"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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Thursday, March 31, 2022

Giving My Cousin A Tour

Above, Fred at McGaffey Recreational Area. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Yesterday, I took my cousin Maria and her husband Fred around the subdivision and then up to the Indian Market at Continental Divide. She bought a pretty wind chime for their patio while there.

Above, not much water in McGaffey Lake. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

From Continental Divide, I took them up to McGaffey. They agreed that the McGaffey recreational area looked like Big Bear, California.

McGaffey Lake wasn't much of a lake. It was more like a mudhole. It didn't get much rain or snow water this year. 

Following that, we headed into Gallup to do some shopping. We dropped off Mara at Walmart and Fred and I went across the street to Home Depot. We both had to pick up a few things there. 

Above, Fred and Maria at Indian Market. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After that, we headed back home to Jamestown where I showed them the latest James Bond movie, No Time To Die on Blu-ray. They both enjoyed the movie. 

Today will be more relaxed with the exception of taking their RV to the USA RV Park in Gallup to empty their holding tanks and dinner later at the El Rancho Hotel.

Camping In Oregon

Above, at camp at Diamond Lake RV Park near Crater Lake National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After leaving Lava Hot Springs, Idaho after the Great American Eclipse in 2017, I headed to Oregon, to pay a visit to Crater Lake National Park. I hadn't been there since the 1970s.

With the exception of wildfires in and around the park which left a layer of smoke in the Crater Lake caldera, I had an enjoyable time. I stayed at a private campground, Diamond Lake RV Park, just a few miles from the park.

Condé Nast Traveler has posted an article on the 8 best camping sites in Oregon.

They start it with:

If you could create an ideal camping destination from scratch, chances are it’d look a lot like Oregon. Forests carpet nearly half the state. The landscapes range from rugged coastline to arid high desert. And winding highways give road-trippers plenty of weird Americana and scenic viewpoints worth pulling over for. Along the way, you’ll find no shortage of places to pitch a tent or park your RV. 

You’ll get closest to nature at the many beloved Oregon State Parks and forest service sites, while private campgrounds range from rustic dry camping along alpine rivers to posh glamping in the heart of wine country. Whatever your camping style, you’ll find a cool place to rest your head here in the Pacific Northwest. Here are eight destinations we love for camping in Oregon.

 To read more, go here.

It’s Important That All Adult Passengers Can Drive The RV

Above, a "pit stop" in Needles, California. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Suppose you, as a man, are driving on a long trip in your RV and begin to get fatigued, but your wife has either never driven or driven it very little. Or, even worse, you get sick on the trip and can't drive. What can you do?

Pulling over is one option. Having the Mrs. drive is another.

RV Travel has posted an article on why it is important that all adult passengers know how to drive the RV.

They start off with:

It may just be a generational thing. Or a leftover from before the feminist revolution in the ’60s and ’70s thing. I’m talking about the fact that it’s usually the man who drives the RV. At least this is generally what I’ve seen during the years we’ve traveled. It would surely make RV life easier if I shared the driving responsibility, but my husband and I also defaulted to the norm. He drove our first RV and from then on, assumed that responsibility.

Things change

It very well may have continued that way until we hung up the RV keys for good. Except for our trip to Colorado. We were on our way home to Missouri—a 12-hour trip. We got an early start to our day and planned to stop after six hours of driving. About five hours into the drive my husband began to feel drowsy. It was, after all, nothing but Interstate road over mostly flat land. Because I’d practiced driving our RV prior to this trip, I suggested that I take the wheel so he could catch a few winks. Surprisingly, he agreed.

To read more, go here

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Cousin Arrived

Above, Maria and Fred's RV this morning. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After a 467-mile drive from West Pueblo, Colorado, my cousin Maria and her husband Fred arrived in Jamestown, New Mexico last evening. They are the first family members to come to Jamestown.

They arrived at 6:00 and I met them down at Denny's at the Flying J. Besides being tired, they were hungry as well. This way, I could lead them up to the house after dinner. 

After chatting for a while, they retired for the night, understandably worn out from the long drive. They showed me the inside of their Entegra Odyssey and it is vary spacious inside. The slide-out helped a lot. One can put up several folding chairs inside and still have plenty of room. They also have a lot of "bells & whistles" to it as well. 

I ended up going to bed at 9:00. It appears to have rained overnight.

I will be showing them around Jamestown and the Gallup area today. I think they would enjoy a dinner at the El Rancho Hotel tonight.

High Gas Prices Forcing RVers To Change Plans

High gas prices have forced people to make changes in making their summer vacation plans. That also includes me.

My original plan was to wander around South Dakota and eastern Wyoming, but gas prices have made me book camping more locally instead.

