"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, April 30, 2021

Warm Day

Above, the ol' homestead today. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is about 5:00 here in Jamestown, New Mexico and the temperature outside is about 78°, which is the warmest temperature we've had for some time.

As tomorrow is the first day of May, the temperature is seasonal for the time of year.

Above, the view of Barking Spider Acre from Buddy's pen. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The weekend looks to be a warm one, which is welcome after all the cold and windy days we've had here. Before we know it, it will be monsoon season (which goes from June to September).

According to the National Weather Service:

Tonight
Mostly clear, with a low around 44. North wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south in the evening.
Saturday
Sunny, with a high near 79. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 48. Southwest wind 15 to 20 mph.
Sunday
Sunny, with a high near 72. Breezy, with a west wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph.
Sunday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 41. Breezy, with a southwest wind 20 to 25 mph decreasing to 15 to 20 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph.
Monday
A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 63.

Buddy Close-ups

Before heading down to the post office at the Flying J to see if I had any mail, I stopped to feed Buddy and Christmas some carrots.

While at Buddy's pen, I took these photos:






 

Biden Blames HIS Border Crisis On Trump Administration



His Fraudulency Joe Biden is either delusional, senile, dishonest or a combination of all three.

AOL News reported:

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden blamed the Trump administration for ongoing problems at the U.S.-Mexico border, citing its failure to cooperate and share critical information during the presidential transition period.

In an exclusive interview that aired Friday with "TODAY" show co-anchor Craig Melvin, Biden said his administration inherited “one god-awful mess at the border” from former President Donald Trump. He said it’s the result of “the failure to have a real transition — cooperation from the last administration, like every other administration has done.”

After the November election, Biden said that he had dispatched his transition team to meet with the officials leading the major departments across the government.

In any case, this is definitely high on the bullshit meter.

To read more, go here

Walpurgisnacht 2021

Above, Witches’ Sabbath by Johannes Praetorius. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. 


In some areas of Europe, Walpurgis Night 2021 will begin in the evening of Friday, April 30 and ends in the evening of Saturday, May 1.

According to traditions:

Walpurgis Night is a traditional spring festival on 30 April or 1 May in large parts of Central and Northern Europe. Its celebration is associated with dancing and with bonfires. The current festival is, in most countries that celebrate it, named after Saint Walpurga (ca. 710-777/9). As Walpurga was canonized on 1 May (ca. 870), she became associated with May Day, especially in the Finnish and Swedish calendars. The eve of May day, traditionally celebrated with dancing, came to be known as Walpurgisnacht ("Walpurga's night").

In Germany, Walpurgisnacht, the night from 30 April to 1 May, is the night when witches are reputed to hold a large celebration on the Blocksberg and await the arrival of spring. In some parts of northern coastal regions of Germany, the custom of lighting huge fires is still kept alive to celebrate the coming of May, while most parts of Germany have a derived Christianized custom around Easter called "Easter fires". 

The text "Walpurgis Night" has been taken from https://www.cute-calendar.com/event/walpurgis-night/38088.html.

"Cousin Eddie" For Governor?

Above, Randy Quaid in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.


First, we have Caitlyn Jenner announcing she/he is a candidate for California governor.

Now, we have actor Randy Quaid "seriously considering" a run as well.

Since it has been verified that more than enough petition signatures to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom, candidates are coming out of the woodwork.

Quaid is probably best known as "Cousin Eddie" in the National Lampoon vacation movies, although he is also a serious actor who garnered an Academy Award nomination. 

According to The Hill:

Actor Randy Quaid said he is “seriously considering” running for California governor the day after the state announced that the recall effort aimed at ousting Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

In a tweet posted on Tuesday, Quaid wrote, "The prosecutorial corruption in California (esp Santa Barbara & the Bell scandal) is rampant; and I promise that if elected I will clean up the District Attorney Offices throughout the state.”

Quaid was a staunch supporter of President Trump during the last election.

To read more, go here

Cities Where People Are Buying RVs

Above, a Winnebago Class A in transit at the Jamestown, New Mexico Flying J. Photo by Armand Vaquer.
 

The RV industry has been enjoying a boom almost since the pandemic began. But it has been enjoying a steady rise in sales even before. 

Shipments are up. Only yesterday, while I was at the local Flying J to pick up my mail, I saw two RVs with Indiana transit plates in the parking lot.

Fox 11 and Fox 41 has an article that analyzes where RVs are being bought around the country.

