"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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Friday, January 31, 2020

Santa Fe: Parking and Donuts

Above, The Beast parked across the street from the Capitol. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The organizers of the Second Amendment Rally at the State Capitol Building in Santa Fe, New Mexico warned attendees to get there early as parking is a bit hard to come by.

They weren't kidding. I drove around the Capitol for a few minutes looking for a parking spot. As difficult as it is for cars, finding parking for a motorhome would be even more daunting.

Thankfully, I spotted a small parking lot directly across street from the Capitol with room enough for The Beast.

There was an added dividend in parking there. In the lot was a couple of food vendor trailers and one of them offered cappuccino coffees and freshly-made-to-order homemade donuts. Of course, I couldn't resist some homemade donuts. Since I moved to New Mexico two years ago, I only stepped into a donut shop once in Gallup.

Above, the three donuts and the mocha. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

So, I ordered a hot mocha coffee and two plain cake donuts. The vendor generously gave me an extra donut. I then headed back to The Beast and consumed everything inside the warm RV. The donuts were great!

Life is good!

New Mexico Second Amendment Rally In Santa Fe

Above, Dale Perkins of Perkins Protection Training and yours truly.

After a stop in Albuquerque to get a haircut, I finally reached home a little while ago after attending the Second Amendment Rally at the Roundhouse (State Capitol Building) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The rally drew a big attendance. I thought it looked like 2,000 people there, while some trolls pegged it at 200-300 (probably wanting to aid the Governor and Democrats in under-estimating the turnout so they have an "excuse" not to listen). It was certainly a lot more than 300.

Well, the actual number was probably somewhere in-between. Nevertheless, it was a great turnout of people who are adamant about preserving their Second Amendment rights.

The speakers included Stefani Lord of Pro-Gun Women and Pro-Gun New Mexico; Zachary Fort, President of the New Mexico Shooting Sports Association; Tony Mace, Cibola County Sheriff, and President of The New Mexico Association of Sheriffs; and many others.

The rally was held to oppose the Bloomberg-bought Democrat legislature and Governor's plan to enact a "red flag" law in New Mexico.

Despite chilly temperatures (it was around 35° when the rally started), everyone who attended seemed to have a great time despite the seriousness of the reason for being there.

Some photos:

Above, the New Mexico Capitol Building (The Roundhouse). Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, people began to gather about two hours before the rally's start. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, signs were prominently displayed. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, one of many petitions were passed around and signed. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the crowd getting larger. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, part of the crowd before the rally's start. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, this lady makes her point-of-view known. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, these bumper stickers were distributed to the crowd. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, another attendee and his sign. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, M.C. Stefani Lord getting the rally started. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, NMSSA President Zachary Fort. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the NRA's New Mexico representative Alexandra Garza. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the crowd listening to the speakers. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Cold and Maybe Light Snow Tonight

Above, the view out of the window. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is going to be a cold night tonight in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I just checked and it is expected to get down to 21° tonight with a 10% chance of light snow.

But, the good news is that it will be clear tomorrow for the Second Amendment Rally with an outside temperature of 40°.

According to the National Weather Service:

A 10 percent chance of light snow after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21. North wind 5 to 10 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 40. North wind 5 to 10 mph.

Found The Roundhouse

Above, at Santa Fe Skies RV Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After resting up a bit, I decided to take a drive into Santa Fe's downtown area to see where The Roundhouse (the New Mexico Capitol building) is and the parking situation. This is all new to me since this is my first visit to Santa Fe.

It appears that I will have to drive there early tomorrow morning to get a parking spot for The Beast. Parking in town is a difficult commodity to find, especially for RVs. There's some parking lots near The Roundhouse, hope they can accommodate the RV.

I found The Roundhouse and drove around the city center. The streets tend to be on the narrow side and some are one-way streets. I would have stopped to wander around on foot, but I didn't see any convenience parking. So I headed back to the RV park.

Along the way, I stopped at the El Parasol Mexican Restaurant. I had two pork tamales (along with the usual sides). Not bad!

