Truckee area. 
Recent years saw the drive with lakes and rivers that were eerily low during the drought. The West Walker River is raging in many areas. Topaz Lake looks like it is refreshed. The Sierras even got a June dusting of snow. The record-breaking rainy season also benefited California’s wine country. With this summer shaping up to be a hot one, why not take an RV trip to California’s Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley? 
RV camping in wine country is quite easy if you just plan a little ahead. Many wineries are up north, but we also have some fantastic wineries fairly near to us in the Temecula area. An RV trip to the Sonoma or Napa Valley would be comfortable as a 7 day trip or longer. 
Above, the grapevines following the harvest. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here

The Modern RVer

Above, The Beast at the Double J Campground in Chatham, Illinois. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

RV Life has some "infographics" and statistics on today's modern RVers.

They begin with:
RVing has always been something that families and retired people did for fun, but not anymore. A new lifestyle infographic based on current RV buyer trends shares an enlightening profile of modern RVers. 
A company that makes RV cell phone booster products recently published an entertaining look at the modern RVers lifestyle. Look below for the infographic that’s based on data compiled from several industry sources, including the Recreational Vehicle Industry of America (RVIA). 
If anyone has the most knowledge about RVing it’s the RVIA. This group is the national trade association representing RV manufacturers and RV parts suppliers. These companies design, build and sell about 98 percent of all RVs produced in the U.S. Among other roles the RVIA works to ensure members comply with important RV safety. The group helps enforce building standards for electrical, plumbing, heating, fire and RV life safety systems.
To see more, go here.

T + L: Interstate 70

Above, the Capitol Building in Topeka, Kansas. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

On my return trip home from Metropolis, Illinois, Memphis, Tennessee and Springfield, Illinois, I took Interstate 70 from St. Louis, Missouri to Colorado.

Along the way, I stopped in Topeka, Kansas to visit with State Senator Greg Smith at the State Capitol and Abilene, Kansas to see the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library & Museum.

It just so happens that Travel + Leisure has an article on things to see and do along Interstate 70.

They begin with:
There’s an interstate highway that runs through the entirety of Middle America, starting in Cove Fort, Utah, and pushes eastward to its terminus in Baltimore, Maryland. Interstate 70 covers 2,150 miles, and passes major attractions like the magnificent Rockies of Colorado and the iconic city of St. Louis, Missouri. Of course, there are lesser-known pit stops you'll find on an I-70 road trip, like the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library & Museum in Abilene, Kansas, that punctuate even the flattest stretches of plains and prairie.
Above, the graves of President and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Interstate 70 is a good road for RVs as The Beast took to the highway very well.

To read more, go here

The Space Needle Is Getting A Makeover

Above, the Space Needle in 2005. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The iconic Space Needle of Seattle, Washington, that was built for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, is getting a makeover.

According to Travel + Leisure:
One of America’s most recognizable landmarks is getting a new look. 
The Space Needle, in Seattle, is getting a makeover, Curbed reported. It will be the third renovation in the building’s lifetime. 
While the outside of the building will remain largely unchanged, the technology and infrastructure of the 55-year-old building is getting a major upgrade. 
Space Needle LLC, which owns the Needle, announced it will be upgrading the building to make it more accessible to people with disabilities. It also plans to replace current materials with more glass to provide visitors with panoramic views of the city below. 
Above, a view of the Space Needle and the Seattle skyline. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I visited the Space Needle in 2005 along with the nearby Science Fiction and Experience Music Museums.

To read more, go here.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sanitation Concerns Keeping Tioga Pass Road Closed

Above, Tioga Pass road last year. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Tioga Pass (Highway 120) through Yosemite National Park remains closed so that crews can complete repairs related to record snowfalls last winter.

My Mother Lode reported:
Yosemite, CA — Yosemite National Park officials report repairs along Highway 120 Tioga Pass continue as rising water from melting snow have flooded several sections of the roadway creating safety and sanitation concerns. 
Tioga Road remains closed to all traffic, including bicycles. Following a record-breaking winter snowpack, Park staff continues to make repairs to power, communications, water, and sewer systems along the roadway. 

To read more, go here

Just Desserts

This video reminds me of somebody, although no wedding was involved or anything like the situation described in the video. It is just about these kinds of people, who use others as an ATM and then, at the same time, treat them disrespectfully, that rings a bell.

Japan Visitor: History of Osaka Castle

Above, Osaka Castle. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Osaka Castle was featured in two Godzilla movies, Godzilla Raids Again (1956) (a.k.a. Gigantis The Fire Monster) and Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989). It was in Godzilla Raids Again that Osaka Castle was demolished during the final battle between Godzilla and Anguirus.

Today, Osaka Castle is one of Osaka, Japan's biggest tourist attractions. I have visited Osaka Castle twice (in 2004 and 2015).

Japan Visitor has an article on Osaka Castle's history.

It begins with:
Osaka Castle History 大阪城 
Osaka Castle was Japan's finest castle when it was constructed, and, although rebuilt in concrete, is still Osaka's most interesting sightseeing spot, and a must-see if you are in Osaka, together with the beautiful Osaka Castle Park that surrounds it - home also to the pleasant, airy Jo-Terrace Osaka restaurant and dining complex.
The article is interesting as it also goes into some detail on the stones of the walls surrounding the castle.

Above, a section of the stone walls surrounding the castle. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The article states:
The massive stones, planed nearly paper-smooth, the largest weighing about 130 tons, were transported from all over Japan, but principally from the islands of the Inland Sea. The overcoming of the difficulties involved in quarrying, floating and dragging them such distances speaks eloquently of the levels of organization and economic development involved. The Osaka Castle Stones Michi No Eki on Shodoshima has a museum dedicated to the tools used to mine the stones, transport them as well as some of the original stones themselves. Construction of the (wooden) castle itself, however, was the preserve of the Shogun.

To read more, go here.

10 Great Trips and 10 Great Campsites

Above, The Beast at the Grand Canyon/Williams KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

GEICO and KOA Kampgrounds have teamed up with suggestions of ten great trips and ten great campsites for your next RV trip. I have stayed at two of their suggested campsites.

Their suggestions are posted at Business Wire and they begin with:
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Camping on the roadside has always been a part of the American landscape, starting with covered wagons. 
However, it was not until 1910 when Pierce-Arrow introduced the Touring Landau in Madison Square Garden that ‘RVing’ as we know it began. For RV enthusiasts who like to know these things, the Landau included a chamber pot, a sink, a folding rear seat that converted to a bed and a telephone that connect the passengers to chauffeur, reports the RV Museum and Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind. 
Whatever your call to the open road may be – an adventure, family time, or solitude – preparation is key. When stocking your cabinets with games and supplies, take the time to review your insurance policy. Did you add some features to your RV? Do you need to add more coverage to replace your personal effects? Should you increase your emergency expense coverage? There’s a good deal to review. 
Once you’re covered, and if you’re having trouble deciding where your next epic RV trip will be, you can’t go wrong with the classics. 
GEICO and KOA campgrounds suggest 10 great trips at 10 great campsites for you to consider.

To read more, go here

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