"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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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Trump At The Border Wall

Above, Donald Trump speaking at the border wall in Texas.

A few minutes ago, former President Donald Trump finished his remarks at the border wall in Texas.

It was a good thing he finished his talk when he did. I was sitting out on the deck watching and it started to rain at about the same time.

He was in good form. He pointed out how secure the U.S.-Mexico border was while he was president and what a humanitarian mess His Fraudulency Joe Biden turned it into.

Before his talk, he spoke at a briefing that was covered by the Houston Chronicle:

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday slammed President Joe Biden and his administration for stopping construction of the border wall and his other immigrations policies, which Trump said is why the border is now seeing a record surge of illegal crossings.

“We did a hell of a job,” Trump said at the briefing at the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Weslaco Regional Office. ““Now we have an open, really dangerous border.”

Trump spoke at a briefing near the Texas border where Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Public Safety told him that border security has only gotten worse since he left office. Abbott said the situation has become “amazing and disastrous” on the border. 

To read more, go here

Winnebago Seeing Record Sales With Younger Buyers

Above, a Winnebago Revel on display at the California RV Show. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If one thinks that the average RV buyer are retired geezers, they need to re-think that impression.

Under-30s are now buying up RVs.

Business Insider posted:

  • Winnebago and its dealers are experiencing "record retail and orders," CEO Michael Happe said on Fox Business' "Varney & Co." 

  • Winnebago is also seeing an increase in millennial and Gen-X customers. 

  • This demographic has been interested in off-grid RVs with more tech and connectivity.

Driving around in an RV is becoming cool again: Winnebago's RV sales are skyrocketing thanks to millennial and Gen-X customers and a boom in road travel, Michael Happe, the company's CEO, told Fox Business' Stuart Varney on the "Varney & Co" show on June 23.

Under one in every 10 Winnebago buyers are now 30-years-old or younger, and the average age of its customers has subsequently been dropping, Happe said.

Along with this rising base of younger customers comes new RVing trends. According to Happe, millennials and Gen-Xers have been gravitating towards off-grid overlanding RVs with boosted power systems like solar panels and lithium-ion batteries.

To read more, go here

Best State and National Parks Off Route 66

Above, Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois is first on the list. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Once the main thoroughfare between Chicago and Los Angeles, Route 66 has a number of state and national parks to visit along the way.

A couple of national parks are right at Route 66, others are within easy proximity to the "Mother Road".

RV Life has posted a list of state and national parks to see along Route 66.

They begin with:

Many who choose to travel the historic Route 66 are enamored with its history. Others simply want the badge of honor that says they have traveled the famed route themselves. RVers love to see national parks and interesting state parks along their travels. So, what parks will you find on your way from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California?

When it comes to national and state parks, there are only a couple actually on Route 66. However, you can reach several notable parks with a short detour. The list below includes the best national and state parks to visit within a range of 90 miles from the famous route.

To view what parks are near Route 66, go here


Governor Oversteps Authority In Spending $1.75 Billion In Federal Pandemic Relief


Albuquerque, June 29—RPNM today sided with New Mexico House Republicans in denouncing Gov. Lujan Grisham’s back room politics in discussing how $1.75 billion in federal COVID relief should be spent. The Governor has wrongly been using her position and influence to decide how to allocate such monies.
House GOP leaders have released a memo detailing negotiations between Lujan Grisham and Democratic leaders with no input from GOP lawmakers and with no transparency.
The following is a statement from Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce on the latest revelations:
“The Governor continues to overstep her authority and take away the authority of our legislature. She is acting in an authoritarian manner and refuses to accept the principle of checks and balances. She cannot decide on her own how to allocate such funding. It’s the legislature’s job to decide how to spend. The Governor is acting like a dictator and is ignoring the role of the legislative branch of government. This clandestine behavior is wrong, insulting and demonstrates a lack of transparency in our state’s political system.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Coin Buying

Above, the uncirculated 1890 Morgan dollar I bought earlier this year. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Thanks to income received related to this blog, I decided to "plow" it into some coin investing this morning.

I decided to get one 1890 Morgan silver dollar (I liked the one I bought earlier this year and decided to get another one) and a couple of silver 1964 Kennedy half dollars (BU). The purchases were from two different sources. Each coin has 90% silver content.

