Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Mayborn Museum Complex

 Dinosaurs, natural history, human history, space exploration, hands-on exhibits, and an historic history village - this museum has something for everyone. A cast of Columbian mammoth fossils discovered near Waco and removed by university archeologists and students is displayed under a glass floor so visitors can walk and roll above the exhibit.

The main museum is accessible except for an early life exhibit that is too high, Some of the hands-on exhibits are not accessible. A few of the ramps in the village do not fit flush to the ground and require traveling over lumpy grass. Some of the buildings have plexiglass at the doorways for viewing the interiors. Reflections make it hard to see in.

 
If you have a little time go across the street to the  Martin Museum of Art. Th exhibit area is very small with works by the faculty, staff, and students.

The Baylor campus is very poorly designed for walking and rolling. There are few crosswalks, sidewalks and trails dead end, and curb cuts are missing.

The parking lot is small but RVs will fit if parked through the spaces. Most of the other lots are reserved for staff and students but visitors can park at the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center which is about 1/3 miles west. There's plenty of room for any sized vehicle.  Museum  31.55153, -97.1147

Monday, April 22, 2024

Soldiers Bluff Park

One of ten Corp of Engineer campgrounds located on the shores of LakeWhitney, Soldiers Bluff is a small triangle of land at the south end of the lake. It's bordered by Route 20 so there's always traffic noise. Five of the 14 sites are RV/tent sites. The rest are tent only. The park is popular with day visitors coming to fish or play in the water. 

The five RV sites, under the trees, are all fairly small and the trees may make it difficult to maneuver a long RV into the spaces. Amenities include picnic tables, fresh water, and restrooms just a short walk away in the upper parking lot.
 None of the sites are accessible. Campground  31.86275, -97.37508
 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Potters Creek Park

 There are 25 Corp Of Engineer lakes in Texas and I think all of them have campgrounds. Prices range from free to about $40.00 depending on the amenities. Most of them are located along the I-25 corridor starting north of San Antonio and going all the way to the Texas/Oklahoma border. 

The COE website is not user friendly. It has a map but some information is out of date. Pay campgrounds are listed in recreation.gov but most of the free ones aren't. If you're planning on camping in COE campgrounds, which I highly recommend because they are usually well designed, well maintained, and reasonably priced, an actual book is the best resource. 

There are three campgrounds on the shores of Canyon Lake. Potter Creek and Cranes Mill are RV/tent campgrounds and North Park is tent only. Potters Creek Park has 114 sites, some under the trees, others in full sun. All have electric and water hookups along with tables under shelters, a dump station, flush toilets, and showers. 

The COE does a poor job making accessible sites. Most of the time there's very little difference between the sites listed as accessible and the ones that are not accessible so we chose a site for the best view of the water which has dropped so low that many of the boat ramps had to be closed. The parking pad was wide enough to deploy a wheelchair life. The crushed gravel around the table was okay for rolling but the design of the shelter made it impossible to get close to the table top. Campground  29.90423, -98.26678


 

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Bosque Museum

Most county museums contain items donated by the local people along with stories of the area history. The collections are fairly predictable - antique furniture, wedding dresses, old table settings, kitchen utensils. This museum is no exception but the collections are much more interesting that usual. When Bosque County, Texas was formed in 1854 the state offered 340 acres of land to each family who would settle in the region. This was very attractive to immigrants from Norway where crop failures and population growth made life difficult. Several early settlers returned to Norway to recruit people or wrote glowing letter describing their life in Texas. While the number of Norwegians who settled in Texas wasn't large it was still enough for their descendants to contribute a nice collection of Norwegian furniture and household items. There's even a log house built in 1866 that was the home of the Olsen family. 

Another unusual exhibit in the museum is a display about the Horn Shelter. This shallow shelter of overhanging rock located in Bosque County, has provided refuge for people for thousands of years. Amateur archaeologists Al Redder, Frank Watt, and Robert Forrester began excavating in the shelter in 1967. After carefully digging through many layers and preserving the artifacts they came to the final layer and a surprise. The body of a man and a child had been arranged in a circular grave with turtle shells, beads, animal claws, and other special items. The grave was covered with nineteen limestone slabs. Carbon dating puts it at 11,700 years old which makes the shelter the earliest grave site found in the US. 

 
Other exhibits cover fossils, art, and the Chisholm Trail.

The museum is accessible. A slightly steep ramp near the gift shop area provides access to the second level. The log house is located on an outside  patio with a ramp for access. It's possible to peek inside the door and view the interior of the house. 

RVs can be parked along the street in front of the museum or in the parking lot to the left of the museum. Museum  31.77631, -97.58534


 



Thursday, April 18, 2024

Clifton Classic Chassis & The Golden Age Gallery of Art and Artifacts

 Most of the 35 cars in the museum aren't restored but are in excellent condition with low mileage. Except for a few they are  all owned by Terry Watson who runs the museum as a non-profit. It's a nice collection but nothing spectacular. The 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser is cool though!

 
In addition to the cars Terry has amassed a collection of art and memorabilia. We didn't see all of the art because the main power was off. 

The museum is accessible.

The cars are housed in a old grocery store so the parking lot is large enough for any vehicle.  Museum  31.78211, -97.57553


 

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

LBJ National Historical Park Visitor Center

LBJ was born in 1908 in a farmhouse near Stonewall, Texas where he spent the first five years of his life before his family moved to Johnson City, a rural town and county seat that was founded in 1879 by  James P. Johnson, his father's cousin. At the time only a few hundred people lived in Johnson City. The electric grid hadn't expanded to rural areas and houses didn't have running water. The family struggled due to his father's faltering political career and business failures. His childhood experiences in Johnson City affected LBJ for the rest of his life and influenced his support of the Great Society programs

The visitor center and walking tour of the Johnson Settlement is one half of the LBJ NHP. The other half, which we visited in 2022, is 14 miles west at the ranch that Johnson bought in 1961. I recommend visiting both areas. The visitor center at Johnson City covers LBJ's early years and his political career. The walking tour is about a mile long with interpretive signs and stops at LBJ's boyhood home, the general store which is now the chamber of commerce and has a few exhibits about Johnson City, an exhibit center, LBJ's grandfather cabin, and two barns. 

The visitor center is accessible. The walking tour starts in  town then makes a loop through Johnson family farmland. The sidewalks and curb cuts in town are in fair condition.The boyhood home was not opened during our visit. It does have ramps but they may be too steep. The general store has an ADA compliant ramp. The farmland part of the tour travels over a finely crushed stone trail. This trail is steep at the beginning so wheelchair users may need assistance. Most of the tour is accessible although accessing the ramp at the log cabin involves a trip over lumpy grassy ground. The exhibit center is undergoing renovation. 
Follow the signs to the RV parking spaces in the lot east of the visitor center. A paved path goes to the visitor center. LBJ Park  30.27462, -98.41003