"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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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Las Vegas

While texting with Asya on WhatsApp the other day, she asked if I had any photographs of Las Vegas (she's currently in her hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia).

At the time, I only had photographs of the Riviera RV Park. I figured that since she asked, I would take a few while on the way out of Las Vegas.

There are several streets in Las Vegas named after performers who had a big impact on the city. For example, there's streets named after Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley (note, although it is named Elvis Presley Blvd., it does not take drivers all the way to Graceland in Memphis).

I went down to downtown Las Vegas and it is hardly recognizable. Progress, I guess.

On the Las Vegas Strip, I noticed that there's a lot of construction going on.

Here's some photos:

Above, approaching Elvis Presley Blvd. near Circus Circus on Las Vegas Blvd.. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, there's a building boom in Las Vegas. I noticed many properties having hotels
 built. Here's one with the Trump Tower in the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the Stratosphere in the distance. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the Trump Tower. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Cedar City KOA Review Is Up

Above, The Beast at the Cedar City KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

My review of the Cedar City (Utah) KOA Kampground is now up at RV Park Reviews.

In a nutshell:
This is my first time at this campground and after checking in and setting up, I was immediately pleased. There's many trees in the section I was assigned to and the sites are reasonably spacious. Each comes with a table and a barbecue. The staff is friendly (they sell ice cream cones) and helpful. I would stay here again. We camped at Cedar City KOA in a Motorhome.

To read the full review, go here

CasaBlanca Resort

Since the Wi-Fi at the Cedar City KOA was a bit on the slow side (photos I posted yesterday took forever to upload), I decided to hold off on posting some photos of the CasaBlanca Resort in Mesquite, Nevada. They also have a RV park, but I didn't go over there.

Here's a few:

Above, the main driveway to the hotel and casino. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the main sign in front. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the casino, where I won a whopping $3.50 (at least it partially paid for breakfast). Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, The Beast and an earlier model Minnie Winnie. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Timing Is Everything

Above, The Beast and the other Minnie Winnie at the Cedar City KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

At the Cedar City KOA yesterday, there was another Minnie Winnie motorhome two spaces to my left.

It was a longer model and occupied by a couple in their (I'm guessing) forties. I mentioned this at the Minnie Winnie Owners Facebook group and one of my fellow members suggested that I invite them to join our group.

That would have been fine, but the lady spent most of yesterday (after I saw the suggestion) in her bikini. I thought it best to wait, so that the husband won't get the wrong idea. (Timing is everything, right?)

Unfortunately, no good opportunity presented itself. Oh, well.

A side note: I saw several Minnie Winnies on the road of varying model years.

Arrived In Brigham City

Above, The Beast "scrunched in" at the Brigham City KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

As of now, I am only an hour or two away from the Utah-Idaho border. I'll be arriving at my destination tomorrow. I could reach it today, but my camping reservations don't start until tomorrow.

I am currently at the KOA Kampground in Brigham City, Utah. It is an older KOA (the directory says it has been around since 1964) and is not far from the Great Salt Lake.

I left Cedar City early this morning (around 6:00) and it was a nice ride. A few hours into the drive, I received a few rain squalls, but they didn't last long. I made two stops. One was for breakfast at the Flying J in Nephi (a Denny's) and then a stop at another Flying J for fuel. I didn't need fuel when I made the first Flying J stop.

The KOA can use some upgrading. The sites are narrow and I could not fully deploy my awning as the neighbor's slideout is in the way. The hookups are a bit confusing. It is hard to tell which hookups belong to which site without studying them for a minute. Despite that, this will serve its purpose for the night.

The staff seems nice, though. Their Wi-Fi seems to be working okay. It is a lot faster than the Wi-Fi at the Cedar City KOA.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Now In Utah

Above, The Beast at the Cedar City KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The alarm was set for 6:00 this morning, but I woke up at about 5:40. Today was the day for going into Utah.

I left the RV park around 7:30 and headed towards the Las Vegas Strip to take a few photos (at the request of Asya, who is in St. Petersburg, Russia) and to refuel. Once that was accomplished, I headed north on Interstate 15 two Utah.

