"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Friday, May 27, 2022

The View Flies Off the Handle Over 2nd Amendment

As surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, whenever a tragedy like the Uvalde, Texas shooting happens, Democrats are fast to go on the attack against Republicans and the Second Amendment.

It has happened again, this time it was the wackos on The View

The Patriot Journal reported:

Whenever something horrible happens in America, Democrats show their true colors. Before anyone can even grieve, they start pushing the politics.

It was no different after the terrible events in Uvalde, TX. Perhaps the worst takes have come from the empty-headed hosts of The View. They took “making a tragedy political” to the next level.

From Fox News:

In the aftermath of the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, MSNBC and ABC’s “The View” used the tragedy to tear into Republicans and propose drastic gun reform measures, some of which included outright removing guns from civilian hands…

In the same segment, [Whoopi] Goldberg became agitated, threatening physical violence if Republicans continued to express empathy for the victims of the Texas shooting.

“I swear to god if I see another Republican senator talk about their heart being broken, I’ma go punch somebody,” Goldberg said.

“I can’t take it, and their thoughts and prayers. If your thoughts and prayers were really with everybody you’d have done something by now,” Goldberg added.

You read that right. Left-wing host of The View, former actress Whoopi Goldberg, said she was angered over the fact that Republicans “empathized” with victims.

Really, Whoopi? You’re upset that Republicans want to express kindness and compassion after a tragic event?

Key Takeaways:

  • The View expressed anger at Republicans who empathized with Uvalde victims 

  • Whoopi Goldberg threatened violence against people who expressed sorrow over the event. 

  • Democrats have exploited the shooting to push a radical political agenda.


To read more, go here

My thoughts and prayers are with those on The View so that they can get over their mental illnesses.

New Mexico Governor's Mansion Used State Funds For Party

There she goes again.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's campaign had to reimburse the state for a political event held last year in the Governor's Mansion in Santa Fe.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican:

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office tapped into a taxpayer-funded expense account to pay for a political event at the governor’s mansion in October, prompting her reelection campaign to quietly reimburse the state two months later.

Documents obtained under a public records request show New Mexicans for Michelle, the governor’s campaign committee, issued the state a $1,837 check in December to pay for expenses stemming from a Democratic Governors Association party hosted by Lujan Grisham in Santa Fe.

At the time, Lujan Grisham was serving as chairwoman of the association, a Washington, D.C.-based political organization dedicated to electing Democratic governors and other candidates.

Lujan Grisham’s contingency fund spending has been a source of controversy in the past, and it’s given the governor’s critics, particularly Republicans hoping to win back control of the Governor’s Office in November, ammunition to use against her as she runs for a second term.

To read more, go here

RV Life: Will there Be Major Fuel Shortages This Summer?

Above, the good ol' days of gas prices six years ago. Photo by Armand Vaquer. 

It's a good thing that I didn't make any RV park/campground reservations or purchase tickets to any attractions in the eastern part of Wyoming or in the Black Hills of South Dakota for a summer vacation trip. 

Those tentative plans fell by the wayside when gas prices began to skyrocket into the stratosphere.

RV Life asks this question: "Will there Be Major Fuel Shortages This Summer?" in a new article.

They begin with:

By now, RV owners are well aware of the massive spikes in fuel costs over the past 6 months. Whether your rig runs on diesel or gas, prices at the pump have been shocking to say the least.

According to AAA gas prices on May 22, the national average price for gasoline is $4.59/gallon, while the average cost of diesel is $5.56/gallon. A year ago, the average price of gas was $3.04/gallon, and diesel was $3.18/gallon. RVers need to fasten their seatbelts and hold onto their hats because low supplies and high demand is going to push prices up even more over summer. 

Doesn't that sound just swell? 

To read further, go here.

Hawaii Sees Accelerated Tourism Recovery

Above, the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Some numbers are in with regard to Hawaii's tourism recovery.

It appears that the recovery is accelerating as weeks go on after reopening to tourists according to TravelPulse.

TravelPulse begins with:

Hawaii's post-pandemic recovery was accelerated this spring as the islands hosted 818,268 visitors in April. The figure represents a 96.3 percent recovery from April 2019 nearly one year prior to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis and the highest recovery rate since the start of the pandemic in Hawaii.

According to other preliminary visitor statistics released by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) on Thursday, visitors spent $1.6 billion in the islands last month, which is an increase of 21 percent compared to the $1.32 billion reported for April 2019.

A majority of Hawaii's April visitors arrived by air from the U.S. West (514,878) or the U.S. East (188,868).

To read more, go here

Thursday, May 26, 2022

El Rancho Hotel's Player Piano

Above, the player piano in the El Rancho's lobby. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Yesterday, I had to take friend Larry Lucier to his weekly physical therapy in Gallup.

