"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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Saturday, November 30, 2019

Trains and Buses Compete For Passengers On Tokyo-Narita Route

Above, the Keisei Skyliner at Terminal One of Narita Airport. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There's nothing like good, old fashioned competition for your travel dollars, or rather, yen.

Tourism to Japan has been on the rise for the past several years and with the 2020 Olympics coming to Tokyo next year, various transportation companies are in competition for the tourist's business. This includes trains and buses to and from Narita Airport and Tokyo.

Japan Today has an article on this and they begin it with:
TOKYO - In the run-up to next year's anticipated rise in international travel demand, last month, the curfew on landings at Narita Airport was extended to midnight. 
Weekly Playboy (Nov 25) also noted that the Keisei Railway Co introduced a new schedule from Oct 26, in which the number of Skyliner special expresses running between the Narita airport terminals and Keisei Ueno Station would be increased 1.4-fold, effectively shortening waiting time between train departures from 40 minutes to 20. 
This new development has not escaped notice of JR East, operator of the Narita Express trains,  which service the capital at 30-minute intervals. 
A writer who covers rail transport tells the magazine that Keisei clearly has the upper hand. 
"Connections by the Skyliner from Keisei Ueno to Narita Terminal 1 take 43 minutes, at a cost of 2,520 yen," he points out. "In contrast, a ticket from Tokyo Station to Narita Airport takes 53 minutes and costs 3,070 yen. Keisei has always been faster, but now with increased frequency, they've become the train of choice." 
The newly introduced aerodynamic 3100-type Skyliner cars boast a maximum speed of 160 kilometers per hour, making them the fastest non-Shinkansen trains in Japan.
Above, a Narita Express car at Terminal One of Narita Airport. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I have used both the Keisei Lines and the Narita Express several times over the years. I really depends upon where in Tokyo I am staying at when I choose which train line. If I stay in the Ueno/Asakusa area, I'll use the Keisei trains. If I am staying elsewhere in Tokyo, I'll use the Narita Express.

To read more, go here

Quick Trek To Albuquerque

Above, the Great American Diner at Dancing Eagle Casino. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

About 45 minutes ago, I got back home from a quick trip to Albuquerque to go to Supercuts.

I was "slightly" overdue to get a haircut. I was going to go there next week, but my haircutter, Michelle, will be on vacation next week. So it was either yesterday or today for me to go.

Well, since we had winter weather coming through New Mexico yesterday, which would make driving hazardous, today was the day. So I went.

I left the house around 6:00 this morning and after a stop for fuel at the Flying J ($2.449/gallon), I got on the road. Daybreak would come within the hour, but while it was still dark, Interstate 40 was icy in spots and winds were blowing snow across the highway. It wasn't exactly ideal driving conditions.

Above, a view of I-40 from the Great American Diner. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I made it to Dancing Eagle Casino near Acoma and decided to have breakfast there. I enjoyed my time at the Great American Diner in the casino as they were playing some classic Santana and The Doors music. Besides me, there was only one other diner in the restaurant. Must be due to the weather.

I ordered their huevos rancheros.

While sitting in the restaurant, I noticed the sky was getting brighter and the clouds were very much broken up. I was hoping that the road conditions were be better for driving since the sun was out. Sure enough, the sun melted the ice and the Interstate 40 was relatively dry.

Above, the huevos rancheros at the Great American Diner. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I got to Supercuts about 10 minutes after they opened and only had to wait about 10 more minutes before Michelle was ready for me.

After I was done there, I decided to head back home as I wanted to reach the post office before they close at 1:00 at the Flying J.

Along the way, about 30 miles west of Albuquerque, I spotted a black Nissan Altima with California plates and, most importantly, an E Clampus Vitus license plate frame. Unfortunately, the driver was going over 80 mph (the state maximum speed limit is 75) and trucks and other cars got in the way, so I couldn't catch up and give him the "secret sign" of ECV.

There was snow on the ground all the way to Albuquerque, but I noticed that the most snow on the ground was at Jamestown. Aren't we lucky?

I managed to reach the Flying J shortly after noon, so I was able to get my mail. So, I'll just relax at home for the rest of the day as my trek was "mission accomplished".

Friday, November 29, 2019

Democrat Bizarro World

Above, the Democrat Bizarro World where wacko politicians and their policies rule.

Far out in space is a cube-shaped planet designed by the Democrat Party.