Above, one of the photos taken before leaving Las Vegas. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It was already in the 90s when I was on the road. Sierra and I were comfortable inside The Beast with the air conditioner on. I wanted to check out the Casablanca Resort in Mesquite and get some breakfast.

Above, arriving at the Casablanca Resort in Mesquite. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I arrived there at about 10:30 and found ample parking for The Beast. There was an older model Minnie Winnie in the parking area.

After parking, I went inside Casablanca's casino area. Things have sure changed when it comes to slot machines. I saw none that would accept coins. They either take paper money, credit/debit cards or ticket vouchers (from the casino).

Above, inside the Casablanca Resort's casino. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I decided to play a slot machine for a while. I ended up winning a big, whopping, $3.50! Well, at least it partially paid for my $4.99 breakfast at the casino's coffee shop.

Above, having a brew after setting up camp. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After breakfast, I got back on the road and after passing through the Virgin River Gorge, I was in Utah.

Above, a relaxed Sierra at the Cedar City KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.
Originally, I was thinking about staying at the Beaver KOA, but I decided that I didn't want to drive the extra 70 miles, so I elected to stay at the Cedar City KOA instead. It is a very nice campground with plenty of shade. It has a very relaxed atmosphere to it. That's exactly what I did, I relaxed. I downed some Blue Moon beer and barbecued a steak for dinner. Nothing the retirement life!

Above, after starting the charcoals. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I'll be heading further north tomorrow. I am not sure where I will be staying. I made no reservations. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Missouri Lt. Governor Calls For State Senator's Resignation

People are sure stupid, or plain evil. Maybe even both.

Missouri State Senator MARIA CHAPPELLE-NADAL (remember that name), a Democrat, posted on social media "hoping" for the assassination of President Trump.

The state's Lieutenant Governor, Mike Parson, issued a press release calling for her resignation:

Yes, this loon should resign or be removed from office.

Riviera RV Park Reviewed

Above, a view of the front of the Riviera RV Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To give myself something to do, I posted my review of the Riviera RV Park in Las Vegas at RV Park Reviews.

In a nutshell:
At first, I was going to stay at a RV park connected to one of Las Vegas hotels, but I found that they tack on a $27.00 "amenities fee" to the daily camping rate, making a stay for one night at about $60.00. I decided, "No, thank you!" and looked elsewhere. Then I found the Riviera RV Park. It is a nice older park that's well-maintained and who has a friendly staff. The sites are a little on the narrow side, but it presented no problem for me as it also has a concrete pad. For the price, I have no complaints! It is about 2-3 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, so the traffic is much lighter in the area. It is within walking distance to stores. I would definitely stay here again! We camped at Riviera RV Park in a Motorhome.
Above, the row where I camped. The laundry and showers are at left. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To see the actual review, go here

Orwell Called The Democrats' Strategy

VICE Magazine Tweets: Calling For Blowing Up Mt. Rushmore

Above, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We live in very strange, and dangerous, times.

The Left in this country are totally out of control. They belong in lunatic asylums.

The latest is a Tweet from the leftist rag, VICE, who calls for the blowing up of Mount Rushmore. This is right out of ISIS's playbook. Some unhinged idiot just may act on this and damage it and other national monuments.

PJ Media reported:
On the same day as a deadly incident in Barcelona that police have confirmed as a terrorist attack, a tweet published by VICE (whose website PJ Media will not link to in this post) called for blowing up Mount Rushmore.
Here's the Tweet that PJ Media copied before VICE removed it:

It is getting to the point where good citizens have to be on the alert for suspicious people who may want to do harm to our monuments and possibly cause death or injury. If I were to see someone attempt something, that person will be immediately knee-capped and their hands broken. Or worse. This is something that none of us should put up with.

Then there's a report of a Missouri state senator (a Democrat) who said she "hopes" President Trump gets assassinated. Another deranged idiot!

To see more, go here.

Made It To Las Vegas

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

The first stop on my little trek to see the eclipse has been reached. I'm in Sin City itself, Las Vegas. This is the first time being here since New Year's 2016.

I got in to the Riviera RV Resort about an hour ago and it is about 101 degrees outside. This is a nice older RV park on the eastern side of Las Vegas. Right now I am basking in my motorhome with Sierra with the air conditioning on.

