Saturday, July 20, 2019

Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum

  Donated items and photographs pertaining to homesteading, farming, and Native American history fill the rooms of this small museum.
   The museum is accessible but the doorway to the Native American room is narrow. Wide wheelchairs may not fit through it. The exhibits in the Farm Shed Building are a little hard to see due to the height of the exterior wall.

  The parking lot is large enough for any RV. Park close to the sidewalk to avoid a long trip through rough gravel. Museum  47.49375, -121.78829

Friday, July 19, 2019

Northwest African American Museum

  The journey of African Americans to the US on slave ships and, after winning their freedom, to the northwest for new opportunities is told in this small museum.  Local individuals are highlighted in the exhibits. The Jimi Hendrix Park, featuring a timeline of Hendrix’s life, walkways and a sculpture, is located on the grounds.
    The museum and the park are accessible.

    RVs will fit in the lot if parked across the spaces. Museum  47.58863, -122.30218

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Vasa Park Resort Campground

   For years we’ve dry camped at either the Emerald Queen Casino in Fife or the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn but this year we were surprised to see No RV Parking signs at both of them. There are very few campgrounds near Seattle where our daughter and son-in-law live so I had to scramble a bit to find a place. I settled on Vasa Park east of the city so that we could avoid I-5 as much as possible.

   Vasa Park is not a resort, in fact, it seems more like a community park than anything else. It’s small with only 6 full hookup sites and 15 tent and partial hookup sites. They’re all very close together. The park is right on Lake Sammamish and has a beach, water slides, boat launch, and playground.
   The campground seems almost like an afterthought because the main portion of the park is used by day visitors and for private events. We were there for 4 days and every day a large event was held. At least two were family picnics for Microsoft employees with pizza, barbecue, ice cream, inflatable slides, and train rides – looked like fun!  During events campers are restricted to the camp area, beach, and playground.
   All in all this is not the type of camping we prefer but it’s fine for visiting the city – easy to get to, closer than the other campgrounds, and a bit cheaper than most of them. The full hookup sites fill but I didn’t have a problem booking a site in the partial hookup area. Campground  47.57791, -122.11271

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Museum of History & Industry

    Nicely done exhibits follow the history of Seattle from the Native American settlements to the present day city.
   The museum is accessible. The bridge room (the building was originally a Navy reserve armory) is accessed by a stairway however there is an accessible entrance on the third floor. It’s located in the Johnson Family Gallery which houses temporary exhibits. The door was locked during our visit and we did not search out someone to unlock it so we didn’t visit the bridge room.

    Parking for large vehicles is very limited in the Seattle area. There’s an accessible lot at the south side of the museum for vehicles 25’ or less. We did not use this lot. Instead we parked at Woodland Park Zoo and rode to the museum with our daughter. The zoo lot has a few long RV/bus spaces. They’re expensive – $18.00 for RVs but free with a handicapped hang tag. Free parking is also available to Woodland Park adjacent to the zoo. Museum  47.62716, -122.3367

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Ballard Locks and Visitor Center

   The Lake Washington Ship Canal was completed in the early 20th century to connect Lake Union and Lake Washington to the Puget Sound and allow easy transportation of lumber and coal from the interior of Washington State to the sound. The locks, which carry more boat traffic than any other locks in the US, allow the boats to “climb” 20 feet from sea level to lake level and vise versa.

   There are lot of things to explore at this site. Paved paths circle through 7 acres of botanical gardens, the result of  40 years of work by Carl S. English, Jr.  Rangers conduct free tours of the locks every day during tourist season. The locks may also be toured on your own. The large amount of boat traffic means visitors will most likely see the locks in action. A fish ladder viewing room is located on the south side of the canal. The fish must climb 21 steps to travel from the ocean to the lakes and continue their journey to riverbed spawning grounds. The fish swim back and forth in this area to acclimate from salt water to fresh water and underwater windows give visitors a good view of them. The small museum has interesting exhibits and videos about building the locks and the lifecycle of salmon.
   The garden, lock viewing area, fish ladder viewing area, and the museum are accessible.

