"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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Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Year's Eve Tamales

Above, at Erlinda's Tamale Shop. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

New Year's Eve was rather sedate.

For one thing, it was cold outside. The temperature never got into the 40s here. Still, it didn't dampen the spirits over seeing the end of 2020. If there ever was a sucky year, 2020 was it.

Russell Azbill, a friend from up the hill here in Jamestown, came over and we gobbled down some excellent pork tamales from Erlinda's Tamale Shop in Gallup. These had to be the best tamales I've had in ages. Plenty of meat and sauce in each. Along with the tamales, Spanish rice and pinto beans were on the menu.

Above, keeping the tamales hot in the Crock Pot. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After dinner, we watched two 2017 movies: Kong: Skull Island and Justice League. Russ had never seen either before.

I will probably be asleep when 2021 arrives here (one hour from now).


Haruo Nakajima's 92nd Birthday Tomorrow

Above, J. D. Lees and Stan Hyde present Haruo Nakajima with the
Mangled Skyscraper Award at G-Fest in 2008. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After the clock strikes midnight wherever you are tonight, take a moment to raise a glass to the memory of Haruo Nakajima, who would have been 92 tomorrow.

From Wikipedia:

Haruo Nakajima (中島 春雄, Nakajima Haruo, January 1, 1929 – August 7, 2017) was a Japanese actor best known for playing Godzilla in twelve consecutive films, starting from the original Godzilla (1954) until Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972). He also played various other giant monsters in Kaiju films, including Mothra and The War of the Gargantuas and also appeared in a minor role in the Akira Kurosawa film Seven Samurai.

Expect A Modified Las Vegas New Year's

Above, the Fremont Experience during pre-coronavirus days. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Las Vegas, Nevada will be open for New Year's revelers, but it will be somewhat restricted on The Strip and on Fremont Street, compared to past years.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

The Fremont Street Experience will remain open on New Year’s Eve, albeit with less pomp and circumstance than in years prior.

The six-block entertainment district will act as a pedestrian walkway to those 21 and over Thursday evening. Those who want access to the area and its hotel-casinos from 6 p.m. on will be charged $25 for a security fee wristband and will be required to go through security screening.

The walkway will close at 5 p.m. on Thursday for a security sweep and reopen at 6 p.m. for those who have a wristband or are staying at the hotels along the Fremont Street Experience. There will be no live entertainment or bands, but the SlotZilla zoom-line will run between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m., according to the Fremont Street Experience’s website.

Above, no New Year's fireworks on The Strip this year. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

And, on The Strip:

LAS VEGAS (kSNV) — New Year's Eve is still a couple of days away but already people are showing up to ring in the holiday, despite the pandemic.

"We're still going to be here. Why not? Where else are you going to be?,” said Dixon Rice. He and his family are here from California.

They say they chose Las Vegas in part because it's still open. "A lot fewer, a lot fewer restrictions," said Dixon.

Nonetheless, this year's festivities will be different, specifically, no fireworks launched from Las Vegas Strip.

To read more, go here

Gun Confiscation Led To The Wounded Knee Massacre

Above, after the massacre.

It has been ages since I read the famous book by Dee Brown, "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee", but I may still have a copy.

Ricochet.com has an article on what happens to people when their firearms are confiscated. Such was the case of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre that killed 300 Native Americans, many of which were women and children. This took place after the Sioux tribe's firearms were confiscated.

The article begins with:

The Battle at Wounded Knee is a significant battle in American history, as it put an end to the Indian Wars and is marked as the last official defeat of the Native Americans. But what’s not taught in history lessons is that Wounded Knee was one of the first federally backed gun confiscations in the history of the United States, and it ended in the massacre of nearly 300 unarmed people.

During the late 19th century, American Indians were allowed to purchase and carry firearms, just as white men were. The colonial gun laws did not bar Native Americans from possessing firearms, yet that natural right was violated by government forces at Wounded Knee. And once the guns were confiscated, the battle ensued.

