"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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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks

Above, a view from Jackson Lake. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today's plan was to tour around Grand Teton National Park. I had been there twice, but never have done anything beyond just driving through.

We roamed around and stopped at different viewpoints and looked for a place to have breakfast. We found one, the Jenny Lake Lodge. However, it was priced for rich snobs: $34.00 per person for breakfast. We said, "No thanks!" We drove on.

Above, another view of the Tetons. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We did manage to find a restaurant at the Signal Mountain Lodge area, which was situated next to Jackson Lake (a reservoir). We had a good breakfast that was reasonably priced.

Above, Mitch and I at a restaurant at the Signal Mountain Lodge. 

After that, we did more exploring. We saw a crowd of people at a viewpoint, so we stopped and joined them. They were looking at a large herd of elk in the distance. They were gathered in a circle as a defense to protect their young. There was a bear in the area.

Mitch Geriminsky had been to Yellowstone National Park before, but had never seen Old Faithful Geyser. Yellowstone was not in my plans for this trip as hordes of people would be there and many of them aren't the best drivers. Plus, parking can be next to impossible to find. But, I agreed to take him up to Old Faithful.

Above, Old Faithful erupts. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We got there and found a parking space (a miracle!) and went to see the geyser. Within 20 minutes of our arrival, the geyser erupted.

After that, we went inside the nearby Old Faithful Inn and wandered around there. We then left Yellowstone at around 1:30 to get back to Jackson.

When we got back to Jackson, the hordes of people were all over the place. We were considering some shopping, but the traffic was horrendous and we decided to head to camp instead.

We'll be leaving Jackson tomorrow morning for the first leg of our trip home. We should be somewhere in mid-Utah by tomorrow evening and then in Lake Havasu by the next night. I'll be staying there that night before heading back to New Mexico.

All in all, not a bad day. It kept us busy.

Cattle Drive In Grand Teton National Park Saturday

Above, the Grand Tetons. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is a good thing that we're going into Grand Teton National Park today instead of Saturday.

According to the National Park Traveler:
A cattle drive set to take place early Saturday morning in Grand Teton National Park will require the temporary closure of U.S. Highway 26/89/191 between Moran Junction and Elk Ranch Flats. 
Motorists should expect a travel delay between approximately 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. as cattle are herded from their summer pasture at Elk Ranch Flats to their pastures east of Moran. Park rangers will provide traffic control on the highway during this cattle drive.  
Ranch wranglers will drive a herd of approximately 300 cattle eastward from the Elk Ranch Flats summer pasture to the private ranch using a right-of-way along U.S. Highway 26/287. As the cattle are herded towards Moran Junction, the animals must cross the Buffalo Fork Bridge on the highway.

To read more, go here

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Whitewater!



A little while ago, I did some whitewater river rafting (first time since 1987) down the Snake River near Jackson, Wyoming.

It was an eight-mile course with the biggest rapid being the "Big Kahuna" rapids. I was with a family of five along with Erick, the raft guide of Dave Hansen Whitewater Adventures.

It was a lot of fun. Mitch Geriminsky couldn't go as he has a touch of altitude sickness. He's a little better since he got some Boost oxygen canisters.

Along the way, we saw two bald eagles and a deer.

Still, I had a great time. My cardiologist would be happy as I had some good exercise today.

Jackson Hole Aerial Tramway

Above, a tram car. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Yesterday, after breakfast and some shopping in Jackson, Wyoming, Mitch Geriminsky and I headed over to Teton Village to ride the Jackson Hole Aerial Tramway.

Luckily, we were able to buy discount tickets in Jackson, so the price was $30.00 each.

There is RV parking in the "ranch" area of Teton Village with a courtesy shuttle. After being shuttled to the tramway station, we proceeded to get in line for the ride. It is a 4,000 foot climb from the bottom station to the top station (around 10,000 feet in elevation at the top).

At the top, there's really not much to do, although there is a snack bar there. It was a bit cold there as well. But, the views of Jackson Hole were spectacular. Since it was cloudy out, we were unable to see the Grand Tetons.

The ride itself is about ten minutes long. Was it worth $30.00? I'd say no. Unless one goes there to ski during the winter months where there are skiing trails from the top, I don't feel it is worth $30.00, even though it was a discounted price. But, at least it was something to do and the views spectacular.

