"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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Monday, May 31, 2021

Interesting Clouds

While putting out the American flag for Memorial Day, I glanced over to the west (towards Gallup) and noticed an interesting cloud pattern.

It looks like rain is coming down but not reaching the ground. We have a 30% chance of scattered thundershowers today.

Anyway, I thought it looked interesting and took a few pictures.

The clouds:






And, of course, the flag:


 

Florida Governor vs. CDC

Above, the Fort Lauderdale cruise ship terminal. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It appears that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is trying to use its "iron boot" to make the state of Florida comply with its regulations concerning the cruise ship industry and vaccinations. Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order banning the use of so-called Vaccine Passports.

TravelPulse reported:

As cruise lines prepare to return to service in the United States, there is a showdown brewing in Florida between Governor Ron DeSantis and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over COVID-19 vaccinations.

Governor DeSantis signed an Executive Order in April banning businesses operating in the state from asking for proof that customers received a COVID-19 vaccination, a ruling with major implications on Florida’s cruise industry.

Travel advisors and legal experts weighed in on the ongoing battle.

“I firmly believe that the CDC will be able to override Florida Governor DeSantis on the vaccine requirement,” Florida-based travel advisor Scott Lara told TravelPulse. “While I appreciate the Governor resisting so-called Vaccine Passports, we must keep cruise passengers healthy.”

Earlier this week, the CDC approved Celebrity Cruises to become the first cruise line to set sail with paying passengers on board. The ship is scheduled to depart from Fort Lauderdale on June 26.

It will be interestng to see how this one turns out.

To read more, go here

Happy Birthday, Clint Eastwood!


Above, Clint Eastwood at the Century Plaza Hotel Election Night 1980. Photo by Paul Evans.

Today marks the 91st birthday of Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood (Rowdy Yates, Harry Callahan, Philo Beddoe).

On Election Night of 1980, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Eastwood and getting his autograph on my admission ticket. It was one of those rare times that I did not have a camera with me. But, luckily, a friend with me had one with him and took the photo above.


Above, Clint Eastwood's autograph on my Election Night ticket.


Happy Birthday, Clint!

Remembering Those Who Have Fallen

 "To the Memory of the Gallant Men Here Entombed and their shipmates who gave their lives in action on 7 December 1941, on the U.S.S. Arizona"

— inscription in marble with the names of Arizona's honored dead


Above, the names of the crew of the battleship USS Arizona in the
shrine section of the USS
Arizona Memorial. Photo by Armand Vaquer.


Sunday, May 30, 2021

Navajo Nation Leaders Keeping Mask and Other Restrictions

Above, inside a Monument Valley Navajo hogan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It looks like Monument Valley and other tribal parks in the Navajo Nation will remain closed for the time being despite CDC recommendations.

USA Today reported:

Navajo Nation leaders are keeping mask restrictions and social distancing despite a high COVID-19 vaccination rate and CDC recommendations.

As the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading across the world, Graham Beyale at first figured he'd be safe inside his home along the dusty red dirt roads of the Navajo Nation reservation.

But as more and more news came out about how the virus spread— and how quickly— Beyale got nervous. At the time, he was living in a traditional one-room home called a hogan with 11 other people. No running water. No toilet.

Like many of his approximately 400,000 fellow Din├ę, most of whom live on the 27,000-square-mile reservation sprawling across northern New Mexico, Arizona and a small portion of southern Utah, Beyale, 31, knew medical care could be a long drive away. And the Navajo, who suffer from high rates of diabetes and obesity, have historically been susceptible to viral infections, including the 2009 H1N1 swine flu epidemic.

Frankly, I don't blame the tribal leaders for being extra cautious. A part of the Navajo Nation is just across Interstate 40 from me.

To read more, go here.

Final Photograph of The King On Display At Graceland

Above, the last known photo of Elvis Presley before his death.


We're a little more than two months away for Elvis Weeks at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee and organizers are already preparing for the event.

One display got the attention of the U.K. Express, and that is the last automobile Elvis drove before he died in August 1977 and the last photo taken of him driving it just hours before his death. He was returning home to Graceland after a visit to the dentist.

According to the Express:

Elvis Presley’s death on August 16, 1977 at just 42-years-old shocked the world. But did you know the final photograph of The King, taken just hours before his death, is on display at Graceland for fans to see? The picture is located by the last car he ever drove, his 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III.

