"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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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year and...!

Happy New Year to all! If you are out partying, make sure you have a designated driver for a good start for the new year.

Also, tomorrow would have been the 91st birthday of Haruo Nakajima. Make sure you raise a glass to honor him.

Above, Sonoe and Haruo Nakajima in 2008. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

40% Chance of Snow Showers Tomorrow Night

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

This is the last day of 2019. But the weather has plans for New Year's night.

They are giving a 40% chance of snow showers tomorrow night.

As for tonight, it is already around 20° outside.

I was almost tempted to get some fireworks for tonight at the Flying J (yes, they sell them and they aren't the wussy kind one gets in California) since most everything is covered in snow. But too many of us on our street have animals and would spook the heck out of them. Oh, well.

Hopefully, the weather and all will be good enough to do some Jeep driving tomorrow. It's been over two weeks since I last got it out of the garage.

According to the National Weather Service:

Partly cloudy, with a low around 16. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph after midnight.
New Year's Day
Increasing clouds, with a high near 36. West wind 5 to 15 mph.
Wednesday Night
A 40 percent chance of snow showers, mainly before 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18. West wind 10 to 15 mph. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

Plowing Barking Spider Acre

Above, Bo plowing the gravel ramp. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last weekend's snow is still pretty thick in the Barking Spider Acre. I mentioned that I am waiting for the gravel ramp to clear of snow to bring The Beast into the GOCO Beast Barn.

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

This afternoon, after grocery shopping Gallup, neighbor Bo came over with his tractor to plow the snow off the ramp and around the Beast Barn. He did some tuning up of the tractor (named Edith) and wanted to try it out. Its engine is a four cylinder.

Above, while the plowing was going on, the neighbor was watching intently. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The tractor was running smoothly after the tune-up and Bo proceeded to plow Barking Spider Acre.

I took a few photos of the plowing.

$2.28 Per Gallon of Gasoline In Gallup

Above, one of the Speedway gas stations on Route 66 in Gallup today. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This morning, after coffee at the Flying J, I headed into Gallup to some grocery shopping.

When I got off the freeway, I noticed that Speedway gas stations were selling unleaded regular for $2.28 9/10 per gallon. I decided to get gasoline after shopping. It is about eleven cents cheaper than at Flying J.

October 1952 Motor Trend Arrived

Above, the issue of Motor Trend from 1952 that arrived during my Christmas trip. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The October 1952 issue of Motor Trend, featuring either a M38A1 or CJ5 Willys Jeep on the cover, arrived in the mailbox while I was traveling in Arizona and California. It was waiting for me at the post office when I picked it up yesterday.

I blogged about the issue on December 14.

The magazine is in fine shape (it came bagged and boarded), which is remarkable since it is older than I am.

I will likely frame it (after reading it, of course) and hang it up somewhere.

Choosing Your 2020 Tokyo Hotel: Top 5 Neighborhoods

Above, the grounds of Senso-ji in Asakusa. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Regular visitors to Japan may taper off a bit during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but if someone has never been to Tokyo and would like to know where are the best areas in the city to choose accommodations in, Live Japan has an article with five expats who give their recommendations.

Personally, I enjoyed staying in the Asakusa area of Tokyo. There's plenty of things to see and do with easy access to Tokyo's efficient subway system.

It begins with:
In the great, widespread concrete jungle of Tokyo, it can be overwhelming for first-time visitors to choose an area or neighborhood to stay in. 
Here, 5 expats give insight into their recommendations for your accommodations and tell you about the quirks of the neighborhoods they chose to share.

To read more, go here.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Dollar Ends Year at ¥109.15

Tomorrow (which is already New Year's Eve in Japan) is the last day of the year.

For those planning a trip to Japan (or for those who are just curious) in the not-too-distant future but wonder how the U.S. dollar is faring against the Japanese yen in Tokyo trading, here's where the dollar stands.

Jiji Press reported:
Tokyo, Dec. 30 (Jiji Press)--The dollar eased below 109.20 yen in thin Tokyo trading Monday. 
At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at 109.15-15 yen, down from 109.50-51 yen at the same time Friday.

Historically, the dollar sinks a bit during January trading.

To read more, go here

Jack Wilson, American Hero

Above, Jack Wilson, who ended a gunman's rampage.