Although gold is more of a valuable precious metal, gold is priced out my reach (well, I could get some, but it is too pricey for me). Silver is more affordable, in my view.

Navajo Nation: Delta Variant and Reopening

Above, the northern Navajo Nation from U.S. Hwy. 64. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A variant of the coronavirus, called the "Delta variant", has surfaced in the northern area of the Navajo Nation.

According to KOB Channel 4:

WINDOW ROCK, A.Z.- Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the first case of the Delta variant was identified in the northern part of the Nation.

"It is a concern right now, we're monitoring the individual who did get the virus. To my understanding, was vaccinated and not that much sickness, and we will see that in the next couple of days how that individual is doing," said Nez.

President Nez said the symptoms and sickness could have been worse without the vaccine. He encouraged the Navajo people to get the vaccine.

Besides that, KOB reported that a resolution passed calling for the 50% reopening of Navajo Nation parks and recreational areas. It has yet to reach Nez's desk.

To read more, go here

Finally Getting Rain

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

Finally, some rain is falling on the parched Four Corners region of the Southwest. Thank God we're in monsoon season.

Here in Jamestown, we got some rain yesterday afternoon that wet things down a bit. And, last night, more rain came down.

We can sure use a lot more, but we're grateful for anything right now.

According to the National Weather Service, the days ahead look like:

Scattered showers, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 69. East wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 53. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Isolated showers, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 75. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Wednesday Night
A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 53. South wind 5 to 10 mph.
A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 77. South wind around 5 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon.
Thursday Night
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 56.
A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 81.

NSA Illegally Spying On Tucker Carlson

Thanks to The Federalist blog, I was made aware that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been covertly spying on Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson.

It is a crime for the NSA to spy on American citizens. 

To see more, go here.

Monday, June 28, 2021

The Smell of Fear In Santa Fe

Above, the New Mexico State Capitol Building in Santa Fe. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In the 2017 film, Justice League, the parademons would attack those who "smelled of fear."

They would likely smell a lot of it if they came to New Mexico as Gov. "Malevolent Michelle" Lujan Grisham and her Democrat cohorts get more desperate over their 2022 election prospects.

John Block at Piñon Post wrote:

On Monday, embattled Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, in another desperate move, sent out an email to donors requesting campaign cash. 

She wrote to her donors, “In spite of all the good we’ve done together, some in New Mexico are looking to stifle our voices and endanger our democracy.” She erroneously cited that she cut taxes for “working families” and touted her passage of recreational marijuana, which she also erroneously claimed will “bring new jobs” to the state.

“Let’s face it: Donald Trump has friends running for office in our state – and these are the same kind of far-right extremists that attacked our democratic institutions on Jan. 6,” she claimed.

If there were any attacks on our democratic institutions in recent months, they were from her and His Fraudulency Joe Biden's Democrat operatives who rigged the 2020 elections.

Does Lujan Grisham really think she can whitewash what she had done to New Mexico? Instead of cutting taxes, as she claimed, she raised taxes. Her lockdowns of the state's small businesses, while allowing big-box businesses to thrive, killed off 40% of New Mexico's small businesses.

Yes, the smell of fear is emanating from the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

To read more, go here.

How To Prevent A Dead RV Battery

Above, I replaced the motorhome chassis battery during its last maintenance check-up. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Keeping up with RV battery maintenance is a must to prevent having a battery go dead while on a vacation trip. Especially if one is boondocking.

That is one thing I keep up with. I replaced my motorhome's house battery two years ago and I replaced my chassis battery a couple of months ago during its routine annual check-up before I went to Durango, Colorado. Both of the replaced batteries were the originals that were in the motorhome when I bought it. The house battery lasted four years and the chassis battery lasted six years. Not too shabby.

Do It Yourself RV has an article how to prevent a dead RV battery.

They begin it with:

There is something special about traveling to a camping destination in an RV. Watching the sunrise while sipping your favorite hot brew of coffee is a morning ritual for most campers. But those good times will be ruined if your RV battery dies, especially if you are boondocking.

There are several reasons why RV batteries die. According to Mark Polk on GoRVing,

85% of batteries manufactured in the U.S. die prematurely, and RVers often replace batteries every year or two.

Mark Polk – GoRVing

That cost can quickly add up. Fortunately, there are tried and true ways to prevent your RV batteries from dying, and extending their lifespan from just 1 or 2 years to a much more pocket-friendly 5 to 7 years. In this article, we’ll walk you through the fundamental steps to maintaining your RV’s coach and chassis batteries correctly.

