"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, May 26, 2018

Yosemite During Memorial Day Weekend: Are You Crazy?

Above, Yosemite's Bridal Veil Fall. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

People are crazy if they are planning a trek to Yosemite National Park during Memorial Day weekend, at least that's according to an article by the Mercury News.

They have an article on do's and don'ts if you head there this weekend.

It begins with:
Yes, Yosemite’s gorgeous this – and virtually any other – time of the year. 
But you’ve got to be a glutton for punishment if you intend to head up there this Memorial Day weekend, one of the busiest times to take in this spectacular national treasure. If you insist on going, and if you’ve already booked a place to stay in the valley, then godspeed!

If you’re heading up and you DON’T have lodging, may that same god have mercy on your soul.

To see more, go here

Accommodation Options Near Mount Fuji

Above, a shinkansen view of Mount Fuji. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Mount Fuji was the "location" used in a number of kaiju movies over the years. They include King Kong vs. Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters and Gamera, The Guardian of the Universe. It is also a popular destination for visitors and there are several kinds of accommodations available for a stay near Japan's iconic peak.

Tokyo Cheapo has an article on what's available.

They begin with:
Whether you’re climbing it or just admiring the iconic mountain from a distance, Fuji-san is well worth a trip from Tokyo. If you want to stay nearby, we have more than a few suggestions for accommodation near Mount Fuji. 
Unsurprisingly, your options for accommodation near Mount Fuji include plenty of hotels, hostels and traditional Japanese ryokans (inns) to bed down in for the night, with a few even perched on its slopes. Whether you’re looking to view the mountain and then explore Kawaguchiko, or just stare lovingly at the peak from an onsen (hot spring), you’re sure to find something that suits your budget. Combine this with excellent transport options from Tokyo and our hiking guide with all you need to know, and you’re set to go!

To read more, go here

Friday, May 25, 2018

Back At The Rodeo

Above, a barrel racing contestant. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This afternoon, I headed back to the rodeo at Red Rock Park to watch the high school contestants for the state finals.

The events were the same as the junior high school's of this morning. I decided that I would just watch the barrel racing. Plus, it was over 80°.

I got there early enough to get something to eat. I had some excellent chicken quesadillas and a tall cup of lemonade.

Here's some more photos:

Crater Lake North Entrance Now Open

Above, Wizard Island last summer. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The road at Crater Lake National Park that I mainly used last summer is now open for travelers.

According to the Herald and News:
CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK — The North Entrance Road and West Rim Drive in Crater Lake National Park will open for travel Friday afternoon, May 25 – just in time for the holiday weekend. 
Superintendent Craig Ackerman announced that visitors will now be able to drive to and from the park via this popular route and access spectacular views of the lake from West Rim Drive. This is a very early opening for Crater Lake’s North Entrance. Warm temperatures and a low snow pack have resulted in a greatly accelerated spring opening this year, the news release said. 
The park anticipates high visitation for the holiday weekend. Visitors should expect long lines and delays at park entrance stations and other locations, including Rim Village. If possible, consider arriving before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. to avoid major congestion.

To read more, go here

Getting Started On The Painting

While on my way to Red Rock Park to see some of the high school age contestants' routines at the state finals rodeo, Asya sent some photos of the layout for the landscape painting for my critique and/or approval.

The layout (or composition) was done in pencil:

If interested in graphics or fine arts commissions, go here.

Roswell 2018 UFO Festival News

New post on Official UFO Festival Roswell Website

UFO Crash Site Tour

by UFO Festival

One morning around Independence Day 1947, about 75 miles from the town of Roswell, New Mexico, a rancher named Mac Brazel found something unusual in his sheep pasture: a mess of metallic sticks held together with tape; chunks of plastic and foil reflectors; and scraps of a heavy, glossy, paper-like material. Unable to identify the strange objects, Brazel called Roswell’s sheriff. The sheriff, in turn, called officials at the nearby Roswell Army Air Force base. Soldiers fanned out across Brazel’s field, gathering the mysterious debris and whisking it away in armored trucks. On July 8, “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region” was the top story in the Roswell Daily Record. But was it true? On July 9, an Air Force official clarified the paper’s report: The alleged “flying saucer,” he said, was only a crashed weather balloon. However, to anyone who had seen the debris (or the newspaper photographs of it), it was clear that whatever this thing was, it was no weather balloon. Some people believed–and still believe–that the crashed vehicle had not come from Earth at all. They argued that the debris in Brazel’s field must have come from an alien spaceship.The site is reached only by private tours on the Bogle ranch.
Be the first in 71 years to take a tour of the Brazel crash site.