According to ConsumerAffairs.com:

During the first year of the pandemic, recreational vehicle (RV) sales boomed and campgrounds were crowded with Americans seeking to safely get out of the house.

But with gasoline prices reaching over $4 a gallon in most parts of the country, those campgrounds may be a little less crowded this spring and summer. The Dyrt, an app that's popular with campers, surveyed its users and found that gas prices are causing 60% of RV owners to make other plans.

The survey included consumers who said their primary mode of camping is via RV, camper van, trailer, overlanding, truck camper, or rooftop tent campers. Nearly all said, quite understandably, that gas prices will make camping less affordable.

To read the full article, go here

Half of All Campers Already Booked Their 2022 Trips

Above, the Ouray, Colorado KOA office and store. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It looks like I could be included in this survey.

RV Travel reports that according to a KOA Monthly Research Report for March, half of all campers have already booked their 2022 trips.

I have already booked a camping space at Navajo Lake State Park in New Mexico for July. 

The article starts with:

Kampgrounds of America’s Monthly Research Report for March says nearly two-thirds of current campers are planning to take a camping trip in 2022, and half of all campers say they have already booked at least some of their trips.

“Between what campers are telling us and our reservation data, it’s clear that camping will be a popular way to travel again this year,” said Whitney Scott, Chief Marketing Officer of KOA. “Campers and leisure travelers alike are looking to get out and try new things as COVID-19 wanes.”

To read the full article, go here

USA Today: Choosing The Right Camper

Above, camping at a Lake Cachuma group camp. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Before deciding to post this, I had some hesitancy about the source: USA Today. It was a choice in their "Women of the Year" that blew their credibility with me. 

But, I have no problem with the article I am about to cite. They provide some sound advice.

It is on what people need to know before choosing the right RV (funny, camper sounds so old fashioned to me, that's in their link) to buy, or even rent.

They begin it with:

For families and older travelers eager to make up for lost vacation time during the pandemic, RVs are a way to get back out into the world in a clean, safe and convenient environment. Also called motor homes or recreational vehicles, RVs let you travel in a self-contained bubble that has all the comforts and conveniences of home, including space for your pets. They’re even a viable option for the increasing number of people embracing the “work from anywhere” movement. 

But with so many different types of RVs on the market, how do you know which type is right for your big RV road trip? From pop-ups and fifth wheels to Class A, Class C and camper vans, here’s everything you need to know about choosing the best RV for your travel needs – including how to rent an RV and whether you should rent or buy.

 To read the full article, go here.

Winnebago RV Order Backlog Continues To Grow

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

It is hard to say how much or if the current high prices of fuel (gasoline and diesel) are affecting RV sales. Apparently, it is not affecting Winnebago Industries as their backlog of orders is growing.

According to an article posted by RV Travel:

Recreational vehicle manufacturing giant Winnebago isn’t making much progress on decreasing its massive backlog of RV orders.

In October 2021, Winnebago officials announced that they had $4 billion in backlog orders as supply chain issues coupled with a massive number of new orders.

The company announced in its recent 2022 second-quarter earnings report that its backlog of orders has now grown to $4.37 billion as the demand for RVs refuses to wane.

To read more, go here

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Remembering Lance G. Widman

Earlier today, I had the idea to see if a former teacher I had (in several political science classes, including an independent study class) at El Camino College in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County was on Facebook.

Even though we were poles apart politically, Lance G. Widman was a good teacher and we had some good laughs during my time at El Camino. I thought it would be fun to reconnect after all these years.

Unfortunately, I found that Widnan passed away last December of congestive heart failure. 

In 1972, during my first year at El Camino, I was at the Century Plaza Hotel with the youth organization (Young Voters For The President) of President Nixon's Committee To Re-Elect The President. President Nixon was there for a campaign dinner. At that time, I had an early morning political science class with Widman that started at 7:00.

During the evening, I wandered out to the front of the Century Plaza and saw a few hundred anti-war protesters out on the sidewalk. (This was right after I ran into comedian Red Skelton in the lobby and got his autograph.) Among them was good ol' Lance Widman. I yelled out, "Hi, Lance!" and he waved back. We had a good laugh over this the next time I saw him in class.

We got along fine, even trading some campaign buttons over the years. He good-naturedly took wisecracks from those of us with the Young Republicans of El Camino College during classes. We knew where each of us stood politically. He was a liberal with a good sense of humor, something rare these days. He's someone I'll remember fondly.

He later was elected to the Hermosa Beach City Council. 

According to his obituary, he retired from El Camino College in 2016. It is sad that he didn't have much in retirement years before passing last year. He was only nine years older than I.