To read more, go here

Terminally Ill Children Denied Wish, Unless Vaccinated, By Make A Wish Foundation

Michael Reagan posted the following Tweet on Twitter.

When I first saw it, I couldn't believe my eyes. 

Definitely a new low for humanity. It is indeed an outrage!

To see the Tweet, go here.

Preventing RV Theft

Above, I keep my motorhome safely secure in its own garage. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One's RV is not only "their baby", it is also a major investment (whether or not it is fully paid off) to have made. Therefore, one needs to protect it from theft. I recently saw a video of police chasing a stolen motorhome. During the chase, the thief hit parked vehicles and other stuctures and big pieces of the RV's exterior siding were falling off. I felt bad for the RV's owner.

RV Life has posted an article with four tips on preventing RV theft.

They begin it with:

RV theft is something most people probably don’t put much thought into. Although it is generally less likely than auto theft, RV theft is something that should be considered by RV owners.

Your RV is a significant investment in many cases. Often, our RVs are left stored and unused for periods of time leaving them vulnerable to theft.

So what should we be doing to help prevent RV theft? Here, we look at some steps you can take to prevent the theft of your RV along with some things that may help prevent theft from within your RV.

To read more, go here

Sunday, June 27, 2021

55 Years of Dark Shadows

"Two weeks before "Dark Shadows" made its June 27, 1966 premiere, ABC ran a heavy promotional campaign for the new soap.  These are recreations of the promos, except for the fourth promo, which is authentic.  The first three had different narration, but I had to use what I have." - Robert Sharp.*

Anniversaries come and go, and some are noticed and some go along unnoticed. This one is getting noticed here and elsewhere.

Here's one that came to light 55 years ago today on June 27, 1966. It was the day that the daytime gothic soap opera Dark Shadows made its debut on ABC-TV.

Until that time, soap operas were targeted to stay-at-home housewives to give them a break from their daily druggery of housework.

The ABC television network was in last place in programming and ratings for daytime television and they needed a show to fill the last slot in their schedule, around 4:00 or 4:30 in the afternoon. So they decided to take a chance on Dan Curtis's gothic soap opera idea.

At first, the ratings were dismal. The show was about to get the ax after 13 weeks. But Curtis was a good salesman and convinced the network to give it 13 more weeks so he can pull out the stops and inject some supernatural elements. 

The first was the introduction of ghosts. That helped the sagging ratings. Then, he introduced the character of Laura Collins (Diana Millay), who was a mythical "Phoenix" who goes into the fires every 100 years to be reborn. 

The ratings climbed up even further.

Then, it was decided to add a vampire to the show. Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid). He was originally going to hover in the show for 13 weeks, but became its star until the show's end in 1971. Luckily, the Dark Shadows time slot had it on at the time kids were coming home from school. Kids, who would never otherwise watch a soap opera, were strongly attracted to this one.

The ratings skyrocketed.

I didn't start watching the show until two years after its debut (thanks to my mom). 

So, 55 years ago this very day, television history was made.

*The actual promos have since been made available in the DVD/Blu-Ray Master of Dark Shadows that was released two years ago.

Best Route 66 Landmarks and Attractions

Above, the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona on Route 66. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Route 66 is about two miles from home and is basically a frontage road between Gallup, New Mexico and Iyanbito (a chapter community of the Navajo Nation). It stops and starts at various points across New Mexico.

For those interested in seeing the old "Mother Road", RV Life has an article on the best Route 66 landmarks and attractions state-by-state.

They begin it with:

From Illinois to California, Route 66 runs through 8 states and nearly 2,448 miles. Even if you only want to experience a part of this epic road trip, there is still plenty for a family to see and enjoy. These are some of the must-see Route 66 landmarks and tourist destinations along the way.

To read more, go here

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Sean Connery In "Cuba" (1979)

Some people and critics didn't particularly care for it, but since it first came out in 1979, I have always liked the Sean Connery-Brooke Adams Cuba. I saw it during its first run and I believe I have it on VHS (somewhere).

Anyway, the DVD of Cuba arrived in today's mail and I will be watching it tonight.