The Democrat Party rules the world. Their elected rulers stand for everything opposite of common sense.

From the Urban Dictionary:
The political party opposite the Republican party. Their beliefs are that everyone should live on welfare, and no one should be too rich. That it's OK to kill innocent unborn children, but killing serial killers is bad. And that Socialism is OK, as long as you call it "change." Their mascot is a donkey, and it suits them.
They support:

  • no laws against "quality of life" offenses
  • defecation of streets and sidewalks
  • urination of streets and sidewalks 
  • open borders
  • allowing illegal aliens into the country
  • early release of criminals
  • non-prosecution of criminals
  • confiscation of firearms
  • illegal alien appointments to government agencies
  • high taxes
  • wasteful spending
  • turning cities into sh*tholes
  • unilateral disarmament 
  • more than two sexes (God created man and woman, Democrats created everything else)
  • mingling of sexes in public restrooms
  • elimination of free speech (that doesn't agree with them)
  • mob rule
  • vote fraud
  • death panels
  • allowing illegal aliens to vote
  • drivers licenses for illegal aliens
  • expansion of federal regulations and control over people's lives
  • carbon taxes
  • high gasoline taxes and prices
  • Green New Deal
  • eliminate the use of coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear and the internal-combustion engine
  • cap & trade
  • fascism
  • communism

and more.

Virginia Bill To Make Firearms Training A Felony

The Looney Left Report

The following is an excellent example on why stupid people shouldn't be allowed to vote.

The Democrats have a solid grip in the Virginia legislature following the recent elections, besides having a loon as their governor.

Law Enforcement Today reported:
Virginia legislators have clearly lost their minds on this latest bill that was drafted and filed this month, which will be open to discussion come January 2020. 
This of course is in reference to Senate Bill Number 64, or SB64 as it may appear on various print or spoken discussion. 
Virginia is attempted to chip away at the rights of citizens, one small hammer stroke at a time; and this bill is going to attempt to outlaw firearm training. We’ll display the language used in the bill and get into dissecting how it may be perceived generally, or even presented, versus how it can also be enacted. 
The first portion of the bill goes as follows: 
“A person is guilty of unlawful paramilitary activity, punishable as a Class 5 felony if he: 1. Teaches or demonstrates to any other person the use, application, or making of any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, knowing or having reason to know or intending that such training will be employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder”
It seems to make firearms training a Class 5 felony.

That is why people in the 2020 elections should not vote for any Democrat. They are hell-bent on taking away the constitutional rights of Americans.

To read more, go here.

However, there is some good news coming out of Virginia.

GunsAmerica Digest reported:
Virginia gun owners have gathered by the hundreds at Board of Supervisors meetings in counties across the state to send a message to the newly elected Democratic legislature in Richmond. 
As of this writing, 23 counties and towns have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries since Michael Bloomberg flipped the state legislature from red to blue earlier this month. Second Amendment sanctuaries exist in many states across the country, but no state has seen so many in such a short span of time.
Gun owners are following in the footsteps of New Mexico and other states by having their county Boards of Supervisors declare their counties as Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties.

To read more, go here.

Some Snow Pictures

A little while ago, I woke up from a nap to find that the snow stopped and the sun was out.

It may be short-lived as it is clouding up again. But during the time there was a break in the clouds, I took the big Canon camera and put the zoom on it and took these photos. A freight train was passing by during my picture-taking.

Grand Canyon South Rim Without Power

Above, Grand Canyon Village at the South Rim that is currently without power. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After watching several episodes of Dark Shadows (from the DVD Collection 9), I decided to check on what's happening. 

Even though I am a shut-in today due to the snowstorm we're currently experiencing, I glad that I am not at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

ABC 15 Arizona reported:
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ — A winter storm knocked out power overnight at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, forcing residents and tourists alike to scramble to find heat. 
More than a foot of snow has fallen at the South Rim, where there are approximately 2,500 full-time residents. 
National Park Service spokeswoman Lily Daniels said APS hopes to restore electricity by 6 p.m. Friday.

To read more, go here

An Inch Already

A few minutes ago, I stepped out on the front porch to snap some pictures of the snow.

It started snowing about an hour and fifteen minutes ago and already about an inch had fallen.

The Blizzard Has Started

The blizzard from the Round 3 storm has started.

