"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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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Flying J Raised Unleaded Regular Price Today

What a difference a few hours makes...in one day!

This morning, the Jamestown, New Mexico Flying J gasoline prices were as follows:

Later this morning, I saw their big freeway sign and it did not reflect the above unleaded regular price. So, I checked their website and they did in fact jack up their unleaded regular price.

Here's the current prices:

The "Brilliance" of Kamala Harris On Guns

It's bad enough to have an idiot in the White House, but Kamala Harris is just the icing on the lunatic cake.

She attempted to share her expertise on guns that is totally off the wall and laughable.

From Rumble:

Nothing more really needs to be said.

Biden Steps On Hornet's Nest On Wanting To Ban 9mm Pistols

Above, my trusty Ruger P95 9mm pistol. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the most popular calibers of firearms is the 9mm. I have a Ruger P95 pistol that is my prime defense weapon of choice (and for occasional plinking).

Now His Fraudulency Joe Biden wants to ban 9mm pistols. He also stepped into a hornet's nest on Twitter yesterday as the 9mm is the "most popular" caliber in America.

From Fox News:

President Biden faced a new round of backlash on Twitter for his comments on gun control legislation and 9mm ammo on Memorial Day.

Speaking with reporters outside the White House, Biden told about his efforts to work on gun control legislation with Republicans in Congress following the deadly Uvalde school shooting. While Biden admitted that his executive options are limited, he suggested that 9mm bullets have no "rational basis" to be used for self-defense.

"The .22 caliber bullet will lodge in the lungs and we can get it out. A 9mm bullet blows the lung out of the body. The idea of a high caliber weapon, there is simply no rational basis for it in terms of self-protection, hunting," Biden said.

He also added, "And remember, in the Constitution, the Second Amendment was never absolute. You couldn’t buy a cannon when the Second Amendment was passed. You couldn’t go out and purchase a lot of weapons."

According to the ATF’s Annual Firearms Manufacturing & Export Report, pistols produced in 9mm comprised of approximately 56.8% of new pistols produced in 2019, making up about 42% of pistols produced between 2010 and 2020.

To read more, go here

Gasoline: A Small Reduction

Now that Memorial Day weekend is over, I was curious about the local Flying J prices of gasoline.

For days, unleaded regular had been around $4.469 (give or take), but now it had dipped down a little bit.

Here's the current prices:

Even with the small reduction, it is still higher than in nearby Gallup. The prices for unleaded regular in Gallup usually averages about ten cents less than at the Flying J. Most of the locals fill up in Gallup rather than at the Flying J lately.

I last filled up at the new Maverick travel center in Gallup at $4.319/gallon last week and that's with my two cents per gallon discount card (every little bit helps). 

If gas prices in New Mexico go below $4.00/gallon, then I'd be impressed. Still, at least I'm not in California.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Relaxed Memorial Day

Above, reading in the den with Sierra.

Today has been a relaxed Memorial Day.

I spent most of it reading and listening to music in the den and, while there, I was joined by Sierra. 

After that, I did some chores and loaded up the trash bin. I think Waste Management is moving our collection this week to Wednesday.

 Before heading to Denny's at the Flying J for dinner (I didn't feel like cooking), I watched the John Wayne classic war movie, Sands of Iwo Jima.

Tomorrow, I'll have to get a hold of the vintage Jeep parts company about an order that they goofed up. They sent something else from what I ordered. I've ordered quite a number of things from them and this is the first time they goofed. It happens.

Dinner Group: Moving Native American Dances A "Bad Idea"

Above, Ohkay Oelinge dancing at the County Courthouse Plaza. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last evening, we had our monthly supper group dinner at Gallup historian/author Martin Link's home.

It was a good dinner consisting of tamales.

During the conversation at the dinner, it was the unanimous consensus of the group that moving the Native American dances to the Gallup Cultural Center from the County Courthouse Plaza was a bad idea.

The reasons cited are as follows:

  • Small area not accommodating for large gatherings.
  • Small "arena".
  • Poor parking.
  • Train noise.
  • Poor seating.
Prior to when the dances were held at the Courthouse Plaza, they were held in an area now occupied by the Gallup Skateboard Park. They were moved to the Courthouse Plaza for much of the same reasons cited above. 