From the Daily Sounder:
On Sunday, during what would otherwise likely be a quiet worship service at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, an armed gunman entered the church and after talking to a man for several minutes in the corner, pulled out a shotgun and opened fire. 
The gunman, as was witnessed in recorded video of the entire incident, barely managed to get off more than a few rounds before an armed security guard standing 50 feet away from the shooter drew his pistol and fired a single shot, instantly killing the gunman with what appeared to be a perfectly placed head shot. 
Late Sunday night, reports began to emerge via social media that the hero who managed to severely mitigate the loss of life inside the church by quickly killing the gunman is reportedly identified as a local man by the name of Jack Wilson, who also happens to reportedly be a long-time, certified firearms instructor. 
“Seeing posts starting to come in that the hero who stopped the Texas church shooter is Jack Wilson, the owner of On Target Shooting Academy. From ~50ft he drew his weapon under pressure and fired one shot to the terrorist’s swiftly moving head in just 2 seconds. Hero,” a tweet posted by Caleb Hill with a picture of the reported security guard. 
Going by numerous reports on social media, the hero Texan has a great reputation in the community and possibly runs a firearms training school. There are also reports from reported locals that he’s a retired FBI employee, though that hasn’t yet been confirmed either. 
Wilson, if he was the hero who saved the day, managed to confidently and safely end the gunman’s life with one precision shot to the armed gunman’s head, which he is currently being highly praised for on social media.
If it wasn't for Wilson and others, the tragedy in Texas would have been much worse. A big THANK YOU to Jack Wilson!

To read more, go here.

Some Snow Pictures

A little while ago, I went outside to take the trash container to the road (well, I'd say curb, but we have no curbs here) and took a few photos of the snow.

Here's some:

Above, the GOCO Beast Barn and Barking Spider Acre. There's some animal tracks in the snow. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, it appeared that I was being watched by my neighbor. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the view looking north on West Blue Cedar Loop. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

American Thinker: "Documenting The Virginia Crackdown"

The state of Virginia, understandably, is being watched by people around the country who treasure their Second Amendment rights. What is happening in Virginia state should be watched carefully.

The American Thinker has an article on the fight over guns that everyone should read. The title: "Documenting The Virginia Crackdown".

Here's how it begins:
Recent elections in Virginia have placed the Virginia government within arm's length of widespread gun confiscation.  Around eighty-four counties and cities throughout the Commonwealth have pledged to ignore and resist these measures.  Some Virginia elected officials have called for the National Guard to carry out such confiscation, which would imply the arrest and disarmament of local officials who get in the way.  Governor Northam has stopped short of adopting such an idea, but he will not rule it out.  Additional stories indicate that the government will disable internet and telephone access to affected areas during the crackdown.  The prison budget has been increased in anticipation of gun-related arrests. 
While the idea of soldiers engaged in gun confiscation is not yet a reality, the proposal itself should alarm every sane person in this country.  Elected officials want to send large numbers of uniformed soldiers in combat gear and armored vehicles through residential streets in search of American citizens and their lawful possessions.  The hyperbolic political debates of recent years notwithstanding, government oppression has not yet reached the levels displayed by Stalin, Hitler, or Pol Pot.  But the Virginia gun confiscation discussion begins to come close.  The use of military tanks in residential streets for the purpose of overwhelming law-abiding citizens (and local police) would equal the oppression of Tiananmen Square or the 1968 Prague crackdown. 
Democrat regimes have previously been willing to endure political backlash from the temporary use of military force against civilians.  Waco and Elián González bear witness to this recent history.  The proposed Virginia gun confiscation would be far more widespread, with more enduring consequences.
To read more, go here.

Jamestown Cathouse

Since I was basically a shut-in by the cold temperatures yesterday (except when I did some snow shoveling to the garage so I could start and run the Mustang and Jeep for several minutes), I just sat around being entertained by the cats.

My indoor cat, Sierra, was up on her "tree" looking out the window and, at times, napping.

Outside, P.K. and her kittens gathered for a good part of the day on the porch. They were joined by a yellow cat which, I am guessing, is the kittens' pappy. The kittens do have some traces of yellow fur mixed in their otherwise grey fur.