Was Curt Swan Inspired By A Civil War Painting?

Above, the Swan/Klein cover from 1965.

The below painting's (artist unknown to me) layout looks very familiar. It was posted at Piñon Post with an article on the Civil War 1862 Battle of Glorieta Pass. 

It strongly reminds me of a comic book cover from 1965.

Was it the inspiration to an Adventure Comics (no. 333) cover of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes by Curt Swan (pencils) and George Klein (inks)? The story, "The Civil War of the Legion".


FDA Approves 2nd Booster

This shouldn't be much of a surprise to those of us who have been paying attention. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized a second COVID-19 booster.

I had the first booster in October. I am not sure if I am getting a second one. I'll have to mull it over.

According to the Gateway Pundit:

The Food and Drug Administration announced on Tuesday that it authorized another Covid-19 booster shot of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for people 50 and older and certain immunocompromised individuals.

That means four doses of the mRNA vaccine within a 2-year span. Is this the beginning of annual Covid shots?

To read more, go here.

Family Visit

Above, Fred and Maria and their motorhome.

Today (or tomorrow, but most likely today) I will be visited by the first members of my family.

My cousin Maria and her husband Fred will be staying for a couple of days while en route from Tennessee via Colorado Springs. They will be arriving in their new motorhome. I am looking forward to their visit.

I have all they need to plug in their motorhome (adapters, etc.). They are welcome to stay in the den/guest room.

My cousin called me yesterday to tell me they are on their way. They may have stayed at Route 66 RV Resort for the night last night (on my recommendation). It rained a little bit overnight and this morning. So far, it is sunny out with some clouds and about 40°. I am happy about the rain as we've been having pollen alerts. The rain should wash off things and keep the pollen from blowing about. 

I am keeping watch on the storm that pummeled Southern California during the past couple of days. It may be headed here tomorrow.

5 Ways Nature Can Kill Your Pet In The Desert

Above, Sierra and Lola in the motorhome. Photo by Armand Vaquer

The following pertains mainly for dogs.

During long trips, I bring my cat Sierra with me. She doesn't go outside of the motorhome and I make sure she has plenty ventilation and water if I should be out exploring. 

The follow story is from a ranger at Death Valley National Park on how to prevent your pet from being killed in the desert. It was posted in RV Travel.

The begin it with:

Here are some tips about traveling with pets, primarily dogs, in the desert according to rangers at Death Valley National Park. The advice is good, even in other places where you camp. For years, and perhaps even still today, the rangers in Death Valley kept a tally of how many pets were victims of coyotes, often when left alone outside RVs on a leash.

To read more, go here

Monday, March 28, 2022

Utah, Your Next Big Adventure

Above, iconic movie scenery of Monument Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If one is contemplating a vacation trip to the state of Utah, a new article from Business Post is just what the doctor ordered.

There are many places to see and things to do in Utah and their article gives a good lowdown on them.

They begin with:

With its Mighty 5 National Parks in the south, the famous Rocky Mountains to the north and its iconic movie scenery, the western state of Utah offers up an adventure playground like no other

Red rock. Deep canyons. Wild rivers. Snowy peaks. Dense forests. There’s no denying that Utah puts the great into the Great Outdoors. Seducing travellers with its spectacular terrain and jaw-dropping vistas, the western state offers up the kind of grown-up playground that most adrenaline addicts, nature lovers and thrillseekers can only dream of.

With a sky that never ends and a vivid palette of chromatic panoramas, Utah’s terrain is unapologetically wild and vibrant. Begging to be explored, adventure lovers will find new and unique challenges around every bend. Climbing and canyoning. Rafting and horse riding. Biking and hiking. Swimming and stargazing. From the powder-capped slopes to the red-rock mesas and skinny slot canyons to sandstone trails, Utah is the place to experience new highs and rediscover nature’s power and beauty.

To read the full article, go here

7 of The Best U.S. Natural Wonders

Above, pueblo ruins at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If one is a fan of nature and who also like to travel, the following is just likely your cup of tea.

This comes from a Canadian perspective. 

The Vancouver Sun posted an article on seven of the best U.S. natural wonders. Some are national parks and some aren't. Each, though, is worthy of a visit.

They begin it with:

As far as unbelievable natural and historical wonders go, the United States of America packs them in.

An amazing system of national parks, national monuments and historical parks preserve an unrivalled beauty and diversity of environments and truly stunning landscapes, and nowhere is the concentration of parks greater than in the Southwest. 

For the traveller who yearns for the freedom and space of the open road, for wild places that inspire, these convenient green sectors marked on touring maps across California, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, create marvellous stepping stones that highlight the very best of what this region has to offer.