When we look at the issues surrounding gun confiscation, Wounded Knee gives us an example of the devastation that an unarmed people can experience at the hands of their own government. This battle serves as a reminder to fight against gun confiscation and the gun control legislation that can lead to it.

To read more, go here

New Year's With Julie Adams

The above photo was posted at my high school's alumni Facebook page. It is of actress Julie Adams (The Creature From The Black Lagoon) ringing in the then new year of 1954. I hadn't seen the photo before.

I find it interesting since I was born a little over a month from the beginning of 1954. Plus, I met Julie Adams at one of the 2013 Monsterpalooza shows in Burbank (below).

Of course, I did get an autographed photo from her. 

Sadly, Julie Adams passed away last year at age 92.

RV Accessories Essentials

Above, The Beast in West Yellowstone, Montana. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Most self-contained RVs has most everything one might need while on a camping trip.

However, there are a few accessories that should be brought along to make that trip even more enjoyable.

The News Wheel posted what they consider "essential".

They begin with:

One of the many benefits of recreational vehicles is that they already come equipped with many of the things you would want to use as part of your daily routine. Nonetheless, there are many accessories that go hand-in-hand with the RV lifestyle that you probably won’t find in the feature list of any RV model right out of the factory.

Below, you’ll find four essential RV accessories we think the majority of RVers would be better off having than not.

To see what they are, go here

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

"Move On"? No Way!

There are those on "our side" who think that we should "move on" concerning the election fraud.

I strongly disagree. It this isn't dealt with now, the Democrats will continue to engage in fraudulent activities in future elections.

Sorry, I don't think we should say, "They stole it fair and square and move on!" This must be pursued to the fullest extent!

Dawn Wells, R.I.P.

Above, Dawn Wells.

This is another tough one.

The personalities of our youth are leaving us at a rapid pace.

Actress Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on television's Gilligan's Island in the 1960s has passed away at age 82 from complications of COVID-19. 

It never occurred to me that she was born five years after my mom. I used to watch Gilligan's Island back when it was first run. 

The only remaining star of Gilligan's Island now is Tina Louise, who played movie star Ginger (and, later, Julie Gray on Dallas).


49,000 COVID-19 Doses Received In New Mexico

The first batches of COVID-19 vaccines have been received in New Mexico and people are already getting vaccinated.

Since I am over 65 and have a prior condition (the two stents) that puts me into a higher risk category, I am part of Phase 1C of the vaccination program. Since that's the case, I have registered for the vaccination.

According to the Las Cruces Sun News:

SANTA FE – As of Wednesday, New Mexico has received 49,625 doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed by biotech companies Pfizer and Moderna, and had administered 83 percent of them in locations statewide, including rural areas. 

New Mexico Health Secretary-designate Tracie Collins said 41,075 shots had been administered among the two population groups at the front of the line for the vaccinations: frontline healthcare workers receive the Pfizer vaccine, while Moderna's vaccine is distributed to residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

To read more, go here. The article includes a link to the vaccine registration website. Be sure to register now!

Japan's Tightened Travel Controls: Who's Affected

Above, Asakusa's Nakamise Street during normal times. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

As difficult as it was to enter Japan prior to the outbreak of a new, more virulent strain of coronavirus, it just got tighter again.

According to The Japan Times:

Alarmed by the possibility of a new COVID-19 variant wreaking havoc around the world, Japan earlier this week re-imposed strict restrictions on travelers from overseas, barring most nonresident foreign nationals from entering the country.

Who is prohibited from entering Japan?

Under the new directive, nonresident foreign nationals who have yet to obtain landing permission — in the form of either a visa or a certificate of eligibility typically used to obtain a visa — will not be able to enter Japan until after the end of January.

As arrivals under business travel agreements Japan has reached with individual countries are already subject to strict controls, they are not affected by this change.

The government stopped issuing new visas and certificates of eligibility Monday and does not plan to resume until the start of February.

Amid concerns over the new variant of the novel coronavirus, which is said to be up to 70% more transmissible, nonresident foreign nationals who have stayed in the U.K. or South Africa within 14 days will also be barred from entering Japan, even if they would otherwise be exempt under a business travel agreement.

