"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.

Buy The Amazon Kindle Store Ebook Edition

Buy The Amazon Kindle Store Ebook Edition
Get the ebook edition here! (Click image.)

Sunday, January 31, 2021

RV Dangerous Routes

Above, on the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

RV driving can be a challenge for both the experienced RVer or the novice driver. There are some routes that should be avoided if one is driving a behemoth RV.

RV Life has an article on 10 "dangerous routes" that those driving bigger RVs should avoid. I've driven on four of them. 

They begin with:

Blind curves, steep grades, hairpin turns, and slippery when wet. These are the words many travelers driving or towing bigger rigs want to avoid seeing in front of their windshield. 

Having RV-safe GPS directions is essential when you have a big Class A coach or spacious fifth wheel in tow. Below we list some of the most dangerous routes for larger RVs or anyone towing a longer trailer. Not only are these routes dangerous for these rigs, but they are usually not recommended for travel for these type of vehicles or any vehicle during adverse conditions.

Above, Sleepy Bear RV Park in Swan Valley, Idaho on the Teton Pass Highway. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To see what they are, go here

Camping In Oregon

Above, the Oasis RV Park in Juntura, Oregon. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

During my Great American Eclipse trip in August 2017, I did some extra traveling into Oregon.

I went from Idaho into Oregon on U.S. 20 and on U.S. 97 to Crater Lake National Park. These routes were very scenic and RV-friendly routes.

Above, The Beast at the Oasis RV Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

RV Life has an article on what the state of Oregon has to offer for the RVer.

They begin with:

If you’re an RVer, you owe it to yourself to plan an extended RV trip to Oregon. The destination is well worth the long drive west. There is much to see from the beautiful coastline to the mountains, forest, and high desert east of the Cascades.

There is abundant wildlife, sporting and outdoor activities, plenty of state, federal, forest service, and private campgrounds, and ample boondocking opportunities. 

To read more, go here

RVs: Size Does Matter

Above, at Manzanita Lake Campground at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The pandemic caused the RV industry to have a great year in sales since people are tending to shun air and cruise ship vacations. RV travel is seen as a safer mode to vacation.

With sales so good, one has to wonder if national park campgrounds can accommodate them, especially bigger rigs.

One of the reasons I bought a 23 foot motorhome is being able to camp in national parks. It has plenty of interior room for myself and my cat. It is big enough to be comfortable and small enough to serve as a second vehicle (if need be) and able to fit in national park campsites.

National Parks Traveler takes a look at this issue in a new article.

Some snippets:

Nationwide, approximately 11 million households own a recreational vehicle, according to the RV Industry Association. Last year, RV shipments reached 430,412 wholesale units, a 6 percent increase over 2019, and the third best year on record despite a two-month industry shutdown due to the pandemic, according to a report prepared by ITR Economics for the RV Industry Association.

“This past year with the pandemic even more people decided to get an RV,” said Phil Ingrassia, president of the National RV Dealers Association. “With Covid, you can be in your own bubble in your RV.”

RVs In Many Sizes And Styles

New RVs range in price and style. The least expensive trailer towed behind a vehicle costs about $6,000. In contrast, a Class A motorhome equipped with washer, dryer, king-sized bed, full size refrigerator, fireplace, and entertainment center goes for about $500,000.

But those traveling in Class A motorhomes do not stay in national parks.

“If you have a rig over 30 feet, national parks and some state parks cannot accommodate you," said Barbi Taylor. She and her husband, Larry, own a 25-foot-long Winnebago Navion. “We purposely got something smaller to get into the national parks,” she said.

Many national parks allow RVs and trailers, but some impose certain length restrictions based on road, traffic, and weather condition variables, said Cynthia Hernandez, a National Park Service public affairs specialist.

To read more, go here.

More of the Same Weather

Above, the community two years ago. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It looks like more of the same weather we've been having for the past two weeks in Jamestown, New Mexico.

More rain and snow showers are forecast for the week by the National Weather Service. It looks like we're having more precipitation this year than last year, which is good for our water supply.