They begin with:

Unlike other segments of the travel and tourism economy, the market for recreational vehicles has been thriving in the face of COVID-19. Compared to other travel options like flying or staying in a hotel, traveling by RV makes it easier to maintain physical distance and lower the risk of exposure to coronavirus. Early indications are that the appeal of RVs has continued to grow during the pandemic, and industry experts are anticipating a nearly 25% surge in RV shipments in 2021.

But the increased demand for RVs is not surprising, as the market has been growing consistently over the last decade. For example, according to a recent Census Bureau report, RV dealership sales increased by more than 81% between 2012 and 2017, the most recent year for which Census data is available. The market has been driven by an aging population, as more Baby Boomers hit the road in retirement, but also by strong interest among Millennials and Gen Z consumers interested in camping and outdoor experiences.

RV shipments also demonstrate the longer-term increase in demand. Data from the RV Industry Association shows that shipments of RVs have reached all-time highs in recent years. From 1981 to 2020, the number of RVs shipped rose from around 133,000 to 430,000. Remarkably, much of this growth has occurred just since the last recession in 2009. That year, shipment numbers dropped to their lowest levels since 1991 at around 165,000. Between that point and 2020, shipments increased by approximately 160%.

 To read more, go here.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Lonely Planet: 10 Best Places To Visit In Japan

Above, the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Right now, Japan is not taking in any foreign vacationers.

However, this won't last forever (although it seems that way) and tourists will eventually be welcomed in.

In the meantime, here's what Lonely Planet says are the 10 best places to visit in Japan.

They begin their list with:

Japan offers up a real feast for travelers, with mountainside onsen (hot spring) villages, sleepy beach-lined islands and buzzing megacities all on the menu.

You could arguably spend a lifetime sampling the country’s delights, but some towns and sights are staples; core ingredients to any great Japan trip. Ready to tuck in? Here’s our pick of the 10 best places to visit in Japan.

To see what they are, go here. 

RV Preventative Maintenance Tips

Above, keeping an RV garaged will prevent several problems on the list. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Summer is approaching in about two months from now. If one has an RV, some preventative maintenance will help make sure it is in good working orders for when it hits the road.

RV Life has an article on 10 preventative maintenance tips to save your RV and keep it on the road. 

They begin it with:

Repairs are a costly part of RV ownership. However, regular preventative maintenance can help reduce the chances of these expensive repairs from happening. Here are 10 tips to help keep you on the road.

To read what they are, go here

Actor Akira Takarada Turns 87

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

Japan's Akira Takarada turns 87 today.

He is the last remaining lead actor from Godzilla (1954) and, thankfully, he's still active.

I last saw him two years ago at G-FEST XXVI in Rosemont, Illinois (a Chicago suburb) and he looked good for his age.

Above, Akira Takarada and yours truly at Son of Monsterpalooza in 2013.

From Wikipedia:

Takarada was born in Japan-occupied Korea, and lived for a time in Harbin, China. His father worked as an engineer on the South Manchuria Railway. After the war, he remained in Harbin, and he is able to speak Mandarin Chinese and English.

Takarada moved to Japan with his family in 1948. He joined Toho as part of their "New Face" program in April 1953. In his film debut, he had a small role in And Then the Liberty Bell Rang, a biography of the educator Fukuzawa Yukichi. His big break came when he was cast as navy diver Hideto Ogata in the original Godzilla (1954). He became a popular actor at Toho for his good looks and charismatic, sophisticated character. He continued his association with the Godzilla series in Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966). He returned to the series in 1992 with Godzilla vs. Mothra and appeared again in Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). Other Toho science-fiction/special-effects films in which he appeared include Half Human (1955), The Last War (1961), King Kong Escapes (1967), and Latitude Zero (1969).

A big Happy Birthday to Mr. Takarada! 

The Cold War Rages From Within


If John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman and even Franklin Roosevelt were to magically return to life and sees what has happened to their party, they'd be shocked.

Radical leftists have taken over the Democrat Party with tactics used in communist countries. 

The Sanctuary Project has posted an article on how the Cold War really hasn't ended. Instead, it rages on still, just from the inside. It is something everyone should read. It features an interview with a Cuban refugee who had seen it all before.

It begins with:

Over the past few months I have been really getting into podcasts. I have been listening to all different kinds of stuff from sports and history to national politics. From these programs I have learned a lot of interesting information. On the flip side of that I have learned a lot of things that truly scare the crap out of me.