It wasn't expected (at least according to The Weather Channel) for about another hour, but about ten minutes ago, the rain showers turned into a snow blizzard. It is coming down pretty hard and is already accumulating on the ground.

Since I am basically a "shut-in" today, for something to do, I started to do some laundry.

This has to be the hardest snowfall since last winter. I might as well get used to it.

Above and below, the views from my bedroom window. Photos by Armand Vaquer.

Snow In About Two More Hours

Above, a zoom shot of the mesas last February. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It looks like The Weather Channel is in sync with the National Weather Service in their forecast for today's storm.

Currently, it us gusting with some rain. If what The Weather Channel says is correct, the snow will begin around 11:00 this morning. It is 39° outside at present, but that's sure to drop down into the 20s as the storm reaches Jamestown.

The toys (car, Jeep, minibike and mower) are all safely inside the garage as is The Beast, which is safely inside the GOCO Beast Barn. P.K. and her kittens are safely under the deck and the heater is on or them.

Here's what The Weather Channel forecasts for most of today:

The Storm Is Coming!

Above, from the National Weather Service.

The "Big Kahuna" storm (or Round 3) is heading my way. We are getting some sporadic rain and high winds, but the brunt of the storm is in Arizona. The above image is listed as Continental Divide, which is 8 miles east of Jamestown.

Jack Rabbit Trading Post in St. Joseph, Arizona posted a video a few minutes on Facebook showing the snowfall that's accompanied by high winds. They are 133 miles from Jamestown, New Mexico.

Above, Jack Rabbit Trading Post last June. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It looks like I'll be heading to Albuquerque tomorrow morning instead of tonight.

Interstate 40 is closed near Flagstaff, Arizona due to the snowstorm. If one doesn't have to drive today, don't!

Had a great time at Roberta and Nando's last night for Thanksgiving dinner. They have a lot of interesting things (many are classic or antique items) that reminded me of a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Thank you, Nandoh and Roberta!

According to the National Weather Service:

Rain before 11am, then snow. High near 40. Breezy, with a southwest wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
A 40 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18. Breezy, with a southwest wind 20 to 25 mph. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 33. West wind 15 to 20 mph.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Drive

Above, the old cattle pen (it still gets occasional use). Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since it is around 40° outside, I decided to get the Jeep out and take a quick drive over to the gate of Six Mile Canyon.

Much of last night's snow dusting is gone, but much of what fell two nights ago remain.

I headed on Six Mile Canyon Road for the drive. It was wet and muddy in spots. When I got to the gate, there was some snow on the ground, but none on the old cattle pen there. But I nevertheless took a few obligatory photos.

Here they are:

Above, the Cibola National Forest signs. The road on the right
leads to the side road to "The Bowl" Photo by Armand Vaquer.
Above, Six Mile Canyon Road looking south. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the Jeep a few yards from the gate. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, looking north, the gate and the old cattle pen. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, another view of the gate and part of the cattle pen. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, looking south Six Mile Canyon Road going into the canyon. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Thanksgiving Light Dusting

Above, most of the snow was from two days ago. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last night, we did get some snow. It was a light dusting. We may get some more today, but it is 37° outside right now.

It is not surprising that the storm didn't produce much as it originated from Baja California. Tonight's storm, or the "Big Kahuna", originated from the Gulf of Alaska and dumped much snow in the California Sierra.

As the photo above shows, the dusting was light (note the barbecue and deck).

Hopefully, the snows will end by Saturday as I have to take a quick trip into Albuquerque for a haircut.

According to the National Weather Service:

Thanksgiving Day
A slight chance of rain and snow before 11am, then a chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 43. South wind 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
A 50 percent chance of rain, mainly after 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 35. Breezy, with a south wind 15 to 25 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Rain before 8am, then rain and snow between 8am and 11am, then snow likely after 11am. Temperature rising to near 40 by 9am, then falling to around 29 during the remainder of the day. Breezy, with a southwest wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Friday Night
A 50 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18. Southwest wind around 20 mph.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 31. West wind around 15 mph.

CNN Travel: Tokyo's Cultural Attractions

Above, the Wako department store in Ginza. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For those considering a visit to Japan, and Tokyo in particular, CNN Travel has posed a travel guide to the city's cultural attractions.

