We’re camped out in a field at Saguaro Man. People were busy yesterday getting set up but extreme wind today is battering many of the creations. Hopefully tomorrow wouldn’t be as bad. Very, very slow internet so I won’t be posting any more until Monday.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
We stopped at Tonto National Monument knowing that both the lower and the upper cliff dwellings are not wheelchair accessible but we wanted to see the parts of the site that are accessible. The trail to the lower cliff dwelling is paved and only 1/2 mile long but steep with some steps. The more challenging trail to the upper cliff dwelling is 3 miles round trip and visitors must sign up for a guided tour. The visitor center parking lot has a nice view point which overlooks Theodore Roosevelt Lake. The visitor center has a few exhibits and is accessible.
We walked/rolled up the paved trail (going in the exit to avoid steps) for a little way. It’s very steep so we didn’t go far but the cacti were in bloom so it was a pretty walk.
The parking lot has three RV spaces for vehicles 30’ and under. Larger vehicles must stop at the picnic area which is about 1/2 mile before the visitor center lot. There isn’t a sidewalk or trail from the picnic area to the visitor center.
Monday, April 25, 2016
This is a nicely done little museum covering the history of the area around Payson, AZ. An additional building, the Zane Grey Cabin, is a replica of the cabin where Grey stayed for a few weeks every year while working on his novels and hunting with friends. Grey abandoned the original cabin in 1930 after a dispute over hunting licenses. It was restored in 1966 but burned in the 1990 Dude forest fire. I’ve never read any of Zane Grey’s books but I found a free download on Amazon for “Riders of the Purple Sage” so I’m going to give it a try.
Visitors can choose to visit one or both buildings. They’re shown by guided tour only but if you wish to spend more time a volunteer will be happy to accommodate you
The museum is located in a pretty little park which has a 1/2 mile paved walking trail circling a small lake. The lake is filled with treated waste water and stocked with fish. Sounds appetizing. :- D
The cabin is accessible and the first floor of the museum are accessible. The second floor is accessed by a stair lift which I don’t like so we skipped it. The trail around the lake is accessible and there’s an accessible fishing dock.
RVs can be parked lengthwise across the parking spaces.
Eight long spaces are located next to the tribal police station. We stayed in this spot for one night then moved across the street to the main lot for two additional nights. The lot is sloped but the section along the road is fairly level. Either area is fine for overnight RV parking. We moved because of a very noisy tractor trailer. Signs indicate parking is limited to 72 hours.
It’s an uphill run to the casino entrance. The casino is fairly small but has a lot of room between the aisles. The chairs are easy to move and the ticket and card slots are easy to reach.
Saturday, April 23, 2016
The well is a large sink hole created when a limestone cave collapsed. A spring pumps out 1,500,000 gallons of water a day which eventually escapes through a natural outlet. Almost 3,000 years ago the Sinagua people began building canals from the outlet to their fields and some of that original canal is still in use today.
Due to steep grades and steps the site is not wheelchair accessible. We walked/rolled along the paved path starting at the end marked with an exit sign. The first section is fairly level. The path is very steep after the outlet location. With the help of a strong pusher it’s possible to reach the rim of the sink hole. We did not go farther because the trail becomes very rough and uneven before looping back to the parking lot. Able bodied visitors can walk to the bottom of the sinkhole. A small cliff dwelling is visible near the top.
The parking lot is small. RVs will fit parked across the spaces or by backing in.
Friday, April 22, 2016
The protection of a deep alcove has preserved Montezuma Castle as one of the most intact cliff dwellings in North America. Between 1100 and 1425 AD about 150 members of the Sinagua culture lived in the cliff dwelling and in a pueblo along the base of the cliff. The dwelling was long abandoned by the time settlers discovered it in the 1860s and mistakenly thought it was part of Montezuma’s empire.
The only way up to the cliff dwelling is by step ladder. Due to safety concerns and a desire to preserve the dwelling public tours were discontinued in 1951 but the site is easily viewed by a 1/3 mile paved trail. The visitor center has exhibits about the park and the Sinagua culture.
The visitor center and the trail are accessible.
The parking lot has long bus/RV spaces.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
The Verde River provided a year round water source for the Sinagua culture and 100 miles of fertile valley supported over 50 major pueblos and numerous smaller ones. Most were abandoned in the early 1400s after being continuously occupied for 300 years. Tuzigoot was one of the largest with about 100 rooms. The ruins were excavated and stabilized in the 1930s as part of a WPA project.
The visitor center has very good exhibits and many original artifacts. A short paved trail circles the ruins. Another paved trail leads to an overlook of the valley.
The visitor center and overlook trail are accessible. The trail circling the ruins is very steep so wheelchair users will need a strong helper to access it. The very top is not accessible due to steps.
The parking lot has long bus/RV spaces.
Tuzigoot 34.77278, -112.02896
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
The headframe is located west of Jerome State Park and is not part of the park so there isn’t an admission charge. The headframe was used to lift copper ore from the 1900’ deep shaft of the Little Daisy Mine. The shaft is covered with a thick piece of glass so it’s possible to stand on the glass and look down the shaft. A man cage and other mining equipment is also on display.
Large, loose gravel makes rolling around very difficult. A short steep ramp provides access to the glass covering the shaft.
The parking lot is large enough for RVs.
Park 34.75395, -112.11285
In 1916 James S. Douglas, owner of the Little Daisy Mine in Jerome, built this mansion which was designed to house visiting mining officials as well as his family. It’s an austere building with some unusual features. The floors are concrete, the walls are adobe brick and it had steam heat, electricity and a central vacuum system. The mansion is now a museum with displays that include information about the Douglas family, the town of Jerome, copper mining artifacts, a mineral collection and a 3-D model of the underground mines. An interesting 30 minute video runs continuously.
The first floor of the museum is accessible. The double doors at the entrance are narrow so both may need to be opened to provide wheelchair access. The grounds where mining equipment is located are surfaced with loose gravel so rolling is a little difficult.
The parking lot has two RV spaces long enough for a 30’ RV.
Jerome is a popular tourist town with art galleries, shops and restaurants. The road to Jerome from either direction is narrow and winding so you may not want to drive your RV but if you do, a RV parking lot is located at the north end of Main Street. A sidewalk leads to the center of town. Many of the shops at the north end have accessible entrances.
Museum 34.75368, -112.11043
Monday, April 18, 2016
The wetlands are a series of six small ponds with different depths to provide a wide range of habitat. They’re filled with treated water from the nearby waste water reclamation plant. A large variety of birds visit the wetlands. We’re not birders so we weren’t looking closely but the ones that we did see were common red winged black birds and several different species of ducks.
The trail around the first pond is hard packed, finely crushed stone and is easy to roll along. The other trails are surfaced with large, loose gravel so wheelchair users will probably need to have help.
The entrance road is single lane with a couple of pull offs to allow passing of oncoming traffic. The parking lot is large enough for RVs.
Sedona is surrounded by national forest but there are some restrictions on camping due to the large amount of visitors. Check here for more information. We boondocked at a well used spot along 89B on top of the hill with nice views of the red buttes. This spot is large enough for any RV. We didn’t go farther down the road but reports indicate that it gets narrow and rough.
Wetlands 34.83005, -111.89446 Camp 34.81179, -111.89416