The kittens are weathering the cold temperatures just fine. They live under the deck at the stairs and I have a barrel heater on under the deck for them. I bought them a Cat Condo a few months ago but they've never used it.

I am glad the cats are hanging around. They take care of the rodents around. Last year, rodents chewed on The Beast's dash air conditioning wiring. I had that repaired while I was on the cruise to Cuba in April.

Photos from yesterday:

Above and below, Sierra on her "watchtower". Photos by Armand Vaquer.

Above, P.K. (foreground) and two kittens. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above and below, the bear plant stand makes a handy seat. Photos by Armand Vaquer.

Above, "dear old dad" (?) joins the kittens at the feeders. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Crater Lake Entry Fee To Increase...Again

Above, Crater Lake's Wizard Island as seen though smoke from area fires in 2017. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When I visited Crater Lake National Park three years ago during my Great American Eclipse trip, I really didn't notice what the entry fee was. That's because I was using my Senior Pass.

Apparently, according to an article in OregonLive, fees have been increasing somewhat steadily for the past four years. Well, they're about to go up again next year.

OregonLive reported:
Another year, another fee increase at Crater Lake National Park. 
In what has become a near-annual tradition, the entry fee at Oregon’s iconic national park site will once again go up next year, increasing from $25 to $30 per vehicle, effective Jan. 1, 2020. 
The new increase should cap off the incremental increases that have been implemented at park sites across the country in recent years – an effort to address an estimated $11.6 billion deferred maintenance backlog. 
For years, the entry fee at Crater Lake was only $5 per vehicle. In 2015, it went up to $15. In 2017, it increased to $20, then up to $25 the next year. In 2020 it will rise to $30 – six times what visitors paid six years ago.

To read more, go here.

Dinner In Gallup

Just a little bit ago, I returned home from our monthly dinner gathering in Gallup at Martin Link's. When we left Gallup, it was 18° outside. When we arrived at Jamestown, it was 13° outside. Brrr!

The dinner was enjoyable, as usual and the holiday decorations in Martin's home added to the enjoyment.

Since I was a passenger in Greg Lucier's vehicle (we carpool), I was able to enjoy the scenery of the snow-covered mountains and hills surrounding Gallup and Jamestown.

Here's a few photos taken at Martin's tonight:

Above, the patio. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, this nativity set was carved by a friend of Martin's. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, this is an artificial tree given to Martin by his parents. He is in his 80s. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, dining room decorations. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the dining room. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, another view of the nativity set. The top rifle is from the Revolutionary
War and the bottom rifle is from the Civil War. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Fired Up The Vehicles

Above, running the Jeep and Mustang in the garage. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since it has been over 10 days since I fired up the Mustang and Jeep, it was time to do so before the cold affects each's batteries.

Above, Sierra enjoying the view. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

First, I had to do some more snow shoveling. I shoveled a pathway to the garage. Once that was done, I started the Mustang and the Jeep and both fired up just fine. I let both run for several minutes.

Above, I think this yellow cat is P.K.'s kittens' "baby daddy". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today has been a relaxing day, just burning some pinon incense (makes the house smell like a fireplace was going) and watching P.K., her kittens and, what may be, the kittens' daddy out on the porch and deck

Above, two of the kittens atop the planter stand. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I'll be going to Martin Link's later today for our monthly dinner gathering in Gallup.

Above, making use of the incense burner. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Cold, But Sunny

Above, outside this morning. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After yesterday's long drive from Kingman, Arizona to home, it is no surprise that I had a great night's sleep last night.

When I got home, there was snow on the ground (I am guessing we got around five inches). P.K. and her kittens (who are almost as big s she is) were all present and accounted for.

We did get more sporadic dustings of snow during the afternoon and in the evening hours. It is clear out now.

This morning, I am going to finish unloading The Beast and do some laundry. I did some laundry last night, so I will have less to do today. Tonight is our monthly dinner gathering at Martin Link's in Gallup. This will be the last one for the year.

It will be cold out for the next several days, although sunny. Another storm may dump some more snow showers New Year's night.