Following his therapy session, we headed over to the El Rancho Hotel for dinner. I had the usual chili rellenos.

After dinner, we heard piano playing along with other instruments in the lobby. Upon closer look (and listening), the music was coming from a player piano. Along with piano, it had other sounds of different percussion instruments, including drumming.

I have seen the player piano in the lobby, but never have heard it being played. We stopped and listened for a while.

I made a short video of it and just uploaded it to YouTube:

Japan: Accepting Tour Groups June 10

Above, a view from Tokyo City View in Roppongi. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Nikkei Asia just reported that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced a resumption of tourism:

TOKYO -- Japan will reopen its borders to international tourists on June 10, starting with tour groups, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Thursday.

To read more, go here

Additionally, Time Out Tokyo posted:

Despite many setbacks, Japan has started to slowly resume travel and tourism. This month, a limited number of foreign tourists were allowed to enter on a trial basis and more border restrictions are set to ease further from June 1. 

As reported by The Yomiuri Shimbun, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced tonight (Thursday May 26) that Japan will now allow foreign tourists to enter the country via package tours from Friday June 10, ahead of a full resumption of inbound tourism. Additionally, international flights will be expanded to cover Sapporo's New Chitose Airport and Okinawa's Naha Airport. 

To read more, go here.

Uvalde Mayor Explodes On Beto O'Rourke: "You're A Sick Son of A Bitch"

Former Congressman Beto O'Rourke disgraced himself by interrupting a press conference held by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

From the National Review:

This afternoon, Beto O’Rourke disgracefully interrupted a press conference about the shooting in Uvalde so that he could shout at Governor Greg Abbott:

"It's on you."

In a striking moment, Texas gubernatorial candidate @BetoORourke interrupts Gov. Greg Abbott's press conference about the Uvalde shooting. pic.twitter.com/jINIAave6Y

— The Recount (@therecount) May 25, 2022

O’Rourke told Abbott, “This is on you.” 

When O'Rourke said that, Mayor Don McLaughlin of Uvalde was having none of it.

From The Hill:

McLaughlin, who was sitting in the back row in a blue shirt and khakis, interrupted him and repeated said, “sir, you are out of line.”

He then stated, “I can’t believe you’re a sick son of a bitch who would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who was also onstage, told O’Rourke to “sit down” and not “play this stunt.”

 To see a Rumble video of the incident, go here.


Japan To Allow Package Tours Starting June 6

Above, the Godzilla statue at Toho Studios in Setagaya. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The following from the Japan Times may or may not be speculation, but if it is correct, it looks like the planned G-TOUR for this fall qualifies. 

The prime minister is to make the announcement (unless he already has) sometime today.

According to the Japan Times:

The government will allow foreign tourists to enter Japan on package tours from June 6, TV Asahi reported late Wednesday, paving the way for the full resumption of inbound tourism, which has been suspended for more than two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to make the announcement as early as Thursday.

The expected move comes after Japan began a trial of package tours involving foreign tourists on Tuesday. The visitors need to be vaccinated three times, including a booster shot, to participate in the tours, which each consist of a small number of people.

Japan is currently the only Group of Seven country still refusing to allow the normal entry of foreign tourists.

I do wonder, if this is correct, how many in package tour will they allow in? "Small number", what do they mean by that?

To read more, go here


Tour groups will be allowed into Japan on June 10, it has been announced.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Japan Mulls Allowing Foreign Tourists In June

Above, the Asahi Beer Hall and the Tokyo Skytree. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This has to be one of those cases of "when I see it, I'll believe it."

The Japanese government is expected to announce their foreign tourism plan tomorrow. They are going to double the quota of foreign tourists allowed in to 20,000 and relax other restrictions.

According to the Mainichi Shimbun:

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese government is making final arrangements to resume accepting foreign tourists in June, further relaxing its border controls imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

Since March, Japan has been easing its COVID-19 border controls, planning to double the cap on overseas arrivals to 20,000 per day starting on June 1. The country will accept foreign tourists within the quota, the sources said.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to announce the plan Thursday at the earliest, they added.

To read more, go here

School Shooting Suspect Details Emerge

One could almost predict that yesterday's shooting at a Texas school was going to happen given the suspect's history. It was glaringly obvious.

Why there was no intervention with this kid (age 18) is beyond me. 

The Daily Wire reported:

New disturbing details emerged late on Tuesday evening about the 18-year-old male who shot up an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, earlier in the day.

The suspect was quickly killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent who reportedly heard the shots and rushed into the building, but not before the suspect shot dozens of people, including at least 19 children who ultimately succumbed to their injuries.

