"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, December 31, 2018

Snowy Week

Above, the GOCO Beast Barn. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It looks like this will be a snowy week in Gallup/Jamestown/Continental Divide area.

The National Weather Service says that we'll get a respite from Wednesday night until Saturday. Then, on Saturday, there's a chance of snow showers.

This storm will be a big help with the drought New Mexico has been in.

Snow. Low around 16. South wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.
New Year's Day
Snow likely. Cloudy, with a high near 25. South wind around 5 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
Tuesday Night
A 30 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a low around 3. Wind chill values as low as -7. Northeast wind around 5 mph. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.
A 50 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a high near 21. Wind chill values as low as -10. North wind 5 to 10 mph.
Wednesday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around -4. West wind around 5 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 27.
Thursday Night
Clear, with a low around 2.
Sunny, with a high near 35.
Friday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 12.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 40.
Saturday Night
A 20 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24.
A chance of rain and snow showers. Cloudy, with a high near 39. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Sunday Night
A 40 percent chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with a low around 26.
A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 38. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Happy New Year!

If you're out and drinking, make sure you have a designated driver and stay safe!

Raise Your Glass Tonight For Haruo Nakajima

Above, Haruo Nakajima (right) climbing into the Godzilla suit in 1954.

Although it is still 2018 in the United States, the calendar has already clocked over into 2019 in Japan.

This means that it's New Year's Day in Japan and, also, what would have been Godzilla suit actor and stuntman Haruo Nakajima's 90th birthday. He was born on January 1, 1929.

Above, Haruo Nakajima with his Mangled Skyscraper Award at G-FEST in 2008. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Nakajima passed away two years ago, but we fans still remember him with great fondness for his years of entertainment and being a frequent guest at fan conventions in the U.S. and around the world.

So, when you raise your glass of champagne tonight to toast the New Year, raise your glass an extra time to toast Haruo Nakajima.

Facebook Banning "Alien", "Illegal" and "Illegal Alien"

The Looney Left Report

Well, 2018 is almost over here in New Mexico and good ol' Facebook has provided the Looney Left Report with a idiotic action to close out the year.

Facebook is apparently banning the use of "alien", "illegal alien" and just "illegal". They are claiming that usage of these terms constitute "hate speech".

According to The Blaze:
Amid accusations that Facebook employs secretive content policing strategies, which critics say disproportionately impact conservative users, the social media giant is now being accused of removing posts that describe Gustavo Perez Arriaga — the man police accuse of murdering California police officer Ronil Singh — as an "illegal immigrant." 
What are the details? 
According to Blue Lives Matter, Facebook has informed multiple users that posts declaring "Arriaga" to be an "illegal immigrant" or "illegal alien" violate the platform's community rules for "hate speech." 
In one instance, a user posted a picture with Singh and Arriaga side-by-side. Above and below Singh's picture were the words "vetted legal immigrant" and "protector" while the words "unvetted illegal immigrant" and "[alleged] murderer" were above and below Arriaga's. 

There's nothing wrong with those terms. As former talk show host David Gold posted about this:
Facebook banning the term, "illegal", "illegal alien and just "alien." I wonder if we will be punished? Should be interesting. These terms are honest. Not turning back.

To read more, go here.

The Geological Gift of Monument Valley

Above, "Ear of the Wind". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

People who are and aren't fans of classic westerns filmed in Monument Valley should include the Navajo Tribal Park in their bucket list of places to see in person. Monument Valley straddles the Arizona-Utah border.

The Charlton Post Courier has an article on Monument Valley and describes it as a "geological gift that keeps on giving."

They begin with:
OLJATO-MONUMENT VALLEY, Ariz. — Deep wonder. 
Like one’s first sight of the sea, a sky-piercing peak or soaring redwood forest, this iconic red-sand desert region straddling the Arizona-Utah border is indelible, a marvel to behold. Famed for the towering sandstone buttes of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, it is instantly recognizable from many a classic Western movie. 
Rising 5,564 feet above sea level and spanning some 91,696 acres, the valley (Navajo name: Tse’Bii’Ndzisgaii) is a geological gift that never fails to enchant, or awe.

To read more, go here

Made It To The Flying J (And Back)

Above, the view down the hill a little while ago. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The snow of New Year's Eve didn't dissuade any of us from heading down to the Flying J for our usual morning coffee and/or breakfast in Denny's.