It is supposed to get down to around 21° tonight. Good thing I have electric so I can run my ceramic space heater.

In Santa Fe

Above, The Beast at Santa Fe Skies RV Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A little while ago, I made it into New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe.

I am currently at the Santa Fe Skies RV Park, in the outskirts of the city. It is a nice park that has roomy sites with patio pads and tables and chairs. It is decorated with antique equipment which, according to the clerk in the office, are still in running condition. She also said the owner of them fires them up on each 4th of July.

The clerk was very helpful in providing maps and information for navigating downtown Santa Fe, particularly in the area around the Capitol building, including parking. By the way, she bears a striking resemblance to actress Juliette Lewis.

I'll be staying here until I head into downtown Santa Fe for tomorrow's Second Amendment Rally at the Capitol (The Roundhouse).

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

New William Shatner Biography by Author Michael Starr

It is strange how things happen.

I had just finished watching the 1991 flick, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the last Star Trek movie featuring the original cast when I received an email about a new William Shatner biography.

Here's what the email said:
New William Shatner Biography by Author Michael Starr, the New York Post TV Columnist

Biographer Michael Starr has covered television at the New York Post since 1995 as a reporter, columnist, and critic, and has authored critically acclaimed biographies of Peter Sellers, Art Carney, Joey Bishop, Bobby Darin, Raymond Burr, Redd Foxx, and Ringo Starr, which was selected as one of People magazine’s "Books of the Week" upon its release in July 2015. He now debuts SHATNER, also featured in People as "best new books."

About the book:

In the early months of 1966, a handsome, hardworking thirty-five-year-old Canadian-born actor named William Shatner was cast as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, a troubled, low-budget science-fiction television series set to premiere that fall on NBC. Star Trek struggled for viewers and lasted only three seasons, but it found a huge, rabidly dedicated audience when it premiered in syndication following its cancellation—turning Shatner into a pop-culture icon and launching him on a career path he never could have imagined after graduating from McGill University with an economics degree twenty years earlier. As he approaches his ninetieth year, he's still working at a furious pace as a man of boundless contradictions: by turns one of the most dissected, disliked, revered, respected, mocked, imitated, and beloved stars in the show business firmament.

Shatner takes a comprehensive look at this singular performer, using archival sources and information culled from interviews with friends and colleagues to transport readers through William Shatner's remarkably bumpy career: his spectacular failures and triumphs; tragedies, including the shocking death of his third wife, Nerine; and, ultimately, the resilience Shatner has shown, time and again, in the face of overwhelming odds. Author Michael Seth Starr unravels the mystery of William Shatner, stripping away the many myths associated with his personal life and his relationships with fellow actors, presenting a no-holds-barred, unvarnished look at the unique career of an inimitable performer.

Kobe Bryant Crash Puts Focus On Helicopter Safety

Above, departing the airport for an aerial tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Kobe Bryant helicopter crash brought to mind the two times I've flown in a helicopter.

The first time was a tour over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in 2016 on the Big Island. In back of my mind during that ride, although pleasant and interesting, was the thought about having some sort of failure that would send the helicopter into a bubbling volcanic caldera.

The second time was when I was flown to a hospital in Twin Falls, Idaho in an air ambulance from Wells, Nevada after I had a heart attack in 2018. During that flight, I was more concerned about reaching the hospital as windy conditions made a normally 20-minute flight into a 40-minute flight than I did about any catastrophic failures of the chopper.

Naturally, a tragedy like the Bryant crash will put a focus on helicopter travel.

Hawaii Public Radio takes a look at helicopter safety.

