Thursday, May 30, 2013

Millicent Rogers Museum

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   This museum was established in 1956 to showcase the collections of Millicent Rogers, the granddaughter of Standard Oil co-founder H.H. Rogers. Millicent lived in Taos for six years before she died from heart disease caused by a childhood case of rheumatic fever. She collected more than 2000 Native American artifacts and also designed her own silver and turquoise jewelry. The museum has expanded to include contemporary  Hispanic and Native American art.

  The museum is partially accessible. Most of the main exhibits are accessible but one case of jewelry is too high to view from a wheelchair. One of the galleries is accessed by a very steep ramp. The Spanish Colonial Gallery and the Hispanic Religious Gallery are only accessible by two sets of steps.

  The parking lot is large enough for RVs. Museum

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Earthship Biotecture Visitor Center

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  Earthships are built using recycled tires, bottles and cans which are covered with concrete and stucco. They’re partially buried in the ground, use solar panels for power, rain catchment as a water supply, recycled gray water for greenhouses and are completely off the grid. The Earthship community near Taos is fairly large with houses spread out across the desert but, understandably, the people living there really don’t welcome gawkers. For a $7.00 fee visitors can read the displays, watch a short movie, walk through a greenhouse, and view a couple of buildings under construction but the rest of the property is off limits.

  The parking area and short trail are rough- dirt and gravel- so most wheelchair users will need to have some help. The visitor center is accessible.

The parking area is large enough for RVs. Center

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Rio Grande del Norte NM -Petaca Campground

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  Our newest National Monument – established just a few months ago on March 25, 2013! The gorge is a rife valley caused by the earth’s crust shifting twenty-nine million years ago. Driving towards Taos along Route 68, it appears as a wide, zigzagging crack along the otherwise flat plain. Most of the gorge is wilderness with trails, 4x4 roads and the river as the main ways to access it but the south end of the gorge has six miles of paved road leading to seven small campgrounds along the Rio Grande. Another paved road and four more small campgrounds are located on the rim of the gorge near Questa,NM.

  The campground pictured above is one of the seven along the river. Two of the campgrounds have some sites with electric and water hookups. All of the campgrounds look like they have sites that will accommodate large RVs. Most of the campgrounds have a shade shelter over the tables. Not all of the campgrounds have accessible sites but the vault toilets are accessible.

  Stop at the visitor center, along Route 68, at the south end of the gorge to get maps and information.  Monument

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge Rest Area

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   The bridge is 565 feet above the Rio Grande, making it the 10th highest bridge in the US and the 82nd highest in the world. Both sides of the bridge have a sidewalk so that you can peer over either side at the steep gorge walls and the ribbon of river. There’s parking along the road on the west end of the bridge and also at the rest area. Large RVs can park parallel to the loop road that runs through the rest area. A 24 hour stay is permitted. Surprisingly it’s very quiet at night.  Bridge
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Saturday, May 25, 2013

E.L. Blumenschein Home

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  Mary and Ernest Blumenschein, along with other artistic Tao residents, created the Tao Society of Artists which helped establish Tao’s reputation as an art colony. Their house, where they lived for about forty years, was originally a series of small rooms with shared exterior walls. Parts of it are over 300 years old. By cutting in doorways the Blumenstein's  connected nine rooms to make a spacious, rambling house. The house contains original furnishings and paintings by the Blumenscheins and their friends.

  The house is not accessible due to steps and narrow doorways.

  Taos is not an easy city for wheelchair visitors. Many curb cuts are steep or missing. We also encountered sidewalks with steps and light posts blocking the way.

  Free RV parking is located in a lot on Cam De La Placita. Follow the RV Parking signs from US 64.  Museum
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Kit Carson Home & Museum

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  Kit Carson was a fur trapper, a guide for John Freemont and an Indian agent. He was also given the task of relocating the Navajos from the four corners region to Bosque Redondo in eastern New Mexico, a 400 hundred mile walk. Several thousand people died on the way, Bosque Redondo was found to be unsuitable for the settlement of such a large number of people and the Navajos were permitted to return to their home territory four years later. The Taos house is where Carson lived for 24 years with his third wife and eight children. It’s only four rooms, simply furnished as it would have been when the Carsons lived there. The exhibits are lacking in detail so watch the short movie and read the handout for more information.