The forecast for the week:

Sunny, with a high near 46. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 21. South wind around 5 mph.
Partly sunny, with a high near 52. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the afternoon.
Monday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph.
Partly sunny, with a high near 53. West wind 5 to 10 mph.
Tuesday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34.
A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53.
Wednesday Night
A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
A 40 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 39.
Thursday Night
A 20 percent chance of snow showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 17.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 38.
Friday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 18.
A 20 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 36.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Three Years Since Escaping California

Above, while still living in The Beast and after the Mustang was delivered. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is amazing (sometimes) how fast time goes by.

Tomorrow will mark three years since I moved out of California for New Mexico. 

Moving day was an almost an all-day affair made even longer as I had the Mustang at the mechanic's getting a new clutch installed. That wasn't completed until about 5:30. 

Above, Sierra exploring while I was unpacking. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After picking it up and arranging with neighbor friends to meet with the car carrier company to pick it up from the apartment's parking lot, I was off.

I didn't get to my first stop at the Shady Oasis Campground in Victorville until 9:00. After leaving my credit card info in the night drop box and plugging in The Beast, I went to bed. I was exhausted.

The next day, I drove into Arizona, but not before having a Tommy's breakfast sandwich in Victorville. 

I stayed at the Seligman (Arizona) KOA Kampground for the second night. After getting up early in the morning, I drove all the way to Jamestown, New Mexico.

I lived in The Beast for the next 12 days while waiting for the movers to deliver my stuff. The Mustang arrived seven days after I did.

I am glad to have gotten out of California. The state has become a hell-hole under Gov. Gavin Newsom. No regrets! 

Last Night's Snow

Last night's snow storm didn't dump as much as the night before's storm.

I just finished shoveling the walkways and a couple of paths on the garage ramp. The snow that fell last night was around a half-inch to an inch. It is already beginning to melt in spots. It is about 27° outside.

It is best to shovel the snow before it turns into slippery ice.

Some photos:


G-FEST Cancelled Until 2022

Above, J. D. Lees and actor Akira Takarada at G-FEST XXVI in 2019. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The casualty list of events cancelled this year is starting.

G-FEST, which was scheduled for this summer, has been cancelled.

Here's the announcement:

When G-FEST had to be cancelled in 2020, we all had high hopes for a rebound the following summer. However, with great regret, the G-FEST Organizing Committee has announced that the convention will not take place in 2021. The continued prevalence of COVID-19 across the country has resulted in anti-COVID restrictions persisting much longer than everyone had hoped.

According to public health forecasts and vaccination timetables, it’s virtually certain that conditions will make it impossible to safely stage G-FEST this coming summer. G-FEST requires months of lead time for planning and preparing, processing registrations, creating displays, organizing the convention schedule and program, making travel arrangements and securing translators for foreign guests, and many, many other considerations. The participants in the convention, from vendors to attendees, all require a great deal of lead time for planning and preparation. With time for proper preparation running out, we didn’t want to keep G-FEST supporters in doubt any longer. Our venue, the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, has agreed with our conclusion.

This is very sad news for everyone that loves the special weekend of camaraderie that G-FEST has provided for so long. It’s especially hard on the youngsters and the special needs kids and their families, for whom G-FEST has become such an anticipated time of the year. However, offering a safe environment according to government regulations is a paramount consideration.

The idea of a “virtual G-FEST” has been discussed on social media. G-FEST’s primary attraction is the opportunity to actually get together with other G-fans and to shop, discuss, play video games, watch movies, see models and art, receive instruction and experience with moviemaking and prop/costume building, meet famous people, etc., etc., etc. IN PERSON. That’s the essence of G-FEST. For that reason, there will be no official online version of G-FEST. A “virtual G-FEST” just wouldn’t be G-FEST. However, no doubt many on-line kaiju-themed events will take place over the summer, and we encourage G-fans to participate and keep the kaiju spirit burning brightly.

We thank everyone for their patience and understanding throughout this difficult process. We are all looking forward to beginning the planning for G-FEST in 2022, about which further details will be coming soon. The disappointments we’ve all experienced have only made us more determined than ever to create a tremendous celebration when we all can be reunited next summer.

Above, Jessica Tseang and yours truly at G-FEST XXVI. Photo by Steve Ryfle.