They begin with:
For the vast majority of Americans, helicopters are hardly a routine form of transportation. But a high-profile helicopter disaster — like the crash in Calabasas, Calif., that killed Kobe Bryant and eight other people on Sunday — can draw widespread attention to helicopter safety. 
Helicopter rides are significantly riskier than commercial airline flights, but not as dangerous as a trip on a personal plane. And some trips — like personal or private helicopter rides — are far more likely than others to end in a fatal accident. 
"I think it is natural to the public, whenever an accident happens, to start to question the overall safety of a certain type of flying," says Anthony Brickhouse, a professor of aerospace and occupational safety at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. "I would just caution people to be patient and to let the investigation play out so that we can figure out what happened." 
Commercial plane travel is extremely safe, despite recent catastrophes like the Boeing 737 Max crashes; in many years the fatal accident rate in the U.S. is zero. Helicopters are more dangerous, according to data from the federal government, with a fatal accident rate of 0.72 per 100,000 flight hours in 2018. 
But general aviation — like recreational flying — is even more dangerous than that, with a fatal accident rate of more than 1 accident per 100,000 flight hours in 2018.
To read more, go here

Places To Avoid In Tokyo

Above, Godzilla peers over a building in Shinjuku. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Generally speaking, most travel-oriented websites tell people what places around the world to visit and what they can do.

It is rarer for a travel site to tell people about places not to visit and avoid.

This is one of those times.

The Travel has an article on what places to avoid in Tokyo.

They start with:
Japan receives roughly 30 million international tourists annually, making it one of the most visited nations in the world. A good portion of that lot spends a bit of time in Tokyo, mostly to take in the country's unique culture, food scene, nightlife, and the 2020 Summer Olympics starting in July. 
And with a population of just more than nine million, Tokyo has no shortage of attractions to draw visitors, with very few spots declared off-limits. But for all the wonders that the city has to offer the curious vacationer, a few caveats are in order, mostly for reasons related to safety and economics.

For instance, a few places in the city wouldn't even qualify as points of interest and some of those can be downright dangerous. Then there are other Tokyo districts that have quite a large number of expensive venues, although you can find equivalents with the same amenities to suit your budget. After all, because of its size, Tokyo has a wide range of options for everyone. 
If you're considering a vacation to Tokyo, take a look at what you'd best avoid, ensuring your stay in the capital of the Land of the Rising Sun is a pleasant one.

To read more, go here

Public Service Announcement

There are, apparently, some stupid people out there.

About 20 minutes ago, Rush Limbaugh read an email from someone who asked, "Can you get the coronavirus from beer?"

As a "public service announcement", Rush said, "No. You can't get the coronavirus from beer."


To be honest, it is hard to tell if this is a joke or if the woman in this video was serious:

It has to be a joke since it was Men's Humor who posted it. But you never know these days.

Cowboys for Trump Legal Defense Fund

Above, the Cowboys for Trump ride in Grants, New Mexico in November. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A fundraising campaign has been started for the New Mexico Cowboys for Trump group at gofundme.com for legal costs in a battle with a bullying secretary of state.

According to the fundraising page:
Cowboys for Trump needs your help now more than ever before!!!

It is unfortunate in our political world today that the only victories that matter are the victories won in court.  This is where we need your help.

Maggie Tolouse Oliver is using her position as the New Mexico Secretary of the State to threaten and intimidate our organization, Cowboys for Trump, in an effort to shut us down. We have received the attached final action letter that the state of New Mexico is attempting to force Cowboys for Trump to organize as a political action committee. She has additionally assessed fines and penalties.

Being the founder and leader of Cowboys for Trump I am aware of every action that Cowboys for Trump has taken to date and none of which warrant C4T to organize as a PAC.  We have not fund raised for any particular candidate nor have we made monetary contributions to any specific campaign.  All C4T has done is tried to be a voice of reason for so many that believe the same way we do and this move from the SOS is only an attempt to silence us and financially sabotage us. This is where we need your help.

C4T has received legal counsel from the best team of attorneys in the state.  They have advised us that the SOS is acting illegally and outside of her bounds.  Our legal counsel is confident that we will prevail in Federal Court.  We have got to take a stand.  We have got to stand up against the bullies that continue to undermine our state.

Will you join us in this fight?  Our legal team has informed us that this case will cost C4T around $25k to fight and unfortunately C4T does not have the resources.  We have the fight, we have the stamina, we have the vision but need you to join this fight with us with your financial support.  We can't do it alone!

Maybe it's the way I was raised or it's the convictions that I feel, but it has always been hard to ask people for financial support however in this situation we have to reach out.