According to the National Weather Service, the week's weather in Jamestown, New Mexico looks like this:

Sunny, with a high near 25. Wind chill values as low as -5. West wind 10 to 15 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 9. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 33. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Monday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13. East wind around 5 mph.
Partly sunny, with a high near 38. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming northeast in the afternoon.
Tuesday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14.
New Year's Day
Mostly sunny, with a high near 35.
Wednesday Night
A 30 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18.
A 20 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 33.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Home Again

Above, the view near Williams, Arizona. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This morning, I departed the Kingman, Arizona KOA Kampground at 5:30. I wanted to get an early start home. At that hour, there was hardly any traffic.

I didn't start seeing any snow on the ground until just before reaching Seligman. First it was a light dusting and then got progressively thicker. While going through the hills between Seligman and Flagstaff, the Arizona Dept. of Transportation had Interstate 40 well plowed, so I had no difficulty.

Above and below, the scenery near Williams, Arizona. Photos by Armand Vaquer.

The scenery was beautiful. Miles of pine trees covered with snow was a real treat to see.

After getting out of Flagstaff, I stopped at the ruins of the old Twin Arrows Trading Post on Historic Route 66 for a coffee break. I took a couple of photos while there. I usually stop at the Twin Arrows Casino Hotel, but I had a vacuum bottle full of hot coffee, so I skipped it. It had snowed at Twin Arrows, but it was mostly melted away. I figured that the "worst" was behind me.

Above, The Beast at the Twin Arrows Trading Post arrows. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Well, I was mistaken. A few miles east, at about the turn-off for Meteor Crater, it started to lightly snow. But as I drove further east, the snowfall got progressively heavier. When I passed Jack Rabbit Trading Post in St. Joseph, it looked like a blizzard outside.

I stopped at the Flying J in Winslow for fuel and it was snowing there. I doubt anyone were standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona in that weather.

Above, the ruins of the Twin Arrows Trading Post. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A few miles ahead was Holbrook. I decided that it would be more prudent to get off the freeway and take a break at the Denny's there. So I went to Denny's (I had soup, coffee and a hot fudge sundae) and waited until the snow subsided. Within an hour and a half, it did and I got back on the road.

The red rocks near the Tee Pee Trading Post at the Arizona-New Mexico had a good dusting of snow and were beautiful.

Above, the front yard scene that greeted me when I got home. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The snowfall stopped (for the most part) when I entered New Mexico. I got home around 1:30. It started snowing an hour and a half later.

While it was a fun trip, it is good to be back home again.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Wintry Weather Hitting New Mexico

Above, this is what I'll likely see when I get home. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Just as expected, snow has fallen in Jamestown, New Mexico over the past 24 hours.

A couple of friends told me that the white stuff was falling and one even sent photos.

In the article below, I highlighted the portion I have to travel tomorrow (uh, maybe).

According to the Albuquerque Journal:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More wintry weather is on the way for parts of New Mexico over the weekend. 
Portions of the Albuquerque metro area could receive up to an inch of snow by Saturday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. 
Areas in the northern mountains, including Taos and Chama, are expected to receive between 8 inches and a foot of snow. Las Vegas may receive up to 4 inches of snow, while up to 2 inches may fall in Santa Fe. 
Snow showers were expected to fall across western and central New Mexico Friday night into Saturday, with rain mixing with snow in the Albuquerque metro and other parts of the Middle Rio Grande Valley. The higher snow totals in the metro are expected in the Sandia and Manzano mountain ranges. 
Travel may be difficult at times along Interstate 25 from Santa Fe through Raton Pass, Interstate 40 between Gallup and Grants and from Tijeras Pass through Edgewood, U.S. 285 from Santa Fe through Española and U.S. 550 from Cuba to Aztec.
To read more, go here

Hawaiian Tour Helicopter Crashes With 7 Aboard

Above, typical Hawaiian tour helicopters. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This one hits a little close to home as I took a Hawaiian helicopter tour three years ago. Our tour was over Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

From AOL:
HONOLULU (AP) — A tour helicopter with seven people aboard disappeared in Hawaii, and a search was underway in weather conditions described as challenging, the U.S. Coast Guard said. 
The owner of the helicopter contacted the Coast Guard about 45 minutes after the aircraft was due back from a tour of Kauai's Na Pali Coast on Thursday evening, a Coast Guard statement said. 
The Eurocopter AS350 helicopter took off from the town of Lihue, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said Friday. 
The helicopter has an electronic locator, but no signals had been received, according to the Coast Guard. 
The helicopter was carrying a pilot and six passengers, two of whom were believed to be minors, the Coast Guard said.