The last car Elvis Presley drove is located across the road from the Graceland mansion at the Presley Motors Automobile Museum.

Express.co.uk saw the Stutz on a virtual live tour of items associated with The King’s life and career, that took place earlier this year.

And at one point, our expert guide Vice President of Archives and Exhibits Angie Marchese showed off the interior.

She said: “Elvis purchased this car in September ’74 for a little over $20,000 and yet it is customised.”

To read more, go here

Hawaii Tourism Industry Working To Beef Up Business

Above, a view of Diamond Head from Waikiki. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Sometime back, I read somewhere that it may take up to two years for Hawaii tourism to return to normal.

Well, it seems that theory is out the window. Right now, there's high visitor demand and travel companies are scrambling to meet the demand.

From Hawaii News Now:

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Memorial Day weekend traditionally marks the start of the summer season, and the tourism industry is trying their best to keep up with the high demand.

Tourism is roaring back in Hawaii and Jerry Agrusa, tourism expert at UH Manoa, didn’t expect for it to come back this quickly.

“I predicted it would come back, but I didn’t think it would come back the wave as big as it is this time,” said Agrusa.

While businesses are booked out and busy, they’re also trying to beef up their staff to keep up with the influx of demand.

While things aren't quite back to normal, it looks like it won't be long before it happens.

To read more, go here

10 Awesome Places To Go Camping In The U.S. This Summer

Above, Grand Canyon National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Need some ideas for camping out this summer?

Well, as luck would have it, Travel Off Path has 10 "awesome places" to go camping at.

They begin with:

It’s camping season, so get set for alfresco adventures, fascinating wildlife and inspirational vistas. Here are ten superb U.S. destinations that’ll make you want to pitch your tent.

To see what they are, go here

Saturday, May 29, 2021

House For Sale

While driving around the community today, I spotted a for sale sign in front of a house on Whispering Cedars Road at Birch Road. It is directly across from what some wags call "The Schumacher Convention Center". ­čśť

A little while ago, I took a drive and took some photos of the house. From the outside, it looks to be in good shape. I was unable to see the inside.

Here they are (the last photo has the phone number):






Phone: (505) 801-2000.

Possible Thunderstorm Monday

Above, a jet contrail and its shadow. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After getting the Jeep running again, I spent the day relaxing and enjoying the views.

At one point, I saw an interesting contrail with its shadow on the clouds. It was an interesting effect.

Above, it was a pleasant day for sitting out with a beer. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today's temperature was around 82°, but it didn't feel that warm since we had some winds (not as bad as last week, though). Still, it was nice and comfortable.

Above, the mesas today. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

My neighbor's horse Buddy has been sent off for more training for the summer. I will miss seeing him. But the three new horses will help fill the void. They haven't gotten used to being fed carrots (I'm not sure if they are even aware that carrots are food). I went over and found that they were eating hay, so I tossed some carrots to the hay. Maybe they will eat them while eating the hay.

Above, the three new horses after I tossed some carrots into their hay. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Tomorrow will be pretty much like today, weather-wise, but with the possibility of sprinkles. However, we may be getting thundershowers on Monday. Well, we are heading into monsoon season. Hopefully, we'll get plenty of rain this season.

According to the National Weather Service, here's what the next couple of days looks like:

Tonight
Partly cloudy, with a low around 43. West wind 10 to 15 mph decreasing to 5 to 10 mph after midnight.
Sunday
A slight chance of sprinkles after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Southwest wind 5 to 15 mph.
Sunday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 46. West wind 5 to 15 mph becoming northeast after midnight.
Memorial Day
A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 74. South wind 5 to 10 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon.
Monday Night
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 43. North wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south after midnight.
Tuesday
A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 75.

Got The Jeep To Start

Above, the Jeep in the garage. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For the past week, the ol' Jeep wouldn't start.

It would crank but wouldn't start. I checked the fuel line to the carburetor and fuel was getting to it just fine. The fuel pump and fuel filters were a problem before.

The battery would drain from the attempts to start it, but even after fully charging it, the Jeep still wouldn't start. 

The earliest my mechanic could see it is on June 10. In the meantime, the Jeep sat in the front driveway.

Today, I decided to tinker with it some more. Again, I checked the fuel line and it was sending fuel to the carburetor just fine.

Then, I tightened the battery cables and jiggled the wires from the distributor to the spark plugs to make sure they had good contact.