Today's episode of The Truth with Lisa Boothe was one of those eye opening and bone chilling podcasts. Today Lisa interviewed Maximo Alvarez, a Cuban refugee who migrated to USA during the early days of Fidel Castro's communist takeover of Cuba. During the interview Alvarez details how the Soviets were able to influence the Cuban people into accepting the ideas that would pave the way for the Castro regime to gain power.

The scary part is that Alvarez sees the same tactics playing out here in America today.

I would take time to outline the points that Alvarez talked about but I believe that his own words have a more powerful punch than anything I could type out. Here is the interview:

To read the interview, go here

The Best National Parks for RV Camping in 2021

Above, the first national park on the list is Joshua Tree National Park in California. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Have an RV but can't decide on where to go this summer or even in springtime?

As luck would have it, The Manual has an article on the best national parks for RV camping in 2021 to help with the decision-making process on where to go.

They begin it with:

For many Americans, 2020 fast became The Year of the RV Road Trip. Now, in 2021, recreational vehicles are more popular than ever before. Whether you’re a first-time RV buyer or a seasoned veteran, visiting the U.S. National Parks is a quintessential part of owning your own camper. But with more than 400 “units” in the National Park Service (NPS) system, how do you choose where to go next? These are the best National Parks in Spring for RV camping.


To read more, go here

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Happy Birthday Ann-Margret!

Above, Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas (1964).

It's hard to believe Ann-Margret turns 80 today. My parents and I went to one of her Las Vegas shows back in the 70s. Ike and Tina Turner were the opening act.

I think my earliest memory of Ann-Margret was when she starred in Bye Bye Birdie in 1963. The following year, she starred with Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas.

By the way, Elvis Presley's nickname for Ann-Margret was "Thumper".

Graceland Announces 4th of July Celebration

Above, Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If one doesn't have any plans to celebrate Independence Day this year as yet, they may want to consider heading down to Memphis, Tennessee to Elvis Presley's Graceland.

Graceland has announced plans for their 4th of July weekend festivities.

According to Fox 13 Memphis:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Graceland is hosting a 4th of July celebration!

Graceland’s All-American 4th of July Weekend will take place Saturday, July 3 through Sunday, July 4.

Elvis Presley’s Graceland will be lit in red, white and blue for the holiday, according to a release from the company.

The weekend will include live music, a VIP dinner and reception, a gospel brunch, special “hidden” tours and a fireworks extravaganza set to Elvis’ music.

Individual tickets and packages are available.

To read more, go here

Flying J Slowly Returning To Normal

Above, the Jamestown, New Mexico Flying J Travel Center. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Yesterday, when I went down to the Flying J to pick up my mail, I noticed that some things are somewhat returning to normal.

The first thing that caught my attention were a couple of tables and chairs just outside of the drivers' lounger. When the pandemic started, those were removed. Usually, there's around 4 or 5 of them.

The second thing I noticed was that the drivers' lounge was reopened and the television screens were on. Also, some of the lounge furniture were placed inside, but spaced apart. I would say that a quarter of the lounge seats were back inside.

Masks are still required inside.

There may be other things that have returned, but I didn't notice them.  

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

New Mexico To Fund Blimp Broadband Study To Enhance Rural Internet


Above, a Los Angeles-based Goodyear blimp. It is not involved with the study. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For those of us (or some of us) who are fans of lighter-than-air aircraft or blimps and dirigibles, this story should catch their interest.

From PennLive.com

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico is finalizing a $3.2 million contract to a dirigible manufacturer to study the viability of distributing high-speed internet from above the ground instead of underneath it, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Details of the contract to Sceye, pronounced “sky,” are still in the works, says Economic Development Department spokesman Bruce Krasnow.

The company calls its silver, blimp-shaped, remotely controlled balloons “stratospheric platforms.” For the internet study, they’ll be launched well below the stratosphere, around 12 miles above the ground.

To read more, go here

Big A$$ Snowflakes!

Above, during the quickie snowfall. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Precipitation was expected to hit Jamestown, New Mexico today.

About a half hour or so, we got it in the form of snow. It lasted for about 15-20 minutes. It did wet down the ground and all. It is welcome moisture.

However, one of my neighbors posted on Facebook about the "big ass snowflakes." Well, her post got flagged by a Facebook administrator "for review". She was talking about the weather, not liberals.

Jeez. 

US Citizens Should "Reconsider Travel" To Japan

Above, Narita Airport arrival lobby during normal times. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan is at coronavirus Level 3 currently. They want to keep it that way. Level 5 is the worst, which means the healthcare system services are being overwhelmed. Level 4 means transmissions are high and are rising exponentially.