Well, at this point, all we can do is keep our fingers crossed that the coronavirus is vanquished and G-FEST will be held in 2022.  

Plenty To See and Do In The Four Corners

Above, Ouray, Colorado. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The nice thing about living in northwestern New Mexico is that I am within a half day's drive to attractions in the Four Corners region of the U.S.

What is the Four Corners?

According to Wikipedia:

The Four Corners is a region of the Southwestern United States consisting of the southwestern corner of Colorado, southeastern corner of Utah, northeastern corner of Arizona, and northwestern corner of New Mexico. The Four Corners area is named after the quadripoint at the intersection of approximately 37° north latitude with 109° 03' west longitude, where the boundaries of the four states meet, and are marked by the Four Corners Monument. It is the only location in the United States where four states meet. Most of the Four Corners region belongs to semi-autonomous Native American nations, the largest of which is the Navajo Nation, followed by Hopi, Ute, and Zuni tribal reserves and nations. The Four Corners region is part of a larger region known as the Colorado Plateau and is mostly rural, rugged, and arid. In addition to the monument, commonly visited areas within Four Corners include Monument Valley, Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Canyon, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The most populous city in the Four Corners region is Farmington, New Mexico, followed by Durango, Colorado.
Above, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

North of where I live (near Gallup, New Mexico) is Durango, Silverton, Ouray and Telluride, Colorado. There's plenty of recreational opportunities in that area such as hiking, fishing, rafting, camping, Jeep driving, Mesa Verde National Park and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, just to name a few. There's also plenty of good restaurants to enjoy.

Above, the True Grit Cafe in Ridgway. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A bit more to the west in Utah and Arizona, there's the Four Corners Monument and Monument Valley. Monument Valley, a Navajo tribal park, is best known for location filming of several John Wayne/John Ford classic westerns.  A little further on west is Grand Canyon National Park, about a three-hour drive from Monument Valley.

Above, the right and left Mittens at Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A friend and I took a vacation up into Colorado last year and along with Durango, Silverton and Ouray, we visited Ridgway, the location of True Grit (1969) starring John Wayne and Mesa Verde National Park. 

Above, Mesa Verde National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If one hasn't visited the Four Corners region, I recommend putting it on one's vacation bucket list.

Reservations Required To Enter Yosemite National Park

Above, The Beast at North Pines Campgroun in Yosemite Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A major winter storm with high winds knocked down about a dozen sequoia trees and caused other damage in Yosemite National Park, resulting in a full closure of the park.

But it is due to reopen possibly Monday and reservations will again be required to enter starting February 8.

The Sacramento Bee reported:

Yosemite National Park announced Friday that it will require reservations to enter the park starting Feb. 8.

The popular park in California will remain closed until at least Monday due to snow and wind damage from recent storms.

Reservations for February will be available starting at 8 a.m. Monday, Feb. 1 on recreation.gov. Those with overnight lodging and camping reservations in Yosemite won’t need a separate day-use reservation via recreation.gov to enter the park.

Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman on Friday said the temporary day-use reservation system is being put in place to manage visitation levels to reduce COVID-19 risks.

To read more, go here

Travel + Leisure: 10 Best U.S. Mountain Towns

Above, yours truly in Jackson, Wyoming, one of the towns on the list. Photo by Mitch Geriminsky.

Before we know it, it will be springtime and that's when many people get their RVs out of mothballs and get back on the road.

Places to consider traveling to are America's scenic mountain towns.

Above, there's plenty to do in Jackson, Wyoming. I did some rafting there.

Travel + Leisure has listed ten of the best mountain towns in the United States. I visited one of them.

They begin with:

Whether you're looking for outdoor adventure or a luxurious retreat, America's best mountain towns have something for every type of traveler. During the winter months, these towns offer world-class skiing and snowboarding, and come summer, visitors can enjoy hiking, rafting, mountain biking, and more — they're truly year-round destinations. From Aspen's pristine slopes and luxury hotels to Asheville's vibrant art scene and Leavenworth's European feel, these mountain towns offer unique experiences and stunning scenery.

Here are 10 of the best mountain towns in the United States.

To see what they consider "the best", go here

Friday, January 29, 2021

Snow Showers Have Started

Above, four days ago. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Tonight's forecast of snow showers has already started. We're under a winter weather advisory.