  There are short steps between the rooms so the museum isn’t accessible without help.

  Taos is not an easy city for wheelchair visitors. Many curb cuts are steep or missing. We also encountered sidewalks with steps and light posts blocking the way.

  Free RV parking is located in a lot on Cam De La Placita. Follow the RV Parking signs from US 64.  Museum
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Governor Bent House and Museum

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Charles Bent, a very successful American fur trader and merchant, settled in Taos while it was still a Mexican city. During the Mexican-American War Santa Fe, which was the capital of the Mexican territory of Santa Fé de Nuevo México, fell easily and in September  of 1846 Bent was appointed governor of the new US territory. The takeover did not please many of the Mexican citizens and on January 14, 1847 Bent, along with other US officials, was killed by rebels in his house in Taos. The house is now a somewhat strange little museum stuffed with artifacts, many which have nothing to do with New Mexico, Taos or Bent.

  The museum is not accessible due to steps, narrow doorways and passageways that are blocked by furniture.

  Taos is not an easy city for wheelchair visitors. Many curb cuts are steep or missing. We also encountered sidewalks with steps and light posts blocking the way.

  Free RV parking is located in a lot on Cam De La Placita. Follow the RV Parking signs from US 64. Museum

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Poeh Museum

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  The history of the Pueblo people is told in this small museum using wonderfully expressive sculptures by artist, Roxanne Swentzell. The museum also has an art gallery with rotating exhibits and a gift shop.

   Everything is accessible.

  The parking lot is large enough for RVs. Museum
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Casinos North of Santa Fe

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  There are three casinos about 10 miles north of Santa Fe, Camel Rock, Buffalo Thunder, and Cities of Gold. All of them allow overnight RV parking. Buffalo Thunder is the largest casino but the RV parking is the worst, in a very sloped back lot far away from the casino entrance. If you have a van or small RV you might be able to get away with parking in a little used section in the front lot. Cities of Gold has a paved, fairly level lot but it’s kind of small and shared with trucks and a Park and Ride bus stop. Camel Rock’s RV lot, pictured above, is a very large, sandy area. It’s the best overnight spot but might be dusty on windy days.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bradbury Science Museum

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  While the atmosphere in Los Alamos today is one of small town tranquility, the role of town, past and present, as a top secret research laboratory, is still in evidence. Much of the surrounding land is posted with signs warning about unexploded munitions and other hazards. Roads to the laboratories are closed to everyone but pass holders. Visiting this museum will give you an understanding of some of the projects that have taken place here. The displays are very technical, unlike many other science museums which are often geared towards children.

  Everything is accessible.

  The parking lot is shared with other businesses and may be too crowded on week days for large RV parking. Several shopping centers are nearby where RVs can park. Museum

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Entrance Park (Eastgate - Sunrise Park)

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    This little park, which is really just a parking lot, is located at the east end of Los Alamos, making it a convenient place to stay if you want to visit the city. There’s a dump station, a restroom, picnic tables and grills. It’s next to the road into town so there’s some traffic noise.

   The park isn’t marked very well so look for the dump station sign. The fee for camping is $10.00 a night and must be paid at the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center at the west end of town. Nothing about this campsite is mentioned on the town website - click below to enlarge the picture for more information.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Los Alamos Historical Museum

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  Los Alamos,where in the early 1940s the nuclear bomb was developed, was also known as the secret city. Scientists, civilians and military personnel were whisked away to these secluded mesas on the Pajarito Plataea.  For three years arrivals and departures were monitored and strictly controlled, letters were censured, and friends and family were given no information about the location of their loved ones. The museum covers all of the inhabitants of the plateau - the early Native Americans, the homesteaders of the 1900s, the boys who lived at the exclusive Los Alamos Ranch School and finally the men, women and children who found themselves adjusting to an unusual life far from anything familiar.