NMHSRA & NMJHRA State Finals Rodeo

Above, a calf is about to get roped. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Text and Photos by Armand Vaquer

Today, I headed back to Red Rock Park near Gallup for the NMHSRA & NMJHRA State Finals rodeo at the park's rodeo arena. I can't complain about the price as it was free to the public.

I was the perfect day for a rodeo as it was clear and warm (about 80°) outside.

Above, at the contestants' camp.

After I got there, I wandered around the West Campground where the contestants and their families (and horse) camped. I also wandered around the stables.

Above, the stables.

The morning's contestants were of junior high school age and I was impressed by the talents they displayed. High school contestants will perform later this afternoon. I may head back there to watch.

Above, a contestant having a snack.

The events began with the girls Barrel Racing. That was immediately followed by Chute Dogging, Girls Breakaway, Tie Down Roping, Boys Breakaway and other events.

I was entertained by the events until the sun and heat started getting to me. The arena was in a nice setting as it was surrounded by red rocks and Church Rock in the distance.

Here's some photos:

Above, the Stars & Stripes were brought out at the start of the rodeo.

Above, the Red Rock Park rodeo arena.

Above and below, the junior high girls barrel race.

Above, Church Rock.

Above, the junior high girls barrel race.

Above and below, the junior high boys chute dogging.

Above and below, junior high girls breakaway.

Above and below, junior high girls breakaway.

Above, junior high girls breakaway.

Above and below, junior high boys tie down roping.

Above, one of the vendors.

Above, a vintage Wild Bill Hickok lunch pail.

Above, a vintage Annie Oakley lunch pail.

Above, humor was evident.

Above, Pyramid Rock.

Rodeo Day

Above, Church Rock from one of the riding areas and the Church Rock trailhead. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today is the start of the state finals for junior and senior high rodeo contestants at Red Rock Park. I will be heading over to the park to watch. The rodeo goes through Sunday.

It has been years since I last went to a rodeo, so this should be fun.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Flying Wing and Space Shuttle "Columbia"

After putting the car into the garage for the night, I was rummaging through one moving box and found a metal filing box.

I went through the box when I got back into the house and found a number of things inside, such as my high school diploma, silver dollar proof sets and other stuff.

I saw two large envelopes. I looked in them and found a couple of 8 x 10" photos of the famed Northrop "Flying Wing" in one and several photos of the space shuttle Columbia.

The shuttle photos came from an open house at the Rockwell International plant in Downey, California I attended. It was a "welcome home" event for the most recent shuttle astronauts (it may have been the crew for the second or third shuttle mission in 1981).

I have no idea where the "Flying Wing" photos came from. They could have been from an air show or some other event (I attended a lot of them back in the day). One of the photos had "Northrop" rubber-stamped on the back.

In any case, I scanned both "Flying Wing" photos and a couple of the Columbia photos.

Here they are:

Gallup Adventure Guide

Above, the guidebook cover.

One of the items that the Red Rock Park office gave me yesterday was a copy of the Gallup Adventure Guide for Summer 2018. This has to be the most useful guide I've come across since I've moved to New Mexico.

It spotlights "10 Adventures To Do In Gallup".

They are: Experience Native Dance, Hike @ Red Rock Park, Explore ArtsCrawl, Bike Or Hike @ High Desert Trails, Go Wander @ Gallup Flea Market, Go Into The Zuni Mountains, Hit A Rodeo, Giddy Up (horseback riding), Shred @ The OHV Park and Climb A Rock.

Here is a scan of one of the pages for Hit A Rodeo:

And here's a page of other summer events in Gallup:

Looks like there will be plenty to see and do this summer.

Record Visitation Expected At Zion National Park

Above, The Narrows in Zion National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Our national parks are expecting crowded conditions over Memorial Day weekend. This is especially so for Zion National Park in Utah.