Connery plays a British mercenary in Cuba just before the 1959 revolution and Adams plays an ex-lover who is married to a wealthy landowner (Chris Sarandon). While in Cuba, Connery and Adams reconnect.

The movie was directed by Richard Lester.

I was wondering whatever became of Brooke Adams. Fortunately, she is still active (aged 72) but had a bout with COVID-19 last year.

According to Wikipedia:

Adams has been married to actor Tony Shalhoub since 1992. They have two daughters, both of whom were adopted.

In May 2020, Shalhoub revealed that he and Adams had become ill with COVID-19 the previous month and after a "pretty rough few weeks" had recovered.

Rep. Yvette Herrell's Statement On Vice President Harris's Border Visit


Dear Friends,

We wanted to share the following press release statement from Rep. Yvette Herrell's Office:

Statement from Congresswoman Herrell On Vice President Kamala Harris's Visit To El Paso

“As many suspected, the Vice President’s pit stop in El Paso today was simply to check a box. She talked to immigration activists, but didn’t have time to listen to the farmers, ranchers, and residents who live in our border communities. She didn’t hear how the situation in cities like El Paso, where families readily turn themselves in to U.S. authorities, is starkly different than what’s happening along the rural sections of the border. In my district, where President Biden halted border wall construction, illegal immigrants coming across do not want to be caught. The humanitarian crisis at major ports of entry must be addressed; but the gang and cartel activity, the trafficking and smuggling that comes across our border in the dark of night cannot be ignored and it cannot be understood in a four-hour layover in El Paso.” 
Congresswoman Herrell has led on the border crisis from Day 1. In Washington, she has introduced legislation to keep Title 42 border health protections in placerequire comprehensive background checks for apprehended immigrants, and repay property owners and communities for the cost of illegal immigration. In New Mexico, she has kept up the pressure on state leaders to respond to the crisis by deploying the National Guard and requesting additional law enforcement resources from non-border states. 

National Parks' Record Summer Season Starts

Above, expect many people to visit Yellowstone and other national parks this summer. Photo by Armand Vaquer

This summer's vacation season is going to be an interesting one.

The national parks are already seeing an uptick in visitors over the last two years.

Outside Magazine posted:

Blame ongoing international travel restrictions, pent up demand as we exit the pandemic, booming interest in outdoor recreation, or a combination of all three. Our nation’s national parks are already setting visitation records, and it’s only the first week of summer. Here’s what that means for your visit—whether you’ve already planned one or not.

Just how busy are the parks? In May, Yellowstone National Park hosted 483,159 visitors. That’s an 11 percent increase over May 2019, previously the busiest year on record. (The park was closed May 1 through 18 last year.) As of May 31, Yellowstone had already seen 658,513 visitors in 2021, which marks 14 percent growth from that same period in 2019. That’s before summer—Yellowstone’s busiest season—had even started.

Other landmark parks like California’s Yosemite and Montana’s Glacier have implemented caps on the number of visitors they’re allowing through their gates each day. For the first time ever, you need to make a reservation ahead of time to visit them.

To read more, go here

Friday, June 25, 2021

Rain Coming Sunday-Monday?

Above, the mesas this afternoon. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After weeks of scorching-hot 90° plus temperatures, it has finally moderated down to around 83° in Jamestown, New Mexico.

That is a big relief!

It appears that our best shot at some measurable rain in this monsoon season will come Sunday and Monday where it is forecast at 50% chance. We sure can use it!

According to the National Weather Service, the next few days look like this:

This Afternoon
Partly sunny, with a high near 83. West wind around 15 mph.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 53. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph becoming southwest 5 to 10 mph after midnight.
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 83. Southwest wind 5 to 15 mph becoming north in the afternoon.
Saturday Night
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 53. North wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south after midnight.
A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 78. East wind 5 to 10 mph.
Sunday Night
A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 54.
A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 78.
Monday Night
A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 54.
Showers and thunderstorms likely. Partly sunny, with a high near 76. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

24 Top Things To Do In Colorado

Above, Square Tower House at Mesa Verde National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Being a resident of northwestern New Mexico, I have the good fortune to be near enough to Colorado (within 3 hours) to go there, even if just to see a movie (Godzilla vs. Kong in Durango) while theaters were closed in New Mexico.

I also went there last year on a camping trip with a friend to Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Ridgway and Mesa Verde National Park. 

WTOP has an article on 24 top things to do in Colorado, which are all worthy of one's consideration while doing vacation planning.