Level 3 means that the virus is in general circulation in a country. 

According to The Mainichi:

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- Japan will remain a destination to which U.S. citizens should "reconsider travel," the U.S. State Department said Monday based on its latest travel advisory assessment amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement to keep the Asian country at the level three warning came after the department said earlier this month that it will start updating travel advisories.

It said the revised guidance will put approximately 80 percent of countries worldwide on the highest level of four, which advises citizens not to travel to those locations. As of Monday, about 150 countries are subject to the level four warning.

To read more, go here

Rain Maybe

Above, the view two days ago. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is cloudy outside with a temperature of 43°.

We may get some rain today, at least that's according to the National Weather Service. Thunderstorms are possible this afternoon (we usually get them during monsoon season from June to September). 

The National Weather Service forecast for today and tomorrow in Jamestown, New Mexico:

 Today

Scattered showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 54. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Tonight
Scattered rain showers before 3am, then a slight chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34. West wind 5 to 15 mph becoming northwest after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Wednesday
Scattered showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 57. West wind 5 to 10 mph becoming north 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Top 5 RV Travel Destinations In the United States

Above, Lower Yellowstone Fall. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The following is interesting.

Currently, the U.S. and Canada border is closed, so no vacation travel is possible right now from either direction.

But, that's not to say that things could change. Canada Newswire posted an article on the top five RV travel destinations in the United States. I have personally been to three of them.

They begin with:

MONTREAL, April 26, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - According to the latest data from LendingTree, interest in RV travel has spiked 162 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many travelers prefer their driving around only with their family in their own or rented RVs and experiencing new destinations.

To keep up with the latest trends, Matthew Keezer, founder of Momentum Travel, came up with a list of five top places for RV travelers looking to remain socially distant during their trips.

To see what they are, go here

Newsom Recall Election Officially Triggered

Above, California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Fox News reported the following:

The effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom has received the necessary number of verified signatures to trigger a recall election later this year.

The California Secretary of State said on Monday that the threshold of verified signatures reported by counties, which was set at 1,495,709, had been met.

The campaign collected more than 1.6 million verified signatures, according to the secretary of state’s office.

That's all well and good. The trouble is, the Democrats in California have a stranglehold on the State Senate and State Assembly. California is essentially a one-party state. Even if Newsom is removed from office, unless both houses of the legislature are flipped, nothing will change and California will continue to be the mess it is already in.

To read more, go here

Monday, April 26, 2021

RV Leveling Blocks

Above, even though my Yosemite campsite had an asphalt surface,
 I still needed to use leveling blocks. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It has been six years(!) since I bought my 2015 Minnie Winnie 22R. Since then, I have gotten pretty good at parking it at a campsite with having to use leveling blocks just by eyeballing it. But there are times when no matter how I try, I can't get the motorhome leveled without having to use leveling blocks.

Leveling blocks is the topic of a new article by Do It Yourself RV. They ask, "Do you really need RV leveling blocks?"  The answer is yes. It is better to have them and not need them than to need them and not having them.

They start it off with:

RV leveling blocks are a must-have item for every new RV owner. Whether you have a travel trailer, fifth wheel, or big motorhome, it’s a good idea to carry RV leveling blocks wherever you travel.

Why do you need RV leveling blocks?

Number one, your RV needs to be relatively level to operate properly. Being out of level can impact the operation of an absorption refrigerator found on most RVs, plumbing, the operation of the slide-outs and more.

Second, being level reduces stress to door frames, cupboards, windows, and even the chassis itself.

The third reason is personal comfort, as nobody wants to roll out of bed at night, sleep with their head at the low end of the bed, or have to steady oneself by holding on to furniture while walking or standing.

Now that you know why it is important to level your RV, let’s look at the options for doing so. Camping only in level spaces is one option, but in the real world this is not a realistic expectation.  Driving the RV up onto RV leveling blocks is the solution for most RVers.  

They then go into automatic leveling systems and types of leveling blocks.

To read more, go here.

Camping In Utah

Above, The Beast at the Fillmore, Utah KOA Kampground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the best states for camping enthusiasts is the state of Utah.

Utah has it all. It has mountains, lakes, scenic highways, 5 national parks and red rock country.

RV Life has posted an article that is loaded with information on Utah camping.

They begin with:

Some of our country’s most spectacular landscapes can be seen while camping in Utah. Whether you want to experience the wonders of red rock country, the many activities in the mountains, or the sparkling shores of the Great Salt Lake, you’ll find there is a little something for everyone here. 