Then, I turned the ignition key and the Jeep fired up right away without any laboring. I had a feeling that the problem was something simple. Turned out it was.

Well, it looks like I saved myself some money. This was quite an accomplishment, considering my limited mechanical abilities. 

Whew!

AAA: Gas Prices Highest Since 2014

Above, May 12 price of gasoline at the Flying J. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Thanks to the 2020 elections, we are now paying the price for the folly of electing (or maybe not actually electing) His Fraudulency Joe Biden.

One price we're paying is the cost of gasoline, which has gone sky-in some areas. Much of the blame goes to Biden's cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline and other actions.

KOB 4 News reported:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Gas prices are on the rise.

Triple-A reports that gas is the highest it's been since 2014.

It's tough news for the 34 million Americans who are expected to travel by car for the Memorial Day weekend. 

Tishika Powdrell said she's not surprised at the holiday price hike.

"It’s expected. They’re trying to make their money," she said.

To read more, go here

Buying An RV? Buyer Beware!

Above, my 2015 Minnie Winnie on the dealer's lot.

Are you contemplating buying a recreational vehicle (RV)?

If so, you are not alone. There are many others now doing the same. The RV industry is currently in a boom in deliveries and sales. Many people are first-time buyers.

But, before doing to, buyer beware!

RV Travel has an article for first-time buyers and what they should be aware of. As they say, they are not trying to dissuade people from buying, they just want them to make their purchase right.

The article also includes a video that potential buyers should see.

They start with:

If you are thinking of buying your first RV, beware: You will be lulled into a stupor, driven by dreams of the wonderful, charmed life you will live with it. Countless millions of dollars of advertising each year aim to pound this message into your head. And it works!

Don’t trust yourself if you feel this way. Take a deep breath. Slow down. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of RV ownership and your motives for taking up the RV life.

It's hard to believe, but I've had my Winnebago for six years now. It has to be the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned. Prior to it, I've had a folding camping trailer and a micro-mini Class C, so I knew what to expect beforehand. 

To read more and see the video, go here.

Gas Prices: They've Only Just Begun


Actor James Woods posted the above on Twitter last night. I presume these prices are in California.

When I went to Albuquerque earlier this week, I paid only $2.78/gallon at the Flying J (that includes my five cent per gallon Good Sam discount).

Remember, folks! You voted for this (or may not have)!

Traveling With Friends: Pros & Cons

Above, Mitch Geriminsky (right) and I about to have breakfast in Grand Teton National Park. 

Anyone travel with friends in an RV? I have several times and, so far, it has worked out just fine. Most recently was last January when we stayed overnight at an Albuquerque KOA so we can get to the airport bright and early to catch our flight to Love Field in Dallas, Texas.

Others may find that traveling solo is preferable.  

Sharing the cost of a trip is a big plus, especially when one is on a fixed income.

RV Travel has an article on the pros and cons of traveling with friends.

They begin it with:

It seemed like a good idea at the time … after all, we’d been friends for a long time. After an extended trip together, we all agreed that we’d learned a lot. Here are some of the pros and cons we discovered as we traveled with friends.

To see what the pros and cons are, go here

Friday, May 28, 2021

Gallup Lions Club Rodeo

Above, from the 2019 Gallup Lions Club Rodeo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

From the Gallup Lions Club and Rodeos USA websites, it appears that the 2021 Lions Club Rodeo is on.

From the Gallup Lions Club website:

Annual Gallup Lions Club Rodeo at Red Rock Park:  June 16th-19th

Date: June 16-19 2021 

Three night open rodeo, one night youth rodeo includes both rough stock and timed events, wooly and steer riding finals and new Intermission. 

From Rodeos USA website:

Date
  • Jun 16th – 19th, 2021
Directions
City/State
Gallup, New Mexico
Hours
  • Wednesday: 7:00pm
  • Thursday: 7:00pm
  • Friday: 7:00pm
  • Saturday: 7:00pm
Admission
  • General: $15.00
  • Children 10 & under: $5.00
  • Seniors (65+): $5.00

Events
  • Bull Riding
  • Calf Roping
  • Cowgirl's Barrel Racing
  • Cowgirl's Breakaway Roping
  • Junior Bull RIding
  • Saddle Bronc Riding
  • Steer Wrestling
  • Team Roping

Gov. Ron DeSantis: “Lockdowns” Turning Democrats Into Republicans

Above, a sunset along the Florida coast. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The state of Florida may be becoming "redder" if Gov. Ron DeSantis is correct.