They begin with:

Colorado is made for outdoorsy travelers and adventurous souls. Snowcapped mountains, rushing rivers and dramatic canyons create a rugged yet stunning landscape worth exploring. Meanwhile, cities like Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs provide a taste of culture. While you might think of the state primarily as a ski destination, there are plenty of fun things to do in Colorado during every season. Spring brings perfect weather for hiking in one of the state’s four national parks, and summer means you can cool off in a variety of pristine lakes. Plus, there are numerous annual festivals, breweries and historic mining towns that will make Colorado stand out. The state offers so much in the way of activity, it can be difficult to decide how to spend your time. Read on to see the top things to do in Colorado. (Note: Some tours and excursions may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. New policies may be in place, including capacity restrictions and parking reservation requirements. Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State and local tourism boards before traveling.)

 To see what the 24 top things to do in Colorado, go here.

Vacationing In Key West On The Cheap

Above, Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Before the pandemic hit, I was planning on taking a trip to Key West, Florida. I had been there the year before for a one-day stopover during a cruise to Cuba. 

But, as we all know, the pandemic made a mess out of normal life, especially travel.

Now, things are slowly creeping back into some semblance of normalcy and, possibly a trip to Key West in somewhere on the horizon.

Key West, I have found, is not the most inexpensive place to visit. In fact, it's quite the opposite. The Travel has some tips on taking a vacation trip there without sending one into the poorhouse.

They begin with:

Key West isn't the most affordable place in Florida but that doesn't mean it can't be done on a budget. There are some tricks to planning a bank account-friendly vacation to Key West that will help travelers save some bucks while also enjoying a sunshine-filled trip. With some smart strategizing, pre-planning, and knowing where to spend money in this gorgeous seaside city, travelers will be booking flights before they know it.

And, in case anyone was wondering, going to the beach isn't the only free activity that can be done in the Sunshine State. Even the food can be affordable if vacationers know where to look and how to plan, and it's far simpler than one might think. Planning this Key West vacation is about to be a breeze (no pun intended) with some simple hacks that will keep your money in the right places.

To read more, go here

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Durango Trains Converting To Oil From Coal

Above, an oil-burning steam locomotive departing Durango Station. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When I took a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad last year, the train I rode was converted from coal to oil.

One of the conductors I talked to said that their source of coal would be played out in few years, so they had to start converting their locomotives to oil-burners.

Well, there's more to it than that.

A wildfire was started in 2018 that was blamed on coal embers of a Durango train. 

So now, the conversion of coal-burning engines to oil burning engines is proceeding. The only thing I will miss is the smell of burning coal.

According to the Durango Telegraph:

The age of burning coal to fire up the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has come to an end. Adapting to drought and heightened wildfire risk, this summer marks the first time in the D&SNG’s history where it will rely solely on oil-burning and diesel engines.

“It’s a new era,” Jeff Johnson, general manager of the D&SNG, said Monday. “Things change, but that’s part of progress.”

Throughout its 140-year history, the D&SNG has shoveled coal into its steam engines to power locomotives to Silverton and back, a 90-mile roundtrip gaining nearly 3,000 feet in elevation.

But in recent years, the D&SNG has received significant pushback from members of the community concerned about environmental impacts: namely the wildfire risk posed by coal-burning engines and the ensuing air pollution that has long vexed residents on the south side of town.

 To read more, go here.

Durango Railroad Sues La Plata County Over Rockwood Station

Above, yours truly with the Durango train at Rockwood Station last year. Photo by Mitch Geriminsky.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has filed a lawsuit against La Plata County after the county issued notices to the railroad to stop using Rockwood Station as an arrival/departure point.

The Journal reported:

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has filed a lawsuit against La Plata County in an effort to defend its increased use of the Rockwood Station about 15 miles north of Durango.

The Rockwood Station became D&SNG’s main arrival and departure point for excursions during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing up to 600 people to the small neighborhood daily and sparking neighborhood concerns. The county says the train’s heavy use of the station is in violation of county codes.

La Plata County issued notices to D&SNG in early May ordering the train to stop using the Rockwood Station as a major arrival/departure point, among other demands. The train responded with a lawsuit, arguing the county doesn’t have the legal authority to restrict the railroad’s operations at the Rockwood Station.

