Wednesday, March 22, 2017

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

  The San Diego Zoo is limited by its location in the middle of the city so in 1964 a decision was made to open a wild animal park where there would be enough room for the animals to roam. Its main purpose is species conservation and the breeding of animals. Most of the animals have very roomy, natural appearing enclosures.

   

  A general admission ticket includes four shows and a tram ride. Additional options, which include motorized tours through the African Plains or Asian Savanna, a chance to hand feed some of the animals, a zip line ride, and a rope climbing course, have added fees.

  The park is very hilly so a free companion pass is available for all paying guests who need assistance. The tram ride is not wheelchair accessible but the shuttle is. The additional motorized tours are accessible. More information can be found HERE.

   RV parking is available. We were not directed to the correct lot and parked with the cars. I think the RV parking lot is behind the accessible parking spaces which are on the flat level of the lot nearest the park entry booths. The accessible spaces fill so arrive early to get a space. There’s a fee for parking. RVs are charged more than cars.   Park   33.09816, -117.00247

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Queen Califia's Magical Circle Garden

          
This is a fantastic, not-to-be missed, free attraction. Born in France in 1930, artist Niki de Saint Phalle designed and built large colorful sculptures all over the world. She moved to San Diego in 1994 and began searching for a piece of land for her next project, a sculpture garden featuring nine large figures inspired by California's mythic, historic and cultural roots, all enclosed inside a circular wall topped with snakes. The city of Escondido contributed the land in Kit Carson Park and Niki de Saint Phalle supplied all of the materials and money needed to complete the garden.


  The sculptures are made of polystyrene with a urethane skin, fiberglass coating, and steel armatures. They’re completely covered with a mosaic of different types of hand cut glass, ceramic and stones that Niki de Saint Phalle collected as she traveled. Because of vandalism and natural deterioration, the garden is only opened on Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 AM to noon, and on the second Saturday of each month, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. It takes a bit of planning to go see the garden but it’s worth it!
     
    
  The garden is accessible but the sandy path from the parking lot is difficult to push along. If you don’t have a strong helper try calling to see if it’s possible to drive to the garden gate. 

 The parking lot is small. Vans and short RVs will fit. Large RVs can be parked in one of the lots along Castaneda Drive. Paved trails lead to the garden parking lot.
Garden  33.08139, -117.06219
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Barona Valley Ranch Casino

  Follow the signs for RV parking. The parking area is small and surrounded by a white fence. A good number of RVs will fit in the lot but care must be taken to allow everyone an easy exit path. A sign requests that campers check in but we were told that it wasn’t necessary

The casino entrance is fairly close but the sidewalks do not have curb cuts so wheelchair users must go into the street. A long ADA compliant ramp bypasses a flight of steps. The casino has easy to move chairs.  Casino   32.93784, -116.87494

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Sycuan Casino

  We parked in the main lot at the far end. According to reports that I’ve read we may not have been in the correct lot but other RVs were in the same location and we were not asked to move. We stayed for two nights so that we could get together with a new internet friend. (Hi Karma!)

  The lot has a slight slope and it’s a downhill run to the casino entrance. The carpet is very plush and the chairs are heavy and difficult to move so I don’t recommend this casino for wheelchair users.  Casino   32.78639, -116.82618

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park & Super Bloom

  Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the second largest state park in the contiguous United States - only Adirondack Park in New York is larger. The park is crisscrossed with dirt roads, hiking trails and a few paved roads. It’s managed similar to BLM lands with boondocking permitted almost everywhere.

  The sole purpose of our visit was to see the super bloom which, due to winter rains, is the best in a dozen years.  It’s amazing! The area around the park visitor center is a good place to see masses of flowers.

     

The visitor center has displays on the human history, plant life and geology in the park.  A hard packed dirt trail loops through a desert garden. A paved trail with interpretive signs goes to the campground. It’s one way and slightly downhill so the return trip is uphill.

         

The parking lot has long RV spaces and RVs can be also be parked along the edges. Gravel makes pushing difficult so park in the accessible spots if possible.