  The museum is all accessible. After leaving the museum follow the paved trail to the left to visit the ruins of a pueblo village and a reconstructed homesteader’s summer shelter.

  Vans and small RVs will fit in the parking lot. Larger RVs may park in the library lot across the street.  Museum

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bandelier National Monument

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  When drought forced the inhabitants of Mesa Verde to move this was one of the places where they settled, close to a small stream that supplied water year round. The cliffs in the area are soft volcanic tuff with crevices carved by wind and water which were farther enlarged to form rooms. More rooms, built of stone blocks, were constructed in front of them using the cliff walls for support. A circular village, containing hundreds of rooms, was built on the flat land of Frijoles Canyon .

  Most of Bandelier NM is not accessible. There are few roads and many miles of trails. Even so it’s still an interesting, unique  and scenic place to visit. The visitor center is accessible plus the short trail to the village ruins is paved. The cliff dwellings are reached by steps and ladders but it’s possible to view the location of some of them from the canyon trail. The canyon trail is bumpy because it’s made with small pebbles set in concrete. An additional section that loops back to the visitor center is sand and pebbles – a little hard to push along but doable. The campground doesn’t have any accessible sites. Most of the paved parking pads are sloped and the tables do not have overhangs. The ground at the sites is packed dirt.

  The park roads are narrow, steep and winding.Trailers and towed vehicles must be dropped at a lot near the campground turn off. Most of the campground sites are short and sloped but a few are long enough for large RVs.There’s only one parking spot at the visitor center that is long enough for RVs over 30’. During the busy season, late spring to fall, visitors can not drive the park road from 9 AM - 3 PM and must use the free shuttle which leaves from White Rock Information Center. White Rock is about 12 miles away and has a RV park at the Information Center. It’s just a paved lot but has electric hookups and a dump station.  Park
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Mexico History Museum

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  This is an excellent museum, newly opened in 2009. The admission ticket is also good for the Palace of the Governors but we spent so much time in the museum that we missed visiting the Palace. If you’re planning on spending several days in Santa Fe buy a four day pass – $20.00 to visit four museums, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Palace of the Governors/New Mexico History Museum

  Everything in the museum is accessible. Most of the sidewalks and curb cuts around Santa Fe Plaza are in good condition but once you get a few blocks away the situation deteriorates. Sidewalks are narrow, tilted  and rough. Many shops have a step at the entrance. Curb cuts are steep and uneven. Wheelchair users will need to have help.

  Parking around the plaza is very limited. RVs may park a few blocks south east in the lot on the corner of Alameda Street and Cathedral Place. The parking fee is high – $20.00 for a RV- but that’s for 24 hours and if your RV is self contained you can stay overnight, something almost unheard of in a city. Free parking is available at the government offices where Paseo De Peralta turns west. The spaces are short so weekends, when the buildings are closed, may be best for RV parking.   Parking  Museum
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

State Capitol Building Art Collection

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   Almost 600 pieces of art work, all by New Mexico artists, are displayed along the hallways, lobbies, rotunda and in the governor’s office. Even the seating in the lobbies are works of art. All the art is contemporary and covers a wide range of mediums. And it’s free to visit!

  Everything is accessible but the carpeting is plush and it can be tiring to push through the entire building.

  A small parking lot for visitors is located off of Paseo De Peralta. Small RVs and vans will fit. A few long RV parking spaces are located across from the Capitol in the visitor center parking lot. Art

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Santa Fe Historical Churches

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  We visited Saint Francis Cathedral and Loretto Chapel. Both are just a block away from Santa Fe Plaza. Saint Francis Cathedral was completed in 1887, constructed around  an older abode church which was then torn down. The only part of the adobe church left standing is small chapel, built in 1714, which houses the oldest Madonna statue in the US, dating from 1625. Lorretto Chapel is famous for it’s circular staircase that has no visible means of support. It was built by a mysterious carpenter who disappeared without receiving payment for his work. Lorretto Chapel is no longer a church and has a small entrance fee.