Here’s 7 of the best…

I have been to three of them on their list. 

To read the article, go here

Doing Laundry While RVing

Above, the laundry room at Yosemite National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Doing laundry while out RVing is not something I look forward to doing, but sometimes, it can't be helped.

On short trips, I just put my dirty clothes in a laundry bag I keep in the motorhome and just wash them when I get home. On longer trips, such a the Great American Eclipse trip of 2017, the trip to Metropolis, Illinois in 2016 and the trip to Grand Teton National Park in 2020, I just use the campground's laundromat. I make sure I have plenty of quarters on hand just in case the park office doesn't have change or the laundry room doesn't have a change machine. This came in handy when I had to use the laundromat in Yosemite Valley.

But there are other ways to doing laundry while RVing and Do It Yourself RV has some great tips.

They begin with:

One of the best parts of RVing is leaving most of the household chores behind or at least minimizing them.  However, doing laundry while RVing can be a lot easier than you think.  We’ve put together some tips below that make doing laundry while RVing a breeze. 

To read more, go here.

Disney Leadership Cowers Before Leftist Radicals

This is something that everyone, especially parents should watch. Pass this on!

From Ben Shapiro/Daily Wire:

At a company-wide meeting with staffers, Disney leadership announced that it is planning to “take action” against Texas for the state’s order to investigate trans medical procedures on children as child abuse. Shapiro weighs in.

 Ep. 1458 - The LGBT Takeover Of Disney

Supper Group Gathering

Above, Martin Link getting dinner cooked. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

As we are nearing the end of the month, our monthly supper group met last evening at Gallup writer and historian Martin Link's home. On the menu was bouillabaisse, "a traditional Provençal fish stew originating in the port city of Marseille. The French and English form bouillabaisse comes from the Provençal Occitan word bolhabaissa, a compound that consists of the two verbs bolhir and abaissar." (source: Wikipedia)

Above, the dining area. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It was an enjoyable evening with good food and conversation, much of it was about classic movies thanks to members Sandy and Bob. The night's Academy Awards was hardly mentioned as nobody even saw or heard (or really cared) of the top nominated films.

I usually carpool there with Greg and Marlo Lucier, but they were unable to attend and Russell Azbill had some health issues, so this was the first time in about three years that I drove myself. It was just as well as I had to stop at Albertson's to pick up some groceries. I got done fairly quick and was a little early at Martin Link's. I also had to get some gasoline and the price for it in Gallup was $3.978/gallon, seventeen cents cheaper than at the Flying J.

Above, the deck yesterday. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

As the day's temperature went over 70°, I spent much of the day on my deck relaxing and enjoying the view. We may get rain and snow showers tonight and tomorrow. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

10 Things You Would Never Think To See On Route 66

Above, Standin' On A Corner Park in Winslow, Arizona. Photo by Russell Azbill.

Did you know that about 85% of Historic Route 66 is still around to drive on? Yes, it is and one does have to know where it is located in different areas such as towns where rerouting and other changes, such as streets, frontage roads, had taken place over the years.

The Travel has posted an article ten things one would never think to see on Route 66. 

They begin it with:

Traveling is all about discoveries. It is all about discovering new things that someone has never thought about or seen before. By doing this, a person is able to appreciate how much diversity is there in the world. It also motivates someone to keep on traveling to discover more. As a result, travelers will always prefer to travel and visit strange places that will give them that thrill.

One of such places is route 66. So much has been said about route 66 but many people do not know the hidden things about this area until they visit and explore it. Here are 10 things one would never think to see on route 66.

Above, Standin' On A Corner Park in Winslow, Arizona
is a Route 66 Roadside Attraction. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here

While we're on the subject of Route 66, here is a book by Gallup historian Martin Link on Route 66 that is worth getting:

Above, yours truly with historian Martin Link. Photo by Russell Azbill.

Fuel Fix PRO Exposed

Above, advertisement for the Fuel Fix PRO.

A few minutes ago, I checked the Flying J website to see what the current price for unleaded regular at the local Flying J in Jamestown, New Mexico.

Well, a little good news. The price went down a penny to $4.149/gallon.

While we're on the subject of gasoline, have you seen ads for a fuel-saving gadget called Fuel Fix PRO? It supposedly saves fuel just by plugging it in to your vehicle. 

