Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Hi to all of my new followers and everyone else who has been reading! I’m trying to make this blog easy to use as a research tool by linking blog posts to attraction locations on the Google maps. I’m also going to start including tiny state maps with the approximate location of the post subject at the bottom of each post. If this is something that anyone else will find useful I’ll go back and add a tiny map to each of the older posts. It’ll take me awhile and use up some of my limited monthly 5G of data so it’ll be a slow process. So what do you think – go back and add the maps to all of the posts or just add them to new posts?
at 10:06 PM
Top off your gas tank before venturing to this park. Fallon and Austin are the nearest towns to the north, about 120 miles away and Tonopah to the south is over 130 miles away. This is actually two parks in one – a mining ghost town and a fossil dig. The town has a self guided walking tour plus a ranger led mine tour and a ranger tour of the fossil shelter. Both tours have a fee in addition to the park entrance fee.
The fossil shelter is accessible but the paths that circle the fossil dig are steep and narrow in places. Most wheelchair uses will need some help. The only way to see the fossils is to go on the tour. There are two a day-one at 10:00 and one at 2:00.
The mine tour is not accessible. The old buildings and equipment can be seen from your vehicle but the signs are too small and far away from the road to be read. The terrain and loose rock in the town area makes it very hard to roll around and get closer to any of buildings.
The campground has three vault toilets that are accessible but the paths to them are steep and they all have a step up to the concrete pad that they rest on. None of the sites are handicapped accessible but the ground is fairly hard packed so rolling around is not too hard and it’s possible to get to the ends of the picnic tables.
This park was not made for large vehicles. There are several miles of one lane dirt road leading to the campground and the fossil site. The turnoff to the fossil site has a steep dip and a tight turn. We parked at the bottom and walked up but another small class C drove up without any problem.The dump station exit road is a bit steep.Some of the campground spaces are long enough for 30’ RVs but I wouldn’t recommend trying to fit a large class A into the spaces. Use caution after exiting the park and heading back to the main road. The road goes down for a long way and is surprisingly steep –downshifting is necessary.Berlin Ichthyosaur Park
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Unlike many other Nevada mining towns, Tonopah is still a thriving small town even though it’s population has dropped to about 3,000 people, only 1/3 of it’s peak. The mines are all closed but the Mining Park allows visitors to wander among the old buildings and tailings. Unsafe mine openings have been fenced off.
The visitor center is the only part that is wheelchair accessible. The parking area is loose stone and there’s a small lip at the entrance to the building. The paths on the walking tour are loose stone with some steps and very steep spots making them extremely difficult to negotiate in a wheelchair. Most of the equipment and buildings plus the town of Tonopah can be viewed from the visitor center patio. Entrance to the visitor center is free-there’s a small charge to walk the grounds.
The parking area is large enough for RVs. Mining Park
This museum has a great collection of old mining equipment, some relocated buildings, wrecked planes from the testing grounds to the east, and a small museum building with displays about human history and mining in Nevada.
The museum building is accessible. The larger pieces of equipment are located around the edges of the paved parking lot-smaller pieces are along boardwalk and concrete paths. The boardwalks have warped boards and uneven spots making it difficult to roll along at times. The concrete section has a dangerously steep ramp.
The parking lot is large enough for any RV. Central Nevada Museum
Saturday, May 28, 2011
An art museum in the middle of the desert! There are only seven works of art but they’re all pretty cool. The site is on the same road that goes to Rhyolite ghost town, on the left before you get to the town.
The art can be viewed from your vehicle but to get a better view you must go through one of the openings in the fence. I think that most wheelchairs will fit through. The ground is covered with small rocks and is soft so rolling is hard. Most people will need some help. There’s also a small visitor center with steps only. It has never been opened when we passed by this way.
The road and parking area are good for any size RV. Goldwell Open Air Museum
Rhyolite’s boom as a gold mining town was short, less than ten years, but some building facades and even some entire buildings have survived. The most famous building is also the most unique, using 50,000 bottles collected from the many bars for the walls.