I took a look out the back porch door's window and the snow was coming down. 

From the National Weather Service:


Snow showers, mainly before 11pm. Low around 22. Breezy, with a west wind 15 to 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Kyoto's Kinkaku-ji Gets A Makeover

Above, Kinkaku-ji in 2004, a year after its last makeover. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of Kyoto's most popular tourist attractions was recently given a makeover and is as shiny as ever.

According to the South China Morning Post:

The temple of Kinkaku-ji in the Japanese city of Kyoto has been given a major facelift, and without the eyesore of scaffolding and signs of ageing, the landmark’s famous golden walls are now shining again in full splendour.

In fact, it’s the first time in 18 years visitors will have been able to see the so-called golden pavilion in its full golden shine, according to the city’s tourism board.

Preservationists had decided that construction and maintenance work would have been less of a disappointment to visitors during the pandemic, which has seen tourism plummet in Japan.

Restoration workers have comprehensively renewed the roof with shingles made of waterproof Sawara cypress wood and also restored the two upper floors, as well as its iconic roof ornament, a golden phoenix.

Above, Kinkaku-ji in 2015. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

SouthI was last at Kinkaku-ji bit over five years ago. Previously, I visited it in 2004 (a year after its last makeover) with G-TOUR.

Artist Asya Lipovetckaia included Kinkaku-ji in her portrait of me in 2016.

To read more, go here.

GameStop: The Elites Got Beaten At Their Own Game

El Rushbo (Rush Limbaugh), during yesterday's show, explained in detail what was happening concerning the GameStop story. He was, for once, accurately quoted by the mainstream media following his show. Frankly, the talking heads of the media don't have the intelligence needed to explain it well enough to make people understand it. So, they quoted Rush.

Here's some snippets:

RUSH: Let me go over some things here just to set the table, give you some things that are gonna shake out today that we’re gonna be talking about. There’s a fascinating thing — it is the most fascinating thing that’s going on out there a long time. Have you heard the story? Do you know the details of what’s going with GameStop?

Folks, it’s not just political now. The elites are bent out of shape that a bunch of average, ordinary users have figured out how to make themselves billionaires using – (interruption) I’m gonna explain it. I’m gonna take the time necessary to explain this. You’re damn right. I’ve been studying it all morning. And the best thing I can tell you is that whatever you think is going on in politics — the Washington establishment, the deep state, what have you — it’s the same thing in finance. There are those who are allowed to make all of the money and those of you who aren’t.

And if you figure out how to make a lot of money and if you’re like Donald Trump and you figure out how to get elected, you figure out how to beat the deep state, they’re gonna come out and they’re gonna wipe you out; they’re gonna destroy you. That’s what’s happening with GameStop. A bunch of people on Reddit figured out how to game the system. They figured out how to turn the system into a profit-making device for themselves.

In the process, they are harming the intended winners in this financial circumstance, and that would be the hedge funds out there. The hedge funds are supposed to be the ones making a lot of money, and they’re not. And they’re begging other hedge funds to bail them out. So, yes, I’m going to explain this. It’s not gonna take a long time, but folks, it’s fascinating. And the reason that it is fascinating is now it’s not just politics.

Now they’re not just calling us racists, sexists, bigots, homophobes in a way to control us, in a way to shame us. Now they’re actually making it clear to anybody who has the ability to notice that you’re not allowed to use the stock market the way they do. You’re not allowed to profit. You’re not allowed to make the kind of money they do.

But this GameStop business now makes this something that is understandable beyond the political world, and that is its value. It’s not just political anymore. It’s not just that you can’t think for yourself on issues and matters of politics. You know, everything is rigged in favor of the elites, and this has come along and upset that rigging. You know, if everything doesn’t benefit the establishment, then it has to be censored, right? Your speech, your attitude, if it doesn’t benefit the establishment, it’s gotta be censored. It’s gotta be canceled. It’s gotta be silenced.

Some hedge fund managers shorted GameStop’s — now, what is GameStop? What the hell is it? GameStop is a company. This has not been widely explained because the elites don’t take the time to explain this. But let me tell you what it is. GameStop is a company that sells physical copies of video games in dying malls. I mean, they’re an out-of-fashion company. It’s another thing that ticks off the elites. This company is way behind the times. They’re selling physical copies of video games next to all the other dying stores in malls.