Well, RV Travel checked it out and here's how they start their article:

With motor fuel prices higher than an upset cat’s back, who wouldn’t want to increase their fuel economy? Recently a slew of articles have appeared in legitimate media for little devices that plug into your vehicle’s OBD2 port. They make comforting promises: “Lower your car’s fuel consumption up to 45% with this amazing device.” [fuelfixpro] “EcoOBD2 adjusts itself to the vehicle, according to the driver’s habits and always maintains the remapping ECU to save fuel and reduce discharge.” “EcoOBD2 Saves 15% fuel for Benzine cars.” Drop your consumption by 45%? Are these fuel savings for real?

“One size fits all”?

How do these “fuel-saving devices” work? The typical advertisement says something like this one, from EcoMaxFuel: “Every modern car made after the year of 1996 has an ECU (Electronic Control Unit). This is the car’s brain, and it monitors the performance and optimization of the engine. Once installed and you’ve driven around 150 miles with the EcoBox Fuel Saver connected, it will have enough data to begin tuning your car’s computer for lower fuel consumption.”

RV diesel rig owners have been using electronic chip technology to help them develop more engine power for years. But no matter what engine you have, you can’t just buy a “generic” chip and plug it into your rig. Each chip is specifically designed for the rig, year, and model. Engineers analyze how each vehicle’s computer operates, and “map” a variety of parameters to make it all work. With all this work, it’s no surprise you’ll spend a few hundred bucks for an aftermarket chip. It’s not some sort of “one size fits all” affair. 

Video reveals the truth

With that in mind, it’s reasonable to ask: How can somebody reprogram an ECU with a fuel-saving device that sells for anywhere from less than $10 to up to $70? And how can these fancy fuel-saving devices do “one size fits all” for literally hundreds of different vehicles? The simple answer is—they can’t.

So, just what are you getting if you buy one of these little plug-ins? Put simply—a little plastic box with a blinking light. We found an exposé YouTube video that shows just what you get. David Jones, an Australian engineer with a Type A personality, has been cranking out weekly YouTube casts under his EEVblog. Jones says he has a 25-year history in electronics design.

To read more, go here

ANA To Introduce Travel Insurance For Passengers

Above, ANA jets at Narita Airport in Chiba Prefecture. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

During my travels to Japan (8 of them), I have only purchased travel insurance once. That was for the 2004 G-TOUR sponsored by G-FAN magazine through Sita World Travel. It came in handy for one of out group who got seriously sick and had to be hospitalized.

The pandemic has sparked more interest in travel insurance. However, right now, Japan's borders are closed to tourists. They have yet to reopen the country to foreign visitors.

When that happens, eventually it will, All Nippon Airways (ANA) will be providing access to travel insurance to make things easier for tourists.

According to Japan Today:

TOKYO - All Nippon Airways (ANA) will provide access to a travel insurance referral website in cooperation with Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co Ltd for customers visiting Japan from abroad.

The website provides access to travel insurance provided by members of the Tokio Marine Group and its affiliated companies (1) to customers residing overseas who have already booked and purchased ANA international flight tickets on both ANA operated flights and codeshare flights to Japan. The introduction of this service is designed to simplify the travel preparation process, improve the customer experience, and offer added reassurance during the trip. ANA and Tokio Marine & Nichido will continue to work together as international travel resumes to ensure that travel is as comfortable and convenient as possible.

To read more, go here

Keep Things From Rattling In Your RV

Above, the rough road to Chaco Canyon made a lot of things rattle in my RV. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since an RV is essentially a "house on wheels", it is inevitable that things will rattle and squeak as one is driving, especially on rough roads. One such road was the one to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. It was 20 miles of rough road that made everything inside the RV rattle.

Some noises are annoying, but not detrimental. Others can cause problems later on.

RV Life has posted an article on how to keep things from rattling while on the road. 

They start it off with:

As RVers, most of us have learned to be patient travelers. But those continuous and monotonous rattles, scrapes, bangs, vibrations, pops, and more…well, those may test us. And sometimes, those scenarios can cause serious damage. So, where do we start?

To read more, go here

Can I Use Auto Wax On My RV?

Above, The Beast at a coin-operated car wash. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Like anything else, keeping things clean will make them look great for years. That also includes RV exteriors.

RV Life has posted an article asking, "Can I use auto wax on my RV?"

The short answer: it depends upon the surface. RV owners will want to read the whole article to know what to use and what not to use.

They begin with:

A shiny new RV is a beautiful thing.  If you want to keep your RV’s exterior looking beautifully shiny and new, you’ll need wax it at least twice a year. 

Waxing your RV helps to repel moisture and dirt.  RV wax also helps to protect your RV from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays and maintains that glossy finish that your RV came with. 

The answer to the question, “Can I use auto wax on my RV?” depends on whether or not it has painted cladding or gel coat and fiberglass.  