All of the buildings are surrounded by fencing. Everything can be viewed without exiting your vehicle. Rhyolite
Friday, May 27, 2011
Among the many rooms filled with stuffed animals is a surprising display – the King Tut exhibit formerly housed at the Luxor casino. The Luxor redecorated their casino in 2008 and donated the 500 piece Tut collection to the museum. The pieces aren’t authentic but they are as close as possible, handcrafted in Egypt using tools and methods of the period.
The museum is accessible with a few exceptions. Some of the description signs are too high, the baby shark tank is hard to view, and the mummy display has a movable viewer that is too high.
Most of the parking spaces are roofed over for shade which makes them unusable for any size of RV. We parked in the Cashman Center lot on Washington Ave. The sidewalks are in good shape but it’s a pretty good push uphill to the museum. There’s a pull through driveway for drop off at the door to avoid the trip up the hill. Natural History Museum
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The site consists of a small visitor center with displays and a short movie; the grounds of the fort with partial reconstructions; and an adobe building that was the old visitor center and has displays with more historical information. The visitor center and movie are accessible. The grounds of the fort are hard packed sandy dirt. There’s a sandy ramp from the visitor center to the fort area. The ground in the fort area is a little uneven. Wheelchair users may need some help. The old visitor center has slightly uneven thresholds and a very steep ramp inside between two rooms but all of the displays can be viewed by using both entrance doors and avoiding the ramp.
The parking lot is large enough for vans or very short RVs. We parked next door at the Cashman Center – large lot and free when there aren’t any events. Fort
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Most of the big casinos along the strip have some type of free attraction to entice you inside. Some of them aren’t worth going out of your way to see but if you’re cruising along the strip you should at least stop in at all of the different casinos just to check out the décor of each of them.
Bellagio Fountains choreographed to music with shows throughout the day starting at 3:00 weekdays , 12:00 weekends. Easy viewing from the street. Conservatory garden inside the casino with a theme that changes five times a year. Accessible. Dale Chihuly glass chandelier in the lobby.
Mirage Volcano erupts every hour on the hour-dusk to midnight. Easy viewing from sidewalk. Huge aquarium behind front desk.
Flamingo Outdoor garden with paths winding past waterfalls and ponds. Flamingos, ducks , turtles and koi. Accessible
Venetian Venetian street shopping area alongside canals with gondolas ( $ for rides. I don’t think they’re accessible) Old world masterpieces painted on the ceilings –second floor.
Treasure Island Pirate show. Four shows daily starting at dusk in front of the casino. There’s a viewing area for wheelchairs but get there early because the shows are popular and it gets crowded.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Spring Preserve is the site of some of the springs that supplied water to early Las Vegas residents. The springs dried up years ago but the area has been partially restored as a wetlands using water runoff. The rest of the property has been developed as an entertaining educational center about conserving water and other resources. It has a museum covering the geology and early water history of Las Vegas, another about the importance of recycling and conservation, and a garden section with plants that are appropriate for the desert and tips for growing ones that aren’t as drought resistant. There are also a couple of play areas for kids, hands-on activities, and a small zoo with desert animals.
The paths in the gardens and museum area are concrete or packed sand so it’s all accessible except for one building in the Native American exhibit that has a few steps. The wetlands area has almost two miles of trails which wind around past remnants of old buildings and other structures. The wetlands trails are not accessible because of very loose gravel.
The parking lot has room for any size of RV parked across the spaces.