A report in The Washington Post about the suspect, whom The Daily Wire is not naming due to company policy about not giving notoriety to mass killers, painted a familiar portrait of a violent individual who appears to have previous encounters with law enforcement officials.

The Washington Post, which reported that the mass murderer was bullied for wearing black eyeliner and having a lisp according to family and friends, reported that those closest to the suspect said that he had “lashed out violently against peers and strangers recently and over the years.”

The suspect, a Latino male, reportedly cut up his own face with a knife because he claimed that it was “fun,” according to one of the suspect’s former friends.

Naturally, as one can also predict:

Democrats immediately seized on the tragedy as many called for new gun control laws, while other Democrats used it as a cudgel to attack Republicans.

As their mandra states, "Why let a crisis go to waste?"

From The Federalist:

Ten years ago, the deadly massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School proved the need for armed security protecting K-12 classrooms.

There's more security at any local DMV office than in our elementary schools. I haven't heard of any mass shootings at DMVs.

It has been reported that the killer exchanged gunfire with police before entering the school and barricaded himself inside a classroom. Thank God that U.S. Border Patrol agent was able to take him down.

To read more, go here.

Top 10 Things To Know About Yellowstone

Above, stay on the boardwalks while visiting thermal hot springs. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

As we are a month away from the onset of the summer vacation season, many will be heading to Wyoming and Montana to visit Yellowstone National Park.

There are things to know about Yellowstone that people should be aware of and Explore Big Sky has ten of them. These are for the protection the park and for visitors.

They begin with:

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. – On March 1, 150 years ago, Yellowstone became America’s first national park for all to enjoy. Within Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres, visitors have unparalleled opportunities to observe wildlife in an intact ecosystem, explore geothermal areas that contain half the world’s active geysers and view geologic wonders like the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.

Follow the top 10 things to know to enjoy your visit and protect the park today and for the next 150 years!

To read more, go here

Stupidity of Tourists At Yellowstone

Above, since Yellowstone is not a petting zoo and bison are very
dangerous, I used a zoom lens for this shot. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Every so often, a story would pop up about some Bozo tourist at Yellowstone National Park doing something incredibly stupid.

Sometimes, their stupidity is rewarded with fatal results at worst and sometimes it is rewarded with residency in jail for a spell at best.

On this topic, TravelPulse has posted an article which begins with:

Here’s my Public Service Announcement of the Week for tourists. It’s free by the way.

Dear Tourists,

Yellowstone National Park – or any other area open to the public that is also home to wildlife – is not a freakin’ petting zoo at the County Fair. So stop trying to touch or feed or take a photo or, worse, a selfie, next to a bison or a bear!

Love, Richie

See, it’s that time of year again. Yellowstone and our other great national parks are about to be overrun by visitors who have been aching to travel for two-plus years.

That’s a good thing. Travel and tourism is always a good thing.

Yet the stupidity of some of these people is a bad thing. A very bad thing. And it can’t just be blamed on the current state of events in the world. That would be low-hanging fruit, given the enormity of the amount of existing idiocy.

To read more, go here

Japan Tops World Tourism Ranking

Above, Tokyo's Kappabashi "Kitchen Town". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Ironic as it may seem, Japan ranks number one in world tourism ranking, but the country is closed off (with few exceptions) to foreign tourism.

The Japan Times reported:

DAVOS, SWITZERLAND – Japan on Tuesday came out ranking highest on a list of destinations in a 2021 travel and tourism development report by the World Economic Forum, despite the country being closed to foreign tourists due to restrictions against the coronavirus.

Topping the list for the first time, Japan ranked highly for its cultural resources and in several infrastructure categories, with the United States ranked second and Spain third.

Japan ranked fourth overall in the biennial report for air transport infrastructure and cultural resources, sixth for ground and port infrastructure, and 12th for natural resources. But it ranked low for its response to climate change, coming in 107th place.

To read more, go here

Japan Firms Want To See Faster Progress On Tourism Reopening

Above, the international arrival lobby at Narita Airport. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Japan government's overly-cautious stance on foreign tourists is irritating to Japanese firms, particularly ones in the travel industry.

The Japan Times reported:

Businesspeople in Japan, particularly those in the tourism sector, are unsettled by what appears to them to be overly cautious government policy toward resuming tourism from abroad as the country's economy struggles to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan is set to further ease COVID-19 border controls by raising its cap on overseas arrivals to 20,000 people per day from June, following Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's remarks earlier this month that the country will relax restrictions in line with other Group of Seven countries.

But only a limited number of tourists will be allowed in for the time being, and the government has not yet indicated when Japan will start accepting all tourists from overseas.

As a result, Japan is now the only G7 country rejecting foreign tourists due to the pandemic. According to the Japan Association of Travel Agents, "a very limited number of countries such as Japan and China" do not accept foreign tourists.