Painted metal RV exteriors can be waxed with auto wax.  All other RV finishes are gel coating or fiberglass and require a special wax to prevent them from developing a chalky appearance.   You should never use auto wax on fiberglass RV siding because it will oxidize and look terrible. 

To read more, go here

Federal lawsuit Seeks Reversal of U.S. Forest Service Public Access Restrictions

Above, at the windmill and cattle watering tanks in Six Mile
Canyon of the Cibola National Forest. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There's a lawsuit in Montana that RVers from everywhere should keep an eye on.

It involves restrictions on public use in the state's national forests that could severely impact dry camping (boondocking) on national forest lands.

According to RV Travel:

Two groups of recreational interests and three individuals have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and its regional administrator in the U.S. Federal District Court for the District of Montana. The suit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from the Forest Service’s closure of significant portions of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest (“HNF”) to motorized travel and dispersed camping.

The case is important to RVers because Forest Service administrative actions caused a total of 144 miles of roads within the HNF to be closed by the “Divide Travel Plan” promulgated by the agency. Dispersed camping, i.e., “boondocking,” would be severely impacted throughout the 2.8 million acres of the HNF.

The case involves the Capital Trail Vehicles Association (“CTVA”), a Montana outdoor recreation club, along with Citizens for Balanced Use (“CBU”), as well as Ken Salo, Jody Lewis, and Patricia Daugaard, all residents of Montana, against the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Helena National Forest, and Emily Platt, Forest Supervisor of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.  

The lawsuit cites violations of, among other things, the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”), the National Forest Management Act (“NFMA”), and the Multiple-Use Sustained Yield Act (“MUSYA”). As set forth in Title 16, U.S. Code, the latter two statutes explicitly provide that the U.S. Forest Service “…must balance competing demands in managing NFS lands.” In addition, the federal government, including the U.S. Supreme Court, has long held that “… It has never been the case that the national forests were…to be set aside for non-use.” (United States v. New Mexico, 438 U.S. 696, 716 n. 23 (1978))

Speaking of national forests, Cibola National Forest, which is south of my community, will reopen to vehicles this weekend after being closed for the winter.

To read the full article, go here.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Great Day For Riding

It has been a very pleasant day and warm.

At this writing, it is 72° outside with a light breeze. Definitely tolerable. 

Between riding around on the mini-bike and relaxing on the deck with some ice tea, it has been enjoyable out. 

I will be headed up the hill later for some homemade chili for dinner at friends'.

Some photos:


10-Year Rule Is Rare At RV Parks, But Watch Out

Above, this RV is likely to be over ten years old. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Over the years, I've heard of the 10-year rule of some private campgrounds, but never seen it for myself (my motorhome is now seven years old).

I've heard that some campgrounds employ this rule to keep out eyesore "Cousin Eddie" recreational vehicles as seen in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. There may be more to it than that.

RV Travel says this rule is rare, but with the boom in RV sales, they also say "stay tuned".

They begin an article on this with:

The “10-Year Rule” in the camping business is something that experienced RVers love to debate but likely have seldom, if ever, experienced in their own travels.

Rules that ban RVs with more than 10 or 15 years of “experience” are the Bigfoot of camping. You likely haven’t run into a park that enforces those rules, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there.

Most RVers assume the reason for the 10-Year Rule at any park has to do with a big dose of snobbery. Park owners assume those folks in the brand-new $500,000 rig won’t want to rub shoulders with the common folks rolling in with their “vintage” Winnebagos and Shasta trailers.

To read more, go here

Best National Parks For RV Campers

Above, Trailer Village at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

March is zipping by fast, and before we know it, it will be summer vacation season.

With COVID-19 on the wane (we hope), people will be wanting to get out into the Great Outdoors in their RVs, particularly to a national park.

Lonely Planet has posted an article on the best national parks for RV campers in 2022. They begin it with:

Looking to get closer to nature and linger longer at a US national park in 2022? RV camping is the perfect socially-distanced way to experience the majestic wide-open spaces of the US national parks. 

Camping in an RV within a national park provides a comfortable base to immerse yourself in a park’s beauty from sunrise to sunset (and beyond for great stargazing). National park campsites also create a fun sense of community between RV campers, who share everything from vehicle advice to travel tips, BBQ recipes and s’mores around the campfire.

The national parks listed below are top destinations not only for the quantity and quality of RV campsites within the parks but for the access that RVs have to tour the parks on wide, paved roadways with key park attractions being within roadside viewing distance. 

To read more, go here

Friday, March 25, 2022

New Drawing Board

Above, the new drawing board mounted on the tabletop easel. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The new drawing board I ordered a few days ago from Hobby Lobby has arrived.