But right now GameStop has become the most highly traded asset in the United States. GameStop’s stock price was $4 last summer, $20 at the end 2020, is now worth close to $300. And here is a passage from an elitist publication describing it.

“Essentially, many normal-ish people have made a huge bet against gigantic [hedge funds] financial institutions and are currently winning. In practice this means we are seeing one of the -” and here is the rub of it, folks. “We are seeing one of the largest wealth transfers from the financial ruling class to the middle and middle-upper classes in recent memory.” And it’s not been authorized, you see. It’s just happening within the normal ebb and flow of the market. Some normalish people figured out how to earn a hell of a lot of money using the establishment’s own methods against them.

To read the full story, go here

Best Maid Dill Pickles In Thoreau

Above, assorted pickles at Best Maid Pickle Emporium. Photo by Mitch Geriminsky.

While picking up a few items at BJ's Kountry Store in Thoreau yesterday, I spotted some jars of Best Maid Dill Pickles on the shelf.

While in Fort Worth, Texas a couple of weeks ago, I went with Mitch Geriminsky to a Best Maid Pickle Emporium store. I don't believe I've heard of this brand prior to our stop at the store. 

I was tempted to pick up a jar, but they were a little on the pricey side. I like pickles, but not a huge fan.

Rain & Snow Showers Tonight

Above, the road in front after the last snow storm. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The respite from precipitation is ending this evening.

The National Weather Service forecast rain showers and then snow shower for this evening and tonight.

It'll be dry on Saturday, but it will be cold out. It's a good thing I went into Thoreau yesterday to pick a few grocery items.

The forecast for Jamestown, New Mexico:

A 30 percent chance of showers after 5pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 50. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon.
A chance of rain showers before 8pm, then snow showers. Low around 21. West wind 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 37. West wind 10 to 15 mph.

Useful Tips For RV Beginners

Above, camping at Lightner Creek Campground in Durango, Colorado. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since there's many new members joining the RV community, useful tips for newbies will help make their new adventures much easier and enjoyable.

The Springfield News-Sun posted some useful tips for them.

They begin with:

Road trips are a unique way to travel that afford travelers the freedom to stop and take in sights and scenery on their own time. Traveling the highways and back roads gives people a chance to slow down and really enjoy an adventure. Such trips can be made even more special by traveling in recreational vehicles, often referred to as “RVs.”

The RV industry has been consistently growing for years. The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association says the RV industry creates $50 billion in economic impact in the United States, with roughly 23,000 businesses currently in operation. More than 504 RVs were shipped in 2017, and in Canada the industry is responsible for more than $7 billion in retail sales, states RVIA and Statista.  

Roughly 40 million Americans go RV camping each year, and millennials make up approximately 38 percent of campers, according to a report from CNBC. New RV enthusiasts are getting on the road every day, and such travelers can benefit from the wisdom and experience of those who have blazed trails before them.

To see what the tips are, go here


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Yellowstone Visitation Down Slightly In 2020

Above, Yellowstone National Park South Entrance. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One would have thought the coronavirus would have caused a major drop in visitation to Yellowstone National Park last year. It didn't.

According to K2 Radio

The coronavirus pandemic lowered visitation to Yellowstone National Park in 2020, but not by much, according to data published by the park on Thursday.

The park hosted 3,806,305 recreation visits in 2020, down 5% from 2019.

The park was closed due to health and safety reasons related to COVID-19 beginning March 24.

Two Wyoming entrances opened on May 18, and the three Montana entrances opened on June 1.

To read more, go here.

Recent Market Movements

My investment banker sent out a general email to his clients on the recent goings-on with the markets.

In case you were wondering, here's what he says about it:

In speaking with clients recently, I have found that there is concern and, at the same time, interest in what we are hearing in the financial press with regards to options strategies and trading strategies on short squeezes.  I hope to provide some insight as to what is occurring, which is indeed highly unusual.