According to the lawsuit, filed by D&SNG and the railroad’s parent company American Heritage Railways Inc., the train is a public utility regulated by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, and the county is pre-empted by federal law from applying local land-use regulations on railroad facilities.

Trains have the power to erect infrastructure necessary for their operations, and D&SNG has a lawful pre-existing use of the station, one that extends about 140 years into the past, according to the lawsuit filed May 21.

When Mitch Geriminsky and I took a train ride to Cascade Canyon last year, our departure/arrival point was at Rockwood Station.  

Above, the Durango train about to depart from Durango station in April. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is interesting that the Durango train has used Rockwood Station for 140 years. This doesn't seem to bother those who are complaining. I wouldn't be surprised that they're probably usual complaining liberals who migrated to the area from California. 

Currently, the Durango train is departing and arriving at its Durango station. 

To read more, go here.

Durango Train Named "North America's Most Scenic Railroad"

Above, the Durango train at Highline with the Animas River about 400 feet below. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Yesterday, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad made the following announcement:


We've been named "North America's Most Scenic Railroad" by USA Today! We're truly grateful to all of our guests, railfans, and #DurangoTrain family for making our historic train a remarkable experience and worthy of this title. We'd also like to extend a big THANK YOU to each of our fans here who took the time to vote for us. Let's keep the good times rolling, shall we?

Winnebago: Can Meet The "Incredible Demand" For RVs

Above, a Winnebago Class C motorhome at the California RV Show. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Winnebago Industries says it can meet the "incredible demand" for RVs as the country is slowly easing out of the pandemic.

According to Motley Fool:

Investors had some good reasons to expect solid sales numbers from Winnebago (NYSE:WGO), especially after peer Thor Industries (NASDAQ:THOR) described a booming RV market earlier in the month. But Wall Street was worried about manufacturing and supply chain challenges, and about a potential slowdown as the pandemic threat fades.

Winnebago put most of those fears to rest in its recent fiscal third-quarter report, which points to a sustained sales boost and surging profits on the way as travel picks up. 

Protecting profits

Thor Industries noted major supply chain issues that were holding up production rates for RVs, just as they have been for many automakers so far in 2021. But Winnebago's manufacturing rates were strong this quarter, likely reflecting its wider portfolio and larger base of production.

The combination of higher prices and low dealership inventory, meanwhile, allowed Winnebago to increase prices even as more customers opted for premium products. As a result, gross profit margin jumped to 18% of sales compared to 8% a year ago.

To read more, go here.

Summer 2021

Above, camping at the Grand Canyon's Trailer Village. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since we're now in summer, it is time to think about what to do and where to go for a vacation trip.

The Jamestown Sun has posted an article on what is available for a summer vacation trip.

They begin with:

Summer vacation 2021 means a new kind of break time. Airlines may require masks or proof of vaccinations and family members away from here may need special protection if they are not vaccinated or happen to be a vulnerable adult.

Yes, it’s warm, and yes, the water’s begging you to swim. Take precautions, however, regardless of where you go or who you’ll see.

Many museums are open across the United States, and Europe is beginning to welcome visitors. But caution and caring, plus good sense needs to be uppermost regardless of the trip or manner of travel. Masks, like sunscreen and good shades, need to be a constant companion until herd immunity is achieved. Even youngsters are more at risk until the variants are no longer putting kids younger than 18 at higher risk.

Some of the safest places are found close to home or in your own RV. The State Historical Society of North Dakota has a number of new displays at locations across the state that connect by cellphone or out of doors. In addition, there are sites that allow visitors to get a free gift at the Heritage Center in Bismarck by doing a “rubbing,” proving you were there.

To read more, go here


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

"Godzilla vs. Kong" Arrives, Etc.

Today wasn't one of those days where I felt my best.

Starting yesterday, a nagging backache started, but it felt a little better today. Also, today my sinuses have been acting up. It is probably pollen in the air here. 

This morning started out as an enjoyable one as former neighbor Bo was in town, so we met up at Denny's at the Flying J. We must have been there for about an hour and a half. Bo moved to Daytona, Florida last year. 

After getting home, I flopped myself on the sofa and slept for about 3 hours, during which time my Godzilla vs. Kong Blu-ray was delivered to my front porch. So I ended up watching that during dinner.

A little while ago, we had a brief downpour and I had to get the Jeep into the garage. 