Japan will, however, simplify testing and quarantine rules on arrival starting next month, dividing countries and regions into three groups according to infection risk levels. It will continue to require COVID-19 tests prior to departure for all countries. 

"As vaccination is underway, I don't see what (the Japanese government) is protecting the public from," said a senior official of an airline company.

Masakazu Tokura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, told a news conference on May 9, "Many Japanese traveled abroad for sightseeing and leisure during the Golden Week holidays. On the other hand, Japan is still not allowing foreigners to enter Japan for tourism.

To read more, go here

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Yosemite's Tioga Pass To Open Friday

Above, the drive along Tioga Road. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For those wanting to enter Yosemite National Park from the Owens Valley on the east, Tioga Pass and Tioga Road will be reopening this coming Friday.

The Union Democrat reported:

The annual spring-summer reopening of Tioga Road — Highway 120 in Yosemite National Park — is planned to occur at 9 a.m. Friday, park authorities announced last week.

Tioga Road and Tioga Pass, the state’s highest paved route over the Central Sierra crest, are closed every winter due to snow. Tioga Pass has been closed since Oct. 21.

Tioga Road provides access for motorists to multiple features in the north half of the park, which lies within Tuolumne County, including the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, Tuolumne Meadows, and Mount Dana. 

Along with the announcement about Tioga Pass, the article also mentions that reservations to enter Yosemite are required, so visitors should read up first before going.

To read more, go here.

What Is Boondocking Camping?

Above, boondocking on the Keene Ranch near Tehachapi. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Over the years, I have done boondocking camping and have written about it here. Regular readers will know what it is.

A few hours ago, TheTravel posted an article titled, "What Is Boondocking & Why Do People Love It?"

So, if you are one of those who are wondering this, you should go over and read the article.

They begin it with:

Many people fancy escaping the typical life routine, hitting the road to find beauty somewhere and experience something new. There is nothing as fun as leaving the town and going on a wilderness adventure! But since the usual noisy campsites surrounded by crowds of people can be tiring, travelers can always go on an amazing wilderness adventure without experiencing crowds of other noisy campers. This is what people call boondocking, and although travelers new to RVing may not be aware of the concept, it is a fascinating camping experience. So, what exactly is boondocking, and why do people love it?

To read more, go here

Meanwhile, At The Corral

Above, the Jeep at the corral today. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For the first time since I had the Jeep's brakes done, I took a drive in it over to the corral and entrance gate to Six Mile Canyon.

Due to extreme fire danger, the Cibola National Forest is closed. Six Mile Canyon is part of the national forest as is the shooting area. 

Above, yours truly at the corral.

The gate was locked shut and there's a big notice posted indicating Six Mile Canyon was closed. There was also a big sign at the shooting area as well.

Above, the national forest closure sign. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Speaking of the shooting area, I observed a vehicle there and notified the McKinley County Sheriff. We were requested to do so at last Saturday's meeting. The vehicle left before the sheriff arrived (he responded in eight minutes). I was about to cancel the call but he arrived before I could do so. We chatted a bit. 

Above, the Jeep and corral from inside the gate. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

On the way home, I stopped at friend Nandoh's house and we visited a bit. He was working on his 1964 Jeep CJ5. 

Above, the shooting area closure sign. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The little rain we had yesterday did wonders with the dust that was in the air. The air was nice and fresh despite the winds we are having today. The temperature was in the 60s, but it is to get warmer out tomorrow.

World Atlas On Monument Valley

Above, some of Monument Valley's massive sandstone rock formations. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Monument Valley is a well-known area that straddles the Utah-Arizona border. It was a favorite place to shoot western movies by director John Ford.

For those wondering about Monument Valley, which is a tribal park of the Navajo Nation, World Atlas has just posted some factoids about it.

They begin with:

Monument Valley is a valley located in Navajo Tribal Park, across the border of the U.S. states of Arizona and Utah. The Valley features massive rock formations, including hills, cliffs, and buttes. Monument Valley is considered one of the grandest and most photographed attractions globally, exhibiting sandstone masterpieces that reach 1,000 feet in height. 

To read more, go here

Foreigners Visit "Timid Japan" On Trial Basis

Above, Narita Airport international arrival lobby. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Some years back, Japan had travel posters that read, "Discover Japan" and the like. Today, they should issue new posters that read, "Timid Japan".

Japan is now taking "tippy-toe" steps in restarting tourism into the country. Small tour groups are being allowed in with ridiculous restrictions.

According to Nikkei Asia:

TOKYO -- Japan's government on Tuesday started a trial reopening to foreign tour groups, as a first step toward a planned wider relaxation of rules in June, as the country emerges from a long border shutdown due to COVID-19.