There has been very large volume of late in options’ contracts on US options exchanges.  The volumes that are beyond the normal have been attributed to small-dollar retail activity in large numbers in aggregate.  The small investors have been caught up in the momentum of price rises in US equities and are leveraging via call options.  They are buying call options in price momentum names.  This is a very short-term strategy, is not very tax efficient, and is likely to end abruptly as price momentum tops out and price speculation ends with total losses of the call premiums paid by the speculator.

The other phenomenon we are witnessing is that of coordinated attacks on the stocks of companies that are heavily shorted by hedge funds and long/short strategies.  Retail and internet forums that communicate short positions have banded together to run up the stock price and force those with short positions to buy the stock back and run the price ever higher.  Several stocks have had a tremendous run up over the last few weeks, completely manipulated by this strategy.  Oversight authorities are reviewing this practice and I expect there to be modifications to practices and new rules to dampen the extraordinary speculation we’ve been seeing recently.  As ever, as long as there are ways to make money, creative minds will find a way, even if it doesn’t fit into a prudent investment approach.

Ammo Shortage Creating Long Lines At Gun Shops

The ammunition shortage continues.

I've noticed a drop in the sound of gunshots at the community shooting range lately. Granted, we've been having snowstorms coming into the area, but it is more likely that the ammo shortage is causing shooters to maintain their supply and not shoot.

The shortage is causing long lines at gun stores of people seeking ammo.

According to the American Rifleman (NRA):

The record setting pace of ammunition sales and resultant shortage is not slowing. In fact, Florida’s Fox35 News reported this week that people are camping out as early at 2 a.m. in front of an area sporting goods store to buy cartridges once it opened—despite a three-box limit.

“I just come here on Monday. Tuesday, I go to Buena Vista. Wednesday, I go to East Colonial. Thursday, Buena Vista. Friday, East Colonial. Sunday, I go to Millenia,” David Godkin told the reporter as he explained his methodology of staying supplied for his frequent range sessions. It’s enough to keep the avid enthusiast active at the firing line, but he’s also concerned the new administration may limit future purchases.

The situation’s similar out west. On Jan. 9, Orem’s KSL TV covered, “An amazing sight outside a Utah gun store as hundreds lined up to buy ammo.” There were 200 people waiting in a line before the store opened. News had spread that the company was getting a shipment of 5.56 NATO and .223 Rem. that day and the result was an early morning crowd willing to honor a 200-round limit. “We have seen a rush on guns and ammo before—but never in January,” store employee Chris Hansen told the reporter.

It is a good thing I stocked up on ammo before the shortage began and prices began to spike on what ammo is available.

To read more, go here

Hanoi Jane To Receive Golden Globes' Cecil B. DeMille Award

Above, Jane Fonda atop an anti-aircraft gun in North Vietnam.

"Hanoi Jane" Fonda is to receive an award next month.

Japan Today reported:

LOS ANGELES - Jane Fonda cemented herself into Hollywood allure as a chameleon-like actor and social activist, and now the Golden Globes will honor her illustrious career with its highest honor.

Fonda, 83, will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award during the 78th annual awards ceremony on Feb 28, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced Tuesday. A member of one of America's most distinguished acting families, Fonda has captivated and inspired fans along with critics in such films as “Klute” and “Coming Home.”  

Fonda gained notoriety in the the 1970s when she traveled to North Vietnam during the height of the anti-Vietnam War protests and posed for photos next to an anti-aircraft gun. She fell under hefty criticism for her decision — one she repeatedly apologized for — to pose in the photo that gave her the nickname “Hanoi Jane.”

Her actions in North Vietnam caused some American prisoners-of-war to be tortured by their captors. I, for one, do not forgive or forget.

To read more, go here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The Dreaded Las Vegas Resort Fee, Part 2

Above, the entrance to Excalibur's Resort Tower. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Back in September 2017, I blogged about "The Dreaded Las Vegas Resort Fee" that's being charged to guests at Las Vegas hotels. 

Last weekend, I stayed two nights at the Excalibur Hotel Casino while in town for a friend's wedding.

I got a good package deal through Travelocity for my flights and hotel room for around $300. Unfortunately, the amount did not include the hotel's "resort fee". When I bought the package, I was told that I would have to pay the hotel $79.36, which is the $35.00/day resort fee and the resort fee tax.

