Thursday, June 22, 2017

Oregon State Psychiatric Hospital Museum

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  The hospital which was built in 1883 using prison labor was the setting for the movie One Flew Over the Cockoo’s Nest.  Each actor shadowed a patient, even going as far as sleeping in the wards. Some of the patients worked as crew members.

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   Although the hospital was considered superior to previous hospitals by the early 21st century it suffered from overcrowding and lack of maintenance. Treatment of patients was often inhumane. In 2011 an extensive restoration and expansion of the hospital was completed which included an area for the museum. The museum tells the history of psychiatric treatments and the stories of patients and hospital employees. Artifacts from different eras are on display including some of the props from the movie.

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   Follow the sidewalk to the right side of the museum entrance to the accessible entrance. The museum staff must be notified so that the door to the wheelchair lift is opened. The museum exhibits are accessible.

  The museum parking spaces are short. Our 25’ RV fit but anything longer will not.  Museum   44.93946, -123.00549

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Talking Water Gardens and Simpson Park Trails

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   These two very different trails can be accessed from the same parking lot. The trails in Talking Waters circle around small ponds in an open, sunny environment. The Simpson Park Trail travels through a dense forest with mature trees. Neither is long so both are easily done in a few hours. An additional short trail, the Cox Creek Trail, leads to Waverly Lake.

  Talking Waters has been designed to naturally finish the treatment process of waste water by running it through a series of ponds and waterfalls before releasing it into the Willamette River. The landscaping, using native plants and carefully placed rocks, gives it a park like setting. Almost half of the trails are hard packed crushed stone, the others are mulch.  Most of the trails have a gentle up or downhill grade.  

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  The Simpson Park trail is a peaceful walk that follows the river but does not have a river view. A short steep hill provides access and the first section of the trail is surfaced with large, loose gravel so wheelchair users will need assistance. The trail levels out and has a hard packed dirt surface which may be muddy in wet weather.

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   The parking lot is large enough for any RV.  Talking Water    Simpson Park  44.64452, -123.07412

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Albany Historic Carousel & Museum

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  Fourteen years of work has gone into creating dozens of beautifully hand carved animals in the style of early 1900s Dentzel carousel animals. An antique 1909 Dentzel carousel mechanism was donated and has been refurbished. The project started as a revitalization effort for downtown Albany with everything done by volunteers. They’re doing a wonderful job!

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  The carousel building is almost complete and the animals that are finished will be installed on the carousel in July. The building will also have a gift shop and museum. Since all of the animals are not finished and repairs will be constant a workshop will be located on the lower level.

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  The location where we visited to see the animals being carved will not be used once the carousel is in operation so I don’t have any information about accessibility or parking but parking should be available on the streets.  Carousel    44.63726, -123.11029

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Darlingtonia State Natural Site

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  Darlingtonias are a type of pitcher plant that trap insects and use enzymes to digest them. A very short trail leads to a fen where the bizarre plants crowd together to form a dense death zone for any unwary insects. It such a strange sight to see so many of these large, weird plants – stop if you’re anywhere close!

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  The trail starts as a paved path, becomes boardwalk through the fen, and completes the loop with paved path. The path does not fit flush with the boardwalk but has a steep hump at either end. Most wheelchair users will find accessing the boardwalk very difficult without assistance.

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  Most RVs will fit in the small parking lot.  Trail  44.04745, -124.09719

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Three Rivers Casino

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  Three Rivers Casino is very welcoming to RVers. They even have billboards inviting everyone to stay for free for four days. Just go to the security and sign up to get a parking pass. The parking lot is large but has a slight slope.

The walkway to the casino entrance goes up a hill. Wheelchair users may need assistance. The casino is accessible with fairly easy to move chairs and easy to reach money and card slots.

Casino   43.98045, -124.08729

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Oregon Dunes NRA–Lagoon Trail

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   The Oregon Dunes stretch for 40 miles along the Oregon Coast and are very popular for OHV riding. The dunes are jointly managed by the national forest service, Oregon state parks and Oregon Dunes NRA. We bypassed the dunes but stopped at the Lagoon Campground to walk/roll along the Lagoon Trail. The trail is hard packed dirt and boardwalk and is considered accessible.  Wheelchair users may need assistance in several spots where the trail has deteriorated. It may be flooded in rainy weather.

