"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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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Camping In The Months Ahead

Above, The Beast at Goulding's Lodge Campground in Monument Valley in 2016. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Right now in Jamestown, New Mexico, it is cold and windy. But that won't last for too long as spring will begin next month and then the summer months. That means camping season!

I've already decided on some excursions in the months ahead.

One of them is a return visit to Monument Valley. Monument Valley is about 201 miles from here, a three and a half hour drive (give-or-take). That, to me, is a reasonable distance. I was in Monument Valley in November 2016. While it was enjoyable, it was a bit cold. This time, I would like to go there during the summer months when everything is open (such as Goulding's Lodge shuttles). The heat would be no problem as The Beast has air conditioning and the swimming pool will be open.

Above, one of the sights of Monument Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Also, there is the Roswell UFO Festival that will be held in Roswell, New Mexico on July 6-8. It looks like it would be a lot of fun to attend.

Roswell is 321 miles from here, a five-hour drive according to Google.

Besides those, there is also the spring clampout of the Lost Dutchman Chaper of E Clampus Vitus. It will be held in Arizona. The Lost Dutchman Chapter is the official ECV chapter of New Mexico.

There are also local places to camp at. There are state park nearby as well as RV resorts at some of the Navajo Indian casinos.

This should be a good year for getting out.

New Plate On The Beast

Since the weather here has moderated a bit, I figured it was time to remove the California plates and install the new New Mexico plate.

Since California requires two license plates on vehicles (front and rear) and New Mexico doesn't (rear only), if it wasn't for the E Clampus Vitus plate (or half-plate), the front would have an empty space at the mounting bracket.

I've had the ECV plate since the 1980s. I first had it mounted on the Starcraft tent trailer, then the Gulf Stream Conquest micro-mini motorhome, then on my old Nissan pick-up truck and now on Winnebago.

Here's the front as it looks now:

And here's a little closer view:

Here's the new New Mexico plate:

Wolf Spotted At Crater Lake National Park

Above, Wizard Island at Crater Lake National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Several years ago, wolves were re-introduced into Yellowstone National Park and are currently thriving.

However, this is the first I've heard of wolves in Crater Lake National Park in recent years.

According to the Herald and News:
A local woman had a unique experience with a wolf at Crater Lake National Park on Wednesday and was able to capture photos of the encounter. 
Erika Clements said she was making her daily deliveries to the park for UPS when she came around a corner and saw what appeared to be a dog digging in the snow. 
As she drove closer she realized it wasn’t a dog or even a coyote, but an engendered gray wolf.

To read more, go here

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Free Internet Access To Be Given On Tokaido Shinkansen Line

Above, a Tokaido Shinkansen train arrives at Atami Station. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For those traveling on a shinkansen between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, free Internet access will soon be given to those who would rather look at their laptop screens than viewing the passing countryside.

The Asahi Shimbun reported:
Free access to wireless local area networks (WLANs) will be available soon on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line. 
Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai), operator of the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, said Jan. 25 that it will start providing free WLAN access in trains and stations.
The new service will be introduced on N700A-series bullet trains in the summer and is scheduled to be available on all 2,096 cars of 131 trains by the end of fiscal 2019. 
West Japan Railway Co. (JR West), operator of the Sanyo Shinkansen Line, with which the Tokaido Shinkansen Line shares tracks, is positive about the plan, according to JR Tokai officials.

To read more, go here

Tokyo Sightseeing

Above, the Tokyo Skytree. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Need some ideas for sightseeing in Tokyo?

The Kyoto-centric blog Kyotours Japan has some suggestions for places to see while in Japan's capital city.

They begin with:
We're all about Kyoto here at KyoTours Japan, but that doesn't mean we don't have other favorite spots all over Japan. Our Beyond Kyoto series of blogs is all about things to do and places to visit throughout Japan. Today, we'll fill you in on a few  unique locations in Tokyo, the world's largest city and a must-see spot on any Japan vacation. Some of these places are well known, and some are off the beaten path, but we think they're all worth visiting! A bit of googling and online research can provide location info and visiting hours for all of these sightseeing spots. Enjoy!

To read more (with photographs), go here

Lisa Marie Presley $16.7 Million In Debt

Above, the Lisa Marie jet of Elvis Presley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Lisa Marie is in debt. The daughter of Elvis Presley, not the jet Lisa Marie.

Ouch! It is hard for me to get around the thought that someone could get themselves into a financial hole of $16.7 million. Apparently, Lisa Marie Presley is in that financial hole.