Resort fee tax?!

Obviously, the corporate casino money-grubbing bean counters will squeeze every cent out of visitors. 

Excalibur's resort fee is actually two dollars cheaper than some other hotels. 

According to The Points Guy (as of March 2020):

Flamingo Las Vegas: $37

Planet Hollywood Las Vegas: $37

Paris Las Vegas: $37

Harrah’s Las Vegas: $37

In the future, if I am to stay in Las Vegas, I will stay at a RV park where no resort fees are charged. It's much cheaper. (The last time I checked (in 2017), Circus Circus RV Park charges resort fees.) 

Back From Snow Shoveling

Above, the icy road. I slipped where my shadow is. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

About an hour ago, it was about 10° outside. 

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

A little while ago, I went and shoveled last night's snow accumulation from the walkways and made trails on the driveway ramp. It was about 21° when I went out.

Above, the driveway with critter tracks. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I walked a little bit to take pictures on the road. I didn't go far as the road was iced up. I slipped, but fortunately, didn't fall.

Above, the house and driveway with critter tracks. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This has to be the most snow we've received in about 2 years. We need it for the water aquifer. 

It looks like I won't be doing much driving until the roads thaw out.

RPNM Chairman Statement On Governor's State of the State Address


Albuquerque, January 26—This afternoon Gov. Lujan Grisham delivered her third State of the State AddressShe gave her annual speech virtually due to the pandemic.
The following is RPNM Chairman Steve Pearce’s statement on the Governor’s Address:
“The Governor again insulted New Mexico’s biggest and most important industry—oil and gas—failing to mention how President Biden’s energy policies will kill New Mexico jobs and our state’s economy. Instead of saving jobs, she’s failed to call for an exemption for New Mexico as she’s promised. Where’s the governor’s request been to help New Mexico as this vital industry becomes threatened?”
“In a tacit agreement with her critics about her handling of New Mexico’s schools, the Governor has suddenly decided to reopen classes amid great pressure. Without any scientific information or logic (just one of New Mexico’s 33 counties is green), the Governor reversed her position on schools. Students should have been in class all year, and now they’ve fallen behind in the worst education system in the nation.”
“Today the Governor offered no bold vision or strong initiatives to jump-start an economy that she’s driven into the ground by her mismanagement in dealing with the pandemic. Under her leadership this past year, she’s destroyed our state, crushed our businesses, hurt our students and dashed hopes for our citizens. This Address was hardly inspiring to New Mexicans who have suffered so much this past year.”
The Republican Party of New Mexico (RPNM) advances the ideals of individual liberties for the advancement of its citizens and the greater prosperity of our communities throughout New Mexico. Led by an Executive Board and its Chairman, former NM Congressman Steve Pearce, RPNM serves all New Mexicans via its headquarters in Albuquerque and can be contacted at (505) 298-3662.

Tokyo's "Delicate" Path To Recovery

Above, a gathering at the Toho Studios Godzilla statue during normal times.

Coronavirus infections in Tokyo have been trending down since the declaration of a state of emergency took place three weeks ago.

According to the Asahi Shimbun

Novel coronavirus-related numbers point to improved conditions in Tokyo nearly three weeks since the state of emergency was declared, but health experts warn that irresponsible behavior could quickly reverse the positive trend.

The state of emergency was announced for Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures on Jan. 7, when the daily count of new COVID-19 cases often exceeded 2,000 in the capital.

The number of newly confirmed infections on Jan. 25 was 618, the first time since Dec. 28 for the daily count to fall below 700.

However, a day-to-day comparison of new infections does not provide an accurate picture of trends because the tally depends on the number of tests given and the time needed for confirmation.

Although this is good news, we're still a long way away from the resumption of tourism to Japan.

To read more, go here

Foreign Visitors To Japan Plummeted in 2020

Above, Asakusa during normal times. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan's tourism industry plummeted last year, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

NHK reported:

The coronavirus is having a crushing effect on Japan's tourism industry. The number of foreign visitors in 2020 fell nearly 90 percent from the previous year.

Officials at the Japan National Tourism Organization estimate the country received about 4.11 million visitors last year. That's down 87 percent year-on-year.