Above, the County Courthouse Plaza was ideal for audience participation. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Another reason for the Courthouse Plaza venue: audience participation. Audience participation in the dances requires a large area, which the Courthouse Plaza was ideal for.

Everyone agreed the Courthouse Plaza location was the perfect venue for the dances.

Remembering Those Who Have Fallen


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

First Mexican Hurricane

Above, Barking Spider Road partially washed away last July by a monsoon. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The first Mexican hurricane of 2022 is now forming over the Pacific Ocean and its track will carry it over the Mexican isthmus and into the Gulf of Mexico. This caught my attention.

According to the Associated Press:

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The first hurricane of the season formed off Mexico’s southern Pacific coast Sunday and rapidly gained power ahead of an expected strike along a stretch of tourist beaches and fishing towns as a major storm.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Agatha was expected to make landfall as a powerful Category 3 hurricane Monday afternoon or evening in the area near Puerto Escondido and Puerto Angel in the southern state of Oaxaca — a region that includes the laid-back tourist resorts of Huatulco, Mazunte and Zipolite.

The center warned that the hurricane could deliver a dangerous storm surge.

This hurricane won't affect New Mexico with any monsoon rains. Hurricanes that form further north of the Pacific Ocean and over Baja California do produce monsoon rains in the Southwest. Monsoons usually start around June 15 and go into the end of September. 

Last summer, we had a couple of good ones. One of them partially washed away Barking Spider Road, which left some ruts that I had to repair. 

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.

As today is Memorial Day, this one is not exactly rock, but it is a classic song that hit the Billboard charts in 1966. It got a lot of airplay on rock 'n roll stations. This is for all veterans, living and who have passed on.

It is "The Ballad of the Green Berets" by SSgt Barry Sadler.

According to Wikipedia:

"The Ballad of the Green Berets" is a patriotic song in the ballad style about the United States Army Special Forces. It is one of the few popular songs of the Vietnam War years to cast the military in a positive light and in 1966 became a major hit, reaching No. 1 for five weeks on the Hot 100 and four weeks on Cashbox. It was also a crossover smash, reaching No. 1 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart and No. 2 on Billboard's Country survey. Billboard ranked it No. 10 in its year-end chart for 1966.

"The Ballad of the Green Berets" was recorded by Sadler in December 1965 and released in January 1966. It brings back memories of my grandfather's funeral and burial in February 1966 at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California whenever I hear it. 

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Memorial Day Weekend Flights Getting Canceled

It is a good thing I decided to stay home (or close to home) this Memorial Day weekend.

The media is reporting that hundreds of airline flights ae being canceled or delayed. 

According to Business Insider:

Thousands of flight delays and cancelations are throwing a wrench in many passengers' travel plans this holiday weekend.

More than 4,500 flights from airlines around the world have been canceled since Friday. Airlines canceled 1,100 additional flights Sunday as of early afternoon, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware. This follows 2,300 cancelations on Friday and 1,500 on Saturday, the Associated Press reported. 

Of the flights canceled Sunday, more than 300 of those were flights within, into, or out of the US, FlightAware data shows. 

Delta Chief Customer Experience Officer Allison Ausband said in the Saturday press release that there are several factors impacting the airline, including labor shortages, a rise in COVID-19 rates among staffers, and weather and air traffic control. 

There's nothing like sitting around an airport waiting for a flight to become available. Been there, done that!

To read more, go here.

High Fuel Prices Are A "Transition", Biden Says

Anyone with at least half a brain and who have been paying attention are perfectly aware of His Fraudulency's administration's scheme to get the country off fossil fuels. High fuel prices are intentional.

Finally, a top U.S. senator is coming out and saying so.

From The Epoch Times:

 A top Republican said on Friday that President Joe Biden is raising gas prices on purpose.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made the remarks when he was asked on Fox Business’s “Wall Street with Maria Bartiromo” to respond to Biden’s recent comments where he said raising gas prices is part of “an incredible transition.”

“I think that’s the main takeaway from his statement, that he is telling the American people they’re doing this to you on purpose, that the transition period is being imposed by policies coming from the Biden administration,” he said.