Four of us actually got down to Denny's. It was snowing most of the time while we were inside. We had a good view of Interstate 40 from our table and marveled at how people were speeding as if there were no snow and ice on the road. They must be crazy, we all thought.

According to the National Weather Service:

No automatic alt text available.

From the above map, Gallup may be getting 8" of snow from this storm. We may get a little more since we are at a slightly higher elevation.

Above, The Beast and part of the front yard. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Scott, one of my neighbors, posted on the community Facebook page that critters are coming into the community:
Also neighbors, we had 2 coyotes about 11 o'clock yesterday come right up to the west fence of our yard, and you guys know just how fast I move. Well, the tracks went around the west side of your west fence, Armand, going north. Then about 8 PM last nite our neighbor to the south called saying that a bobcat was spotted just south of them. So looking like we might have to get ready to stand guard again!
We discussed this at breakfast and all agreed that this isn't exactly the kind of weather for sitting outside with guns waiting for predators to show up. Maybe we can scare them off by making snowmen holding rifles?

This isn't exactly the kind of weather to be going out to celebrate New Year's either. Most, if not all, will be home in bed when the clock strikes midnight.

New Year's Eve Show Has Started

Above, snow has already started falling. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Well, the National Weather Service said it is going to start snowing today. Sure enough, it is! It will be a show of snow!

It already started here in Jamestown. It is coming down pretty hard right now. The usual breakfast group are supposed to meet up this morning at Denny's at the Flying J. Maybe plans will be changed?

2018 In New Mexico

Above, the three mesas across the valley from Jamestown. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

With the exception of my little heart episode in Wells, Nevada in July, 2018 has been a good year.

The heart attack came as a big surprise (to put it mildly), but thanks to quick action by Mitch Geriminsky and the paramedics, along with the stents installed in Twin Falls, Idaho, I am fully recovered. The only thing I had to do differently is take my meds and modify my diet. I am lucky it happened where and when it did.

Above, this snow fell while I was living in The Beast. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After 12 days living in The Beast while waiting for the movers to bring my stuff, I am now in a new place of residence out of Commiefornia. So far, I am enjoying life in Jamestown, New Mexico. There's plenty of things to see and do and I have made many friends. A group of us generally meet up every morning at Denny's in the Flying J travel center down the hill for breakfast or just coffee. Our community is called Whispering Cedars. I know more of my neighbors here than I did while living in Tarzana for 19 years.

During the warm months, I generally relax under the umbrella on the deck watching the traffic down below on Interstate 40 and the trains across the valley.

Above, in the hospital following my stent procedure. Photo by Mitch Geriminsky.

I did some "fixing up" at the house. I had the exterior of the house and deck painted. I also had a RV garage built, called the GOCO Beast Barn (GOCO = Garage of Comparative Ovations). The Beast hasn't moved in yet as I have been using it as a second vehicle while the Mustang is in the body shop. That is taking an eternity to get completed. As a hat tip to a road in the Acton, California area, I called the road on the second acre Barking Spider Road.

Above, the house during the summer. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there are nightly Indian dances in the McKinley County Courthouse in Gallup. I went to several and brought Mitch and Jess to one each. There are rodeos and the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial at Red Rock Park. Weather permitting, there is also a Red Rock Balloon Rally. This year's didn't see any balloon ascensions due to weather. In Gallup, there is also the UFO Film Festival.

Above, an Ohkay Oelinge Indian dancer. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, one of the rodeos I attended at Red Rock Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In June, since I couldn't find anything I liked for the living room wall space above the sofa, I commissioned Asya to do a painting of the "Three Mesas" across the valley from Jamestown. It came out great and it has received a lot of praise.

Above, the "Three Mesas" painting. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In early July, Jess and I went to Roswell for the annual UFO Festival and toured the International UFO Museum and Research Center.

Above, yours truly with a couple of friends at the Roswell UFO Festival.

I have joined a small group of local civic activists and historians for monthly dinner parties. Out last dinner was last evening.

Above, the GOCO Beast Barn and Barking Spider Road. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I attended two clampouts with the Lost Dutchman Chapter of E Clampus Vitus. That is now my new home chapter as their territory is Arizona and New Mexico.

Above, yours truly with Max Bettman and Mitch Geriminsky in Las Vegas at the Peppermill restaurant.