The government will draw up guidelines for a safe revival of tourism from information gathered in this trial. However, with only 50 participants in the project, there are worries that there will not be enough data collected, which could delay a full reopening.

Japan has already opened to foreigners, to an extent, with a limit of 10,000 visitors per day but these arrivals tend to be workers and students under special visas.

On Tuesday afternoon, a group of tourists arrived from the U.S. at Tokyo's Narita Airport. They will stay for eight days, taking tours to popular destinations such as Nikko Toshogu Shrine in Tochigi Prefecture and Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture.

Six travel agents will take a total of 15 groups during the trial period that lasts until early June. Tourists from Singapore, Thailand and Australia are also expected to take part in the project.

Each tour group will comprise up to four people, who will be accompanied by a tour guide.

Nippon Travel Agency will use cars for travel within a prefecture. Tourists will be required to wear face masks on bullet trains.  

These tourists will have their temperatures taken daily. The tour guides will also carry antigen test kits, and if an infection is suspected, arrangements will be made with local medical facilities.

To read more, go here

Poll: Americans Forced To Cut Back On Spending

At this point in this mid-term election year, I would not want to be a leader in the Democrat Party. Things are going to hell in a handbasket and much of the problems rests with them, especially His Fraudulency Joe Biden.

KRQE posted a poll from NewsNation in an article posted yesterday.

They wrote (some snippets):

CHICAGO (NewsNation) — Americans’ lives have fundamentally changed in response to rampant inflation, according to a new NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll released Monday. Across the country, consumers are cutting back on dining and entertainment but also essentials including groceries and gasoline.

Nearly half of those surveyed said they are worse off financially today than they were a year ago. By comparison, only 18% of respondents said they were better off.

Even the post-pandemic travel boom is in jeopardy as people reconsider what they can afford.

With Memorial Day just around the corner, nearly half of registered voters say they’ve changed summer vacation plans — some moving trips closer to home but most saying they have had to cancel plans altogether.

More than 70% of respondents said they have had to cut back on purchases over the last month.

Opinions on the underlying causes of inflation vary widely, with some people NewsNation spoke to Sunday blaming President Joe Biden and the federal government.

“I feel that Washington has failed us miserably and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop,” said Earl Schwartzhoff of Minnesota.

Schwartzhoff said Biden should prioritize domestic oil production and restart construction on the Keystone XL pipeline in order to curb energy prices.

Remember the mantra during the Clinton years: "It's the economy, stupid!"

To read the full article, go here

Monday, May 23, 2022

Finally Some Rain

Above, the deck just after the rain started. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We're getting some rain in Jamestown, New Mexico. This is the first rain since March. 

It isn't a monsoon rain (that starts next month), but we'll gladly take whatever we can get. 

So far, it is  light sprinkling, but it is enough to wet everything outside. It should be enough to green up the area a little. 

Above, the deck and barbecue are wet. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is expected to last a few hours this evening. If it moves eastward, it could help with the ongoing fires.

Earlier this afternoon, I was talking with one of the Navajo clerks at the Flying J about the rain. She said she hopes it does rain. I said, "You could do a rain dance to urge it!" She had a good laugh over that.

UFO Trail: 6 Places Every Extraterrestrial Fan Must Visit


Above, the Roswell International UFO Museum and Research Center. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

"Keep watching the skies!" 

That was what the original The Thing From Another World said at the end of the movie. And that was in 1951 and produced by Edward Lasker and Howard Hawks.

The federal government lately has been a little more forthcoming with information when it concerns UFOs. There are some places where those who are interested in them can go.

Outlook India has posted an article on the six places every extraterrestrial fan should visit.

They begin it with:

"The truth is out there, but so are lies."

X-Files had a quite an impact on a whole generation (and beyond). From checking every moving light in the sky to becoming alien-obsessed nerds and space enthusiasts, some of us grew up with much more fascination for the third kind, than the ones around us.

So many sci-fi fans have considered taking up the profession of a UFO hunter, or wanted to visit places where some sort of alien-related activity has been reported. Across the world, there exist several ancient structures which have mysterious origins (leading to conspiracy theories). In other locations, there have been reports of strange events and sightings.

From mysterious ranches to Martian-themed parties, here are some destinations to visit if you are a fan of the third kind.  

To read more, go here

Best Small Towns Near Petrified Forest National Park

Above, Standin' On A Corner Park in Winslow, Arizona. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Arizona is an interesting state. 

One one hand, it is a big desert. On the other, it has pine-covered forests and ranchlands to enjoy.

Often overlooked are small towns to check out. A lot of them are along Interstate 40 in the northern half of the state.

TravelAwaits spotlights five of them within easy reach of Petrified Forest National Park.

They begin with:

The thing about Arizona is that you can enjoy so many different experiences depending on where you are within the state. Within just 3 hours, you can go from the valley of big city Scottsdale to the small towns up north. 