A reciprocal garden pass is good for free admission to the grounds and trails but admission to the museum buildings has an additional cost. Springs Preserve
Friday, May 20, 2011
We went to a Nathan Burton magic show at the Flamingo. Balcony tickets are free but because the balcony isn’t accessible we were seated about twenty feet from the stage. I’m not sure if the entire party that accompanies the handicapped person will be seated on the main floor but at least one person will. Tickets are only ten dollars for the main floor if the balcony is full. The show is worth at least that much. The handicapped entrance is being remodeled so we were taken on a tour through the food court kitchens. Nathan Burton
We were given two tickets to Legends in Concert at Harrahs. The seating is in tiers with tables and chairs on the upper levels. People in wheelchairs are seated in the top tier. I thought that the show was a little uneven with some very good performances , some so-so performances. Free was good but I wouldn’t have wanted to pay to go. Legends
Free admission to Mac King’s magic show requires the purchase of drink tickets that are about thirteen dollars per person for one drink –an expensive drink but not bad as the price to see the show. Seating is the same as for the Legends show –at the end table on upper tier. Mac King
Several years ago we won two tickets to V-the Ultimate Variety Show at Planet Hollywood. Handicapped seating is available on the floor close to the stage. We really liked this show and recommend going to it. V
Friends received four complementary tickets to VEGAS! The Show in return for donating blood and invited us to accompany them. The show is in the Sax theater. Seating is stadium style with a wide landing between the upper and lower sections. People in wheelchairs are seated on the landing which is accessed by elevator. There are just a few chairs on the landing but other members of your party will be seated in front of you if possible. The view is very good. The show is mostly a musical and covers the glory days of Vegas entertainers from the 1940s through the 1970s. The Show
Madame Tussauds wax museum isn’t a show but it is a fun attraction. Tickets are twenty five dollars but you only have to pay full price at the admissions desk. Purchase online or use a coupon to get a five dollar discount. Getting to the handicapped entrance involves several elevators and is a little confusing. Madame Tussauds
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
The best thing about downtown Vegas is the Fremont Street Experience, a five block long pedestrian mall with an overhead canopy that is also a huge LED screen. There are four music and video shows every night. Some of the oldest casinos in downtown are under canopy. The rest are within easy walking or rolling distance. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in good shape. Downtown doesn’t have as much glitz and glamour as the strip but if you go to Vegas don’t skip it. Fremont Street
We always stay at the Main Street Station campground. It’s just an asphalt lot with full hookups but the location is great and the price is good, about $20.00 a night. It’s a little noisy because of the freeways that run almost overtop of it. Play some at the casino during your stay and you may get free comped camping. Getting to Main Street Casino is a little bit of a trek through another parking lot and across a street. Make a right turn along the sidewalk to the car drop-off spot, go down the crosswalk curb cut, up the drop-off curb cut and up the ramp into the casino. The casino website doesn’t have any information about the campground but check in is at the hotel desk. Casino
Saturday, May 14, 2011
We weren’t planning on stopping on this trip west but our daughter and son-in-law made a spur of the moment decision to come to Vegas –we were in the neighborhood (what’s a few hundred miles when you have your house with you!) so here we are in Vegas!
Vegas is very wheelchair friendly – wide sidewalks,good curb cuts, good ramps and elevators at many of the street crossings. Sometimes the elevators are hard to find. Most are underneath the escalators but some are inside of the casinos. The strip is between three and four miles long. If you get too tired ,the strip bus is accessible. Strip bus
Parking a RV in Vegas is tough. Many of the casinos along the strip will find a place for you to park if you have a room in their hotel. There are a few places off the strip where oversized vehicles can park-the Orleans where we often park and the Rio. Parking is also available behind Ballys , a few blocks off the strip and the Stratosphere at the far north end of the strip. Sleeping in your vehicle in Las Vegas may be illegal. I can’t find any laws about it but the casinos that do allow overnight parking don’t want you to look as if you are camping – no levelers, no unhooking of cars .etc. There’s also a KOA at Circus,Circus that’s really just a parking lot with hookups and is pretty expensive ($44.00 – $80.00)but it’s the only option on the strip if you don’t want to dry camp.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
The main activities at Lake Mead are boating,swimming,fishing and camping. Campgrounds managed by the park service don’t have hookups but there are some concessionaire run ones that are full hookup. Dispersed camping is also allowed in some areas.
We camped at Las Vegas Bay Campground. The campground is a little oasis of flowering bushes and large trees-very pretty. It sits along a ridge so many of the sites have a view of the lake (which has receded because of the drought so it’s a far away view) or a view of wetland valley. Most of the sites are small but there are a few that are large enough for class As or fifth wheels.