Hopefully, I'll be feeling better tomorrow. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Why Planes Fly At 36,000 Feet

Above, climbing to cruising altitude over Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This is probably something one really hasn't bothered to think about. But why is "cruising altitude" for passenger planes is at 36,000 feet?

If you have wondered this, Travel + Leisure has posted an article explaining this.

They begin it with:

It’s a common situation for travelers. You fasten your seat belt, listen to the pre-flight safety demonstration (we hope), and prepare yourself for takeoff. After a few moments, the pilot comes on the overhead, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are now at our cruising altitude of 36,000 feet.”

It’s time to kick back and wait for that refreshment cart to come around. But how many of us have stopped to wonder why planes go this high up in the first place? According to USA Today, the common cruising altitude for most commercial airplanes is between 33,000 and 42,000 feet, or between about six and nearly eight miles above sea level. Typically, aircraft fly around 35,000 or 36,000 feet in the air.

To put that in perspective, the peak of Mount Everest measures at 29,029 feet. But this is why we have pressurized cabins: so you don’t feel as if you’re literally trying to breathe on top of Mount Everest.

 To find out the details, go here.

Travel + Leisure: Ultimate Florida Keys Road Trip

Above, the end (or beginning, if going the opposite direction)
 of U.S. Highway 1 in Key West. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When I visited Key West, Florida two years ago, it was a day stopover through a cruise from Fort Lauderdale on down to Havana, Cuba. But if one is so inclined, a drive down the Florida Keys is a big option and Travel + Leisure has posted a guide on how to take the ultimate Florida Keys road trip.

They begin it with:

The cool dark of the bar provided respite from the hot, afternoon sunshine and it was a minute or two before our eyes adjusted to the scene inside. Settling onto a couple of stools, we ordered beers and took in our surroundings. Dollar bills, most bearing messages penned in magic marker, covered every inch of the walls and ceiling, three and four layers deep in some places. Two sunburned couples across the bar ordered another round, tapping their plastic cups in a toast while Johnny Cash crooned overhead.

“I kind of feel like we’re in the Twilight Zone,” my husband said as the bartender set baskets brimming with french fries and fried grouper in front of us. We’d landed in No Name Pub, a longtime Florida Keys institution quite a ways off the beaten path. A few hours earlier saw us part of a different Keys tableau – sipping our coffee while gazing at the Atlantic across a lawn dotted with swaying palms. The ocean and a busy woodpecker were the only sounds we could hear.

A drive down Florida’s Overseas Highway from Key Largo to Key West offers the perfect blend of eccentric bohemia and chic joie de vivre. As the mile markers decrease, Old Florida charm sharpens into focus. Strip malls hawking beach sundries and snorkeling tours along the upper reaches of U.S. 1 give way to dazzling turquoise flashes as the road becomes more bridge than highway. The route south is festooned with the Keys’ ubiquitous kitsch — a giant, spiny lobster presides over a local arts village, lipsticked manatees clutch mailboxes, and hand painted mermaids tempt passersby with the promise of sunset cocktails.

Though Hurricane Irma, which ravaged the archipelago in September 2017, is not yet a faint memory for those who call the Keys home, the region has made a remarkable recovery. Most hotels and resorts have reopened – many after completing extensive renovations – and a few new spots have joined the roster. Restaurants, beach bars, state parks, and legions of watersports outfitters have also rebounded, leaving visitors hard pressed to find evidence of the storm’s Category-4 destruction.

You could drive the 113-mile stretch in a little over three hours, but why would you want to? Road trips, especially one as iconic as this, are all about the stops along the way. So put the top down and cue Jimmy Buffet. Here’s our guide to the best the Florida Keys has to offer.

To read more, go here

RV Rental Cost-Saving Tips

Above, rental RVs in the San Fernando Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Yesterday was the first day of summer and soon the kiddies will be out of school (some are already out) and vacation season is starting.

One of the more popular ways of travel during these times is in an RV. People are buying them up in record numbers and some are renting.

Do It Yourself RV has an article with 14 tips on saving money on RV rentals. It is well worth a read since RV renting is costly.

They begin with:

RV rentals have become very popular in the past couple of years. This is understandable; renting an RV is a great way to experience the RV life without the big money and time investment that comes with owning an RV. It’s also a great way to try RVing on for size before you jump into the world of RVing, or even if you’re already an RVer considering upgrading or downsizing your rig.