He says people moving into Florida from other states due to lockdowns and are registering "overwhelmingly Republican."  And, that includes Democrats.

According to Florida Politics:

Media's 'phony narratives' aren't swaying people, says the Governor.

Gov. Ron DeSantis believes “lockdowns” are turning Democrats into Republicans.

During a Republican Governors Association town hall on Fox News Wednesday night, DeSantis made the case that Florida freedom is drawing people from blue states rejecting the media’s “phony narratives” about the state’s pandemic performance.

“The people (who) buy these phony narratives from these media; they’re probably not coming to Florida. But most people see through it. And the people who see through it, they think like us. So I think a lot of these people are coming. I think they’re registering as Republicans overwhelmingly. And I’ve come across a lot of people who quite frankly were Democrats,” DeSantis said. “The lockdowns turned them into Republicans.”

To read more, go here

Japan Government Extends State of Emergency

Above, Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto during normal times. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We may complain about the measures taken in the U.S. during the pandemic, but at least we're not in Japan.

Several prefectures in Japan have been under a state of emergency for weeks precipitated by surges in coronavirus infections. Getting the Japanese citizenry vaccinated has been lagging. All this has been going on with the postponed Tokyo Summer Olympics only weeks away. This has led the Asahi Shimbun to call for the cancelation of the Olympics.

Now, the government has extended the state of emergency for another month.

According to The Japan News (Yomiuri Shimbun):

The government announced its decision on Friday to extend the state of emergency for nine prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka through June 20.

The decision was reached on Friday evening at a meeting of the government’s COVID-19 task force led by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, after the subcommittee on basic coronavirus measures approved the decision in a morning meeting.

“Areas subject to the state of emergency have remained in Stage 4,” Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of coronavirus measures, said at the subcommittee meeting, referring to the most serious level. “The number of seriously ill patients has been around 1,400 nationwide. The health care system is facing a severe situation.”

The state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, Aichi, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Kyoto and Okayama was scheduled to end May 31.

It will be some time before things in Japan return to "normal" so that foreign visitors can go there.

To read more, go here.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Mockel Painting

Above, the Mockel acrylic painting. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A few days ago, I was dusting around the house when I came to a small acrylic painting (pictured above) of a desert smoketree from the Gallery of Henry R. Mockel.

I never took a real look at the painting or the backside of it before, even though it has been in the family for decades (at least since the 1960s). That got me curious about the artist.

My grandmother lived in Twentynine Palms for a time until health issues caught up with her. Henry and his wife Beverly published books on desert flora and opened the gallery in Twentynine Palms. I am guessing that my grandmother bought the painting there while she lived in the California desert town. 

According to ArtPlantae Today:

Impressed with what she saw during a visit to California to attend a nursing conference, Beverly Mockel returned to Cooperstown, New York to talk her husband, artist Henry R. Mockel, into moving to the Golden State. When she succeeded at this task, they moved to the town of Calico in the Mojave Desert in 1958. While residents of Calico, the Mockel’s often took trips to Joshua Tree National Park to see the wildflowers. They made frequent stops so Henry could paint flowers along the way. Eventually they decided they should move closer to the flowers, so they moved themselves and their 47-foot house trailer to Twentynine Palms in 1961. After settling into their new home, Henry and Beverly opened the Pioneer Art Gallery in what is now the Historic Plaza. One can only imagine that this new exciting desert lifestyle was quite a change for Henry, a former bookbinder, farmer and cattle rancher.

The painting is signed by Beverly. She may have painted it herself as the Desert Sun described her as an artist along with her husband Henry:

Henry and Beverly were trained artists and philosophers from New York who landed in the remote desert. Here they turned their efforts to creating illustrated books by hand with old presses at their studio.

I now know a little more about those behind the painting, which hangs in my living room next to the bay windows on the west side.

Quick Trek To Albuquerque

Above, The Beast at the Route 66 RV Resort. Photo by Armand Vaquer.


About an hour ago, I got home from a little jaunt to Albuquerque for a dental appointment to correct something that was done last week.

It only took an hour and after that, I went to Sushi Gen to try out their food. Not bad! They were close to the dentist's office by a couple of miles.

I stayed (as usual) over at the Route 66 RV Resort and this was the first time they assigned a pull-through site. Usually, I am given a back-in site. 