We boondocked Yaqui Well Camping Area, south of the park for a day and at Rockhouse Trail, east of the park the next day.  Yaqui Wells is an official primitive camp area with a vault toilet but nothing else. The road is very sandy without any place to pull over but if you drive in as far as the toilet there is a large clearing where RVs will fit. Tent camper can get more seclusion and good open spots by packing their supplies into the surrounding brush.

  Rockhouse Trail is a very large sandy plateau which is posted with “no trespassing” signs but that does not seem to be enforced as many people boondock at this spot.

The park also has accessible camping sites.

Park    33.25749, -116.40602

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay in 1542. Cabrillo, a ship builder and an owner of mines and farm land in Guatemala, was selected by the governor of Guatemala to  build and provision ships to explore the Pacific coast. He landed near the monument site, claimed the land for Spain, and continued up the coast. He made it as far as the Russian River before stormy weather forced him to turn south but he never got back to Guatemala. A fall on rocks broke his leg which became infected. He died from gangrene and was buried on one of the islands.

  The monument site, featuring a large statue representing Cabrillo, sits high above San Diego Bay with a wonderful view of the city. The visitor center has a video and exhibits about the expedition. A short trail leads to an 1855 lighthouse, a small museum, and an overlook of the ocean and the new lighthouse which is not opened to the public. A military history exhibit is housed in a World War I radio station. Tidal pools can be explored at low tide.

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The visitor center and overlook at the statue are accessible. A steep path which is accessible with assistance, leads to the lighthouse. Parking permits are available if you wish to drive to the lighthouse but the parking area is not large enough for most RVs. The museum is accessible. The living quarters of the lighthouse are not accessible due to steps. The military exhibit is accessible with assistance. The tidal pools are not accessible.

The parking lot has a long RV space and several bus spaces.

Monument   32.67433, -117.24128

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Coronado Museum of History and Art

  Native Americans fished, hunted game, and collected wild berries on the Coronado Peninsula for thousands of years but, even though the area was claimed for Spain in 1542 by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, Europeans didn’t settle on the land until the Coronado Beach Company was established. This small museum, which is located in the same building as the Coronado visitor center, focuses on early tourism with a few exhibits on the growth of the Naval base at the north end of the Peninsula.

  The museum is accessible.

  Parking is limited especially for large vehicles. On street parking where RVs will fit is located on Ocean Blvd. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in good condition.  Museum   32.68495, -117.1802

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Hotel del Coronado & Beach Promenade

  When Hotel del Coronado opened in 1888, it was the largest resort hotel in the world. It’s still the second largest wooden structure in the United States right behind the Tillamook Air Museum so it’s worth a trip to check it out. Rooms start at $300.00 a night and go into the thousands so we’ll never stay at the hotel but we did go inside to see the lobby and wandered around the grounds a bit. It’s a cool building!

  The smooth, wide concrete promenade is about 3/4 of a mile one way with good views of the ocean and beach.

        

Free parking is located along Ocean Blvd. The sidewalk is in good condition.  Hotel    32.68203, -117.18075

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

San Diego Zoo (Balboa Park)

  When the Panama–California Exposition ended in 1915, Harry Milton Wegeforth, a local doctor and animal lover, saw a great opportunity to start a zoo using the exotic animal exhibits that had been abandoned. From this small endeavor the zoo has grown to  over 3,700 animals with a mission to study, protect, and care for animals and plants in need of conservation.

        

        

  The zoo covers 100 acres with animals grouped according to their native countries and habitats. Remember to pick up a map because the paths wind around and it’s easy to get confused. Be prepared for a workout due to the hilly terrain. If you get tired take advantage of the Skyfari, guided bus tour, Kangaroo Bus and the moving walkways which are all included in the admission fee.

  Many areas of the zoo are not very handicapped accessible due to the construction of the enclosures and the hilly terrain. A free companion pass is available for all paying guests who need assistance. The buses, Skyfari, and  moving walkway are not accessible but an accessible shuttle bus is available upon request. The Africa Rocks exhibit which is still under construction will feature an ADA compliant path into the main canyon.

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  The zoo lot is large enough for any RV but it can be crowded on weekends.

  A big thank you to our RTR friend Dave for his help and hospitality during our visit to the zoo and Balboa Park!

Zoo    32.73673, -117.14822

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