I mounted it on the tabletop easel and it is a good fit. Before I can get started on anything, the supplies I also ordered has to arrive. They are slated to arrive this coming Monday, at least that's according to the USPS.

J. D. Lees gave me an idea (he doesn't know just what I have in mind) for an illustration for G-FAN. He  doesn't seem to remember a drawing I submitted, and was published, for G-FAN years ago. Well, to be honest, I almost forgot about it myself, it's been so long.

American Rifleman Arrives In Today's Mail

Today was pushing close to 70° outside, so I did some mini-bike riding.

Then, I headed down to the Flying J to pick up my mail. The only item in the mailbox was the April 2022 issue of American Rifleman.

That's not too unusual, except the cover was a painting. It was to promote an article on "Cavalry Arms of The American Revolution". More painted illustrations accompanied the article. All photos and illustrations (including the cover) were done by Don Troiani, who also wrote the article. It should be an interesting read.

Here's the cover:

If you're a NRA member and take American Rifleman, keep an eye out in your mailbox.

Airline Pilots File Lawsuit Over Mask Mandate

Above, a jet being readied at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Photo by Armand Vaquer. 

During the past two years, I have flown several times and had to wear a mask during the duration of the those flights, no matter how many hours the flight durations were, and they were miserable experiences. The only times one can remove the mask is while eating or drinking.

Well, commercial airline pilots are getting fed up with the federal mask mandate and have filed suit to end it.

The Epoch Times reported (some snippets):

Hours after the U.S. Senate voted to repeal the federal transportation mask mandate—which the White House quickly threatened to veto—a group of commercial pilots filed the first legal challenge by airline workers to overturn the requirement to wear masks on all public transport.

On March 15, 10 commercial airline pilots from six states filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), asking the court to strike down the federal transportation mask mandate, arguing that it endangers aviation safety.

The complaint was filed the same day the U.S. Senate voted 57–40 to repeal the mask mandate, a move the White House quickly threatened to veto. This is the first legal challenge to the mandate filed by airline workers.

On Feb. 25, the CDC eased indoor masking guidance for the general public. However, the CDC’s update did not change the federal mask mandate on public transportation, which had already been extended multiple times by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The latest extension, announced March 10, orders travelers to keep wearing masks until April 18.

The pilots’ 61-page complaint (pdf) contends “the defendants have acted without statutory authorization or following the rulemaking process required by the Administrative Procedure Act” and that the “mandate also raises serious constitutional concerns” because “Congress never intended for the Executive Branch to have the authority to promulgate this policy–and even if it did, it’s unconstitutional.”

In 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration reported there were 5,981 unruly passenger incidents. Of those, 4,290 involved masks. Of the 961 reports of unruly passengers already reported for the first three months of 2022, the FAA said, 635 were related to face masks.

To read the full article, go here.

Hawaii Officially Ends Safe Travel Program

Above, the pool area of the Sheraton Waikiki. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There's some good news for people who are planning to take a vacation trip to Hawaii.

The governor of Hawaii has ended the state's Safe Travels Program as of today.

According to TravelPulse:

Hawaii's governor David Ige has announced that the state's current emergency proclamation will expire on March 25, 2022.

The end of the proclamation means an end to the Safe Travels Hawaii program and the end of the state’s indoor mask requirement. However, the governor noted that the CDC and Dept. of Health continue to recommend mask use while indoors for certain populations.

The governor also noted that businesses have the right to create their own rules to ensure safety for both their customers and their workers.

To read more, go here

Trump Sues Hillary Clinton and Others For Racketeering

Above, former President Donald Trump at 2021 CPAC.

It is about time that former President Donald Trump took personal legal action against those who conspired to accuse him of colluding with Russia and other misdeeds during the 2016 campaign and presidency.

He is suing the "living crap" out of Hillary Clinton and others.

Politico reported:

Former President Donald Trump is suing 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in a sprawling case that accuses her of conspiring with dozens of other actors — frequent targets of Trump’s conspiracy theories and rage — to topple his presidency.

The new lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in Fort Pierce, Fla., accuses Clinton, her campaign, various campaign aides, former FBI Director James Comey, the Democratic National Committee and others of racketeering conspiracy for allegedly joining in “an unthinkable plot” to falsely accuse Trump of colluding with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.

The suit appears to seek more than $72 million in damages, which the complaint says is the tally of legal fees and other costs of defending against the alleged untruths. In another court filing in the case, Trump’s attorneys asked for only $21 million.

To read more, go here

What To Know About Using A Japan Rail Pass

Above, a couple of Japan Rail Passes I've used. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the perks of being a foreign tourist to Japan is that it allows tourists to use different Japan Rail Passes. Rail Passes allow tourists to explore Japan by rail (including bullet trains) and save money at the same time.