According to E! Online:
Lisa Marie Presley states in court documents filed amid her divorce battle that she is $16 million in debt. 
In 2016, the 50-year-old daughter of the late Elvis Presley and fellow singer, who is also famous for her short-lived marriage to the late Michael Jackson, filed for divorce from current husband Michael Lockwood, with whom she shares twin daughters. Amid their court battle, legal documents have revealed glimpses of Lisa Marie's finances. 
Newly submitted documents show that she is more than $16.7 million in debt. She said she has yet to pay more than $10 million in tax bills from several years past, that she has defaulted on a $6 million mortgage she took out for a home she owns in the United Kingdom and that she also has more than $47,800 in credit card bills and also has tens of thousands of dollars owed to attorneys.

To read more, go here

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 Expanded Edition

Above, a vintange photo of the El Rancho Vegas.

Yesterday, after taking care of business at the Gallup office of the Motor Vehicle Division, on the way home I stopped at the Flying J to pick up my mail.

I received a package from Amazon of the expanded edition of Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 (trade paperback) on the 1942 TWA place crash that killed actress Carole Lombard and 21 others.

I already have the hardcover edition, but new information and 32 pages of photos included in the expanded edition were too tempting to pass up. I started reading it last night.

One thing that intrigued me was the El Rancho Vegas Hotel where Lombard's husband Clark Gable waited while search and recovery operations were taking place on Mt. Potosi.

Above, a view of Mt. Potosi from Interstate 15. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The hotel opened during the previous year and was the biggest hotel in Las Vegas for many years. It was destroyed by a fire in 1960. It was located at 2500 Las Vegas Blvd. It looked like it was a fun place to stay.

Since it has been a while since I read the hardcover edition, I am enjoying reading the expanded edition. It is an excellent read!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Productive Day

Today was productive as I went to the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division in Gallup to get myself a New Mexico driver's license and to get The Beast its New Mexico plate (unlike California, New Mexico only requires one license plate.

Since the process of registering/titling a vehicle in a different state involves a V.I.N. inspection, I will have to return again to register the Mustang. Before I even do that, I have to complete and send to Sacramento a request for a duplicate title. The one I have/had disappeared. I found The Beast's title. Once I receive the duplicate title from Sacramento, I can then register the Mustang in New Mexico.

I was pleasantly surprised on the cost to register vehicles in New Mexico. For one year, the RV registration would be around $108. For two years, the cost is $211. Guess which I did? The two-year one!

In California, the cost to renew The Beast would have been around $300-500. This tells me that I made a good decision in moving here!

So, The Beast is all registered, and I have its new plate, registration and title (they print those on the spot).

Before I went to the Motor Vehicle Division, I waited for the delivery man to bring the office chair I bought yesterday.

Here it is:

Above, the new office chair. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Not So Much

Last night's snows weren't as much as last Sunday night's.

It began in the evening as rain and then turned into snow showers.

In case you're wondering about meteorological terminology about snow, here's what Almanac.com says about snow showers:
Officially, the National Weather Bureau says that a snow shower is steady but light snow that comes and goes in intervals. A snow flurry consists of harmless flakes of very light snow.

Here's some photos I took this morning. Although today's temperatures are expected to remain in the 30s, this will probably be gone by this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

It's Started

Here we go into Round Two of snowy weather in Jamestown, New Mexico.

Just as the forecasters predicted, snow showers have begun to fall. One report warned of slushy road conditions on Interstate 40 near the Continental Divide (where I am at).

I did manage to click off a couple of pictures:

Above, the front yard. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, my mom's bear planter stand. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It's Beginning

Well, it looks like things are beginning to happen here, weather-wise.

I just went outside to uncover some old patio furniture, knowing that it will rain this evening and will clean them off. While removing the plastic wrap, rain sprinkles were just starting.

Here's The Weather Channel's forecast for tonight:

How Much Does Recreation Vehicles Account In Annual Economic Activity?

Above, The Beast at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Travel and leisure is a big industry in the U.S. and around the world.

One may wonder, "How much does the RV industry account to annual economic activity?

Business Wire has just the anwer:
RESTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Coming on the heels of a record-breaking year of sales for the RV industry, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced today that RVs accounted for $30 billion in direct economic activity in 2016, the most recent year for which statistics are available. The data from the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA), the first ever government report recognizing outdoor recreation as a significant contributor to the U.S. economy.

$30 billion? That's a nice chunk of change!

To read more, go here

Is The Japan Rail Pass Worth The Money?

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

Is the Japan Rail Pass worth the money?