In November, I headed off to Las Vegas for a few days of fun with Mitch and Max Bettman. I hadn't seen Max in years. We had a good time.

It is interesting to live in a climate where snow is quite common and during the summer months, monsoons bring thunderstorms on a regular basis with spectacular shows of lightning.

Above, the building of the GOCO Best Barn. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Sierra likes her new home here as she has plenty of space to run around in. I am also feeding some stray cats. One has gotten used to me and is quite friendly.

Above, Sierra on her tower. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I didn't take any long (duration-wise) camping trips except for the trips to Wells and Roswell, but have done some RV park camping in Abuquerque whenever I need a haircut or take care of business.

Above, one can usually find me relaxing on the deck during warm weather. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last week, I headed to Wildomar, California to spend Christmas at my cousin Maria's. It was a stressful trip due to the blizzard that hit New Mexico, causing flight cancellations and re-bookings. I was lucky to get a flight out of Phoenix before the blizzard hit New Mexico.

What does 2019 have in store? We'll see.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

New Year's Weather Forecast

Above, the GOCO Beast Barn and Barking Spider Road. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The lull before the upcoming storm is ending tomorrow morning.

For now, we have clear skies but frigid temperatures. The snow from last Friday is still on the ground, but the roads are almost clear. We still have icy roads in our community. But the upcoming snows will replenish all that in short order.

According to the National Weather Service:

Increasing clouds, with a low around 9. Wind chill values as low as -2. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph.
Snow likely, mainly after 11am. Cloudy, with a high near 24. Wind chill values as low as -1. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Monday Night
Snow. Low around 12. South wind 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.
New Year's Day
Snow. High near 21. South wind 5 to 10 mph becoming east in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
Tuesday Night
A 30 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -3. East wind 5 to 10 mph becoming northwest after midnight.
A 20 percent chance of snow before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 25.

December's Monthly Dinner Group Gathering

Above, chatting after dinner. Martin Link is the gent in the blue shirt. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The last dinner party of 2018 at historian Martin Link's residence in Gallup, New Mexico was held tonight.

Above, the small dining room is where guests can get beverages. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A group of ten enjoyed a Mexican-themed dinner and great conversation on what's happening in and around Gallup and Fort Wingate. An interesting topic that came up was how the trading posts in the region have changed from real trading posts (where bartering and trading took place) to convenience stores today. There's very few real trading posts still around.

Above, the den/living room where we had dinner. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Link's home is almost like a museum with Native American art and kachinas throughout the house for guests to admire.

Above, a couple of kachinas. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There was plenty of snow still on the ground and because the temperatures were around 25°, some of the snow turned into ice and it made walking outside a little tricky. Fortunately, nobody slipped an fell.

It was a good thing the dinner was held today as another blizzard is expected in the area tomorrow.

Above, an art print of familiar rocks in the area. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The dinner parties are generally held on the last Sunday of each month.

When we left to head back home, the outside temperature in Gallup was 26°. When we reached Jamestown, it was 18° outside. Brrr!

More photos of Martin Link's collection:

Above, kachina Indian dancers. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a nice sword. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, red and green chile peppers are a big part of New Mexico. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a display over the fireplace. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

50th RV Park Review Posted

Above, The Beast at the Sky City RV Park. A blizzard was in progress. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last night, I posted my 50th RV park review at (where else?) RV Park Reviews.

It was on the Sky City RV Park in Acoma, New Mexico.

In a nutshell:
During a blizzard that hit New Mexico, I decided to pull into the Sky City RV Park to spend the night. It was 11:00. The office was dark and closed. There was no directions on where to register. I figured I'd pull into a site and pay the next morning. The next morning, I left the RV park and went to their travel center and bought gasoline. It was still blizzard conditions out. The gasoline was only $1.99/gallon. I asked an attendant on where to pay for the RV park site. They told me the front desk at the hotel across the street. I went there and the front desk clerk said she closed out yesterday's registrations and couldn't add my stay. I suggested that she log me in as an after midnight arrival so she could put it down as a next day's registration so I could pay. For some reason she couldn't do that. She said that she won't charge me for the stay. The park itself, from what I could see of it, as it was dark and covered in snow, was nice and organized with relatively spacious sites. We camped at Sky City RV Park in a Motorhome.

It is hard to believe after nearly four years since I bought The Beast that I have been to 50 RV parks. It shows that I am getting a lot of use out of The Beast.