To read more, go here.

Review: RV Magazine Premier Issue

RV Magazine, the magazine that replaces Trailer Life and Motorhome magazines, arrived in yesterday's mail.

I had a chance to flip through it yesterday evening. For one thing, at 82 pages, it is much thicker than the past several issues of Motorhome. My Motorhome subscription (that goes to 2022) has been moved (or rolled) to RV Magazine. As the two former magazines are now defunct, RV Magazine covers both motorhomes and trailers and reviews those types of RVs.

There seems to be features that will probably be regular ones. They include Foodie, Camp Couture, In The Know, Rigs + Gear and Life On The Road.

The magazine also covers private RV parks, campgrounds, national and state parks and attractions around the country along with products for RVs. It is pretty much we have come to expect from the former publications.

So far, it is a pretty good magazine. I don't mind the articles on trailers, even though I am a motorhome owner. 

On this issue, my grade is A.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Snow Already Melting

Above, just before heading to the post office at the Flying J. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today, I spent the afternoon watching Godzilla: King of the Monsters on Blu-ray.

When I finished watching the movie, I opened the blinds and saw some snow flakes coming down. According to the National Weather Service, we're supposed to have a 20% chance of snow showers. I guess that's was the 20%, as it has stopped (at least for the time being).

Last night's snow is already melting away. There's a lot of bare areas of ground. 

First Issue of RV Magazine Arrives

Above, the first issue of RV Magazine.

Since the air temperature outside is a tropical 34°, I headed down to the Flying J to pick up my mail at the post office.

Among the items in my mailbox was the very first issue of RV Magazine (January 2021 cover date).

RV Magazine replaces longtime Good Sam Club magazines Trailer Life and Motorhome (an end of an era, for sure).

I haven't taken a look inside of it yet. But once I am done doing so, I'll provide my reaction to it.

Snow Pix

Before the snow turns into slippery ice, I went out and shoveled the deck steps, walkways and a couple of trails on the driveway for when I use the Mustang or Jeep.

Naturally, I took some photos:


New Year's Eve Weather

Since the temperature is so low (right now it is 22° outside), the snow we had last night should stay awhile.

From the National Weather Service:

Partly sunny, with a high near 39. Light southwest wind becoming west 5 to 10 mph in the morning.
Thursday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16.
New Year's Day
Partly sunny, with a high near 35.

It looks like New Year's Eve with be around 39°, which is warm enough for me for when I go into Gallup to pick up my two dozen tamales I have on order. It is a family tradition to have tamales on New Year's Eve.

A couple of photos of last night's snow: 

Last Night's Snow

Above, what I awoke to this morning. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Just as it was forecast, we got snow overnight.

From what's on the garage roof, it appears about an inch of it came down overnight. 

Above, a view of last night's snow and moon setting. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

According to the National Weather Service, we have a 30% chance of more snow coming down today and 20% tonight.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Blake's Lotaburger

It has been nearly 3 years since I moved to New Mexico and it was only today that I tried out a burger fro Blake's Lotaburger in Gallup.

Larry Lucier and I had some business in Gallup to do today and I was his designated driver of his bus.

After getting everything done, we stopped at the Blake's Lotaburger on Historic Route 66 and I tried out the single patty Itsa Burger Combo (it includes the burger, fries and a drink).

I had tried out their bacon breakfast burrito several weeks ago and it was excellent.

As far as quality is concerned the burger was not quite as good as In-N-Out Burger (what is, except Tommy's?), but it is better than Sonic's burger. The fries were excellent, however. 

Blake's Lotaburger began in Albuquerque and there are restaurants in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.

Although I have tapered off of red meat, I would go back to Blake's Lotaburger for an occasional treat.

To access their website, go here.

Study: Live Longer With Coffee and Alcohol

Above, having a morning cup of coffee at a Tokyo Denny's. 

It looks like I'm doing the right thing according to a new study.

The study found that people who drink alcohol and coffee everyday could actually help people live longer.

Travel + Leisure posted:

You may want to rethink your New Year’s resolutions. A new study suggests that drinking alcohol and coffee may help you live longer.