That question is often posed by tourists who plan to visit Japan who may or may not do some traveling outside of Tokyo.

Zooming Japan has an article that should answer that question.

They begin with:
A question I get almost on a daily basis is: Is the Japan Rail Pass worth it?

Short answer: Yes, for long distance travelling (e.g. a round trip from Tokyo to Kyoto). 
Ok, ok. You want the long answer, right? :)

Their long answer starts with:
In Japan the most convenient way to travel around is by train. 
Japan offers a huge variety of train passes that will allow you to save money. 
There are regional passes which make sense if you only stick to a certain region during your stay. 
There’s also the “Seishun 18 Kippu” which is great if you don’t have a lot of money, but a lot of time. 
The Japan Rail Pass is probably the ultimate budget pass if you use it wisely. 
With the Japan Rail Pass you can ride a huge variety of trains, some buses and ferries for FREE!! for either 7, 14 or even 21 consecutive days.

To read more, go here

New NHK World App Provides Disaster Alerts In English

Above, if Godzilla attacks, the NHK World app will alert you in English. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A new free app from NHK World will provide disaster alerts in English for those who are visiting Japan or don't understand Japanese.

News On Japan reported:
Tourists and residents in Japan who don't speak Japanese no longer need to be concerned about missing out on earthquake and tsunami alerts. 
Thanks to a new feature added on Feb. 1 to an app offered by NHK World, an English news channel provided by the public broadcaster, travelers or residents who don't speak Japanese will be able to receive emergency warnings on their smartphones in English. 
They will have the choice of turning on notifications for earthquake and tsunami warnings as well as breaking news alerts. The breaking news alerts will include J-Alert warnings and updates on weather-related incidents, such as volcanic eruptions and typhoons.

Unless things have changed, American smartphones have been pretty much useless in Japan.

To read more, go here.

Leftist Loons Want To Ban "Best Friends"

The Looney Left Report

Each time I hear a story about leftist/liberal lunacy, they surprise me with something new and even more wacko.

The latest comes from The Blaze. It is an article on some British and American schools want to ban "best friends". I kid you not!

They wrote:
Some American and European educators believe the time has come to eliminate the concept of “best friends” from schools in an effort to encourage kids to be more “inclusive.” 
Although Prince George’s school only “discourages” students from having best friends, WCBS-TV in New York reports that some schools are considering banning “best friends,” with the enthusiastic support of education experts. 
Clinical psychologist Dr. Barbara Greenberg told WCBS that the idea is catching on in schools. According to Greenberg, “There has been a movement in some American schools and European schools to ban the phrase ‘best friend,’ … The idea of banning the phrase ‘best friends’ is a very intriguing social experiment.”

I have to wonder where these leftist loons who are so-called "experts" and psychologists got their degrees or licenses to practice. Probably from a box of Cracker Jacks.

This is one excellent reason why liberals and leftists should never be elected to school boards or even allowed in education.

Ever since elementary school, I've always felt that many educators were either assholes or just plain nuts. This is more evidence of that.

To read more, go here.

Taking Care of Business

This morning was spent in Gallup taking care of business.

The first stop was to a office supply and printing store to get some documents printed and to buy a new office chair. The chair I had in Tarzana was falling apart and it was dumped.

The chair I bought is like this one, except the Navajo/Southwest upholstery pattern is green based:

It will be delivered tomorrow.

Next was a stop at the New Mexico Motor Vehicle office to see what I have to provide to get a New Mexico driver's license and register the Mustang and Winnebago in the state.

After that, I did some banking and went over to the McKinley County Clerk's Office to register to vote.

Finally, after all the above was done, I headed over to Safeway and did some grocery shopping. I figured I would get as much done in Gallup as possible before the next snow storm arrives tonight.

Here We Go Again!

Above, last Sunday night's snow. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

More snow!

I just checked The Weather Channel's website for today's forecast for Jamestown and it says we have a 75% chance of snow tonight around 10:00 PM.

It looks like I'll probably be staying in for the most part tomorrow as the storm system will be dropping snow showers in the morning.

The snow from last Sunday night is completely melted away. Well, at least the plants outside are getting watered.

Not All RV Buyers Are Happy Campers

Above, The Beast in West Yellowstone, Montana. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When I bought The Beast three years ago, I at least had some experience in owning an RV. I had previously owned a pop-up camping trailer (also known as a tent trailer) and a micro-mini motorhome.

Many people out there aren't so experienced or so lucky. They are buying RVs without thoroughly doing research.