To read more, go here

Cut Down A Tree

For the past two years (maybe longer), a small pinyon pine tree in front of the house bay windows was slowly dying from bark beetles. These beetles have been killing many pinyon pines in the area. Several neighbors have lost several trees from these invaders.

Yesterday, I got tired of looking at the brown, dead tree and decided to cut it down. Luckily, I have some saws that got the job done. 

Here's some before and after photos:

Before:



After:



The Oscars: Nope, I Didn't Watch

Above, John Wayne's Oscar for True Grit on display at John Wayne: An
American Experience in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Oh, were the Academy Awards on last night?

That's been my general attitude over the past 20 years or so. I used to enjoy watching them, but when Hollywood decided to go to the far left, I decided that I wouldn't bother subjecting myself to a bunch of know-nothings spew their leftist drivel and get aggravated.

Besides, the real stars (my favorites) are long gone. The stars from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s are either dead or retired and close to it (well, Clint Eastwood is the sole exception). None of the "stars" of today could not entice me to bother walking across the street to take a peek at them. They're a dime a dozen and from the same cookie-cutter.

According to Sean Hannity, many others have the same attitude. The ratings for last night's Oscars plunged 58% from last year. Only 9.85 million people watched.

Hannity posted the numbers drop since 1991, which coincides with my interest drop:

**USA to HOLLYWOOD: 'No Thanks!'**

Viewers in 1991: 42 million

Viewers in 2001: 43 million

Viewers in 2011: 38 million

Viewers in 2021: 9.8 million



So, it's another year without bothering to watch for myself and a big bunch of other people.

Hollywood only has itself to blame.

Stops Along Historic Route 66

Above, some residents of Oatman, Arizona stroll down the main street (Route 66). Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since Route 66 is an alternate route from Gallup to Jamestown, New Mexico, I drive it fairly often, most recently as two days ago (due to the backup from the construction work on I-40 near my exit).

There are things to see along the way between Santa Monica, California to Adrian, Texas and the Union-Bulletin highlights five of them. Oddly, there are no photos of any of them. So I'm including two of the highlighted places.

They start with:

It’s an iconic road trip across the western half of historic Route 66. Travel from the seaside city of Santa Monica to Williams, Arizona — the Gateway to the Grand Canyon — and on to Adrian, Texas, the midpoint on the famous route. (The full itinerary continues to Chicago) Along the way, you and your family will marvel at the wide-open spaces, the changing landscape and the rich history to be found as you follow the path of the original Mother Road.
Above, the El Rancho Hotel & Motel in Gallup, New Mexico. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Remove All Democrats

The Marxist Democrats need to be voted out next year if this country is to survive. Newsom needs to be recalled.



Dry Until Tuesday and Wednesday

Above, the crabapple tree in front of the house is getting some color. Photo by Armand Vaquer.


All of New Mexico is under a fire Red Flag Warning for the next couple of days, including Jamestown.

It is dry out and windy. 

But, we may be getting some rain Tuesday and Wednesday, which would be nice to wet down everything.

According to the National Weather Service:

Today
Sunny, with a high near 73. Breezy, with a southwest wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph.
Tonight
Mostly clear, with a low around 38. Breezy, with a southwest wind 20 to 25 mph decreasing to 15 to 20 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph.
Monday
Patchy blowing dust between noon and 3pm. Sunny, with a high near 67. Windy, with a southwest wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 25 to 30 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.
Monday Night
A 20 percent chance of showers after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 36. Windy, with a southwest wind 20 to 30 mph decreasing to 10 to 20 mph in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.
Tuesday
A chance of showers, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53. Southwest wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Tuesday Night
A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 33.
Wednesday
A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 58.
Wednesday Night
A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 35.
Thursday
Sunny, with a high near 66.
Thursday Night
Clear, with a low around 39.
Friday
Sunny, with a high near 75.

Popular Science National Park Guide For Beginners

Above, The Organ at Zion National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For those who have never been to a U.S. national park or for those who have but who can benefit with some helpful tips, Popular Science has posted a beginner's guide to visiting national parks.

They start with:

Summer is almost here, and for many Americans, that means it’s time to start planning that long-awaited road trip. With 237 million visitors in 2020, national parks are some of the most popular destinations for this kind of travel, as they provide a unique opportunity to connect with nature while being socially distanced at the same time. But there are nuances that can make or break your visit to a national park, and they don’t reveal themselves until you’re actually there—which can be too late.