 According to the Washington Post, the crash site has been found. There is no word on survivors.

To read more, go here.

Meanwhile, At The KOA In Kingman...

Above, The Beast at the Kingman, Arizona KOA Kampground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Right now, I am sitting comfortably in my RV at the KOA Kampground in Kingman, Arizona.

Mitch Geriminsky won't be getting home until Saturday afternoon, so I didn't stay there. But I did get some food for tonight's meal (chicken, of course) in Lake Havasu.

The weather should be better for traveling east on Interstate 40 tomorrow. I will try to get out of Kingman as soon as I am awake tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, as I am sitting here, it is now raining. 

Snow Job In Arizona

Above, The Beast this morning. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Daylight is starting here in Ehrenberg, Arizona.

Once we get more light, I will empty the holding tanks and head up north to Lake Havasu.

There is hazardous conditions on Interstate 40 in the Flagstaff area. That is a bit too much for me to drive through. I have driven in snow and ice on I-40 before and it is not fun!

Above, I-40 near midnight last night. Arizona Dept. of Transportation photo.

The above photo was posted late last night by the Arizona Department of Transportation. It is eastbound Interstate 40 (the direction I'd be heading). The Department recommends delaying travel until the storm passes.

So that's what I'll do.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Snow At Home Likely

Above, New Year's Day, 2019. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Well, even if I get home tomorrow (which is unlikely, considering the snowfall in Flagstaff, Arizona), it looks like Jamestown, New Mexico will get some snow out of this storm.

According to the National Weather Service's forecast for Jamestown:

A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly after 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. Southeast wind around 10 mph. Total nighttime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Snow showers likely before 11am, then rain and snow showers likely between 11am and 2pm, then snow showers likely after 2pm. Cloudy, with a high near 36. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Friday Night
Snow showers likely, mainly after 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
A 40 percent chance of snow showers, mainly before 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 26. West wind 10 to 20 mph.

Arrival Home May Be Delayed A Day

It appears that I may have to delay my arrival in Jamestown, New Mexico by a day.

Flagstaff (on I-40) may be passable, but it is going to snow a lot tomorrow and the freezing temperatures (28°) will probably make the road icy and treacherous. I may stay at Mitch Geriminsky's in Lake Havasu tomorrow night. Saturday looks better for driving.

Here's the forecast for Flagstaff from the National Weather Service:

This Afternoon
Snow showers likely. Cloudy, with a high near 31. East wind around 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Snow showers. Low around 24. East northeast wind around 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
Snow showers. Steady temperature around 27. Light and variable wind becoming southwest 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Friday Night
Snow showers likely, mainly before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. West wind 6 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 28. Northwest wind 9 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

Arizona Oasis RV Resort On The Colorado River

Above, the Riveride Slide and the Colorado River. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After a relaxing and invigorating shower, I took a stroll down to the Arizona Oasis RV Resort's shore on the Colorado River.

Above, the beach and Colorado River. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The park has a nice stretch of shoreline that looks to be a fun place during the warmer spring and summer months. It stopped raining long enough for me to walk down to the river and back.

Above, looking up the Riverside Slide. Two cabins are at the top. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

At the shore, the park has their Riverside Slide water flume. Right now, it wouldn't be advisable to use as the water level of the river is down and anyone sliding down the slide would wind up in mud. I imagine the water level is sufficiently higher to use during the spring and summer.

Above, the end of the slide. Right now, all one would get is a hard landing. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There was also a couple of cabins available for rent near the slide. The park has several rental cabins.

Above, RVs sites from the beach area. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is primarily an RV park with some rows of sites with a roof.

Above, in the background, oovered RV sites. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Right now, there are RV "snowbirds" from northern states escaping the snows back home. There are also some with water toys of different kinds.

The park has a big clubhouse, spa, pool, dog walk areas with dog washers and a big clubhouse. This place probably hops during the warmer months. I wouldn't mind staying here during those times of the year.

Above, the park's office. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Thursday nights, the park usually holds a bonfire at the beach. But it is likely canceled tonight due to the rainy weather. They hold different events each night (weather permitting).

For more information, the park's website is accessed here.

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