Saturday, February 28, 2015

Route 66 Museum

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  Kingman, Arizona was one of the last cities to be bypassed when I-40 was completed in the 1980s. Route 66, the “Mother Road”, ran through downtown and even now the 52 mile section from Topnock to Kingman is one of the longest intact portions. The museum follows the history of the road from Indian trails, to wagon road, to paved highway. The dust bowl refugee display is especially interesting.
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  Everything is accessible. A museum employee must unlock a door to provide wheelchair access to a section on the second floor.

  The parking lot is big enough for any RV.  Museum
  35.18889, -114.05847
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Casinos

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  The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Tribes owns two casinos on the eastside of Phoenix. Both are fairly small, very busy and both allow 3 days of overnight RV parking but for RVers the Casino Arizona (pictured above) is much better than the Talking Stick Casino (below).Talking Stick has 6 long, narrow RV spaces. Overnight stays are limited to these spaces which are so narrow that it’s very hard to fit one RV next to another. We arrived in late afternoon and didn’t park in one of the RV spaces. Security didn’t ask us to move until the next morning but we probably would not risk it again. 33.53935, -111.87272

   Casino Arizona, on the other hand, has a large lot for oversized vehicles with no restrictions plus it’s very convenient to Hwy 101 and the attractions in the city.  Use the fourth entrance off of 92nd Street to get to the oversized parking lot.  33.45623, -111.88431

  Because of the small size and crowded conditions of the casinos neither is very accessible. Both require a hike to get from the RV parking to the casino entrance.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Phoenix Art Museum

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   Phoenix is the six largest city in the US and home to some very wealthy people so we were surprised that the art museum isn’t very big and doesn’t have a wide variety of artwork. It’s still worth a visit though.

  The museum is accessible. A few of the cases have information cards that are not propped up so they’re hard to read. The north and south wing have a connecting hallway on the first level only and two separate elevators must be used to see the upper levels.

  Smaller RVs will fit in the lot by parking through two spaces. If the museum is not busy large RVs may be able to park across the spaces. The museum entrance is not well marked. Exit the lot and walk to the right, towards Central Ave, to get to the main entrance.   Museum

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Arizona Capitol Museum & Bolin Memorial Park

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  Arizona does not have a state history museum in it’s capital city however the old state capitol building has been refurbished and has a few exhibits. Most of the exhibits deal with the state government but there’s also a brief history of Arizona’s path to statehood and an exhibit about the USS Arizona, the battleship that exploded and sank during the attack on Pearl Harbor, killing 1,177 officers and crewmen.
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  Bolin Memorial Park, which is located directly across the street from the museum, has a memorial to the men who died on the Arizona along with a couple dozen memorials and monuments to groups and individuals who served in the armed forces or helped shape the state.
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  The museum and the park are accessible. Smooth paved paths lead past all of the monuments.

  Two public parking lots are located in Bolin Park. Small RVs will fit parked to overhang the grass. Larger RVs can park across several spaces. We visited on Saturday and the parking lots were almost empty.   Museum
33.46748, -112.07335
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Phoenix Zoo

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  Like most zoos some of the animal enclosures at the Phoenix Zoo could use improvement but overall the animals seem to be well cared for and have enough room. The zoo is spread out over a large area so expect to do some walking.
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   Although the main trails are paved very few sections are flat so pushing around without help would be very tiring. The Desert Lives trail is sandy and climbs a small hill. The small Forest of Uco section also has sandy trails. We did not participate in any of the additional activities however I did notice that the tram which makes a loop around the zoo (no stops other than initial boarding) does have a wheelchair lift. Most of the animals are easy to view but many of the small reptile enclosures are too high for wheelchair users.

  The parking lot is large enough for any RV. Zoo
   33.45013, -111.94772
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pueblo Grande Museum Archaeological Park

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  Pueblo Grande Archaeological Park preserves a small part of the ruins of a village, one of  many that were built by the Hohokam culture who also lived and farmed at Casa Grande near Tucson. The Hohokam live at Pueblo Grande from A.D. 450 to 1450. They utilized canals to irrigate their fields and may have abandoned the village when a series of floods lowered the Salt River level and destroyed the irrigation system.The site includes a paved trail that allows visitors to view the preserved walls of the village buildings along with several recreated houses and a nicely done museum with a short film about the Hohokam culture and the archeological site.
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  Everything along the trail and in the museum is accessible.

  The parking lot is large enough for any RV.   Park
  33.44669, -111.98489
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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Vulture Peak Road Boondocking

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  Large flat camping areas and a short drive to Wickenburg makes this a very popular spot. Large RVs are a common sight and many spots are roomy enough for a small group. The road is sandy dirt and may get muddy when it rains. It becomes narrow and steep after the 1 mile marker. The last clearing is very large but is used by horse campers and may be a bit messy.