To read more, go here

At Least It's Getting Warmer

Above, the back yard this morning. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Just a little while ago, I took a look at the current outside temperature and it is now 0°.

Last night, it got down to -2°.

I am supposed to make Spanish rice for tonight's dinner party in Gallup. But there is a possibility that it may be cancelled. One of the neighbors will let me know if it is.

At least it's getting warmer. 

Are RVs More Economical Than Hotels?

Above, The Beast at the USA RV Park in Gallup, New Mexico. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Hotels and resorts are getting more expensive these days, especially those who tack on amenities or resort fees.

Many people are taking to RV travel as they see it as more economical. But is it?

NerdWallet takes a look at this question.

They begin with:
More and more travel bloggers, and real-life couples and families are dipping their toes in the recreational vehicle craze. 
But is RV life really that much cheaper than driving your own car and staying in a hotel? Or is it just a cool thing to do? Here are some trip factors to consider as you make this travel decision.

To read more, go here

Saturday, December 29, 2018

When Snowstorms Collide

Above, one of the stray cats I feed can be seen in the front yard. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It looks like a big snowstorm is coming in Monday/Tuesday. It may be bigger than the one we had this week.

Above, the view looking north toward the mesas. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There's a Special Weather Statement issued by the National Weather Service:
A strong storm will move southward across the eastern Great Basin
Monday and then track southward across Arizona on Tuesday. This
storm will bring light snow to the northern mountains before dawn
on Monday. Snow will spread across the rest of northern and west
central New Mexico Monday afternoon, becoming moderate to heavy
Monday night and Tuesday. At the same time, a strong backdoor cold
front will push across New Mexico from east to west. This cold
front will bring an arctic air mass to the state. High
temperatures Tuesday will be 20 to 35 degrees below normal and
will range from the lower teens to the mid 20`s. The front will
bring strong east winds to the Albuquerque Metro area which will
limit snow accumulations. Light snowfall accumulations are
expected across the eastern plains with moderate to heavy
accumulations in central and western New Mexico. Snow is expected
to end from north to south over the region Tuesday night. 
Residents and travelers across northern and central New Mexico
will want to begin making preparations for this significant
winter storm arriving Monday and continuing through Tuesday
night. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts and weather
statements at weather.gov/abq or through your preferred media
outlet. For the latest travel conditions visit nmroads.com
or dial 5-1-1.

Looks like I'm staying put New Year's Eve. 

Right now, it is -2° outside. It's gonna be a cold one tonight!

More photos (taken this morning):

Above, bunny tracks in the snow on the driveway. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the driveway and the GOCO Beast Barn in the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Barking Spider Road and the GOCO Beast Barn. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the GOCO Beast Barn and the Barking Spider Acre. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Snow Photos

Above, the snow-covered mesas. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

"Almost like living near a national park."

While we have clear skies and bright sunlight, there's plenty of snow on the ground and it is about 20° outside.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to shoot some photos of the yard and mesas across the valley. Speaking of the "Three Mesas", a neighbor wants to commission Asya to do a painting of them for him. He wants a similar view, but "a little more to the right." I gave each the other's contact information today.

Above, the side yard. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the front yard and The Beast. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the neighbors' yards. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the mesas across the valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Westbound Interstate 40

Above, westbound Interstate 40 heading to Gallup, New Mexico. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After our neighborly breakfast gathering at Denny's in the Flying J, I headed off to Gallup to do some grocery shopping.

I got all the ingredients for making Spanish rice for the dinner party tomorrow night.

While on the way to Gallup, I took a quick photo (above) of Interstate 40. It was nice to see the area covered with snow, including the surrounding mountains.

Return Visit To The Rio Grande Brew Pub & Grill

Above, the Rio Grande Brew Pub & Grill. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

While waiting for my flight to Phoenix (and, from there, to Ontario, California), I treated myself to a nice tall glass of Alien Amber Ale at the Rio Grande Brew Pub & Grill in the terminal of the Albuquerque International Sunport. It was here that I discovered Alien Amber Ale while traveling to Las Vegas.

It is a nice pub (I haven't tried their food) with a nice assortment of beers, many of them local brews, along with hard liquors (for those who want a stiffer drink).

Above, my glass of Alien Amber Ale. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It has window seating for those who may want to watch the planes.

I would have to say that the Albuquerque International Sunport is one of the nicest airports I've been to. 

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