On the way, I made the first stop in ages in Baker, California. It's the place Glenn Thornhill and I could not remember about 20 years ago.

The Bun Boy Restaurant and motel is no longer in business. That place was like an institution there. The guy at the Del Taco counter said it had been closed down for about six years.

Here's The Beast with the giant thermometer and the closed up Bun Boy Restaurant and Motel in the background:

Above, The Beast in Baker. The giant thermometer reads 100 degrees. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There's an interesting place on Baker's main drag: Alien Fresh Jerky. I've never seen it before. A friend asked if it was still there, but at the time I hadn't seen it (or knew what he was talking about).

After leaving Del Taco, I saw it and got this quick photo of it:

One thing I had to do was to exchange a new harness that I bought last night at Petco in Tarzana for Sierra. The one she had got too small (or she got too big). The new one was still too small, so I swapped it at a Petco in Las Vegas.

That one fits:

Above, Sierra with her new harness. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I don't know what I'll be doing later. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Remains Positively Identified As Kara Kopetsky's

Above, Kara Kopetsky.

A ten-year mystery I've followed from the beginning has finally been solved.

The Kansas City Star reported:
Ten years after Kara Kopetsky walked out of Belton High School and was never heard from again, her remains have been identified. 
DNA tests have confirmed that the second set of human bones found in early April in Cass County belonged to Kopetsky, the high school junior whose 2007 disappearance captured — and has kept — the community’s attention. 
Police officials from Belton and Cass County went to the home of Kopetsky's family Wednesday afternoon to tell them what the parents have said they already knew in their hearts.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article167627987.html#storylink=cpy

Nixon Foundation Remembers Elvis

The Nixon Foundation posted this on Facebook today:
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the passing of the King of Rock and Roll. On December 21, 1970 Elvis stopped by the White House to meet President Nixon where this photo was snapped, now the most requested photo in the National Archives. To see more artifacts surrounding the meeting, visit our online archives: https://www.nixonfoundation.org/artifacts/?artifact_search=elvis&artifact_type

Some Elvis Fans Gripe Over Admission Charge

Above, the Presley gravesite in the Meditation Garden at Graceland. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Some fans of the late King of Rock 'n Roll Elvis Presley are griping over the admission charge to view Elvis's grave during the candlelight procession. Some are calling it "gouging".

Fox News Entertainment reported:
Elvis Presley's fans were ticked off when they were charged a whopping $28.75 to visit the late singer's grave on the 40th anniversary of the rock 'n' roll icon's death. 
Presley fans have been making a solemn procession past the "Love Me Tender" singer's grave at his Graceland mansion during the annual candlelight vigil commemorating his death, without paying a penny for nearly four decades. 
Those who attended the vigil that began Tuesday night and runs into Wednesday were required to purchase the $28.75 Elvis Week Property Pass wristband to walk up the long driveway and past the graves where Presley and relatives are buried. The wristband also provided access to a new $45 million entertainment complex at the Memphis tourist attraction. 
Graceland, operated by Elvis Presley Enterprises, said it anticipated large crowds and it updated its security measures for Elvis Week, the annual celebration of Presley's life and career in music and movies. Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, in Memphis.
Given that crowds of 30,000 to 50,000 (or even more) were expected for the 40th anniversary of Presley's death, to give them a safe visit, the charge was for security and crowd management was made necessary.

The $28.75 charge is not unreasonable, in my opinion. The gravesite in the Meditation Garden at Graceland is a small area and it is necessary to secure the site and manage the throngs coming through the gates. And, it also admits people into the new Elvis Presley's Memphis entertainment complex.

To read more, go here.

Just About Set

Above, The Beast leveled for the refrigerator to be started. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The last bit of preparation for the Great American Eclipse trek has been completed.

I went and topped off the propane tank (it needed almost 3 gallons) this morning. Given the crowds and traffic expected, it is better to get it filled now instead of waiting. As Dawn said, "It is always better to be over-prepared than not prepared at all." How true.

After getting home, I turned on the refrigerator/freezer. It will be cold enough this evening to load all of the perishables. 