For a while, it seemed that Japan had gotten a handle on the pandemic, but new cases skyrocketed in recent months. 

To read more, go here

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Looks Like We Have A Little Break

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

It snowed most of the afternoon today, but now it has stopped.

According to the National Weather Service, we have a break in the snow until Friday night. But it is going to be very cold, especially at night.

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 6. Wind chill values as low as -1. Southwest wind around 5 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 37. Wind chill values as low as -2. South wind around 5 mph.
Wednesday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 15. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.
Partly sunny, with a high near 51. South wind around 10 mph.
Thursday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 25. Southeast wind around 10 mph.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 47.
Friday Night
Snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly clear, with a low around 23. Chance of precipitation is 70%.


Above, an eruption of Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For years, I've seen notices on national parks literature stating that permits are needed for commercial filming and that fees have to paid.

Not anymore! A federal judge ruled that permits and fees for commercial filming in national parks violate the First Amendment and is therefore unconstitutional.

DIYPhotography reported:

Filmmakers, rejoice: thanks to a court case from 2019, you may no longer need to get a permit and pay fees for commercial shoots in national parks. D.C. federal judge has just made the decision, ruling that it’s unconstitutional for the National Park Service to require a permit and charge you with fees.

It all started in late 2018 when director Gordon Price was shooting his feature film Crawford Road. He was filming in Yorktown Battlefield in Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia without a permit, so two NPS officers issued him a citation, Hollywood Reporter writes. The same source reports that Price argued that the citation was amounted to “content-based prior restraints.”

In December 2019, Price sued the U.S. Attorney General (then William Barr), Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, and Deputy Director of the National Park Service David Vela. As you probably know, you don’t pay a fee or need a permit for shooting in areas where the public is generally allowed. But in other locations, or if you use models or props, the situation changes. Also, news-gathering generally doesn’t require a permit. In his lawsuit, Price argued that the statute was “facially unconstitutional because it targets First Amendment activity.”

To read more, go here

Scenic Lakes In The Southwest For Camping

Above, Lake Mead was created by the Hoover Dam in 1935. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

People are aware that Lake Havasu has RV parks and campgrounds, but there are other lakes in the Southwest U.S. that also have camping. 

RV Life has posted a list of eight scenic places in the Southwest for camping. Oddly, Lake Havasu isn't on the list.

They begin with:

Though you probably know the Southwest for its desert landscape, you might be surprised by the many scenic lakes where you can go waterfront camping.

These lakes are an oasis for activities like swimming, fishing, and kayaking, and they have campgrounds that can accommodate RVs and trailers.

To see what they are, go here

Campground Reservation-Only System Started Today At Grand Teton National Park

Above, Jackson Lake at Grand Teton National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The days of waiting in long lines early in the morning for a campsite at Grand Teton National Park are over.

Today, the park went on a reservations-only system.

According to Jackson Hole News & Guide:

Visitors no longer need to worry about lines during the upcoming camping season at Grand Teton National Park. For the first time, the park will only be accepting reservations — so make sure to get a campsite while you can.

Campground reservations became available at 8 a.m. this morning. Those hoping to snag a spot for the summer must create an account on Recreation.gov and then reserve a site accordingly.

To read more, go here

Still Snowing

Above, looks like I have more shoveling to do. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The latest storm arrived in Jamestown last evening. It seems to have snowed steadily overnight. It is about 4" deep. It is still snowing.

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

This will be continuing for most of the day. We're under a Winter Storm Warning until 11:00 this morning.

We can use the water.

Additionally, a Snow Squall Warning had been issued for Albuquerque. 

What's a snow squall?

According to Wikipedia:

A snowsquall, or snow squall, is a sudden moderately heavy snow fall with blowing snow and strong, gusty surface winds. It is often referred to as a whiteout and is similar to a blizzard but is localized in time or in location and snow accumulations may or may not be significant.

Above, the east side yard. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

According to the National Weather Service:

Snow showers. High near 26. Southwest wind 7 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 4. Wind chill values as low as -5. West wind 6 to 8 mph.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 36. Wind chill values as low as -5. Light west wind becoming southwest 6 to 11 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 17 mph.

Search This Blog