Although it was warm out (I had to use The Beast's roof air conditioner), it was too windy to enjoy sitting outside. I guess we all can't have everything.

I did manage to empty the holding tanks (I should have done this last week) while at the RV resort. I stopped at Camping World to pick up some holding tank chemicals before going to the dentist. The store has been reconfigured. One side is for RV and camping products and the other side (where the RV store used to be in now filled with outdoor sports products, including GUNS!

Above, Sushi Gen in Albuquerque. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This morning, I left the RV park around 7:10 with the idea of getting breakfast at Dancing Eagle Casino. When I got there, I found it still closed. Sky City was just a couple of miles away and when I looked to see it were open, the lighted sign indicated they don't open until 9:00, so I headed to Grants (19 miles) instead.

I had breakfast at the El Cafecito Mexican Restaurant in Grants. Once I was done with breakfast, I drove the remaining 42 or so miles to home.

Now that I got The Beast inside the GOCO Beast Barn, I can just relax and go down to the Flying J to pick up my mail.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Rep. Yvette Herrell Introduces "Repaying the Rural Borderlands Act"


New Mexico Congresswoman Yvette Herrell has introduced the Repaying The Rural Borderlands Act which would compensate citizens along the U.S.-Mexico border who have been victimized by acts of illegal aliens.

Rep. Herrell Tweeted:

In my district, illegal immigrants have torn down fences, destroyed crops, broken irrigation pipes, killed cattle, stolen vehicles, and even kidnapped ranch employees. 

This week I introduced the Repaying the Rural Borderlands Act.

Unlike her predecessor, Herrell is actually working for New Mexico. 

Diplomats In Cuba Frustrated With Biden's Response To Their "Havana Syndrome" Illnesses

Above, the U.S. Embassy in Havana. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Diplomats and staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba are frustrated that the Biden Administration is ignoring their "Havana Syndrome" illnesses and not getting them the care they need.

According to AOL News:

WASHINGTON — A group of U.S. diplomats and other government staffers suffering from symptoms consistent with "Havana Syndrome" are voicing frustration with the Biden administration's early response, and warning that injured workers are still being denied proper care.

In a letter to State Department leadership obtained by NBC News, the staffers say that in recent months, the government has continued to "reject scientific evidence regarding the injuries and treatment needs" and to "invalidate our injuries and experiences," alleging that military and intelligence officials injured by the same unexplained phenomenon are being treated more seriously.

"After four years of challenges, we were hopeful that the new administration would welcome a partnership with us to ensure those affected receive the care and treatment they need and ensure appropriate care for the new cases," the staffers wrote. "Unfortunately, our experience thus far has fallen short of our renewed expectations."

The letter adds to growing pressure on the Biden administration from Congress to better care for affected U.S. workers and get to the bottom of how they suffered brain injuries — still largely a mystery more than four years after the government started investigating what at first it called "targeted attacks." Like the Trump administration, the Biden administration has not found a definitive cause or culprit.

To read more, go here

Overnight Gun Confiscation Begins In Colorado


Before radical liberals and leftists migrated into the state, Colorado was a safe haven for gun owners.

Now that Democrats have the state in their control, they're coming for people's guns and trampling over everyone's Second Amendment rights.

Here's the latest from The Colorado Herald

On Tuesday night, the Senate State Veterans & Military Affairs Committee began hearing HB21-1299 st 10:00pm. This bill creates an Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which will serve as a “public outreach” program. HB21-1298 will also be heard, which drastically expands criminal charges which may prohibit firearms transfers.

The list of misdemeanor crimes for which a person in Colorado, as per HB21-1298, may be denied a firearm are restrictive. Harassment makes the list, which is a very broad crime for which to deny someone’s Constitutional rights.

Also on the list is cruelty to animals. While an abhorrent act, surely the Framers never intended that a man who abused his sheep would lose his right to bear arms. House Bill 21-1298: “Expand Firearm Transfer Background Check Requirements” is a thinly-veiled attempt by the State of Colorado’s legislators to take more guns out of circulation by dramatically restricting who can legally buy and own them.

It’s no secret that blue state, local governments and the federal government are coming for your guns. This has been in the works since before Biden was ever “elected.”

You can bet that if these bills pass, there will be plenty of lawsuits.