I also stopped at the post office and put a vacation hold on my mail.

All that will remain to do is to load up my duffel bag and Sierra in the morning and we're off.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Idaho Meeting Eclipse Management Challenge

Above, this resident of Yellowstone Bear World will have a ringside seat to the eclipse. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

With the expected high numbers of people flocking to Idaho to see the eclipse, the state's transit authority is planning to meet the challenge of managing it.

The Weekly Mailer reported:
BOISE — It's only one week away from the biggest astrological event in the Gem State since 1979. Dubbed The Great American Eclipse, it could also be the biggest tourist attraction and traffic generator in Idaho history. 
Along with many other local and state agencies, the Idaho Transportation Department is preparing for the total solar eclipse that will be visible across the southern portion of the state Aug. 21. ITD is organizing a statewide plan to be responsive when necessary, ready to assist law enforcement, and reduce impacts to travelers in the days surrounding the eclipse.
To read more, go here.

Minnie Winnie Chases Solar Eclipse

Above, The Beast at Lake Cachuma. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It looks like mine won't be the only Minnie Winnie RV that will be chasing the solar eclipse next week. (I'm sure there will be others.)

From the Statesman Journal:
The Minnie Winnie is stocked and ready to roll. 
Our destination is Solartown, a makeshift camping area just outside Madras off Highway 26. Organizers are converting a farmer’s field into a checkerboard of more than 5,000 RV and tent sites for the eclipse. 
Madras is considered by meteorologists, astronomers, and umbraphiles — better known as eclipse chasers — as one of the best viewing spots in the country. 
Because of its predictable weather, low light noise, favorable elevation, scenic mountain views and wide open spaces, it should provide a perfect sky for the first total eclipse to sweep across America in 99 years.

To read more, go here

Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers

Above, the Celestron Solar Shades kit I have. It is on the AAS approved list.

People with common sense know that looking directly at the sun, during an eclipse and otherwise, will lead to permanent eye damage. That means...blindness!

The American Astronomical Society has posted a list of reputable, and most importantly, safe vendors of viewing glasses, filters and viewers.

They start with:
Here you'll find lists of reputable manufacturers and authorized dealers of solar filters and viewers; these include companies with which members of the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force have had prior (and positive!) experience as well as companies whose products have been certified safe by authorities we recognize and whose certification we have confirmed to be genuine. Your eyes are precious! You don't need astronomers to tell you that, but you do need astronomers to tell you where to get safe solar filters: from the companies listed on this page. To do otherwise is to take unnecessary risks. If a supplier isn't listed here, that doesn't mean its products are unsafe — only that we have no knowledge of them or that we haven't convinced ourselves they are safe. For more information see our Eye Safety pages.

To read more, go here

Stopping At Crater Lake National Park

Above, a panorama view of Crater Lake. Photo by Epmatsw via Wikipedia.

One place on my itinerary during my eclipse trip is Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. I have been there twice. The first time was a day trip in 1968 and the second was a camping trip in 1971.

Thankfully, I have camping reservations and will spend a couple of nights there.

According to the National Park Service's Crater Lake website:
Crater Lake inspires awe. Native Americans witnessed its formation 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Scientists marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and perhaps the most pristine on earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range.
From Crater Lake, I will be heading down into California to stop at Lassen Volcanic National Park and the northern areas of the Mother Lode (a.k.a. Clamper Country).

Monday, August 14, 2017

Las Vegas and Dump Station

Above, today at the dump station at Malibu Creek State Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

More things got accomplished in preparation to my trip north to see the eclipse.

Last night, I was going to reserve a site at Circus Circus RV Park in Las Vegas for a night. The stated price was $31/night. Sounded reasonable enough. But when I went to make a reservation, it automatically tacked on a $27 daily resort fee to it. And that's not counting taxes!

Sorry, Charlie! But $58+ a night is not what I call a reasonable price. I don't remember a daily resort fee when we stayed there two years ago.

So, I found another RV park that is under $30 a night. Much better!

Today, I headed off to Malibu Creek State Park to fill the fresh water tank and to empty the black and grey water tanks. That went smoothly.

Then, on the way back home, I stopped and filled the gas tank. I won't need to get gasoline until I reach Utah.