They begin it with:
Tokyo (CNN) — Tokyo is arguably one of the most modern cities in the world, a heaving metropolis with its sights set fully on the future. 
But look closer and you'll see plenty of examples of how it has embraced its cultural traditions along the way. 
Founded as Edo, modern-day Tokyo was the seat of power for the ruling Tokugawa shogunate -- the Japanese military government -- from 1603 until 1868. During this period of stability, the city established its status as a global metropolis, where the Ukiyo, or "floating world," lifestyle blossomed. 
Residents settled into the pleasure-seeking aspects of the culture: indulging in kabuki performances, geisha entertainers and sumo wrestling contests -- traditions that continue today. 
Scenes from the era were captured in Ukiyo-e -- paintings and woodblock prints -- such as "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" by Hokusai. They depicted subjects such as samurai warriors, nature landscapes and even erotica. 
A new exhibition celebrating the great Ukiyo-e artists of that era has just opened at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. It's just one of a huge number of events celebrating art, music and dance -- both traditional and contemporary -- being held as the city gears up for the 2020 Summer Olympics. 
But evidence of Tokyo's ability to honor the customs of the past -- all while forging the city of the future -- can be found throughout the city as well. 
Here, we offer a travel guide on how to fully immerse yourself in the best of Tokyo's old and new while visiting some popular city districts.
To read more, go here

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019


Above, after a snowstorm last February. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The latest from the McKinley County Office of Emergency Management:

Posted 11.27.19 at 1612 
West Central Mountains-
408 PM MST Wed Nov 27 2019 
* WHAT...Snow expected. Total snow accumulations of up to 2 to 4
inches. Winds gusting as high as 35 mph. 
* WHERE...West Central Mountains. 
* WHEN...From 5 PM this afternoon to noon MST Thursday. 
* IMPACTS...Plan on slippery road conditions. 
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Travel impacts are likely on I-40 near the
continental divide. 
Slow down and use caution while traveling. 
The latest road conditions for New Mexico can be obtained by
calling 5 1 1, 1-800-432-4269, or visiting nmroads.com

Bracing For Round Two

Above, Barking Spider Road and Acre yesterday afternoon. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Round Two (and Round Three) of the storms coming this week are on the way. The ground is still partly covered with snow from the first storm of two nights ago. The coming storms will only add to that.

Round Two is expected tomorrow.

It is already cloudy outside but the temperature is warmer than yesterday's 28° at 43°.

According to the Durango Herald:
ALBUQUERQUE – Road crews are preparing for wintery conditions that will move across New Mexico over the next couple of days. 
Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque said precipitation will increase across the state Wednesday into Thursday with some parts seeing rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain. 
East central to southeastern areas will likely see a mix of precipitation, leading to slick and treacherous travel conditions.

It's a good thing that Volume 9 of the Dark Shadows Collection DVD sets arrived. I've been watching it as it is too cold and muddy out to do any off-roading.

To read more, go here.

Two More Storms Expected To Hit New Mexico

Above, my next-door neighbor's horse and a crow yesterday morning. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Two more storms will be hitting New Mexico in the coming days and the second one of the two may bring a lot of snow. A lot more snow.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported:
Weather experts continue to say New Mexico is going to get hit with a one-two punch of winter storms that will likely turn Black Friday into White Friday — and might bring a lot of freezing rain, bone-chilling winds and high-running waterways. 
At a time when most people harbor goals of traveling to unite with loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving, meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque said travel over the next few days will get dicey. 
“Things are going to be hazardous, period,” said meteorologist Daniel Porter. 
Storm one is coming in from the Baja California Peninsula and is likely to land in the state between Wednesday afternoon and evening, bringing a potential of snow and freezing rain “along the east-central mountain chain and along the Interstate 40 corridor southward,” Porter said. 
That storm might simply brush by and below Santa Fe. But even a tenth of an inch of freezing rain, as predicted, can create ice that “will wreck havoc on trees and cars,” meteorologist Jennifer Shoemake said. 
California also will deliver the second storm, sending it through Arizona and into New Mexico sometime Thursday. 
“This will be much more of a heavy snow type of event,” Porter said, impacting travel along Interstates 25 and 40, as well as several highways in the east-central and southeastern portions of the state.
Thank goodness I have no plans for any travel during the upcoming days. I am staying close to home and will be spending Thanksgiving with friends in Jamestown.

To read more, go here

Tokyo Michelin Guide Removes Famous Sushi Restaurant

The Tokyo Michelin Guide to restaurants in Japan has removed a famous sushi restaurant in their latest guide.