To read more, go here

National Parks Traveler's Checklist: Petrified Forest National Park

Above, the sign at the entrance to Petrified Forest National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Here's a nice little tool for those who are traveling along Interstate 40 in northern Arizona.

Along this route is Petrified Forest National Park. It is probably one of the smallest national parks in the U.S., but that doesn't make it any less interesting to visit.

The nearest campgrounds to the park that would accommodate RVs are in the nearby town of Holbrook.

National Parks Traveler has posted a travelers checklist for visiting the park.

They start with:

Imagine walking along a trail scattered with sections of silicified logs splashed brilliant shades of red, orange, yellow, white, and purple. Imagine being surrounded by mesas of candy-striped blue, purple, and beige sediment layers. Imagine gazing out upon a red-, orange-, and yellow-painted badlands right next to an interstate highway. This fossil feast of color for the eyes is what you’ll see when you visit Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, located just off of Interstate 40. The Traveler’s Checklist can help you plan your trip and make the most of your time exploring the park.

To read more, go here

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

DeSantis Signs Bill To Stop Big Tech Censorship of Floridians


The rectal regions of Big Tech tyrants of  Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others are likely puckering up right now.

From The Epoch Times:

MIAMI—Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law a bill—the first of its kind in the United States—allowing Floridians to sue Big Tech platforms.

A number of free speech advocates, including Cuban and Venezuelan exiles, state senators, and deplatformed influencers, stood behind DeSantis as he made the announcement at Florida International University on May 24.

Courts may award up to $100,000 in damages to an individual if a social media platform censors or shadowbans a user’s content, deplatforms a user, or if it hasn’t applied censorship or deplatforming standards in a consistent manner, according to the text of the bill.

This was long in coming and hopefully other states will enact similar laws.

To read more, go here

Cut Costs On Your RV Trip

Above, dusk at Lake Havasu. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The summer vacation season is fast approaching. The "unofficial" start of it is Memorial Day weekend.

With that, people are going to be hitting the highways to "get away from it all" with hordes of thousands. As more people hit the road, there will be shortages of campsites and the "law of supply and demand" will kick in.

There are ways to cut costs on an RV trip and Yahoo! Finance has six tips.

They begin with:

Certain things have become synonymous with the coronavirus pandemic: Sourdough bread, Zoom calls, remote learning. In terms of pandemic travel, it’s the RV trip.

According to a report from the RV Industry Association, 2020 was on par with the third-best year on record for RV sales (2017), despite a two-month industry shutdown. The report projects that 2021 could break the 2017 record of 502,582 units shipped -- though it also notes that this surge is also part of a longer-term trend of solid growth over the last four decades.

“RVing is the perfect way to travel during a pandemic,” said Kelly Beasley, co-founder of Camp Addict, a website dedicated to informing RV consumers. “You are self-sustained. You can choose to have as little interaction with the public as you can get away with. You’re bypassing airplanes, trains, buses, cruise ships, etc. It’s your own private little hotel room on wheels.”

Whether you’re a seasoned road warrior or just beginning to get your wheels dirty, check out these tips from RV travel experts for keeping your costs low the next time you take your private hotel out on the road.

To read more, go here

America Needs More Campsites

Above, The Beast at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since the pandemic began, camping has been the most popular and, probably, the safest way to vacation for people.

The rise in popularity is not abating and RVs are selling like hotcakes. 

There's one problem, there's not enough campsites to accommodate all these people. In fact, campgrounds have been closing over the past several years by the government.

From Outside Magazine:

One cold August morning last summer, my husband woke up before dawn, snuck out of our tent, and drove 40 minutes to Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. We’d been sleeping in a nearby national forest for the past few days, driving into the park each morning to try and snag one of Grand Teton’s permitted backcountry campsites, before we finally realized that our only hope was to get there before the park’s offices opened and wait in line for one. But getting anywhere early is tough when you have a toddler, so I stayed behind with our sleeping two-year-old while Jesse drove to Grand Teton. 

When he arrived, however, an hour before the backcountry permit office opened, the line was already snaking around the building. Some people had shown up at 6:30 A.M., waiting in the cold for two and a half hours just to secure a place to pitch their tent. Another 50 or so were queued up for one of the park’s equally coveted front-country campsites. And in the national forest where I waited, the scene was pretty much the same, with carloads of people competing for a handful of campsites like Black Friday shoppers vying for the latest electronics. 