“This is a conscious effort by the Biden administration to destroy fossil fuel production in the United States, to get away from fossil fuels, and you’re living this experience. This is an irresponsible shutting down of oil and gas production in America, making us more dependent on oil and gas from bad actors, and it’s destroying the American economy,” he continued.

Biden characterized the soaring cost of gasoline in the United States as an “incredible transition” on Monday while taking questions from reporters during his trip to Japan.

“When it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over,” he said alongside Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Yes, Biden actually said this! What more proof do you need?

Hopefully, after this year's midterm election, there will be enough votes in congress to impeach and remove Biden from the White House.

To read more, go here.

Memorial Day Camping To Top 2021 Numbers

Above, the main street of Columbia, California in the Mother Lode country in the 1980s. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Back in the "old days", I would take the family up to the Mother Lode gold rush area of California for a Memorial Day weekend of camping in Columbia. We would stay each year at the Marble Quarry RV Park.

That was before the crowds got bigger and traffic worse on the highways and I was much younger as well.

Since then, I have chosen to stay at home and leave the driving to others. 

It looks like, despite high fuel costs, more people will be hitting the road this year for Memorial Day weekend camping.

According to RV Travel:

Kampgrounds of America’s North American Camping Report for April is predicting there will be 22.2 million households camping over Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30) and the recently completed Canadian Victoria Day weekend (May 21-23) combined. That’s a 5.4% increase over the same holiday weekends in 2021.

In addition to more campers (40% versus 39% in 2021) saying they plan to camp for the long weekend, many suggest they will add additional days to their camping plans. Three-in-10 say they will stay an additional day or two before or after the long weekend, a slight increase from 2021 (6%). The numbers in the monthly report include all campers, not just campers at KOA parks.

To read more, go here

Survey Finds Campgrounds Booked Up For Summer

Above, The Beast at Crazy Horse Campgrounds at Lake Havasu. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

With sky-high gasoline and diesel prices, one would think that there would be plenty of open campsites for summer vacationing.

Oddly, the opposite appears to be true: campgrounds and RV parks are booked up. The RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) as released a survey whose findings are interesting, to say the least.

RV Travel has posted an article on this and they begin it with:

If you’ve been having a hard time finding a place to park your RV, it’s not your imagination. In what may be the first comprehensive effort to inventory the nation’s supply of campgrounds and campsites, the RV Industry Association (RVIA) released a survey on May 18th in which the number one finding—ta-da!—is that campgrounds during peak season are basically full.

No surprise, right? Yet, while the study’s conclusions are unremarkable, what’s interesting are their underlying data and the fact that it’s taken this long to assemble them. KOA (Kampgrounds of America), The Dyrt and others have been taking the pulse of campground demand, and ARVC (the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrouds) periodically samples the universe of private campgrounds. But an overall understanding of the supply side of the equation has been so primitive that the industry hasn’t been able to agree on even how many privately-owned campgrounds there are. (CHM Government Services, the Massachusetts-based consulting firm that did the RVIA’s legwork, cited four sources that had a 40% spread in campground census numbers.)

To read the full article, go here

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Native American Dances Moved To Gallup Cultural Center Infuriating Many

Above, a Zuni Pueblo dancer at the Courthouse Plaza in 2019. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When I read that Native American dances will be held three nights a week at the Gallup Cultural Center (which houses the Amtrak station), I thought it was something else and not the traditional nightly Native American dances at the Courthouse Plaza that ran from Memorial Day to Labor Day annually.

It is not.

According to the Gallup Sun:

Nightly Native dances have been a part of Gallup’s summer tradition for years, but like many longstanding events returning from a pandemic hiatus, changes are in the works.

As part of the Gallup Cultural Center’s city-sponsored refresh, the formerly Nightly Indian Dances will return for three nights a week at a new arena under construction there.

That’s not good news for restaurant owner James Rich, who’s unhappy that the dances will leave Courthouse Plaza. For years he’s kept Camille’s Sidewalk Café open in the evenings to serve patrons who come to the plaza to watch the dances.

It’s not just that the dances are moving, he said, but that business owners around the plaza were not consulted before the change was announced to the City Council April 12.