This case would be a landmark victory for so many conservatives who are used and abused by the bullies of the system.  If we can take the State of New Mexico to Federal Court and win it would put the liberal progressives on the ropes.  Will you join us?  Any contribution would be so greatly appreciated. All contributions will go directly to legal expenses.

Let's make a difference together as we move into 2020.
I have attended one of their events, a ride in Grants, New Mexico. At no time was I solicited for contributions of any kind. It was a group of like-minded supporters riding through Grants on horseback and vehicles.

To contribute to the New Mexico Cowboys for Trump Legal Defense Fund, go here.

Back Pro-Second Amendment New Mexico Democrats

The Albuquerque Journal reported:
SANTA FE – A hotly contested bill allowing for court-ordered firearm seizures from New Mexicans deemed to pose a threat to themselves or others is one step closer to a decisive Senate floor vote. 
The Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act, also known as the red flag gun bill, passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee on a 4-3 party-line vote Tuesday, with majority Democrats voting in favor and Republicans in opposition.

The best chance for defeating this (SB5) and the House of Representatives' red flag bill (HB7) is to concentrate on the rural Democrats who are pro-Second Amendment to counter the leftist Democrats in the urban areas.

Steve Raines posted at Gun Owners of New Mexico's Facebook page:
Gun owners beware! From what I learned about my visit to The Roundhouse today is extremely concerning! I'm talking to some of the conservative Democrats and Republicans the governor is trying to push this red flag Bill through in this 30-day session because she feels she has enough power over some of the conservative Democrat up north to get it passed. Reason being they've got young Progressive Democrats running against them and they were afraid they're going to lose the election so a lot of them are on the fence when it comes to this SB 5 HB 7 bill.
What pro-Second Amendment citizens should be doing is to back those conservative/pro-2A Democrats in their re-election campaigns.

It should be made clear that if the rural Democrats back our 2A stands, we will in turn back them in their re-elections. Play the Left's game. They pay attention to those who contribute to their campaigns. So get your checkbooks out, folks!

As J.R. Ewing used to say, "I always remember my friends!"

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Possible Snow Showers Tomorrow

Above, two of the locals today. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It looks like our little respite from snowy conditions may be coming to an end tomorrow.

It is forecast that we may be getting scattered snow showers tomorrow. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

For the Second Amendment Rally in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Friday, it will be sunny with a high of 40°. Definitely jacket weather.

The National Weather Service forecast for Jamestown:

Increasing clouds, with a low around 22. Calm wind.
Scattered snow showers, mainly after 11am. Cloudy, with a high near 37. Light and variable wind becoming northeast 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Wednesday Night
A 30 percent chance of snow showers before 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Partly sunny, with a high near 37. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph.

Out and About

A couple of hours were spent driving around the community, Mesa Ridge Ranch and horse feeding.

The day has been pleasant for cruising around with a 43° temperature outside.

The two horses across the road from Christmas were at the section next to the road today. I saw them there earlier and was prepared for them by bringing plenty of carrots.

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

Above, these two were ready for their treats. Christmas's neighbors across the road. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Christmas in her yard waiting for her carrots. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Truck Fire On I-40

While we were at coffee at Denny's in the Flying J this morning, we noticed that westbound traffic on Interstate 40 was at a standstill.

We guessed that it was probably an accident and, if so, a semi-truck is likely to be involved. Seems like, more often than not, whenever there's an accident or incident on I-40, a semi-truck is involved.

Sure enough, we were told that a semi-truck fire was the cause about a quarter mile west of the bridge to Jamestown. There was a line of vehicles on the access road out of the Flying J.

Fortunately, the lane coming in was clear, so I went on that and got to the bridge and was able to make it home with no delay.

By the time I got to the top of the bridge, the fire was already extinguished.

I did manage to take a few photos:

Above, a view of the tie-up from the Jamestown bridge. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the emergency equipment and the semi-truck that caught fire. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the view from the entrance to Six Mile Canyon Road. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

NM "Red Flag" Gun Confiscation Hearing Today

Above, the current map of New Mexico Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties and Cities.