On my first trip to Zion National Park in Utah, I expected serene hikes with birds chirping among towering red rock. Instead, I found myself surrounded by crowds packing into shuttles; the vibe more theme park than nature-y. 

Although I left feeling a bit underwhelmed, my second visit to Zion, during the off-season, was a completely different experience. I arrived the week before peak-season shuttle service began, allowing me to tour the park in my own vehicle. I camped on-site, rolling out of bed early for hikes, and experienced the Zion I had imagined—tranquil and sublime. 

They say hindsight is 20/20. Here’s hoping by borrowing ours you can plan a memorable trip.

To read more, go here

Best Of New Mexico Cuisine In Food & Travel Guide

Above, yours truly and Larry Lucier at the El Rancho Hotel's restaurant in Gallup. 

If one is a fan of Mexico food, or New Mexico-style Mexican food, the following sounds like it would be a good source for finding the best restaurants in New Mexico.



From the Las Cruces Daily Post:

ALBUQUERQUE — In New Mexico Food Trails: A Road Tripper’s Guide to Hot Chile, Cold Brews, and Classic Dishes from the Land of Enchantment, Carolyn Graham leads readers on a journey across New Mexico to sample the state’s best breakfast burritos, diners, green chile cheeseburgers, red and green chile, margaritas, craft beer, wine, and desserts.

Graham provides a brief history of New Mexico’s unique cuisine and then dives into restaurant profiles, suggesting what to order, when to visit, and what savvy foodies can expect at each location.

Also featuring lists of the top 25 dishes worth driving for and restaurants organized by town, New Mexico Food Trails allows hungry adventurers to easily plan food-centric trips.

To read more and for ordering information, go here. I ordered myself a copy. Go to New Releases to find the book.

"Godzilla vs. Kong" Soars to $400 Million


Nobody can say that Godzilla vs. Kong has been a flop at the box office. Especially now.

Valdosta Daily Times reported:

 BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 24, 2021--

In just one month, and with markets around the globe left to open or increase capacity, Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “Godzilla vs. Kong” has triumphed at the worldwide box office, grossing over $400 million. The announcement was made today by Warner Bros. Pictures President of Domestic Distribution, Jeff Goldstein, and President of International Distribution, Andrew Cripps.

Through today, the film will have earned an impressive $85.3 domestically, even though Canada has yet to safely return to theaters in many of its cities. In international markets, “Godzilla vs. Kong” has taken in $315.8 million and continues to impress as some international markets begin to re-open.

Goldstein stated, “It’s evident that ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ is reigniting moviegoing everywhere and that audiences are more than ready to return to theaters, where and when it’s safe, for a big screen experience like this one.”

To read more, go here

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Legislation To Reopen Monument Valley and Other Tribal Parks Floated

Above, the Mittens at Monument Valley around dusk. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Legislation in the Navajo Nation has been floated before the tribal council to reopen Monument Valley Tribal Park and other tribal parks.

Monument Valley and other tribal parks have been closed for over a year when the coronavirus outbreak started.

According to the Navajo Times:

Legislation to reopen Navajo tribal parks to visitors is currently in its five-day comment period, after the Navajo Nation reported a large increase of 31 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.

Last year, before a COVID-19 case was reported on the Navajo Nation, the Parks and Recreation Department under the Division of Natural Resources  shut down all parks until further notice. Up until Friday the Navajo Nation had been experiencing low case numbers and went from orange to yellow status, allowing for parks to reopen but only to Navajo Nation residents.

“We are taking baby steps to reopen,” said President Jonathan Nez in his weekly town hall meeting. “Everyone around the country knows how hard Navajo Nation was hit. Visitors, I just ask for your patience and consideration. We are focusing on our Navajo citizens. We will reopen but we are doing this very slowly.”

This new legislation to reopen of the Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Monument Valley Welcome Center, Little Colorado River Navajo Tribal Park, Four Corners Monument and Tséyi’ Diné Heritage Area, is sponsored by Council Delegate Paul Begay and co-sponsored by Mark Freeland, Nathaniel Brown and Thomas Walker Jr.

It would be nice to see the tribal parks reopen. I last visited Monument Valley five years ago.

To read more, go here

"RVs: Who Makes What?" Directory


In the market to buy an RV but don't know what you want or what brands are out there? 

You're in luck! RV Travel has a free download of a comprehensive guide to RV brands and manufacturers.

From RV Travel:

“RVs: Who Makes What” is the result of hundreds of hours of research and fact-checking by our associate Bradford Geer. It’s the most comprehensive guide to RV manufacturers and their brands ever assembled. We offer this publication for free as a public service.