As the saying goes, "Your mileage may vary."

Some photos:

Above, a view of Teton Village as we were ascending. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a view of Jackson Hole area and the Snake River. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the top station. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Corbet's Cabin snack bar at the top. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the other car ascending as we were descending. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Monday, July 29, 2019

In and Around Jackson

Above, inside the Jackson Mercantile. The steer horns are on the wall in the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After arriving in Jackson and having breakfast, Mitch Geriminsky and I did some shopping.

My favorite place was the Jackson Mercantile, where I picked up a set of steer horns, something I had been looking for during the past several months. I had some years ago, but apparently I must have sold them during a yard sale or something. Jackson Mercantile has a lot of great items for sale.

Above, yours truly in Jackson. Photo by Mitch Geriminsky.

One thing we noticed was a photocopy of a local newspaper article of a "shopping spree" in 1992 of Ronald and Nancy Reagan in town.

According to a radio station:
In 1992, the former President and First Lady vacationed at the Lost Creek Ranch near Moose, Wyoming. During their stay, the Reagans were spotted visiting several stores and restaurants in and around Jackson.
Above, Mitch Geriminsky in Jackson. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

During our walkaround the shopping area, we stopped at the famous park that has antler arches. We stopped and took photos under them.


Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor
Above, yours truly at one of the antler arches. Photo by Mitch Geriminsky.

As of this writing, we're having a big thunderstorm over the area. Nice!

Jackson Hole/Snake River KOA

Above, the front office of the KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Around 7:00 this morning, Mitch Geriminsky and I left Swan Valley, Idaho for Jackson, Wyoming.

The road was a scenic mountain one with plenty of forest to see. This was nice after seeing nothing but desert and tundra.

Above, the pet playground next to the Snake River. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We got into Jackson about an hour after leaving Swan Valley and headed to the Jackson Hole/Snake River KOA. Even though it was around 8:30 in the morning, the host got us registered and a site assigned. We didn't need it immediately as we planned to go into Jackson for breakfast and the aerial tram ride.

Above, The Beast with the other RVs. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We found a nice restaurant in town (and a parking lot with plenty of RV parking) and had a good breakfast.

After breakfast, we wandered around the shops and I found a set of steer horns for the area above my front door at home. I had a similar one years ago, but I apparently sold it in a yard sale as it was nowhere to be found.

Above, a view of the Snake River behind the KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After shopping, we headed to the aerial tram in Teton Village and rode that (more on the ride in another post).

Once we were done with the tram ride, we headed to the KOA and were escorted to our site. It is a different KOA from what I am used to. It is primarily Kamping Kabins and tent sites. There were few RV sites on the property. But it is a nice campground situated next to the Snake River, upon which we'll be whitewater rafting tomorrow (we'll be picked up in front of the campground office).

One annoying thing, I had a small load of laundry to do. At about the time when it should be done, I went to put it into a dryer. But I found someone else's clothes in the washer (I maybe got there about 2-3 minutes after mine was finished). I found my clothes taken out and set on a table and all the dryer in use. Talk about rude people! So I am drying my clothes in the RV bathroom. They will be dry in the morning.

That was the only negative thing to happen in what otherwise was a good day.

Interstate 40 Ranked As One of the Deadliest For Summer Travel

Above, Interstate 40 in New Mexico. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Results from a new study reveals that Interstate 40 is one of the deadliest highways for summer travel

According to WTVD:
NORTH CAROLINA (WTVD) -- According to a new study, Interstate 40 is one of the deadliest highways for summer travel. 
ASecureLife.com also ranked it as the deadliest highway in North Carolina. 
The study focused on travel in the months of May to September from 2015-2017. 
During that time, the organization found that there were 61 fatalities on the roadway in North Carolina.

It also reported 51 deaths in Arizona, 6 in Arkansas, 50 in New Mexico, 34 in Oklahoma and 85 in Tennessee.
The study found that speed was the primary factor for highway deaths.

To read more, go here

Korean Air Cutting Flights To Japan

Above, a Korean Air jet at Los Angeles International Airport. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The current diplomatic and trade dispute between South Korea and Japan has led Korean Airlines, my favorite airline to Japan, to cut the number of flights to Japan.