We chose to visit these small towns while on our travels through the White Mountains and beyond, as we always like towns that have a vibrant downtown with unique things to see and do. Stop in and visit these towns when you’re in the area!

Petrified Forest National Park has no RV campgrounds, but there's a KOA Kampground in nearby Holbrook. 

Above, camping is available at the Holbrook KOA Kampground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here

10 RV Tips Beginners Should Know

Above, The Beast on Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There's a lot of beginners who have entered the "RV lifestyle" over the past several years, even more so since the pandemic started two years ago.

With that in mind, there's a few things beginners should know before (and even during) heading out on the road in their new RV.

MotorBiscuit has a list of ten tips for them.

They begin with:

Whether you are camping for the weekend, taking a summer road trip, or living full-time on the road, traveling in an RV can be the adventure of a lifetime. However, there are a lot of things you need to know before heading out on the road. We’ve put together 10 RV tips to help beginners stay safe and comfortable before pulling into a campground.

To read more, go here

Classic Rock Music Monday

The stuff that now passes as "music", particularly rock 'n roll, leaves me cold. So, to start off the week, here's a video of a classic rock artist.'

Here's the Jefferson Airplane performing their hit "White Rabbit" at the Woodstock rock festival in August 1969. Incredibly, their performance ended up on the "cutting room floor" before the movie Woodstock was released in 1970. For those who only know Woodstock from the movie wouldn't even know the Jefferson Airplane were even there.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Rain Tomorrow Night?

Above, an early June rainstorm, just so we don't forget what they look like. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Lord Almighty!

I received a Precipitation Alert on my cell phone. It said that there's a chance of rain tomorrow afternoon (well, we are getting close to monsoon season).

I then went over to the National Weather Service website and here's their forecast:

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 46. Breezy, with a southwest wind 20 to 25 mph decreasing to 10 to 15 mph after midnight.
Mostly cloudy, with a high near 73. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph becoming west 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon.
Monday Night
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 38. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph becoming southeast 5 to 10 mph in the evening.

I hope we do get some rain, we sure do need it!

RV Industry Is Still Booming

Above, new transported RVs stopped at the Jamestown, New Mexico Flying J. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Despite record gasoline and diesel prices, the RV industry is still having a boom in sales, incredible as it may seem.

People are still buying up RVs, when they can find them or they wait for their ordered RV is built. There is currently a backlog of ordered RVs waiting to be built and delivered.

Yahoo! News posted:

May 22—OXFORD — Interest rates are up, fuel and diesel prices are near record levels and inflation fears are real and growing. Yet, one sector of the economy is still booming — sales of new and used recreational vehicles, or RV's.

"People are still buying," was the unhesitant response from Rick Emmert, sales manager at Call of the Wild RV Center in Oxford

The March 2022 shipment report from the RV Industry Association shows 64,454 units were shipped, an increase of 18.7% over March 2021, when 54,291 units shipped. The association does not offer membership to RV dealers, instead, its focus is on manufacturers, suppliers and RV aftermarket companies. The forecast for RV sales for 2022 points to a second best year in the industry, according to the quarterly forecast prepared by ITR Economics for the RV Industry Association.

To read more, go here

Full RV Lots: Looks Are Deceiving

Above, the California RV Show before the pandemic. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

These days, when one drives past an RV dealer's lot and sees a "full" lot, he/she may think that there's no shortage of RV for sale.

Looks can be deceiving and a new article by RV Travel gives the reasons why.

They begin with:

RV dealer lots around the country are slowly starting to refill, but things are far from normal despite what RVers are seeing as they pass dealer lots along the highway.

The Enumclaw RV Show in Washington state recently announced it was canceling the show, originally set for July 28-31, after being informed that RV dealers and manufacturers wouldn’t be able to provide enough RV inventory at the show.

“The popularity of RVs has resulted in significantly reduced inventory levels for the industry in 2022,” says a statement on the Enumclaw RV Show website. “As a result, the unfortunate decision to cancel the 2022 Enumclaw RV Show had to be made as there were just not enough RVs to display and provide an exceptional show.”

The company that operates the Enumclaw RV show also manages RV shows in Seattle and Puyallup, Washington. Those shows went forward earlier this year, but dealers had so few new rigs to display, they were allowed to bring used rigs to the shows to mix in with the new. 

What's going on? 

Read further to find out by going here

Jeep's Brakes Fixed

Above, the Jeep after getting back from the Flying J. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Jeep is back on the road again.

Clint, one of the members of the community in Jamestown, got the work done. 

After he was finished, we took it out for a test drive. The brakes worked fine. 