Please share this 73-page report freely with your RVer friends. Attach it to an email. Post a link to it ( https://www.rvtravel.com/WhoMakesWhat ) on your social media pages. If you have a website or blog, tell your readers about it – they will thank you. Print copies for your RV club’s library.

So, here it is!

Friday, April 23, 2021

Out-of-State Motorhomes Exempt From California Smog Plan

Above, out-of-state motorhome owners can continue to visit Yosemite
 with no fears of forced emissions testing. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A while back, I blogged about a California plan (scheme is more like it) to smog test vehicles with gross vehicle weight ratings of 14,000 or more and diesel powered. There were no exemptions for out-of-state motorhomes.

Since then, holy hell was raised and the California Air Resource Board backed off.

RV Travel reported:

In early March we reported on the new pollution-reduction rule-making going on in California. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been tasked by law to create new rules. These apply to diesel-powered vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,000 pounds or more. Under the proposed rule, ANY vehicle meeting that criteria, including motorhomes, will be required to undergo periodic emissions testing. After a lot of “intervention” from industry groups, CARB is retreating – a little. Out-of-state motorhomes are exempt.

Three-days-OK shut down

Prior to backing off, CARB indicated it could be expansive and allow non-residents with big diesel motorhomes to cross into the Golden State. Then they could stay without the need for testing. The catch was, they could only stay for 72 hours. It’s hard to imagine much of a visit to California and holding it down to three days. But that was the thinking for CARB rule-drafters.

So when industry-types got wind of the smog stand, it must have rung a bell. The RV Industry Association (RVIA) and campground owners’ associations both in California and on the national level created a stink about the testing plan. One letter from the California RV dealers’ association struck a responsive chord. Using expressions like, “catastrophic impacts not only to rural economy dollars, but the overall economic health of California” and “California will be mocked as having created a system where we make perpetrators out of tourists and subscribe to an infrastructure that enforces the three-day rule” must have stung.

Money talks. Evidently pride does as well. CARB now says motorhomes are exempt from the testing regimen. No three-days-OK permits, no “tailpipe intrusions” and no hooking up a black box to OBD ports. Motorhoming vacationers trying to get a vacation break get a break from intrusive testing. The fine print in the contract does say the visiting motorhomes must be non-commercial in nature to avoid the testing.

To read more, go here

Storm Coming?

Above, the clouds from the south and southwest. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When I headed to Denny's at the Flying J this morning for our coffee gathering, it was sunny out with some clouds. But when I left it a little while ago, big black clouds with rain were over the hills to the south and southwest. It looked like a storm was headed our way.

So, I check the National Weather Service for Jamestown, New Mexico and this is what they had to say:

This Afternoon
Partly sunny, with a high near 60. West wind around 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.
Tonight
Mostly clear, with a low around 33. Southwest wind 15 to 20 mph decreasing to 5 to 10 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.

It appears that rain is not in the forecast. But one never knows in this area. 

We can sure use it as we've been getting pollen alerts, mainly from the junipers and pinon pines in the area. It has been dry outside and rain would help dampen down everything and give us some pollen relief.

Well, all we can do is keep our fingers crossed for some rain. 

Japan Declares State of Emergency In Tokyo and Osaka

Above, Osaka Castle. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This is sad news, since Japan weathered well the pandemic initially until second and third waves, and now a fourth wave, has hit the country.

The New York Times reported:

TOKYO — Japan on Friday declared states of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka and surrounding areas in an effort to stem a widening coronavirus outbreak three months before the country plans to host the Summer Olympics.

The measures will take effect on Sunday, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said, calling them “a short and concentrated measure” to slow the virus’s spread during the Golden Week holiday, traditionally one of the year’s busiest travel periods.

In addition to Tokyo and Osaka, the states of emergency cover the neighboring prefectures Kyoto and Hyogo and will be in place until May 11. Together, the four prefectures are home to roughly a quarter of Japan’s 126 million people.  

Japan has managed the pandemic better than many other large economies, but a stubborn fourth wave, propelled by more infectious variants of the virus, has produced the most daily cases since January. Officials began imposing looser restrictions in early April over parts of 10 prefectures, but those steps have failed to corral the outbreak.

To read more, go here

 

National Parks Who Require Reservations To Visit

Above, a cloud-shrouded Yosemite Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Control freaks running some of our national parks are now requiring advance reservations by day visitors in order to visit them. That means one has to pay in advance the privilege to visit certain parks.

Allegedly, this is for social distancing and overcrowding.