Today, the New Mexico State Senate will be considering the "red flag" bill, Senate Bill 5 in a committee hearing.

From the NRA-ILA:
On Tuesday, January 28, the Senate Public Affairs Committee is scheduled to consider “Red Flag” gun confiscation legislation, Senate Bill 5, at 1:30pm. During the 2020 Budget Session, lawmakers are supposed to prioritize the creation of a state budget, however, anti-gun legislators are wasting time attempting to pass laws to undermine the Second Amendment and burden law-abiding gun owners.  Your NRA-ILA has learned that the hearing will now be held in the Senate gallery and all firearms will be banned from the gallery during the hearing.  Those offering testimony on the “Red Flag” legislation will be segregated from each other depending on their position, and all bags, purses, and backpacks will be subject to search.  NRA Members and Second Amendment supporters are encouraged to attend this public hearing and voice their opposition to this egregious legislation. Also, please contact members of the Senate Public Affairs Committee and ask them to OPPOSE Senate Bill 5.

To read more, go here.

Also, contact your state senators and representatives to tell them to oppose the red flag bills.

New Mexico Second Amendment Rally This Friday

Three days from now, the Second Amendment Rally will be held at 11:00 at the New Mexico State Capitol building (called "The Roundhouse") in Santa Fe to oppose legislation that the Democrat-controlled legislature (bought and paid for by Michael Bloomberg) has introduced during this session.

The most egregious of the bills is the "red flag" gun confiscation bill which, by the way, is opposed by the vast majority of New Mexico's county sheriffs.

I plan on attending and urge every New Mexico gun owner to attend.

The official flyer:

Japanese Economy Taking A Coronavirus Hit

Above, Tokyo Tower. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

World stock markets are taking a big beating thanks to the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, which spread to other Asian nations and in other parts of the world.

The U.S. stock marked dived over 450 points alone yesterday.

The Japanese economy is reeling from the outbreak since China is their second largest trading partner.

Many cruises and tours to China have been cancelled.

According to the Japan Times:
Economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura warned Tuesday that corporate profits and factory production could take a hit from the coronavirus outbreak in China that has rattled global markets and chilled confidence. 
Asian stocks extended a global selloff as the outbreak in China, which has killed over 100 people and spread to many countries, fueled concern over damage to the world’s second-largest economy and an engine for global growth. 
“There are concerns over the impact to the global economy from the spread of infection in China, transportation disruptions, cancellation of group tours from China and an extension in the Lunar New Year,” Nishimura told a news conference after a regularly scheduled Cabinet meeting. 
“If the situation takes longer to subside, we’re concerned it could hurt Japanese exports, output and corporate profits via the impact on Chinese consumption and production,” he said. 
China is Japan’s second-largest export destination and a huge market for its retailers. Chinese make up 30 percent of all tourists visiting Japan and accounted for nearly 40 percent of total spending by foreign tourists last year, according to an industry survey.
To read more, go here

Monday, January 27, 2020

Foreign Traveler Spending In Japan

Above, the Shibuya shopping district. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Japan Tourism Agency has released the results of a new study on spending by foreign visitors to Japan.

According to Japan Today:
TOKYO - A new study by the Japan Tourism Agency, part of the Japanese government’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, shows that the Japan travel boom is still going strong. According to the agency, during 2019 foreign travelers spent more money in Japan than ever before, with expenditures from foreign guests totaling roughly 4.8113 trillion yen ($43.739 billion). That’s a 6.5-percent increase over the year before, and also the seventh year in a row for the record to be broken. 
Chinese travelers left more of their money behind in Japan than tourists from any other nation, with the country’s contribution coming to 1.7718 trillion yen (more than a third of the total). Following China were Taiwan, Korea, and Hong Kong, with the United States, in fifth place, the highest-spending non-Asian nation.

To read more, go here

Returning Home In A Blizzard

Above, the car before bringing it into the garage. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Heading down to Denny's at the Flying J was no problem. The snow showers stopped and the pavement was just wet.