This reminds me of one summer when my parents and I slept in the car in an overflow area so we can wake up early in the morning to get a campsite at a national park (I don't remember which). My mom and I slept in the car (thankfully, it was a 1968 Buick LeSabre with plenty of room) and my dad slept on the hood. We woke up early, headed into the park and, luckily, got a campsite.

Unless there are more campsites created, the problem will only get worse.

To read more, go here.

Monday, May 24, 2021

U.S. State Department: Americans Should Avoid Traveling To Japan



Above, the Five-Storied Pagoda of Sensoji. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Two months before the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory telling citizens that it is not advisable to travel to Japan.

Bloomberg reported:

The U.S. said Americans should avoid traveling to Japan, with the country under a state of emergency over a widening Covid-19 outbreak that has sown doubts about Tokyo’s plans to host the Olympics in less than two months.

The State Department raised its travel advisory to level four on Monday, putting Japan in a category with a broad swath of nations from Latin America to Europe that Americans are urged to avoid due to coronavirus concerns. The action is a fresh blow to a country struggling to convince its own public and the international community that it’s ready to host the Summer Olympics beginning on July 23, following their delay in 2020.

In many ways, this travel advisory is hilarious as foreign travel to Japan, except in certain cases and situations, is already not allowed. So what's the point?

To read more, go here.

RV Off-Grid Survival Tips

Above, off-grid camping in the Arizona desert. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Off-grid camping (more known as boondocking or dry camping) is gaining in popularity with old-timers and newbie RV owners. This is basically just camping out without hook-up (water, electric and sewer) facilities and just relying upon the RV's systems (water supply, holding tanks, battery).

There are some survival tips one should follow for a more enjoyable camping adventure and Do It Yourself RV has 14 of them.

They begin with:

More and more people are discovering the joys of RVing. One of those joys is utilizing their RV as a base camp from which to engage in their favorite outdoor activity. Many times these outdoor adventures take place far from a conventional campground requiring the use of off-grid camper survival skills.

To see what the 14 survival tips are, go here

All About The American Bison

Above, bison in a Yellowstone National Park meadow. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The American bison (also called buffalo) has roamed North America for centuries. They were almost hunted to extinction in the 19th Century.

It has made a comeback and has been named the official national mammal.

If one is interested in the bison, the Lincoln Journal Star posted an article on everything about them.

It begins with:

Bison have roamed North American prairies and grasslands for thousands of years. Just recently, in 2016, they were officially named the national mammal when President Barak Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act. According to the National Park Service, “This majestic animal joins the ranks of the bald eagle as the official symbol of our country — and much like the eagle, it's one of the greatest conservation success stories of all time.” 

To read more, go here

Hawaii Sets Target Date to Allow Vaccinated Travelers Without A Pre-Test

Above, tourists in luau food lines. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Compared to other states, Hawaii has been one of the more restrictive ones when it comes to COVID-19 and tourism.

Currently, the state requires pre-tests of tourists, even if they are vaccinated. But all that may be changing fairly soon. (Hint: Independence Day.)

According to an article in Forbes:

If you’re considering travel to Hawaii at the moment, you’re probably busy sorting through the requirements one needs to avoid quarantine, including a pre-arrival test for trans-Pacific travelers and then additional pre-tests for interisland travel.

Currently, even those who are vaccinated are subject to these regulations.

The state of Hawaii also still has a mask mandate in place, which applies to all people, even those who are vaccinated, despite the new CDC recommendations that eased its previous guidance.

But, good news may be on the way.

 To read more, go here.

Graceland: Creation of the Jungle Room

Above, the Jungle Room in 2016. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It was known by Elvis Presley as "the den." But to millions of others since his 1977 death, the den became known as the "Jungle Room". 

It was created in 1974 as a place to relax in and to remind him of Hawaii.

Above, another section of the Jungle Room. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Showbiz Cheat Sheet has posted an article on the creation of the Jungle Room.

They begin with:

If there’s one aspect of Elvis Presley’s mansion Graceland that’s iconic, it’s the Jungle Room. Interestingly, the Jungle Room wouldn’t be the same without the efforts of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s girlfriend, Linda Thompson. Here’s a look at h0w the room was designed — and how a song made it more famous during the 1990s.

 To read more, go here.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

DK's New Litter

 A month or so ago, I suspected that DK had kittens, but I had not seen anything of them.

Until this evening.

She had them on the porch at the food and water bowls for the first time (that I know of).

I grabbed my phone and took the following photos:








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