Thursday, May 25, 2017

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

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  Humboldt Redwoods State Park encompasses a 31 mile portion of old Highway 101 and preserves old growth redwoods which can be more than 300’ tall. The road through the park is a patchwork of awe inspiring mature forest, impressive newer growth, and areas cleared for resorts and farmland.  Logging came late to northern California but by 1921 it was obvious to the founders of Save the Redwoods League that something had to be done so they began raising money to buy groves of redwoods from private owners. They established more than 1000 redwood memorial groves which are located throughout California. Signs along the road name the individuals or organizations who have donated money to save a grove.

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   The drive along the Avenue of the Giants is very scenic with  opportunities for short hikes. Many of the trails are fairly level with hard packed dirt and are designated as accessible. The visitor center is accessible. The campgrounds have accessible sites but since we did not stay in a campground I can not verify the level of accessibility. Check HERE for more information.IMG_3993

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  The road is narrow with tight curves so driving along it with a large RV may be difficult. Many of the pull offs are too small for large RVs. The visitor center has long parking spaces along the road. The campsites are limited to RVs and trailers 24’ and under.

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 Park  40.30819, -123.90869

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Red Fox Casino

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  This tiny casino is only opened from 10:00AM – 2:00Am but it’s still a good overnight spot. Just get a club card which is loaded with $10.00 free play, sign a form releasing the casino from any liability and you’re good to stay. Very friendly employees and very quiet at night.

  Some of the machines have hard to reach money and card slots.

  The parking lot is small. RVs can be parked along the edge if the spaces are filled.   Casino  39.67018, -123.49667

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mendocino County Museum

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  This is a great little local museum with nicely done exhibits featuring interesting, sometimes sad and sometimes amusing stories as told by local people. One exhibit gives a detailed account of the clashes between the Native American tribes and the settlers which included kidnapping the Native children to be used as slave labor.  Another exhibit (enclosed behind glass which makes it hard to see and photograph) is a converted step van that served as rolling home for Andree Connors, writer and poet, who came to Mendocino in the 1970s. 

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   Logging and railroad equipment is located on the grounds. Most of it is behind a chain link fence so it can only be viewed from a distance.

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  Look for the giant fiberglass lumberjack at Lumberjack's Restaurant on the south end of town.

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Museum    39.41274, -123.34599

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Coyote Valley Shodakai Casino

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  RV parking is in the large gravel lots at the rear of the casino. This makes it a little difficult for visitors using wheelchairs so ask if parking in the paved lot is an option.

  The casino has easy to move chairs and easy to reach money and card slots.  Casino   39.25215, -123.20692

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

World's Largest Redwood Tree Service Station Museum

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   In 1936  a section of a 1,500 year old redwood tree was cut into six segments which were then shaved down to  18”-24” thick. The segments were shipped to Ukiah, California, reassembled and topped with a peaked roof. Gasoline was sold from the Redwood Tree Service Station until the early 1970s. The service station is still in business specializing in automotive maintenance and repair and although gas is no longer sold the owners have made a small museum in redwood tree which is opened during business hours.

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  The parking lot is small so if the service station is busy there may not be room to park an RV.

The museum has a high threshold. It’s easy to peek inside and see everything.  Tree  39.15849, -123.2084

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Solar Living Institute Tour

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  The Solar Living Institute has classes and internships in all aspects of solar power and sustainable living practices. When the Institute site was bought in 1994 by John Schaeffer, a dedicated environmentalist and president of the Real Goods store, it had been a dumping ground used by the California Department of Transportation for highway rubble. There was only one tree. The site has been transformed and is now shady and green with flowers, trees, ponds. and sculptures.

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  Visitors are invited to take self-guided tours during the week. Guided tours are offered on the weekends April 1st - October 31st. The tour stops include solar arrays, cob and straw buildings, aquaponics systems, gardens, and sculptures. The large Real Goods store sells everything needed for green and sustainable living.

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  The main path to the store and displays around the courtyard is accessible. Other paths are gravel, hilly or grassy and may be accessed with assistance.

The parking lot is large enough for RVs.  Tour  38.9668, -123.11404

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Sho-Ka-Wah Casino

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   The casino lot has a slope so leveling may be necessary. The back edge of the lot is the flattest area.

  The casino is fairly accessible with easy to move chairs and easy to reach money and ticket slots.  Casino   38.98343, -123.05706

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Luther Burbank Home & Gardens

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  Luther Burbank’s long career as a horticulturist began on a 17-acre farm in Massachusetts that he bought when he was 21 years old. One of his first successes was a large russet potato, resistant to some common diseases, that is still the most popular potato in the US today. The money that Burbank received from selling his rights to the potato financed his trip to California where he purchased land in Santa Rosa and lived for 42 years surrounded by his experimental gardens. He developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants including the ever popular Shasta daisy.

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  One acre of the original gardens along with Burbank’s house, green house, and a carriage house that is now a museum were deeded to the city by Burbank’s wife, Elizabeth, upon her death in 1977.  The gardens are free to visit. Tours of the buildings and museum have an admission fee. An exhibit area in the gardens briefly covers Burbank’s life and accomplishments giving visitors a quick history lesson even without taking the tour.

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  We visited on a Monday, the only day that the museum is not opened and house tours are not conducted, so we did not get to check the accessibility. The house has a ramp and it appears that both the museum and the house are accessible. The gardens are accessible.

  The gardens do not have a parking lot but cars and RVs may be parked on the street.   Garden   38.43607, -122.71183

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Charles M. Schulz Museum

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  Neither of us are big fans of “Peanuts” preferring comic strips with some bite but we still enjoyed visiting the museum. Original comic strips covering classic themes fill one gallery. Other exhibits include Charles Schulz’s office and a timeline of his life. Short videos are shown in the theater. The museum is not very big so it’s a quick visit.

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The museum is accessible.

The parking lot is large enough for RVs.  Museum   38.46067, -122.73566

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Jack London State Historic Park

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   In 1905 Jack London, novelist, journalist, social activist, and world adventurer, bought a parcel of  ranchland in central California with the intent to build his dream house and have a quiet place in the country to write and try his hand at scientific agriculture. The house, known as Wolf House, was completed in 1913 but before Jack and his wife Charmian could move in a fire destroyed it.  Jack died in 1916 at the age of 40 of gastrointestinal uremic poisoning and plans to rebuild the house were forgotten. Charmian had a smaller version built for herself where she lived until her death in 1955.
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The historic site includes the ruins of Wolf House, a  cottage where the Londons lived, farm outbuildings, and Charmian’s house which has museum exhibits about Jack and Charmian.
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  A paved but steep trail leads to the museum. The first floor is accessed by a lift operated by park personnel. The second floor is not accessible. For an easier trip to the Wolf House ruins take the gravel road from the parking lot instead of the trail from the museum.  Wheelchair users may need assistance to get to both the museum and Wolf House. Visitors who can climb into a golf cart may ride to both sites. 
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  The roads at the ranch, where the cottage and other buildings are located, are hilly with large gravel. Wheelchair users will need a strong helper. The cottage has a hard to open gate and a walkway  of loose gravel but it does have a ramp.
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  RVs will fit in the museum lot if parked across several spaces. The ranch parking lot has long spaces. Park  38.35648, -122.54234
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