All that said, RV rental costs can get pretty pricey. Fortunately, there are ways to cut back on the cost. Check out the RV rental tips below to learn how you might be able to spend a little less on your RV rental adventure. 

To read more, go here

Monday, June 21, 2021

Grants Wild West Days


Last year, the only rodeo I was able to attend (all the others were canceled) was the Grants Wild West Days Rodeo. It was amazing that the rodeo was even held since we were in the middle of a pandemic. But the show went on and I had a good time.

Above, from last year's Wild West Days Rodeo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is on again this year and I plan on attending. I will likely take the motorhome there and probably boondock there.

It should be even better this years since everything in New Mexico will be reopened as of July 1.

Poll: Which Is Easier To Find, Campsite or Motel/Hotel Room?

Above, the Bates Motel sign in Vale, Oregon. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There's an interesting topic that RV Travel came up with in the form of a poll. Actually, I've never thought about it before.

Here's their post:

If you needed a place to stay tonight, do you think it would be easier to find an RV park or campground with vacancy or a motel or hotel?

RV parks and campgrounds book up quick (as we’re sure you know), but sometimes you call a place and they take you by surprise and have a spot just for you! Hotels and motels used to be pretty easy to book, too, but these days a room can be hard to come by, especially in popular areas.

Please tell us in the poll below, then leave a comment with your thoughts. Thanks!

To me, campground sites are easier to find or about the same as hotels/motels. 

To vote in the poll, go here.

Fukushima UFO Research Site Opening

Above, Godzilla and Rodan being transported by flying saucers in Monster Zero (1965). Toho Co., Ltd.

With new interest in  Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) growing in the U.S., Japan is opening a UFO research facility in Fukushima.

According to The Japan Times:

A research facility on UFOs will open later in June in the city of Fukushima, in hopes that the truth behind the unidentified flying objects witnessed around the world can finally be uncovered — and that the facility will become a new tourist attraction.

On June 24, the research facility will open inside UFO Fureai-kan, a center devoted to UFOs. The research facility will analyze witness reports, plan events to lure UFOs to Fukushima Prefecture and create a network of researchers at home and abroad. The center is located in the town of Iino, which is known colloquially as a “UFO town.”

The move comes amid growing attention on UFOs in the United States.

To read more, go here

Note: The story is serious, but I thought I'd have some fun with the photo.

Second Amendment Battle Brewing Between Feds and Missouri

 “All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.” (Marbury vs.Madison, 1803.) 

“Every law consistent with the Constitution will have been made in pursuance of the powers granted by it. Every usurpation or law repugnant to it cannot have been made in pursuance of its powers. The latter will be nugatory and void.” (Thomas Jefferson, Elliot, p. 4:187-88.)

Laws passed that are "repugnant to the Constitution are null and void"  are as if they were never have existed in the first place.

A battle is brewing between His Fraudulency's Department of Justice and the state of Missouri over the state's Second Amendment Preservation Act.

According to KRMS News:

Missouri and the Federal Government are going head-to-head on gun law enforcement.

The Justice Department wrote Missouri to say the state went too far with the Second Amendment Preservation Act.

But Governor Mike Parson and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt wrote back to say they will enforce the new state law at all costs.

Under the new law signed by Parson last Saturday, a person or entity that infringes on the Second Amendment would face a $50-thousand dollar fine for each occurrence.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Governor Mike Parson today sent a letter to President Biden’s Department of Justice fighting back against potential federal overreach and encroachment on Missourians’ Second Amendment rights.

The full letter can be found here: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/2021-6-17-ltr-boynton.pdf?sfvrsn=ae1b68e_2

“Missourians’ and Americans’ Second Amendment rights are enshrined in the Constitution – I will defend those rights at every turn,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Our letter to Biden’s Department of Justice sends a clear message: we will fight any attempts from the federal government to encroach on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

“The Second Amendment Preservation Act is about protecting law-abiding Missourians against government overreach and unconstitutional federal mandates,” Governor Parson said. “We will reject any attempt by the federal government to circumvent the fundamental right Missourians have to keep and bear arms to protect themselves and their property. Throughout my career, I have always stood for the Constitution and our Second Amendment rights, and that will not change today or any day.”

We need more governors and attorneys general like Governor Parson and Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

To read more, go here

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