“The lack of inclusion has led us to feel a little disappointed with the decisions that are being made with the nightly dance program,” he said. “Without the opportunity to be in that conversation to relocate it, just unilaterally make a decision to relocate it, we learned that tonight. It was a huge mistake.“

He found sympathetic ears in Gallup City Councilors Fran Palochak and Linda Garcia.

“I was very sad to see the dances were moving from courthouse plaza because it’s such a beautiful venue. It’s round and has seating,” Palochak said. “The plaza was built for this purpose… I just don’t want to see that side die to promote another side of town. The goal and focus is to make downtown vibrant. If there’s too much separation that’s not going to happen.”

Garcia agreed.

“I was also sad [...] to hear we’re not using courthouse square for dances,” she said. “It always drew the people. It was crowded and the tourists just loved it.”

The plaza will still have entertainment.

In addition to concerns about their own business operations, Rich noted that the dances moved to the plaza partly out of concerns over safety and disruptive train noise at the Cultural Center, which is in the renovated Santa Fe Depot. The arena under construction now may not even be suitable for dances, he told the City Council.

“It’s on concrete. It’s supposed to be on dirt. Some of the dancers may object to that,” he said. “There is no keyhole to enter that dance arena. Some of the ladies with the long dresses will have a challenge stepping over that wall.”

"What we have here was a failure to communicate" or, "a lack of communication."

Above, the Gallup Cultural Center in 2019. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is my suggestion to bring the dances back to the Courthouse Plaza three nights a week and hold them at the Cultural Center two nights a week since taxpayer funds were used to build the new arena there as a compromise.

To read the full article, go here.

Lyin' Joe Does It Again At The Naval Academy

His Fraudulency Joe Biden has a decades-long history of telling whoppers, so you really can't chalk up the latest to senility.

From the New York Post:

President Biden told graduating midshipmen at the Naval Academy Friday that he applied to the school in 1965 — but a quick check of his biography shows problems with the story.

Biden said he applied to Annapolis with a letter from then-Delaware Sen. J. Caleb Boggs, but the year he cited — 1965 — is the same year he graduated from the University of Delaware. The academy doesn’t offer graduate degrees.

“I was told the Class of ’72 is here. I was appointed to the academy in 1965 by a senator who I was running against in 1972 — never planned it that way. I wasn’t old enough to be sworn in. I was only 29 years old when I was running,” Biden said.

Biden is such a compulsive liar that one cannot believe anything he says.

To read more, go here

America's 10 Most-Visited National Parks

Above, Grand Canyon National Park saw 4.5 million visitors in 2021. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Yellowstone National Park is celebrating its 150th year as a national park this year. It was the first national park established in the United States.

Since then, we have added 62 more national parks in the the national park system administered by the National Park Service.

Not all of them are heavily visited. The Points Guy listed the most-visited national parks in the U.S. last year.

They begin with:

In the last few years, while travel came to a standstill everywhere else in the wake of the pandemic, America’s national parks got an unexpected boost. Wary of crowded airports and other forms of transportation, families and individuals alike hopped in their cars and journeyed to these beautiful outdoor spaces for their annual vacations instead.

The fresh air, scenic views and wide-open spaces seemed just the place to de-stress and unplug from the world for a while. However, the increase in popularity has in many cases led to a need for more advance planning than in the past, with hotels and campsites filling up and advance reservations becoming a requirement, sometimes even for hikes.

Here are the 10 most-visited national parks last year according to the National Park Service, and why you too should explore the beauty that can be found in our own backyard.

To see what they are, go here

New Batch of Kittens

DK (or Dee Kay) had a new litter of kittens.

Prior to yesterday, they were across the street in, I presume, in a derelict car. 

Yesterday, I saw DK carrying one grey kitten over to my place to under the deck. Later, I saw her leading a black kitten over.

This morning, two black kittens and a yellow one were at the food dish. So, so far, I am aware of four kittens (there could be more) who have taken up residence under the deck.

I took some quick photos:

Hawaii Responsible Traveling Multimedia Campaign

Above, a crescent moon over the Big Island. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has rolled out a multimedia campaign to encourage responsible travel to the islands.