Perhaps coming as good news in the break between Christmas and New Year’s, a study from the University of California Irvine suggests that people who “drank moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee lived longer than those who abstained.”

“I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity,” Dr. Claudia Kawas, one of the study’s main researchers, said earlier this year at a conference for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The operative word in this finding is, of course, moderate. According to the study, those who drank only two glasses of wine or beer per day decreased chances of premature death by 18 percent. Two cups of coffee per day decreased chances by 10 percent.

To read more and see a video, go here

Japan's Convenience Stores: 10 Reason Why They're Best In The World

Above, a Family Mart convenience store in the Asakusa section of Tokyo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If there's a kind of business that there is never a shortage of in Japan, it is the convenience store.

One can find a convenience store within walking distance just about anywhere in Japan.

Unlike the ones in the U.S., Japan's convenience stores have goods and services not found anywhere else as handy.

There are reasons for why Japan's convenience stores are the best in the world and Time Out Tokyo lists ten of them.

They start with:

Japan’s convenience stores, known affectionately as konbini, are the best in the world. You can find them anywhere throughout the country, tirelessly open 24/7. In fact, it’s estimated that Japan has close to 60,000 konbini; in Tokyo alone, there are around 50 stores for every 100,000 people.

Konbini are the pulse of every neighbourhood, catering to your every need, want and whim, anytime of the day. Here are the things that make the konbini in Tokyo – and across Japan – our local superheroes, always there for us, come rain, shine, snow or typhoon.

 To read more, go here.

Under Biden, Expect Wholesale Rejection of American Core Values

If Joe Biden prevails and becomes president and Kamala Harris becomes vice president, we can expect a "wholesale rejection of American core values."

So says E. Jeffrey Ludwig in American Thinker.

He begins with:

With this presidential election, American history is hanging in the balance, but not as in the past, where we perceived the implementation of unwanted policies if the wrong candidate should win. In this post-election scenario, a Biden administration is much worse than "unwanted" or "wrong-headed" policies.  To this writer, we are facing a collapse of natural rights as depicted in the Bill of Rights, the curtailing of individual mobility — upward socio-economic mobility and literally restricted travel mobility (to protect the environment under Green New Deal restrictions). If we have a new administration, we are also facing forced vaccinations and curtailment of property rights on an unimagined scale.

Critical Race Theory will be required in curricula in colleges and high schools.  Whites will be strongly pressured thereby to accept that there is endemic structural racism in our institutions, irrespective of what any individuals might think or feel, because of the inherent white privilege in American and Western civilization.  There will be national gun policy, national nutrition policy, national electric and gas controls (not state regulatory agencies), and national gun confiscation (a few types of guns at first, then all guns).  National health care (private doctors only for the very rich) will be pressed upon us.  In foreign policy, there will be re-instatement of the dangerous Iran P5+1 deal, and that in turn will connect with a renewal of the two-state "solution" (that has already failed five times) and a gradual infusion of anti-Semitism masquerading as "fairness for the Palestinians."

This is something everyone should read and prepare for a battle.

To read more, go here.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Sunday Jeep Drive

Above, on Barking Spider Road. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

With an air temperature of 45° outside, I thought it was warm enough to take the Jeep out for a little Sunday drive.

I went up Whispering Cedars Road to Birch Road loop and then down and over to the top of Whispering Cedars Road.

Above, at the corral and the Six Mile Canyon gate. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

From there I headed down and took the utility road next to Nandoh's over near the shooting area. There were people target shooting, so I took the other road from there to Six Mile Canyon Road. I drove that over to the Six Mile Canyon gate and corral. The gate was closed and locked. It will remain so until March 31, 2021. The canyon is now closed to vehicle.

I then drove down to the Flying J and filled the gas tank. From there, I went back up to Barking Spider Acre and drove around it, with Buddy next door watching.

Tomorrow is supposed to get to 52°, but tomorrow evening, we're to get rain and possible snow showers. 

A White New Year's?

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

It looks like we're going to have a white New Year's in Jamestown, New Mexico.