Later, I took the Jeep down to the Flying J to fill up the Jeep's gas tank and found that the gas price for unleaded regular went down to $4.349/gallon. It was $4.459 the other day. This was a bit of a pleasant surprise.

The Jeep can use a little cleaning after sitting for months. I'll do that tomorrow.

RVs and Highway Traffic

Above, yours truly on the road to Roswell, New Mexico with my cat Sierra.

Whenever I travel in my RV, I make the trip a lot easier by leaving early in the morning (I'm an early riser) before traffic builds up. I also use my motorhome's cruise control for more stress-free driving and better mileage.

Sometimes, getting caught in heavy traffic is unavoidable, such as the traffic following the Great American Eclipse in 2017 in Idaho.

RV Life has some tips (nine of them) for dealing with highway traffic.

They begin with:

Driving an RV in heavy highway traffic can be very stressful. As much as we may not like it, we’re going to run into highway traffic at some point in our RV life. 

While we may not be able to avoid highway traffic in our RVs, there are things we can do to increase our own safety and the safety of others until we can get out of it. We researched to find the best tips to help you deal with highway traffic in your RV. 

To read more, go here

RV Life: Pros and Cons of Group Camping

Above, a 2017 Platrix Chapter of ECV clampout on the Keene Ranch. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Twice a year (sometimes more), I camp with the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus. These camping trips are called "clampouts". These are usually attended by a couple of hundred people.

Due to the excessive high gasoline prices, I had to skip the most recent clampout. 

I have been doing this for almost 40 years with different ECV chapters. I have always had a good time.

Some people like group camping and some don't. RV Life has an article on the pros and cons of group camping.

They begin it with:

Group camping can be a fun way to spend time with friends, family, and colleagues. Some people have found that it’s a great way for them to have fun and bond, while others think it is crowded, overwhelming, and not worth the money. Both experiences can be true, so it’s important to explore the pros and cons of group camping. 

Many people have gone camping with their families or friends in the past, but as you add more people into the mix, there’s more potential for fun and disaster. Preparation is always important, but there are some commons pros and cons that are worth remembering.

If you’re interested in group camping, we’re here to educate you about what it is and why people do it. There are lots of positive aspects of the experiences, but there are negative ones as well. Many of the aspects we’ll discuss below will vary depending on the specific campground/campsite you’re using. These are generalizations, but they are good guidelines that will help you determine if group camping is a good option for you.

To read more, go here

Tokyo Skytree Marks 10th Anniversary of Opening

Above, the Tokyo Skytree as seen from Roppongi Hills. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is hard to believe, but today marks ten years since the opening of the Tokyo Skytree on May 22, 2012.

The first time I saw it was during my December 2010 trip to Japan. It was not completed at the time. I visited the Tower in 2014 but didn't go up to the observation deck until the following year.

Above, the Tokyo Skytree under construction in 2010. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The anniversary is being commemorated in Tokyo.

According to nippon.com:

Tokyo, May 22 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo Skytree in Sumida Ward in the Japanese capital, known as the world’s tallest self-sustaining tower, marked the 10th anniversary of its opening on Sunday.

The Tobu Railway Co. group, which operates the 634-meter tower and an adjacent commercial complex, is organizing commemorative events, including the live broadcasting of a show performed by Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo XI at a top section of the tower.

As Tokyo Tower in Minato Ward, which used to be the primary television broadcast tower in the region, faced difficulty in ensuring complete broadcasting coverage after high-rise buildings were built around it, TV broadcasters in Tokyo started considering developing a replacement facility.

Above, a nighttime view from the Sumida River. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Tokyo Skytree is so tall that there's hardly a place in Tokyo where it can't be seen. It dominates the skyline of the city.

Above, a view from Kappabashi "Kitchen Town". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here.

Above, the Skytree from its base. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Emergency Disaster Planning Meeting Was Held

Above, the Whispering Cedars Fire Station where the meeting was held. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Emergency Disaster Planning Meeting was held this morning at the Whispering Cedars Fire Station.

We were in the station's conference room, which wasn't big enough to hold everybody. Why they didn't hold it in the main section where the fire vehicles are kept is beyond me. We had a meeting there a few years ago and it worked out just fine.

The agenda wasn't exactly followed, but most everything on it were addressed by the end of the meeting.

Unfortunately, some of the speakers had a habit of giving long, detailed answers to simple questions. It was a case of "ask him the time and he'll give you the history of watch-making." Oh, well.

At least we found that no prescribed fires are planned for the area. That's comforting to hear. A prescribed burn got out of control near Santa Fe (and is still burning) and merged with another fire.

Interestingly, the juniper and pinon pines in the area usually have around 100% moisture content during normal years. Now they are in the 80s (I think 87% was stated). They need moisture to make sap to fight bark beetles.