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  The campground was empty, unusual for a weekend but I think that the other campgrounds are better for OHV dune access. The accessible campsite is very good with a wide, paved parking pad. The table has an long overhang, the fire ring has high sides, and pavement extends under both the table and the fire ring. A paved path goes to the restroom.

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   Some of the campsites are large enough for any RV. The trail starts in the campground. If you’re not camping and want to walk the trail you can park along the road to the west of the campground entrance where a boardwalk provides a link to the trail.  Trail  43.87784, -124.14281

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Coos Art Museum

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   No photographs are allowed inside this small museum which features juried exhibitions, gallery shows dedicated to a single artist, and changing exhibits of artwork from the museum’s permanent collection. The main exhibit when we visited was a juried exhibition of 64 paintings by very talented artists from Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.

  A ramp leads to the museum entrance. It has sunk where it meets the stair landing so there’s a short step up. The museum galleries are accessible.

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  Parking is available on the street.  Museum  43.36709, -124.21469

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Coos Historical and Maritime Museum

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  The histories of Coos and nearby coastal and forest communities are covered with very good exhibits on Native Americans, logging, fishing, mining, farming and rescues at sea.

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   The museum is accessible.

   The parking lot is large enough for RVs.  Museum  43.37602, -124.21296

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Mill Casino

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  The Mill Casino is one of the few casinos along the Oregon and California coasts that charge for staying overnight in their parking lot. They also have a full hookup RV park with rates ranging from $40.00 – $70.00 which makes the $15.00 dry parking rate seem like a bargain. :- D  Dry campers have access to most of the RV park amenities such as showers and dump station. (no official dump station – use an unoccupied site)

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  The dry camping area is a large gravel lot. Park close to the asphalt lot for a shorter distance to the casino entrance. The casino is accessible with easy to move chairs and easy to reach money and card slots.  Casino  43.39632, -124.2194

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Bastendorff Beach Road Boondocking

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   BLM land is scarce along the Oregon coast so this campsite is unusual. It’s a large, flat (but badly potholed), sandy lot with nice views and the beach is just a short walk away through the dunes. It does have problems though. So many people were ignoring the 14 day limit plus leaving trash in the walk-in campsites under the trees that the BLM has limited camping to one night every 14 days. A more troubling problem involves murder. In 2014 a man killed his father then drove to the beach at 1:00 AM and started shooting at the vehicles in the lot. One man died. Two years later, a man was found shot in his van. The killer has not been found. That made us really hesitate about camping at the beach but we decided to go look and make a decision.  It seemed okay and we didn’t get any creepy feelings so we stayed. Only a few people were camping although many people came during the day to walk on the beach or surf. We would camp here again but I can understand how other campers might feel very uneasy.

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Beach   43.35005, -124.34097

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Shore Acres State Park

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  We were a little late for the azaleas and a little early for the roses but the garden was still beautiful. A trail along the cliff,  overlooking unusual rock formations on the ocean shoreline, was an unexpected treat since we thought we would be seeing just a garden. The pounding of waves has honeycombed the rocks into a sculpted landscape that we’ve not encountered anywhere else. Definitely worth a stop!

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  The property was the estate of timber baron Louis Simpson. In 1907 Simpson built a mansion with an indoor swimming pool and a view of the ocean. The grounds included spacious gardens, a modern farm, and a dairy herd. After the mansion burnt down in 1921 a smaller version was built but the 1929 stock market crash and the depression that followed left Louis Simpson bankrupt. The property was neglected before becoming a state park so none of the buildings except for the gardener’s house are still standing. An enclosed viewing shelter with interpretive panels about the history and geology of the park is located on the mansion site.

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IMG_4995IMG_5019   Most of the garden paths are paved and accessible. The viewing shelter is accessible. About 1/3 mile of the cliff trail is accessible.

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   RVs will fit in the lot if parked across the spaces.  Park  43.3241, -124.38583

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