   Parking for large vehicles is very limited in the Seattle area. The parking lots near the locks are too small for RVs. We parked behind the Nordic Museum. Small RVs will fit in this lot (small fee).  Large RVs may fit on the street in front of the museum but due to street construction those spaces were closed when we visited. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in fair condition. Locks 47.66735, -122.39793

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Nordic Museum

  Political strife, social upheaval, overcrowding, and agricultural disasters in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark caused a surge of emigration starting in the middle 1800s and continuing until the early 1900s.  Nearly a third of the Nordic population migrated to the US. Most landed in New York harbor and made their way west to homesteads in the Midwest or fishing and shipbuilding centers in the Pacific Northwest. As with all immigrant groups, they brought their customs and beliefs - building saunas and establishing cooperatively owned farms, dairies, and stores; and taking an active part in labor unions and social reform movements.
   The museum has very good exhibits that cover life in the Nordic countries from the era of the Vikings up to the present day. Emigration stories along with many artifacts give details about individuals from each country - why they left, what they thought of the US, and where they settled and found work.
   The museum is accessible.

Parking for large vehicles is very limited in the Seattle area. Small RVs will fit in the lot (small fee) behind the museum. Large RVs may fit on the street in front of the museum but due to street construction those spaces were closed when we visited. Museum 47.66825, -122.39146

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Centennial Trail - Getchell Trailhead

  The trail starts at the town of Snohomish and runs 30.5 miles to the border of Skagit County with numerous parking lots along the way. Since we were staying at the Tulalip Casino we parked at the Getchell Trailhead which is large enough for RVs.

   We walked/rolled south for about 3 miles before turning around. The trail is wide and in very good condition. The section that we did travels through a corridor of trees so it’s not very scenic but we did see a deer, a young bald eagle, scat with fruit pits, and scat with fur most likely from black bear and fox. A short, accessible, paved trail and boardwalk at Lake Cassidy leads to a nice view of the water.  Trail  48.07158, -122.10083


Monday, July 8, 2019

Langus Riverfront Park Trail

   A paved trail heads south from the riverfront park, passing by the sewage plant and views of old dock pilings on the opposite side of the Snohomish River before rounding a bend to follow the Union Slough into more natural surroundings of tidal marsh. The paved trail continues for a half a mile before dead ending at the Spenser Island Bridge. Cross the bridge to continue on the unpaved trail on the island. The trail dead ends at the north end and makes a loop at the south end. We found it too overgrown to be accessible and returned to the park on the paved trail for a total hike of about 5 miles.

  The parking lot at the boat ramp is large enough for any RV. It’s a little complicated to get to the park so follow the directions on the website. Park  47.99782, -122.17833


Sunday, July 7, 2019

Trojan Park Trail

   A one mile paved trail circles around this pretty little lake. There isn’t any mention of the troubled history of this site but just a short distance away, in the far corner of a gated lot, 34 containers of spent nuclear fuel sit waiting for transport to an approved repository location.

   The power plant went online in 1975 despite years of opposition from Oregon residents. After less than 2 years of commercial use, major construction errors were discovered which necessitated a complete shutdown for nine months. In October 1979 the plant was shut down again to repair a steam generator tube leak. Finally in 1992 a leak of radioactive water doomed the plant and it was permanently closed.

    In 2001 the reactor was encased in concrete foam and barged up the Columbia River to be buried at Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The cooling tower, central office buildings, and the reactor building were demolished between 2006 – 2008 so little is left of the site. A mysteriously gated parking lot was part of a visitor center complex but the building was torn down in 2004 after it was damaged by flooding. An elevated walkway shaded by two rows of trees is all that remains.

    The trail around the lake is in poor condition with heaves and patches of crumbling asphalt. It’s still accessible but wheelchair users may need assistance.
   There are gravel pull offs on either side of the park entrance road. Go past these, continue into the park and take the first right which leads to large paved lots and easier access to the trail.  Park  46.03649, -122.89277