We do have a CodeRed alert system in McKinley County. Access to it is through the county website. All one has to do is go to the website and register, which I found to be easy. I registered while at the meeting.

There are currently no evacuation plans, but those are being formulated now. As for livestock and pets, there is the possibility of using the Red Rock Park stables or the Prewitt Fairgrounds stables. They are working on that as well. The main problem is transporting the animals out of danger.

The main bone of contention was the shooting area on National Forest land. It needs to be closed for the duration of the National Forest Stage 3 fire restrictions (closure) that the rest of the Cibola National Forest is under.

One oddity of New Mexico. Fireworks are sold year-round, and not even the governor can halt sales. 

Authorities can "recommend" evacuation, but they cannot force anyone to evacuate in a disaster in New Mexico if they refuse to leave. Interesting.

I talked to one of the guest speakers after the meeting. I spoke with McKinley County Commissioner Billy Moore about freeway signs for Interstate 40. There are no signs pointing the way to Jamestown, just "Refinery". Since we don't live in "Refinery, New Mexico", we need signs for Jamestown. He gave me the contact person information at the New Mexico Department of Transportation to get freeway signs.

It was a useful meeting.

Emergency Disaster Planning Meeting Agenda

Above, the Whispering Cedars Fire Station. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since we have the Cibola National Forest behind our Whispering Cedars and Mesa Ridge Ranch communities, a meeting is being called today to discuss Emergency Disaster Planning at the fire station.

The agenda is as follows:

Emergency Disaster Planning Meeting

May 21, 2022

10:00 AM

Whispering Cedars Volunteer Fire Department

 Scott Williams

Guest Speakers:

  Yolanda Begay-USFS

  James Maiorano- Under Sheriff with MCSO

  Billy Moore- McKinley County Commissioners

  Adam Berry-Emergency Manager McKinley County

  Tim Berry-McKinley County Fire and EMS

   Ron Shultz-McKinley County Fire and EMS        

 We are requesting that questions be held until each speaker is finished.  At that time the floor will be open for questions and remarks for that specific speaker.  Please keep questions specific to the topics discussed.

Topics to be discussed:

What resources will be available if we have a wildfire. 

where do we go and what happens to our livestock, pets etc. 

What type of security measures can we expect from law enforcement?

Emergency evacuation plans specific for our immediate communities.

Is there a phone alert system that we can be included in?

List of things to have ready to go if an evacuation is necessary.

Gun Range west of community. 

Can fires be sparked?

Is it possible for the Forest Service to also put a wooden post for closure, restriction notices near the entrance to the gun range?

Can the gun range also be closed with the annual winter closing?

What do we do about those that chose to use the gun range in the middle of the night?


Campers in lower Six Mile Canyon.

Potential campfires

Parking on grasses 

If electricity should go out, we possibly could have limited access to water.

Recommendations for our community to make it safer. 

The safety of brush cutting

Household trash burning

We would sincerely like to extend our thanks for each of our guest speakers. 

The Jamestown and surrounding communities

10 Things To Do In Key West In One Day

Above, number 7 on the list, exploring the Key West Lighthouse. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

During our cruise to Havana, Cuba three years ago (has it really been that long ago?), our ship stopped at Key West, Florida for a few hours of exploring the town.

Thankfully, part of our cruise package included trolley transportation to take us to different attractions. I visited the Hemingway House, the Shipwreck Museum, had margaritas at a bar, went to Cigar City USA cigar shop and wandered around other shops. 

TheTravel has posted a list of things one can do in Key West in one day.

They begin with:

The Key West is one of the most wish-listed destinations in Florida, and it's easy to see why. Beautiful beaches, Bahamas-style vibes, and incredible food await eager travelers, and the Florida Keys are more than willing to deliver the perfect vacation. Key West, in particular, can be explored in one day - if a visitor knows exactly where they should be spending their time. For anyone who only has 24 hours to visit Key West, here are some must-do things that can be done in one day.

To read more, go here

Democrats Gun Control Bill: Federal License Needed To Buy One

The Democrats are at it again with highly unconstitutional gun control legislation (not that they've ever stopped) in the U.S. senate.

From American Military News:

Senate Democrats introduced a strict new gun control bill on Thursday that would require all Americans to obtain a five-year federal firearm license before purchasing a single gun. The bill also authorizes the government to confiscate an individual’s guns if the license is revoked.

The Federal Firearm Licensing Act would force Americans to undergo firearm safety training — including a written test and hands-on training — in order to receive a license. Gun buyers would also be required to complete a criminal background check, submit fingerprints and proof of identity, and be over the age of 21.

The bill would also force gun buyers to disclose “identifying information on the firearm that the person intends to obtain, including the make, model, and serial number, and the identity of the firearm seller or transferor.”

To read more, go here

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