According to Euronews:
SEOUL (Reuters) – Korean Air Lines, the country’s top carrier, said on Monday it will suspend flights between the South Korean city of Busan and Japan’s Sapporo from Sept. 3, due to lean demand amid a worsening diplomatic and economic row between the two nations.

Last month, Japan tightened controls of exports of high-tech materials to South Korea, in apparent retaliation for a South Korean court ruling over wartime forced labour. Such disputes have prompted a widespread boycott of Japanese products and services, from beer to clothes and travel in South Korea. 
The move added chaos to the airline and tourism industries, which were already grappling with rising competition and falling travel demand to Japan – a destination popular among younger tourists.

To read more, go here

Jackson, Wyoming Today

Above, an antler archway in Jackson, Wyoming. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today, we'll be in Jackson, Wyoming. It is only an hour's drive from Swan Valley.

I've been through Jackson twice, but never stopped there to look around. Today, after checking into camp, we'll see about taking a ride on the aerial tramway and then, later, the town of Jackson.

Tomorrow, we'll be whitewater rafting down the Snake River for about 8 miles.

Wednesday, we plan on roaming around Grand Teton National Park. I've been in the park twice, but limited my visits to the viewpoints along the main north-south highway. This time, we'll be checking out what else the park has to offer.

We will be heading back home on Thursday with maybe a stop here and there.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sleepy Bear RV Park In Swan Valley, Idaho

Above, Sleepy Bear RV Park in Swan Valley, Idaho. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This morning, Mitch Geriminsky and I headed out of Buhl, Idaho and headed off towards Jackson, Wyoming for some river rafting and, possibly, riding the Jackson Hole aerial tramway.

Above, "Ma & Pa Wilson" last night. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We hated to leave Bill & Linda Wilson, but they need to relax after having many guests over the weekend. Bill has a second round of chemo starting tomorrow.

Above, some of the hills around Swan Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We went about 3/4 of the way to Jackson and stopped in Swan Valley, Idaho for the night at Sleepy Bear RV Park. It is a nice little park in a green valley with mountain meadows and pines. Not a bad place. The price was a quite reasonable $28.00!

Above, The Beast and other RVs from the entrance. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I read earlier that there may be some meteor showers near the Aquarius constellation. Maybe we'll see some.

Above, one of the bear statues in the park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We'll be heading into Jackson tomorrow morning. It is roughly 60 miles from here, so it will be a nice leisurely drive.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

One Year Ago...

Above, your truly being put into the air ambulance helicopter. Photo by Mitch Geriminsky.

It was one year ago today that I had my last helicopter ride. Only that time was not for pleasure.

I was flown from Bella's Restaurant & Espresso in Wells, Nevada to St. Luke's Medical Center in Twin Falls, Idaho after having a heart attack. After arriving at the hospital's heliport, I was whisked into the hospital where I had two stents put into a coronary artery. Fortunately for me, quick action by Mitch Geriminsky, the restaurant and the paramedics was taken. No heart muscle damage occurred.

The scar on my wrist (where the stent gizmo entered my artery) has disappeared.

It is said, "When you go to Wells, you're never the same." Well, I can vouch for that!

Above, a few hours after the stent procedure. Photo by Mitch Geriminsky.

It is interesting that this happened on this date as it was also the first anniversary of my cousin Ralph's passing from a heart attack. I am thinking of him today as well. In the months prior to his passing, we hanging out and be going to different used record stores (like Amoeba Music in Hollywood) and rummaging around. Today marks two years since his passing and I vividly remember that day since I was the one in the family first notified by the sheriff's office.

This year, it things are working out much better (at least, so far) for me. 

A Hot One Today

Above, Bill & Linda Wilson's in Buhl, Idaho yesterday. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A little bit ago, I checked on today's forecast for Buhl, Idaho and it will be hot.

According to The Weather Channel, today will see a 91° temperature with clear skies. Yesterday was nice and cool (well, in the 80s) with cloudy skies.

So, I guess we'll be making use of air conditioning today.