According to the National Weather Service, we've a 30% chance of snow showers on New Year's Eve and 20% chance on New Year's Day. Things may change between now and then.

The week's forecast:

Partly sunny, with a high near 47. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 27. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 52. South wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.
Monday Night
A chance of rain showers before 11pm, then a chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 25. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
A 50 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 33. West wind around 10 mph.
Tuesday Night
A 30 percent chance of snow showers before 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 15.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 33.
Wednesday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 13.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 37.
Thursday Night
A 30 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 17.
New Year's Day
A 20 percent chance of snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 32.
Friday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 13.
Sunny, with a high near 37.

Agents Hope Biden Win Signals An easing of Cuba Travel

Above, our ship, Majesty of the Seas, in Havana Port last year. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When President Obama re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba, he did so without getting any concessions out of the communist government.

That, plus the money Cuba was getting from tourists to fund dictatorships in places like Venezuela, led President Trump to tighten up tourism to Cuba. I managed to take a cruise to Cuba in April 2019 before the Trump clampdown took place two months later.

However, if Biden prevails and is inaugurated as president on January 20, things may go back to the way they were before the Trump clampdown.

Travel agents are happy that Biden "won" in November.

According to an article in Travel Weekly:

When Peggy Goldman, owner of InsightCuba, heard that Joe Biden had won the presidency, she felt she'd "died and went to heaven."

"I think that anybody in the travel space who's been looking for some direction to get out of this mess is celebrating," she said.

The "mess" Goldman was talking about is hinted at in her company's name. She and other Cuba specialists are hopeful that President-elect Biden will reopen travel to the island.

For cruise lines and airlines, hotel companies and tour operators, restrictions on travel to Cuba ordered by President Trump in 2019 crippled what had been heralded as one of the most exciting travel "openings" in the past 20 years after President Obama eased decades-old Cuba embargoes, including a travel embargo.

Now, those operators hope the president-elect stands by what they recall him saying when running for office.

"Biden said that he would go back to the thinking of the Obama administration, and we're hoping he's going to remember that," Goldman said.

To read more, go here

Cuba To End Dual Currency System

Above, two Cuban cuc notes left over from last year's cruise. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Something is about to take place in Cuba on New Year's Day.

Last year, when Mitch Geriminsky and I took a cruise to Havana, Cuba (before cruises to Cuba were halted two months later by President Trump), we exchanged U.S. dollars for Cuban cuc currency. This took place at the cruise line terminal at Havana Port.

Now, it appears Cuba is about to abolish the cuc.

The Economist reported:

After years of dithering, Cuba is finally about to take the plunge. On December 10th the country’s president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, announced that on the first day of the new year it would abolish one of its two currencies. That is a big step towards ridding the socialist economy of distortions that thwart production, drain the treasury and keep people poor. But it leaves in place many enterprise-crushing rules and creates new problems that the government will struggle to overcome.

It set up the dual-currency system in 1994, when the country was reeling from the loss of subsidies from the Soviet Union, on which it had relied during the cold war. Alongside the Cuban peso it created the cuc, a convertible currency pegged to the dollar at one to one. It hoped this would prevent Cubans from dumping pesos in favour of dollars. Importers, which are state-owned, use cuc to obtain dollars on favourable terms, which makes imports cheap. Most Cubans, who work for the state, are paid in pesos. It takes 24 pesos to buy a cuc at the official exchange rate. Workers in the country’s growing private sector, most of whom are paid in cuc, earn seven times what state employees make.

The abolition of the cuc is meant to make the public sector behave more like the private one, and give private firms a better chance to compete. Firms and consumers will now use just pesos, initially at the official rate (though the dollar will remain important). State pensions and salaries are to rise five-fold. But inflation, already high, will increase. Subsidies for water, transport and electricity are being diminished.

Above, Mitch Geriminsky and your truly at the cruise line terminal at Havana Port. Photo by Mitch Geriminsky.

To read more, go here

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Best Japanese Movies With English Subtitles On Netflix

Above, Tokyo Station demolished in Shin Godzilla (2016).