Coming back home was a bit of a different story.

Leaving the Flying J wasn't too difficult. Some snow showers were coming down, but it wasn't too much to be concened about. But as I was going further up the hill on Whispering Cedars Road, the snowflakes were more numerous and bigger.

I go to the house okay and I got into the garage to open the garage door. But after I opened it and started walking back to the car to drive it in, I slipped and fell on my butt. Thankfully, there was a good layer of soft snow to land on. So I just laughed.

I got the car into the garage and headed inside the house. It looks like I'll be spending the rest of the day indoors.

More White Stuff

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

It has been snowing for the past hour or so.

The accumulation is nearing an inch so far. This'll be an all-day storm, but it will be clearing out by tonight.

According to the National Weather Service:

Rain and snow showers, becoming all snow after 2pm. Some thunder is also possible. High near 40. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

Special Weather Statement
National Weather Service Albuquerque
NM352 AM MST Mon Jan 27 2020

NMZ201>241-272300-Northwest Plateau-Chuska Mountains-Far Northwest Highlands-Northwest Highlands-West Central Plateau-West Central Mountains-West Central Highlands-Southwest Mountains-San Francisco River Valley-Tusas Mountains Including Chama-Jemez Mountains-Glorieta Mesa Including Glorieta Pass-Northern Sangre de Cristo Mountains-Southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains-East Slopes Sangre de Cristo Mountains-Upper Rio Grande Valley-Espanola Valley-Santa Fe Metro Area-Middle Rio Grande Valley/Albuquerque Metro Area-Lower Rio Grande Valley-Sandia/Manzano Mountains Including Edgewood-Estancia Valley-Central Highlands-South Central Highlands-Upper Tularosa Valley-South Central Mountains-Johnson and Bartlett Mesas Including Raton Pass-Far Northeast Highlands-Northeast Highlands-Union County-Harding County-Eastern San Miguel County-Guadalupe County-Quay County-Curry County-Roosevelt County-De Baca County-Chaves County Plains-Eastern Lincoln County-Southwest Chaves County-San Agustin Plains and Adjacent Lowlands-352 AM MST Mon Jan 27 2020


A winter storm system will traverse the state today, bringinglight to moderate snow accumulations to western and northern NewMexico this afternoon. Snow totals will reach up to 4 to 6 inchesatop the Sangre de Cristo Mountains down to Raton Pass. This willallow for some slick roads and difficult travel conditions throughmountain passes and on I-25 at Raton Pass this afternoon.Visibility reductions may also be possible through any passingshowers.

Meanwhile, strong northwest winds with gusts reaching upwards of45 to 50 mph will reach the western terrain along the continentaldivide and east slopes of the south-central mountains thisafternoon. A backdoor front will then surge southward through theeastern plains along the Texas border late this evening throughmidnight bringing gusts upwards of 45 mph. This will causehazardous crosswinds for those traveling on east to west orientedhighways.

Anyone planning travel through northern and central New Mexicotoday and tonight should be prepared to encounter adverse weatherconditions. Monitor NOAA weather radio, weather.gov/abq or yourlocal media for the latest weather updates. For the latest NewMexico road conditions visit nmroads.com or call 5-1-1.tMostly clear, with a low around 20. West wind 10 to 15 mph.

Just As They Predicted

Above, this morning's snow. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Just as the National Weather Service forecast, snow has arrived in Jamestown, New Mexico.

So far, it has been a light dusting, about a half inch.

According to The Weather Channel, it will be continuing on and off throughout the day.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash: Site Is Familiar

The only blessing the helicopter that crashed carrying former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his daughter, along with seven other passengers, is that it was likely their deaths were instant.

The helicopter carrying Bryant apparently slammed into a hillside and burst into flames in Calabasas near Las Virgenes Road and Willow Glen Street in foggy conditions. I am very familiar with the area as I used to work nearby on Agoura Road, west of Las Virgenes Road.

The last time I was in the area was three years ago as I regularly used the RV dump station at the nearby Malibu Creek State Park campground.