Slow Drag Racing In Buhl

Above, Bill and Mitch. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last evening, following barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs, the gathering at Bill & Linda Wilson's in Buhl, Idaho decided to honor the attendees at the Wells Fun Run with some spoofing "Slow Drag" races.

During the day, everyone hung out and swapped stories and jokes. It was relaxing and enjoyable. The weather was cooperating as it was cloudy and cool out.

Videos were made and posted with some not-too-subtle homages to the Wells, Nevada gathering.

After the slow drag racing, we had a "WFF Fireworks Spectacular" (sparklers).

Here's some photos from yesterday:

Above, hanging out during the day. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Mitch enjoying lunch. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, and below, the "Slow Drag" race. Photos by Armand Vaquer.




Friday, July 26, 2019

John Wayne's Five Rules To Life

I can't vouch for the authenticity of this.


Now In Buhl, Idaho

Above, Mitch, Bill and I yesterday. Photo by Linda Wilson.

Since Bill Wilson, whom I've known since junior high in Hawthorne, California, is too ill to make the trip to the Wells Fun Run car show and rally in Wells, Nevada this year, we decided to forego the Wells Fun run and head to Bill's in Buhl, Idaho. Buhl is roughly 120 miles north of Wells.

Bill has an extremely rare form of blood cancer that hit him only a few months ago and is undergoing transfusions and chemotherapy. As a long-haul trucker, he was hit with it while on a run somewhere (if I remember this correctly) in Ohio. The cancer has affected his ability to produce red & white blood cells and platelets.

Many others have also decided to skip Wells and head directly to Bill's instead. We have about 20 here at Bill's.

Above, in Wells, Nevada last year. 

His wife Linda is doing a great job in making sure he is comfortable and that he gets all the treatments he needs. If something seems amiss, she's right on top of it and gets him to the doctor's. She is looking at other options of treatment, including cancer specialists in Utah and Arizona.

Since he couldn't make the Wells Fun Run, in a way we brought the Wells Fun Run to him. He seems have been lifted by the outpouring of friends and family.

We'll be in Buhl until Sunday and then head to Jackson, Wyoming (since we're "in the neighborhood").

Return To Bella's In Wells

Above, Bella's Restaurant and Espresso this year. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Yesterday, Mitch Geriminsky and I headed out of Ely, Nevada to go to Buhl, Idaho early in the morning.

Along the way, we stopped at Bella's Restaurant and Espresso in Wells, Nevada, the scene where I had my heart attack last summer.

Above, yesterday at Belle's. Photo by Mitch Geriminsky.

It looked the same to me as it did last year. One interesting thing about this trip, I only recognized very few places on the road between Wells and Twin Falls, Idaho (where I had the stents put in). I must've been either asleep or out of it during that ride.

I managed to accomplish a couple of things at the stop at Bella's: I was able to finish a meal and walk out of the restaurant (instead of being carried out).

Above, the air ambulance helicopter last year. Photo by Mitch Geriminsky.

I parked The Beast at the area in the restaurant's parking lot where the air ambulance helicopter landed to take me to the hospital in Twin Falls.

Above, The Beast yesterday at Bella's. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After breakfast, we headed off to Buhl, Idaho to Bill Wilson's, a 120-mile drive.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Ely (Nevada) KOA

Above, this arch greets visitors as they enter the KOA property. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A little while ago, after a little cloudburst, I took a stroll around the front areas of the Ely, Nevada KOA.

We had stayed here last year while en route to the Wells Fun Run and enjoyed the campground. So, we figured that this would be a good time to take a driving break before heading into Idaho..

Here's some of the photos:

Above, the KOA's sign and the office in the background (center). Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a view of the campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, no RV? You can rent a tee-pee here. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, The Beast. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Holy Moses Wash

Above, approaching the sign. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Before heading to Ely, Nevada, I went to my friend Mitch Geriminsky's in Lake Havasu City, Arizona yesterday.

Along the way, I passed through Kingman, Arizona on Interstate 40. Just before heading out of the city on the west side, there is a sign that always makes me laugh: Holy Moses Wash.

I took a picture of it, but the sign was too far away from the lens to be readable on my computer.

But it is clear on my phone screen without getting pixelated, so I took a photo of it:

Above, Holy Moses Wash sign. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

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