Lonely Planet has posted an article on ones that are requiring reservations.

They begin it with:

Outdoor adventures and nature pursuits have gained in popularity in the US due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in national parks seeing a boom in visitation numbers.

As a result, several parks are implementing ticketed entry systems for day visitors to facilitate social distancing and prevent overcrowding. Visitors should bear in mind that most tickets will have to be purchased in advance. Here are the details of the requirements from some of the country's popular parks.

To read more, go here

Grand Teton Air Tour Company Rebuked, But Gets Permit Anyway

Above, the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Helicopter and fixed wing air tours of national parks have always been a touchy subject with people.

I have flown in air tours twice, the first being in 1984 over Grand Canyon National Park in a DeHavilland Twin Otter and in 2016 over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by helicopter.

In Wyoming, Wind River Air, an air tour company, violated its agreement with the Jackson Hole Airport Board by not sticking to the agreed-upon flight paths over Grand Teton National Park. It was rebuked, but still was granted a permit to continue operations.

According to the Jackson Hole News & Guide:

Jackson Hole Airport Board President John Eastman showed Tony Chambers a map of where he said he’d fly his helicopter alongside overlain lines that displayed where he actually flew.

Clear as can be, the web of promised and actual flight tracks differed dramatically, with lines from a GPS device mounted onto Chamber’s red Robinson R-44 helicopter painted all over eastern skies of Grand Teton National Park.

Eastman wasn’t happy about it.

The haranguing took place at a Jackson Hole Airport meeting where board members later voted 4-to-1 to give Chambers another one-year permit to continue his scenic flights while basing out of the commercial airport in southern Teton park. Bob McLaurin voted against the permit renewal in an exceedingly rare split vote about an airport board affair.

To read more, go here

Where US Airlines Rank In 2021

Above, our Delta Airlines jet after landing in Twin Falls, Idaho. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Except for recent flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (Dallas Love Field) with Southwest Airlines and  Twin Falls, Idaho with Delta Airlines, I have not been too impressed with the service with domestic airlines during the past few years.

Many other people feel the same way and TravelPulse has posted the rankings of every major U.S. airlines for 2021.

They begin with:

WalletHub recently compared the nine largest U.S. airlines along with a pair of regional carriers across as many as 17 different metrics ranging from cancellation and delay rates to baggage mishaps and in-flight comfort. The financial website also analyzed safety, pet-friendliness and cost. Here's how the 11 carriers stack up as of spring 2021. 

To read more, go here

Thursday, April 22, 2021

RPNM STATEMENT: U.S. HOUSE PASSING BILL FOR DC STATEHOOD



REPUBLICAN PARTY OF NEW MEXICO CHAIRMAN STATEMENT ON U.S. HOUSE PASSING BILL FOR DC STATEHOOD

 
Albuquerque, April 22--The following is a statement from RPNM Chairman Steve Pearce on today’s passage of a bill to approve the District of Columbia as the 51st state:
 
“This push for DC statehood is just a political ploy by Democrats to get more Democratic seats and to get more representation in Congress. It’s a power grab to keep the Biden agenda far to the left. Democrats will do anything to drive their liberal agenda, and this is a way to advance their wish list. I doubt it will clear the Senate because there likely won’t be enough Republican votes to pass this legislation.”

The Stock Market Is Now Tanking Thanks To Joe

The Stock Market was up, but is now tanking once it was revealed that His Fraudulency Joe Biden wants to hike the capital gains tax.


Gee, thanks a million, Joe! What an idiot!

Strategies For Saving At The Gas Pump

Above, fueling up the RV. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

According to an article posted yesterday at RV Travel, it was written that next to campground fees fueling an RV is the biggest expense RVers incur on a trip.

They have some suggestions for saving money at the gasoline pump. One they didn't mention was making use of the Good Sam Club discount at Pilot/Flying J travel centers. I use mine all the time since I have a Flying J travel center down the hill from my residence.

The Good Sam discount is five cents per gallon. It may not seem like much, but since my RV has a 55 gallon gas tank, it adds up, especially when taking a long vacation trip. 

I also make good use of the RV's cruise control. That also helps with fuel economy.

They article begins with:

We love our rigs, but every RV owner knows they aren’t great on gas mileage. Fuel is typically the second-largest expense in an RV vacation after campgrounds. That means saving at the pump becomes a huge priority for the savvy RV traveler. Here are some great strategies I’ve learned that will help you save at the pump, whether you are hauling a towable or driving a motorhome.

To read more, go here.

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