According to the Los Angeles Times:
Kobe Bryant, 41, the legendary basketball star who spent 20 years with the Lakers, was killed Sunday morning when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed amid foggy conditions and burst into flames in the hills above Calabasas, sources told the Los Angeles Times. 
His daughter Gianna, 13, was also on board, NBA authorities confirmed. 
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said nine people were on the copter — a pilot and eight passengers. He would not confirm who had died until all the next of kin have been notified, he said. The L.A. County coroner’s office said Sunday night that the recovery effort is expected to take several days because of the condition of the crash site and its remote location. Officials have shut down roads leading to the site because of a throng of visitors trying to get there. 
The fog was severe enough Sunday morning that the Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division grounded its helicopters and didn’t fly until later in the afternoon, department spokesman Josh Rubenstein said.
Above, looking north from Malibu Creek State Park, the crash site would
 be about 3 miles up Las Virgenes Road (right). Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Why Bryant's helicopter was allowed to fly in such foggy conditions is something the FAA and NTSB will be looking at. When I worked in Malibu a few years ago, the fog from the ocean got very thick.

Basketball is not one of my main sports interests, but I did follow the 2009 Championship series as co-workers were closely following the games on portable television sets and I joined them in watching. The importance and impact of Bryant's role with the Lakers is undeniable.

To read more, go here.

Clear Now, But Possible Snow Showers Later

Above, today at Mesa Ridge Ranch. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A little while ago, I got home from our monthly dinner gathering at Martin Link's in Gallup.

As I was getting out of the car, I saw the stars in the sky with the Milky Way band clearly visible. It was impressive.

But, all that may change during the early morning hours as clouds will be moving into the area with a 20% chance of precipitation tonight (snow showers after 2:00) and possible rain and snow showers tomorrow morning with a 40% chance before 11:00.

It is about 38° outside presently.

The forecast from the National Weather Service:

Isolated snow showers after 2am. Increasing clouds, with a low around 29. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
A chance of snow showers before 11am, then a chance of rain and snow showers. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 40. West wind 5 to 15 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Monday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 21. Northwest wind 5 to 15 mph.

Meet Bloomberg

During the 2018 election, Democrat anti-Second Amendment candidates were elected to Virginia's legislature.

During that same election cycle, similar-minded Democrats were also elected as governor of New Mexico and to the New Mexico legislature.

These two states have one thing in common: the Democrats were bought and paid for by Michael Bloomberg.

From the NM Political Report:
Everytown for Gun Safety, a national gun-control advocacy group affiliated with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, contributed nearly $400,000 to New Mexico Democrats and Democrat-friendly political action committees in last year’s election.

From Meet Bloomberg:
Michael Bloomberg’s bought and paid for Virginia legislators have wasted no time introducing legislation that would make the Old Dominion’s gun laws worse than those of the billionaire’s home state of New York. 
SB 16, introduced by Sen. Richard L. Saslaw, would create a total ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms, like the AR-15. Even worse, the ban would even extend to common firearm parts. The restrictions included in the proposed legislation does not grandfather current owners. The legislation is clearly designed to be firearms confiscation, as current owners would be forced to dispossess themselves of their property or face a felony conviction.
The gun-grabbing fight in Virginia has made national news, thanks to the massive 20,000+ Second Amendment rally held last week in Richmond, Virginia.

The fight in New Mexico has started as the Democrats in Santa Fe want to pass a "red flag" gun confiscation law that is opposed by the vast majority of New Mexico county sheriffs among other anti-Second Amendment schemes.

From Meet Bloomberg:
Michael Bloomberg is one of the richest people in the world with a staggering $33 billion dollar fortune and a track record of wielding his wealth to push the rest of us around. Women are now the top targets of Bloomberg's anti-gun group "Everytown for Gun Safety"—especially mothers. The core of his campaign has been to spread misinformation and terrify mothers about guns in order to enact his radical anti-gun agenda. He has dedicated unlimited resources to his efforts. But money doesn’t always win.  
The only thing stronger than one power-hungry billionaire is the united voices of millions of Americans who refuse to hand over their hard-won freedoms. Together we will expose Michael Bloomberg for the elitist tyrant that he is and show him once and for all that America cannot be bought.
Everyone should read Meet Bloomberg to educate themselves on what he has been doing.