So you're stuck indoors at home either due to illness, coronavirus government restrictions or just plain winter weather. What is there to do?

Well, you can watch movies. Not just your run-of-the-mill Hollywood movies but JAPANESE MOVIES

To help you along, Time Out Tokyo has a list of the best Japanese movies and series with English subtitles on Netflix.

Full disclosure: I don't subscribe to Netflix.

They begin the list with:

Whether you’re stuck inside on a freezing/rainy day or in the mood for a cheeky weeknight binge, Netflix is a gold mine of movies and tv shows to get stuck into when you’re bored. There is an abundance of titles in the anime category with new episodes available every week, but there are also seamlessly crafted documentaries, heart-tugging dramas and guilty pleasure reality TV shows that are just as worthy of your attention. Here are the best Japanese series and movies available with English subtitles on Netflix right now (note: regional restrictions may apply).One of the movies they list is Shin Godzilla (2016).

One of the movies available is Shin Godzilla (2016).

Here's what they have to say about it:

Shin Godzilla

Synopsis: Members of the Japan Coast Guard set out to investigate an abandoned yacht in Tokyo Bay when their boat is destroyed by something in the water. The cause of destruction, initially thought to be abnormal volcanic activity, is later confirmed to be a creature known as Godzilla. While government officials prepare to evacuate the city, experts on the case make a disturbing discovery – Godzilla is ever-evolving and becomes more dangerous every time it’s attacked. 

Overview: ‘Shin Godzilla’, directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, was the 31st installment of the Godzilla franchise (now available in full on Netflix) and marked the beginning of the Reiwa-era reboot of the kaiju series. While there are dozens of Godzilla films that have been produced since the original in 1954, the box office success of ‘Shin Godzilla’ reinvigorated enthusiasm for modern-day kaiju films and went on to win several awards for its fresh take on a Japanese classic. It’s a story that’s been told before, but the keen self-awareness of the film makes it a triumphant reintroduction to kaiju movies while avoiding the usual cliches. 

To read more, go here

Top States For National Park Trips

Above, the home of President Abraham Lincoln is part of the National Park Service system. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Ever wondered what are the top states that have parks administered by the National Park Service? 

There's more to he park service than just the national parks. 

Above, the Lincoln Home in Springfield, Illinois. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

News-Press Now has an interesting article on the top states who have the most parks administered by the National Park Service. Surprisingly, New Mexico (my home state) comes in at number eleven.

They begin with:

With air travel down, many Americans are hitting the road during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assuming local regulations allow for it, exploring the outdoors can be a good way to vacation safely during this turbulent time. Fortunately, many National Park System parks remain open with fewer visitors than during a normal year.

The National Park System is managed by the National Park Service, which oversees 422 different parks that span more than 80 million acres across all 50 states. While some of the most visited parks are recreational areas, parkways and national parks, the National Park System is comprised of many different types of parks, including monuments, memorials, battlefields and historic sites. In fact, less than one-third of annual visits are to the 62 parks with “national park” in their name.

To read more, go here

Winter RV Trip Tips

Above, on Interstate 40 near Flagstaff, Arizona. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Summer isn't the only time to take a RV road trip. Winter can be a great time to wander around and camp, provided one is fully prepared.

Travel + Leisure has an article with five tips on taking wintertime RV trips.

They begin with:

As far as travel goes, 2020 has been the year of road trips. While staying at home is often the safest choice as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and many destinations remain closed to tourists, road trips, especially those taken in an RV or camper van, are a relatively safe way to travel while minimizing contact with others. And if you thought RV trips were solely suited for the summertime, think again. There are actually plenty of beautiful winter RV trips you can take all over the country that will provide a fun and safe getaway — that is, if you know how to prepare.

We spoke with Paige Bouma, vice president of RV Trader, a company that buys, sells, and rents RVs, about how to have the best RV road trip this winter. Luckily, she has plenty of tips on how to plan a trip, prep an RV, and enjoy the destination upon arrival.

Keep reading for five tips for taking RV road trips this winter.