  This is state trust land and a permit is required to camp here but it adjoins BLM land so check this map for more camping opportunities.   Boondocking
33.90851, -112.79049
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Friday, February 20, 2015

Hassayampa River Preserve

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   For most of it’s 113 miles the Hassayampa River flows underground. The preserve is one of the few places where the water reaches the surface making a lush oasis and providing a home for numerous animals and birds. Displays in the visitor center cover the history, geology, plant and animal life of the preserve. Several short trails travel through different habitats.

  The visitor center is accessible. The  half mile Palm Lake Loop trail which circles a small man-made lake is accessible but most wheelchair users will need some help due to soft and steep sections. The other trails have loose sand and are not accessible.

  The parking lot is large enough for short RVs only.   Preserve
  33.93311, -112.69504
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Desert Caballeros Western Museum

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  Since it’s founding in 1863 Wickenburg, Arizona has been many things – a Native American planting ground, a gold mining town, a farming town, a cattle ranching town, a dude ranch town and finally a tourist and retirement community. This little museum covers the history very well and also has several galleries with changing exhibits of beautiful western art. (no photography allowed)

  The museum is accessible but the doors are a bit heavy. An elevator accesses the basement level. One of the exhibits has blocks of wood covering the identifying information for the artifacts. Most of the blocks can not be reached from a seated position.  An addition to the museum, Cultural Crossroads Learning Center, which has more exhibits is located just behind the museum and can be accessed by taking the sidewalk to the alley and following that to the northwest side of the building where an accessible entrance is located.

  Several accessible parking spaces suitable for cars or vans are located in front of the museum on Frontier Street. RVs can park in the gravel lot on Frontier Street southeast of the museum. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in good condition. The sidewalk is missing for short bit requiring rolling along the street which has little traffic.   Museum
33.96857, -112.73092
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Winter Blast Fireworks Show

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  The Winter Blast is promoted as four nights of fireworks which is true but there’s a lot of downtime waiting for random fireworks during the open shooting times. Public displays take place for an hour on Friday and Saturday. Saturday’s display was spectacular, Fridays was just okay. We decided to stay at the rodeo grounds RV parking area for simplicity and a good view. Five nights of dry camping cost $100.00 with a price raise next year to $150.00. We also bought tickets for the fund raiser barbecue.

  We’re glad that we attended but next time we’ll boondock on BLM land then come in for Saturday’s show only. Parking in a gravel lot where we can look into our neighbor’s window (although the spaces are very roomy) and hear generators all day is not our style. We’ll also skip the barbecue which was the worst barbecue we’ve ever had – very salty chicken, soggy garlic bread, bland beans and iceberg lettuce salad.
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  The ground is hard packed. Rolling around in a wheelchair is fairly easy on each parking level but there are four levels and the access road is loose gravel and steep so getting to other levels is very difficult. There aren’t any special accessible spots. K-1 is good both for viewing the fireworks and getting to the paved road to use the ADA compliant ramp to the barbecue and beer stands. Spots are assigned ahead of time but it may be possible to get a specific spot if you call and explain your need for accessibility.   Blast
34.44562, -114.26125
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Friday, February 13, 2015

The Steps Boondocking

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   This spot is right off of Hwy 95 and very easy to access. It’s also a popular riding area for OTVs. Other than that it’s just a stretch of semi-flat desert land located under high voltage lines, not somewhere to spend a lot of time but good for an overnight stop. Most of the public land in this area is BLM but this section is state trust land and a permit is required. The permit can not be downloaded so we took our chances and stayed without one.

  The view from Google maps raises a lot of questions. What are the steps? Why? And who? I can’t find the answers anywhere but speculation is that it’s the site of a never opened RV park or maybe a surface mine but it doesn’t really look like one.
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  There’s plenty of room for any size RV but the most level spots are close to Hwy 95. 
  34.33766, -114.13724
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Monday, February 9, 2015

The Camel Farm

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  I’m not quite sure how to describe this place. It’s kind of a cross between a small zoo and a petting zoo. I think that it’s a camel breeding farm but they have many other animals too – donkeys, goats, sheep, a wallaroo, cattle, a tortoise, an ostrich, many types of birds and what looks like a zebra/horse hybrid. The enclosures could be better but they seem adequate and the animals all look healthy. Most of the animals are very friendly and will eat out of your hand. A cup of food pellets costs a dollar. Visitors do not enter the enclosures but by walking the paths it’s possible to get close to almost all of the animals.
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  The ground is hard packed dirt so, for the most part, rolling is easy but wheelchairs will get stuck where the dirt is loose. Getting close enough to pet and feed the animals is fairly easy.

  The parking lot is not very large but most RVs will fit.  Farm
  32.59889, -114.61687
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