But it is not for a reason one might think of.

CNN Travel reported:
(CNN) — It's considered one of the best sushi restaurants in all of Japan, yet a famous restaurant bible won't recommend it. What gives? 
Tokyo's Sukiyabashi Jiro is legendary, not only for its top-quality sushi but for the 2011 documentary film "Jiro Dreams of Sushi," which made chef Jiro Ono an international name. 
But the newest edition of the Tokyo Michelin Guide will no longer recommend Ono's restaurant -- not because the quality has declined, but because it's nearly impossible for a regular person to eat there.
To read more, go here

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Respite Tomorrow

Above, the mesas this morning. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Tomorrow will be our respite day from the storms that are hitting the Four Corners region.

The system that came through last night had have been the coldest I've seen since I've lived in New Mexico. The temperature did not get above 28°, which turned the snow on the roads here into ice. The high winds we also had didn't help things.

The icy roads lasted for most of the day and the temperature outside is around 19°.

According to the National Weather Service:

Increasing clouds, with a low around 15. West wind 5 to 10 mph becoming southeast after midnight.
Partly sunny, with a high near 44. South wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.
Wednesday Night
A slight chance of rain and snow showers before 11pm, then a chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. South wind 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Thanksgiving Day
A chance of showers before 11am, then a chance of rain after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 45. Southeast wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Thursday Night
A chance of rain showers before 11pm, then rain and snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 33. South wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.
Rain and snow, becoming all snow after 11am. High near 37. Breezy. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Afternoon Snow

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

It is still under 30° outside today and last night's snow is still abundant on the ground. So I took a walk around outside.

The road in front of the house is still very icy and I had to be careful walking on it.

Here's some of the photos I took:

Above, the house front. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the mesas. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

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

Above, I managed to catch a crow in mid-flight while taking a picture of the house. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, looking east on West Blue Cedar Loop. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the driveway and house. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Longer Than Expected At The Flying J

Above, in traffic on a Flying J access road. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Not too long ago, I got home from the Flying J. I was there two hours longer than expected.

Originally, I wasn't planning to go there for our usual coffee gathering, but I saw that Bo across the street was heading there. I figured, if Bo can drive in the snow and ice, I can. Plus, I did want to try out the Jeep in these conditions.

Above, just after getting the Jeep out of the garage. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

All was fine until I got to the stop sign near the on and off ramps to I-40. The stop is at an upslope and it was so icy, I couldn't get enough traction to go forward after the stop. I've never seen the roads in the community so icy.

Above, stuck trucks at the I-40 ramps. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I backed up (actually rolled back) the Jeep a few feet and then put it into 4WD and it took off.

I got to the bridge and noticed two police cars blocking it on the other side. Then I saw cars going through. So I pressed ahead. On the Flying J side, I saw a massive traffic jam, but I was able to get through to go on to Denny's.

Above, trucks lined up waiting to get on I-40. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Some semi trucks were stalled near the top of the hill at I-40 and a long line of cars and trucks formed behind them.

After an hour, Bo and I were ready to leave, but we took a look and the access road was jammed in both directions. So, we decided to wait it out in Denny's.

During the time I waited around, I talked to some truckers and some of them were stuck at the Flying J since before midnight.

Finally, the New Mexico State Police arrived and got stalled big rigs out of the way with tow trucks and directed traffic.

In the future, I have to remember not to head down to the Flying J when the roads are all icy. It is now 28°, but at the time we were waiting, it was around 25°.

What a zoo!

A Quick Walk In The Snow

Above, P.K. rolling around in the snow. A cat snow angel? Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Briefly (since it was windy out and my fingers were freezing), I went outside with a camera to get some photos of the snow at home. I used my old Canon PowerShot S3 so I can use the zoom.

Above, the mesas. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

During the time I was outside, P.K. was hanging around me and she even decided to get silly and started to roll around in the snow.

Above, my equine next-door neighbor. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I didn't wear gloves so I could operate the camera, so I ended up taking just a few.

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

After I was done, I went inside, put on some gloves, grabbed the snow shovel and stared to shovel the porch, deck and walkways.

Above, looking east on East Blue Cedar Loop. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I don't think we're meeting up at the Flying J this morning. One doesn't want to drive in the snow and another is in Albuquerque. If were going to meet up, I would have driven the Jeep.

Above, P.K. checking out the snow shovel. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Now for breakfast!

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