To read more, go here.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Dinner

Above, moon and snow a year ago. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A while ago, I returned home from Christmas dinner at Greg & Marlo Lucier's.

It was a pleasant evening with them and Greg's brother Larry and Russell Azbill. We haven't met for a while and we had some catching up to do.

It is funny how the temperature drops here once the sun goes down. It was in the 40s when I got there and it was down to 27° when I left. It is now 23°. What a difference a half hour makes.

Thankfully, I had the heater on in the house, so I got warmed up fairly quickly once I got inside.

It is supposed to be about 50° tomorrow. But that won't last long as we're expecting snow Monday and Tuesday.

Welcome to winter.

Condé Nast: How To Renew Passports

As one gets older, time seems to go by faster.

It seems like only yesterday that I renewed my U.S. Passport, but it was only 2012. Mine expires in 2022. I've traveled to Japan and Cuba with my current passport.

Above, yours truly at Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto, Japan.

For those of you who are reading this, yours may be due for renewal sooner. It currently costs $110 to renew adult passports.

Thank goodness that Condé Nast Traveler has an article on how to renew passports.

They start it with:

If you’ve previously applied for a U.S. passport, renewing one should be a breeze—or a strong gust. It takes some organization, planning, and yep, a bit of money. Discover how to renew your passport, whether in person or by mail.

When should you renew your passport?

Set a calendar announcement six months before your passport is set to expire, reminding you to get the process started. Does it take six months? No. But since many countries require at least three months’ validity left on your passport (and others six), it pays to give yourself some buffer time in case passport wait times are longer than usual. Most passports and passport cards are valid for ten years from the date of issue.

Above, yours truly at Havana Port in Cuba.

To read more, go here

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Next Snow Chance Monday & Tuesday

Above, the GOCO Beast Barn and Bo plowing snow in the background a year ago. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The next snow chance for Jamestown, New Mexico will be next Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Well, we are in winter now, so that's to be expected.

It's too early to see what's in store for New Year's, but it will be cold the day before. Speaking of cold, it is going down to 11° tonight. Brr!

The forecast as of now:

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11. South wind around 5 mph.
Christmas Day
Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 45. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Friday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 15. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm.
Sunny, with a high near 49. West wind 5 to 10 mph.
Saturday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 19. West wind around 10 mph.
Partly sunny, with a high near 47.
Sunday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 26.
A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47.
Monday Night
Snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
A 50 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 32.
Tuesday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 15.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 34.
Wednesday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 15.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 39.

Christmas Eve 2020

Above, Happy Eggnog Day!

Well, if it weren't for the restrictions imposed by governors of California and New Mexico, I would be in Wildomar, California for Christmas Eve at my cousin's. So I am at home on Christmas Eve.

Tomorrow will be my first Christmas in New Mexico. 

Above, Waylon Jennings "Music Man".

Today was enjoyable. I mainly stayed home today playing records I haven't listened to in ages.

Also, since today is also "National Eggnog Day", I celebrated by having some with brandy and sprinkles of cinnamon. I am having some more now.

Above, the Danny Davis & Willie Nelson record. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The records I played included Hank Williams Sr. ("40 Greatest Hits"), Danny Davis & Willis Nelson with the Nashville Brass (I don't remember how I got that record. It could have been a gift or it could have been my mom's.) and Waylon Jennings ("Music Man" and "Greatest Hits"). I bought the Waylon Jennings records back in the 1980s and the Hank Williams album a few months ago.

Above, Waylon Jennings "Greatest Hits". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I did have a scare at the Flying J today. When I got back into the car after picking up a package at the post office (a new space heater), it wouldn't start. I called a friend to see if he could pick me up and drive me home. The mechanic was closed today and the earliest they could possibly look at it would be Monday. After calling, I bought a few things and went back to the car. Well, when I tried to start it, it started! So I cancelled the ride and headed home. I'll keep an eye on the car during the next few days. 

This evening, I watched for the second time (since I bought the DVD a week ago) Justice League (2017). I don't know why so many people derided the movie, I found it enjoyable with a coherent plot. 

Anyway, on to Christmas Day tomorrow!

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