To read more, go here.

All Nippon Airways: ¥2,020 Flights To Tohoku

Above, Sendai Station. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

People heading to Japan this summer can get a real bargain while there.

Flights to and from Tohoku for only ¥2,020 ($18.49)!

Time Out Tokyo reported:
This summer, the world will be travelling to Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. Most travellers will hit up the traditional tourist route – Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka – but those looking to get off the beaten path should head up north to the Tohoku region.  
Good thing All Nippon Airways (ANA) will be offering cheap tickets at the symbolic price of just ¥2,020 for 18 domestic flights flying to and from Aomori, Odate Noshiro (in northern Akita), Akita, Shonai (in Yamagata), Sendai and Fukushima from July to September 2020. These flights are centred around Tohoku because ANA is hoping the campaign will raise awareness and improve reconstruction efforts in the areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. 
Flight reservations start in spring.

To read more, go here

Where To Get The Best View of Mount Fuji

Above, a view of Mount Fuji from a bullet train. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Of all of the eight times I've been to Japan, the only times I've been able to get decent enough views of Mount Fuji were during G-TOUR in 2004 when we were actually on the side of the mountain (at the timberline) and during the fireworks festival at Lake Kawaguchi and during a 2015 shinkansen trip to Kyoto and Osaka.

Above, the top of Mount Fuji from the timberline. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The mountain, during other times, was obscured by cloud cover.

However, Time Out Tokyo has an article on five of the best places to view Mount Fuji.

They begin with:
The highest peak in Japan at 3,776m, Mt Fuji is stunning for its elegant, perfectly symmetrical shape. It is the icon of Japan, one that many tourists want to see on their trip to Tokyo. While it’s possible to get a glimpse of the mountain in the capital – when the weather is super clear – you should travel slightly out of the city to the areas surrounding the mountain for the perfect view. 
Of course, the best is still to go hiking up the mountain in summer from July to September. But if you’re not keen on the physical workout, these five scenic spots in Yamanashi and Kanagawa – easily reachable from Tokyo as a day trip – are your next best bet for a spectacular view of Mt Fuji. Just try to get there early in the morning or late afternoon as the mid-day clouds tend to block the view (especially in the summer).
To read more, go here

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Grand Teton Stays Busy, Yellowstone Slows A Bit

Above, Mitch Geriminsky and I at Grand Teton National Park last July.

Even though the two national parks are only 30 miles apart from each other, there is a big difference in tourist visit numbers between Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

2019 was a good year for Grand Teton in attendance while the numbers dipped a bit for Yellowstone.

I visited Grand Teton National Park last July, which is the busiest month for the park.

Above, the Grand Teton range is reflected on Jackson Lake. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide Reported:
Grand Teton National Park stayed near its highest-ever visitation levels in 2019, trailing only 2018 for numbers of tourists passing through. 
That’s a trend that somewhat bucks that of its National Park Service sibling to the north, Yellowstone National Park, which had its slowest tourism year since 2014. 
Teton park’s spokeswoman chalks up the continued busy times to more people coming during the historically slow shoulder seasons.

“I don’t know what to make of the difference between the two parks,” Denise Germann said, “but I do believe our shoulder seasons are expanding a little bit. In 2019, we saw record visitation in both March and August.” 
For the year, Grand Teton National Park attracted 3.41 million “recreational visitors” — a category that excludes some passers-through, such as commercial truckers on Highway 26/89/191. 
July, as is the custom, was the busiest month of the year, with 776,000 visitors. The nadir fell in February, followed by November and December — months that attracted fewer than 50,000 recreational visits each. 
While the flow of Yellowstone tourists has fallen off slightly more, the declines have been marginal. The world’s first national park attracted a touch over 4 million recreational visitors last year, a 2.3% slip since 2018 and 5.6% down from 2016, when the National Park Service saw an all-time peak during its centennial year.
To read more, go here

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