  Both buildings are accessible. Most of the sidewalks and curb cuts around Santa Fe Plaza are in good condition but once you get a few blocks away the situation deteriorates. Sidewalks are narrow, tilted  and rough. Many shops have a step at the entrance. Curb cuts are steep and uneven. Wheelchair users will need to have help.

Parking around the plaza is very limited. RVs may park a few blocks south east in the lot on the corner of Alameda Street and Cathedral Place. The parking fee is high – $20.00 for a RV- but that’s for 24 hours and if your RV is self contained you can stay overnight, something almost unheard of in a city. Free parking is available at the government offices where Paseo De Peralta turns west. The spaces are short so weekends, when the buildings are closed, may be best for RV parking.   Parking   Saint Francis Cathedral  Loretto Chapel
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Thursday, May 9, 2013

SITE Santa Fe

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   SITE is a contemporary art  center with changing exhibits focusing on the work of just a few artists at a time. Each exhibit lasts about four months so there’s always new art to view.

  The museum is accessible.

  There are a few parking spots in near the front entrance including one handicapped one. A large parking lot is located behind the building -$1.00 an hour per space. It’s a bit of a trek to the entrance. Follow the bike path to the sidewalk which leads to the museum to avoid the loose gravel on the south east side of the building. SITE

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Mesa Verde National Park

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   Thousands of pueblo ruins are scattered across the four corners region of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, on top of the mesas, along the waterways and tucked into rock overhangs. Most of the dwellings were abandoned around 1300 when the inhabitants moved south and east to escape a severe 24 year drought. Time, weather and new people moving into the area have caused a lot of damage to many of the structures but Mesa Verde, because of it’s isolation on the top of a high plateau, is one of the best preserved cliff dwelling sites in the world.

  Three of the cliff dwellings are open for visitors. Stop at the beautiful, new visitor center at the park entrance to get tickets, watch the movie and see the exhibits. Mockups of the ladders and narrow spaces that you must navigate are available to try out before going to the ruins.
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The cliff dwellings are the main attraction and they are not accessible but the park service has done a very good job making the rest of the park as accessible as possible. The new visitor center is completely accessible. Most of the views from the overlooks can be seen from your vehicle. Park Point Overlook has a steep paved trail to the top. The Far View site does not have a paved trail but parts of it can be seen with help. All of the mesa top sites along Mesa Top Loop have paved paths which are mostly level although a few have steep sections. Spruce Tree House has a long, steep, paved path down to the ruins. We have never taken this path because of the grade and elevation. The Chapin Mesa Museum is partially accessible. It has four levels. The second level is accessed by a steep, movable metal ramp. The third and forth levels have short flights of steps and no ramps. Wetherill Mesa Road is opened, during the summer only, to vehicles less than 25’ and 8000 pounds. An accessible tram travels the mesa loop.The campground loop with accessible sites was still closed for the season during our visit so we didn’t check it out. Accessibility Info
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   Mesa Verde is located over 1000’ above the surrounding plains so the roadway is steep with many curves. Trailers and towed vehicles that are not going to the campground must be left at a parking area near the bottom. Touring is best done in your car but can be managed in a small RV. The parking lots, with the exception of the visitor centers and Cliff and Balcony House are small. The Far View Site has very little parking and most RVs will not find a spot there.

  Most of the campsites are small and not level. The electric hookup sites have been redesigned and are much better but there aren’t very many of them and they weren’t opened during our visit. We watched several people circle the campground loop a few times before giving up because they couldn’t find a site where their RV would fit. Some of the sites were missing tables and fire rings. The campground rarely fills so if your RV is small you shouldn’t have any trouble getting a space no matter when you visit. Park
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