According to Hawaii Public Radio:

The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority is rolling out an extensive multimedia campaign to educate travelers coming to the islands.

The initiative is part of the HTA’s effort to improve tourism management throughout the state.

The campaign includes educational videos and safety messages that will be shown online, on airlines, at local airports and in hotels.

HTA Chief Brand Officer Kalani Kaʻanāʻanā says the overall theme of the messages is Mālama Hawaiʻi, encouraging good stewardship and responsible behavior.

The above article includes a video titled, "Hawai'i Is Our Home".

To read more and see the video, go here

More Rain (Maybe) Later In The Week

Above, after a drive to the Flying J yesterday. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It will be dry and windy in the Four Corners region this coming week.

We will be under Red Flag Warnings due to winds, dry conditions and fire danger. But, there's a glimmer of hope towards the end of the week.

In Jamestown, New Mexico, the National Weather Service gives a 20% chance of precipitation (showers and thunderstorms). That percentage could rise or even disappear altogether. We're about to enter the annual monsoon season. 

Here's the week's forecast:


Mostly sunny, with a high near 84. Windy, with a southwest wind 5 to 15 mph increasing to 20 to 30 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 49. Windy, with a southwest wind 25 to 30 mph decreasing to 15 to 20 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.
Areas of blowing dust after noon. Sunny, with a high near 76. Windy, with a southwest wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 25 to 30 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.
Sunday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 43. Windy, with a west wind 25 to 30 mph decreasing to 15 to 20 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.
Memorial Day
Sunny, with a high near 71. Breezy, with a west wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph.
Monday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 40. Breezy.
Sunny, with a high near 77.
Tuesday Night
Clear, with a low around 46.
Sunny, with a high near 81.
Wednesday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 49.
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 85.
Thursday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 53.
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 83.

Summer's "Sticker Shock" of Travel Prices

Above, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Earlier this year, I bought airline tickets for my ex-roommate for her visit here in July and for myself for a trip to Los Angeles for my high school's 50-year reunion in September.

The prices were reasonable for the round trips (around $300). It pays to buy as early as you can.

It looks like I bought them in the nick of time as airline prices, along with everything else, have soared.

The Santa Fe New Mexican posted an article that warns people to prepare for summer "sticker shock."

They begin with:

DALLAS — Airlines and tourist destinations are expecting monster crowds this summer as travel restrictions ease and pandemic fatigue overcomes lingering fear of contracting COVID-19 during travel.

Many forecasters believe the number of travelers will match or even exceed levels in the good-old, pre-pandemic days. However, airlines have thousands fewer employees than they did in 2019, and that has at times contributed to widespread flight cancellations.

People who are only now booking travel for the summer are experiencing the sticker shock.

Domestic airline fares for summer are averaging more than $400 a round trip, 24 percent higher than this time in 2019, before the pandemic, and a whopping 45 percent higher than a year ago, according to travel-data firm Hopper. “The time to have gotten cheap summer flights was probably three or four months ago,” says Scott Keyes, who runs the Scott’s Cheap Flights site.

To read more, go here

RV Travel: Preparing For An Extended Trip

Above, at the Superman statue in Metropolis, Illinois.

The longest RV road trip I've ever taken was six years ago when I took a three-week trip to Metropolis, Illinois for actress Noel Neill's celebration of life services.

During that trip, I also visited: Memphis, Tennessee; Springfield, Illinois; Topeka, Kansas; Abilene, Kansas; Monument Valley and Grand Canyon National Park.

RV Travel posted an article on preparing for extended RV trips. How extended? Over six months.

It begins it with:

Getting ready to hit the road for an extended period, say anything more than a few weeks, takes different planning and preparation than a simple weekend camping trip.

After living much of my life on the road, this usually annual preparation to leave the comforts of home behind has become second nature. But if you’re new to RV full-timing (or most-timing) there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of.

Some tasks you can do well in advance. Others need to be dealt with at the last minute.

As I am currently planning to start wandering for the next six months or so, I thought I would share my process.

I keep a running to-do list and packing list that I start a month or more before leaving.

This master list, which you should add to anytime you think of something, will keep you organized and make sure you don’t forget anything important.

To read more, go here

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

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