So, I am pretty much done. I do have to get a few more groceries, but other than that, we're good to go.

40 Years Ago This Week

Above, Memphis newspapers announcing Elvis Presley's
 death on display at Sun Studio. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Tuesday, August 16, 1977 was a relatively quiet summer day. It was warm, but humid out as there was a monsoon flow coming up from Mexico into the Los Angeles area.

But the day would turn out to be one of those days where a news event causes people to remember exactly where they were at and what they were doing when the news hit.

I was at home in Hawthorne watching a James Cagney comedy movie, One, Two, Three (1961) that was directed by Billy Wilder. It would be a couple of hours later that I would have to go to work in Redondo Beach. My mother was outside working in the yard.

Above, Graceland mansion. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A news bulletin interrupted the movie. It was announced that singer Elvis Presley had been found unresponsive at his Graceland mansion on Elvis Presley Blvd. in Memphis, Tennessee and was rushed by ambulance to Baptist Memorial Hospital, where efforts to revive him failed and he was pronounced dead.

After hearing the bulletin, I rushed outside to tell my mother, who was a big Elvis fan.

Later, when I went to work, it began to rain. It was strangely appropriate. It was a strange day all around.

This all occurred 40 years ago.

Above, Elvis Presley's grave. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Currently, this year's Elvis Week in Memphis is commemorating the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's passing.

"Ten Things You Didn't Know About Japan"

Above, the Godzilla statue in Hibiya. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Everyone enjoys trivia. Well, almost everyone.

If you are in the first category, you'll enjoy reading an article of "Ten Things You Didn't Know About Japan" from Travel At 60.

They begin with:
Japan is one of the world's powerhouses for technology, but it's also has a culture that's firmy steeped in history and tradition. A unique culture with interesting customs has developed in the island nation – here are a few facts that surprised us, and will hopefully pique your interest, too.
Kaiju fans will find number 6 of interest.

To read more, go here

Sunday, August 13, 2017

California RV Show and Others Coming Up

Fall is not too distant in the future, which means RV shows will be held around the country.

If one is interested in buying a motorhome or trailer, seeing what's new and available in one location is quite handy.

The California RV Show will be held October 6 - 15 at the Fairplex in Pomona. I am going to try to attend this one. Along with RVs, accessories and other vendors usually set up booths.

Do It Yourself RV has a list of RV shows and they begin with:
Fall RV shows are coming up soon.  They’re fun to attend even if you’re not looking to buy a new rig.  You can get a sneak peek at the latest 2018 models and find end-of-the-year deals if you are considering upgrading your home on wheels.  Acres of RVs, trailers, fifth wheels and more are on display, as well as a variety of seminars and new camping products. 
These are fifteen of the annual RV shows that are set over the next couple of months.  Check out if any of these events are close to your neck of the woods and be sure to add them to your calendar.

To read more, go here

8 Exciting Things To Do In Tokyo

Above, the Nijubashi Bridge at the Imperial Palace. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Wondering what to do in Tokyo after getting there?

India Today has a list of eight "exciting" things to do while in Tokyo.

They begin with:
Japan's frenetic and crowded capital is a mix of the uber-modern and the traditional, with neon-lit streetscapes, mega malls, alongside sprawling parks, Shinto shrines and lantern-lit pubs and restaurants. Our pick of eight ways to experience the city.

To read more, go here

'Inbound Insurance' For Japan Visitors

Above, Nakamise Street in Asakusa. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Foreign visitors to Japan hit a record 24.04 million in 2016. While this is great for Japan's economy and with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just around the corner. This also presents a problem. Many foreigners who had to seek medical care while in Japan didn't pay their bills.

Insurers are looking to push for more "inbound insurance" to be made available to visitors.

According to The Mainichi:
Major non-life insurance firms are focusing their efforts on the sale of "inbound insurance" to foreign visitors coming to Japan that covers illness and injury, it has been learned. 
With the number of inbound tourists rapidly increasing, there has been a spate of uninsured foreigners receiving medical care before returning home without paying -- prompting insurance firms to offer and promote "inbound insurance" to individual travelers as well as companies involved in their trips.

To read more, go here.

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