When I bought my Winnebago, I knew ahead of time that Winnebago had a good reputation for workmanship. Even with RV manufacturers with good reputations, problems can and do crop up. When I went down to San Diego to buy mine, I looked it over from top to bottom before handing over the cash.

Thankfully, all this paid off as I have had no problems with my Minnie Winnie 22R except for a bathroom ceiling vent that "glued" itself shut. That was taken care of under warranty.

PR Web posted an article on how people can get into trouble when buying their first RV.

It reads in part:
Spring is on the way and many Americans’ thoughts are turning to summer camping trips with recreational vehicles. But they’re doing more than just thinking, they’re buying: RV sales reached a record high in 2017 with more than 500,000 new units shipped to dealers throughout the United States. The problem, says one RV consumer advocate, is that too many RV shoppers are making bad buying decisions. 
Chuck Woodbury is the editor of http://rvtravel.com and the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” available at many public libraries. He recently sold his condo near Seattle to travel full-time in a 32-foot motorhome. 
Every RV, he says, is manufactured essentially by hand, on an assembly line of workers who build and install individual components. “There’s a lot of room for mistakes especially now when RVs are selling so fast that manufacturers are rushing to keep up with demand. Many buyers are getting stuck with workmanship issues so serious their new RVs can’t be used for weeks, even months, while awaiting repairs.” 
He cites a recent survey at his website that showed the seriousness of the problem. “More than one-fifth of the more than 1,400 readers who responded described the workmanship on their RVs as poor or terrible. That’s just not acceptable. Do you think Boeing could get away with that? Would you step on one of its planes?” 
The RV industry fights state lemon laws, he says, “so there is typically no help there.” He urges new RVers to consider buying a used unit, where the previous owner has worked out the problems. 
Woodbury advises buyers to inspect an RV they’re considering, whether a motorhome or travel trailer, from top to bottom. “Hire an RV technician to examine it carefully, even if it’s brand new. It will be the best money you spend.” He advises to never buy on impulse. 

Another thing people should do: go to a RV show and use that opportunity to inspect the workmanship of RVs of several manufacturers. It will pay off in the end.

Above, the 2017 California RV Show in Pomona. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Crazy Cat

While I was doing some unpacking this morning, Sierra continued her exploration of her new home.

At one point, she managed to get herself into the opening between the kitchen and living room. I found her on top of the kitchen cabinets.

I had to stop and take some photos:

Conservative Jamestown

Above, a hoodie for sale at the Flying J. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The morning hours were spent doing some unpacking after taking it easy yesterday.

Thankfully, I found two boxes that I was looking for. One contained my coffee maker and the other contained my watches and other jewelry.

It is when one does some physical labor (such as unpacking and lifting) they feel their age.

After doing the unpacking I set out to do, I headed down to the Flying J to get my mail and to fill the Mustang's tank. I was pleased to find that the ol'Mustang is getting 28 miles-per-gallon out here. That, plus the cheaper gas prices of New Mexico, is saving me some cash.

While inside the Flying J, I did some browsing around and spotted an interesting black hoodie (see photo at top). With the U.S. flag, it reads, "Hey Snowflake No One Owes You Anything!"

After I got back from the Flying J, Jerry, one of my neighbors, came over to introduce himself. His wife runs the Warrior Women Gun Supply shop up the street at their residence. We had a nice chat and he was very pleased that the community gained another Republican. He says the community is a conservative one. He confirmed that the property next to my other acre has been put on the market.

He told me about the shooting range and how to get to it (along Six Mile Canyon Road).

Jerry also said that the community was named after its founder, named James (he called him "Jimmy"). There's 125 lots here with 100 families, he said.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Leaving Commiefornia

Since I decided to move out of California (a.k.a. Commiefornia) and into New Mexico, I have been asked if I have any regrets. 

Sure, I do. I have family and friends in California. The weather cannot be beat. But the state government and the city government of Los Angeles has gone on the deep far-left end with their wacko policies (such as "sanctuary state" and "sanctuary city"). California is a one-party state since the passage of Proposition 14.

Proposition 14 is so bad, even the liberal Los Angeles Times wrote:
Since California's Proposition 14 passed in 2010, all partisan candidates — except those running for president — appear on the same primary ballot, regardless of party. Then the two leading contenders face off in the general election. Like so many other electoral reforms in the state, this top-two primary system isn't shaking out quite as intended. 
Reformers promised more moderate candidates and more competitive races. Instead we've got something that looks like one-party rule.