There are two handicapped sites next to the restroom. The picnic tables benches have been cut down to allow wheelchairs to fit under the tables but other than that they’re no different than all of the other sites. The ground is hard and most of the sites are level so rolling is fairly easy. Lake Mead
The museum and art gallery are next door to each other so it’s easy to visit them together. Both are pretty small. The art gallery has exhibits by local artists. The museum is a collection of all sorts of things. Local families were asked to donate their family memorabilia so some of the stuff is interesting but some of it should have been left in the attic.;) Both are free to visit.
Both buildings are accessible. Most exhibits are easy to see and the aisles are wide enough for a wheelchair. Parking for cars and small RVs is available behind the buildings. Larger RVs can be parked on the side streets. All of the sidewalks and curb cuts are very good. Mesquite Museum
Monday, May 9, 2011
Vermillion Cliffs is a wilderness area so accessibility is limited to sightseeing along US 89A. Even though it’s a national monument it’s still managed by the Bureau of Land Management who built the interpretive viewing area pictured above. The interpretative area is handicapped accessible with pavement from the parking spot to the signs. It’s about twenty miles west of Navaho Bridge. Vermillion Cliffs
Also watch for the rock house about nine miles west of the bridge. The house was built in the 1930s and is in pretty bad condition. A large rock forms part of the structure. It’s not accessible but it’s easy to see without exiting your vehicle. Rock House
The first Navaho Bridge was completed in 1929 to replace a ferry crossing that was five miles upstream. The bridge was built because of increased car traffic on the road. In 1995 the second bridge was built when the first one was no longer sufficient for the size and weight of modern cars and trucks. The first bridge is now a pedestrian bridge where visitors can view the canyon and the Colorado River.
The bridge, interpretive signs, restrooms, and national park book store are handicapped accessible.
The parking lots at both ends of the bridge are small. The one on the eastern side is an area for Dine` craft venders and doesn’t have a turn around area. The one on the western side is part of Glen Canyon NRA and does have a loop through the parking lot but there aren’t any parking spaces for large RVs. Navajo Bridge
Saturday, May 7, 2011
The main activity at the monument is ranger led walks to two Anasazi ruins. They are not wheelchair accessible due to the terrain of the trails leading down and the construction of the ruins but with some help it’s possible to follow a trail a short way out on the slick rock for some good views of the canyon and it may be possible to follow it all the way to a view of one of the ruins. The trail sign is confusing and we didn’t realize that it was only 1 mile round trip and we stopped when it started heading down hill. Update 11/2018 - we tried this trail and found that it is too steep. A fancy electric wheelchair is available to borrow free of charge but I did not try it. The other two trails trails are narrow, sandy, and not accessible.
The visitor center is completely accessible with automatic doors, easily viewed displays, and a roomy theater. The campground has one site that is designated as handicapped. It has multiple problems – the parking pad is not level, there isn’t a paved path to the table and the bathroom door is hard to open especially from the inside. Update 11/2018 - the campground appears to have been improved and all of the parking pads paved. We did not check to see if any sites are designated as accessible but it looks like there is now a paved path to the restroom. There's also a paved path from the campground to the visitor center.
The road to the monument and the parking lot at the visitor center are suitable for any size of RV but the length for RVs in the campground is limited to 28’. Navaho Monument
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Excavation of these ruins began in the early 1900s. It’s the largest ancestral Pueblo community in the Animas River valley and originally contained at least 400 rooms. It was built over a 200 year period beginning around 1,100 A.D. The large kiva has been reconstructed and the other walls and rooms stabilized. The stonework is very finely done and because of the dry climate many of the original roof timbers are still intact.
The site includes a visitor center with a video and small museum. All are accessible. A paved path winds through the ruins. People in wheelchairs should follow the path to the left until it enters the rooms then go back to the beginning and follow the path to the right. This leads to the large kiva. One of the entrances to the kiva is wide enough to allow wheelchairs to enter and overlook the sunken kiva room.
There’s a separate lot for RVs and buses to the left of the car lot. Aztec Ruins
This is a very small casino. It’s nice with room between the aisles ,a good variety of slot machines and friendly employees but the whole casino consists of less than 200 machines.
The lot is small too and although we stayed overnight larger RVs might not fit especially on busy weekends. Wild Horse Casino