According to The Independent:
Memorial Day weekend is a time to honor those who have fallen serving our country and the unofficial start of summer. It is Zion National Park’s busiest weekend. Last year, over 75,000 people visited the park with Sunday being the busiest day with 31,000 visitors. While the park is extending facility hours and increasing staffing, visitors should expect crowded conditions, especially between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. when wait times to enter the park and board shuttles will most likely exceed 45 minutes. At one point last year, the shuttle lines were close to two hours long. 
Zion National Park has limited parking space and is projected to fill by 9 a.m. Please park only in designated stalls. Vehicles parked outside of designated stalls are subject to citation and may be towed. Once all designated parking stalls in Zion are full, visitors should park in the town of Springdale and ride the free shuttle to access the park. There is a charge for parking in Springdale. The pay stub for parking in town is not a park entrance pass. Similarly, a park entrance pass is not a town parking validation. Thank you for parking responsibly during your visit.

To read more, go here

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

She Got The Canvas

Above, Asya with the canvas in Russia.

Things are proceeding with the landscape painting project.

I received several messages from Asya in St. Petersburg, Russia that she has picked up the canvas and will be starting the painting soon. She will be painting the three mesas across the valley from Jamestown, New Mexico.

She also sent along the above photo.

Her website can be accessed here.

Red Rock Park

Above, a view of Church Rock from the post office parking lot. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since today was a nice warm day, I decided to take a little drive to Red Rock Park, that is situated a few miles east of Gallup, New Mexico and is in the community of Church Rock. The Church Rock U.S. Post Office is inside the park.

I took Interstate 40 east to Exit 33 and exited. From there, I took Historic Route 66 east about 3-4 miles to the Red Rock Park road. Along the way, I saw a sign that said "Army Depot". It is part of Fort Wingate. The road to the depot goes under I-40. I decided to make a stop there on the way home.

Red Rock Park

Above, the Red Rock Park entrance sign. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The drive to Red Rock Park is about a half mile from Route 66. At the entrance, there are signs stating that there are campgrounds, convention center, park office, trails, post office, amphitheater and post office.

Above, the Red Rock Park Main Campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I first headed to the Main Campground. There were a few RVs in different campsites, which include hook-ups. The sites are mostly shady and it is surrounded by red rocks.

Above, the post office (left), stables and Church Rock (background). Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Next to the Main Campground is a large parking lot for the Church Rock Hiking Trail. There are also stables at the trailhead. Next to the parking lot is the Church Rock Post Office.

Due north of the parking lot, is a nice view of Church Rock. I took some photos of it.

There are actually two campgrounds at Red Rock Park. The Main Campground and the West Campground.

Red Rock Park Office, Museum and Convention Center

After perusing the stables and post office I then headed over to where the convention center and park office, convention center and museum are located.

Above, the main entrance to the convention center. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When I arrived at the entrance to the convention center, a nice gentleman greeted me and told me about the museum. We walked to the office and museum. The museum is free, but they do have a donation box at the entrance.

Above, the hallway leading into the museum from the park office. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

At the office he gave me some literature about Red Rock Park, including the campground and maps. He mentioned that there will be a rodeo this weekend, starting Friday through Sunday. It looks like I'll be heading back to Red Rock Park for the rodeo. Admission is free and it is the state finals for high school and junior high school contestants. I've been to rodeos before and always had a good time, so I am looking forward to this one.

Above, a nice collection of Zuni kachina dolls. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I left the office and wandered through the museum. If anyone is even remotely interested in Indian artifacts and history, this is one excellent museum! It is even better than what is in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. or on a par with other major museums of Native American history.

Above, there were several wood sculptures in the
museum. This one was my favorite. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since the summer season is only a month away (and it is Memorial Day weekend in a few days), there will be plenty of things to do in the Gallup area and in New Mexico in general. I am looking forward to it.

If one is coming through Gallup, New Mexico and has time to spare, I highly recommend a visit to the Red Rock Park Museum.

U.S. Army Depot

After leaving Red Rock Park, I headed east on Route 66. As I mentioned earlier, I decided to make a stop at the entrance to the Fort Wingate U.S. Army Depot.

Above, the Fort Wingate U.S. Army Deport gateway arch. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The gate to the depot is a few yards from the Interstate 40 (the interstate runs parallel to Route 66) overpass. I stopped and took some photos. As there was a vehicle parked at the gate (I presume it was a security person, I did not drive into the depot.

More Photos

Above, the Church Rock, New Mexico Post Office. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, horse stables near the Church Rock trailhead. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the Red Rock Park Main Campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a display of Indian rugs. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Zuni kachina dolls. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, another display of Indian rugs. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a wood sculpture. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, decorations on the walls outside of the office and convention center.

Above, Church Rock from the trailhead. Photo by Armand Vaquer.
Above, pottery display. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, some of the red rocks that surround the park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

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