I've used them several times during my eight trips to Japan.

The Travel has posed an article on everything you should know about using Japan Rail Pass.

They start it off with:

Every year, millions of people flock to Japan to witness its marvelous and most iconic attractions, including Mount Fuji, Imperial Tokyo, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, historic Kyoto, the Island Shrine of Itsukushima, and much more. They can use the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto when heading to Mount Fuji or take the subway train to a specific place of interest. The simple fact of experiencing the country’s world-leading railway system is just a unique and quintessential part of a Japan trip.

However, those who want to save a lot of money when using the Japanese transportation system can spend some time learning about the convenient and special Japan Rail Pass. This applies to tourists who plan to save much money when exploring a lot in Japan.

Above, a shinkansen view of Mt. Fuji en route to Osaka from Tokyo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read the full article, go here

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Gasoline, Price Still Better Than California

Above, today's prices for gasoline in Jamestown, Mexico.

Hopes that gasoline prices will be dropping were dashed this morning when I checked the Jamestown, New Mexico price at the Pilot/Flying J price website.

They went back up to $4.159/gallon for unleaded regular.

Up to yesterday, the price for unleaded regular was at $4.089/gallon.

Well, at least I'm not in California. As I posted yesterday, the average price for Los Angeles is over $6.00/gallon.

How Ammunition Shortage Will Continue Affect Americans In 2022

Above, the Albuquerque Cabela's ammunition shelves on January 7. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Back in late January, I stopped in at Cabela's sporting goods in Albuquerque and saw nearly full shelves of ammunition. On previous visits, those same shelves were barren (or almost barren).

What is the state of the ammunition shortage?

Techli took a look at it two weeks ago and posted their findings.

They start it with:

The great ammo shortage, a significant spike in demand confronting low supply, has been around for over a year now, frustrating both new and experienced shooters. Many theories have addressed this shortage, among them a sense of fear-buying mainly driven by the pandemic and people wanting to buy as much ammunition as possible with the more they hear about the dwindling supply. 

However, a closer look at the current state of manufacturers in the industry indicates that the increasing number of firearm owners has pushed them to produce more handguns and supplies at a faster pace, which naturally takes more time to fully cover the market’s needs. In short, it is not that ammunition is no longer being produced, but that previous assumptions about demand are no longer valid. But how will the industry combat the current shortage and what’s to expect from suppliers in 2022?

Above, the ammunition shelves at the Albuquerque Cabela's on January 24. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here.

Transgender Women Turned Away At Ukraine’s Borders, Have To Fight

The Russia-Ukraine war is causing interesting situations outside of the fight itself.

Many Ukrainians are fleeing the country as refugees to other countries, but some are being stopped at the border and told to go back and fight. Herein lies the problem. 

From The Gateway Pundit:

Meanwhile in the Ukraine…

Ukraine is blocking transgender women (biological males) from fleeing to neighboring countries as refugees.

Last month Ukraine ordered all men ages 18 to 60 to stay behind and fight Russian troops as women and children seek refuge in Poland, Moldova and Romania.

Trans ‘women’ in Ukraine are being turned away by border guards because their passports still identify them as “males.”

According to Ukraine’s martial law, all males must stay and fight.

And, some are being physically checked.

From The Guardian:

“Ukrainian border guards undress you and touch you everywhere,” Judis says. “You can see on their faces they’re wondering ‘what are you?’ like you’re some kind of animal or something.”

By the way, Russia is transphobic.

To read more, go here

NOTE: I take no position on transgender issues. To each their own.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

First Issue of My Superman Subscription

There are some things in one's life experiences that stick to one even after 56 years have passed.

Back in the 1960s, DC Comics (known then as National Periodical Publications) offered subscriptions to their comics. If I remember correctly, a year's subscription (10 issues) to their comics was $1.00. At that time, comic books cost 12 cents on the newsstand with 80-page giants costing 25 cents (they were called annuals before). The 80-page giants weren't included in subscriptions.

I subscribed to Superman back in late 1965 and the first issue of my subscription was Superman no. 182 (January 1966 cover date). Someone posted the cover of the issue in a Curt Swan Facebook fan page.

The cover was penciled by Swan and inked by Sheldon Moldoff. It appears Superman's face was re-done by Al Plastino (for whatever reason). 

This particular comic book is now considered a "key issue" as it was the first Silver Age appearance of The Toyman (Winslow Percival Schott). A copy of it is now listed at eBay for $89.99

I still have my copy.

This is the cover of that issue:

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