With one-party rule, liberal-leftist Democrats, with their legislature super-majorities and Governor Jerry Brown, have enacted higher taxes, higher vehicle registration fees, "sanctuary state" and other wacko policies.

That, plus finding California to be unfriendly to business and too expensive for retirees (like me), I decided I've had enough.

This is a trend throughout the country where people are fleeing Blue States. See this article by Townhall.com.

New Mexico is considered to be somewhat a Blue State, but it is not nearly as leftist as California. Fortunately, New Mexico currently has a Republican governor.

Here's how Quora described New Mexico:
New Mexico is actually a swing state. It goes back and forth on national elections, and is very closely divided internally (like most states, which are purple). 
We have a Republican governor after all (the first female Hispanic governor to boot!), and typically have back-and-forth majorities in our local and state elections. 
Even our Democratic governors are usually left-of-center (Bill Richardson), and not “progressives.” And one of our most popular governors (Gary Johnson) is really more of a Libertarian than a Republican (liberal on social issues, conservative on economic ones). 
Like most states, there are many competing factions. Northerners are more liberal than southerners, urban more liberal than rural.
To read more of Quora's description of New Mexico, go here.

I now live in a community called Jamestown, which is 17 miles east of Gallup, New Mexico. Everyone I've met in Jamestown have been conservatives. Gallup was named "America's Most Patriotic Small Town" by map and atlas publisher Rand McNally. There's a shooting range near the community and there's a Warrior Women's Gun Supply store up the street from me.

So far, I am enjoying New Mexico. We need to get more Republicans to move into New Mexico.

Casino Dinner Specials

With Navajo casinos in the vicinity, it may be worth my while to check them out, particularly their restaurants.

I am not a gambler, but one can find good deals for food at casino restaurants.

Case in point is the Fire Rock Navajo Casino that is on the way from home to Gallup, New Mexico. I can see it alongside the highway when I pass it.

Their website advertises dinner specials such as:
STEAK & LOBSTER WITH BAKED POTATO & VEGGIESSaturdays | 5pm - 10pm$19.99
Fridays | 11am - 10pm
It is kind of hard to find specials for steak & lobster dinners, even within the wilds of Los Angeles. Obviously, dinner specials are draws for people to come in and, hopefully, gamble.

Other casinos in the region also have RV camping, some of which border on RV resorts. The weather is not exactly favorable for such an excursion now, but come later this spring and summer, they will be packed.

Dollar In ¥109 Range In Tokyo Trading

Things have been in the financial doldrums during the past couple of weeks around the world. And the current U.S. and Japanese yen exchange rate reflects that.

Jiji Press reported:
Tokyo, Feb. 9 (Jiji Press)--The dollar moved on a weak note around 109 yen in Tokyo trading Friday, reflecting another plunge in Tokyo stock prices. 
At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at 109.14-15 yen, down from 109.52-52 yen at the same time on Thursday.

To read more, go here

Moved In

Above, during the unloading. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Yesterday, after I had to live in The Beast for 12 days, the movers arrived around 9:30. They originally thought their arrival time would be around 11:00, give-or-take. But that was when they thought I was much closer to Albuquerque, which is 120 miles from me.

The unloading was a little more difficult due to the fresh show that fell the night before. But the crew did a fast (about 2 hours) job of it. Much of the snow melted away by the time they were done.

The only thing that marred the unpacking after they let was when I discovered some white substance that dripped and dried on some of my clothing. I notified Ben Hur Moving and Storage of this and told them that I would be taking the items to the dry cleaners today.

One annoying thing: I can't seem to find my coffee maker.! Well, until I do find it, I'll be using the one from The Beast in the meantime.

Although I didn't do much during the unloading, I did do some unpacking (mainly bathroom and kitchen stuff) and found myself with plenty of aches & pains. Even the long hot shower last evening didn't help. Age, I guess.

About an hour after the movers left, I began preparations to introduce Sierra to the house. She fought like crazy when I put her in her carrier box. But I got her in and took her to the back porch washer room, where her cat box is. She howled for a while and made her way to the dining room. After about five ours in the dining room, she finally came out to explore the house. And explore it she did! She checked out every nook and cranny for about two hours before taking a break. Then she did some more exploring.

This morning, she seems pretty much adjusted to her hew house.

Outside of making trip to Gallup today (to the dry cleaners), I am going to take it easy today. I'll do more unpacking tomorrow.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

With The Sun Higher...

Above, Sierra wondering what's this stuff. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

...I took a few more photos.

Here they are:

Above, the mountains across the valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the front gate. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the Mustang and The Beast. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, my other acre. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the front of the property. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

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